News From The Ninth Arch

Albert Mackey – GGC Education Committee

From the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International Education Committee
Albert Mackey
By Illustrious Companion Adam Hathaway, Chair, Cryptic Masons International Education Committee

Albert Mackey
(Public Domain)

Good Companions and Brothers All,

It is quite apropos at this time to highlight Brother Albert G. Mackey for two reasons: First, his birthday is March 12 – Please see his bio at the bottom of this article. Second, if ever we needed his lessons in harmony and masonic fraternalism, it is now in this time of confusion, frustration and fear over the current health crisis. Our national and state leaders have temporarily closed restaurants, movie theatres and schools. Our Grand Masters and appendant body heads have postponed indefinitely all Masonic gatherings including annual communications and regional conferences. Tension abounds in supermarkets, with empty shelves underscoring fears of potential privation and want. While others may be acting in ungentlemanly and unchivalrous way, we must continue to practice, not just among ourselves but toward the greater community the tenet of brotherly love, relief and truth. In order to do so, we must insure that no disharmony exists within Masonry, in general and between brothers, in particular.

In his book Masonic Parliamentary Law, Mackey\’s foundation for all debate among Freemasons is this \”It must always be remembered, that the object of a Masonic discussion is to elicit truth, and not simply to secure victory.\” Our disagreements should not be directed towards winning, because if one Brother wins, then another loses. Rather, we should bring different viewpoints together to discover the best virtuous and Masonic solution to any problem. In other words, it is ok to disagree without being disagreeable.

According to A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence, Mackey asserts that brotherly love is \”the foundation and cape-stone, the cement and glory of this ancient Fraternity; avoiding all wrangling and quarreling, all slander and backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his character, and doing him all good offices, as far as is consistent with your honour and safety, and no farther.\”

He asserts that \”Relief, the second of these tenets, seems necessarily to flow from the first, or brotherly love; for the love of our brother will naturally lead us to the sentiment of wishing to alleviate his misfortunes, to compassionate his misery, and to restore peace his troubled mind.\”

Finally, truth comes from the practice of brotherly love and the embrace of charity, and more fully if we remember these words from our ritual \”These generous principles are to extend further; Every human being has a clam upon your kind offices. Do good until all. Recommend it more especially to the house of the faithful. Finally Brethren, be ye all of one mind; live in peace; and may the God of love and peace delight to dwell with and bless you.\”


Mackey, Albert G. Masonic Parliamentary Law. Moss & Company, 1875

Mackey, Albert G. A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence. 7th ed., Macoy and Sickles, 1865



Albert Mackey\’s Bio

Mackey, Albert Gallatin. The American Masonic historian. He was born at Charleston, South Carolina, March 12, 1807. This scholarly Brother lived to the age of seventy-four years. He died at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, June 20, 1881, and was buried at Washington, District of Columbia, Sunday, June 26, with all the solemnity of the Masonic Rites wherein he had long been an active leader. From 1834, when he was graduated with honors at the Charleston Medical College, until 1854 he gave attention to the practice of his profession, but from that time on literary and Masonic labors engrossed his efforts. Doctor Mackey was a Union adherent during the Civil War and in July, 1865, President Johnson appointed him Collector of the Port. In a contest for senatorial honors Brother Mackey was defeated by Senator Sawyer. Doctor Mackey removed to Washington. District of Columbia, in l870.

Doctor Mackey was Initiated, Passed and Raised in Saint Andrews Lodge No. 10, Charleston, South Carolina, in 1841. Shortly thereafter he affiliated with Solomon\’s Lodge No. 1, also of Charleston, and was elected Worshipful Master in December, 1842. From 1842 until 1867 he held the office of Grand Secretary and during this period prepared all the reports of the Foreign Correspondence Committee of the Grand Lodge. In 1851 he was a founder member of Landmark Lodge No. 76. During the winter of 1841-2 he was advanced and exalted in Capitular Freemasonry; elected High Priest in December, 1844; and also elected Deputy Grand High Priest in 1848 and successively re-selected until 1855. From 1855 to 1867 he was each year elected as Grand High Priest of his State. Elected in 1859 to the office of General Grand High Priest, he continued in that position until 1868. Created a Knight Templar in South Carolina Commandery No. 1, in 1842, he was elected Eminent Commander in 1844, later being honored as a Past Grand Warden of the Grand Encampment of the United States. Crowned a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Thirty-third and last Degree in 1844, he was for many years Secretary-General of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

As a contributor to the literature and science of Freemasonry, Doctor Mackey\’s labors have been more extensive than those of any other in America or in Europe. In 1845 he published his first Masonic work, entitled A Lexicon of Freemasonry; in 1851 he published his second work entitled Tame True Mystic Tie. Then followed The Ahiman Rezon of South Carolina, 1852; Principles of Masonic Law, 1856; Book of the Chapter, 1858; Text-Book of Masonic Jurisprudence; 1859; History of freemasonry in South Carolina, 1861, Manual of the Lodge, 1869; Cryptic Masonry, 1877; Symbolism of Freemasonry, and Masonic Ritual, 1869; Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1874; and Masonic Parliamentary Law, 1875. Doctor Mackey also contributed freely to Masonic periodicals and edited several of them with conspicuous ability. In 1849 he established and edited the Southern and Western Masonic Miscellany for five years. In 1857 he undertook the publication of the Masonic Quarterly Review which continued for two years. Then he was invited to assume editorial charge of a department in the American Freemason which he accepted in July, 1859, and he held this position for one year. He was solicited to take charge of a department in the Masonic Trowel, his first article appearing in the September number of 1865, and he wrote for this publication for nearly three years. In October, 1871, Doctor Mackey again published a Masonic magazine of his own, Mackey\’s National Freemason. Although a periodical of great merit, after three years it was discontinued. In January, 1875, Doctor Mackey became one of the editors of the Voice of Masonry, and for over four years was a constant contributor to that periodical, when failing health necessitated his giving up this work.

After Doctor Mackey located at Washington, District of Columbia, he affiliated with Lafayette Lodge No. 19, Lafayette Chapter No. 5, and Washington Commandery No. 1.

The funeral services in Washington in 1881 were begun at All Souls Church, Unitarian, of which Doctor Mackey was a member, by the pastor and were followed by the ceremonies of a Lodge of Sorrow, Rose Croix Chapter, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, and were in charge of the venerable General Albert Pike and his associate officers. General Albert Pike wrote a touching and appreciative message at the time of the death of Doctor Mackey, which was sent out officially by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction in which the various Masonic Bodies were instructed to \”drape in black the altars and working tools and the Brethren will wear the proper badge of mourning during the space of sixty days.\”

The following Memorial was presented by a Committee headed by Brother Charles F. Stansbury at a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia:

Our illustrious Brother, Albert Gallatin Mackey, is no more! He died at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on the 20th day of June, 1881, at the venerable age of 74, and was buried at Washington on Sunday June 26, 1881, with the highest honors of the Craft, and Rites and Orders of Masonry uniting in the last sad services over his remains. The announcement of his death has carried a genuine sentiment of sorrow wherever Freemasonry is known. His ripe scholarship, his profound knowledge of Masonic law and usage, his broad views of Masonic philosophy, his ceaseless and invaluable literary labors in the service of the Order, his noble ideal of its character and mission, as well as his genial personal qualities and his lofty character, had united to make him personally known and vividly respected and beloved by the Masonic world. While this Grand Lodge shares in the common sorrow of the Craft everywhere at this irreparable loss she can properly lay claim to a more intimate and peculiar sense of bereavement, inasmuch as our illustrious Brother had been for many years an active member of this Body Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence, and an advisor ever ready to assist our deliberations with his knowledge and counsel. In testimony of our affectionate respect for his memory the Grand Lodge jewels, and insignia will be appropriately draped, and its members near the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. A memorial page of our proceedings will also be dedicated to the honor of his name. We extend to his family the assurance of our sincere and respectful sympathy, and direct that an attested copy of this Minute be transmitted to them.

In the eulogy over Doctor Mackey, delivered by Past Grand Master Henry Buist, of Georgia, before the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction, he said of the Doctor:

He was a fearless and gifted speaker; his language was courteous and manner dignified; and occasionally, in his earnestness to maintain what he conceived to be right, he became animated and eloquent. Positive in his convictions, he was bold in their advocacy. His course of action once determined on, supported by an approving conscience no fear or disfavor or discomfiture could swerve him from his fixed purpose. Whatever was the emergency, he was always equal to it. Where others doubted, he was confident; where others faltered, he was immovable; where others queried, he affirmed. He was faithful to every public and Masonic duty. Treachery found no place in his character. He never betrayed a trust. He was eminently sincere and loyal to his friends, and those who were most intimately associated with him learned to appreciate him the most. He was generous and frank in his impulses, and cherished malice toward none, and charity for all. His monument is in the hearts of those who knew him longest and best. He is no longer of this earth. His work among men is ended; his earthly record is complete.


Mackey, Albert G. Mackey\’s Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. 17th ed., vol. 2, The Masonic History Company, 1950.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top