Scottish Rite History
The Scottish Rite had its beginning in France, when in 1754, the Chevalier de Bonneville established in Paris, a chapter of twenty-five so-called High Degrees which, including the three symbolic Degrees, these High Degrees were called the Rite of Perfection. In 1758 these Degrees were taken to Berlin and placed under a body called the Council of Emperors of the East and West, and in 1762 Frederick the Great of Prussia became the head of the Rite and promulgated what is known as the Constitution of 1762. In 1786 a reorganization took place in which eight Degrees were added to the twenty-if, and the name changed to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. By this Constitution, Frederick resigned his authority as Grand Commander and provided that the government of the new system of Degrees should rest with a Council of each Nation, to be composed of nine Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the Thirty-Third and last Degree of Freemasonry.
In 1761, the year before Frederick the Great was said to have taken under his patronage all Masonry in Germany, Stephen Morin of France was commissioned Inspector General of the New World by the Grand Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret in Paris to introduce the Rite in America. He established Bodies in San Domingo and Jamaica and in turn commissioned Henry Andrew Francken who established a Lodge of Perfection in Albany, N.Y., in 1767. Other Lodges of Perfection were organized in various places including one in Charleston, S.C., until in 1801 they were consolidated under the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Council. From the beginning, these Lodges of Perfection were in full harmony with the Symbolic Lodges, assuming no authority over them and invariably beginning their work with the Fourth Degree.
The Revised Constitutions of 1786 provided for two Supreme Councils in the United States of America with equal powers in their respective jurisdictions. Accordingly in 1813, the Supreme Council ceded all of the United States north of the Mason and Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River for the purpose of establishing a second Council in this Country. This territory comprises the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and is termed the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, the headquarters in Boston, Mass. The remaining thirty-five States together with all territories and dependencies, China, Japan and the Army and Navy were retained by the "Mother Supreme Council" and are now termed the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States.
During the Supreme Council years of continuous existence, it has surmounted all difficulties and has become a dominant influence in the world of Masonry. The Supreme Council 33, whose SEE is at Charleston in the State of South Carolina, is in truth the Mother Council of the World. It now has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it occupies the most magnificent Masonic Temple in the world, known as the "House of the Temple".