RITE. This word is defined to be a formal act of service established by law, precept or custom; a symbolical cere mony and method of representing ideas. Freemasonry, although uniform and immutable, in its principles and gene ral laws, exists, nevertheless, in a variety of methods or forms, which are called rites. These differences, however, are unimportant, and do not affect in the least the funda mental plans of the Order, nor disturb its interior harmony; for Masons, whatever may be the legal rite which they pro fess, recognize no less, as brothers, Masons of a different rite. These remarks will apply with great force to a mem ber of the Symbolic Lodge—a Master Mason—who is, in all rites and in all countries, acknowledged as such, and en titled to all the privileges which that universal degree con fers. Until within a recent period, there was but one system, known as Ancient Craft Masonry, consisting of only three degrees—Entered Apprentice, Fellow-Craft and Master Mason. Many rites and systems have sprung up in various parts of Europe, but without permanent existence. The following list will serve to show to what extent the ingenuity and industry of man may be exerted to gratify his personal interest or vanity. Very few of these degrees or rites are now practiced: 1. York Rite. This system is the most ancient, simple, and scientific, having existed from time immemo rial. It derives its name from the city of York, in the north of Eng land, where, in 926, the first Grand Lodge of England was organized. In this, the present rite of pure Ma sonry, originally consisted of the three primitive degrees. Entered A p preutice, Fellow-Craft, and Master Mason, under the title of Ancient Craft Masonry. To them have been added, in modern times, four other degrees, viz: Mark Master, Past Mas ter, Most Excellent Master, and the Royal Arch. The York rite is the most extensively diffused of the rites, embracing four-fifths of the Masons of the habitable globe. It is the predominating rite in Eng-. land, Scotland, Ireland, their de pendencies, and the United States of America, and is practiced, in a modified form, by several of the European Grand Lodges. From
this arose 2. The English Rite, adopted by the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales, at the union in 1813, and is now practiced by the Lodges under that jurisdiction.
3. Ancient and Accepted Rite, or Ineffable degrees; first knowm in France, in 1758, as the Emperors of the East and West, with twenty five 'degrees. Subsequently these degrees were increased to - thirty three, under the title of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, at the city of Charleston, where, in the year 1801, a Supreme Council for the southern portion of the United States was organized. In 1807 another Supreme Council was estab lished in New York, for the north ern portion of the United States. These two bodies are now (1867) in active operation, one in New York and the other in Charleston. This rite, except the York, is the most widely diffused throughout the world.
tem of degrees of immense popu larity for many years, in Germany, founded by Baron Von Hund, in 1754.
5. Chapter of Clermont, with seven degrees, organized in France about the year 1Y50, by the Chevalier de Bonneville. This was the first sys tem of what is now termed the " high degrees." From this sprang 6. The Rite of Perfection, the first of the series of the Ineffable degrees, established in 1754.
7. 11.ench, or Modern Rite, was established by the Grand Orient of France, about the year 1786.
8. Rite of Elected (Miens, or Priests, was founded some time between 1754 and 1760, by Martinez Paschalis. in France.
9. Rite of St. Martin, or Martin ism, was instituted by the Marquis de St. Martin, at Lyons, France, about the year 1767.
10. Elect of Truth, or Lodge of Perfect Union, founded and prac ticed for a short period at Rennes, in France, during a portion of the last century.
11. Emperors of the East and West, established in Paris, about 1758; the members were at first called " Sovereign Prince Masters, Sub stitutes General of the Royal Art, Grand Superintendents and Officers of the Grand and Sovereign Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem." This rite had twenty-five degrees, and is the parent of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.