From The Ashlar, Oct. 1857
by Allyn Weston
Respecting the origin and early history of Masonry, men differ and probably will continue to differ. While some date its birth with the creation of the world, others trace it back to an age enveloped by the mist of time.
"The erection of Solomon's Temple," said Bro. De Witt Clinton, "the retreats of the Druids, and the Crusades to the holy land, have been, at different times, specially assigned as sources of its existence.
"The order, harmony and wonders of creation, the principles of mathematical science, and the productions of architectural skill, have been confounded with Freemasonry.
"Wherever a great philosopher has enlightened the ancient world, he has been resolved, by a species of moral metempsychosis, or intellectual chemistry, into a Freemason; and in all the secret institutions of antiquity, the footsteps of lodges have been traced by credulity."
Various as are the opinions relative to the infancy of Masonry, no one the least acquainted with history can fail to trace her through centuries to a remote period.
Her principles and virtues he recognizes among the good of every age; on her roll, he reads the names of illustrious men whose lives have left an unfading halo around their memory; and on the pages of her history he beholds the record of her beneficent deeds, dating back to the obscure past.
More than this, if he rightly comprehends the institution and its design, he regards it as the most perfect establishment ever conceived and erected by man. He respects it for its antiquity, but he reveres it for its purity and its intrinsic worth. It is not to him a moldy relic of a barbarous age unsuited to the present wants of mankind; it is not a society which has accomplished its mission, and is fit only to be buried with decent ceremonies.
It is a system perfect in itself; no age can improve it, and yet it is adapted to every age and every people; and it is as young and vigorous now as it was centuries ago and as capable of producing results beneficial to the human race. Such we believe to be the opinion of Masons who value our time-honored order and desire to promote its interests.