When Jonathan Swift anonymously published A Letter from the Grand Mistress of the Female Freemasons (Dublin, 1724), he entered a political minefield, for it was a mocking response to James Anderson’s Constitutions of the Freemasons (London, 1723). Swift countered Anderson’s “modern,” Anglocentric, pro-Hanoverian history with his account of more “ancient” Scots-Irish traditions. He drew on his Masonic experiences in Dublin in 1688 and Ulster in 1695, where he learned of the Solomonic, Cabalistic, and Lullist themes of early Stuart Masonry. From his readings in Rosicrucian and Cabalistic works, he developed a “drolling” technique of linguistic and allegorical satire that protected him from government prosecution. Though he was not a practitioner of the esoteric Masonic rituals, his great admirer, Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay, determined to implement them in Écossais lodges maintained by exiled Jacobites.

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