In eighteenth-century Russia, Freemasonry was inseparably intertwined with a crash course of Westernization. In fact already Larry Wolffin pointed in his Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (Stanford University Press, 1994) pointed out the correlation of what he termed the "invention of Eastern Europe" in the eighteenth century, as the alignment of Europe according to east and west during the age of the Enlightenment intellectual project, while reducing the significance of the Renaissance alignment according to north and south. Hereby one should ad that Freemasonry began producing its own negations of some Enlightenment ideas, providing a transition to Romanticism. Due to its popularity, secretive nature, and rumored influence, Freemasonry attracted a lot of attention in Russian history. Thus it came as no surprise when Andrei Ivanovich Serkov, showed on hand of his in depth study Istoriia russkogo masonstva (St. Petersburg, 2000) that there were more than 3,000 active foreign and Russian Freemasons in the country in the eighteenth century, a number grew to 5690 during the period of 1800-1861. (See also Serkov, Rossiiskoe masonstvo: Slovar'-spravochnik, Moscow, 2001). Yet most historians of Russia tend to either downplay the influence of foreign Masons and therefore neglect its international implications or, in a vein of conspiracy theories, attribute all problems in the subsequent development of the country to the "evil" nature of forced foreign influences. In fact Paul Bourychkine, in his Bibliographie sur la Franc-maronnerie en Russie (Paris, 1967) listing only the pre-1917 works without mentioning a massive body of contemporary literature on the subject, refers to some 1,030 secondary sources on Russian Freemasonry. We in our turn thus, present the first ever overall history of Eastern European Freemasonry. While turning to intellectual currents that were new to them, including neo-stoicism, various trends of Christian traditions, Renaissance thought, Hermeticism, Cabalistic thought, Pythagorean and Newtonian science—East European Freemasons tried to assess the spiritual legacy of the Orthodox Church, interrelating it with both ancient and modern Western philosophic traditions, no doubt, a body of thought plagued with contradictions. For, the fact that the seemingly anti-rationalist tradition and rationalism could go hand in hand and were often seen to fuse in the rhetoric of the same Freemasons, as we will point out, can be seem as incoherent. Considered from this standpoint of constant borrowing, adapting, and blending together different ideas and traditions, the in ability to uncover a singular source of ideological uniformity of Masons, despite the clarity of its general spiritual positions, attests to the fact that Freemasonry grew from the Enlightenment but thus prepared the ground for Romanticism, Slavophilism, and, in general, plus the revival of religion in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe-- in this particular study centered on Russia to start with. By studying the transmission of ideas we will better understand how the Enlightenment context worked with local situations. It is also a study of ideas and European Freemasons that traveled across borders to Russia and of the organization that facilitated this process. Or as M.A. Jacob points out in her 2006 book “Strangers Nowhere In The World” can also be seen in light of travel and a rising cosmopolitanism in ‘modern’ Europe. For philosophers, an "unexplored country," a "Tabula rasa," in Leibniz's words, Eastern Europe and Russia represented a curious case of developmental potential. (Note use the term philosopher in the broad eighteenth-century sense of the educated individual interested in a variety of domains.)
Accompanied by the advances in commerce and aided by external political events, like the Jacobite rebellions, Peter the Great's reforms (and his trip to Europe) initially, fostered the increase in contacts between Europe and Russia in the first decades of the century and contributed to the influx of foreign population in Russia. At the early stages of the development of Freemasonry in Russia, ports became the first and the main centers of Masonic activity. In fact by 1710, Russia had replaced Sweden along the whole stretch of the Baltic coast from Riga to Vyborg and gained control of the Northern trade. The commercial treaty of 1734 provided a steady flow of northern raw materials to Great Britain from Russia and of Western manufactured goods from Britain to Russia, and Britain became Russia's main trading partner. British Trade Companies Narva. Estimations made by A. V. Demkin. Britanskoe kupechestvo v Rossii, (Moscow: Rossiiskaiia Akademiia Nauk, Institut Rossiiskoi Istorii, 1988), 13, show that during the eighteenth century, St. Petersburg had 204 established British trading companies; Archangel'sk and Riga - 13; Cronstadt - 11; Narva. During the eighteenth century this popular commercial destination attracted foreigners from different countries, cultures, and religions who could become long-term residents and active contributors to the city's pubic and social life, creating a diverse cosmopolitan population. Also British presence in Riga was significant. In 1765, for instance, the British Consul-General in Russia (and a Junior Warden at the Perfect Union lodge in St. Petersburg) Samuel Swallow pointed out, "[i]t will appear that near one half of all the Exports of Riga to all Parts, are shipped by the British residing here. " (Quoted in Herbert Kaplan, Russian Overseas Commerce with Great Britain During the Reign of Catherine II (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1995),95.) By the 1780s, William Coxe commented that Riga's trade was "chiefly carried on by foreign merchants, who [were] resident in the town." The merchants of the local English factory enjoyed "the greatest share of the commerce," and lived "in a very hospitable and splendid manner." (Coxe, Travels into Poland. Russia. Sweden and Denmark, vol. 3, 500. (London, 1802. Reprinted in New York, 1970)p. 268.)
In addition to trade, another channel for broadening contacts between Great Britain and Russia was military recruitment. By recruiting from sixty to as many as five hundred British subjects to enter Russian service as naval captains, lieutenants, bombardiers, shipbuilders, smiths, and gun-founders on his visit to Britain, Peter made a major contribution to the development of the Russian navy, creating the foundations, at the same time, for the beginning of the long-standing tradition of the British presence in the Russian navy, many of whom, were Freemasons. The estimates of how many British navy specialists Peter recruited vary widely. See, for instance, Anthony Cross, By the Banks of the Neva: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in Eighteenth-Century Russia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 159-65, 174-6; Peter the Great Through British Eyes, 37.
In addition, there were pressures of active and powerful rivals abroad and in England. Responding to the rapid growth of the lodges outside of England and faced with a growing dissention from those who were dissatisfied with only three degrees, the Grand Lodge of England needed to find strong leadership and an appropriate administrative structure to regulate and direct the lodges. Such issues as a tendency to change the Grand Masters almost yearly made it difficult to stabilize the brotherhood. In the course of the eighteenth century, there were 38 Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of England, as compared to only five Grand Masters in the nineteenth century. In the 1730s, the Grand Lodge started creating a system for securing the allegiance of existing lodges, constituting new lodges, and ensuring adherence to the regulations of the English system. This led to the introduction of warrants to distinguish the lodges or individuals belonging to English or high-degree systems and the Ancients, rapidly becoming an influential Masonic trend. On the differences in spelling between "Antients" and "Ancients," see Ivor Grantham, "The Titles of United Grand Lodge: Antients and Moderns," AQC 64 (1951): 76-78. Ancients are also known as Athol Masons, the name coming from their first Grand Master, the Duke of Athol.
Formally, only the properly warranted three-degree lodges could be acknowledged as "regular." All societies which constitutions did not follow the rules of the Grand Lodge were considered irregular, and their members were banned from visiting regular lodges. In 1751, this system was slightly revised to make establishment of the distant lodges easier without physical presence of the Grand Master or his Deputies by the means of warrants. About the development of the system of warrants by the Grand Lodge of Ireland and its innovative ways of monitoring the institution, see R. E. Parkinson, History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, vol. 2 (Dublin: Lodge of Research, ce., 1957), 268-9; John Hamill, "English Grand Lodge Warrants," AQC 90 (1977): 92; Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, "The Essential Link': Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1751-1918," (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 2000), esp. chapter 1.
With the spread of Freemasonry abroad, the Grand Lodges needed the warrants to keep track of all the lodges under their jurisdiction and for lodges to prove their belonging to a particular system. The Provincial Grand Master, the chief Masonic authority in the region, played an important regulating role. Grand Provincial Master had extensive powers to establish lodges in his jurisdiction and oversee the development of Masonic networks. He had responsibilities of collecting fees, corresponding with the Grand Lodge, and regularly sending the lists of lodges under his control to the Masonic metropole. In general, there were three different types of Provincial Grand Lodges at that time.
The second Provincial Grand Master of Russia James Keith, is generally recognized as a leading propagator of Freemasonry in Russia. He also is mentioned in two letters to the international Masonic convent in Wilhelmsbad in 1782 held under the presidency of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and Prince Charles of Hesse. But not only Freemasons in Russia recognized the significance of Keith's activities. A song published in 1758 in Edinburgh dwells on the importance of the spread of the Craft in foreign countries and mentions Keith' s name along with the King of Prussia in this regard: Whilst Vice lies bound in chains, True Worth exalted reigns, By Heav'n restor'd: Discord resigns her sting, Bright Peace and Freedom sing, Keith and great Prussia's King Bearing their sword. For this see James M. M Callendar, A Collection of Free Masons Songs Containing Several New Songs Never Before Published. For the Use of the Lodges (Edinburgh: Br. A. Donaldson and Company, 1758), 81-83. This is a song by Bro. Robert Colvill on the Earl of Leven's taking the chair of St. David's lodge. after his election as Master on 27 December 1757. We further know found out that James Keith was born in 1696, the younger son of the Earl Marishal of Scotland, "Marishal" being an hereditary office held by the Keiths. Soon after entering Marischal College, founded by his ancestors, to study law, Keith became involved in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715, fled to the continent and entered the service of Spain. (AUA, MS 2707 and MS 3163 A Fragment 01 a Memoir of Field-Marshal James Keith and two typescript biographies of James Keith, n. d., by Adrian Keith-Falconer and H. Godfrey.) As a Protestant, Keith did not see himself making a career in a Catholic country, so with the support of Duke of Liria, James Francis Fitzjames, a grandson of King James VII, Charles' cousin and one of the most prominent Jacobites who was sent by Spain as an ambassador to Russia, in the beginning of 1728, Russian Emperor Peter II commissioned Keith as Major General. (NAS, GD 156/60, Elphinstone's papers, Keith's correspondence, Le Certificate D'Admission au Service, in Russian. Signed by James Stuart took personal interest in Keith's advancement. (From a letter sent from James to Keith published in Elphinstone Papers, nr. 216, in the letter no. 257 from Bologna to "Mr. Keith," dated 26 June 1728.)
In Russia, Keith rose rapidly because "he always did his duty as a brave officer, without intermeddling with any State intrigues," received a prestigious appointment as lieutenant colonel in the new regiment of guards overseeing the personal bodyguards of the Empress Anna, and participated in the Polish war of 1733, the German war, and then fought against the Turks in Ukraine. (NLS, Ace. MS 3287, A Fragment of a Memoir of Field-Marshal James Keith, 80-81.)
On 18 February 1738, Empress Anna asked the King of Great Britain George II "to aid" Keith, the General-Lieutenant on Russian service, with the matters of his "inheritance in England." In 1740, while in Europe, Keith received a new appointment to go to London on a diplomatic mission. This time he traveled around Europe not as a Jacobite exile, but as a great General in Russia's service, an accredited envoy to the court with diplomatic immunity. Upon his return to Russia, Keith received the one-year governorship of Ukraine in 1741, actively participated in the Swedish campaign as the commander-in-chief of the Russian forces and minister-plenipotentiary to Sweden for a year and also was involved in the Prussian campaign in 1745. (See also AUA, MS 3064/B, 146. A partial photocopy of a charter of the Empress Elizabeth of Russia confirming a grant of land in Livonia to Lieutenant Colonel Keith (1742). The original is in Leeds University Library, GB 0206 MS 919, Papers relating to Field Marshall Francis Keith.)
But despite his career success, Keith was apprehensive about living in Russia. In 1733, he wrote to a correspondent in Scotland: In a word could I forget that I was born in Scotland I should be very happy here [in Russia]. .. I see foreigners of all nations, who are content with their fortune, and are wise enough to make a virtue of necessity but ... for my own part to be quietly at home is the utmost wish. (AUA, MS 3500.1 and MS 3500.2, Keith, Correspondence to Scotland, letter from Moscow, July 1733 (found in the papers of John Douglas, merchant of Aberdeen).
As Keith explained later in a letter to the Earl of Kintore, [T]he ridiculous jealousy of those where I then served made a crime to me of the most innocent letters I could write so far that I could hardly ever get one even from my bother or be allowed to write him. .. [T]he refusal to allow my brother to pass the rest of his days with me in Russia made me take the resolution of quitting... [and] forced me to leave a country dangerous to all foreigners, and where innocence is no security against punishment, and to change masters very much to my advantage...(AUA, MS 3064/B 335, letter to John, the third Earl of Kintore, 4 March 1749.)
In 1747, Keith "changed masters" and settled in Prussia because Frederick the Great had previously accepted his eIder brother, whom he made Governor of Neuchatel. Next Keith became Frederick's Field Marshall, governor of Berlin, and military advisor, but the sources on his last ten years of life are scarce. The last known fact about Keith' s life is that he died at the battle of Hochkirchen, 14 October 1758, in the service of Prussia. See also NAS, GD 156/60, Elphinstone's papers, Keith's correspondence, General Field Marshal's Patent by Frederick King of Prussia to General von Keith. Berlin, September 20, 1747; Governor's patent by Frederick King of Prussia to Field Marshall Keith, November 29, 1749; Diploma admitting "de Keith" to be a member of the Royal Scientific and Literary Academy of Prussia, 3 September 1750.)
It is not clear when and where Keith was initiated into Freemasonry. Sources present no veritable information about his Masonic activities before coming to Russia or after his appointment as the Provincial Grand Master during his stay in London from February 1740 till May 1741: on 28 March 1740 James Keith, "Esq; Lieutenant General in the Service of Russia" was present at the meeting "with the Masters and Wardens of fifty-eight lodges in the Devils's Tavern [when] John Keith, Earl of Kintore, was elected the Grand Master." It would seem probable that Keith, a fervent Jacobite, was involved with the Grand Lodge of England only during the one-year term of the Grand-Mastership of his cousin, turning later to Berlin lodges for guidance. NAS, GD 156/60, Elphinstone's papers, Keith's correspondence, folder 7, contains a letter written from London, on 9 May 1738. This document was sent by Earl of Kintore, the future Grand Master of England who bestowed Provincial Grand Mastership on John Keith. Although the letter itself is devoted to the issues related to the fate of the Keiths' family estate after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, it also gives clues as to how the correspondence between Britain and Russia was maintained. One source mentions that it was General Keith who founded a lodge in Halle in December of 1756. It is often assumed that Keith was such an important figure in the history of Russian Freemasonry because during his Mastership in the 1740s Russians started to be initiated into Freemasonry on the same footing as the members of foreign communities. But in fact, despite his presumed vital role in Russian Freemasonry, little is known about his actions as the Provincial Grand Master. Despite the prominent role that the British played in the introduction of Freemasonry to Russia. the most influential group of foreigners in Russia in the eighteenth century was the Germans. And the German influence and the development of Freemasonry in Russia are often linked to show that possibly Freemasonry was introduced via Germany. This according to NIOR RGB, Manuscript Division of Russian State Library), fond 14 (V. C. Arsen'eva), folder 618, Sbornik molitv, izrechenii, vypisok iz besed I. A. Pozdeeva i I. E. Scbwarza (1806-09),5.
Several historians point out the existence of relations between a lodge in Petersburg and the Berlin lodge Drei Weltkugeln (Three Globes) as early as 1738 1744. But since the Three Globes was founded not earlier than 1740, any relations between Russian and this lodge could start only after 1740. A. N. Pypin, "Russkoe masonstvo do Novikova," Vestnik Evropy 6 (1868), 550. In fact it is more probable that the supposed relations between a St. Petersburg lodge and the Three Globes started in 1762-63. Most likely, this St. Petersburg lodge was the lodge of Schastlivogo Soglasiia (or der Glücklichen Eintracht, of Happy Amity) that boasted a Courlander Biron, the favorite of the Empress Anna, as its founder. Traditionally, Ernst Johann Biron (Biren) (1690-1772) is considered the real ruler of Russia during Anna's reign although modem historians differ as to the extent of his actual influence. Further, the role of Königsberg (now part of Poland) in transmitting Freemasonry to Russia rose tremendously during the Seven Years' War and immediately after it. A borderland between Germany and Russia, the city transmitted different versions of Freemasonry through hundreds of officers, engineers, scholars, teachers and representatives of other middle-rank professions involved in dealings with Russia. As a result of the expansion of Western borderlands of Russia, it was in Königsberg that the contacts of Russian officers with local lodges introduced many Russians to the Craft.
In the end Russia greatly benefited from the reverence of Peter III towards Frederick of Prussia, who, as it was widely known at the time, was a Freemason himself. Imitating Frederick the Great, Peter allegedly patronized the brotherhood and gave a house in St. Petersburg as a gift to the lodge of Postoianstva (of Constancy) that worked in St. Petersburg and its suburb Oranienbaum since 1762. It is often assumed that Peter III not only sympathized with Freemasonry but also was a Master at a lodge in Oranienbaum (probably, the lodge of Constancy). This story is indirectly supported by the reference to Peter III's involvement with a lodge in Oranienbaum by Volkov, Freemason and Peter' s confidant. Volkov was questioned by Catherine II' s orders to find out "who during the reign of the previous monarch was with him in the Masonic lodge and what is the aim of this sect disagreeable with God and where are the printed books and who is known to him as a member of this sect." Andrei Bolotov (1738- I 833) was a naturalist, writer, an educator, and the founder of the Russian agricultural science. Because of his impeccable German, during the Seven Y ears ' War he was sent to Königsberg to the Chancellery of the Russian Governor of the East Prussia. He worked closely with General Lieutenant Baron Korff, whom he mentions as the connecting link between Friedrich and Peter III in the Masonic affairs. Bolotov stayed in East Prussia from 1758 until 1762. In his memoirs, he repeatedly stressed that his experiences in the Baltic Sea provinces and the interactions with their German inhabitants played decisive role in his lire. Later, during 1776- 1796, he managed the Bogoroditsk region. Active participant of many intellectual activities, founding member the Free Eeonomic Society and editor and publisher of The Country Dweller (Se!' skii ,hite!', 1778-1779) magazine, Bolotov contributed to The Economic Magazine (Ekonomicheskii magazin, 1780-1789) published by the leader of Moscow Freemasons and his one-time friend N. I. Novikov. It is not clear whether Bolotov himself was a Mason, but he certainly personally belonged to the same social circles as many leading Freemasons in Russia. In his Entsiklopediia, 128, 990, Serkov mentions Bolotov as a possible member of the Königsberg military lodge of Joanna Krestitelia (John the Baptist) working in Elagin's system around 1773.
As an eighteenth-century Freemason Andrei Bolotov testified in his memoirs, because "across-the-board reports stated that the heir (future Peter III) was a mason, very many of our [officers] entered this society, and we never had as many masons as then." Bolotov, who participated in the war and was stationed in Königsberg during the Russian occupation, hints that many of the Russian military failures were believed to "partly stem" from a possible Masonic friendship between Emperor Peter III and Frederick the Great that "was known ... on hearsay." After the death of the Empress Elizabeth in 1761, Peter III decided to make peace with Frederick the Great. This move was greatly facilitated, as [m]any rumored ... by Freemasonry which then started to come to fashion. He [Peter III] was initiated by some cajolers and abettors in his incontinence into this society, and since the King of Prussia was then ... the grand-maitre of this society, this resulted in his friendship with the King of Prussia." A Governor-General of Moscow Prozorovskii's later report to the Empress Catherine n supports the suggestion of lodges' essentially harmless nature stating that during Elizabeth's reign Masonic lodges were responsible only for "some different pranks and tricks." Prince A. Prozorovskii was the Governor-General of Moscow during Catherine' s reign and one of the main figures in the prosecution of Novikov' s Masonic circle during the 1780-90s.
As a result of the investigation, the St. Petersburg lodge was allowed to continue under police supervision. But it did not change Empress' attitude towards Freemasonry. The interrogation of Prince Golovin, who returned from Germany in 1747, proves that Russian authorities were seriously concerned about Masonic international ties. Since Frederick's sympathy towards Freemasonry was well known, many questions during Golovin's interrogation on February 25,1747 were focused on his affiliation with Frederick and Freemasonry. Elizabeth thought of Golovin as being in "dubious relations with the Prussian King." Admitting his own belonging to the fraternity, Golovin also named Princes Zakhar and Ivan Chernyshevs as "living in the same Order," but he did
not testify about his connection to the Prussian lodges. (OPI GIM, fond 398 (Fond P. P. Beketova), opis' 1,51. Also, RGADA, fond 8, opis' 1.)
This incident also testifies to the fact that Freemasonry was brought to Russia not only by foreigners, but also via Russians who came in contact with the Craft while living abroad. Douglas Smith mentions several names of Russians who. like S. K. Naryshkin, ambassador to England, were initiated into Freemasonry abroad before the 1750s. Looking back at the interrogation, General Prozorovskii pointed out that early lodges in Russia did not seem to have any serious intellectual interchange with foreign lodges. mentioning that the loges he inspected "did not have any correspondence with the lodges in other places." Prozorovskii's underestimation or unawareness of early international Masonic activities involving Russia can be attributed to the fact that the first Freemasons in Russia did not leave any significant documentary traces of their activities. During Elizabeth's reign, Freemasons were so cautious that they "met only occasionally, by stealth, and not in a regular house but often even in an attic of a remote building." (V. Beber as quoted in A. N. Pypin, "Russkoe masonstvo do Novikova," Vestnik Evropy 6 (1868), 556.)
Allusions to some possible Masonic activity were documented only in several instances, including Golovin's interrogation, and later, the trial documents related to the unsuccessful plot of Vasilii Mirovich in 1764. Before her death, Empress Anne chose her grandnephew and the son of Prince Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick-Lunneburg, loann Antonovich (1740-1764), as the successor to the throne. Being only two months, as Ivan VI, he was made the Emperor. His mother Catherine-Elizabeth-Christina, who was named in orthodoxy Anna Leopol'dovna, became the regent. As a result of the coup of 24-25 November 1741, Elizabeth, Peter's daughter, became Empress. The infant Emperor loann Antonovich was arrested and secretly kept in the Schlüsselburg prison in St. Petersburg (M. Semevskii, Ivan VI Antonovich (St. Petersburg, 1866); A. Bruckner, Imperator Ivan VIiego sem'ia (Moscow, 1874). On 5 July 1764, one of the officers in the prison. a sub-lieutenant VasiIii Mirovich, organized a coup and unsuccessfully tried to proclaim Loann the Emperor. Loann was killed in the commotion. Being accused of an attempt to give throne to Ioann Antonovich, Mirovich pointed to lieutenant Apollon Ushakov as his accomplice. Examination of Ushakov's belongings brought a list of paper with a picture of ceremonial carpet, an inscription of "d'aprentif mafon," and the titles of "Venerable," "Metr Ecosse," and "Ecosse grades" in hand-written Catechesis of Apprentice, which possibly indicates a French-Ianguage influence of the Scottish rite. (Cited in Pekarskii, Dopolnenia, 8-11.) Besides this reference and occasional mentioning in Serkov's Entsiklopediia, we do not know anything about functioning and dissemination of the high-degree lodges in the first stages of Freemasonry's existence in Russia.
Thus while Peter I, Empress Anna, and Peter III were actively engaged with the West during their reigns, Empress Elizabeth (1741-1762), a daughter of Peter the Great, was a vocal opponent of foreign influences. As a part of her campaign against excessive dependency on foreigners, she initiated inquiry into a foundation and membership of a "Massonic [sie] sect" in St. Petersburg in 1747. (OPI OIM, fond 398 (P. P. Beketova), opis' I, folder 20,50-51. ) Yet despite initial suspicions about possible foreign liaisons of the lodge, a report produced by Olsufev established "... with dear evidence that this [sect] is nothing but a key of friendship and brotherhood, which is everlasting and grants to its members enlightenment." (GIM, fond 398 (P. P. Beketova), opis' 1, folder 20,9 (49). Also, RGADA, fond 8, opis' 1, folder 207.) The report is not dated. According to the suggestion of Longinov, the date should be around 1756, the year when Sumarokov, one of the people named in the report, received the rank of Colonel. M. N. Longinov, Novikov i moskovskie martinisty (Moscow: Tipografiia Gracheva, 1867), 92-93.
Although early investigations of Masonic organizations in Russia did not find Freemasonry-related activities dangerous to the state and society, it is precisely during Empress Elizabeth's reign that we find instances of the increasing involvement of Russian educated elite in the brotherhood. In the first half of the century, maintained and disseminated by the enthusiasm of foreigners and some Russians who used lodges as private spaces for own individual betterment, Freemasonry remained a foreign import. As Freemasons were coming to Russia from Britain, German territories, France, and Sweden, lodges' membership was initially based exclusively on foreigners and Russian nobility who interacted with them. Freemasonry was regarded as a fashion brought by the initial Westernizing efforts and not considered critically within the context of specifically Russian agenda.
By the middle of the century however, Russian affiliation with Freemasonry becomes more widespread. In his memoirs, Ivan Perfil' evich Elagin, the first Russian Provincial Grand Master appointed by the Grand Lodge of England in 1772 points out that initially curiosity and vanity attracted him to Freemasonry. On the one hand, he was intrigued by Masonic secrecy; on the other, he wanted to reap the benefits of mingling with the people "who ... accomplished a lot" and were superior in their "rank, stature, and recognition." As Elagin put it, by participating in a lodge, he "conceitedly hoped" to enlist "friends who could assist in reaching his happiness." RGADA, fond 8, opis' I, folder 216,3-6.) But soon he became disillusioned with the brotherhood in Russia as it existed in the 1750s and made another attempt at discovering the secrets of the Craft under the guidance "of people well-versed in Freemasonry" only in the late 1760s. In the 1750s, Elagin could not find "any avail" in early Freemasonry in Russia because there was "no trace of any learning or moral advancement," but only "inapprehensible things, weird ceremonies, land irrational actions." During the lodge meetings, he "heard inconceivable symbols, absurd catechisms, stories contrary to any reasoning, land explanations not understandable by common sense, all of which was taught by tasteless and ineloquent Masters who did not want to explain or did not know anything themselves." To him, lodge meetings seem to be "an amusement for people who want to entertain themselves, sometimes inexcusably and indecently, at the expense of a newly initiated member," when everyone could 'joke with a respectable exterior at an open meeting, shout unintelligible songs in dissonance at the ceremonial banquet, drink good wine in excess at the expense of others, and end this dedication to Minerva with a worship of Bacchus. "The general spirit of socializing and elubbing at the time is captured in Roben Fergusson's "Auld Reekie" (1773): Now money a Club, jocose and free, Wi, Sang ang Glass, they fley the Pow'r/ 0' Care that wad harass the Hour: For Wine and Baeeus still bear down Our thrawart Fortunes wildest Frown: It makes you stark, and bauld and brave, Ev'n whan deseending to the Grave. (Roben Fergusson, The Poems of Robert Fergusson, ed. Matthew P. MeDiarmid n (Edinburgh: Scottish Text Society, by William Blackwood & Sons, 1956), 113-4, quoted in Davis D. McElroy, A Centur)' of Scottish Clubs, 1700-1800, Vol. 1, typescript (Edinburgh, 1969),2.) In this context, "Jocose and free" can point to Scottish Freemasonry, a name of the rite (Ecossais) often misspelled as "Jocose." Thus Elagin was by no means the only one who did not take early Freemasonry seriously.
The problems encountered by Elagin and other early Russian "seekers of truth" in understanding the "proper" role of Freemasonry can be partially attributed to the lack of instructions and explanations from foreign Masonic governing bodies. No official rules, instructions, or rituals were published or approved by the Grand Lodge of England. The first printed official rituals of the Grand Lodge of England date from the late 1820s. As we will see, this peculiarity hindered the progress of the English version of Freemasonry and greatly attracted Freemasons in Russia to various high degree modifIcations. Unlike the Grand Lodge of England, other rites often transferred their warrants or books of Constitutions in foreign languages to Russia. Freemasonry in Russia start appealing to the elite who already possessed the ability to absorb and challenge its ideas on a much broader scale and a deeper level. Several important elements of the Russian development after the Petrine reforms contributed to the Masonic boom among the Russians in the second half of the century: the isolation of educated persons in Russia from the West; the relatively small public sphere in Russia; the conflict of Western values with Russian reality; the decay of religion among the educated and the search for political and spiritual substitutes; and repression by the government of free political and social activity. Combined, all these factors influenced Russian cultural and intellectual development and drew the Russian educated elite, who set its stamp on Russian intellectual and cultural development, to Freemasonry.
E. European Freemasonry P.2.
E. European Freemasonry P.3.
E. European Freemasonry P.4.
E. European Freemasonry P.5.
Nauchno-issledovatel'skii otdel rukopisei Rossiiskoi gosudarstvennoi biblioteki (NIOR RGB) [Manuscript Division of the Russian State Library, Moscow]Otdel rukopisei Natsional'noi rossiiskoi biblioteki (OR NRB) [Manuscript Division of the Russian National Library, St Petersburg]Fond 14, V. S. Arsen'ev collection of Masonic manuscripts
Fond 147. S. S. Lanskoi and S. V. Eshevskii collection of Masonic manuscripts Fond 178, Museum collection
Fond 237, D.I. Popov collectionRossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv drevnikh aktov (RGADA) [Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents, Moscow]Fond 487, N. M. Mikhailovskii collection
Fond 550, Principal collection of the manuscript booksRossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv (RGIA) [Russian State Historical Archive, St Petersburg]Fond 8, Kalinkin Dom and Files of Crimes against Morality
Fond 8, opis' 1, I. P. Elagin papers
Fond 10, Private Office of Catherine II
Fond 17, Science, Literature, Art
Fond 168. Relations of Russian Sovereigns with Governmental Posts and with OfficialsRossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literatury i iskusstva (RGALI) [Russian State Archive of Literature and An, Moscow]Fond 796. Chancellery of the Holy Synod papers (1721-1918)Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi voennyi arkhiv (RGVA) [Russian State Military Archive, Moscow]Fond 191, Efremov collection
Fond 442, M. K. and T. O. Sokolovskii collection
Fond 1189, M. M. Kheraskov papers
Fond 1270, N. I. Novikov papers
Fond 1764. I. P. Elagin collection and papersGosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GARF) [State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow]Fond 175, Masonic Lodges and Chapters (1781-1939)
Fond 1311, Knightly Orders (1785-1931)
Fond 1412k, Documentary materials of Masonic Lodges
Fond 1311, opis' 1-2, Documentary materials of Masonic Lodges (1755-1928)
Fond 730, opis' 1, Masonic Lodge AstreaOdel pis 'mennykh istochnikov gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo muzeia (OPI GIM) [Division of Written Sources of the State Historical Museum, Moscow]Fond 1137, G. V. Vemadskii collectionGosudarstvennyi arkhiv Tverskoi Oblasti [State Archive of the Tver' Region, Tver']Fond 17, Uvarov's personal collection
Fond 281, Document collection of the history of culture, science, and social movements
Fond 282, Document collection of the Museum of the Revolution
Fond 398, P. P. Beketov collection
Fond 440, I. E. Zabelin collection
Fond 450, E. V. Barsov collectionFond 103, opis' 1, folder 1169, collection of Masonic documents.
Archive and Library of the United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons' Hall (FHL), LondonBritish Library, Modern British Collections and Manuscript Collections, LondonArchive of the United Grand Lodge of England (including Letter-books, Minutebooks, Freemasons' Calendars, and General Correspondence)
Personal Papers of Eighteenth-Century MasonsBodleian Library, OxfordAdd. 23,644-23,680, Correspondence and papers of General Charles Rainsford Sloane 3329 f. 142, Masonic papers
Add. 20645 ff. 190, 199,211-256, Papers relating to Freemasons in Italy and France .
Add. 29970, Proceedings of the lodge at the Thatched House Tavem (1777-1817) Add. 23675, Papers relating to Freemasonry (1783-1796)National Library of Scotland (NLS), EdinburghMSS, Dep. Bland Burges, Burges collection
MSS Clar. Dep. C. 346-47, Clarendon papers
Fld MSFP(2)-70-71, Somerville collection
MS Rawlinson C. 136, Rawlinson collection of Masonic manuscriptsNational Archive of Scotland (NAS), EdinburghMs 3942, f. 301v., 1. Robison's ]etters
Ace. 4796 Box 104, A. Ramsay's papers
Adv MSS 22.4.13, W. Richardson papersAberdeen University Archive (AUA), AberdeenMSS Seafield Papers GD 248/518/6 H.M., Letters of Cameron' s workers GD 1/620, Rogerson papers
GD 156/62 Elphinstone papers, Keith papers
Abercairny MSS, GD24/1826, Mounsey lettersArchive and Library, Grand Lodge of Scotland, EdinburghMS 3064/B 198, J. Keith papers MS 3064/B 146, J. Keith papers MS 3064/B 335, J. Keith papers
MS 2711/1-12, Correspondence, family and estate papers of Keith family (155078)
MS 2707 1/l1l and 1/l/2, Documents of A.W. Keith Falkoner
MS 3163, Documents of H. Godfrey
Ms 3295, Documents from Marischal Keith's Despatch [sic] BoxGlasgow University Library, GlasgowMinutes of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (1770-1800)Ms Murray 503, ff. 5-6, William Poner, paniculars respecting Mr. Robison (1769-1774 )
Davis Weston, Slavica: an Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts from the University's Collections (1990)
Latvijas Valsts vestures arhivs (LVVA) [Latvia State Historical Archive, Riga]Fonda 4038,2 apraksts (1394), documents of the Lodge zur kleinen Welt.