David H. Cole’s Belt Plate
New to the Collection: A Cerneau Consistory Apron

Jean-Hyacinthe Astier and the Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse

A2013_5_1DS1_Amis de la SagesseAs I was cataloging 18th and 19th century French Masonic rituals the other day, I found an interesting collection of documents from the Souverain Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse of Paris (Sovereign Chapter of the Friends of Wisdom of the Orient of Paris) that are not ritual.  The collection of records includes minutes of the chapter, rules and regulations, several lists of members.  These records date from 1822-1830. This chapter was overseen by the Grand Orient of France.

Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse was a Rose Croix chapter.  Although the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of France confined themselves mostly to Craft degrees, in 1826-1827 the Grand Orient of France (which had merged with Grand Lodge of France in 1799) had 450 lodges, chapters, and councils. These chapters conferred higher degrees such as the Rose Croix degrees at Les Amis de la Sagesse.

According to the chapter minutes, Jean-Hyacinthe Astier (1784-1852) presided over the Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse from 1826 through 1828, succeeding Melchior Kubly.  The list of members in this collection includes Astier's name and his signature appears throughout the collection. The membership lists Astier's occupation as a book seller in 1826. 

By the 1830s, Astier had become disenchanted by the Grand Orient of France and took a demit from this chapter.  He decided to put his energies and service toward the Supreme Conseil de France, which had been established in 1804. Astier beleived that Freemasonry was essentially a Christian endeavor and France's Supreme Council, at this time, enforced this belief.

Astier owned a very remarkable collection of books on Freemasonry and a catalogue of his works was published postumously in 1856, entitled,  Notice des Livres Manuscrits et Imprimés sur Franc-Maçonnerie. Interestingly, catalogue no. 274 indicates that Astier's library included the archives of the Souverain Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse. The description includes the records we now hold at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, including Séances du Comité, Status et Reglément, Registre des Délibérations, and Registre de présence des Amis de la Sagesse. This is evidence of theA2013_5_1bDS1_Astier original provenance for these records! 



Collection of Records from Souverain Chapitre des Amis de la Sagesse, 1822-1830. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/5/1a-h. 


Bernheim, Alan. "The History of the Present Grand Lodge of France Revisited," Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonryhttp://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/bernheim10.html, accessed 2/16/2013. 

Coil, Henry Wilson. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia.  Richmond, VA:  Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., 1995, p. 263-265.

Hocart, M. J. Notice des Livres Manuscrits et Imprimés sur Franc-Maçonnerie, les Templiers et Sociétés qui en dépendent, provenant du Cabinet de Feu M. Astier.  Paris:  Chez D. Guillemot, 1856.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)