There stood, at one time, the Temple of Solomon, to which some writers have traced the origin of the Masonic Order; there fought the Crusaders, among whom other writers have sought, with equal boldness, to find the cradle of the Fraternity; there certainly the Order of the Templars was instituted, whose subsequent history has been closely mingled with that of Freemasonry; and there occurred nearly all the events of sacred history that, with the places where they were enacted, have been adopted as important Masonic symbols. The result of these labors has been a vast accumulation of facts in relation to the topography of the holy city which throw much light on its archaeology.The desire to obtain an accurate knowledge of the archeology of Palestine, gave rise in 1866 to an association, which was permanently organized in London, as the Palestine Ezploration Fund, with the Queen as the chief patron, and a long list of the nobility and the most distinguished gentlemen in the kingdom, added to which followed the Grand Lodge of England and forty-two subordinate and provincial Grand Lodges and Chapters- Early in the year 1867 the Committee began the work of examination, by mining in and about the various points which had been determined upon by a former survey as essential to a proper understanding of the ancient city, which had been covered up by debris from age to age, so that the present profiles of the ground, in every direction, were totally different from what they were in the days of David and Solomon, or even in the time of Christ- Lieutenant Charles Warren, R. A branch of the Society has been established in the United States of America, and continued in successful operation."An androgynous society, both sexes, of Masonic adoption, established, says Ragon, at Paris in 1737. When a female took the Second Degree, she was called a Companion of Penelope.It made great pretensions to high antiquity, claiming that it had its origin in the instructions brought by Pythagoras from Egypt into Greece, and having fallen into decay after the decline of the Roman Empire, it was revived in 1637 by Fenelon, Archbishop of Canbray; all of which is altogether mythical. It was a very moral society, consisting of two Degrees: 1. The object of the Masonic Holy Land League, in whose membership the Pilgrim Knights of the Palm and Shell were enrolled, was to encourage researches commenced in 1863 under the leadership of Brother Rob Morris in the Holy Land.He was not a Freemason, but wrote An Essay on the Origin of Freemasonry, with no other knowledge of the Institution than that derived from the writings of Smith and Dodd, and the very questionable authority of Prichard's Masonry Dissected.
The sacred name of God associated with this letter is in Hebrew , Phodeh or Redeemer.
Paine's acquaintance with prominent Freemasons on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean has doubtless had much to do with the claim often made for his membership in the Craft.
A meeting with Brother Franklin in London obtained for him introductions to the leaders in the Colonies and he sailed there in 1774 where he became editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette.
For one so little acquainted with his subject, he has treated it with considerable ingenuity.
Paine was born in England in 1737, and died in New York, in 1809.