The Corner

re: Mr. Brown Goes to Washington

Oy, I can see where this is going. As a Washington biographer who tried to make sense of Washington’s devotion to Freemasonry, I am well acquainted with the anti-Masonic virus. The second most common question I am asked about him (after, did he grow hemp at Mount Vernon–asked by potheads) is, was he a Mason? I would guess about a third of the askers are Masons themselves, who are fishing for the compliment. Two-thirds are anti-Masons, Catholic or evangelical, who would like me to dispel their worries. One time I was asked, Was he an illuminated Mason? That is code for, I the speaker am barking mad. I said No, stepped on the gas, and sped to the next question.

Bonus point: One of the themes of Louis Farrakhan’s address to the Million Man March was the Masonry of the founders.


NB: I am not, and never have been, a Mason–not even a member of a Yale secret society.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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