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Brother Mackey was disposed to attribute the introduction of the word into Freemasonry to the adherents of the House of Stuart, who sought in every way to make the Institution of Freemasonry a political instrument in their schemes for the restoration of their exiled monarch. The Degree of Mark Man was worked down to within fifty years ago by various Craft lodges, and given to Fellow Crafts.
Thus the old phrase, "the Widow's Son," was applied by them to James II, who was the son of Henrietta Maria, the widow of Charles I. The Degree of Mark Master was conferred as a separate Degree in the same way as the Royal Arch, and was expressly cut off by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, about 1800, in the same way that the Royal Arch and the Temple were cut off.
Doctor Mackey also contributed freely to Masonic periodicals and edited several of them with conspicuous ability. No attention is paid practically to the matter, and not one Mark Mason in twenty adopts a Mark of any kind.So, instead of the old Master's word which had hitherto been used, they invented macbenac out of the Gaelie, which to them was, on recount of their Highland supporters, almost a sacred language in the place of Hebrew. Bodleian Librara, Oxford.Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, 1855- in Masonic Magazine, 1876- in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, volume xi, 1898 73. Before that date they used to be worked by an inner circle of the Lodge as a sort of side issue not under the Grand Lodge of Scotland at all.Now, in Gaelic, Mac is son, and benach is blessed, from the active verb oeannaichy to bless. The Royal Arch and the Temple wore, after 1800, organized as governing Bodies, and then the Mark Master Degree was taken under the sole control of the Supreme Grand Chapter, and continued so 'til, as I say, about fifty years ago, then an agreement was made between the Grand Lodge and the Supreme Chapter that the two Degrees of Mark Man and Mark Master were to be amalgamated, and were to be conferred under the authority of either Body but only upon Master Masons.Others, again, think it is the word mak, rottenness, and suppose that it means "he is rotten." Both derivations are, in Brother Mackey's opinion, incorrect. It differs, however, in some respects from the American Degree.Mac is a constituent part of the word macbenac, which is the substitute Master's Word in the French Rite, and which is interpreted by the French ritualists as meaning "he lives in the son." But such a derivation can find no support in any known Hebrew root. Doctor Mackey believed there is evidence, circumstantial at least, to show that the word was, if not an invention of the Sentient or Dermott Freemasons, at least adopted by them in distinction from the one used by the Moderns, which latter is the word now in use in the United States of America. In Freemason, 1886, in West Yorkshire Masonic Reprints, 1892. In a letter to the Masonic Home Journal, Louisville, Kentucky (see Proceedings, Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Michigan, 1920), Companion Alfred A. Murray offers the following note to correct an error relating to the Mark Degree in Scotland As regards the Mark Degree itself it was not worked in the Fellow Craft Lodges, but there were really two Degrees, namely, that of Mark Man, which was given to a Fellow Craft, and that of Mark Master, which was given to a Master Mason.