While the first references to the Order of David and Jonathan are known to be of Dutch origin, the Secret Monitor arose in America as a side degree conferred by any mason who had received it himself. It was brought to England by Dr I. Zacharie when he returned from America (following the Civil War) around 1875. Under his leadership a Grand Council was formed in 1887 and the ritual was extended when a further two degrees were added, one of which pertained to the chair of Supreme Ruler.
The degrees gained in popularity, but this success was to bring about a series of unfortunate events, for in the meantime the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees had been empowered by an American body (of similar name) to confer their version of the degree. This resulted in the Allied body denouncing the Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor and attempting to assume sole jurisdiction over the degree, but in spite of this Dr Zacharie痴 group prospered. Regretfully a period of over 37 years elapsed, during which both orders were conferring a Secret Monitor degree, but the matter was finally resolved in 1931 when C. W. Napier-Clavering was in the favourable position of being Grand Supreme Ruler and also Grand Master of Allied Masonry. He then implemented an agreement transferring all rights to the Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor and the degree was removed from the list of degrees of the Allied body.
In the United States, the order is still a part of the Allied Masonic Degrees. Late 1999, the British Grand Conclave had 343 conclaves, of which were 4 in Spain, 4 in France and the rest in Commonwealth countries and Hong Kong. Despite its Dutch origins, there were no conclaves in the Netherlands until 2005. At that year the foundation of the Fidelitas Conclave No. 494 was approved by the Dutch Grand Orient. Furthermore, a number of Dutch masons is grand officer of this order.
The Order comprises of the following degrees:
Secret Monitor友irst degree: The legend narrated during the Induction ceremony is the story of the remarkable friendship which existed between David and Jonathan. During the ceremony the candidate is instructed in a certain course of action to be adopted when a brother is about to do anything which might prove injurious to himself and it teaches a beautiful lesson in friendship and fidelity.
Prince祐econd degree: The admission ceremony to an assembly of Princes is also derived from the Book of Samuel and narrates how Saul sought the life of David. It further relates an interesting legend of the methods contrived to thwart the efforts of the jealous King.
Supreme Ruler裕hird degree: This last named degree is unusual in that the ceremony of Installation constitutes the third degree of the Order pertaining to the Kingship of David and is fundamentally concerned with the headship of a Conclave. Embodied in the ritual of this degree, however, is the ceremony of commissioning, which gives rank and status within the Order as a whole, a certificate being issued to that effect.