On July 12, 1799, the British Parliament alarmed at the progress of revolutionary principles enacted a law commonly known as the Sedition Act, for the suppression of secret societies. But the true principles of Freemasonry were so well understood by the legislators of Great Britain many of whom were members of the Order, that the following clause was inserted in the Act: And whereas certain Societies have been long accustomed to be holden in this Kingdom, under the denomination of Lodges of Freemasons, the meetings whereof have been in a great measure directed to charitable purposes, be it therefore enacted, that nothing in this Act shall extend to the meetings of any such society or Lodge which shall, before the passing of this Act, have been usually holden under the said denomination. and in conformity to the rules prevailing among the said Societies of Freemasons.
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