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Scald Miserables

A name given to a set of persons who, in 1741, formed a mock procession in derision of the Freemasons. Sir John Hawkins, speaking (in his Life of Johnson, page 336) of Paul Whites head, says:

In concert with one Carey, a surgeon, he planned and exhibited a procession along the Strand of persons on foot and on horseback, dressed for the occasion, carrying mock ensigns at the Symbols of Freemasonry; the design of which wits to expose to laughter the insignia and ceremonies of that mysterious Institution; and it was not until thirty years afterward that the Fraternity recovered from the disgrace which so ludicrous a representation had brought on it.

The incorrectness of this last statement will be evident to all who are acquainted with the successful progress made by Freemasonry between the years 1741 and 1771, during which time Sir John Hawkins thinks that it was languishing under the blow dealt by the mock procession of the Scald Miserables.

A better and fuller account is contained in the London Daily Post, March 20, 1741.

Yesterday, some mock Freemasons marched through Pall Mall and the Strand as far as Temple Bar in procession, first went fellows on jackasses, with cows' horns in their hands, then a kettlek rummer on a jackass having two butter firkins for kettle-drums; then followed two carts drawn by jackasses, having in them the stewards with several badges of their Order; then came a mourning-coach drawn by six horses, each of a different color and size, in which were the Grand Master and Wardens; the whole attended by a vast mob. They stayed without Temple Bar till the Masons came by, and paid their compliments to them, who returned the same with an agreeable humor that possibly disappointed the witty contriver of this mock Scene, whose misfortune is that, though he has some mit, his subjects are generally so ill chosen that he loses by it as many friends as other people of more judgment gain.

April 27th, being the day of the Annual Feast, a number of shoe-cleaners, chimney-sweepers, etc,. on foot and in carts, with ridiculous pageants carried before them, went in procession to Temple Bar, by way of jest on the Freemasons."

A few days afterward, says the same journal, "several of the Mock Masons were taken up by the constable empowered to impress men for his Majesty's service, and confined until they can be examined by the Justices." Hone remarks (Ancient Mysteries, page 242), it was very common to indulge in satirical pageants, which were accommodated to the amusement of the vulgar, and he mentions this procession as one of the kind. A plate of the mock procession has engraved by A. Benoist, a drawing-master, under the title of A Geometrical View of the Grated Procession of the Scald Miserable Masons, designed as they were drawn up over against Somerset House in the Strand, on the 27 th day of April Anno 1742. Of this plate there is a copy in Clavel's Histoire Pittoresque. With the original plate Benoist published a key, as follows, which perfectly agrees with the copy of the plate in Clavel:

1. The Grand Sword-Bearer, or Tyler, carrying the Sward of State, a present of Ishmael Ahiff to old Hvram Iting of the Saraeens, to his Graee of Wattin, Grand Master of the Holy Lodge of Saint John of Jorusalem ln Clerkenwell. 2. Tylers or Guarders. 3. Grand Chorus of Instruments. 4. She Stewards. in three Gutt-carts drawn by Asses. 5. Two famous Pillars. 6. Three great Lights: the Sun, Hibroglyphical, to rule the Day- the Moon, Enblematical, to rule the Night; a Master Mason, Political, to rule his Lodge. 7. The Entered Prentice's Token. 8. The letter G. famous in Masonry for differencing the Fellow Craft's Lodges from that of Prentices. 9. The Funeral of a Grand Master according to tho Rites of the Order. with the Fifteen loving brethren. 10. A Master Mason's Lodge. 11. Grand Band of Musiek. 12. Two Trophies; one being that of a Black-shoe Boy and a Sink Boy, the other that of a Chimney-Sweeper. 13. The E4uipage of the Grand Master, all the Attendants wearing Mystical Jewells. The historical mock procession of the Scald Miserables was, it thus appears, that which occurred on April 27, and not the preceding one of March 20, which may have been only a feeler, and having been well received by the populace there might have been an encouragement for its repetition. But it was not so popular with the higher classes, who felt a respect for Freemasonry, and were unwilling to see an indignity put upon it. A writer in the London Freemasons Magazine (1859 i, page 875) says: "The contrivers of the mock procession were at that time said to be Paul Whitehead, Esq., and his intimate friend (whose real Christian name was Esquire) Carey, of Pall Mall, surgeon to Frederick, Prince of Wales. The city officers did not suffer this procession to go through Temple Bar, the common report then being that its real interest was to affront the annual procession of the Freemasons. The Prince was so much offended at this piece of ridicule, that he immediately removed Carey from the office he held under him."

Captain George Smith (Use and Abuse of Freemasonry, page 78) says that "about this time (1742) an order was issued to discontinue all public processions on feast days, on account of a mock procession which had been planned, at a considerable expense, by some prejudiced persons, with a riew to ridicule these public cavalcades." Smith is not altogether accurate. There is no doubt that the ultimate effect of the mock procession was to put an end to what was called the March of Procession on the Feast Day, but that effect did not show itself until 1747, in which year it was resolved that it should in future be discontinued (see Constitutions, 1756, page 248. On the subject of these mock processions there is an article by Dr. W. J. Chetwode Crawley, Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume xviu).

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