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Royalty and English Masonry

Queen Anne's children had died before her; and when she passed, two descendants of the original Stuart family had an almost equal genealogical claim to the throne: George, the Elector of Hanover; and James Stuart, Son of the exiled James II. The latter was a Roman Catholic; the former was a Protestant. The Tories were divided between the two, but the Whigs were determined that once and for all England should become officially a Protestant country, and therefore culled George to the throne. He was a middle-aged Germans coarse and arrogant, and personally never Texas popular; even so, James Stuart, and contrary to a romantic tradition in novels, was equally coarse and arrogantly so that his adherents in England and Scotland, the Jacobites, gained no strength for their cause from his personality.

The new king was crowned George I in 1714, and was to reign for thirteen years. The New Grand Lodge of Speculative Masonry was erected in London three years after his coronation, but when the Duke of Wharton undertook to swing it over to the Jacobite side it threw him out and wrote into its Book of Constitutions a law to forbid any political activity by Lodges or Masons. Masons were to be peaceable citizens, loyal to the government. At the time, this meant in effect loyalty to the Hanoverian Dynasty, which is still the Royal House of Britain.

Almost from the first, members of the new Royal Family came into Freemasonry, and with them members of the old nobility and of the high aristocracy in England, Ireland, and Scotland; and not as members in name only but as active workers in Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodges, and Lodges. A non-Masonic British nobleman was an exception. Their relatives by blood and marriage on the Continent were brought in by them; and the fact partly explains the extraordinary spread of the Fraternity over Europe and as far east as Moscow during the first twenty-five years after the erection of the Mother Grand Lodge.

American Masons have never realized how completely the Grand and the Provincial Grand Lodges of Britain have been officered by members of the Royal Family and the nobility, and even now, and in spite of the great amount of inter-visitation which went on during the Second World War, it continues to be difficult of full realization.

The City of Derby was far from London, the Court, and from its social circles; the home city of scientists, inventors (Watt and Arkwright among them), and capitalists, it became the cradle of the Industrial Revolution; these facts make it the more striking that the records of one of its Lodges, Tyrian No. 953, in its minutes from 1766 to 1885, are studded with titled names: the Duke of Cumberland, Brother of George III, granted its Warrant, which also was signed by the Earl of E5ingham. In 1798 the Lodge contributed A:42 toward a jewel which was presented to the Earl of Aloira, Grand Master of the Ancient when he became Governor General of India. Daniel Coke, a member of Parliament, was twice W.-. M.-.. The Sixth Duke of Devonshire was W. . M.-. in 1813 and in 1814, and was Provincial Grand Master from 1814 to 1858, when he was succeeded by the Marquis of Hartington, Secretary for War. Viscount Tamworth was made a Mason in Tyrian in 1810; and the second Lord Scarsdale in the same year. Both Augustus and Edvard Curzon mere initiated in 1815; Francis Curzon was NV. . M. . in 1826. Earl Howe, Augustus Stanhope, and Earl Ferrers were entered between 1815 and 1848.

Among its visitors were scores of men of the nobility who carried titles among the oldest in Britain. Two Hundred Years of Freemasonry; A History of the Britannic Lodge, No. 55 (Kening & Son; London; 1930), one of the most brilliant of the smaller Lodge histories, home Lodge of the famous John Coustos, had so many members of British and other royal families between 1773 and 1817 that it is called "the Royal period." On the membership list at the same time were two foreign kings, three Hanoverian kings and five royal Dukes. The Earl of Moira was "perpetual Master."

But the most remarkable instance of Royalty in Lodges was No. 259, of which Prance of Wales Lodge, by Thomas Fenn, privately printed in 1890, is the history. It was instituted in 1787 by his Royal Highness, George, Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV. "The Lodge was originally intended to consist only of those who were honored with appointments under H. R. H. or men firmly attached to his person and interest.... Amongst the earliest initiated in this Lodge, were twenty of H. R. H.'s footmen and household servants. They were not admitted as members, but were initiated by order of H. R. H. as serving Brethren without payment of fees."

Among its long list of Royal and otherwise most eminent persons (come in by Royal invitation) were: Duke of York, Duke of Clarence, Lord Lake, Thomas Dunckerley, Major St. Leger (cousin of Elizabeth St. Leger, the Irish "lady Freemason"), General Bowles (afterwards appointed to be "Provincial Grand Master" to the Creek Indians in America!), General Paoli, the Corsican patriot, Earl of Zetland, Duke of Roxburgh, Prince of Moliterno, Prime Minister George Canning, Sir David Pollock, Godfrey Higgins (author of the stupendous monument of erudition, The Anacolypsz a second Earl of Zetland, Lord Monson, Earl of Yarborough, Duke of Beaufort, Lord Rendlesham, Lord Catthorpe, the Maharajah Duleep Singh of India, Viscount Lake, Youssuff Aziz Effendi, Earl of Wigtown, Duke of Sussex (Grand Master from 1813 to 1843), Lord Churchill, Lord Monson, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, Prince of Wales (Edward VII), W. . M.-. from 1874, Grand Masterfrom 1875, etc., etc.

In the list of Worshipful Masters five are preceded by The Modern Grand Lodge of England from 1717 to 1813 was with the exception of the lowest bracket of officers, staffed by men of the nobility and of the aristocracy, as were also, to a scarcely lesser degree, the Provincial Grand Lodges. The second part of Bro. Albert F. Calvert's The Grand dodge of England (Herbert Jenkins Ltd.; London; 1917) consists of 3 gallery of portraits in which appear, among others, the following: John, Duke of Montague Earl of Chesterfield, Duke of Wharton, Duke of Richmond, Duke of Lorraine, Duke of Newcastle, Earl of Crawford, Sir Cecil Wray, Sir Thomas De Veil (one of the personages in Hogarth's "Night"), Viscount Harcourt, William, Duke of Cumberland, Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales (this eldest son of King George II was first King's son to be made a Mason; Nov. 5, 1737; the ceremony was performed by Dr. Desaguliers. Grand Lodge was exactly 20 years old), Lord Raymond, Sir James Thornhill, Marshal James Keith, Frederick III, King of Prussia, Sir Richard Glynn (Lord Mayor), Lord Blayney, Duke of Beaufort, Edward, Duke of York, Frederick, Duke of York, Thomas Harley (Lord Mayor. Sat for his portrait with his hands in a large fur muff), Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Robert Edward, Lord Petre (like one or two others, Lord Petre was a Roman Catholic. While the Marquis of Ripon was Grand Master he became a convert of Roman Catholicism, resigned his Masonic offices, and his membership), Duke of Manchester, Sir Watkin Lewes (Lord Mayor of London), Col. John St. Leger, Duke of Cumberland, G. M. in 1782-1790, Charles Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Duke of York, William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury, Earl of Moira (this G. M. was in 1806 also G. M. of Scotland), Francis, Earl of Moira, Prime Minister George Canning, C. T. Hunter (Lord Mayor), Duke of Sussex (once lived in Canada where he was a Prov. G. M.; was G. M. of England 181S1843), Prince of Wales (King George IV), Duke of Kent (also lived in Canada for years; G. M. of Ancient; father of Queen Victoria, who, after her coronation, and as an honor to him, announced herself Patroness of Freemasonry), Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Clarence (King William IV), Earl of Zetland, Fifth Duke of Richmond, Earl of Carnarvon, Earl of Lathom, Duke of Connaught, Duke of Clarence, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, (Edward VII), Lord Ampthill, John, Earl of Atholl, etc.

With only a few exceptions these men of title, who usually were also men of large affairs and of great responsibilities in the State, were good and true Masons in every sense, as members and Brothers, and as officers; but their titles were born with them, their authorities went with them, their privileges were continuous, so that a Prince or a Duke continued to be a Prince or a Duke while sitting in the Grand East (called "throne"), which is in contrast to the American practice, where if a President, Governor, or Senator (the importance of whose of lice is as "high" and even more responsible than that of King, Prince, or Duke) sits in the East or Grand East it is in his capacity only as a Mason--his "titles are left outside the tiled door."

The Modern Grand Lodge between 1721 and 1751 became top-heavy with aristocracy, and many Lodges, especially in London, became exclusive and snobbish; this was in violation of the Landmark of "meeting upon the level" which in Freemasonry was centuries older than the House of Hanover or the House of Stuart; and it was this violation, far more than the violation of two or three customs of ceremony, which in Grand Master Byron's time ("the wicked Lord Byron," who once murdered a man in a drunken brawl) was the reason for so many Lodges going over to the Ancient Grand Lodge. The Ancient Grand Lodge had been erected in 1751 by Irish Masons living in London who could neither visit nor affiliate with London Lodges because they were "mechanics," that is, like the fathers and founders of the Craft, were "workers," or were men in small business. The majority of English writers on Masonic history aide Gould, Calvert, etc.) never fail to quote anything "coarse" that Laurence Dermott ever said about the Moderns; but they never quote the stinging and snobbish things said by the Moderns about Dermott; and never permit a reader to forget that Dermott (God help him!) was a house painter!

And yet, so strange are the ways of men, so Upside down their hearts, the Masons who "made" the Grand Lodges of England and, after 1813, the United Grand Lodge--the ritualists, the hard-working lower officers, and the writers--were commoners: Desaguliers was a doctor; Anderson a dissenting minister; Preston a printer; Dermott a painter (though an extraordinarily well-educated man of genius); Gilkes a grocer; Pine an engraver; and so on; and regardless of how aristocratic the Modern Grand Lodge itself may ever have been its members gave great honor to these men.

The manly, upright, brainy men of the Lodge at Aberdeen, Scotland, who with such great care wrote out the Work Book in 1670, appended it to a solemn address to Masons who might come after them in their ancient Lodge, which for weight and a sincere eloquence can scarcely be rivaled by any utterance that ever came out of Freemasonry: "So ends the names of us all who are authors of this Book and the Mason's box [charity] in order, according to our ages as we were made fellow craft, from which we reckon our age; so we entreat all our good successors in the Mason Craft to follow our rule as your patterns, and not to strive for place, for here ye may see above written and amongst the rest of our names persons of a mean degree insert before great persons of quality. The history of the Tyrian Lodge, No. 253, of Derby, referred to in an earlier paragraph, is set forth with great compactness in The Centenary Celebration of the Tynan Lodge, No. 253; printed by W. Bacon; Derby; Second Edition; 1885. (The name is from the Latin tyriorum, or trireme.) It is one of the most significant of the early Lodge histories because Derby was in the center of so much of national importance at the time of the French Revolution. Beginning on page 14 the undesignated author gives a number of pages about men of title, fame, eminence who were in the Lodge, connected with it, or then in the Craft. On page 14 he writes: "Francis, Duke of Lorraine, afterwards Emperor of Germany, husband of Maria Theresa, and father of Marie Antoinette, whose beauty and whose cruel fate inspired the glowing eloquence of Burke, was initiated at The Hague as early as 1731." This one small Lodge history alone, in its 74 pages, gives documentary proof of the falseness of those books which set out to show that Freemasonry was a conspiracy which plotted the French Revolution, such as were written by Prof. Robinson, Abbe Barruel, Nesta Webster, Bernard Fay, etc., because it shows that there was as large a number of Masons among the kings, princes, dukes, etc., on the side against the Revolution, as among the leaders on the side in favor of the Revolution--it was there as it was in our own American Revolution; the Fraternity was on both sides and therefore on neither.

Burke, the great antagonist of the Revolution, would certainly not have been a Freemason himself had Freemasonry plotted Louis XVI's overthrow; and he would have known it had such been the fact because the British Government at the time had day-by-day, detailed knowledge of events in Paris from 1787 to 1791.

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