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Maria Theresa

Empress of Austria, who showed great hostility to Freemasonry, presumably from religious leanings and advisers. Her husband was Francis I, elected Emperor of Germany in 1745. He was a zealous Freemason, and had been initiated at The Hague in 1731, at a Special Lodge, at which Lord Chesterfield and Doctor Desaguliers were present. He was raised at Houghton Hall, the same year, while on a visit to England. He assisted to found the Lodge Drei Kanonen, at Vienna, constituted in 1742. During the forty years' reign of Maria Theresa, Freemasonry was tolerated in Vienna doubtless through the intercession of the Emperor. It is stated in the Pocket Companion of 1754, one hundred grenadiers were sent to break up the Lodge, taking twelve prisoners, the Emperor escaping by a back staircase. He answered for and freed the twelve prisoners. His son, Emperor Joseph, inherited good-will to Freemasonry. He was Grand Master of the Viennese Freemasons at the time of his death.

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