Frederick William Iii
King of Prussia, and, although not a Freemason, a generous patron of the Order. On December 29, 1797, he wrote to the Lodge Royal York of Friendship, at Berlin, these words: "I have never been initiated, as every one knows, but I am far from conceiving the slightest distrust of the intentions of the members of the Lodge. I believe that its design is noble, and founded on the cultivation of virtue; that its methods are legitimate, and that every political tendency is banished from its operations. Hence, I shall take pleasure in manifesting on all occasions my good-will and my affection to the Lodge Royal York of Friendship, as well as to every other Lodge in my dominions." In a similar tone of kindness toward Freemasonry, he wrote three months afterward to Fessler. And when he issued, October 20, 1798, an Edict forbidding secret societies, he made a special exemption in favor of the Masonic Lodges. To the time of his death, he was always the avowed friend of the Order.
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