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Clare, Martin

A London schoolmaster and a celebrated Freemason of England in the eighteenth century. The date of Brother Clare's birth is not on record, but it is known that his death occurred May 19, 1751, Martin Clare served the Fraternity as Grand Steward in 1734, as Junior Warden in 1735, Deputy Grand Master in 1741, continuing his activity in the work of the Grand Lodge up to 1749. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on March 27, 1735. He was, in 1736, Master of the Lodge at the Shakespeare's Head, Saint James, which was constituted in 1721, then No. 4, and later became the Lodge of Friendship, No. 6. The Minutes of the Lodge from January, 1738, to December, 1749, were recorded in his handwriting.

He was distinguished for zeal and intelligence in Freemasonry, and it has been pretty well established that he was the author of A Defense of Masonry, which was issued in 1730 in answer to Prichard's Masonry Dissected, and which was reproduced in the 1738 Edition of the Constitutions. Brother Henry Sadler, in his Thomas Dunckerley, his Life, Labors and Letters, tells on page 114 that on January 25, 1742, ''The Master proposed the Revival of the Lectures in this place and this seeming universally agreeable to the Society, his Worship requested the D.G.M., to entertain the Lodge this Day Fortnight at nine o'clock and the Subject was left to his own choice. After him Brother Wagg promised to read this Day Month." On page 114, Brother Sadler says, "The scientific lectures had been omitted for several months past. The word Revival was originally written Revisal by Clare, but as the proceedings were transcribed by him, from rough minutes, probably taken by some one else, he doubtless mistook the word and afterwards altered the s into a v, although at first sight and taken without the context the word might now easily be mistaken for Revisal.

This trifling error may have given rise to the tradition that Clare revised the Craft Lectures by request of the Grand Lodge; I am not, however, aware of the existence of the least evidence or indication that he did anything of the kind."

Clare's oration before the Grand Lodge on December 11, 1735, was translated into several foreign languages. A reprint of it is in the Pocket Companion and History of Freemasons for 1754, also in Oliver's Masonic Institutes, reprints of the Lodge of Research at Leicester, etc. (see the Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume iv, pages 33--li). Het translated into English a work which had been published the preceding year, in Dublin, under the title of Relation Apologique et Historique de la Socit des Franc-Maons, or A Defense and Historical Account of the Society of Freemasons.

The Freemason of June 6, 1925, says: "The second name in the roster of Old King's Arms Lodge, No. 28, London, is that of Sir Cecil Wray's Senior Warden in 1730---Martin Clare ; one of the greatest worthies the Craft in England has known, who represented the Lodge on the Board of Grand Stewards in 1734, became Junior Grand Warden in the following year, and in 1741 was appointed Deputy Grand Master to the Earl of Morton. There seems little doubt that he was initiated in the Lodge, and, although he never sat in the Master's Chair, the Minute Books contain many references which testify to his love for it and to the great services he rendered to it. When Sir Cecil Wray was invited to become the Master he accepted on condition that Martin Clare would undertake the duties of Senior Warden. Many of the Lodge Minutes are in his handwriting, and those Minutes are certainly a model, both in penmanship and composition, of what such chronicles should be. He frequently lectured at the Old King's Arms Lodge. It was the custom for many years for his Oration to be read in the Lodge annually.

He was also the author of numerous lectures or discourses dealing with Freemasonry which he delivered at various Lodges, and the Minutes intimate his keenness in promoting discussions on matters of Masonic interest. The first act of his, on rejoining the Lodge in 1747, after a short absence, was to revive the custom of lectures and papers, which he had also inaugurated in the Lodge of Friendship. Clare presided on, at least, four Communications of the Grand Lodge.''

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