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|Posté le: Lun 6 Avr - 04:48 (2009) Sujet du message: Masonry in England from 1666 to 1760, by W. Preston (1795)
|[NOTE : This post contains several sections of Preston's work, covering the years from 1666 to the 1760]
The History of Masonry in England
by William Preston (1795)
Source: Source: http://arcaneadvisors.com/archives/Preston/book4/b4section_6.htm
1. From the Fire of London, to the Accession of George I.
The year 1666 afforded a singular and awful occasion for the utmost exertion of Masonic abilities. The city of London, which had been visited in the preceding year by the plague, to whole ravages, it is computed, above 100,000 of its inhabitants fell a sacrifice, had scarcely recovered from the alarm of that dreadful contagion, when a general conflagration reduced the greatest part of the city within the walls to ashes, This dreadful fire broke out on the 2d of September, at the house of a baker in Pudding-lane, a wooden building, pitched on the outside, as were also all the rest of the houses in that narrow lane. The house being filled with faggots and brush-wood, soon added to the rapidity of the flames, which raged with such fury, as to spread four ways at once.
Jonas Moore and Ralph Gatrix, who were appointed surveyors on this occasion to examine the ruins, reported, that the fire over-ran 373 acres within the walls, and burnt 13,000 houses, 89 parish churches, besides chapels, leaving only 11 parishes standing. The Royal Exchange, Custom-house, Guildhall, Blackwell-hall, St. Paul's cathedral, Bridewell, the two compters, fifty-two city companies halls, and three city gates, were all demolished. The damage was computed at 10,000,000 l. sterling.
After so sudden and extensive a calamity, it became necessary to adopt some regulations to guard against any such catastrophe in future. It was therefore determined, that in all the new buildings to be erected, stone and brick should be substituted in the room of timber. The King and the Grand Master immediately ordered deputy Wren to draw up the plan of a new city, with broad and regular streets. Dr. Christopher Wren was appointed surveyor general and principle architect for rebuilding the city, the cathedral of St. Paul, and all the parochial churches enacted by parliament, in lieu of those that were destroyed, with other public structures. This gentleman, conceiving the charge too important for a single person, selected Mr. Robert Hook, professor of geometry in Gresham college, to assist him; who was immediately employed in measuring, adjusting, and setting out the grounds of the private streets to the several proprietors. Dr. Wren's model and plan were laid before the king and the house of commons, and the practicability of the whole scheme, without the infringement of property, clearly demonstrated: it unfortunately happened, however, that the greater part of the citizens were absolutely averse to alter their old possessions, and to recede from building their houses again on the old foundations . Many were unwilling to give up their properties into the hands of public trustees, till they should receive an equivalent of more advantage; while others expressed distrust. Every means were tried to convince the citizens, that by removing all the church-yards, gardens &c. to the out-skirts of the city, sufficient room would be given to augment the streets, and properly to dispose of the churches, halls, and other public buildings, to the perfect satisfaction of every proprietor; but the representation of all these improvements had no weight. The citizens chose to have their old city again, under all its disadvantages, rather than a new one, the principles of which they were unwilling to understand, and considered as innovations. Thus an opportunity was lost, of making the new city the most magnificent, as well as the most commodious for health and trade, of any in Europe. The architect, cramped in the execution of his plan, was obliged to abridge his scheme, and exert his utmost labor, skill, and ingenuity, to model the city in the manner in which it has since appeared.
On the 23d of October 1667, the king in person leveled in form the foundation stone of the new Royal Exchange, now allowed to be the finest in Europe; and on the 28th September 1669, it was opened by the lord mayor and aldermen. Round the inside of the square, above the arcades, and between the windows, are the statues of the sovereigns of England. In the centre of the square, is erected the king's statue to the life, in a Cæsarean habit of white marble, executed in a masterly manner by Mr. Gibbons, then grand warden of the society.
In 1668, the Custom-house for the port of London, situated on the south side of Thames-street, was built, adorned with an upper and lower order of architecture. In the latter, are stone columns, and enablement of the Tuscan order: and in the former, are pilaster, entablature, and five pediments of the Ionic order. The wings are elevated on columns, forming piazzas; and the length of the building is 189 feet; its breadth in the middle, 27; and at the west end, 60 feet.
This year also, deputy Wren and his warden Webb finished the Theatrum Sheldonium at Oxford, designed and executed at the private expense of Gilbert Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, an excellent architect and able designer. On the 9th of July 1669, the capstone of this elegant building was celebrated with joy and festivity by the craftsmen, and an elegant oration delivered on the occasion by Dr. South. Deputy Wren, at the same time also, built, at the expense of the University, that other master-piece of architecture, the pretty museum near this theatre.
In 1671, Mr. Wren began to build that great fluted column called the Monument, in memory of the burning and re-building of the city of London. This stupendous pillar was finished in 1677. It is 24 feet higher than Trajan's pillar at Rome, and built of Portland stone, of the Doric order. Its altitude, from the ground, is 202 feet; the greatest diameter of the shaft or body of the column, 15 feet; the ground plinth, or bottom of the pedestal, 28 feet square; and the pedestal 40 feet high. Over the capital, is an iron balcony, encompassing a cone 32 feet high, supporting a blazing urn of gilt brass. Within is a large stair-case of black marble, containing 345 step, each step ten inches and an half broad, and six inches thick. The west side of the pedestal is adorned with curious emblems, by the masterly hand of Mr. Cibber, father to the late poet-laureate Colley Cibber; in which eleven principal figures are done in alto, and the rest in basso relievo. That to which the eye is particularly directed, is a female, representing the City of London, sitting in a languishing posture, on a heap of ruins. Behind her, is Time, gradually raising her up; and at her side, a woman, representing Providence, gently touching her with one hand, while, with a winged scepter in the other, she directs her to regard two goddesses in the clouds; one with a cornucopia, denoting Plenty; the other, with a palm branch, the emblem of Peace. At her feet is a bee-hive, to show that, by industry and application, the greatest misfortunes may be overcome. Behind Time, are the Citizens, exulting at his endeavors to restore her; and beneath, in the midst of the ruins, is a dragon, the supporter of the city arms, who endeavors to preserve them with his paw. At the north end, is a view of the City in flames, the inhabitants in consternation, with their arms extended upward, crying for assistance. Opposite the City, on an elevated pavement, stands the King, in a Roman habit, with a laurel on his head, and a truncheon in his hand; who, on approaching her, commands three of his attendants to descend to her relief. The first represents the Sciences, with a winged head, and circle of naked boys dancing thereon, and holding Nature in her hand, with her numerous breasts, ready to give assistance to all. The second is Architecture, with a plan in one hand, and a square and pair of compasses in the other. The third is Liberty, waving a hat in the air, and showing her joy at the pleasing prospect of the City's speedy recovery. Behind the King, stands his brother, the duke of York, with a garland in one hand, to crown the rising city, and a sword in the other, for her defense. The two figures behind them, are Justice and Fortitude; the former with a coronet, and the latter with a reined lion; while, under the pavement, in a vault, appears Envy gnawing a heart. In the upper part of the back ground, the re-construction of the city is represented by scaffolds and unfinished houses, with builders at work on them. The north and south sides of the pedestal have each a Latin inscription, one describing the desolation of the city, the other its restoration.
The east side of the pedestal has an inscription, expressing the time in which the pillar was begun, continued, and brought to perfection. In one line continued round the base, are these words: "This pillar was set up in perpetual remembrance of the most dreadful burning of this Protestant city, begun and carried on by the treachery and malice of the Popish faction, in the beginning of September, in the year of our Lord 1666, in order to the carrying on their horrid plot for extirpating the Protestant religion, and old English liberty, and introducing popery and slavery." This inscription, upon the duke of York's accession to the crown, was erased; but, soon after the Revolution, restored again.
The rebuilding of the city of London was vigorously prosecuted, and the restoration of St. Paul's cathedral claimed particular attention. Dr. Wren drew several designs, to discover what would be most acceptable to the general taste; and finding persons of all degrees declare for magnificence and grandeur, he formed a design according to the very best stile of Greek and Roman architecture, and caused a large model of it to be made in wood; but the bishops deciding that it was not sufficiently in the cathedral stile, the surveyor was ordered to amend it, and he then produced the scheme of the present structure, which was honored with the king's approbation. The original model, however, which was only of the Corinthian order, like St. Peter's at Rome, is still kept in an apartment of the cathedral, as a real curiosity.
In 1673, the foundation stone of this magnificent cathedral, designed by deputy Wren, was laid in solemn form by the King, attended by Grand Master Rivers, his architects and craftsmen, in the presence of the nobility and gentry, the lord mayor and aldermen, the bishops and clergy, &c. During the whole time this structure was building, Mr. Wren acted as master of the work and surveyor, and was ably assisted by his wardens, Mr. Edward Strong and his son.
St. Paul's cathedral is planned in the form of a long cross; the walls are wrought in rustic, and strengthened, as well as adorned, by two rows of coupled pilasters, one over the other; the lower Corinthian, and the upper Composite. The spaces between the arches of the windows, and the architecture of the lower order, as well as those above, are filled with a variety of enrichments.
The west front is graced with a most magnificent portico, a noble pediment, and two stately turrets. There is a grand flight of steps of black marble that extend the whole length of the portico, which consists of twelve lofty Corinthian columns below, and eight of the Composite order above; these are all coupled and fluted. The upper series support a noble pediment, crowned with its acroteria; and in this pediment is an elegant representation in bas relief, of the conversion of St. Paul, executed by Mr. Bird, an artist whose name, on account of this piece alone, is worthy of being transmitted to posterity. The figures are well executed: the magnificent figure of St. Paul, on the apex of the pediment, with St. Peter on his right, and St. James on his left, produce a fine effect. The four Evangelists, with their proper emblems, on the front of the towers, are judiciously disposed, and skillfully finished; St. Matthew is distinguished by an angel; St. Mark, by a lion; St. Luke, by an ox; and St. John, by an eagle.
To the north portico, there is an ascent by twelve circular steps of black marble, and its dome is supported by six grand Corinthian columns. Upon the dome is a well-proportioned urn, finely ornamented with festoons; over the urn is a pediment, supported by pilasters in the wall, in the face of which are carved the royal arms, with the regalia, supported by angels. Statues of five of the apostles are placed on the top, at proper distances.
The south portico answers to the north, and, like that, is supported by six noble Corinthian columns; but as the ground is considerably lower on this side of the church than the other, the ascent is by a flight of twenty-five steps. This portico has also a pediment above, in which is a phoenix rising out of the flames, with the motto, RESURGAM, underneath it; as an emblem of rebuilding the church. A curious accident is said to have given rise to this device, which was particularly observed by the architect as a favorable omen. When Dr. Wren was marking our the dimensions of the building, and had fixed on the centre of the great dome, a common laborer was ordered to bring him a flat stone from among the rubbish, to leave as a direction to the masons. the stone which the man brought happened to be a piece of a grave-stone, with nothing remaining of the inscription but this single word, in large capitals, RESURGAM; and this circumstance left an impression on Dr. Wrens' mind, that could never afterwards be erased. On this side of the building are likewise five statues, which correspond with those on the apex of the north pediment.
At the east end of the church is a sweep, or circular projection for the altar, finely ornamented with the orders, and with sculpture; particularly a noble piece in honor of king William III.
The dome, which rises in the centre of the whole, is superlatively grand. Twenty feet above the roof of the church is a circular range of thirty-two columns, with niches placed exactly against others within. These are terminated by their entablature, which supports a handsome gallery, adorned with a balustrade. Above these columns is a range of pilasters, with windows between; and from the entablature of these, the diameter decreases very considerably; and two feet above that, it is again contracted. From this part the external sweep of the dome begins, and the arches meet at 52 feet above. On the summit of the dome, is an elegant balcony, and from its centre rises the lantern, adorned with Corinthian columns. The whole is terminated by a ball, on which stands a cross, both of which are elegantly gilt.
This noble fabric is surrounded, at a proper distance, by a dwarf stone wall, on which is placed the most magnificent balustrade of cast iron perhaps in the universe, four feet six inches in height, exclusive of the wall. In this enclosure are seven beautiful iron gates, which, together with the balusters, in number about 2500, weigh 200 tons and 85 pounds.
In the centre of the area of the grand west front, on a pedestal of excellent workmanship, stands a statue of queen Anne, formed of white marble, with proper decorations. The figures on the base represent Britannia, with her spear; Gallia, with the crown in her lap Hibernia, with her harp; and America, with her bow. These, are the colossal statues with which the church are adorned, were executed by the ingenious Mr. Hill.
A strict regard to the situation of this cathedral, due east and west, has given it an oblique appearance with respect to Ludgate-street in front; so that the great front gate in the surrounding iron rails, being made to regard the street in front, rather than the church to which it belongs, the statue of queen Anne, that is exactly in the middle of the west front, is thrown on one side the straight approach from the gate to the church, and gives an idea of the whole edifice being awry.
Under the grand portico, at the west end, are three doors, ornamented at the top with bas relief. The middle door, which is by far the largest, is cased with white marble, and over it is a fine piece of bas relief, in which St. Paul is represented preaching to the Bereans. On entering the door, the mind is struck by the extend of the vista. An arcade, supported by lofty and massy pillars on each hand, divide the church into the body and two aisles; and the view is terminated by the altar at the extremity of the choir; subject, nevertheless, to the intervention of the organ standing across, which forms a heavy obstruction. The pillars are adorned with columns and pilasters of the Corinthian and Composite orders; and the arches of the roof and enriched with shields, festoons, chaplets, and other ornaments. In the aisle, on one hand, is the consistory; and opposite, on the other, the morning prayer chapel. These have very beautiful screens of carved wainscot, which are much admired.
Over the centre, where the great aisles cross each other, is the grand cupola, or dome, the vast concave of which inspires a pleasing awe. Under its centre is fixed in the floor, a brass plate, round which the pavement is beautifully variegated; but the figures into which it is formed, can nowhere be so well seen as from the whispering-gallery above. Here the spectator has at once a full view of the organ, richly ornamented with carved work, and the entrance to the choir directly under it. The two aisles on the side of the choir, as well as the choir itself, are enclosed with very fine iron rails and gates.
The altar-piece is adorned with four noble fluted pilasters, painted and veined with gold, in imitation of lapis lazuli, and their capitals are double gilt. In the intercolumniations below, are nine marble panels, and above are six windows, in the two series. The floor of the whole church is paved with marble; and within the rails of the altar, with porphyry, polished, and laid in several geometrical figures.
In the great cupola, which is 108 feet in diameter, the architect seems to have imitated the Pantheon at Rome, excepting that the upper order is there only umbratile, and distinguished by different colored marbles; while, in St. Paul's, it is extant out of the wall. The Pantheon is no higher within than its diameter; St. Peter's is two diameters; the former shows its concave too low, the latter too high: St. Paul's is proportioned between both, and therefore shows its concave every way, and is very lightsome by the windows of the upper order. These strike down the light through the great colonnade that encircles the dome without, and serves for the abutment, which is brick of the thickness of two bricks; but as it rises every way five feet high, it has a course of excellent brick of 18 inches long, banding through the whole thickness; and, to make it still more secure, it is surrounded with a vast chain of iron, strongly linked together at every ten feet. This chain is let into a channel, cut into the bandage of Portland stone, and defended from the weather by filling the groove with lead. The concave was turned upon a center, which was judged necessary to keep the work true; but the center was laid without any standards below for support. Every story of the scaffolding being circular, and the ends of all the ledgers meeting as so many rings, and truly wrought, it supported itself.
As the old church of St. Paul had a lofty spire, Dr. Wren was obliged to give his building an altitude that might secure it from suffering by the comparison. To do this, he made the dome without, much higher than within, by raising a strong brick cone over the internal cupola, so constructed as to support an elegant stone lantern on the apex. This brick cone is supported by a cupola formed of timber, and covered with lead: between which and the cone are easy stairs, up to the lantern. Here the spectator may view contrivances that are truly astonishing. The outward cupola is only ribbed, with the architect thought less Gothic than to stick it full of such little lights as are in the cupola of St. Peter's, that could not without difficulty be mended, and, if neglected, might soon damage the timbers. As the architect was sensible that paintings are liable to decay, he intended to have beautified the inside of the cupola with mosaic work; which, without the least fading of colors, would be as durable as the building itself: but in this he was over-ruled, though he had undertaken to procure four of the most eminent artists in that profession from Italy, for the purpose. This part, therefore, is now decorated by the pencil of Sir James Thornhill, who has represented the principal passages of St. Paul's life, in eight compartments. These paintings are all seen to advantage by means of a circular opening, through which the light is transmitted with admirable effect from the lantern above; but they are now cracked, and sadly decayed.
Divine service was performed in the choir of this cathedral for the first time on the thanksgiving day for the peace of Ryswick, Dec: 2, 1697; and the last stone on the top of the lantern laid by Mr. Christopher Wren, the son of the architect, in 1710. This noble fabric, lofty enough to be discerned at sea eastward, and at Windsor to the west, was begun and completed in the space of 35 years, by one architect, the great sir Christopher Wren; one principal mason, Mr. Strong; and under one bishop of London, Dr. Henry Compton: whereas St. Peter's at Rome was 155 years in building, under twelve successive architects, assisted by the police and interest of the Roman see, and attended by the best artists in sculpture, statuary, painting, and mosaic work.
The various parts of this superb edifice I have been thus particular in describing, as it reflects honor on the ingenious architect who built it, and as there is not an instance on record of any work of equal magnitude having ever been completed by one man.
While the cathedral of St. Paul's was carrying on, as a national undertaking, the citizens did not neglect their own immediate concerns, but restored such of their halls and gates as had been destroyed. In April 1675, was laid the foundation stone of the present Bethlehem-hospital for lunatics, in Moorfields. This is a magnificent building, 540 feet long, and 40 broad, beside the two wings, which were not added until several years afterward. The middle and ends of the edifice project a little, and are adorned with pilasters, entablatures, foliages, &c. which, rising above the rest of the building, have each a flat roof, with a handsome balustrade of stone. In the centre is an elegant turret, adorned with a cloak, gilt ball, and vane. The whole building is brick and stone, enclosed by a handsome wall, 680 feet long, of the same materials. In the center of the wall, is a large pair of iron gates; and on the piers on which these are hung, are two images, in a reclining posture, one representing raving, the other melancholy, madness. The expression of these figures is admirable; and they are the workmanship of Mr. Cibber, the father of the laureate before mentioned.
The college of Physicians also, about this time, discovered some taste in erecting their college in Warwick-lane, which, though little known, is esteemed by good judges a delicate building.
The fraternity were now fully employed; and by them the following parish churches, which had been consumed by the great fire, were gradually rebuilt, or repaired:
Allhallows, Bread-street, finished 1694; and the steeple completed 1697.
Allhallows the Great, Thames-street, 1683.
Allhallows, Lombard-street, 1694.
St. Alban, Wood-street, 1685.
St. Anne and Agnes, St. Annes's-lane, Aldersgate-street, 1680.
St. Andrew's Wardrobe, Puddledock-hill, 1692.
St. Andrew's, Holborn, 1687.
St. Anthony's, Watling-street, 1682.
St. Augustin's, Watling-street, 1683; and the steeple finished 1695.
St. Bartholomew's, Royal Exchange, 1679.
St. Benedict, Grace-church-street, 1685.
St. Benedict's, Threadneedle-street, 1673.
St. Bennet's, Paul's Wharf, Thames-street, 1683.
St. Bride's, Fleet-street, 1680; and farther adorned in 1699.
Christ-church, Newgate-street, 1687.
St. Christopher's, Threadneedle-street, (since taken down to make room for the Bank,) repaired in 1696.
St. Clement Danes, in the Strand, taken down 1680, and rebuilt by sir Christopher Wren, 1682.
St. Clement's, East Cheap, St. Clement's-lane, 1686.
St. Dennis Back, Lime-street, 1674.
St Dunstan's in the East, Tower-street, repaired in 1698.
St. Edmond's the King, Lombard-street, rebuilt in 1674.
St. George, Botolph-lane, 1674.
St. James, Garlick-hill, 1683.
St. James, Westminster, 1675.
St. Lawrence Jewry, Cateaton-street, 1677.
St. Magnes, London-bridge, 1676; and the steeple in 1705.
St. Margaret, Lothbury, 1690.
St. Margaret Pattens, Little Tower-street, 1687.
St. Martin's, Ludgate, 1684.
St. Mary Abchurch, Abchurch-lane, 1686.
St. Mary's-at-hill, St. Mary's-hill, 1672.
St. Mary's Aldermary, Bow-lane, 1672.
St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish-street, 1685.
St. Mary Somerset, Queenhithe, Thames-street, 1683.
St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside, 1683. This church was built on the wall of a very ancient one in the early time of the Roman colony; the roof is arched, and supported with ten Corinthian columns; but the principal ornament is the steeple, which is deemed an admirable piece of architecture, not to be paralleled by that of any other parochial church. It rises from the ground a square tower, plain at bottom, and is carried up to a considerable height in this shape, but with more ornament as it advances. The principal decoration of the lower part is the door case; a lofty, noble arch, faced with a bold and well-wrought rustic, raised on a plain solid course from the foundation. Within the arch, is a portal of the Doric order, with well-proportioned columns; the frieze is ornamented with triglyphs, and with sculpture in the metopes. There are some other slight ornaments in this part, which is terminated by an elegant cornice, over which rises a plain course, from which the dial projects. Above this, in each face, there is an arched window, with Ionic pilasters at the sides. The entablature of the order is well wrought; it has the swelling frieze, and supports on the cornice an elegant balustrade, with Attic pillars over Ionic columns. These sustain elegant scrolls, on which are placed urns with flames, and from this part the steeple rises circular. There is a plain course to the height of half the scrolls, and upon this is raised an elegant circular series of Corinthian columns. These support a second balustrade with scrolls; and above there is placed another series of columns of the Composite order; while, from the entablature, rises a set of scrolls supporting the spire, which is placed on balls, and terminated by a globe, on which is fixed a vane.
St. Mary Woolnoth's, Lombard-street, repaired in 1677.
St. Mary, Aldermanbury, rebuilt 1677.
St. Matthew, Friday-street, 1685.
St. Michael, Basinghall-street, 1679.
St. Michael Royal, College-hill, 1694.
St. Michael, Queenhithe, Trinity-lane, 1677.
St. Michael, Wood-street, 1675.
St. Michael, Crooked-lane, 1688.
St. Michael, Cornhill, 1672.
St. Mildred, Bread-street, 1683.
St. Mildred, Poultry, 1676.
St. Nicholas, Cole-abbey, Old Fish-street, 1677.
St. Olive's, Old Jewry, 1673.
St. Peter's, Cornhill, 1681.
St. Sepulchre's, Snow-hill, 1670.
St. Stephen's, Coleman-street, 1676.
St. Stephen's, Walbrook, behind the Mansion-house, 1676. Many encomiums have been bestowed on this church for its interior beauties. The dome is finely proportioned to the church, and divided into small compartments, decorated with great elegance, and crowned with a lantern; the roof is also divided into compartments, and supported by noble Corinthian columns raised on their pedestals. This church has three aisles and a cross aisle, is 75 feet long, 36 broad, 34 high, and 58 to the lantern. It is famous all over Europe, and justly reputed the master-piece of sir Christopher Wren. There is not a beauty, of which the plan would admin, that is not to be found here in its greatest perfection.
St. Swithin's, Cannon-street, 1673.
St. Vedast, Foster-lane, 1697.
While these churches, and other public buildings, were going forward under the direction of sir Christopher Wren, king Charles did not confine his improvements to England alone, but commanded sir William Bruce, bart. Grand Master of Scotland, to rebuild the palace of Holyrood-house at Edinburgh; which was accordingly executed by that architect in the best Augustan stile.
During the prosecution of the great works above described, the private business of the Society was not neglected, but lodges were held at different places, and many new ones constituted, to which the best architects resorted.
In 1674, the earl of Rivers resigned the office of Grand Master, and was succeeded by George Villiers, duke of Buckingham. He left the care of the brethren to his wardens, and sir Christopher Wren, who still continued to act as deputy. In 1679, the duke resigned in favor of Henry Bennett, earl of Arlington. Though this nobleman was too deeply engaged in state affairs to attend to the duties of masonry, the lodges continued to meet under his sanction, and many respectable gentlemen joined the fraternity.
On the death of the king in 1685, James II. succeeded to the throne; during whose reign the fraternity were much neglected. The earl of Arlington dying this year, the lodges met in communication, and elected sir Christopher Wren Grand Master, who appointed Gabriel Cibber and Mr. Edward Strong his wardens. Masonry continued in a declining state for many years, and a few lodges only occasionally met in different places.
At the Revolution, the Society was so much reduced in the south of England, that no more than seven regular lodges met in London and its suburbs, of which two only were worthy of notice; the old lodge of St. Paul's, over which sir Christopher had presided during the building of that structure; and a lodge at St. Thomas's-hospital, Southwark, over which sir Robert Clayton, then lord mayor of London, presided during the rebuilding of that hospital.
King William having been privately initiated into masonry in 1695, approved the choice of sir Christopher Wren as Grand Master, and honored the lodges with his royal sanction; particularly one at Hampton Court, at which it is said his majesty frequently presided during the building of the new part of that palace. Kensington palace was built during this reign, under the direction of sir Christopher; as were also Chelsea hospital, and the palace of Greenwich; the latter of which had been recently converted into an hospital for seamen, and finished after the design of Inigo Jones.
At a general assembly and feast of the masons in 1697, many noble and eminent brethren were present; and among the rest, Charles duke of Richmond and Lenox, who was at that time master of a lodge at Chichester. His grace was proposed and elected Grand Master for the following year, and having engaged sir Christopher Wren to act as his deputy, he appointed Edward Strong senior and Edward Strong junior his wardens. His grace continued in office only one year, when he was succeeded by sir Christopher, who continued at the head of the fraternity till the death of the king in 1702.
During the following reign, masonry made no considerable progress. Sir Christopher's age and infirmities drawing off his attention from the duties of his office, the lodges decreased, and the annual festivals were entirely neglected. The old lodge at St. Paul, and a few others, continued to meet regularly, but consisted of few members. To increase their numbers, a proposition was made, and afterwards agreed to, that the privileges of masonry should no longer be restricted to operative masons, but extend to men of various professions, providing they were regularly approved and initiated into the Order. In consequence of this resolution, many new regulations took place, and the Society once more rose into notice and esteem.
Sect. 7 - History of the Revival of Masonry in the South of England
On the accession of George I. the masons in London and its environs, finding themselves deprived of sir Christopher Wren, and their annual meetings discontinued, resolved to cement under a new Grand Master, and to revive the communications and annual festivals of the Society. With this view, the lodges at the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Church-yard, the Crown in Parker's-lane near Drury-lane, the Apple-tree tavern in Charles-street Covent-garden, and the Rummer and Grapes tavern in Channel-row Westminster, the only four lodges in being in the south of England at that time, with some other old brethren, met at the Apple-tree tavern above mentioned in February 1717; and having voted the oldest master-mason then present into the chair, constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro tempore in due form. At this meeting it was resolved to revive the quarterly communications of the fraternity; and to hold the next annual assembly and feast on the 24th of June, at the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Church-yard, (in compliment to the oldest lodge, which then met there,) for the purpose of electing a Grand Master among themselves, till they should have the honor of a noble brother at their head. Accordingly, on St. John the Baptist's day 1717, in the third year of the reign of king George I. the assembly and feast were held at the said house; when the oldest Master-mason, and Master of a lodge, having taken the chair, a lift of proper candidates for the office of Grand Master was produced: and the names being separately proposed, the brethren, by a great majority of hands, elected Mr. Anthony Sayer Grand Master of masons for the ensuing year; who was forthwith invested by the said oldest Master, installed by the Master of the oldest lodge, and duly congratulated by the assembly, who paid him homage. The Grand Master then entered on the duties of his office, appointed his wardens, and commanded the brethren of the four lodges to meet him and his wardens quarterly in communication, enjoining them at the same time to recommend to all the fraternity a punctual attendance on the next annual assembly and feast.
Among a variety of regulations which were proposed and agreed to at this meeting, was the following: "That the privilege of assembling as masons, which had hitherto been unlimited, should be vested in certain lodges or assemblies of masons convened in certain places; and that every lodge to be hereafter convened, except the four old lodges at this time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication; and that without such warrant no lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional." In consequence of this regulation, some new lodges were soon after convened in different parts of London and its environ, and the masters and wardens of these lodges were commanded to attend the meetings of the Grand Lodge, make a regular report of their proceedings, and transmit to the Grand Master, from time to time, a copy of any bye-laws they might form for their own government; that no laws established among them might be contrary to, or subversive of, the general regulations by which the fraternity had been long governed.
In compliment to the brethren of the four old lodges, by whom the Grand Lodge was then formed, it was resolved, "That every privilege which they collectively enjoyed by virtue of their immemorial rights, they should still continue to enjoy; and that now law, rule, or regulation to be hereafter made or passed in Grand Lodge, should deprive them of such privilege, or encroach on any landmark which was at that time established as the standard of Masonic government." When this resolution was confirmed, the old masons in the metropolis, agreeably to the resolutions of the brethren at large, vested all their inherent privileges as individuals in the four old lodges, in trust that they would never suffer the old charges and ancient landmarks to be infringed. The four old lodges then agreed to extend their patronage to every new lode which should hereafter be constituted according to the new regulations of the Society; and while they acted in conformity to the ancient constitutions of the order, to admit their Masters and Wardens to share with them all the privileges of the Grand Lodge, excepting precedence of rank.
Matters being thus amicably adjusted, all the brethren of the four old lodges considered their attendance on the future communications of the Society as unnecessary, and therefore trusted implicitly to their Masters and Wardens, resting satisfied that no measure of importance would ever be adopted without their approbation. The officers of the old lodges, however, soon began to discover, that the new lodges, being equally represented with them at the communications, would, in process of time, so far out-number the old ones, as to have it in their power, by a majority, to subvert the privileges of the original masons of England, which had been centered in the four old lodges: they therefore, with the concurrence of the brethren at large, very wisely formed a code of laws for the future government of the Society, and annexed thereto a conditional clause, which the Grand Master for the time being, his successors, and the Master of every lodge to be hereafter constituted, were bound to preserve inviolable in all time coming. To commemorate this circumstance, it has been customary, ever since that time, for the Master of the oldest lodge to attend every Grand Installation; and taking precedence of all present, the Grand Master only excepted, to deliver the book of the original constitutions to the new installed Grand Master, on his promising obedience to the ancient charges and general regulations. The conditional clause above referred to, runs thus:
"Every annual Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, or to alter these, for the real benefit of this ancient fraternity; providing always THAT THE OLD LAND-MARKS BE CAREFULLY PRESERVED: and that such alterations and new regulations be proposed and agreed to at the third quarterly communication preceding the annual grand feast; and that they be offered also to the perusal of all the brethren before dinner, in writing, even of the youngest apprentice; the approbation and consent of the majority of all the brethren present, being absolutely necessary to make the same binding and obligatory."
This remarkable clause, with thirty-eight regulations preceding it, all of which are printed in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, were approved, and confirmed by one hundred and fifty brethren, at an annual assembly and feast held at Stationers'-hall on St. John the Baptist's day 1721, and in their presence subscribed by the Master and Wardens of the four old lodges on one part: and by Philip duke of Wharton, then Grand Master; Theophilus Desaguliers, M. D. and F. R. S. Deputy Grand Master; Joshua Timson, and William Hawkins, Grand Wardens; and the Masters and Wardens of sixteen lodges which had been constituted between 1717 and 1721, on the other part.
By the above prudent precaution of our ancient brethren, the original constitutions were established as the basis of all future Masonic jurisdiction in the south of England; and the ancient land-marks, as they are emphatically styled, or the boundaries set up as checks to innovation, were carefully secured against the attacks of future invaders. The four old lodges, in consequence of the above compact, in which they considered themselves as a distinct party, continued to act by their original authority; and so far from surrendering any of their rights, had them ratified and confirmed by the whole fraternity in Grand Lodge assembled. No regulations of the Society which might hereafter take place could therefore operate with respect to those lodges, if such regulations were contrary to, or subversive of, the original constitutions by which they were governed; and while their proceedings were conformable to those constitutions, no power known in masonry could legally deprive them of any right which they had ever enjoyed.
The necessity of fixing the original constitutions as the standard by which all future laws in the Society are to be regulated, was so clearly understood by the whole fraternity at this time, that it was established as an unerring rule, at every installation, public and private, to make the Grand Master, and the Masters and Wardens of every lodge, engage to support these constitutions; to which also every mason was bound by the strongest ties at initiation. Whoever acknowledges the universality of masonry to be its highest glory, must admit the propriety of this conduct; for were no standard fixed for the government of the Society, masonry might be exposed to perpetual variations, which would effectually destroy all the good effects that have hitherto resulted from its universality and extended progress.
During the administration of Mr. Sayer, the Society made no very rapid progress. Several brethren joined the old lodges; but only two new lodges were constituted.
Mr. Sayer was succeeded in 1718 by George Payne esq. who was particularly assiduous in recommending a strict observance of the communications. He collected many valuable manuscripts on the subject of masonry, and earnestly desired that the brethren would bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings or records concerning the fraternity, to show the usages of ancient times. In consequence of this general intimation, several old copies of the Gothic constitutions were produced, arranged, and digested.
On the 24th of June 1719, another assembly and feast was held at the Goose and Gridiron before mentioned, when Dr. Desaguliers was unanimously elected Grand Master. At this feast, the old, regular, and peculiar toasts or health's of the free-masons were introduced; and from this time we may date the rise of free-masonry on its present plan in the South of England. The lodges, which had considerably increased by the vigilance of the Grand Master, were visited by many old masons who had long neglected the craft, several noblemen were initiated, and a number of new lodges constituted.
At an assembly and feast held at the Goose and Gridiron on the 24th June 1720, George Payne esq. was re-elected Grand Master, and under his mild but vigilant administration the lodges continued to flourish.
This year, at some of the private lodges, to the irreparable loss of the fraternity, several valuable manuscripts, concerning their lodges, regulations, charges, secrets, and usages, (particularly one written by Mr. Nicholas Stone, the warden under Inigo Jones,) were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous brethren, who were alarmed at the intended publication of the Masonic constitutions.
At a quarterly communication held this year at the Goose and Gridiron on the festival of St. John the Evangelist, it was agreed, That, in future, the new Grand Master shall be named and proposed to the Grand Lodge some time before the feast *; and if approved, and present, he shall be saluted as Grand Master elect: and that every Grand Master, when he is installed, shall have the sole power of appointing his deputy and wardens, according to ancient custom.
At a Grand Lodge held in ample form on Lady-day 1721, brother Payne proposed for his successor, John duke of Montague, at that time master of a lodge. His grace, being present, received the compliments of the lodge. The brethren expressed great joy at the prospect of being once more patronized by the nobility; and unanimously agreed, that the next assembly and feast should be held at Stationers'-hall; and that a proper number of stewards should be appointed to provide the entertainment; but Mr. Josiah Villeneau, an upholder in the Borough, generously undertook the whole management of the business, and received the thanks of the Society for his attention.
While masonry was thus spreading its influence over the southern part of the kingdom, it was not neglected in the North. The General Assembly, or Grand Lodge, at York, continued regularly to meet as heretofore. In 1705, under the direction of sir George Tempest bart. then Grand Master, several lodges met, and many worthy brethren were initiated in York and its neighborhood. Sir George being succeeded by the right hon. Robert Benson, lord mayor of York, a number of meetings of the fraternity was held at different times in that city, and the grand feast during his mastership is said to have been very brilliant. Sir William Robinson bart. succeeded Mr. Benson in the office of Grand Master, and the fraternity seem to have considerably increased in the North under his auspices. He was succeeded by sir Walter Hawkesworth bart. who governed the Society with great credit. At the expiration of his mastership, sir George Tempest was elected a second time Grand Master; and from the time of his election in 1714 to 1725, the Grand Lodge continued regularly to assemble at York under the direction of Charles Fairfax esq. sir Walter Hawkesworth bart. Edward Bell esq. Charles Bathurst esq. Edward Thomson esq. M. P. John Johnson M. D. and John Marsden esq. all of whom, in rotation, during the above period, regularly filled the office of Grand Master in the North of England.
From this account, which is authenticated by the books of the Grand Lodge at York, it appears, that the revival of masonry in the South of England did not interfere with the proceedings of the fraternity in the North. For a series of years the most perfect harmony subsisted between the two Grand Lodges, and private lodges flourished in both parts of the kingdom under their separate jurisdiction. The only distinction which the Grand Lodge in the North appears to have retained after the revival of masonry in the South, is in the title which they claim, viz. The Grand Lodge of all England; while the Grand Lodge in the South passes only under the denomination of The Grand Lodge of England. The latter, on account of its situation, being encouraged by some of the principal nobility, soon acquired consequence and reputation; while the former, restricted to fewer, though not less respectable, members, seemed gradually to decline. Till within these few years, however, the authority of the Grand Lodge at York was never challenged; on the contrary, every mason in the kingdom held it in the highest veneration, and considered himself bound by the charges which originally sprung from that assembly. To be ranked as descendants of the original York masons, was the glory and boast of the brethren in almost every country where masonry was established; and, from the prevalence and universality of the idea, that in the city of York masonry was first established by charter, the masons of England have received tribute from the first states in Europe.
It is much to be regretted, that any separate interests should have destroyed the social intercourse of masons; but it is no less remarkable than true, that the brethren in the North and those in the South are now in a manner unknown to each other. Notwithstanding the pitch of eminence and splendor at which the grand Lodge in London as arrived, neither the lodges of Scotland nor Ireland court its correspondence. This unfortunate circumstance has been attributed to the introduction of some modern innovations among the lodges in the South. As to the coolness which has subsisted between the Grand Lodge at York and the Grand Lodge in London, another reason is assigned. A few brethren at York having, on some trivial occasion, seceded from their ancient lodge, they applied to London for a warrant of constitution; and without any inquiry into the merits of the case, their application was honored. Instead of being recommended to the Mother Lodge to be restored to favor, these brethren were encouraged in their revolt; and permitted, under the banner of the Grand Lodge at London, to open a new lodge in the city of York itself. This illegal extension of power justly offended the Grand Lodge at York, and occasioned a breach, which time, and a proper attention to the rules of the Order, only can repair.
Sect. 8 - History of Masonry from its Revival in the South of England till the Death of King George I
The reputation of the Society being now established, many noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank desired to be received into the lodges, which had increased considerably during the administration of Mr. Payne. The duties of masonry were found to be a pleasing relaxation from the fatigue of business; and in the lodge, uninfluenced by politics or party, a happy union was effected among the most respectable characters in the kingdom.
On the 24th of June 1721, Grand Master Payne and his wardens, with the former grand officers, and the masters and wardens of twelve lodges, met the Grand Master elect at the Queen's Arms Tavern in St. Paul's Church-yard, where the Grand Lodge was opened in ample form. Having confirmed the proceedings of the last Grand Lodge, several gentlemen were initiated into masonry at the request of the duke of Montague; and, among the rest, Philip lord Stanhope, afterwards earl of Chesterfield. From the Queen's Arms the Grand Lodge marched in procession in their clothing to Stationers'-hall in Ludgate-street, where they joyfully received by one hundred and fifty brethren, properly clothed. The Grand Master having made the first procession round the hall, took an affectionate leave of his brethren; and, being returned to his place, proclaimed the duke of Montague his successor for the ensuing year. The general regulations compiled by Mr. Payne in 1721, and compared with the ancient records and immemorial usages of the fraternity, were read, and met with general approbation; after which Dr. Desaguliers delivered an elegant oration on the subject of masonry.
Soon after his election, the Grand Master gave convincing proofs of his zeal and attention, by commanding Dr. Desaguliers and James Anderson, A. M men of genius and education, to revise, arrange, and digest the Gothic constitutions, old charges, and general regulations. This task they faithfully executed; and at the ensuing Grand Lodge held at the Queen's Arms St. Paul's Church-yard on the 27th of December 1721, being the festival of St. John the Evangelist, they presented the same for approbation. A committee of fourteen learned brothers was then appointed to examine the manuscript, and to make their report; and on this occasion several very entertaining lectures were delivered, and much useful information given by some old brethren.
At a Grand Lodge held at the Fountain Tavern in the Strand, in ample form, on the 25th March 1722, the committee reported, that they had perused the manuscript, containing the history, charges, regulations, &c. of masonry, and, after some amendments, had approved thereof. The Grand Lodge ordered the whole to be prepared for the press, and printed with all possible expedition. This order was strictly obeyed, and in little more than two years the Book of Constitutions appeared in print, under the following title: "The Book of Constitutions of the Free Masons: containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c. of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the Use of the Lodges." London, 1723.
In January 1722-3, the duke of Montague resigned in favor of the duke of Wharton, who was very ambitious to attain the office. His grace's resignation proceeded from the motive of reconciling the brethren to this nobleman, who had incurred their displeasure, by having convened, in opposition to the resolutions of the Grand Lodge, on the 25th of March, an irregular assembly of masons at Stationers'-hall, on the festival of St. John the Baptist, in order to get himself elected as Grand Master. The duke of Wharton, fully sensible of the impropriety of his conduct, publicly acknowledged his error; and promising in future a strict conformity and obedience to the resolutions of the Society, was, with the general consent of the brethren, approved as Grand Master elect for the ensuing year. His grace was regularly invested and installed on the 17th of January 1722-3 by the Grand Master, and congratulated by upwards of twenty-five lodges, who were present in the Grand Lodge on that day. The diligence and attention of the duke of Wharton to the duties of his office soon recovered and established his reputation in the Society; while under his patronage masonry made a considerable progress in the South of England. During his presidency, the office of Grand Secretary was first established, and William Cowper esq. being appointed, that gentleman executed the duties of the department several years.
The duke of Buccleugh succeeded the duke of Wharton in 1723. This nobleman was no less attached to masonry than his predecessor. Being absent on the annual festival, he was installed by proxy at Merchant-taylors'-hall, in presence of 400 masons.
His grace was succeeded in the following year by the duke of Richmond, under whose administration the Committee of Charity was instituted. Lord Paisley, afterwards earl of Abercorn, being active in promoting this new establishment, was elected Grand Master in the end of the year 1725. Being in the country at the time, his lordship was installed by proxy. During his absence, Dr. Desaguliers, who had been appointed his deputy, was very attentive to the duties of his office, by visiting the lo9dges, and diligently promoting masonry. On his lordship's return to town, the earl of Inchiquin was proposed to succeed him, and was elected in February 1726. The Society now flourished in town and country, and under the patronage of this nobleman the Art was propagated with considerable success. This period was rendered remarkable, by the brethren of Wales first uniting under the banner of the Grand Lodge of London. In Wales are some venerable remains of ancient masonry, and many stately ruins of castles, executed in the Gothic style, which evidently demonstrate that the fraternity must have met with encouragement in that part of the island in former times. Soon after this happy union, the office of Provincial Grand Master was instituted, and the first deputation granted by earl Inchiquin, on the 10th of May 1727, to Hugh Warburton esq. for North Wales; and on the 24th of June following, to sir Edward Mansell bart. for South Wales. The lodges in the country now began to increase, and deputations were granted to several gentlemen, to hold the office of Provincial Grand Master in different parts of England, as well as in some places abroad where lodges had been constituted by English masons. During the earl of Inchiquin's mastership, a warrant was issued for opening a new lodge at Gibraltar.
Among the variety of noble edifices which were finished during the presidency of this nobleman, was that excellent structure the church of St. Martin in the Fields; the foundation stone of which, it being a royal parish church, was laid, in the king's name, on the 29th of March 1721, by brother Gibb the architect, in presence of the Lord Almoner, the surveyor general, and a large company of the brethren.
Sect. 9 - History of Masonry in England during the Reign of King George II
The first Grand Lodge after the accession of George II, to the throne was held at the Devil Tavern, Temple-bar, on the 24th of June 1727; at which were present, the earl of Inchquin, Grand Master, his officers, and the Masters and Wardens of forty lodges. At this meeting it was resolved to extend the privilege of voting in Grand Lodge to Past Grand Wardens; that privilege having been heretofore restricted to Past Grand Masters, by resolution of 21st November 1724; and to Past Deputies, by another resolution of 28th February 1726.
The Grand Master having been obliged to take a journey into Ireland before the expiration of his office, his lordship transmitted a letter to William Cowper Esq. his Deputy, requesting him to convene a Grand Lodge for the purpose of nominating lord Colerane Grand Master for the ensuing year. A Grand Lodge was accordingly convened on the 19th of December 1727, when his lordship was regularly proposed Grand Master elect, and being unanimously approved, on the 27th of the same month was duly invested with the ensigns of his high office at a grand feast at Mercers'-hall in the presence of a numerous company of his brethren. His lordship attended two communications during his mastership and seemed to pay considerable attention to the duties of his office. He constituted several new lodges and granted a deputation to hold a lodge in St Bernard's Street in Madrid. At the last Grand Lodge under his lordship's auspices, Dr. Desaguliers moved, that the ancient office of Stewards might be revived, to assist the Grand Wardens in preparing the feast; when it was agreed that their appointment should be annual, and the number restricted to twelve.
Lord Kingston succeed lord Colerane, and was invested with the ensigns of his high office on the 27th of December 1728, at a grand feast held a Mercer's-hall. his lordship's zeal and attachment for the fraternity were very conspicuous, not only by his regular attendance on the communications, but by his generous present to the Grand Lodge, of a curious pedestal, a rich cushion with gold knobs and fringes, a velvet bag, and a new jewel set in gold for the use of the Secretary. during his lordship's administration, the Society flourished at home and abroad. Many lodges were constituted and among the rest, deputation was granted to George Pomfret Esq, authorizing him to open a new lodge at Bengal. This gentlemen first introduced masonry into the English settlement in India, where it has since made such rapid progress, that, with these few years, upwards of fifty lodges, have been constituted there, eleven of which are now held in Bengal. The annual remittances to the charity and public funds of the Society from this and other factories of the East India Company amount to a considerable sum.
At the Grand Lodge held a Devil Tavern on the 27th of December 1729, Natheniel Blackerby Esq, the Deputy Grand Master, being in the chair, in the absence of lord Kingston, produced a letter from his lordship, authorizing him to propose the duke of Norfolk Grand Master for the ensuing year. This nomination meeting with general approbation, the usual compliments were paid to his grace, and he was saluted Grand Master elect. At an assembly and feast at Merchant-taylors'-hall on the 29th of January following his grace was duly installed, according to ancient form, in the presence of a numerous and brilliant company of masons. His grace's absence in Italy soon after his election, prevented him from attending more than one communication during his mastership; but the business of the Society was diligently executed by Mr. Blackerly his Deputy, on whom the whole management had devolved. Among other signal proofs of his grace's attachment to the Society, he transmitted from Venice to England the following noble patents for the use of the Grand Lodge:
1. Twenty pounds to the charity.
2. A Large folio book, of the finest writing paper, for the records of Grand Lodge, richly bound in Turkey and gilt, with a curious frontispiece in vellum, containing the arms of Norfolk, amply displayed, and a Latin inscription of the family titles, with the arms of masonry emblazoned.
3. A sword of state for the Grand Master, being the old trusty sword of Gustavus Adolphus king of Sweden, which was next wore by his brave successor in ware Bernard duke of Saxe-Weimar, with both their names on the blade, and further enriched with the arms of Norfolk in silver on the scabbard. For these presents his grace was voted the public thanks of the Society.
It is not surprising that masonry should flourish under so respectable a banner. His grace appointed a Provincial Grand Lodge at New Jersey in America. A provincial patent was also made out under his auspices for Bengal. From this period we may date the commencement of the consequence and reputation of the Society in Europe; as daily application were made for establishing new lodges, and the most respectable character of the age desired their names to be enrolled in our records.
The duke of Norfolk was succeeded by lord Lovell, afterwards earl of Leicester, who was installed at Merchers'-hall on the 29th of March 1731. His lordship being at the time much indisposed with an ague, was obliged to withdraw soon after his installation. Lord Colerane, however, acted a proxy during the feast. On the 14th of May, the first Grand Lodge after lord Lovell's election was held at the Rose Tavern in Mary-le-bone, when it was voted that in future all past Grand Masters and their deputies shall be admitted members of the quarterly Committees of Charity, and that every committee shall have power to vote five pounds for the relief of any distressed mason; but no larger sum, without the consent of the Grand Lodge in Communication being first had and obtained. This resolution is still in force.
During the presidency of lord Lovell, the nobility made a point of honoring the Grand Lodge with their presence. The dukes of Norfolk and Richmond, the earl of Inchiquin, and lords Colerane and Montague, with several other persons of distinction, seldom failed to give their attendance; and though the subscriptions from the lodges were inconsiderable, the Society was enabled to relieve many worthy objects with small sums. As an encouragement to gentlemen to accept the office of steward, it was ordered that in future each Steward should have the privilege of nominating his successor at every annual grand feast. the most remarkable event of lord Lovell's administration, was the initiation of Francis duke of Lorraine, afterward emperor of Germany. by virtue of a deputation from his lordship, a lodge was held at the Hague, where his highness was received into the frist two degrees of masonry. At this lodge, Phillip Stanhope earl of Chesterfield, then ambassador there, presided; Mr. Strickland, esq., acted as Deputy, and Mr. Benjamin Hadley with a Dutch brother as Wardens. His highness coming to England in the same year, was advanced to the third degree at an occasional lodge convened for the purpose at Houghton-hall in Norfolk, the seat of sir Robert Walpole; as was also Thomas Pelham, duke of Newcastle.
The Society being now in a very flourishing state, deputations were granted from England, for establishing lodges in Russia and Spain.
Lord Viscount Montague was installed Grand Master at an assembly and feast at Merchant-Taylors'-hall on the 19th April 1732. Among the distinguished personages present on that Occasion were the dukes of Montagu and Richmond; the earl of Strathmore; and lords Colerane, Teynham and Carpenter; sir Francis Drake and sir William Keith barts. and above four hundred other brethren. At this meeting it was first proposed to have a country feast and agreed that the brethren should dine together at Hampstead on the 24th June, for the purpose cards of invitation were sent to several of the nobility. On the day appointed, the Grand Master and his Officers, the dukes of Norfolk and Richmond, earl of Strathmore, lord Carpenter and Teynham, and above a hundred other brethren, met at the Spikes at Hampstead, where an elegant dinner was provided. Soon after the dinner, the Grand Master resigned the chair to Lord Teynham, and from that time till the expiration of his office never attended another meeting of the Society. His lordship granted a deputation for constituting a lodge Valenciennes in French Flanders, and another for opening a new lodge at the Hotel de Buffy in Paris. Several other lodges were also constituted under his lordship's auspices; but the Society was particularly indebted to Thomas Barton esq. the Deputy Grand Master, who was very attentive to the duties of his office, and carefully superintended the government of the craft.
The earl of Stratmore succeeded lord Montague in the office of Grand Master, and being in Scotland at the time, was installed by proxy at an assembly at Mercers'-hall on the 7th of June 1733. On the 13th December, a Grand Lodge was held at the devil tavern, at which his lordship and his officers, the earl of Crawford, sir Robert Mansel, a number of Past Grand Officers, and the Masters and Wardens of fifty-three lodges were present. Several regulations were confirmed at this meeting respecting the Committee of Charity; and it was determined, that al complaints, in future to be brought before the Grand Lodge, previously be examined by the Committee, and from thence referred to the next Communication.
The history of the Society at this period afford no remarkable incident to record. Some considerable donations were collected, and distributed among distressed masons, to encourage the settlement of a new colony which had been just established in Georgia in 'America. Lord Strathmore showed every attention to the duties of his office, and regularly attended the meetings of Grand Lodge; under his auspices the Society flourished at home and aboard, and many genteel presents were received from the East Indies. Eleven German masons applied for authority to open a new lodge in Hamburg under the patronage of the Grand Lodge of England, for which purpose his lordship was pleased to grant a deputation; and soon after, several other lodges were constituted in Holland under the English banner.
The earl of Strathmore was succeeded by the earl of Crawford, who was installed at Mercers'-hall on the 30th March 1734. Public affairs attracting his lordship's attention, the Communications during his administration were neglected. After a eleven month vacation, however, a Grand Lodge was convened, at which his lordship attended and apologized for his long absence. To atone for past omission, he commanded two communications to be held in little more than six weeks. The dukes of Richmond and Buccleugh, the earl of Balcarras, lord Weymouth, and other eminent persons, honored the Grand Lodge with their presence during the earl of Crawford's presidency.
The most remarkable proceedings of the Society at this period related to a new edition of the Book of Constitutions, which brother James Anderson was ordered to prepare for the press; and which made its appearance in January 1738, considerably enlarged and improved.
Among the new regulation which took place under the administration of lord Crawford, was the following; That if any lodge with the bills of mortality shall cease to meet during twelve calendar months, the said lodge shall be erased out of the list, and if re-instated, shall lose its former rank. Some additional privileges were granted to the Stewards, in consequence of an application for that purpose; and to encourage gentlemen to serve the office, it was agreed, that in future all Grand Officers, the Grand Master excepted, shall be elected out of that body. A few resolutions also passed respecting illegal conventions of masons, at which it was reported many persons had been initiated into masonry on small and unworthy considerations.
The earl of Crawford seems to have made the first encroachment on the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge in the city of York, by constituting two lodges within their district; and by granting, without their consent, three deputations, one for Lancashire, a second for Durham, and a third for Northumberland. This circumstance the Grand Lodge of York highly resented, and ever after viewed the proceeding of the brethren in the metropolis with a jealous eye. All friendly intercourse ceased, and the York masons from that moment considered their interest distinct from the masons under the Grand Lodge in London.
Lord Weymouth succeed the earl of Crawford, and was installed at Mercers'-hall on the 17th April 1735, in presence of the dukes of Richmond and Athol; the earls of Crawford, Winchelsea, Balcarras, Wemys and Loudon; the marquis of Beaumont; lords Catheart and Vere Bertie; sir Cecil Wray and sir Edward Mansel barts. and a splendid company of other brethren. Several lodges were constituted during lord Weymouth's presidency; and among the rest the Stewards' Lodges. His lordship granted a deputation to hold a lodge at the seat of the duke of Richmond at Aubigny in France; and, under his patronage masonry extended considerably in foreign countries. He issued warrants to open a new lodge at Lisbon, and another at Savannah in Georgia; and, by his special appointment, provincial patents were made out for South America, and Gambia in West Africa.
Lord Weymouth never honored any of the Communications with his presence during his presidency; but this amission was less noticed on account of the vigilance and attention of his Deputy, John Ward, esq. after lord viscount Dudley and Ward, who applied with the utmost anxiety to every business which concerned the interest and well-being of the Society.
One circumstance occurred while lord Weymouth was Grand Master; of which it may be necessary to take notice. The twelve Stewards, with sir Robert Lawley, Master of the Stewards' Lodge, at their head, appeared for the first time in their new badges at a Grand Lodge held at the Devil Tavern on the 11th of December 1735. On this occasion they were not permitted to vote as individuals; but it being afterwards proposed that they should enjoy this privilege, and that the Stewards' Lodge should in future be represented in Grand Lodge by twelve members, many lodges objected to the measure as an encroachment on the privilege of every lodge which had been previously constituted. When the motion was put up for confirmation, such a disturbance ensued, that the Grand Lodge was obliged to be closed before the sentiments of the brethren could be collected on the subject. Of late years the punctilio has been waved, and the twelve Stewards are now permitted to vote in every Communication as individuals.
The earl of Louden succeeded lord Weymouth, and was installed Grand Master at Fishmongers'-hall on the 15th of April 1736. The dukes of Richmond; the earls of Albermarle and Crawford, lords Harcout Erksine and Southwell; Mr. Anstis garter king at arms, Mr. Brady lion king of arms, and a numerous company of other brethren, were present on the occasion. His lordship constituted several lodges and granted three provincial deputation during his presidency, viz, one for New England, another for South Carolina, and a third for Cape Coast Castle in Africa.
The earl of Darnley was elected Grand Master, and duly installed at Fishmonger's-hall on the 28th of April 1737, in presence of the duke of Richmond, the earls of Crawford and Wemsys, lord Gray, and many other respectable brethren. The most remarkable event of the his lordship's administration, was the imitation of the late Frederick prince of Wales, his present majesty's father, at an occasional lodge convened for the purpose at the palace of Kew, over which Dr Desaguliers presided as Master. Lord Baltimore, col. Lumley, the hon. major Madden, and several other brethren, were present. His royal highness was advanced to the second degree at the same lodge; and at another lodge. convened at the same place soon after, raised to the degree of a master mason.
There cannot be a better proof of the flourishing state of the Society at this time, than by adverting to the respectable appearance of the brethren in Grand Lodge, at which that Grand Master never failed to attend. Upwards of sixty lodges were represented at every Communication during Lord Darnley's administration, and more Provincial patents were issued by him, than by any of his predecessors. Deputations were granted for Montserrat, Geneva, the Circle of Upper Saxony, the Coast of Africa, New York, and the Islands of America.
The marquis of Carnarvon, afterwards duke of Chanos, succeeded lord Darnley in the office of Grand Master, and was duly invested and congratulated at an assembly and feast hled at Fishmonger's-hall on the 27th of April 1738. At this assembly, the duke of Richmond; the earls of Inchiquin, Loudon and Kintore; lords Colerane and Gray; and a numerous company of other brethren, were present.
The marquis showed every attention to the Society during his presidency, and in testimony of his esteem, presented to the Grand Lodge a gold jewel for the use of the Secretary; the device, two cross pens in a knot; the knot and points of the pens being curiously enameled. Two deputations for the office Provincial Grand Master were granted by his lordship; one for the Caribbean Islands and the other for the West Riding of Yorkshire. This latter appointment was considered as another encroachment on the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of York, and so widened the original breach between the brethren in the North and the South of England, that from thenceforward all future correspondence between the Grand Lodges totally ceased.
On the 15th of August 1738, Frederick the Great. afterwards king of Prussia, was initiated into masonry, in a lodge in Brunswick, under the Scots constitution, being at that time Prince Royal. So highly did he approve of the initiation, that, on his accession to the throne, he commanded a Grand Lodge to be formed at Berlin, and for that purpose obtained a patent from Edinburgh. Thus was masonry regularly established in Prussia, and under that sanction it has flourished there ever since. His majesty's attachment to the Society soon induced him to establish several new regulations for the advantage of the fraternity; and among others he ordained,
1. That no person should be made a mason, unless his character was unimpeachable and his manner of living and profession respectable.
2. That every member should pay 25 rix-dollars (or £4. 3s 0d) for the first degree; 50 rix-dollars (or £8. 6s. 0d) on his being initiated into the second degree; and 100 rix-dollars (or £16. 12s. 0d) on his being made a master-mason.
3. That he should remain at least three months in each degree; and that every sun received should be divided by the Grand Treasurer into three parts: one to defray the expenses of the lodge; another to be applied to the relief of distressed brethren; and the third to be allotted to the poor in general.
No other remarkable occurrence is recorded to have happened during the administration of the marquis of Carnarvon, except a proposition for establishing a plan to appropriate a portion of the charity to place out the sons of masons apprentices, which, after a long debate in Grand Lodge, was rejected.
Some disagreeable altercations arose in the Society about this period. A number of dissatisfied brethren separated themselves from the regular lodges, and held meetings in different places for the purpose of initiating persons into masonry, contrary to the laws of the Grand Lodge. These seceding brethren taking advantage of the breach which had been made in the friendly intercourse between the Grand Lodges of London and York, on being censured for their conduct, immediately assumed, without authority, the character of York masons. The measures adopted to check them stopped their progress for some time; till, taking advantage of the general murmur spread abroad on account of innovations that had been introduced, and which seemed to authorize an omission of, and a variation in the ancient ceremonies, they rose again into notice. This imprudent measure of the regular lodges offended many old masons; but, through the mediation of John Ward esq. afterwards lord viscount Dudley and Ward, matters were accommodated, and the brethren seemingly reconciled. This, however, proved only a temporary suspension of hostilities, for the same soon broke out anew, and gave rise to commotions, which afterward materially interrupted the peace of the Society.
Lord Raymond succeeded the marquis of Carnarvon in May 1739, and under his lordship's auspices the lodges were numerous and respectable. Notwithstanding the flourishing state of the Society, irregularities continued to prevail, and several worthy brethren, still adverse to the encroachments on the established system of the institution, were highly disgusted at the proceeding of the regular lodges. Complaints were preferred at every succeeding committee, and the communications fully employed in adjusting differences and reconciling animosities. More sessions taking place, it became necessary to pass votes of censure on the mist refractory and to enact laws to discourage irregular associations of the fraternity. this brought the power of the Grand Lodge in question; and in opposition to the laws which had been established in that assembly, lodges were formed with any legal warrant, and persons initiated into masonry for small and unworthy considerations. To disappoint the views of these deluded brethren, and to distinguish the persons initiated by them the Grand Lodge readily acquiesced in the imprudent measures which the regular masons had adopted, measures which even the urgency of the case could not warrant. Though this had the intended effect effect, it gave rise to a new subterfuge. The brethren who had seceded from the regular lodges immediately announced independency, and assumed the appellation of ancient masons. They propagated an opinion, that the ancient tenets and practices of masonry were preserved by them; and that the regular lodges, being composed of modern masons, had adopted new plans, and were not to be considered as acting under the old establishment. To counteract the regulations of the Grand Lodge, they instituted a new Grand Lodge in London, professedly on the ancient system, and under that assumed banner constituted several new lodges. There irregular proceeding they pretended to justify under feigned sanction of the Ancient York Constitution, and many gentlemen of reputation were introduced among them, so that their lodges daily increased. Without authority for the Grand Lodge of York, or form any other established power of masonry, there persevered in the measures they had adopted, formed committees, held communications, and appointed annual feasts. Under the false appellation of the York banner, they gained the countenance of the Scotch and Irish masons, who, placing implicit confidence in the representations made to them, heartily joined in condemning the measures of the regular lodges in London, as tending, in their opinion, to introduce novelties into the Society, and to subvert the original plan of the institution. The irregular masons in London, having acquired an establishment, noblemen of both kingdoms honored them with their patronage for some time, and many respectable names and lodges were added to this list. Of late years the fallacy has been detected, and they have not been so successful; several of their best members have renounced their banner and come under the patronage of the Grand Lodge of England. It is much to be wished, in that a general union among all the masons in the kingdom could effected, and we are happy to hear that such a measure is likely soon to accomplished, through the mediation of a Royal Brother at present abroad.
During the presidency of lord Raymond, no considerable addition was made to the list of lodges and communications were seldom honored with the company of the nobility. His lordship granted only one deputation for a provincial Grand Master during his presidency, viz: for Savoy and Piedmont.
The earl of Kintore succeeded lord Raymond in April 1740 and, in imitation of his predecessor, continued to discourage irregularities. His lordship appointed several provincials: particularly, one for Russia; one for Hamburg and the the Circle of Lower Saxony; one for the West Riding of York, in the room of William Horton esq. deceased; and one for the island of Barbados.
The earl of Morton was elected on the 19th of March following, and installed with great solemnity the same day at Haberdashers'-hall, in preference of a respectable company of the nobility, foreign ambassadors, and others. Several seasonable laws were passed during this lordship's mastership, and some regulations made concerning procession and other ceremonies. His lordship presented a staff of office to the Treasurer, of neat workmanship, blue and tipped with gold; and the Grand Lodge resolved, that this officer should be annually elected, and, with the Secretary and Sword-beaker, be permitted to rank in future as a member of Grand Lodge. A large cornelian seal, with the arms of masonry, set in gold, was presented to the Society, at this time, by brother Vaughan, the Senior Grand Warden; and William Vaughan esq. was appointed by his lordship, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales.
Lord Ward succeeded the earl of Morton in April 1742. His lordship was well acquainted with the nature and government of the Society having served every office from the Secretary in a private lodge to that of Grand Master. His lordship lost no time in applying effectual remedies to reconcile the animosities which prevailed; he recommended to his officers, vigilance and care in their different departments; and by the his own conduct, set a noble example how the dignity of the Society ought to be supported. Many lodges, which were in a declining state, by his advice, coalesced with other in better circumstances; some, which had been negligent in their attendance on the Communications, after proper admonitions were restored to favor; and others, which persevered in their contumacy, were erased out of the list. Thus his lordship manifested his regard for the interests of the Society, while his lenity and forbearance were universally admired.
The unanimity and harmony of the lodges seemed to be perfectly restored under his lordship's administration. The free-masons at Antigua built a large hall in that island for their meetings, and applied to the Grand Lodge for liberty to be styled the Great Lodge of St John's in Antigua, which favor was granted to them in April 1744.
Lord Ward continued two years at the head of the fraternity, during which time he constituted, many lodges, and appointed several Provincial Grand Masters; viz. one for Lancaster, one for North America, and three for the island of Jamaica. he was succeeded by the earl of Strathmore, during whose administration, being absent the whole time, the care and management of the Society devolved on the other Grand Officers, who carefully studied the general good of the fraternity. His lordship appointed a Provincial Grand Master for the island of Bermuda.
Lord Cranston was elected Grand Master in April 1745, and presided over the fraternity with great reputation two years. under his auspices masonry flourished, several new lodges were constituted, and one Provincial Grand Master was appointed for Cape Breton and Louisburg. By a resolution of the Grand Lodge at this time it was order, that public procession on feast-days should be discontinued; occasioned by some mock processions, which a few disgusted brethren had formed, in order to burlesque those public appearances.
Lord Byron succeeded lord Cranston, and was installed at Drapers'-hall on the 30th of April 1747. The laws of the Committee of Charity were, by his lordship's order, revised, printed, and distributed among lodges, and a handsome, contribution to the general charity was received from the lodge at Gibraltar. During five years that is lordship presided over the fraternity. no diligence was spared to preserve the privileges of masonry inviolate, to redress grievances, and to relieve distress. When business required his lordship's attendance in country, Fotherly Baker esq. his Deputy and Secretary Revis, were particularly attentive to the business of the Society. the former was distinguished by his knowledge of the laws and regulations; the latter, by his long and faithful services. under the auspices of lord Byron, provincial patents were issued for Denmark and Norway, Pennsylvania, Minorca, and New York.
On the 20th March, 1752, lord Carysfort accepted the office of Grand Master. The good effects of his lordship's application to the real interests of the fraternity soon became visible, by the great increase of the public fund. No Grand Officer ever took more pains to preserve, or was more attentive to recommend, order and decorum. He was ready, on all occasions, to visit the lodges in person, and to promote harmony among the members. Dr. Manningham, his Deputy, was no less vigilant in the execution of his duty. He constantly visited the lodges in his lordship's absence, and used every endeavor to cement union among the brethren. The whole proceedings of this active officer were conducted with prudence, and his candor and affability gained him universal esteem. The Grand Master's attachment to the Society was so obvious, that the brethren, in testimony of their gratitude for his lordship's great services, re-elected him on the 3d of April 1753; and during his presidency, provincial patents were issued for Gibraltar, the Bahamas Islands, New York, Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark, and Mann; also for Cornwall, and the counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Salop, Monmouth, and Hereford.
The marquis of Carnarvon (afterward duke of Chandos) succeeded lord Carysfort in March 1754. He began his administration by ordering the Book of Constitutions to be reprinted, under the inspection of a committee, consisting of the Grand Officers, and some other respectable brethren. The Grand Master's zeal and attention to the true interests of the Society were shown on every occasion. He presented to the Grand Lodge, a large silver jewel, gilt, for the use of the Treasurer, being cross keys in a knot, enameled with blue; and gave several other proofs of his attachment.
Soon after the election of the marquis of Carnarvon, the Grand Lodge took into consideration a complaint against certain brethren, for assembling, without any legal authority, under the denomination of ancient masons; who, as such, considered themselves independent of the Society, and not subject to the laws of Grand Lodge, or to the control of the Grand Master. Dr. Manningham, the Deputy Grand Master, pointed out the necessity of discouraging their meetings, as being contrary to the laws of the Society, and openly subversive of the allegiance due to the Grand Master. On this representation the Grand Lodge resolved, that the meeting of any brethren under the denomination of masons, other than as brethren of the ancient and honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons established upon the universal system, is inconsistent with the honor and interest of the craft, and a high insult on the Grand Master and the whole body of masons. In consequence of this resolution, fourteen brethren, who were members of a lodge held at the Ben Johnson's head in Pelham-street, Spitalfields, were expelled the Society, and that lodge was ordered to be erased out of the list.
No preceding Grand Master granted so many provincial deputations as the marquis of Carnarvon; in less than two years the following patents were issued;
1. for South Carolina;
2. for South Wales;
3. for Antigua;
4. for all North America where no former provincial was appointed;
5. for Barbados, and all other his majesty's islands to the windward of Guadalupe;
6. for St. Eustatius, Cuba, and St. Martin's, Dutch Caribbean islands in America;
7. for Sicily, and the adjacent islands;
8. for all his majesty's dominions in Germany, with a power to choose their successors; and
9. for the County Palatine of Chester, and the City and County of Chester.
The greater part of these appointments appear to have been mere honorary grants in favor of individuals, few of them having been attended with advantage to the Society.
The marquis of Carnarvon continued to preside over the fraternity till the 18th of May 1757, when he was succeeded by lord Aberdour; during whose mastership the Grand Lodge voted, among other charities, the sum of fifty pounds to be sent to Germany, to be distributed among such of the soldiers as were masons in prince Ferdinand's army, whether English, Hanoverians, or Hessians. This sum was soon after remitted to general Kingsley for the intended purpose.
Such was the state of masonry during the reign of George II. On the 5th of October 1760, his majesty expired at his palace at Kensington, in the 77th year of his age, and the 34th of his reign. It may be truly said, that this period was the golden era of masonry in England; the sciences were cultivated and improved, the royal art was diligently propagated, and true architecture clearly understood; the fraternity were honored and esteemed; the lodges patronized by exalted characters; and charity, humanity, and benevolence, were the distinguishing characteristics of masons.