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The Freemasons' Quarterly Review - 1834
Tuesday, the 21st January, 1834, being the day fixed for the holding a Provincial Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of this county, the brethren from the various Lodges in the province assembled at Lambton Castle about 12 o'clock in considerable numbers, and shortly afterwards the Provincial Lodge was duly opened by the Deputy P.G.M. After some preliminary business, a resolution was unanimously adopted to present a splendid masonic jewel to the Provincial Grand Master, which resolution was afterwards embodied in the following address:-
"My Lord, - The Free and Accepted Masons of the province of Durham, in Provincial Lodge assembled, beg leave to present your lordship with a Masonic jewel, purchased with the voluntary subscriptions of the Brethren, as a token of our fraternal consideration for your constant attention and personal kindness to the Craft; and to mark the high sense of gratitude we entertain for your dignified and zealous discharge of the important duties of Provincial Grand Master.
"Done in open Provincial Lodge, on the 21st of January, 1834, "JOHN P. KIDSON, P.G.S." The stewards were immediately sent to the Right Worshipful P.G. Master, who was received with the "high honours" and great cheering.
The resolution was communicated to him by the Deputy P. G. M, at his entrance, and Lord Durham immediately replied to the following effect:-
"Brethren, - I receive this splendid proof of your esteem and regard with feelings of the deepest gratitude.
"I understand it to be the result of a voluntary, unsolicited subscription, of so small an amount individually, as to include all classes, and so universally adopted, as to emanate from men of all opinions and principles.
"This is, indeed, a proud testimonial - an ample reward for all those past services which you have honoured by your unanimous commendation, and an incitement, if any were wanted, to the most unremitting exertions for the future.
"You do me no more than justice, when you state that I have 'zealously discharged the important duties of Provincial Grand Master.' It is now nearly sixteen years since I was appointed by our illustrious Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex; and I have the satisfaction of knowing, that during my presidency, Masonry has not fallen from its 'high estate' in this province.
"I have ever felt it my duty to support and encourage its principles and practice, because it powerfully develops all social and benevolent affections, because it mitigates without, and annihilates within, the virulence of political and theological controversy, because it affords the only neutral ground on which all ranks and classes can meet in perfect equality, and associate without degradation or mortification, whether for the purposes of moral instruction or of social intercourse.
"Such being my conviction of the inestimable benefits which society derives from Masonry, it cannot be a matter of surprise that I have availed myself of the advantages which my situation affords, in order to promote the interests of our excellent institution.
"In the pursuit of this object, I have been enlightened by your example, encouraged by your kindness and affection, and supported by your active and steady co-operation. If, to these claims on my gratitude, is added the event of this day, the whole amount of obligation is such, that I fear no actions of mine will enable me to repay it: of this you may rest assured, that the connection which subsists between us is as gratifying to my pride as it is dear to my heart."
This eloquent address was listened to with profound attention, and at its close the Brethren testified their high gratification by the most enthusiastic cheering.
The Masonic business of the province having been concluded, the Lodge was adjourned, and the Brethren requested to assemble at 3 o'clock, and in the interim they amused themselves by wandering over the castle and gardens. On the terrace they were joined by the Earl and Countess of Durham, and the excellent band of his lordship played several spirited and enlivening airs. The weather was peculiarly mild, and the Brethren were highly gratified in their walks by the courtesy and attention they received. A little before 3 o'clock the party again assembled, and proceeded in procession to the dining-room, where a most splendid repast was prepared, and by the most excellent arrangements, the whole party was accommodated with ease and comfort, consisting of about 150 persons. The tables were decorated by a most gorgeous profusion of gold and silver cups; the dinner was of the very first order, and the champagne and wines of all descriptions were of the very best quality. Abundance flowed throughout, and the noble chairman repeatedly desired his honoured guests to order whatever his house could afford. After dinner the lodge was again formed, which prevents us (reluctantly) from giving an account of several excellent speeches which were delivered on the occasion. We may be permitted, however, to say, that the meeting was one of unbounded satisfaction to all parties; that the attention and courtesy of the noble lord was unceasing, and that the recollection of this day will form a bright era in the annals of Masonry, and will long be remembered by the Brethren as one of the happiests of their lives.
Among the company present, we observed Sir H. Williamson, Sir .W. Chaytor, Sir C. Sharp, W. Harland, Esq., M.P., J.G. Boss, Esq., M.P., W. Mills, Esq., J. Fawcett, Esq., and a large assembly of the gentry and respectability of the county.
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