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History Of The Most Remarkable Events In The Society From 1779 To 1791 Inclusive

SECTION xI

BOOK Iv - The History of Masonry in England

illustrations of masonry
william preston


Amidst these disagreeable altercations, intelligence arrived of the rapid progress of the Society in India, where many new lodges had been constituted, which were amply supported by the first characters in the East. Omdit-ul-Omrah Bahauder, eldest son of the nabob of the Carnatic, had been initiated into masonry in the lodge of Trichinopoly near Madras; and had expressed the highest veneration for the institution. This news having been transmitted to England officially, the Grand Lodge determined to send a congratulatory letter to his highness on the occasion, accompanied with a blue apron elegantly decorated, and a copy of the Book of Constitutions superbly bound. To sir John Day, advocated general of Bengal, the execution of the commission was entrusted. In the beginning of 1780, an answer was received from his highness, acknowledging the receipt of the present , and expressing the warmest attachment and benevolence to his brethren in England. This letter, which is written in the Persian language, was enclosed in an elegant cover of cloth of gold, and addressed To the Grand Master and Grand Lodge of England.

This flattering mark of attention from so distinguished a personage abroad,was peculiarly grateful to the Grand Lodge; who immediately resolved, that a letter should be prepared and transmitted to his highness, expressing the high opinion which the brethren in England entertained of his merits, and requesting the continuance of his friendship and protection to the masonic institution in the East. the thanks of the Grand Lodge were voted to sir John Day; and a translation of his highness's Letter was ordered to be copied on vellum, and, with the original, elegantly framed and glazed, hung up in the hall at every public meeting of the Society.

Under the auspices of this celebrated chief, there is every reason to expect that masonry will flourish in the East; and it cannot fail of giving pleasure to every zealous brother, to find that the venerable principles of the institution pervade the most distant regions.

The first test testimony which  Odmit-ul-Omrah gave of his regard to the institution, was by the initiation of his brother Omur-ul-Omrah, who seems equally attached with himself to promote the welfare of the Society.

Another event has also taken place at Madras, which must be very satisfactory to the brethren of England. The division and secessions, which had originated in London in 1738, having unfortunately reached India, by the intervention of brigadier general Horne, who had been appointed, by patent from the duke of Cumberland, Provincial Grand Master on the Coast of Cormomandel, an union of the brethren in that part of the world has been affected, and the lodge No. 152, styling themselves Ancient York Masons, joined a lodge under his auspices and voluntarily surrendered the constitution under which they had formerly acted. This desirable object being accomplished, and the wishes of the brethren fulfilled, the General requested their assistance to form a Grand Lodge, when the following Officers were appointed, and installed in due form.

Brigadier gen. Horne, Prov. Grand Master.

Ter. Gahagan esq. Deputy Grand Master.

Jof. Du Pre Porcher esq, Acting Grand Master.

Lieut. col. Rofs. Grand Architect.

Lieut. col. J Campbell, Sen, Grand Warden.

Lieut. col. Hamilton esq, Junior Grand Warden.

James Grierson esq, Grand Secretary.

James Amos esq, Grand Treasurer.

Lieutenant-colonel Moorhouse, and colonel L Lucas esq. Grand Stewards.

Major Maule, Grand Orator.

Charles Bromley esq, Grand Sword Bearer.

The Grand Lodge having been regularly established, a proposal was made, that a new lodge should be formed in Madras, under the name of Perfect Unanimity, No. 1. This being unanimously agreed to, the Provincial Grand Master gave notice, that he should perform the ceremony of consecration on Saturday the 7th of October 1787, in commemoration of the union which had been so amicably formed that day; and requested the proper officers to attend the occasion. Accordingly, on the morning of the day appointed upwards of fifty brethren assembled at the house of Choulty Plain, in which the public rooms are held , and at half past eleven o'clock the ceremony commenced, After the preparatory business had been gone through in Grand Lodge, a procession was formed and marched three times round the lodge; after which the business of consecration was entered on, and completed in a manner suitable to the solemnity of the occasion. Several old masons who were present, declared they never saw a ceremony conducted with more dignity and propriety.

The following brethren were installed as Officers of this new lodge, viz, Colly Lyons Lucas esq. Master; Pullier Spencer esq. Senior Warden; George Robert Latham esq, Junior Warden; George Maule esq. Secretary; John Robins esq. Treasurer.

At two o'clock, the brethren sat down at an excellent dinner, provided by the Grand Lodge; after which many masonic and loyal toasts were drank; and the day was concluded with that pleasing festivity, harmony, and good fellowship, which has always distinguished the Society of Free and Accepted Masons.

During the presidency of the duke of Manchester, new lodges were constituted in different parts of the kingdom, and considerable additions made to the general funds of the Society. The sums voted to distressed brethren far exceeded those of any former period; and among other instances of liberality may be specified, a very generous contribution, of one hundred pounds, toward the relief of the brethren in America, who had suffered great losses in consequence of the rebellion there, and whose situation was very feelingly described in a letter from the lodge No. 1 at Halifax Nova Scotia.

A singular proposition was made in Grand Lodge on the 8th of April 1778, that the Grand Master and his Officers should be distinguished in  future at all public meetings by robes. to be provided at their own expense; and that Past Grand Officers should have the privilege of being distinguished in a similar manner. This measure was at first favourably received; but, on further investigation in the Hall Committee, to whom it was referred, it was found to be so diametrically opposite to the original plan of the institution, that it was very properly laid aside.

The finances of the Society occupied great part of the proceedings of the Committees and communications during his grace's administration. The debts due on account of the hall appearing to be very considerable, it was determined to make an application to the lodges to raise 2,000 to pay them off. For this purpose in consequence of a plan offered to the consideration of the Grand Lodge in June 1779, it was resolved, that  a subscription should be opened, to raise money by loan, without interest, at the discretion of the subscribers; that 25 should be the sum limited for each subscriber, and the number of subscribers to be one hundred; and that the monies so subscribed should be repaid, in equal proportions, among the subscribers, at such times as the hall fund would admit. It was also determined, that an honorary medal should be presented to every subscriber, as a mark of distinction for the service which he had rendered the Society; and that the bearer of such medal, if a master mason, should have the privilege of being present at, and voting in, all the future meetings of the Grand Lodge. This mark of attention prompted some lodges, as well as individuals, to contribute and the greatest part of the money was speedily raised and applied for the purpose intended.

The Stewards Lodge, finding their finances much reduced be several members having withdrawn the annual subscriptions, applied to the Grand Lodge for relief; upon which it was resolved, that in future no Grand Officer should be appointed, who was not at the time a subscribing member of the Stewards Lodge.

A measure of more importance attracted the attention of the Society at this period. It had been observed with regret, that a number of worthy brethren in distress had been subjected to much inconvenience and disappointment from a want of relief during the long summer recess, as there was seldom any Committee of Charity held from the beginning of April to the end of October. To remedy this complaint, the Grand Lodge unanimously resolved, that an Extraordinary Committee should meet annually in the last week of August, to administer temporary relief to such distressed objects as might regularly apply, not exceeding five pounds to one person.

This increase in the business of the Society induced the Grand Lodge to appoint pro tempore, an assistant to the Grand Secretary, who should hold equal rank and power with himself in Grand Lodge. Among many regulations which were now established, it was determined, that in future no person should hold two offices at the same time in Grand Lodge.

The Grand Lodge of Germany applied for liberty to send a representative to the Grand Lodge of England, in order more effectively to cement the union and friendship of the brethren of both countries, and brother John Leonhardi was appointed to the office. This request being complied with, a resolution passed, that, in compliment to the Grand Lodge of Germany brother Leonhardi should wear the clothing of a Grand Officer, and rank next to the Past Grand Officers in all public meetings of the Society.

This additional cement was highly pleasing; and led the brethren to regret, that no intercourse or correspondence should have subsisted nearer home, between the Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland, thought all the members were subjects of the same sovereign. At the communication in April 1782, this important business came under consideration; when, after a variety of opinions had been delivered, it was unanimously resolved, that the Grand Master should be requested to adopt such means as his wisdom might suggest, to promote a good understanding among the brethren of the three united kingdoms. Notwithstanding this resolution, the wished for union has not yet been accomplished; we trust, however, that the event is not far distant.

At this meeting also, the pleasing intelligence was communicated, of the duke of Cumberland's intention to accept the government of the Society. This having been regularly stated in Grand Lodge, his highness was proposed Grand Master elect; and it was resolved, in compliment to him, that he should have the privilege of nominating a peer of the realm as Acting Grand Master, who should be empowered to superintend the Society in his absence; and that, at any future period, when the fraternity might be honoured with a Prince of the blood at their head, the same privilege should be granted.

At the annual grand feast on the 1st of May 1782, the duke of Cumberland was unanimously elected Grand Master; and it being signified to the Society that his highness meant to appoint the earl of Effingham Acting Grand Master, that the appointment was confirmed, and his lordship presided as proxy for his royal highness during the feast.

On the 8th of January 1783, a very singular motion was made in Grand Lodge, and afterward confirmed, that the interest of five percent on 1,000 which had been advanced for the purposes of the hall from the charity fund, should cease to be paid; and further, that the principal should be annihilated, and sunk into the hall fund. However extraordinary it may appear, this event took place; and the money has been regularly brought to account in the hall expendititures. A number of other regulations were confirmed at this meeting, to render the hall fund more productive, and to enforce obedience to the laws respecting it. How far some of the regulations are consistent with the original plan of the masonic institution must be left to abler judges to determine.In earlier periods of our history, such compulsory regulations were unnecessary.

At the Grand Lodge held on the 23rd of November 1783, an addition was made to the Grand Officers, by the appointment of a Grand Portrait Painter; and, at the request of the duke of Manchester, that honor was conferred on the rev. William Peters, in testimony of the service which he had rendered to the Society, by his elegant portrait of lord Petre.

During the remainder of the year, there was scarcely any further business of importance transacted. On the 19th of November, information was given in Grand Lodge, that two brethren, under sanction of the Royal Military lodge at Woolwich, which claimed the privilege of an itinerant lodge, had lately held an irregular meeting  in the King's Bench prison, and had there unwarrentbly initiated sundry person into masonry. The Grand Lodge, conceiving this to be a violent infringement of the privileges of every regular constituted lodge, ordered the said lodge to be erased from the list; and determined, that it was inconsistent with the purposes of making, passing and raising masons, in a prison or place of confinement.

At this Grand Lodge also, it was resolved, to enact certain regulations, subjecting the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens to fines, in case of non-attendance on the public meetings of the Society; and these regulations were confirmed on the 11th February following.

While those proceedings were carrying on in England, the brethren in Scotland were prosecuting their labours also for the good of the craft. The vast improvements made in the city of Edinburgh, afforded ample room for ingenious architects to display their masonic talent and abilities; and there the operative part of the fraternity were fully occupied, in rearing stately mansions, and planning elegant squares.

On the 1st of August 1785, a very pleasing sight was exhibited to every well-wisher to the embellishment of that city, in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the South Bridge, being the first step to farther improvement. In the morning of that day, the right hon. the Lord Provost and Magistrates, attended by the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, and a number of nobility and gentry, with the masters, office-bearers, and brethren of the several lodges; walked from the parliament-house to the bridge in procession. The streets were lined by the 58th regiment and the city guard.

Lord Haddo, Grand Master, having arrived at the place, laid the foundation stone with the usual solemnities. His lordship standing on the east, with the Substitute on his right hand, and the Grand Wardens on the west, the square, the plumb, the level, and the mallet, were successively delivered by an operative mason to the Substitute, and by him to the Grand Master, who applied the square to that part of the stone which was square, the plumb to the level edges, the level above the stone in several positions, and then with the mallet gave three knocks, saying' "May the Grand Architect of the Universe grant a blessing on this foundation stone, which we have now laid; and by his providence enable us to finish this, and every other work which may be undertaken for the embellishment and advantage of this city." On this the brethren gave the honours.

The cornucopia and two silver vessels were then brought from the table, and delivered, the cornucopia to the Substitute, and the two vessels to the Wardens, which were successively presented to the Grand Master, who, according to ancient form, scattered the corn, and poured the wine and oil, which they contained, on the stone saying, "May the All-bounteous Author of Nature bless this city with an abundance of corn, wine and oil;  and with all the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life! and may the same Almighty power preserve this city from ruin and decay to the latest posterity!"

The Grand Master, being supported on the right hand by the duke of Buccleugh, and on the left by the earl of Balcarras, addressed himself to the Lord Provost and the Magistrates in a suitable speech for the occasion. The coins of the present reign, and a silver plater, with the following inscription, was deposited within the stone.

ANNUETE DEO OPTIMO MAXIMO,

REGNANTE GEORGIO III, PATRE PATRIA,

HUJUS PONTIS

QUO VICI EXTRA MOENIA EDINBURGH,

URBI COMMODE ADJUNGERENTUR,

ADITUMQUE NON INDIGNUM TANTA

URBS HABERET,

PRIMUM LAPIDEM POSUIT

NOBLIS VIR GEORGIUS DOMINUS HADDO,

ANTIQUISSIMI SODALITH ARCHITECTONICI

APUD SCOTOS CURIO MAXIMUS,

PLAUDENTE AMPLISSIMA FRATRUM CORONA,

IMMEMSAQUE POPULI FREQUENTIA

--------------------------------

OPUS

UTILE CIVIBUS GRATUM ADVENIS,

URBI DECORUM PATRIAE HONESTUM,

CONSULE JACOBO HUNTER BLAIR,

INCEPTI AUCTORE INDEFESSO,

SANCCIENTE REEGE, SENATUQUE BRITANNIAE,

APPROBANTIBUS OMNIBUS,

TANDEM INCHOATUM EST

IPSIS KALENDIS AUGUSTI

A.D. MDCCLXXXV

AERAE ARCHITECTONICAE 5785

Q.F.F.Q.S.

Translation

"By the blessing of Almighty God, in the reign of George the Third, the Father of his country, the right hon. George, Lord Haddo, Grand Master of the Most ancient Fraternity of Free Masons in Scotland, amidst the acclamation of a Grand Assembly of the brethren, and a vast concourse of people, laid the first stone of this bridge, intended to form a convenient communication between the city of Edinburgh and its suburbs, and an access not unworthy of such a city.

This work, so useful to the inhabitants, so pleasing and convenient to strangers, so ornamental to the city, so creditable to the country, so long and much wanted and wished for, was at last begun, with the sanction of the king and parliament of Great Britain, and with universal approbation, in the provestship of James Hunter Blair, teh author and indefatigable promoter of the undertaking, August the 1st, in the year of our Lord, 1785, and of the era of Masonry 5785. which may God prosper."

An anthem was then sung , and the procession returned, reversed, to the Parliament-house. After which the Lord Provost and Magistrates gave an elegant entertainment at Dunn's rooms to the Grand Lodge, and the nobility and gentry who had assisted in the ceremony.

The net public ceremony in which the society bore a principal share, was in laying the foundation stone of that valuable seminary of learning , the new College of Edinburgh. this University has for many years been esteemed one of the most celebrated in Europe, and has attracted a great number of students of physic and other branches of science, from all parts of the world. The eminence of its professors in every branch of learning is universally admitted; and it is most fervently so be wished, for the honour of the kingdom, that the whole plan may be completely executed agreeably to the intention of the original promoters. as this is an event worth of record in the annals of masonry, I shall describe minutely the ceremony observed on that remarkable occasion.

On the 13th of October 1789, Mr Robert Adam, architect, presented the plans of the intended building, at a public breakfast given by the Lord Provost, to the Magistrates, the Principal and the Professors of the University, of Edinburgh, on the occasion; and explained their uses for the various schools, halls, and houses. The whole company expressed the highest satisfaction at the design; and it was immediately resolved, that a subscription should be opened to carry the plan into execution. Monday the 16th of November was then fixed for laying the foundation stone of the new structure.

On the morning of the day appointed for performing the ceremony, the brethren assembled at eleven o'clock in the Parliament-house, to meet lord Napier, at that time Grand Master of Scotland. When the lodges were arranged, the Grand Master sent notice to the Lord Provost and Magistrates, who had assembled in the Council-chamber; and to the Principal, Professors and Student of the University, who had met in the High Church. At half past twelve, the procession began to move in the following order:

1st. The Principal, Professors, and Students of the University, with their mace carried before them. Principal Robertson being supported on the right hand by the rev. Dr Hunter, professor of divinity; and on the left, by Dr Handy, professor of church history. The Professors were all robed, and each of the Students had a sprig of laurel in his hat.

2nd. The Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council, in their robes, preceded by the sword, mace, etc. The Lord Provost being supported on the right and left by the two eldest Baillies.

3rd. A complete choir of Singers, under the direction of signor Scherky, singing anthems as the procession moved.

4th. The Lodges, according to seniority, juniors preceding, with their different insignia.

5th.  A complete band of instrumental music.

6th. The Grand Stewards, properly clothed, with white rods.

7th. The Noblemen and Gentlemen attending the Grand Master.

8th. A large drawing of the East Front of the New College, carried by two operative masons.

9th. The grand jewels, borne by Past Masters of lodges.

10th. Officers of the Grand Lodge, properly clothed.

11th. Past Grand Masters.

12th. Lord Napier, present Grand Master, supported on the right hand by sir William Forbes bart. Past Grand Master; and on the left, by the duke of Buccleugh.

A detachment of the 35th regiment from the castle, together with the city guard, lined the streets.

At one o'clock, the Grand Master reached the site of the College, when the foundation stone was laid with the usual ceremononies. * After which the Grand Master addressed himself to the Lord Provost and Magistrates as follows:

"My Lord Provost, and Magistrates, of the City of Edinburgh.

In compliance with your request, I have now had the honour, in the capacity of Grand Master Mason of Scotland, to lend my aid towards laying that stone on which it is your intention to erect a new College. I must ever consider it a sign of the fortunate events in my life, that the Craft of Free and Accepted Masons should be called forth, to assist at an undertaking so laudable; and so glorious, during the time that, from their affections, I have the honour of sitting in the chair of the Grand Lodge.

The attention to the improvement of this city, manifested by the Magistrates, your predecessors in office, has for many years, excited the admiration of their fellow-citizens. The particular exertions of your Lordship and your Colleagues have merited, and it give me infinite satistfaction to say, have obtained, the universal approbation of all ranks of men.

The business of, this day, equally to be remembered in the annals of this city and of masonry, will transmit your name with lustre to posterity. Thousands yet unborn, learning to admire your virtues, will thereby be stimulated to follow the great example you have set them, of steady patriotism, love of your country, and anxious desire to advance the welfare, and increase the fame of the city of Edinburgh.

In the name of the Craft of Free and Accepted Masons, and in my own, I sincerely implore the protection of the Supreme Architect of the Universe on your lordship and your brethren in the Magistracy! May you long continue here the ornaments of civil society; and may you hereafter be received into those mansions, those lodges, prepared in heaven for the blessed."

To this address the Lord Provost, in the name of the Magistrates and Town Council of the City of Edinburgh, mad a suitable reply.

The Grand Master next addressed the Principal as representing the University of Edinburgh, as follows:

"Reverend Sir,

Permit me to congratulate you, as Principal, and your brethren, as Professors, of the University of Edinburgh, on the work which we have this day been engaged. -- A work, worthy of your Patrons, who (ever considering the public good) will not permit the seat of learning, established in this ancient metropolis, to bear the appearance of decay, at a time when so much attention is bestowed on the elegance and convenience both of public and private edifices.

Permit me, likewise, to congratulate my country, on the probability of seeing the different chairs of the magnificent structure now to be erected, filled by men so distinguished for their piety, so eminent for their learning, and so celebrated for their abilities, as those to whom I now have the honour to address myself.

Any panegyric that I can pronounce, must fall so far short of what is due to you, Sir, and your honourable and learned brethren, that it would be presumption in me to attempt to express my sense of your deserts. Suffice it to say that the Grand Lodge of Scotland, nd the lodges depending on it, are most happy, in having this opportunity of assisting at, and witnessing, the laying of the foundation, whence it is their earnest wish a building may arise, which, in future ages may be renowned for the excellence of its teachers, and as much respected for the propriety of conduct in its students, as the University now is, over which you have the peculiar satisfaction of presiding.

May the Almighty Architect, the Sovereign Disposer of all events, grant, that the Principal and Professors of this College may continue to deliver their instructions, and the Students to receive their admonitions, in such a manner as may rebound to the glory of God, the promoting of science, and the extension of all useful learning."

To which the rev. Principal made the following reply:-

"My Lord,

From very humble beginnings, the University of Edinburgh has attained to such eminence, as entitles it to be ranked among the most celebrated seminaries of learning. Indebted to the bounty of several of our Sovereigns -distinguished particularly by the gracious Prince now seated on the British throne, whom with gratitude, we reckon among the most munificent of our royal benefactors - and cherished by the continued attention and good offices of our honourable Patrons, this University can no boast of the number and variety of its institutions for the instruction of youth in all the branches of literature and science.

With what integrity and discernment persons have been chosen to preside in each of these departments, the character of my learned colleagues affords the most satisfying evidence. From confidence in their abilities, and assiduity in discharging the duties of their respective offices, the University of Edinburgh has become a seat of education, not only to the youth in every part of the British dominions, but, to the honour of our country, students have been attracted to it from almost every nation in Europe, and every state in America.

One thing still was wanting, The apartments appropriate for the accommodation of Professors and Students were so extremely unsuitable to the flourishing state of the University, that it has long  been the general wish to have buildings more decent and convenient erected. What your lordship has now done, gives a near prospect of having this wish accomplished; and we consider it as a most auspicious circumstance, that the foundation stone of this new mansion of science is laid by your lordship, who, among your ancestors, reckon a man, whose original and universal genius places him high among the illustrious persons who have contributed most eminently to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge

Permit me to add, what I regard as my own peculiar felicity, that of having remained in my present station much longer than any of my predecessors, I have lived to witness an event so beneficial to this University, the prosperity of which is near to my heart, and has ever been the object of my warmest wishes.

May Almighty God, without invocation of whom no action of importance should be begun, bless this undertaking, and enable us to carry it on with success! May he continue to protect our University, the object of whose institution is to instill into the minds of youth, principles of sound knowledge; to inspire them with the love of religion and virtue; and to prepare them for filling the various situations in society, with honour to themselves, and with benefit to their country!

All this we ask, in the name of Christ; and unto the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we ascribe the kingdom, power and glory! Amen!"

After the Principal had finished his speech, the brethren again gave the honours, which concluded th ceremony.

Tow crystal bottles, cast on purpose at teh glass-house of Leith, were deposited in the foundation-stone. In one of these were put different coins of the present reign, each of which were previously enveloped in crystal, in such an ingenious manner that the legend on the coins could be distinctly read without breaking the crystal., In the other bottle were deposited seven rolls of vellum, containing a short account of the original foundation and present state of the University, together with several other papers; in particular, the different newspapers, containing advertisements relative to the college, Etc, and a list of the names of the present Lord Provost and Magistrates, and Officer of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The bottles being carefully sealed up, were covered with a plate of copper wrapt in block-tin; and, upon the under side of the copper, were engraven the arms of the city of Edinburgh, and of the University; likewise the arms of the right hon. lord Napier, Grand Master Mason of Scotland. Upon the upper side, a Latin inscription, of which the following is a copy:

ANNUENTE DEO OPT. MAX

REGNANTE GEORGIO III, PRINCIPE MUNIFICER

TISSIMO,

ACADEMIA EDINBURGENIS

/EDIBUS

INITO QUIDEM HUMILLIMIS

ET JAM, POST DUO SECLA, PENE RUINOS

NOVI HUJUS /EDIFICH,

UBI COMMODITATI SIMEL ET ELGANTI/E

TANTODUCTINARUM DOMICILIO DIGN/E,

CONSULERETUR,

PRIMUM LAPIDEM POSUIT

FLAUDENTE INGENTI OMNIUM ORDIUNIUM FREQUENTIA

VIR NOBILISSIUMUS FRANCISCUS DOMINUS NAPIER,

REIPUB ARCHITECTONIC/E APUD SCOTOS

CURIO

MAXIMUS.

XVI KAL DECEMB

ANNO SALUTIS HUMAN /E MDCCLXXXIX

/ER/E ARCHITECTIONIC/E IOOIDCCLXXIX

CONSULE THOMA ELDER,

ADAMIE/E PR/EFECTO GULIELMO ROBERTSON

ARCHITECTO ROBERTO ADAM

Q.F.F.Q.S.

TRANSLATION

"By the Blessing of Almighty God, In the reign of the most munificent Prince George III, The buildings of the Univeristy of Edinburgh, being originally very mean, And now, after two centuries, almost a ruin. The Right Hon. Francis Lord Napier, Grand Master of the Fraternity of Free Masons of Scotland, Amidst the acclamations of the people, laid the foundation stone of this new fabric, In which an union of elegance with conveniences, suitable to the dignity of learning, Has been studied; On the 16th day of November in the year of our Lord 1789 And in the era of Masonry 5789

Thomas Elder being the Lord Provost of the City; William Robertson, the Principal of the University; and Robert Adam the Architect.

May the undertaking prosper and be crowned with success.

An anthem having been sung, the brethren returned, the whole procession being reversed, and when the junior lodge arrived at the door of the Parliament-house, it fell back to the right and left, within the lines of soldiers; when the Principal, Professors and Students; the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council; and the Grand Lodge; passed though, with their hats off.

The procession on this occasion was one of the most brilliant and numerous that ever was exhibited in the city of Edinburgh. The Provost and Magistrates had very properly invited many of the Nobility and Gentry from all parts of the country, to witness the solemnity of laying the foundation-stone of a college, the architecture of which, it is agreed by all who have seen the plan, will not only do honour to the city, but to the nation of Europe. But the number of persons invited was far exceeded by the immense multitude of all ranks, who, desirous of viewing so magnificent a spectacle, filled the streets, windows, and even roofs of the houses, all the way from the Parliament-close, down the High-street and Bridge-street, near the fourth end of which the foundation-stone was laid. above 20,000 were supposed to be witnesses of this ceremony. It is, however, worthy of notice, that, notwithstanding so immense a crowd, the greatest order and decency were observed; nor did the smallest accident happen.

On the 7th of January 1795, the brethren in Scotland had another opportunity of exemplifying their skill in the practical rules of the Art, at opening the new bridge for carriages at Montrose. This undertaking had been long deeded impracticable, on account of the extent being near half a mile across a rapid influx and reflux of the sea. The important work, however, was happily accomplished under the superintendence of the fraternity, and the great post road from the fourth to the north of Scotland is now united. A public procession was formed on this occasion when the Grand Master, amidst an immense concourse of people, critically eaminined the work and declared it well built and ably executed.

Having described the principal works in which the brethren in Scotland have been employed, we shall now resume the history of masonry in England, and trace the occurrences that have taken place there, under the auspices of the duke of Cumberland, and his successor the prince of Wales.

On the 4th of January 1787, was opened in London, the grand chapter of Harodim. Though this order is of ancient date, and had been patronised in different parts of Europe, previous to this period there appears not on record the regular establishment of such an association in England. For some years it was faintly encouraged,  but since its merit has been further investigated, it has receiveded the patronage of the most exalted masonic characters; and, under the patronage of lord Macdonald, meets regularly at Free-Masons tavern on the 3rd Monday of January, February, March, April, October, November, and December; at which meetings any member of a regular lodge may be admitted by ticket as a visitor, to hear the lectures of masonry judiciously illustrated.

The mysteries of this order are peculiar to the institution itself, while the lectures of the Chapter include every branch of the masonic system, and represent the art of masonry in a finished and complete form.

Different classes are established, and particular lectures restricted to each class. the lectures are divided into sections, and the sections into clauses. the sections are annually assigned by the Chief Harod, to a certain number of is skillful companions in each class, who are denominated SECTIONISTS; and they are empowered to distribute the clauses of their respective sections, with the approbation of the Chief Harod and General Director, among certain private companions of the Chapter, who are denominated CLAUSE-HOLDERS. Such companions as by assiduity become possessed of all the sections in the lecture, are called LECTURERS; and out of these the General Director is always chosen.

Every Clauseholder, on his appointment, is presented with a ticket, signed by the Chief Harod, specifying the clause allotted to him. This ticket entitles him to enjoy the rank and privileges of a Clause-holder of the Chapter; and no Clause-holder can transfer his ticket to the another Companion, unless the consent of the Council has been obtained for that purpose, and the Director General shall have approved the Companion to whom it is to be transferred, as qualified to hold it. In case of the death, sickness, or non-residence in London, of any Lecturer, Sectionist or Clause-holder, another Companion is immediately appointed to fill up the vacancy, that the lectures may be always complete; and once in every month, during the session, a public lecture is delivered, in a masterly manner, in open Chapter.

The Grand-Chapter is governed by a Grand Patron, two Vice Patrons, a Chief Ruler, and two Assistants, with a Council of twelve respectable Companions, chosen annually at the Chapter nearest to the festival of St John the Evangelist.

On the 25th of March 1788, another event worthy of notice in the annals of masonry took place, by the institution of the Royal Cumberland Free-mason school, for maintaining, clothing and educating female orphans, the children of indigent brethren. To the benevolent exertions of chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini, the fraternity were first indebted for this establishment. Under the patronage of her royal highness the duchess of Cumberland, the school was originally formed; and to her softening hand is owning its present flourishing state, by here recommendation of it to the Royal Family,m as well as to many of the nobility and gentry of both sexes. On the 1st of January 1789, fifteen children were taken into the house provided for the purpose at Somers Town, St Pancras; but since that time, by the liberal encouragement which the Charity has received from the fraternity in India as well as in England, the Governors have been enabled to augment the number of children at different periods to thirty-four.

The object of this Charity is to train up children in the knowledge of virtue and religion; in an early detestation of vice, and its unhappy consequences, in industry, as necessary to their condition; and to impress strongly on their minds, a due sense of subordination, true humility, and obedience to their superiors.

In 1793, the Governors, anxious still farther to extend the benefits of this Institution, hired on lease a piece of ground in St George's Fields belonging to the City of London, on which they have erected as commodious and spacious school-house at the expense of upwards of 2500 into which the children are now removed. This building is sufficiently extensive to accommodate an hundred children; and from the exertions of the fraternity at home an abroad, there is every reason to hope that the Governors will soon have it in their power to provide for that number.

the following are some of the general regulations for the management of the school:

Every child who is admitted in to the school must be the daughter of a mason who has been initiated into the Society three years, and registered in the books of the Grand Lodge; and such child, at the time of application; must be between the age of five and nine years; not weak, sickly, or afflicted with any disorder or infirmity; must have had the smallpox, and be free from any defect in her eyes or limbs. There is no restriction as to her parochial settlement, whether it be in town or country.

Children continue in the school till they attain the age of fifteen years, during which time they are carefully instructed in every domestic employment; and when they quit the school, are placed out as apprentices, either to trades, or as domestic servants, as may be found mist suitable to their respective capacities.

A quarterly General Court of the Governors is held on the second Thursday in January, April, July, and October, to receive the reports of the General Committee, order all payments admit and discharge children, and transact all general business relative to the Charity.

A General Committee, consisting of perpetual and life Governors, and thirty annual Governors, meet on the last Friday in every month, to receive the reports of the Sub-Committee, and give such directions as they judge proper, subject to the confirmation or rejection of the succeeding Quarterly Court.

A House Committee, consisting of twelve members of the General Committee, meet on the Friday preceding each meeting of that Committee, (or oftener, if any matter require their attendance,) to whom the internal management is specially delegated; for which purpose they visit the school in weekly rotation, examine the provision and stores sent in for the use of the Charity, and see that the several regulations are strictly complied with, and report their proceedings to the General Committee.

A Committee of Auditors, consisting of twelve members of the General Committee, meet previous to every Quarterly Court, to examine the vouchers and accounts of the Treasurer and Collector, see that the same are properly entered by the Secretary, and prevent any payments being made, which have not been approved and by the House and General Committees.

This Charity is under the immediate supervision of her royal highness the duchess of Cumberland, the patroness; their royal highnesses the prince of Wales, the duke of York, and the duke of Gloucester, the Patrons; Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini, the Institutor; the right hon. lord Macdonald, James Heseltine, James Galloway, William Birch, William Addington esqs. the Trustees; and sir Peter Parker, bart. the Treasurer.

To the benevolent and indefatigable exertion of William Forsteen, Anthony Ten Broeke, Adam Gordon, Henry Spicer, esqs. and a few other respectable brethren, the Society are principally indebted for the complete establishment if this truly laudable Institution; and such have been the care and pains bestowed on the education of the children, that the sum arising from their work for the last year has exceeded 200.

On the 10th of February 1790, the Grand Lodge voted a subscription to this Charity, and particularly recommended it to the lodges as deserving encouragement; in consequence of which considerable sums have been raised for its support, and the annual contributions have of late years so increased, that an Institution, which reflects so much honour on the fraternity, promise fair to have a permenant establishment.

The duke of Cumberland continued in the office of Grand Master till his death in September, 1790; and it may be truly said, that such a valuable acquistion was made to the Society during his highness's administration, as is almost unparalleled in the annals of masonry.

On Thursday the 9th of March 1786, his royal highness prince William Henry, now duke of Clarence, was initiated into masonry at the lodge No. 86, held a the Prince George inn at Plymouth.

On Thursday the 6th of February 1787, his royal highness the Prince of Wales was made a mason, at an occasional lodge convened for the purpose at the Star and Garter, Pall-Mall, over which the duke of Cumberland presided in person.

On Friday the 21st of November following, his royal highness the Duke of York was initiated into masonry, at a special lodge convened for the purpose at the same place, over which the Grand Master presided in person. His highness was introduced by his royal brother the Prince of Wales, who was present on the occasion and assisted at the ceremony.

On the 10th of February 1790, regular notice was given in Grand Lodge, that his royal highness Prince Edward, while on his travels had been regularly initiated into masonry in the Union Lodge of Geneva.

The Grand Lodge, highly sensible of the great honour conferred on the Society  by the initiation of so many royal personages, unanimously resolved, that each of them should be presented with an apron, lined with blue silk, the clothing of a Grand Officer, and that they should be placed, in all public meetings of the Society, on the right hand of the Grand Master, and rank in the processions as Past Grand Masters.

On the 2nd of May 1790, the grand feast was honoured with the presence of the duke of Cumberland, the Grand Master in the chair; attended by his royal nephews , the Prince of Wales, and the dukes of York and Clarence, with about five hundred other brethren. This Grand Assembly confirmed the re-instatment of the members of the lodge of Antiquity in all their masonic privilages, after an unfortunate separation of ten years; and among those who were re-instated, the Author of this treatise had the honour to be included.

On the 2nd of November 1790, his royal highness the Prince of Wales was elected to the high and important office of Grand Master of Masons, and was pleased to appoint lord Rawdon (now earl Moria) Acting Grand Master, who had previously filled that office under his late royal uncle, on the resignation of the earl of Effingham, who had gone abroad, having accepted the governorship of Jamaica.

On the 9th of February 1791, the Grand Lodge resolved, on the motion of lord Petre, that, in testimony of the high sense of the fraternity entertained of the honour done to the Society by his royal highness the Prince of Wales's acceptance of the office of Grand Master, three elegant chairs and candlesticks should be provided for the use of the Grand Lodge; and at the grand feast in May following, these elegant chairs and candlesticks were presented to public view; but unfortunately the Grand Master's indisposition at that time prevented him from honouring the Society with his presence. Lord Rawdon, however, officiated as proxy for his royal highness, who was re-elected with the most joyful acclamations.

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