History Of Masonry From
The Installation Of The
Prince Of Wales As Grand Master, To The Grand Feast In 1795 Inclusive
BOOK Iv - The History of Masonry in England
illustrations of masonry
At the Grand Feast held at Freemason's Hall on the 2d of May 1792, his royal
highness the Prince of Wales was installed Grand Master, to the inexpressable
joy of the fraternity, in the presence of his royal brother, the duke of York,
the right hon. lord Rawdon, now earl of Moria and above 500 other respectable
brethren. The repeated applause bestowed by the company upon the royal brothers
were highly grateful to their feelings, while the affability and heartfelt
satisfaction of the Grand Master at the head of his brethren were particularly
noticed. His highness performed the duties of his office in a style superior to
most of his predecessors. His observations were clear, acute and distinct; his
expression was fluent, manly and pertinent; and his eulogium on his deceased
uncle, the last Grand Master, pathetic, graceful, and elegant. The compliment he
conferred on earl Moira as Acting Grand Master, was truly masonic; and to all
his Officers, on their appointments, he paid a proper tribute to their
respective merits. In short, during the whole ceremony, his demeanor was
courteous, pleasing and dignified.
An era so important in the annals of masonry must be recorded with peculiar
satisfaction. Under the auspices of so illustrious a patron, as the heir
apparent to the Crown of Great Britain, the Society must necessarily extend its
influences, and the fraternity derive great encouragement in their zealous
endeavours to promote the principles of the institution. Testimonies of loyalty
and attachment to the family on the throne, and to the happy constitution of the
country, were therefore transmitted to hi highness in every quarter. The lodges
in town and country vied with each other in their expressions of duty and
affection to the Grand Master, and in various addresses testified submission and
obedience to the laws, and an ardent will to support that well-regulated form of
government, from which they and their ancestors had derived the invaluable
blessings of liberty, so truly essential to the happiness of his majesty's
subjects in general, and to the propagation of those principles which
distinguish the Craft of masons in particular - universal charity, brotherly
love, and peace.
On the 21st of June, the brethren in the county of Lincoln transmitted their
grateful acknowledgements to his highness in a column of heart of oak, which was
presented by the rev. William Peters, their Provincial Grand Master. Stimulated
by the same motive several other lodges copied the example; and on the 7th
January 1793, the Freemasons of Cornwall unanimously voted an address to his
highness, which was presented by sir John St Aubyn, their Provincial Grand
Master, and most graciously received. one spirit seemed to animate the whole
fraternity, who joyfully hailed the rising splendour and prosperity of the
The unhappy dissension which had brought about the revolution in France,
having spread their contagion among some of the inhabitants of this island, it
became necessary to counteract the measure of a few mistaken individuals, who
were endeavour to sow the seeds of anarchy, and to poison the minds of the
people, against his majesty's government, and the excellent constitution
under which they enjoyed the invaluable blessings of liberty and
prosperity. This induced most of the corporate bodies in the kingdom, and
all the true friends of the constitution, to stem the torrent of opposition, and
promote their different departments a just sense of the advantages enjoyed
under the present government. Hence addresses to the throne were daily
presented, with assurances of a determination to support the measures of
administration; and among the rest, it was deemed proper that the Society of
Masons, by adding their mite to the number, should shew that attachment to the
King and Constitution which the laws of the Order enjoined. Accordingly, on the
6th of February 1793, the Grand Lodge unanimously resolved, that the following
address should be presented to his Royal Highness; who in compliance with the
request of his brethren, condescended to present it in person to his Royal
Parent, by whom it was most graciously received.
To the King's Most excellent Majesty
The humble address of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Fraternity of Free and
Accepted Masons under the constitution of England.
Most Gracious Sovereign
At a time when nearly the whole mass of the people anxiously press forward,
and offer with one heart, and one voice, the most animated testimonies of their
attachment to your Majesty's Person and Government, and of their unabated zeal,
at this period of innovation and anarchy in other countries, for the unequaled
Constitution of their own, permit a body of men, Sire, which, though not unknown
to the laws, has been ever obedient to them:- Men who do not yield to any
description of your Majesty's subjects, in the love of their country, in true
allegence to their Sovereign, or in any other of the duties of a good citizen,
to approach you with the public declaration of their political principles. The
Times, they think demand it of them; and they wish not to be among the last, in
such times, to throw their weight, whatever that may be, into the scale of
Order, Subordination, and good Government.
It is written, Sire, in the Institute of our Order, that we shall not, at our
meetings, go into religious or political discussion; because, composed (as our
fraternity is) of men of various nations, professing different rules of faith,
and attached to opposite systems of government, such discussions, sharpening the
mind of man against his brother, might offend and disunite. A crisis, however,
so unlooked for as a present, justifies to our judgment a relaxation of that
rule; and our first duty as Britons superseding all other considerations, we
add, without farther pause, our voice to that of our fellow-subjects, in
declaring one common and fervent attachment to a government by King, Lords, and
Commons, as established by the glorious revolution of 1688.
The excellence of all human institutions is comparative and fleeting:
positive perfection, or unchanging aptitude to its object, we know, belongs not
to the work of man: but, when we view the principles of government which have
recently obtained in OTHER NATIONS, and then look upon OUR OWN, we exult in
possessing, at this time, the wisest and best posed system the world has ever
known:- a system which affords EQUAL protection (the only EQUALITY we look for,
or that indeed is practicable) and impartial justice to all.
I may be thought, perhaps, that being what we are, a private society of men -
connected by invisible ties - professing secrecy, - mysterious in our
meetings, - stamped by no Act of Prerogative, - and acknowledged by no law; we
assume a post and hold a language on this occasion, to which we can urge no
legal or admitted right. We are the free citizens, Sire, of a free state, and
number many thousands of our body. The Heir Apparent of the empire is our Chief,
- We fraternize for the purpose of social intercourse, of mutual affection, of
charity to the distressed, and good will to all; and fidelity to a trust,
reverence to the magistrates, and obedience to the laws, are sculptured in
capitals upon the pediment of our Institution. And let us add, that, pervading
as we do, every class of the community, and every walk of life, and
disseminating our principles wherever we strike root, this address may be
considered as speaking, in epitomes, the sentiments of a people.
Having thus attested our principles, we have only to implore the Supreme
Architect of the Universe, whose almighty hand hath laid in the deep the firm
foundations of this country's greatness and whose protecting shield hath covered
her amidst the crush of nations, that he will continue to shelter and sustain
her. May her sons be contented and her daughters happy; and may your Majesty -
the immediate instrument of her present prosperity and power. to whom unbiased
posterity shall this inscribed the column:
TO GEORGE, the Friend of the People and Patron of the Arts, which brighten
and embellish life. With your amiable Queen, and your Royal Progeny, Long, long
continue to be the blessing and the boast of a grateful, happy and united
Given , unanimously, in Grand Lodge, at Freemason's Hall, this 6th day of
Signed Rawson, A. G. M.
William White, G. S. Peter Parker, D.G.M.
For the Grand Master's attention to the interests of the Society, in
presenting the above loyal and affectionate Address, the Grand Lodge unanimously
voted the following Address
To his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Grand Master of the most Ancient
and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons
Most Worshipful and Royal Sir,
Accustomed as we have been, from the hour in which your name first adorned
the roll of our Order, to the manly vigor of your mind, and the winning
benignity of your manners, we did not look for any event which could raise you
in our estimation, or draw you nearer to our affections. With you at our head,
we have seen our reputation advanced in the opinion of our fellow
subjects, our system expand itself , and added honour and increasing prosperity
lie in unclouded prospect before us. These things we ascribe to you, Sir, as to
their proper source and yet the silent homage of the heart has been hitherto the
only return we have made you. Such, however, has been the generous alacrity with
which your Royal Highness has offered to present his Majesty the accompanying
tribute of our fervent loyalty to him, and of our unshaken attachment
to the Constitution, which (happily for these nations) at once confirms
his position and your inheritance, and all the rights of all the people, and
such the sense we entertain of the proud distinction you have thus conferred
upon our Body. that it were inconsistent with our honour, we think, as well as
irksome to our feelings to continue longer silent.
Accept then, Royal Sir, our warmest and most dutiful acknowledgments for your
gracious condescension upon this (to us) most momentous occasion. May he, by
whom kings govern and empires prosper, shower upon your royal parents, yourself,
and the whole of your illustrious line his choice of blessings! May you all long
exist in the hearts of a brave and generous people; and Britain triumphant; her
enemies be abased! Nay her acknowledged superiority, returning peace and the
grateful reverence of rescued nations, perpetuate the fame of her virtues, the
influence of her example, and the weight and authority of her dominion!
By the unanimous order of the Grand Lodge.
Signed Rawdon A.G.M.
Counter signed William White, G. S. Peter Parker, D. G. M.
While these proofs of the prosperity of the Society in England were
universally spread throughout the kingdom, accounts were daily transmitted of
the rapid progress of the Institution in different parts of the world. Many
dignified and respectable characters had enrolled their names among the
fraternity, and it is with some degree of satisfaction, that among then we have
to record the name of the present king of Sweden, who was initiated into the
Order at the Grand Lodge of Stockholm on the 22nd of March 1793, under the
auspices of Charles duke of Sudermainia, regent of the kingdom, who presided as
Grand Master on the occasion.
The brethren in America at this period also seem to have been no less zealous
in expressing a dutiful attachment to their patrons and protectors; for the
Grand Lodge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in North America having newly
arranged their Constitutions, transmitted a copy of them to General Washington
with the following Address.
Address of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, to their Brother George Washington.
Whilst the historian is describing the career of your glory, and the
inhabitants of an extensive empire are made happy in your unexampled exertions;
whilst some celebrate the Hero, so distinguished in liberating United America,
and other the Patriot who presides over her councils; a band of brothers, having
always joined the acclamations of their countrymen, now testify their respect
for those milder virtues which have ever graced the man.
Taught by the precepts of our Society, that all its members stand upon a
LEVEL, we venture to assume; this station, and to approach you with that freedom
which diminishes our diffidence, without lessening our respect. Desirous to
enlarge the boundaries of social happiness, and to vindicate the ceremonies of
their Institution, this Grand Lodge has published "A Book of Constitutions,"
(and a copy for your acceptance accompanies this,) which, by discovering the
principles that actuate, will speak the eulogy of the Society, thought
they fervently wish the conduct of its members may prove its highest
Convinced of his attachment to its cause, and readiness to encourage its
benevolent designs, they have taken the liberty to dedicate this work to one,
the qualities of whose heart, and the actions of whose life, have contributed to
improve personal virtue, and extend throughout the world the most endearing
cordialities; and they humbly hope he will pardon this freedom, and accept the
tribute of their esteem and homage.
May the Supreme Architect of the Universe protect and bless you, give you
length of days and increase of felicity in this world, and then receive you the
harmonious and exalted Society in Heaven
John Cutler, G.M. Josiah Bartlet, S. G. W. Mungo Mackay, J. G. W.
Bolton, Dec 27, A. L. 5792
To this Address General Washington returned the following Answer.
Answer to the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Massachusetts.
Flattering as it may be to the human mind, and truly honourable as it is, to
receive from our fellow-citizens testimonies of approbation for exertions to
promote the public welfare; it is not less pleasing to know, that the milder
virtues of the heart are highly respected by a Society whose liberal principles
are founded in the immediate laws of truth ad justice.
To enlarge the sphere of social happiness is worthy, the benevolent design of
a Masonic Institution; and it is most fervently to be wished, that the conduct
of every member of the fraternity, as well as those publications that discover
the principles which actuate them, may tend to convince mankind, that the grand
object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.
While I beg your acceptance of my thanks for "the Book of Constitutions"
which you have sent me, and for the honour you have done me in the Dedication,
permit me to assure you, that I feel all those emotions of gratitude which your
affectionate Address and cordial wishes are calculated to inspire; and I
sincerely pray hat the Great Architect of the Universe may bless you here, and
receive you hereafter in his immortal temple.
The extended progress of the Society in England under the royal auspices, far
exceeds that of any former period; and as the fraternity have increased in
numbers; it is but justice to add that the principles of the Institution seem
equally to predominate. The lodges in general are well regulated, and the
masonic Lectures more clearly understood.
On Monday the 25th of November 1793, the Prince of Wales laid the first stone
of the New Chapel at Brighthelmstone. His Highness was accompanied from the
pavilion to the appropriated place by the Rev. Mr Hudson the vicar, Mr Saunders,
Etc. On coming to the ground, Mr Saunders addressed his royal highness as
follows:That, as constructor of the building the high honour was allotted to him
of pointing out to the Prince the situation where the stone was intended to be
placed, and he respectfully requested that, as Grand Master of the Masons, he
would be pleased to signify if it met his approbation. On receiving an assurance
that it did, the stone, with the following inscription was laid:
"This stone was laid by his royal highness GEORGE, PRINCE OF WALES, November
On Mr Saunders covering it with a plate of metal, he desired leave to say.
That however late the period might be before it was again exposed to the face of
day, and he sincerely wished that it might be a very distant one, he hoped that
the descendants of his royal highness's august family would be found, as now,
happily governing a happy people.
Mr Hudson then respectfully addressed the Prince, and desired permission to
return his most sincere and grateful thanks to his highness for the honour that
day done, not only to him in particular as the proprietor, but to the town at
large; and he hoped that God would give his blessing to the undertaking those
begun, and long preserve his highness, their majesties, and every branch of the
royal family, to superintend our invaluable, unequaled and long envied
Constitution in church and state.
The day proved fine, and the acclamations of the surrounding crowd showed how
much they were gratified with such an instance of goodness in the Prince, who,
at the same time was both a resident in, and a protector of, their town and
The Prince ordered a handsome distribution to the workmen, Etc.
The promenade gardens were laid open, and the company entertained with
A party of gentlemen dined at the Castle, and some lines were composed and
sung on the occasion.
Among the other masonic occurrences of the year 1793, it may be proper to
mention the publication of a new periodical Miscellany, entitled The Freemason's
Magazine; or, General and Complete Library: the first number of which appeared
in June 1793, and a number has continued to be published monthly since that
time. Independent of its being a general reposititory for every thing curious
and important in masonry, it contains a choice selection of miscellaneous and
literary articles, well calculated for the purpose of general instruction and
improvement. This Magazine has been honoured with the sanction of the Grand
Lodge, and while it is so ably conducted, will certainly merit the approbation
of the public.
On the 4th of June 1793, the Shakespeare Lodge at Stratford on Avon was
opened and dedicated in solemn form, in the presence of a numerous assembly of
brethren from different lodges. The ceremony was conducted under the direction
of Mr James Timmins, D.P.G.M. for the county of Warwick.
On the 31st of July 1794, the Lodge of Apollo at Alcester was constituted in
due form in the presence of 121 brethren. At ten in the morning, a procession
was made to the church, where a sermon was preached before the Lodge by the rev.
brother Green. After which the brethren returned to the Hall, when the
ceremonies of consecration and dedication took place, according to ancient
On the 28th of July 1794, the Royal Brunswick Lodge at Sheffield was also
constituted in due form. The brethren made a very elegant procession to St.
James's church, where an excellent sermon was preached by the rev brother
Chadwick; after which the procession was resumed to the Lodge, when the ceremony
of dedication took place. Several anthems and psalms were sung, and the while
was concluded with a liberal subscription to the poor girls Charity School.
His royal highness the Grand Master's marriage to Princess Caroline of
Brunswick took place on the 8th of April 1795, when the Grand Lodge on the 15th
of April following unanimously voted the following Address to his royal highness
on the occasion:
To his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Grand Master of the most Ancient
and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons under the Constitution of
Most Worshipful and Royal Grand Master.
Upon an event so important to your own happiness, and to the interests of the
British empire, as the late nuptials of your royal highness, we feel ourselves
perculairly bound to testify our joy, and offer our humble congratulations.
To affect a degree of gratification superior to that professed by others,
when all his majesty's subjects exhibit such heartfelt satisfaction at the union
which you have formed, would, perhaps, be in us an undue pretension; we cannot,
however, but be proudly conscious, Sir, that we posses a title beyond what any
other class of men can advance, to approach you upon an occasion like the
present with a tender of our particular duty. When your royal highness deigned
so far as to honour the Craft as to accept the trust of presiding over us, the
condescension not only authorised but demanded from all and each of us a
perculiar sensibility to whatever might concern your welfare; and the ties of
brotherhood, with which you invested yourself in becoming one of our number,
entitle us to express, without fear of incurring any charge of presumption, the
satisfaction we feel in contemplating such an accession to the prospects of the
nation, an those of your own felicity. That the interests of your royal highness
and those of the British people may ever continue as strictly united as we feel
them in this most auspicious occurrence, is the warmest with, and, at the same
time, the confident trust, of those who hold it the highest honour to have your
name enrolled in the records of their Institution.
To the obligation, which the brethren already owe to you, Sir, it will be a
material addition, if you will render acceptable to you royal Consort, the
humble homage of our veneration, and of our prayers for every possible blessing
upon your union.
By the unanimous Order of the Grand Lodge.
Signed Moria, A.G.M.
Counter signed William White, G. S.
The Right hon. the Earl of Moira having, at the request of the Grand Lodge,
presented the Address to the Prince of Wales, his Royal Highness was graciously
pleased to return the following Answer.
The Grand Master has received with great satisfaction the Address of the
Craft, which he regards as not indicating solely their sentiments towards him,
but as also repeating those declarations of devotion to the Sovereign and
attachement to the House of Brunswick, hereforto so becomingly expressed by
He has had peculiar pleasure in explaining to the Princess of Wales their
loyal congratulations; and he desires to convey to the brethren the sincere
thanks of the Princess for their generous wishes.
At the grand feast at Freemason's Hall on the 13th of May 1795, his royal
highness being in the chair, was accompanied by the duke of Clarence and prince
William of Gloucester, who had been initiated at an occasional lodge convened
for the purpose on the preceding evening. Five hundred brethren were present on
this occasion. Happiness was visible in every countenance while the benevolent
principles of Freemasonry cheered the heart. His royal highness thanked the
brethren for the repeated instances of their attachment and for the affectionate
reception which he had met with; and after expressing his warmest attachment to
the Society, concluded with a handsome compliment to the Acting Grand Master,
earl Moira, whom he styled "the man of his heart, and the friend he admired"
sincerely hoping that e might long live to superintend the government of the
Craft, and extend the noble principles of the Art.
Having thus traced the progress of Masonry from its early dawn in England to
a recent period, I shall conclude with a sincere wish that an abler hand may
prosecute this work; that, the nature of the institution being more clearly
understood, all narrow prejudices may cease to operate; and that, the
universality of the system being firmly established, the Society at large may be
regulated according to its original principles.
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