« PreviousContinue »
voured to propagate an opinion, that the ancient practices of the Society were retained by them, and totally abolished by the regular Lodges, on whom they conferred the appellation of Modern Masons. By this artifice they continued to impose on the public, and introduced several gentlemen into their assemblies; but of late years, the fallacy being detected, they have not been so successful."
In the "Freemasons' Calendar" of 1776, however, the disturbances, which we are told above had their origin in 1739, are traced back to the time of Lord Loudon, whose appointment of grand officers in 1736, Preston now informs us, gave offence to a few individuals, who withdrew from the Society during the presidency of the Earl of Darnley, but in that of Lord Raymond "assembled in the character of Masons, and without any power or authority from the Grand Master, initiated several persons into the order for small and unworthy considerations." 1
Ultimately the story assumed the stereotyped form in which we now possess it. Successive editions of the "Illustrations of Masonry," published in 1781, 1788, 1792, and later, inform us that in the time of Lord Carnarvon (1738) some discontented brethren, taking advantage of the breach between the Grand Lodges of London and York,2 assumed, without authority, the character of York Masons; that the measures adopted to check them seemed to authorise an omission of, and a variation in, the ancient ceremonies; that the seceders immediately announced independency, and assumed the appellation of ancient masons, also 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.3
Here, as I have already ventured to express, we meet with an anachronism, for the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of 1738 are certainly confused with those of a much later date. But the chief interest of the story, lies in the statement that changes were made in the established forms, "which even the urgency of the case could not warrant."4 Although, indeed, the passages last quoted were continued in the editions of his work published after 1789, we must not lose sight of the fact that they were written (1781) by Preston-a very doubtful authority at any time—during the suspension of his Masonic privileges, and when he must have been quite unable to criticise dispassionately the proceedings of the Grand Lodge, against whose authority he had been so lately in rebellion.5
It appears to me that the summary erasure of lodges for non-attendance at the Quarterly Communications, and for not "paying in their charity," was one of the leading causes of the Secession, which, as before expressed, I think must have taken place during the presidency of Lord Byron (1747-52). In the ten years, speaking roundly, commencing June 24, 1742, and ending November 30, 1752, no less than forty-five lodges, or about a third of the total of those meeting in the metropolis, were struck out of the list. Three, indeed, were restored to their former places, but only after intervals of two, four, and six years respectively. The case of the "Horn" Lodge has been already referred to; but with regard to those of its fellow
1 Pp. 19, 20; also reproduced in substance in the edition for 1783. Cf. post, p. 412.
3 Illustrations of Masonry, 1792, p. 285, et seq.
Ibid., p. 287. Compare with the words italicised in the extract from the edition of 1775 (ante, p. 397).
sufferers, mentioned in the note below, it may be stated that No. 9 was restored, "it appearing that their Non-Attendance was occasioned by Mistake;" and also No. 54, "it appearing that their not meeting regularly had been occasioned by unavoidable Accidents."
On the principle that history repeats itself, the minutes of "Sarum" Lodge, later in the century, may hold up a mirror, in which is reflected the course of action adopted by the erased lodges of 1742-52. This lodge, which became No. 37 at the change of numbers in 1780, was erased February 6, 1777, for non-compliance with the order of Grand Lodge, requiring an account of registering fees and subscriptions since October 1768.
Our refusal," says their letter in reply,2 "has arisen from a strict obedience to the laws, principles, and constitutions, which expressly say, 'that though the Grand Lodge have an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, the real benefit of the ancient Fraternity shall in all cases be consulted, and the old landmarks carefully preserved.' By the late attempt of the Grand Lodge to impose a tax on the brethren at large, under penalty of erasing them from that list wherein they have a right to stand enrolled, as long as they shall preserve the principles of that constitution, the bounds prescribed by these landmarks seem to have been exceeded; the Grand Lodge has taken upon itself the exercise of a power hitherto unknown; the ancient rules of the fraternity (which gave freedom to every Mason) have been broke in upon; and that decency of submission, which is produced by an equitable government, has been changed to an extensive, and, we apprehend, a justifiable resistance to the endeavours of the Grand Lodge."
The Lodge was restored May 1, 1777, but on a further requisition from the Grand Lodge of two shillings per annum from each brother towards the Liquidation Fund, the members met, November 19, 1800, and unanimously agreed not to contribute to this requisition. After which, a proposal for forming a Grand Lodge in Salisbury, independent of the Grand Lodge of England, was moved and carried.3
The arbitrary proceedings of 1742-52 were doubtless as much resented in London, as those of 1777-99 were in the Country, and in passing from the subject, I shall briefly remark that though the last Lodge warranted in 1755, bore the number 271, only 200 Lodges were carried forward at the closing-up and alteration of numbers in 1756.4
According to the Engraved Lists,5 Lodges were constituted by the Grand Lodge of England at Madrid in 1728, in Bengal 1730, at Paris 1732, Hamburgh and Boston (U.S.A.) 1733, the Hague, Lisbon, and in Georgia, 1735; in the West Indies 1738, Switzerland 1739, Denmark 1745, Minorca 1750, Madras 1752, Virginia 1753, and in Bombay 1758. Deputations were also granted to a number of persons in foreign countries, but of these no exact record has been preserved
1 No. 9, The King's Arms, New Bond Street, erased March 25, 1745; restored March 7, 1747. No. 54, The George, in St Mary Axe, erased Nov. 21, 1745; restored Sept. 4, 1751. No. 2, The Horn, in Westminster, erased April 3, 1747; restored Sept. 4, 1751.
2 Dated March 19, 1777.
8 F. H. Goldney, History of Freemasonry in Wiltshire, 1880, pp. 109-119.
Forty-five London Lodges were erased in 1742-52; one-at the Ben Jonson's Head-in 1755; and during the same period 4 surrendered their warrants; total 50. Twenty-one Country Lodges were struck out in 1754, which gives us 50+21=71. Three of the former class, as we have seen, were restored, and this represents the number of Lodges omitted in the list of 1756, concerning which no details are afforded by the records.
The series commences in 1723, and apparently terminates in 1778. The "Signs of the Houses" are not shown after 1769.
Among the early Grand Masters who were Fellows of the Royal Society, may be named Dr Desaguliers, the Duke of Montagu, the Earls of Dalkeith, Strathmore, Crawford, and Morton, Lords Paisley and Colerane-and Francis Drake, who presided over the Grand Lodge at York. The Duke of Lorraine, and the Chevalier Ramsay, were likewise both "Brethren" and "Fellows."
The following Deputies were also F.R.S.: Martin Folkes, D.G.M., 1724; W. Græme, 1739; Martin Clare, 1741; and E. Hody, 1745-46; so were Sir J. Thornhill, S.G.W., 1728, and Richard Rawlinson, Grand Steward, 1734; whilst it may interest some readers to learn that William Hogarth, son-in-law of the former, served the stewardship in 1735. Of the other Grand Stewards down to the year 1760 it will be sufficient to name John Faber, 1740; Mark Adston, 1753; Samuel Spencer, 1754; the Rev. J. Entick, 1755; and Jonathan Scott, 1758-59. Editions of the "Book of Constitutions" appeared in 1723, 1738, 1746,1 and 1756. The last named was compiled by the Rev. John Entick, and published by Jonathan Scott, and in it some alterations in, and additions to, the "Ancient Charges," which had disfigured the second edition, were omitted. The spirit of toleration which breathes in the Masons' creed has been attributed by Findel 2 and others to the influence of certain infidel writers. But of these, Woolston was probably mad, and, as remarked by a contemporary, "the devil lent him a good deal of his wickedness and none of his wit." Chubb was almost wholly uneducated; and although Collins, Tindal, and Toland discussed grave questions with grave arguments, they were much inferior in learning and ability to several of their opponents, and they struggled against the pressure of general obloquy. The deist was liable to great social contempt, and in the writings of Addison, Steele, Pope, and Swift he was habitually treated as external to all the courtesies of life. A simpler reason for the language of the Charge, "Concerning God and Religion," will be found in the fact that Anderson was a Presbyterian, and Desaguliers an Episcopalian; whilst others, no doubt, of the Grand Officers of that era were members of the older faith. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that they united on a platform which would divide them the least; and in so doing, the churchmen among them may have consoled themselves with the reflection, that Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough, had many years before (1672), endeavoured to construct a system of morals without the aid of theology. At the same time, it must be freely conceded, that the principles of inductive philosophy which Bacon taught, and which the Royal Society had strengthened, had acquired a complete ascendancy over the ablest minds. Perhaps therefore the object of these prescient brethren, to whom is due the absence of sectarianism in our Charges, may be summed up in the words of Bishop Spratt (1667), the first and best historian of the Royal Society, who thus describes the purposes of its founders:
"As for what belongs to the members themselves, that are to constitute the Society, it is to be noted that they have freely admitted men of different religions, countries, and professions of life. This they were obliged to do, or else they would come far short of the largeness of their own declarations. For they openly profess not to lay the foundation of an English, Scotch, Irish, Popish, or Protestant philosophy-but a philosophy of mankind.”
1 The 1738 edition, with a new title-page.
2 Op. cit., p. 125. See, however, Lecky, History of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. ii., pp. 522, 524; and Buckle, History of Civilisation in England, vol. i., pp. 363, 425, 443.
FREEMASONRY IN YORK.
HAVE already cited the "Parchment Roll" as evidence of the character of the old Lodge at York from March 19, 1712, down to December 27, 1725, during which period the records testify that the meetings were simply entitled those of a Lodge, Society, Fraternity, or Company of " Antient and Honourable Assemblies of Free and Accepted Masons."
Other evidences of the existence of the Lodge at York have been given, dating back to the seventeenth century, notably the York MS. of A.D. 1693, which contains "the names of the Lodg;" six in all, including the warden.2 A still earlier relic is a mahogany flat rule or gauge, with the following names and year incised :—
Mr Todd is inclined to think that the John Drake mentioned was collated to the Prebendal Stall of Donnington in the cathedral church of York in October 1663, and if so, Francis Drake, the historian, was a descendant, which, to say the least, is very probable.
Considerable activity was manifested by the York brotherhood from 1723-the year when the premier Grand Lodge of England published its first "Book of Constitutions ”—and particularly during 1725.
The following will complete the roll of meetings (1712-1730), of which the first portion has been already furnished.
"This day Dec. 27, 1725, Being the Festival of St John the Evangelist, the Society went in Procession to Merchant's Hall, where, after the Grand Feast was over, they unanimously chose the Worsp'. Charles Bathurst, Esqre., their Grand Master, Mr Johnson his Deputy, Mr Pawson and Mr Drake, Wardens, Mr Scourfield, Treasurer, and John Russell, Clerk for the ensuing year."
“Dec. 31, 1725.—At a private Lodge held at Mr Luke Lowther's, at the Starr in Stonegate, the underwritten Gentleman was sworn and admitted into the Antient Society of Free Masons."
“Jan. 5, 1725-6.—At a private Lodge held at Mr John Colling's at ye White Swan in Petergate, the underwritten persons were sworn and admitted into the Antient Society of Free Masons.
“Feb. 4, 1725-6.-At a private Lodge at the Star in Stonegate, Sr William Milner, Bart., was sworn and admitted into the Society of Free Masons.
“Mar. 2, 1725-6.—At a private Lodge at the White Swan in Petergate, the undernamed Gentleman was sworn and admitted into the Society of Free Masons.
“Apr. 2, 1726.—At a private Lodge at ye Starr in Stonegate, the following Gentlemen were sworn and admitted into the Antient Society of Free Masons.
W. Wombell. '
"Apr. 4, 1726.—At a private Lodge at the Star in Stonegate, the following Gentleman was sworn and admitted into ye Antient Society of Free Masons.
“May 4, 1726.—At a private Lodge at Mr James Boreham's, the underwritten Persons were sworn and admitted into the Society of Free and Accepted Masons.
"May 16, 1726.—At a private Lodge at Mr Lowther's at ye Star in Stonegate, the undermentioned Gentleman was sworn and admitted into the Antient Society of Free Masons.
Gregory Rhodes." "June 24, 1726.-At a 1General Lodge held at Mr Boreham's in Stonegate, the undermentioned Gentlemen were sworn and admitted into the Antient Society of Free Masons. Jo". Cossley. Wm. Johnstone.
At the same time the following persons were sworn and admitted into the Honble. Society, vizt.,
1 Hughan is of opinion that there was another minute book for records of the regular monthly meetings.