Section. 12- History of Masonry from the Installation of the Prince of Wales
as Grand Master, to the Grand Feast in 1795 inclusive.
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 loyality
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 Craft.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.