Earth, Air, or Water,

(Original Grand Lodge Motto, 1717.)

(“Antient” Grand Lodge Motto, 1752.)

(Articles constituting the United Grand Lodge of England, 1813.)

“The free mason heweth ye hard stones, and heweth off here one piece and there another, till the stones be fitte and apt for the place where he will lay them. Even so God the heauenly free mason, buildeth a Church, and he frameth & polisheth us, which are the costly & pretious stones, with the crosse and affliction, that all abhomination and wickednesse, which do not agree vnto this glorious building, might be remoued and taken out of the way.” — A Spirituall, and most precious Pearle … translated into English by M: Miles Couerdale…. Printed at London, 1593. (Earliest published use of the term “Freemason.”)


The year of this book’s publication, 1930 is one of high importance in the history of English-speaking Freemasonry, as marking the bicentenary of the Craft’s official introduction into the United States. From that step has sprung the tremendous force of an organization which embraces in that country alone a membership of three and a half millions. This may be ten times the number claimed for the English Jurisdiction, but American Masons have never failed to own what is due to the parent Grand Lodge to which they owed their birth and infant nurture. They recognize that, without the genius and genuineness of the earliest organizers of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, Freemasonry would have had no chance to achieve enduring success. The recognition America gives would be rendered by the Masons of Canada, Australasia, India, Africa, and in every English-speaking part of the universe. English-speaking Masonry, indeed, whether acting under independent Jurisdiction or remaining within the sovereignty of the United Grand Lodge of England, has kept its torch alight and held its banner high for over two centuries; and so world-spread a social fraternal organization deserves as close a study from without as within.

No opportunity has been given to the non-Mason and few to the non-antiquarian Mason to effect such a study. This has not arisen from a lack of literature on the subject — critical, historical, and statistical alike. Of the making of such books there has been no end, and the volume of their outpouring increases. The large majority would assuredly have been included by Charles Lamb in his catalogue of books which are no books — “biblia a-biblia” full of arid facts and dull statistics, without attempt at correlation, analysis, or deduction, and devoid of all trace of literary charm. Even the relatively few exceptions have not attempted to cover English-speaking Freemasonry as a concrete entity, having a common root and a determining evolution of its own. They contain much material from which the moving story may be deduced, but the task has proved too heavy to be undertaken. Not merely has the huge and growing mass of material to be examined and sifted, but the investigator has to possess wide and sound Masonic knowledge, a keen scent for the true in history, and a power of detachment from his own Masonic surroundings which will enable him to come to an impartial conclusion. But not least of all his qualifications should be such a portion of literary ability as will cause his endeavour to interest as well as enlighten his readers.

The Masonic historian possessed of all these qualities has yet to arise, and it may be that he never in all fullness of qualification will be among us. The present writer has been a Freemason for over forty years, twenty-five spent in close association with, including twenty as an active Officer of, the United Grand Lodge of England. He has Masonically visited other Jurisdictions, especially in the United States and South America, and with all the knowledge thus gained he essays what he recognizes to be a most difficult while fascinating task. Much of his material is drawn from original sources and unpublished records; a further portion is derived from his administrative experience, as a member of the Board of General Purposes for twenty years, seventeen of these as President; but of necessity he has had largely to depend on the published compilations of others all over the world. Their trustworthiness he has tried to test in every case by reference or further research: where quotations have been made from documents only to be examined in other countries, he has had to rely on the authors he has consulted. He, therefore, will not be surprised to receive a multitude of corrections or suggestions on points of detail; but that is the lot of every first writer of a comprehensive history, as Freeman and Froude, Macaulay and John Richard Green alike could attest.

The book is an endeavour fairly to set before all interested in Freemasonry, whether or not from the inside, the inner meaning and outer expression of a world-spread Fraternity. Nothing is revealed a Mason should preserve: what is told is what all may know. It mainly deals with English-speaking Freemasonry, which covers that of England, Ireland, Scotland, the British Dominions and Dependencies, the United States, and a number of Lodges in South America, thus embracing fully three-quarters of the Masonry of the world. To this great branch, the Author over ten years ago appealed for the formation of a League of Masons, voluntary and informal, which would bring them into closer understanding through more full, free, and frequent intercourse. It has been his good fortune since to be twice entrusted by the Grand Master of England (H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught) with a special Mission, first to the Sovereign Jurisdictions of the United States and next to the English-speaking Lodges in South America, in the course of each of which much was done to bring nearer the accomplishment of his hope.

To Masonic friends, and especially to some in the United States, who have assisted him with facts and hints, he is sincerely grateful; but he finds it impossible to quote every source of information, whether oral, written, of in print. The student who will attempt to compile that stupendous work a Masonic bibliography has not yet appeared; and the present writer might only mislead if he essayed a partial fulfilment of that task, which would need such an abundance of explanation and qualification as would furnish forth yet another unreadable, even if valuable, book. What he would emphasize is that he alone is responsible for the design and execution of the present work, and will be to blame for such errors of detail as may be discovered amid the myriad facts it contains. But the chief importance he attaches to the effort is that it is a serious attempt to rescue the history of Freemasonry from legend and display the facts, being assured that in this way alone can the true meaning and lasting brightness of the Craft be brought to the knowledge of all. Above everything, he has striven to show how truly human is the organization, depending for life throughout on men and not on myths, on acts and not abstractions. Similarly he has tried to prove that for its practical apart from theoretical inspiration it has relied on leaders possessed of great skill, ability, and devotion, whose names have largely been forgotten, but whose persons and characters he has striven from many a source to recall from oblivion. The product of his labours is now complete, and he gives it to not only his Brethren but the uninitiated world, as the faithful endeavour of an ardent Freemason to show why long experience has made that ardour part of himself. In the belief that, by the further spread of knowledge of Masonic ideals and their realization, he will promote the cause of peace on earth, goodwill towards men, he puts forth this work.


Past Grand Warden,
President Board of General Purposes,
United Grand Lodge of England.

January 1, 1930.


01 What Is Freemasonry?

02 Masonic Origin and Growth

03 Grand Lodge Era Begins

04 Grand Lodge Develops

05 Grand Lodge Divides

06 United Grand Lodge

07 Success and Semi-schism

08 English Masonry Extends

09 The Rising Tide

10 Early Twentieth-century English Masonry

11 The Great War and After

12 England’s Grand Lodge and Its Work

13 The Grand Lodge of Ireland

14 The Grand Lodge of Scotland

15 English-speaking Masonry in the Americas

16 United States Masonry Before Independence

17 American Masonic Independence Accomplished

18 Fruits of America’s Freedom

19 English Masonry in Canada

20 English Masonry in the Eastern Hemisphere

21 Masonry’s Educational and Beneficent Results

22 A League of Masons



Freemasonry can be defined as an organized system of morality, derived from divine wisdom and age-long experience, which, for preservation from outer assault and inner decay, is veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbol. The influence of divine inspiration is with it throughout. Every English Masonic Lodge is dedicated to God and His service. Each candidate for membership declares his belief in the Supreme Being. Guidance from on High is sought step by step. Keeping strictly aloof from all doctrinal differences and political divisions, it demands from its members, whatever their race, tongue, or creed, a recognition of the Eternal and of the Light which comes from Above, loyalty to their country and obedience to its laws, with strict regard for the rights and liberties of their fellow-men.

No Freemason would pretend that every member of the Craft fully lives up to the ideal thus set forth, just as no Christian feels his creed undermined because all its professors are not patterns of virtue. The value of a system, whether of religion or morality, of government or civilization, is to be gauged not from its failures but its fruits. That is how an Empire or a Church would ask to be judged. A Brotherhood world-spread beyond the British Empire, and embracing more sorts and conditions of men than even the greatest Church, claims the same. No other organization, political, doctrinal, or social, can assemble such a gathering of loyal adherents of vastly varying tongues and colours, races and creeds, as the English-organized Masonic Lodge which in 1928 welcomed at Rangoon a Special Deputation from the Grand Lodge of England. For that Lodge included in its membership Brethren of seventeen races and just half that number of creeds.

The Freemason who knows only Brethren of his own town, or county, or even country, would feel it difficult to explain to an enquiring friend why this should be. This is largely because he has failed to study the “Charges of a Freemason,” presented to every English member on his original entrance to the Craft. These, which were condensed and crystallized two centuries since, very soon after the Grand Lodge of England had been constituted, are based on a number of ancient documents which had carried on the essence of old-time Masonic practice in Lodges long existing. The earlier had sprung from the period when Freemasonry was an operative system, closely associated with ecclesiasticism; and in them “Holy Church” had a distinctive position side by side with the Almighty Himself. But, by the time the Grand Lodge era began, that Church, of which the Pope was the head, had long ceased to dominate English religious thought, while the Freemasons were rapidly passing from an Operative into a Speculative body. Late in the seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth zealous antiquaries, scientific speculators, and broad thinkers of various degrees were actively at work; and to their labours the Grand Lodge effort was due.

The consequence to the renascent Craft was immediate and of far wider consequence than its promoters foresaw. Increased freedom of thought combined with a more general desire for fraternal union to broaden the religious and ethical basis of Freemasonry. It was at once laid down, and the rule holds good today, that a Mason is obliged to obey the moral law; not to be irreligious or an atheist; and never to act against the dictates of his conscience. “Let a man’s religion or mode of worship be what it may” — it was declared in the first Charge, “Concerning God and Religion” — “he is not excluded from the Order, provided he believe in the glorious Architect of heaven and earth, and practise the sacred duties of morality…. Thus Masonry is the centre of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.”

The widest tolerance in religious thought, under the sanction of the Supreme, having thus been enjoined, care was taken to exclude party politics as well as sectarian strife from the Masonic Lodge. The time in England was then specially favourable to organize for social, philanthropic, and thoughtful ends a non-partisan, non-sectarian body in which all men of good idea and peaceful purposes, drawn from every school of opinion and walk in life, could join for the common weal. The Sacheverell agitation in the Established Church had split the country into two warring, and equally unscrupulous, factions, which threatened for a while to tear the nation into shreds. The heavy clouds that overhung the closing years of Anne were far from dispelled with the incoming of the First George. “The Fifteen,” within the earliest year of the Hanoverian reign, revealed a political peril as great as had been the religious; and no party or sect offered a quiet resting-place to the mass of law-abiding folk, who cried, “A plague on both your houses!” In such an atmosphere welcome was assured for a non-party and non-sectarian body, which subconsciously and most effectively set forth with the root ideas, “Fear God; honour the King; love the brotherhood.”

“A Mason,” it was averred in the second Charge, “is a peaceable subject to the civil powers, wherever he resided or works, and is never to be concerned in plots or conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation…. He is cheerfully to conform to every lawful authority; to uphold, on every occasion, the interest of the community, and zealously promote the prosperity of his own country. Masonry has ever flourished in times of peace and been always injured by war, bloodshed, and confusion…. Craftsmen are bound by peculiar ties to promote peace, cultivate harmony, and live in concord and brotherly love.” “Therefore,” as the theme is developed in a later Charge, “no private piques or quarrels must be brought within the door of the Lodge, far less any quarrels about religion, or nations, or state policy…. We are of all nations, tongues, kindreds, and languages, and are resolved against all politics.” And these canons of conduct within the Lodge, enforced by others for avoiding ill-behaviour, strife, and law-suits without, which were accepted and endorsed by the Grand Lodge of England while George the First still reigned, and organized Freemasonry was largely confined to London and Westminster, are enforced on the whole world-spread English Jurisdiction two hundred years later, in the time of George the Fifth.

The foundations on which English-speaking Freemasonry so long has stood is a reverential belief in the Eternal, with an inner realization of His revealed will and word. It recognizes that both belief and revelation exist in various forms; and it has taken the stand adopted by the Church of England ever since the Reformation. “It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners.” Thus far the Thirty-fourth of the historic Thirty-nine Articles of Religion officially accepted by the English Church, the qualification being added, “so that nothing is ordained against God’s Word.” Let this run “so that nothing be done in violation of the Antient Landmarks,” and the whole formula applies to English-speaking Freemasonry. And, in the same way, just as the Church of England has acknowledged the right of every particular or national Church to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies which have not absolute authority, so the Grand Lodge of England recognizes the right of all Sovereign Grand Lodges to deal with their own systems of polity or practice, but always within what are known to Masons as the Antient Landmarks of the Order, “so that all things be done to edifying.” “In things essential, unity; in things non-essential, diversity; in all things, charity.” This wise counsel of the long ago has been thoroughly taken to heart by the ever-lengthening succession of Rulers of the Craft.

Yet the precepts, however excellent, could not have kept Freemasonry so growingly alive had their practice not been maintained. Theological discussion inside a Lodge or in association with Masonic gatherings is as firmly forbidden as ever. This does not prevent members of different denominations and creeds instituting Lodges which, not by rule but by understanding, admit as members none save those of their own belief. In England many Lodges are entirely composed of Anglicans, Methodists, and Congregationalists, as well as of Jews; while overseas, as has been indicated, there are Lodges of Mohammedans, Buddhists, and Parsees, among the greater divisions of the world’s religious thought. Party politics likewise continue to be taboo in Lodges, and their association with Masonry in any form is against rule. Because of this freedom from political contact, Freemasons were specially exempted from the operation of a statute directed against secret societies passed in 1799; and in 1820 the Duke of Sussex, son of George III, as Grand Master, declared in the special circumstances of the time, for the information of the Craft at large, that “all subjects of a political nature are strictly excluded from discussion in Masonic meetings, as contrary to the Principles and Regulations of the Order.” In 1918, on the immediate eve of a general election, the Duke of Connaught, great-nephew of this royal predecessor on the Masonic Throne, authorized the endorsement in Grand Lodge of the rule thus laid down; and it was enjoined that Masonry should not be used for any personal or party purpose in connection with electioneering. To this systematic endeavour to avoid alike sectarian and partisan differences in Lodge, the sustained strength of English Freemasonry is very largely due.

Much more than this is needed, however, in an age when every human institution, whether avowedly or in effect, is tested by results. “By their fruits ye shall know them” is the touchstone applied to all. The fruits of Freemasonry are great in both variety and number, moral as well as material, and this from its assured beginning. The theory of the early operative free mason, member of a specially privileged and strictly guarded body, was simple and effective. Loyal acceptance of the Church whose buildings he was helping to erect; faithful service to his employer, with recognition that the obligation of service was mutual; and full pay and fair conditions for the worker, with provisions for recreation and rest. These conditions, put into force through binding agreement or brotherly pledge, sufficed for the great building times. But when the operative phase gradually and almost insensibly merged into the speculative and a simple passed into a sophisticated age, more was required. The employment side died away but the ethical remained; and from a fraternity of workers emerged a brotherhood of men.

Every member was regarded as a stone to be hewn and carved and polished, fit for the hand of the Eternal Builder. Brotherly love and truth were two of the great principles on which the fraternity was founded, with relief as their practical accompaniment. Only seven years after the English Grand Lodge had been constituted, it created a General Charity, “in order to promote the Charitable Disposition of the Society and render it more Extensive and beneficial to the whole Body.” A fund was ordered to be raised by a monthly collection in every Lodge, and paid into a “joint stock” administered by the central body; and, with the substitution of an annual payment for a voluntary subscription, this system remains to-day, every member in England and Wales paying a stipulated sum which forms a Fund of Benevolence, administered by a Board appointed by Grand Lodge. But this Fund, now with a yearly income of more than £50,000, and an invested capital of well over a quarter of a million, is only one of the present-day manifestations of the spirit which called into existence the General Charity of 1724. The beginning of the benevolent efforts of Freemasonry outside the Grand Lodge endeavour is to be found in 1730, when it was communicated therein that “The Directors of the Infirmary at Westminster out of their regard to Masonry (several of them being Masons) had offered to take Care of any poor Brother who may happen to be disabled by broken limbs, etc. from following his employment which often happens among working Masons” — a late linking of the Operative and the Speculative which was immediately recognized by an annual subscription from Grand Lodge.

This development of the charitable idea was parent of the mighty movement of Masonic benevolence to be seen at its highest point to-day. English Freemasonry has associated with it three great Institutions of long establishment — one for orphan girls, one for orphan boys, and one for aged Freemasons and Masons’ widows, as well as a Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, the origin and operation of which have yet to be told, and all of them never more prosperous or rendering greater service than now. Ireland likewise has her Masonic charities and schools, and Scotland does not lag behind in benevolence. In the United States the charitable efforts put forth in all the great Jurisdictions are stupendous, and cover a wider range than any yet attempted on the British side of the Atlantic. Not only are there provided Masonic homes for the aged and the young, as well as opportunities for university education, but children’s hospitals, general infirmaries, and tuberculosis clinics, all splendidly endowed, while in some are central labour bureaux to help the deserving Mason in search of work. Most of these activities are otherwise covered in Britain, but the energy displayed concerning them in the United States is simply an example of the tremendous force of the movement overseas. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, all with Sovereign Jurisdictions of their own, furnish admirable examples of Masonic benevolent endeavour; and thus the good seed once sown has produced an ever-increasing beneficent harvest.

This is the answer from the practical side to the question, “What is Freemasonry?” The answer from the ethical side has earlier been furnished. As far as English-speaking Masonry is concerned, both these answers fuse into the one that, from his first step over the Lodge threshold, a Mason is taught reverence, patriotism, good citizenship, respect for law, and regard for the rights and tolerance for the weaknesses of his fellow-men, with an ever readiness to assist the downtrodden and succour the desolate. How this Vast organization has developed, and why it has remained strong, can be realized only by a study of it from its known beginnings. That is the effort now to be systematically essayed.



What for Masonry was the grain of mustard seed which, when it was sown on the earth, though less than all the seeds, grew up and put out great branches, so that all could lodge under the shadow? Fanciful, and even fantastic, answers abound. The tradition which associates Noah and two of his sons with the government of one Masonic section is of just the same historic value as that which attaches to the claim in a fraternal friendly society order that Adam was the first Odd Fellow. No Freemason to-day seriously believes that Moses was the earliest Grand Master, any more than that the Craft reached a high stage of development in pyramid-building Egypt; though something can be said in fair explanation of the essential Masonic tradition which links King Solomon with the Brotherhood. But no one now attaches belief to the stories long promulgated that St. Alban formed in 287 the first Masonic Lodge in Britain, previous to his being the earliest martyr there; that Edwin, first Christian King of Northumbria, was converted in the seventh century because of having been given an agreed “sign of recognition” and became a patron of the Order; that King Athelstan granted the Freemasons a Charter in 936; that in the same year his supposed son. Prince Edwin, presided over a Grand Lodge at York; or that Edward III, two years after Poitiers, revised the Constitutions of Masonry. The initiation of Henry VI in 1450, the constitution of several Lodges by Inigo Jones in 1607, the regulation of the Lodges thirty years later by the Earl of St. Albans — a specially unfortunate “shot” as this Ulick de Burgh was Irish through and through, and all his public service was done in his own country; and the initiation of William III in 1690, can similarly be cast on the lumber-heap of fable. That heap is large to vastness, as each Church and every State can testify, not one among them having escaped the aid of fabulist and forger, when their claims seemed to stand in need of strengthening and support.

Freemasonry, like Churches and States, can stand on its own merits, and needs no false bolstering of its strength. Of late years an assiduous and hard-working school of Masonic students has arisen in England, Ireland, the United States, and Germany, determined on a thorough search for truth. This school, pursuing the methods of the higher criticism, has sought proof for all assertions, and has treated legend as the English Church does the Apocrypha — to be employed for example of life and instruction of manners. The result, while ridding Masonry of many pleasant stories and fabulous pretensions, has been to strengthen its hold on serious adherents by showing that its evolution has been natural and its development sure, and this because it rests on foundations of precept and practice which nothing can shake.

As far as English-speaking Freemasonry is concerned the original “free masons” were organized bodies of skilled men, engaged, like King Solomon himself, in erecting Temples to the Most High. As they worked in various countries during the great cathedral-building Middle Ages, they congregated in their places of abode around what was known to them as their “lodge,” which was possibly their workroom and certainly their central point for assembling. Each such “lodge” was presided over by a master mason, and certain points of observance in the Masonic Lodges of to-day are to be found in English rules still extant, which date from six centuries since. A covenant entered into in 1352, between the free-masons engaged on the fabric of York Minster and the Dean and Chapter, is full of information concerning their “ancient usages,” which the ecclesiastical authorities agreed to maintain. Rules were embodied for the direction of the workmen at both labour and refreshment; signals were given to resume their work by a master’s knock; none could be engaged without being tested; and none were admitted save under oath.

Westminster Abbey archives of the following century likewise bear testimony to the presence among the workers of “lodges” of free-masons; and instances could be looked for in other great ecclesiastical centres. Where written records do not remain, proof is still to be seen that these artisan-artists left their sign manual on the walls themselves. On many a structure, cathedral, abbey, and church alike, are “masons’ marks” plainly distinguishable, the significance of which continues to be Masonically symbolized. It was difficult to obtain entrance to this exclusive band. The apprentice had to be well approved previous to admission; he had to serve long before being passed to the grade of craftsman; and it was not until after protracted labour and study that he was raised to the commanding position of a master mason, on the way towards becoming the head of his “lodge.” When his progress is thus regarded — and it is the ordered basis of all legitimate Freemasonry — it is seen why members of so exclusive an organization were taught various hidden methods of recognizing a craft-brother by night as well as by day. With the evolution of these signs and tokens, brought into being as a guard to their privileges, came the growth of explanatory legend. Certain of those used in symbolic Masonry to-day are of modern growth; but any accustomed to the study of folk-lore and popular customs can strip the husk from the rind and the rind from the kernel.

Operative Masonry, therefore, was the originating force; and its passage into Speculative, after the cathedral-building age had passed and the call for the old artistic artisan had ceased, has been keenly searched. Some of the old “lodges” of the Operatives long lingered; and, though they would seem to have almost died out in England during the sixteenth century, a few lingered both there and in Scotland, and their records remain. Particular importance attaches to two codes of laws, signed and promulgated in 1598–9 by William Schaw, Master of the King’s Work and “Lord Warden Generall” of the Masons, one directed to the craft in general and the other to “ye lodge of Kilwynning.” That is a name sacred to every Scottish Freemason to-day. “Mother Kilwinning” still exists by “the Kirk of Kilwynning,” and, as the oldest Lodge in the country, stands aloof and unnumbered at the head of the Scottish Grand Lodge Roll; but Kilwinning, with a distinguishing prefix, has been taken as a name by a number of other Lodges north of the Tweed. One further Lodge mentioned in the Schaw Statutes, that of Edinburgh, is now No. 1 on the Roll; and, most significant of all as showing how Speculative Freemasonry evolved from Operative, the terms Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, now so firmly embedded in Free and Accepted Masonry, are all to be found operatively used in these old laws.

For “The Company of ffreemasons,” now the Worshipful Company of Masons of London, may be claimed the credit of being, early in the seventeenth century, the first to introduce the word “accepted” into Masonry. It would seem that it had an inner circle, known as the Accepçon,” into which specially selected members, after much service, were introduced. An early Boswell of Auchinleck was the first non-Operative to be recognized in a lodge of masons, and that in Edinburgh on June 8, 1600. But a greater significance attaches to the fact that on May 20, 1641, “at Newcastell,” where the Scottish forces were bivouacked in the days immediately heralding the Civil War, “Mr. the Right Honerabill Mr. Robert Moray, General Quartermaster to the Armie off Scotlan,” was brought into an Operative Lodge. This is claimed to have been the first initiation of a non-Operative on English soil; and there could not have been a first initiate more worthy. For Robert Moray or Murray, who had served in the French army before he returned to give gallant assistance to Charles I, by whom he was knighted, was not only a soldier of eminence and a statesman of parts, but learned in geology, chemistry, and natural history, and one of the founders of the Royal Society. At the transition period of Operative into Speculative Freemasonry, no more valuable recruit could have been secured.

This earliest English initiation came, indeed, at the moment when the ground was well prepared and ready for tillage. The custom of non-Operatives entering the old “lodges,” however and whenever it arose, must rapidly have spread. Under date “1646 — Oct. 16, 4.30 p.m.” the famous antiquary, Elias Ashmole, recorded in his diary, “I was made a Free Mason at Warrington in Lancashire, with Coll. Henry Mainwaring, of Karincham in Cheshire.” All “the names of those that were then of the Lodge,” furnished by Ashmole, were men of apparently good social position, without a working mason among them, as if in certain parts of the country the transition from Operative to Speculative was thus early complete, though traces of the old distinction remain in Masonic observance to this day.

Our knowledge of mid-seventeenth-century English Freemasonry is materially added to by a rough memorandum, made about 1665 by Randle Holme, of Cheshire. Third in succession of his name, and to transmit it to a fourth. Holme carried on the family profession of skilled genealogist; and his memorandum, now among the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, reveals that what are termed the secrets of Masonry existed at that time. He narrated that “There is seurall words and signes of a free Mason to be revailed to you wch as you will answ: before God at the great & terrible day of Judgmt yu keep Secret and not to revaile the same to any in the heares of any pson but to the Masrs and fellows of the said Society of free Masons so help me God, xt.” A Cheshire Lodge of twentieth-century consecration honours the name of this Deputy Garter King-of-Arms, who was proud of his Masonic connection. In his Academic of Armorie, he declared in 1688, “I cannot but Honor the Felloship of the Masons because of its Antiquity; and the more, as being a Member of that Society called Free-Masons,” a testimony of not only personal interest but historic value.

Holme’s fellow antiquary and Freemason, Ashmole, was about the same period extending his Masonic knowledge. In March 1682 he “reed a summons to appr at a Lodge to be held the next day, at Masons Hall, London.” He went accordingly, and was “admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons,” but in the capacity now known as a joining member, as “I was the Senior Fellow among them (it being 35 yeares since I was admitted),” thus confirming his much earlier Warrington record of initiation. Not only did he receive a summons to attend a Lodge, as he would to-day, but he was able to add an illustrative touch bringing him close to present-time Brethren. “Wee all dyned at a Noble dinner prepaired at the charge of the New accepted Masons.” Two of these, like Ashmole himself, were not members of the Masons’ Company, thus proving that the “accepted Masons” were in some way separate from the parent body. The admission of “gentlemen-Masons” into Operative or semi-Operative Lodges had by this time, indeed, become general. Robert Plot, in his Natural History of Staffordshire, published in 1696, specially noted “the Customs relating to the County, whereof they have one, of admitting Men into the Society of Free-Masons, that in the moorelands of this County seems to be of greater request than anywhere else, though I find the Custom spread more or less all over the Nation; for here I found persons of the most eminent quality, that did not disdain to be of this Fellowship. Nor indeed need they, were it of that Antiquity and honor, that is pretended in a large parchment volum they have amongst them, containing the History and Rules of the craft of masonry.” That Plot, though characterizing what is known as the Historic Legend of the Craft as false and incoherent, knew much of what he was describing, is evident from his account of an invitation at a “meeting (or Lodg as they term it in some places,) by the communication of certain secret signes, whereby they are known to one another all over the Nation … for if any man appears though altogether unknown that can shew any of these signes to a Fellow of the Society, whom they otherwise call an accepted mason, he is obliged presently to come to him … to know his pleasure and assist him.”

John Aubrey, another eminent seventeenth-century antiquary, and well acquainted with Plot, wrote in 1656 a Natural History of Wiltshire which strikingly confirmed this passage. He quoted the distinguished Sir William Dugdale, of Monasticon fame, as stating that “they [the Freemasons] are known to one another by certaine signes and watch words; it continues to this day. They have severall lodges in severall counties for their reception; and when any of them fall into decay the brotherhood is to relieve him. The manner of their adoption is very formall and with an oath of secrecy.” Dugdale, it is specially significant to note, told this in development of a statement that “about Henry the Third’s time, the Pope gave a bull or patent to a company of Italian Freemasons to travell up and down all Europe, to build churches. From those are derived the Fraternity of adopted Masons,” who transmitted to English successors the signs and tokens just noted. It is easy to dismiss this as hearsay; but Dugdale was no mere credulous traveller or fantastic theorist. He not only wrote on antiquities and armorial bearings, but a practical History of Imbanking and Drayning of divers Fenns and Marshes, while his Monasticon has been admitted evidentially in the Courts of Law, as befitted the work of the author of Origines Juridicales. And not merely was Dugdale’s statement accepted by Aubrey but by Richard Rawlinson, a non-juring bishop, expert topographer, and benefactor of the Bodleian Library. Rawlinson, indeed, expanded the earlier statement in the elaborate fashion beloved of the early eighteenth century, making the papal grant into “a Bull, Patent, or Diploma,” and the Fraternity deriving therefrom into “Adopted Masons, Accepted Masons, or Freemasons.” But, whatever is to be said concerning the Pope’s share in the matter, what was personally attested by both Dugdale and Plot, and accepted by Aubrey and Rawlinson, proves that signs and watchwords were as well known to the Masons of the mid-seventeenth century as to those of the twentieth.

To Aubrey the Craft is indebted for preserving another piece of valuable contemporary information. Among some of his rough notes was the striking “memorandum: This day. May the 18th, being Monday, 1691, after Rogation Sunday is a great convention at St. Paul’s Church of the Fraternity of Free-Masons, where Sir Christopher Wren is to be adopted a brother, and Sir Henry Goodric of the Tower, and divers others. There have been Kings that have been of this Sodalitie.” The author afterwards altered “Free” to “Accepted” and, in a fair copy, to “Adopted Masons”; but all these qualifying words then had like significance. The association among them of Sir Christopher Wren, architect and builder of St. Paul’s — who, though never Grand Master, as used to be asserted, was certainly a Freemason — with Sir Henry Goodricke, baronet and Privy Councillor (who sat in Parliaments of Charles II, William and Mary, and Anne, had been an envoy extraordinary to Spain under Charles II, and was at the moment lieutenant-general of Ordnance to William III) plainly proves the high reputation the Craft had attained in England before the seventeenth century closed.

Throughout the earlier time, when Operative with its progeny and superseder Speculative Freemasonry was flourishing in England and Scotland, there are few traces to be recognized in Ireland. 1688 may be given as the time and Trinity College, Dublin, the place of symbolic Masonry’s birth in the last-named country; and a body of Free and Accepted Masons then came into existence on a spot where Operatives for some years had been at work. Stories of previously existing Irish Lodges have been circulated, as of alleged seventeenth-century Lodges in what are now known as the United States. But the most diligent American Masonic historian avouches, as a warranted deduction from ascertained facts, that Freemasonry was not brought into the Colonies until very early in the following century, when immigrating Brethren, some of noteworthy social and official position, established Lodges in various places, seeking at the outset no sanction from without, because there was no existing central or governing authority to accord it. It was, indeed, with the opening of the eighteenth century that the period of full development of Freemasonry began, not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world.



With the incoming of the eighteenth century, the growth in England of freedom of spirit, in social, political, commercial, and religious life alike brought fresh strivings after expression in ways which while, with innate British caution, possessing the sanction of age had the expansiveness of youth. When Queen Anne came to the English throne in 1702, the old type Masonic Lodge, mainly of Operative descent and only partially of Speculative membership, was in England sparse in number, small in power, and limited to London and the north; but its influence was making itself felt. By the time, only twelve years later, when the sovereignty passed from the Stuart to the Hanoverian line, Freemasonry was a topic to be talked of in quarters of note. Richard Steele in his immortal Tatler spoke in 1709 of a society of folk “who have their Signs and Tokens like Free-Masons”; and a twelve-month later he described them as “at first sight growing acquainted by sympathy, insomuch that one who did not know the true cause of their sudden Familiarities would think, that they had some secret Intimation of each other like the Free-Masons.” Steele wrote from thorough acquaintance with educated London; and he spoke as if assured that the body to which he referred was sufficiently within the general knowledge to render anything more than allusion unnecessary. Whether he was himself a Mason has been subject for speculation. What is at least significant is that, in a book of 1736, his portrait surmounts a copy of an almost annually published Engraved List of Lodges, a series that furnishes a decided proportion of our knowledge of the earliest history of the English Grand Lodge.

But it was when George I was seated with security on the throne by the suppression of the Jacobite rising of “The Fifteen” that the scattered remnants of Freemasonry — though at the outset only a portion of those in the cities of London and Westminster — were first attempted to be welded into a central organization. James Anderson, a pedantic, pushing Presbyterian London minister and the earliest Masonic historian, a contemporary of, though seemingly not a participator in, the movement at its start, wrote in 1723, that “the Freeborn British Nations, disintangled from foreign and civil Wars, and enjoying the good fruits of Peace and Liberty, having of late much indulg’d their happy Genius for Masonry of every sort and reviv’d the drooping Lodges of London, this fair Metropolis flourisheth, as well as other Parts, with several worthy particular Lodges, that have a quarterly Communication, and an annual grand Assembly, wherein the Forms and Usages of the most ancient and worshipful Fraternity are wisely propagated, and the Royal Art duly cultivated, and the Cement of the Brotherhood preserv’d; so that the whole Body resembles a well built Arch.” And this pompous and involved statement simply conveyed that six years previously the Grand Lodge of England had come into organized existence.

The movement for centralization began towards the close of 1716, but its absolute originators are unknown. What was much later averred by Anderson was that two Lodges of the City of London and two of the City of Westminster, “finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren” — architect and builder of St. Paul’s Cathedral and according to unproved tradition Masonic Grand Master — “thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the Center of Union and Harmony.” Accordingly “they and some old Brothers, having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (call’d the Grand Lodge), resolved to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to Chuse a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have the Honour of having a Noble Brother at their Head.” The date of the highly important meeting at which this was resolved is not given; but on June 24, 1717, the Day of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of many a Masonic Lodge the whole world over, the first Grand Lodge Communication assembled at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul’s Churchyard, and “Anthony Sayer, Gentleman,” was elected, invested, and installed by the oldest Master present as Grand Master of Masons. The description of Sayer clearly indicated that he was not of the operative class, as his Senior Grand Warden appears simply as “Mr. Jacob Lamball, Carpenter.” A twelvemonth later, on the same day, there was elected, “invested, install’d, congratulated and homaged” “George Payne, Esq,” the prefix “Mr.” being given to the two Grand Wardens, both operatives, the one a City carpenter and the other a stone-cutter.

In 1719, the third year of Grand Lodge’s existence, it began truly to live, when John Theophilus Desaguliers, of Huguenot descent and Oxford Doctor of Laws and Fellow of the Royal Society, was chosen Grand Master, “and forthwith reviv’d the old regular and peculiar Toasts or Healths of the Free Masons.” “Now,” wrote Anderson, “several old Brothers, that had neglected the Craft, visited the Lodges; some Noblemen were also made Brothers, and more new Lodges were constituted.” This was due to the energizing and organizing powers of Desaguliers, who for twenty or more years continued to be the inspiring and dominating spirit of the Craft. The increase under his Grand Mastership may have owed something to a veiled advertisement, published three months after his Masonic reign began, desiring “The Master Masons in and about London to meet their Brethren and a Gentleman who hath a proposal to make them which will be beneficial to the Trade.” And it is of interest to-day to note that this meeting was to assemble at a tavern in Wild Street, one side of which over two centuries later was filled with the majestic Masonic Peace Memorial, the central home and Grand Temple of English Freemasonry.

Desaguliers gave place to Payne, who was Grand Master a second time in 1720, with a stone-cutter and a mathematician as Wardens; and two important constitutional changes marked this term. The outgoing Grand Master or a predecessor was thenceforward to nominate the next occupant of the English Masonic Throne, and the incomer was to appoint “both his Grand Wardens and a Deputy Grand Master (now found as necessary as formerly) according to antient Custom, when Noble Brothers were Grand Masters.” As an immediate consequence, Payne proposed as his successor John Duke of Montagu, the Master of a Lodge; and all in Grand Lodge “express’d great joy at the happy Prospect of being again patronized by Noble Grand Masters, as in the prosperous Times of Free Masonry.” And, when Montagu was installed on June 24, 1721, the period of Masonic success began.

Thus artisans and operatives had evolved into a middle-class organization desirous of aristocratic lead. This desire had been characteristically English from feudal times, and is very far from extinct to-day. Manifested politically with great effect at the opening of the Civil War against Charles I, it became more striking with the Revolution of 1688, which placed on the throne the Protestant William of Orange instead of the Romanist James II. It was stamped upon the nation with full emphasis after the Hanoverian Succession, when the Whigs, a middle-class party with aristocratic heads, ruled for seventy years. Freemasonry in promptly looking for a leader among the peers was pursuing, therefore, only what the most solid Englishmen all round believed to be the path of safety and success.

All this information about the earliest actions of Grand Lodge is owed to James Anderson. It has been objected that he did not publish it until many years later; but it was publicly put forth without correction or contradiction while his long-time associate Desaguliers was alive and active in Grand Lodge. Three of the details given by him in describing Montagu’s installation were precisely confirmed in the very first newspaper reference to Grand Lodge that can be traced, and this in The Post Boy of June 24–27, 1721. Anderson said that Montagu “call’d forth” John Beal as his Deputy Grand Master, and “Dr. Beale” is given in The Post Boy as “Sub-Master”: according to the former, Grand Lodge “made some new Brothers, particularly the noble Philip, Lord Stanhope, now [1738] Earl of Chesterfield,” and the London journal noted the presence at the Feast of “several Noblemen and Gentlemen”: while the newspaper allusion to the fact that “the Reverend Dr. Desaguliers made a Speech suitable to the Occasion,” is simply a variant of Anderson’s statement that “Brother Desaguliers made an eloquent Oration about Masons and Masonry.”

For those first few years of placing Grand Lodge on a stable basis, we have to grope largely in the dark. The growing Brotherhood was suspected of deep designs; and, if records of the earlier proceedings were made, they were carefully destroyed. Payne, when beginning his first Grand Mastership, “desir’d any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to show the Usages of antient Times; And this Year [1718–19] several old Copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated.” But in his second term [1720–21] “at some private Lodges,” says Anderson, “several very valuable Manuscripts (for they had nothing yet in Print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages … were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers; that those Papers might not fall into strange hands.” And this work of destruction of the irreplaceable went on under Montagu, even though with the best intentions, for, “finding Fault with all the Copies of the old Gothic Constitutions, [he and Grand Lodge] order’d Brother James Anderson, A.M., to digest the same in a new and better Method.” This was done, under the supervision of “14 learned Brethren” appointed by the Grand Master, doubtless aided by information furnished in Grand Lodge, when “the Communication was made very entertaining by the Lectures of some old Masons.” The resulting work was ordered in March 1722 to be printed; and, in its original shape when issued the next year and in its extended form in 1738, it has ever since remained the standard — though in certain details far from unchallenged — authority on the earliest period of English organized Freemasonry.

The second Duke of Montagu, the first peer to be chosen Grand Master, had become a prominent personage in national life. Son of the first Duke of Queen Anne’s creation, who had figured largely under Charles II as Ambassador to France, he married, a month before his father was given the dukedom, a daughter of John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, the greatest military commander England has ever produced. As was natural, he promptly volunteered for service under his father-in-law in Flanders; and, becoming Hereditary Master of the Great Wardrobe — a gift of William and — on his succession to the Dukedom in 1709, he was Lord High Constable for England for George I’s coronation. Having received severable honourable appointments he was made Knight of the Garter in 1719; but that he was not entirely absorbed by either ceremonial or military affairs — and by now he was a colonel of Horse Guards — is shown by his being created Doctor of Medicine by Cambridge University and made Fellow of the College of Physicians within the same month in 1719. And these, though honorary degrees, indicated his possession of scientific taste.

This may have led him into Speculative Freemasonry; but, whatever the cause, the effect was great. “Very tall in stature, of a good shape and symmetry, of a grand aspect, manly, and full of dignity,” as he was described by one who knew him, Montagu must have looked the part he filled so well. But his very success aroused personal envy and political opposition. Montagu was a Whig of the Whigs and a firm supporter of the Hanoverian Succession; but, ominously enough, within six weeks after his coming to the Masonic Throne, the turbulent, intriguing, ambitious Jacobite, Philip Duke of Wharton, when only twenty-three, entered the Craft. He had been alternately Hanoverian and Jacobite, and President of a Hell-fire Club suppressed by royal proclamation in the previous year. These political and social excitements he varied by being in July 1721 “admitted into the Society of Free-Masons at the King’s-Arms Tavern in St. Paul’s Church-Yard; and his Grace came Home to his House in the Pall-Mall in a white Leathern Apron,” a theatrical touch contemporaneously attested and thoroughly characteristic of this singularly brilliant and thoroughly untrustworthy man.

It is evident that Wharton was no sooner inside Masonry than he began to intrigue for the headship, and this not only for personal but political ends. The most energetic among the Jacobites were eager to turn to their own use an institution so rapidly growing in numbers and influence. The House of Hanover had occupied the British Throne little more than seven years, during all of which its adherents had been engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the partisans of the exiled Stuarts. Never during its course had the chances of the Old Pretender, as known to the Hanoverians, or James III to the Jacobites, been brighter than in the year of Montagu’s Grand Mastership, largely because of the general distress caused by the bursting of the South Sea Bubble. Of this Wharton took full avail. Despite the fact that, as Anderson attests, “Grand Master Montagu’s good Government inclin’d the better Sort to continue him in the Chair another Year,” “Philip, Duke of Wharton, lately made a Brother, though not the Master of a Lodge, being ambitious of the Chair, got a Number of Others to meet him at Stationers-Hall 24 June 1722. And having no Grand Officers, they put in the Chair the oldest Master Mason (who was not the present Master of a Lodge, also irregular), and without the usual decent Ceremonials, the said old Mason proclaim’d aloud Philip Wharton, Duke of Wharton, Grand Master of Masons,” with a blacksmith and a working mason as Grand Wardens. The whole proceeding was irregular in the highest degree; but the blame partly should rest on those who supinely allowed the intrigue to fructify. Anderson, as a contemporary witness and supporter of the Hanoverian cause, noted that, because “the better Sort were inclin’d to continue Montagu in the Chair another Year they delay’d to prepare the Feast,” at which their decision should have been announced. The intriguers took advantage of the unusually short notice given of the Feast — only five days — to rally their supporters by artfully-worded unauthorized advertisements in London journals; and they anticipated history by completely for the moment “dishing the Whigs.” Their victory was followed by a dinner described by an eye-witness as being of a very joyous kind; but “when the Music began to play, ‘Let the King enjoy his own again’” — a deliberately Jacobite move — “they were immediately reprimanded by a Person of great Gravity and Science.” We can believe this to have been Desaguliers, earlier noted as reviver of Masonic Toasts, and now erroneously announced in the contemporary newspapers to have accepted the position of Deputy. It was he who was ultimately responsible for Wharton’s downfall.

“Therefore,” says Anderson, Desaguliers’ leading associate, “the noble Brothers and all those that would not countenance Irregularities, disown’d Wharton’s Authority.” They may have felt the more constrained to this because the eyes of the Hanoverian Government, always keen for Jacobite intrigue, were already on the Craft. More than a week before the over-long delayed summoning of the Annual Feast, some of the leading Masons waited on Lord Townshend, Secretary of State and brother-in-law of Robert Walpole, the all-powerful Prime Minister, afterwards a pensioning patron of Anderson. They assured the Secretary that “being obliged by the Constitutions to hold a General Meeting now at Midsummer, according to annual custom, they hoped the Administration would take no Umbrage at that Convocation, as they were all zealously affected to his Majesty’s Person and Government.” Townshend “received this Intimation in a very affable manner,” and, with an implied sneer, coldly told them “he believ’d they need not be apprehensive of any Molestation from the Government, so long as they went on doing nothing more dangerous than the ancient Secrets of the Society; which must be of a very harmless Nature, because, as much as Mankind love Mischief, no Body ever betray’d them.” The threat embodied in the sneer was underlined by the Whig journal containing this statement, which editorially observed that “no wise Man will remove ancient Land-Marks; and for the imaginary Prospect of enjoying something he does not enjoy, and has a Mind to enjoy, run the hazard of losing what he is already in possession of,” a palpable hit which Wharton could not mistake. Remembrance of all this stimulated the reprimand at the Grand Feast of the playing of a Jacobite air, and the “loud Huzzas” which greeted the loyal Hanoverian healths, “begun by a Great Man” — most likely Desaguliers again — which included “Prosperity to old England under the present Administration.”

Having thus checked Wharton at the outset, the party of Masonic law and order went diligently to work to restore regularity. The former Grand Master seven months later “heal’d the Breach of Harmony by summoning the Grand Lodge to meet 17 January, 1722–3, where, the Duke of Wharton promising to be True and Faithful,” Beal, as Deputy Grand Master, proclaimed him Grand Master, Desaguliers, now that regularity was re-established, accepting the Deputy’s position. As an immediate consequence of this happier state of things, “Masonry,” recorded Anderson, “flourish’d in Harmony, Reputation, and Numbers; many Noblemen and Gentlemen of the first Rank desir’d to be admitted into the Fraternity, besides other Learned Men, Merchants, Clergymen, and Tradesmen, who found a Lodge to be a safe and Pleasant Relaxation from Intense Study or the Hurry of Business, without Politicks or Party” — the true explanation of Masonry’s early and permanently established success. It was rumoured, indeed, though in error, that the Prince of Wales, soon afterwards George II, was about to join the Order; and it could be journalistically announced that “Some Persons of Note” were admitted. Both royal and ecclesiastical recognition had been assured when in the spring of 1722 twelve feet above the foundation-stone of the still prominent London Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, at Charing Cross, which had been laid on behalf and by command of the King by the Bishop of Salisbury, Lord High Almoner, “the first Stone of the Foundation at the same Corner above Ground was laid with a great deal of Ceremony by the Society of the Free-Masons, who on that Occasion were very generous to the Workmen,” Operative and Speculative being closely associated still.

Throughout the spring of 1723 Wharton, now fully recognized as Grand Master, worked industriously for the Craft. He was “obliged to constitute more new Lodges and was very assiduous in visiting the Lodges every week with his Deputy and Wardens.” “His Worship,” we are told, “was well pleas’d with their kind and respectful Manner of receiving him, as they were with his affable and clever conversation.” This was no wonder, for it could be claimed for him in a biography published on his death in exile in 1731, when not yet 33, that “the excellence of his performance was heightened by the beauty and comeliness of his person. He was admirably qualified for acting a popular part by the noble air of his person.” Accordingly when in the April by established custom Grand Lodge met to hear announced the next occupant of the Masonic Throne, “Wharton, Grand Master, proposed the Earl of Dalkeith, Master of a Lodge, who was unanimously approv’d and duly saluted as Grand Master.”

The Masonic sky for the moment looked clear. Francis, Earl of Dalkeith, was a capital choice, for he was a peer of promise, not yet thirty. Romance attached to him, because his grandmother, the aged Duchess of Buccleuch, held the title in her own right as widow of the forty-years dead Duke of Monmouth, beheaded after Sedgemoor by his uncle James II. The dukedom passed to Dalkeith (his father having been dead close on twenty years) on his grandmother’s decease in 1732. It adds to the Masonic interest attaching to Monmouth’s widow, whose grandson became Grand Master, that, when marrying a second time, three years after the tragedy on Tower Hill, she took as husband Charles, third Baron Cornwallis of a Charles II creation, extinct only under Victoria; and it is a Baron Cornwallis of George V creation who was Deputy Grand Master of England in 1930. But, after Dalkeith had been unanimously elected and before he could be formally installed, the stormy petrel was once more on the wing. Wharton, smarting under Masonic rebuff, was in no mood to accept a Craft “without Politicks or Party”; and only a week before the Grand Lodge Annual Feast, he ostentatiously displayed his Jacobitism and braved the block by accompanying the exiled Jacobite bishop Atterbury to his ship in the Thames and presenting him with a rich sword bearing provocative words. Determined not to do things by halves, he occupied the morning of Grand Feast day in June by appearing in London Guildhall to encourage the Jacobite partisans in a struggle for the shrievalty and organizing his Masonic adherents for an evening fight in Grand Lodge. He was savagely denounced by The True Briton for having descended from his high rank “to sweat among Crowds of Plebeians and Mechanicks and to stretch his throat with Leather-Apron’d Stentors.” But he failed with each section, for both in Guildhall and Grand Lodge he was defeated.

In those days the Grand Feast was held immediately before Grand Lodge; and on this fateful evening about six hundred Brethren, an unprecedentedly large number, attended in Merchant Taylors Hall, there to enjoy, as the newspapers said, “a noble Feast in which the Stewards gave entire Content, and gain’d universal Applause; and there was a handsome Entertainment both of Vocal and Instrumental Musick.” It was a harmonious prelude to a most stormy evening, for the party struggle in Grand Lodge was of the keenest. Though Wharton at the reconciliation meeting earlier in the year had been constrained to accept Desaguliers as Deputy, he was determined, despite the express desire of the incoming Grand Master, with whom rested the appointment, to prevent that sturdy Hanoverian’s continuance in the post. Accordingly, taking the Chair in Grand Lodge, Dalkeith being unavoidably absent, he irregularly put the question that Desaguliers’ appointment should not be approved. Acting, as Anderson privately wrote to Montagu the same week, in concert with some whom “he had persuaded that morning [at Guildhall] to join him,” Wharton went to a division; and so effectively had he rallied the Jacobite host that he was beaten by no more than a single vote. Angrily he disputed the accuracy of the count, “but without avail”; and a written authority was read from Dalkeith appointing Desaguliers Deputy, With this was coupled a strong protest against Wharton’s action in putting the question of approbation, as “unprecedented, unwarrantable, and irregular, and tending to introduce into the Society a Breach of Harmony, with the utmost Disorder and Confusion.” The end was dramatic: “The late Grand Master went away from the Hall without Ceremony” and thoroughly discredited. Worse was to come, for six months later he was pointed at in a newspaper paragraph as “a Peer of the first Rank, a noted Member of the Society of Free-Masons, who hath suffered himself to be degraded as a Member of that Society, and his Leather Apron and Gloves to be burnt,” though of this melodramatic climax no other record is to be found. Joining a spurious society, “lately brought over from China by a Mandarine,” Masonry in England knew him no more, but a little later he fitfully and irregularly affected to constitute an English Lodge in the land of his exile, Spain. A Masonic diarist of the faculty of Evelyn and Pepys could have told posterity all the inner working of these intricate intrigues and internal broils. To-day only can be gathered from the fragments we possess something of the turmoil that for this fateful year threatened to wither the growing plant of English Freemasonry. But the main result was plain and its consequences permanent. Not long before, a single vote had secured the Hanoverian succession in the British Parliament: now a single vote had secured Freemasonry in the English Grand Lodge. And both these world-inspiring entities have gone on existing side by side in strength, friendship, and ever-growing esteem for over two hundred years.



The story of the determining struggle in Grand Lodge in 1723 has here been told for the first time; and, like the other incidents concerned in the building up of the newly-erected edifice, told thus fully as showing the foundations on which the structure rests. The progress of Grand Lodge will not demand the like circumstance; but it cannot be rightly considered without examination of the impelling reasons for its existence. Up to now a string of names not attempted to be explained; a spate of facts of varying value; and a stream of dates conveying no associated meaning have largely served as Masonic history. Many have been furnished by diligent students who deserve all thanks for uncovering the quarry and excavating its contents. But a building is not made by throwing together masses of stone, without regard to shapeliness or aptitude. So it is with an institution. Its history cannot be understood without an attempt to visualize and vitalize the men behind the machine, and the aims which so actuated them as to make it human.

If the aims, in this instance, be first considered, we shall have to proceed by inference from glimmerings and induction from scattered facts. The fathers of organized Freemasonry failed to put on record, even in private letters or memoranda which have been preserved, the reasons for their act. Subconsciously, as can be gathered from what they did, they strove first for cooperation, then for co-ordination, and last for centralization. Thus they proceeded from strength to strength — from a fraternal association of the members of four old Lodges to the bringing under one rule all the Lodges of London and Westminster, and ultimately making that the centre of English-speaking Freemasonry. Those who read history backwards, and possess full knowledge of facts which could not at the outset have been foreseen, are apt to attribute to the departed exalted ideas and preternatural foresight impossible to simple minds. The Masons who constituted the first Grand Lodge meeting, as far as can be traced, were of simple and single-minded type; and, if the movement had not attracted others more subtle and strong, it would speedily have been nothing more than a large social club, limited to the English capital and likely to wither away. But there were an attractiveness in its legend and a mystery in its record which speedily brought in others who gave it life; and the two who most clearly emerge from the early crowd are John Theophilus Desaguliers and James Anderson.

Because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV, Desaguliers, born at La Rochelle, had been brought to England in 1685 as an infant of two years old hidden in an apple barrel, according to an old story. His father was a Huguenot pastor, who, speedily after his flight from France, became an English clergyman. Having been a Bachelor of Arts at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1710, the younger Desaguliers — baptized Jean Théophile, now John Theophilus — at once entered the Church of his father’s adoption, and became that year lecturer on experimental philosophy at Hart Hall, to-day’s Hertford College, and Master of Arts two years later. Fellow of the Royal Society in 1714, and promptly acting as Curator, he received a Doctorate of Laws from his Mother University four years after, meantime having become Chaplain in the last-mentioned year to the Earl of Carnarvon (afterwards Duke of Chandos) and given by him a Middlesex living. He was then to prove himself a popular lecturer in simple terms on natural philosophy and scientific invention, not only in London but in leading society centres outside; and his invention of the planetarium and published books on physics, astronomy, and mechanics brought him into that intimate touch with aristocratic patrons, social leaders, literary men, scientists, clergymen, and speculative thinkers which prepared him for the great work he achieved in Freemasonry. When first he was attracted into the Craft is as unknown — so little system attached to Lodge records at that time — as the date of the entrance of Anderson, born a little earlier, and elder brother of Adam Anderson, a historian of commerce, who for forty years was a clerk in the South Sea House, a fact of the more interest as the elder suffered severe financial loss through the South Sea Bubble.

James Anderson was educated at the University of Aberdeen, his birth-city, wherein he later won the distinctions of Master of Arts and Doctor of Divinity. He was of a pushing disposition which provoked awkward criticism throughout his career. This started in 1709, when, coming to London, he collected a congregation from Scotsmen residing in Westminster, and secured the tenure of a French Protestant church, which probably first brought him into touch with Desaguliers. This church, which was situated in Swallow Street, Westminster, was that occupied for several years by the elder Desaguliers, immediately after his London ordination; and it was the religious centre of the aristocratic portion of the Huguenot refugees. Coming to be flippantly known as “Bishop Anderson” he was disparagingly described by one jealous contemporary as “a learned but imprudent man” and by another as of a character “marked by some singular imprudencies.” Admitted by the latter to have been of “a lively brisk character” as well as “a gentleman of learning and of ready parts,” it was sourly added that “he has not that guard upon his conduct that serious Christians could wish, though it is hoped he is a good man, and has been useful in his ministry to many persons.” His vivacity and pushfulness, indeed, while greatly aiding him in various directions, provoked much hostile comment. The acrid sneer, “A little prig of a Mass John,” written under his name on the title-page of the only extant copy of his first published sermon, preached on a National Fast Day in 1712, is but a sample of a probably large sack, gathered in the course of a long career. Yet to Anderson — though now as a historian accepted by serious Masonic students as an authority only on statements made from personal knowledge and published with the cognizance of Desaguliers, when they could have been instantly contradicted if exaggerated or erroneous — the organized Freemasonry of to-day owes a deep debt.

The very differences of character and style between Desaguliers and Anderson specially assisted them in the task to which, from about 1719, they were devoted. Desaguliers travelled to the cultured centres of Great Britain, giving his scientific lectures in Edinburgh as well as in London and Bath, and doing Masonic work in each. He had splendid introductions everywhere. Chaplain to the Duke of Chandos, he had in 1719 that great noble’s heir and the illustrious Sir Isaac Newton as godfathers and “Mlle. Cassandra Cornwallis,” apparently the Duke’s second wife, as godmother for his third son. It is significant, as affecting later developments of his career, socially and Masonically, that this led Desaguliers to seek in distinguished circles for godparents for further children. And having, in 1722, secured for his elder daughter a godmother in the niece of a duchess, he had as godparents for the second, two years later, the heir of the Earl of Cholmondeley, the Duchess of Richmond, wife of that year’s Grand Master, and the Countess of Dalkeith, wife of the preceding one. In 1726, when his last daughter was baptized, like the rest, in St. Margaret’s, Westminster, “the Church of the Parliament,” the pride in his Masonic connection was made additionally manifest in the fact that the first Grand Secretary, a Past Deputy Grand Master, and the wife of a Past Grand Warden were the Desaguliers’ sponsors. These facts go to show that special social connections were possessed by the man who carried the Craft forward to the point when, twenty years after Grand Lodge was born, he initiated into Freemasonry Frederick, Prince of Wales. This son of George II was father of George III, and direct ancestor of George V, as well as of England’s Grand Master of 1930, the Duke of Connaught. He thus became first of the long line of Hanoverian royal personages to be Freemasons, represented to-day by Edward Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and Prince George, sons of George V. And not alone by these, but by the Duke of Connaught, uncle of that King (with his only son Prince Arthur), who for well over a quarter of a century was Grand Master of England, like his elder brother, who passed from the Masonic to the Imperial Throne as Edward VII.

Anderson, the striving preacher, was in Masonry neither statesman nor diplomat, but he was of the greatest use as Grand Lodge’s man-of-all-work. He was ready to turn his hand to anything needing ready performance — call the roll, read the minutes, compile the Constitutions, compress the Charges, keep the Records, and act on occasion as Grand Warden and, before such a post was officially created, Grand Secretary. Thus Anderson was the handy man in excelsis, diligently helping to weld the new body into an organic whole under the guidance of Desaguliers, the earliest statesman of the Craft and the greatest inspirer of organization and director of administration Freemasonry has known. These two men, neither of English birth, parentage, or ingrained modes of thought, earliest shaped the work and guided the destinies of English-speaking Freemasonry, infusing into it that cosmopolitan spirit, that supreme touch of universality, that absolute freedom from dogmatic religious assertion which preserved the Craft from insularity and enabled it to spread throughout the world. The inspiration was mediaeval, the impulse modern. It needed the blending of both Operative and Speculative to make the institution complete.

It is impossible to understand the evolution of English Freemasonry unless the character, career, and great services of Desaguliers and Anderson are thoroughly understood. Anderson unconsciously anticipated the creation of a Grand Secretary, and Desaguliers that of a President of the Board of General Purposes. As guide and director of Grand Lodge effort during its earliest years, Desaguliers proved himself the Craft’s first Grand Administrator, a title officially unknown but worthy of creation. Strict to enforce discipline, ready to suggest reform, vigilant to prevent personal intrigue which might lead to corruption, the services of Desaguliers to the original Grand Lodge of England were to prove even greater than those of Laurence Dermott to the subsequent so-styled Grand Lodge of “Antients” and Thomas Dunckerley to that of the “Moderns,” when these split into rival bodies later in the eighteenth century. They were little understood or appreciated by the Masons of either their own or a later day, which is the accustomed fate of energetic and far-seeing administrators. These pass away and others enter into their reward. Those who eat the grapes forget the trainers of the vine. But without such English Freemasonry could not have come into existence or continued in growingly active being, until to-day it is stronger in every essential than ever before.

Happily, and mainly through the personal energy and influence of Desaguliers, the earliest efforts were aided by chiefs who strove well for the Craft. It was a time when the great aristocrat considered himself the born leader of the general body of men, and was so considered by them. Such a peer played a very important part in British affairs, in Parliament, in the Church, and in Society; and, almost from the outset, he did the like in Masonry. Montagu well started the work which, after the eccentric intrusion of Wharton, was carried on by Dalkeith, whose regard for Desaguliers and consequent assistance to Grand Lodge was specially testified by an apparently small but permanently important incident. For the history of the first four years of organized existence English Freemasonry possesses none but traditional records; for the next two we have the precisely dated statements made by Anderson in his 1738 revised and extended edition of The Book of Constitutions; but in 1723, when ruled by Dalkeith with Desaguliers as Deputy, there began a full series of Grand Lodge Minutes, uninterruptedly kept until now. “This Manuscript [which] was begun the 25th November, 1723,” opened with two invaluable “Lists of the Regular Constituted Lodges together with the Names of the Masters Wardens and Members of Each Lodge,” the first apparently of June 24, 1723, the day Dalkeith was installed, and the other of two years later. The earliest minute is of the fateful Grand Lodge Communication of June 24, 1723, when Wharton presided, with Anderson as a Warden. It was thereat that Wharton was defeated in an attempt to prevent Desaguliers being appointed Deputy. By the narrowest possible majority, 43 to 42, the attempt failed; but that was only one of that sitting’s important decisions. The first Grand Secretary was appointed in the person of William Cowper, son of a distinguished lawyer, uncle of a famous poet, and himself holding the dignified post of Clerk of the Parliaments. Further it was resolved “That it is not in the Power of any person, or Body of men, to make any alteration, or Innovation, in the Body of Masonry without the Consent first obtained of the Annual Grand Lodge” — a double-barrelled gun, which covered both Wharton’s usurpations and Anderson’s marked constitutional alterations. This declaration, in shortened and strengthened form, is strictly enjoined on every English Mason when he comes into the Master’s Chair to-day. And Grand Lodge thus regularized began steadily and continuously to perform its work.

There is no idea here, now that the origin of the organization has been traced, to tell in like detail how its task went on. From the beginning, the inspiration and influence of Desaguliers are foremost to be marked. The first “Prime Minister of Freemasonry” — faithful adherent of Walpole, the earliest Prime Minister of England — was a fearless and far-sighted statesman, serving the Craft, in the old legal phrase, “without fear, favour, affection, or the hope of reward.” He possessed the advantage of having moved in circles other than Masonic; and in the wide world of prominent men and public affairs he had a training which proved invaluable in doing constructive organizing work. Having fearless courage, a firm temper, never-failing perseverance, and ever-present tact, he wore down opposition but aroused detraction, and in the end received neglect. A contemporary poet, who prayed permission for

… the weeping muse to tell
How poor neglected Desaguliers fell,

certainly exaggerated the mournfulness of his end when bewailing

How he, who taught two gracious Kings to view
All Boyle ennobled, and all Bacon knew,
Died in a cell, without a friend to save.
Without a guinea, and without a grave.

But Desaguliers, though far from as poor and wretched as this, has never received full recognition from Freemasonry of the enormous services he rendered as its earliest organizer possessed of inspiration.

The slightest summary of his Grand Lodge activities, apart from his year of Grand Mastership and various succeeding years of Deputy Grand Mastership, will prove what manner of Masonic statesman he was, and what was the permanent result. A member of the original body appointed in 1725 to organize the General Charity, he was the first to propose, five years later, a standing committee to regulate and dispose of the funds, a work carried on to-day by the Board of Benevolence. He was earliest to suggest a practical plan for helping Masons’ widows and orphans, as well as distressed Brethren; it was on his proposal that the Board of Grand Stewards was originally appointed; he was prompt to denounce those who in public print and for private profit “pretended to discover and reveal the Misteries of the Craft of Masonry”; he earliest defined the distinctive clothing and jewels of the Grand Officers; and his latest great service was at the Feast of 1735 when, acting as Deputy Grand Master, he “earnestly recommended the preserving proper Decency and Temper in the Management of the Debates,” and promised Grand Lodge that, if certain rules of conduct were followed (rules which continue to be observed), Brethren “should all be heard to the Point in their turn, so that the Practice of the Grand Lodge in this Case might be a fitt Pattern to be followed by every private Lodge.” “This proposition was received,” the Minutes record, “with very great applause,” and Desaguliers went on, until a twelvemonth before his death nine years later, to render active aid; but the words now quoted can be regarded as his epitaph, no note being officially taken when he passed away of his long and great service to the Craft. It had been the same with Anderson five years before. No “official mourning” was ordered for either of these most active and earnest early organizers of the Craft; but for Anderson there was some Masonic recognition at the close. He was borne to his rest in Bunhill Fields, the historic cemetery of the London Nonconformists. Already lay therein John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe, Susannah Wesley, mother of Methodism, and Isaac Watts — all names continuing to thrill and inspire the whole English-speaking world. Desaguliers, the ordained Anglican, faithful and fraternal to the last, with “five Dissenting Teachers,” supported the Presbyterian’s pall; and “about a Dozen of Free-Masons encircled the grave, who, in a most dismal, solemn Posture lifted up their Hands, sigh’d, and struck their Aprons three Times in Honour to the Deceased.” But it did not escape an observant newsman’s note that, while the officiating minister “harangued on the Uncertainty of Life,” it was “without one Word of the Deceased” — perhaps because though, according to another London journal, “he was a Person of great Learning and Ability,” he was “reckon’d a very facetious Companion.”

By this time English Freemasonry in general and Grand Lodge in particular had been squarely set on their feet. Not only contemporary evidence but extant records testify to the wonderful expansion when once fairly started. At the outset Grand Lodge was intended to embrace only Masons “within the Bills of Mortality,” simply covering the London area. This is still treated as a separate Masonic enclave directly ruled by the Grand Master, which in idea derives from a Grand Lodge decision of 1724, restricting its formal discipline to the Lodges of London and Westminster. In the first Grand Lodge Minute-book, of 1723, a list was given of the “Regular Constituted Lodges,” and this included only one immediately outside the capital, and that meeting no farther away than at “The Red Lion in Richmond in Surrey.” 1724 saw the birth of what to all appearance was the earliest Provincial Lodge regularly set up under the Grand Lodge system; and to this year also is assigned the constitution of Lodges in such still active Masonic towns as Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Chichester, Carmarthen, and Chester. The last-named city was obviously a place much favoured by the highest Masonic authorities, for in a second official list of regular Lodges, delivered at a Grand Lodge Quarterly Communication in 1725, not only were the names given of the members of three Lodges at Chester, but four of these Brethren standing at the head, and above the Master and Wardens of the Lodge, were distinguished by the title, then new to Masonry, and here first appearing, of “Provincial Grand Master,” with his own Wardens and Deputy. There is nothing in explanation on the records, and it can simply be conjectured that the principal Lodge in a town of several Lodges asserted the title as a mark of distinction. No existence yet appears of a Provincial Grand Lodge organization; but this may be considered to have sprung from such an episode as that of 1727, when William Cowper, the first Grand Secretary, and then Deputy Grand Master, made a visitation of the Lodges at Chester; was welcomed by those who signed themselves Provincial Grand Master, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and Grand Wardens; and was specially thanked by Grand Lodge itself for this earliest official Masonic Mission.

1727 marked a further important advance in expansion, when the Duke of Richmond as Past Grand Master proposed at a Quarterly Communication “a health and Success to our Brethren of the Lodge at Gibraltar.” In return these Brethren successfully petitioned the Duke in the following year to get them constituted into a regular Lodge. Their not-distant English Brethren in Madrid, originally but irregularly constituted by the exiled Duke of Wharton, asked in 1728 with like success to be regularized. And in 1729, Grand Lodge not only approved a petition for a Lodge “signed by several persons (being Masons) now living at Fort William in Bengal,” but the brother of a petitioner, who was a member of Grand Lodge, received a special commission to constitute the new body, he having “offered himself to perform that service, he intending to make a Voyage to that place in a short time.” And the culmination at this point of the movement of expansion was the issue in June 1730 of a “Deputation” by the then Grand Master, the Duke of Norfolk, to Daniel Coxe to be Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Thus went the onward sweep of a movement originally launched under what could be regarded only as an undistinguished band. Personally they were insignificant; potentially, through the significance that was in them, they were full of strength; and they builded better than they knew. “Silently as a dream the fabric rose,” wrote of the Temple of Solomon the poet-nephew of the first Grand Secretary; and the same could be said of the symbolical successor. As Heber later exclaimed of the one, so of the other:

No hammers fell, no ponderous axes rung;
Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.

That not at any time were there hubbub and confusion within the portals of Solomon’s actual Temple is nowhere asserted; and it is the same with the mystic one the Wise King bequeathed to years long later. The seemingly insensible but always steady progress of the symbolical structure was as clear as of its material predecessor. In 1717 four Lodges attended the first meeting of Grand Lodge; in 1721 twelve are stated by Anderson to have been represented in June, sixteen in September, twenty in December, twenty-four in the following March, and thirty at the assembling next ensuing. And the increase went on until December 1739, when there ceased the enumeration in the Grand Lodge Minutes begun years before. Seventy Lodges are then recorded as represented, each by the Master and his two Wardens; but all were of London, except three, two hailing from Leicester and the third from Liverpool, for travel was too difficult and too costly in those times to tempt many Provincial Brethren to the capital except for grave cause.

By 1740, when Desaguliers had ended all his effective work, it had to be increasingly recognized that dis-organization because of irregularities had set in. The Grand Lodge in London — the constitution of which in 1717 had stimulated the assembling of a Grand Lodge in 1725 in Dublin and in Edinburgh in 1736 — had not claimed at the outset, and did not claim for several years, to do more than cement together and discipline the Lodges “within the Bills of Mortality.” The Grand Lodge of England in London, formed from various old Lodges, had a rival in the Grand Lodge of All England similarly formed at York and constituted in 1725; but no friction seems to have arisen at that early period between them, each respecting the other’s territory. From the start, however, the London body was plagued by “irregular Masons,” springing from Lodges unauthorized by the Grand Master. These in 1724 were ordered “not to be admitted into Regular Lodges,” this being the earliest known instance of the central authority asserting disciplinary power. But the nuisance did not abate. “False Brethren and such as call themselves Honorary Masons” were earnestly denounced by Desaguliers in 1730, and rules were adopted for the Lodges’ “Security against all open and Secret Enemies to the Craft.” “False Brethren and Impostors” were severely trounced, and were forbidden to receive Masonic Charity or hold Lodge office; but discipline was weakened when in 1739 Lord Raymond, as Grand Master, censured some offenders as “tending to destroy the Cement of the Lodge, utterly inconsistent with the Rules of the Society,” but was willing to forgive them if Grand Lodge would order “the laws to be strictly put in execution against all such Brethren for the future.” The lack of firm and steady leadership from the time of Desaguliers’ ascendancy was, indeed, growingly felt.

Trouble began to arise from the fact that the Grand Lodge of neither Ireland nor Scotland was in direct communion with that of England. Confusion and even friction were the consequence. In 1732 Lord Southwell was recognized in London as “Provincial Grand Master in Ireland,” in which country at that moment Lord Kingston (who had occupied the English Masonic Throne in 1729) was Grand Master. In 1735 the Master and Wardens of “a Lodge from Ireland” attended Grand Lodge in London “without desiring to be admitted, by virtue of a Deputation from the Lord Kingston present Grand Master of Ireland”; but they were rebuffed, “unless they would accept of a new Constitution here.” This lack of harmony led to what ultimately became a split in English Freemasonry. A clear difference of Masonic practice had developed between the two countries; and London early perceived that Ireland desired to continue her own ideas in her own Lodges, wherever situate, acknowledging but not submitting to the central authority in London over Irish Masons there.

After the open rebuff of 1735 troubles grew, and they began to come to a head in 1739, just as the guiding hand of Desaguliers was dropping from the English helm. “Irregularities in the making of Masons,” due as far as is traceable to Irish influence, were on the increase; like many such when presented to a somewhat amorphous body they were attempted to be evaded; but they sterilized a Craft now deprived of forceful inspiration. For five years from 1747, an early Lord Byron — “the wicked Lord Byron” of much later days — was an almost completely absentee Grand Master; and a movement from within his own ranks, checked just in time, became afoot to set in his place a more active man. It was in after years declared on his behalf that “he spared no diligence to preserve the privileges of Masonry, to redress grievances, and to relieve distress”; and it was emphasized by another authority that, when he at last quitted the Masonic Throne, the parting was most cordial. But the summary erasure of a number of Lodges during his reign planted still more surely the seeds of schism, which steadily ripened into a baleful harvest.

Brethren expelled or excluded from Grand Lodge were resolved to pursue Freemasonry according to their own beliefs. It is not possible to say more in this place than that an ill-advised device to keep “irregular Lodges” out of the fold afforded these a plausible ground for stating that the Grand Lodge of England had ritually departed from the true path; that thus they had modernized the “Antient” Constitutions; and that the seceders were justified in terming themselves “Antient” Masons, while those of the parent body were no more than “Moderns” — terms originally of taunt and opprobrium, but to-day not obviously mis-applied.

No important movement — and this mainly originated in the forty-five troublesome Lodges erased from the Grand Lodge Roll in the ten years after 1742 — ever succeeds without the dominating inspiration and persistent direction of a great man. Just as the original Grand Lodge had found this in John Theophilus Desaguliers, so what is known to Masonic history as the “Antient” Grand Lodge discovered an organizing genius of less culture but similarly commanding type in Laurence Dermott. In younger days a Dublin journeyman painter and in later a London wine merchant, Dermott was early associated with Irish Freemasonry, having been initiated in 1741 in his twenty-first year, Master of a Dublin Lodge when twenty-six. He came to England in 1748; and, possessed of abounding courage unfettered by delicate scruple, he, like a traditional Irishman, at once set himself “agin the Government.” He was not thirty-one when, on February 8, 1752, he numbered himself among the seventy or eighty Brethren who had agreed six months earlier to start a new Masonic organization. One of the first on the register of Grand Committee of “The most Antient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons,” he was at once made Grand Secretary of a body which within a year developed into “The Grand Lodge of England according to the Old Institutions.” And thus England in 1753 possessed three rival Grand Lodges — those of England in London, All England at York, and this latest also in London. The York organization speedily died of inanition, but left a tradition and a name still treasured in American, though virtually forgotten in English, Freemasonry. But the “Moderns” and the “Antients” fought an ever-fluctuating and often furious battle for more than fifty years.

Yet, throughout the conflict, much embittered by personal controversies, the true fundamentals of Freemasonry were strictly adhered to by both Grand bodies. Divergences of wording and working were many: differences on essentials none. The greatest of all tests is the absolute belief in the Supreme Being openly expressed by each. The seal of the original Grand Lodge, with which all its deeds were attested, bore the motto “In the Lord is our Trust”; that of the “Antient” Grand Lodge had the words, “Holiness to the Lord.” And, though that of the United Grand Lodge of England, formed from both, has the purely Masonic injunction, “Audi, Vide, Tace” — “Hear, See, Be Silent” — none can be admitted to its membership unless he clearly acknowledges that belief in God is an essential Landmark of the Order. As Cardinal Newman once exclaimed concerning the Catholicism to which he clung, so true Masons would say regarding the Craft, the belief in God is “the elementary, august, and sovereign truth.” This is the rock on which English-speaking Freemasonry from the beginning has been squarely based; off which it has never been swept by the severest storm; and from which it was at no time less likely of dislodgment than to-day.



The story of English Freemasonry, in its origin, development, organization, and division, threatened for a time to end in dissolution through disintegration. A veiled struggle for supremacy had gone on since the establishment of the Grand Lodge system between the older Operative and newer Speculative elements, the former believing that their ancient customs and privileges were threatened by the extension of their strictly guarded local system into a cosmopolitan organization. Within seven years of 1717, the cardinal date of beginning, dissension evidently was rife; assemblies of dissatisfied Masons were growingly to be noted; defiance was in the air; and the later rapid succession of expulsions and secessions precipitated the break which led to a second Grand Lodge in London being formed, in addition to the temporarily dormant and ultimately extinct Grand Lodge of All England at York. In 1753, when Lord Carysfort — who, though a Cambridge graduate, a Huntingdon squire, and a Lincolnshire Member of Parliament, had the year before been given an Irish barony when only thirty-two — was Grand Master of the Senior Grand Lodge, an otherwise undistinguished Robert Turner became first Grand Master of the self-constituted “Grand Lodge of England according to the Old Institutions,” hitherto governed by a Grand Committee with Laurence Dermott as Grand Secretary. Turner was chosen Grand Master for no more than six months, and he appointed as the first Deputy Grand Master one William Rankin, each alike being undistinguishable from those we can trace as immediately surrounding them. Progress towards aristocratic lead was made the next year when the Hon. Edward Vaughan, also otherwise unknown, was called to the “Antient” Throne, which he occupied in 1754 and 1755; but the full foundation was not laid yet.

For a time the elder body affected to treat the younger with contempt; but, when the second Duke of Chandos — son of Desaguliers’ earliest influential patron, and himself, then no more than a boy, a sponsor for the scientific philosopher’s third child — was seated on the Senior Masonic throne, he infused into those around some of the spirit they had lost in the wavering times which followed Desaguliers’ disappearance from the leadership. A complaint was laid before Grand Lodge in March 1755, against “certain Brethren for forming and Assembling under the Denomination of a Lodge of ‘Antient Masons’” independent of the primary authority. With only one dissentient, himself an “Antient,” Grand Lodge resolved that this was “inconsistent with the Honour and Interest of the Craft, and a high Insult on our Grand Master, and the whole body of Masons”; but, out of “great Clemency,” three months’ grace was given to the dissentient Brethren, “hoping that a thorough Sense of their Misconduct and a Determination not to be guilty of the like for the future would then appear, and reconcile them to the Grand Lodge.” The discontented were in no mood to accept this offer: and all Lodges of their adoption were ordered by the Senior Grand Lodge to be erased and every irregular Mason refused admission to the Lodges remaining loyal. But the “Antients” proved equally stiff, and passed a counter-resolution of Masonic excommunication. They were strengthened in their attitude by having secured the promise for the first time of a peer — though not an English one — as Grand Master. This was the Earl of Blesinton who, as 3rd Viscount Mountjoy, had been a prominent Irish Mason from certainly as early as 1733, and had become Grand Master of Ireland five years later, and in that position, held for two years, creating a Charity Committee of Grand Lodge. In 1745 he was created 1st Earl of Blesinton because of his “distinguished qualities, particularly his great Humanity and extensive Charity,” as was carefully explained in the preamble to his patent of nobility. Proof remains that this was no mere courtly commendation, and that he was patriot as well as philanthropist. The capture of so distinguished a man and Mason as the “Antients’” first noble chief was a decided score for Dermott, who dedicated to him “Ahiman Rezon,” the fantastically entitled book which embodied the “Antient” faith. But Blesinton, while holding the position from 1756 to 1760, filled it the whole time only by proxy; and, though his absence from London gave cause for complaint, the British wars and Irish distresses of the period were successfully pleaded in extenuation.

For many a year, and with varying fortunes, the internecine battle went on. The “Antients” were promptly recognized, as the “Moderns” for a long time were not, by the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, as well as by the main part of the growing Freemasonry of America. This was largely due at the outset to Dermott, who fused their Regulations into a work he strangely, and without apparent meaning, termed “Ahiman Rezon”; and to his untiring endeavours not only to increase the number of Lodges but to keep them at work. He also assisted to secure that the four years’ tenure of the Grand Mastership by one Irish peer should be followed by six years of another, and five of a third Irish peer’s son. But the greatest capture of all was the third Duke of Atholl, an influential Scottish nobleman, who possessed the sovereignty of the Isle of Man. Having held the Masonic position more than three years, he was succeeded, on his death in 1774, by his son, the fourth Duke who — when he had returned to the “Antient” throne in 1791, having yielded it for eight years to the Marquis of Antrim, who had been three times Grand Master of Ireland — retained it until 1813. Then, on an agreement between the two Grand Lodges, he yielded it formally, for the purpose of securing the Union, to the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, and grandsire of two Grand Masters, each of prolonged official tenure, these being the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII, and the Duke of Connaught.

It was from this wonderful degree of service that the “Antient” came to be popularly termed the Atholl Grand Lodge. This must have been a distinct satisfaction to the Senior Grand Lodge which, in the 1784 edition of its Book of Constitutions, had complained that the new-comers had called themselves “Antients” and labelled their rivals “Moderns,” “a novel and ridiculous distinction.” “Thus,” it was acridly added, “by a new species of deceit and imposition they endeavour to support an existence. The artifice strengthened their party in some degree; the uninformed were caught by the deception; and they so far succeeded in their plan as to be acknowledged by many. Of late years, however, they have not been so successful. Many of their best members have deserted them.” In 1784, indeed, there seemed some justification for this statement in the withdrawal from the “Antient” throne of the 4th Duke of Atholl, to whose patronage of them the Senior Grand Lodge had drawn pointed condemnatory attention seven years before. But much time was to pass and bitterness to develop before the Union of the two Grand Lodges came.

Dermott meantime went on stimulating his “Antient” Brethren to even greater efforts, which left an enduring mark on the Craft, and not least in assisting the evolution and stabilising the work of the powerful and appealing Masonic Degree, formally designated the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem and generally termed the Royal Arch. But, while the Junior Grand Lodge was thus striving and being stimulated, the Senior was attracting to its service the greatest organizing spirit since Desaguliers. Thomas Dunckerley, born in 1724, claimed, not without apparent proof, to be a natural son of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George II. Somerset House, London, was the place of his birth; and at the age of ten he fled from the custody of his maternal grandmother and entered the Navy, a fact of subsequent special significance to Freemasonry. He was successively seaman, ship’s schoolmaster, gunner, and teacher of mathematics; and, having received in 1767 from George III an annual allowance from the Privy Purse, the precursor of a substantial pension, he began in 1770 the study of the law, and four years after was called to the Bar. By that time he had been a Mason twenty years. His Mother Lodge, as he himself termed it, was, as befitted one in the sea service, much resorted to at Portsmouth by naval men, both members and visitors; and Dunckerley promptly became so active in the Craft that, while still of no greater position therein than a Master Mason, he delivered a striking address at Plymouth on “The Light of Masonry explained.” Only two years later, he flew at decidedly higher game, and was given power from the Senior Grand Lodge to inspect Lodges and regulate Masonic affairs in the newly-acquired Canadian Provinces and other parts visited in his seafaring wanderings, where no Provincial Grand Master was in control, thus anticipating by nearly a century and a half the creation in 1917 of Grand Inspectors for groups of Overseas Lodges not included in any District. Under that authority he installed in 1760 the acting head of the regular regimental Lodges at Quebec, “honouring them with his approbation of their conduct.” This meant the more to them, as in 1759 — characterized by David Garrick, in his immortal song “Hearts of Oak,” as “this wonderful year” — he had officially been mentioned in despatches as having “done so well” at the siege of Quebec, ever associated with General Wolfe’s victory on the Heights of Abraham.

Dunckerley’s ambitious Masonic energy had been earliest shown in the formation of the first “Blue Water Lodges.” When coming to London in January 1760, to attend his mother’s funeral, he obtained from Grand Lodge a Warrant to found a Lodge on board His Majesty’s Ship Vanguard, on which he served; and when, two years later, he was transferred to H.M.S. Prince, then employed on the Home Service, he secured for her a like favour, and acted as First Master “in the Downs.” He was now well launched on his Craft career, aided by his left-handed association with the Royal House. George III’s original yearly £100 was raised to a substantial £800, with rooms assigned him first in Somerset House and after at Hampton Court Palace; and he assumed on his book-plate — still to be seen in his own copy of Anderson’s “Constitutions” — the Royal Arms with the baton sinister; the additional or alternative name of “FitzGeorge,” in allusion to his alleged parentage; and the motto “Fato non verito.” Having friends among the great — such as the Dukes of Beaufort, Buccleuch, and Grafton, and the “Letters” Earl of Chesterfield, each in a position to know the truth of his pretensions, and all evidently paying regard to them — he obtained a commission in the South Hampshire Militia, a body associated also with the illustrious contemporary name of the great historian Gibbon. His connection with that county, thus brought the closer, had a marked result in his being given a patent in 1767 as Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire, his first mention in the Lodge records being his attendance in this capacity at the Grand Festival of Grand Lodge in that year. After that it as surely “rained Provincial Grand Masterships” on Dunckerley as, according to Horace Walpole, it had “rained gold boxes” on the great Chatham at the height of his popularity and power.

As is still the case, the existence of a Provincial Grand Master is a condition precedent to that of a Provincial Grand Lodge. While Grand Lodge itself exists because of inherent authority, independent of the being of a Grand Master, the Book of Constitutions carries on the earliest use regarding subordinate bodies by declaring that “Provincial Grand Lodges emanate from the Provincial Grand Masters by virtue of the authority vested in them by their patents of appointment from the Grand Master.” But there has never been in Masonry such a pluralist as the indefatigable Dunckerley. Apparently at the outset this did not accord with his intention, though becoming in 1772 Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Wight, a direct appanage of Hampshire, over which he ruled. In 1776, when accepting the Provincial Grand Mastership of Essex, he withdrew from that of Hampshire; but the tide of patronage soon flowed towards him in a stream. In the Grand Lodge records he is named as Provincial Grand Master for both Wiltshire and Dorsetshire in 1777; for Gloucestershire and Somersetshire in 1784; back again for Hampshire in 1786; and for Herefordshire in 1790. But the culminating point had been reached in 1777, when he received a patent sweeping into his net with a single swerve the counties of Dorset, Essex, Gloucester, Somerset, and Southampton (Hampshire), together with the city and county of Bristol and the Isle of Wight; but he was always ready to part with his power over any of these if a fitting local successor could be found. When, in 1787, a Lodge was formed with members restricted to persons either in the service of the Prince of Wales who was to be Grand Master of England for twenty-four years before becoming Prince Regent, or “firmly attached to his person and interests,” “Thos. Dunckerley, 63, gentleman, Hampton Court,” was among them. And there was the secretary’s note, “Something royal about him.” Figuratively as well as literally, this was a wonderfully accurate characterization. Long later he was declared by an enthusiastic biographer to have been one who “to the character of the well-bred gentleman, possessed of powerful mental abilities, united a knowledge of the belles-lettres, an acquaintance with scientific and philosophical principles, and a well-grounded comprehension of religion.” All very facile, all very flowing, but with fact at the base.

If we had not the authentic day-to-day record of John Wesley’s continuous many-year travels, we could not imagine how any man, in the road conditions of the eighteenth century, could have stood the strain voluntarily undertaken by Dunckerley. But he was not content with being peripatetic organizer of the Craft: his energy overflowed to the newly-developed Royal Arch, into the work of which he threw himself with a well-nigh weird zeal. Less than a year after the first recorded Royal Arch meeting in London, Dunckerley was elected a member of the Chapter, and at once in his accustomed energetic way took the third office, passing to the chief only a year after. It was while occupying the First Principal’s Chair that, doubts apparently existing as to a self-constituted Grand Chapter, the one to which Dunckerley belonged was formed by a “Charter of Contract” into a Grand Chapter, though not at that moment recognized by Grand Lodge. Dunckerley’s energetic hand was immediately felt at the wheel. Early in 1769 three Charters were granted to private Chapters, “requested by letter to Bro. Dunckerley,” who was the first Superintendent acting in the Royal Arch. Not only this, but one of those three was given to Portsmouth; and thereto, “having lately rec’d the ‘Mark,’ he made the bre’n ‘Mark Masons’ and ‘Mark Masters’ and each chuse his ‘Mark.’” As with the Royal Arch so with the Mark Degree — and this is the first clear reference to the latter which exists — the name associated in earliest allusion is that of Thomas Dunckerley. Even beyond this, he was linked with the earliest reference to Masonic Knight Templary in England. The previous dates are of 1766 and 1769: and in 1778 there was read to the Portsmouth Royal Arch Chapter of his own formation “a letter from Com. Dunckerley that we might make Knight Templars if we wanted, and it was resolved to.” Craft, Arch, Mark, Knight Templary — the range is startling, the result beyond compare.

By the side of all these efforts, even Dunckerley’s ruling endeavours in Grand Chapter and as Superintendent in the Provinces take second place. Though once sent “a polite letter” by Grand Chapter disapproving of certain of his more energetic proceedings, it is clear that, when there were no letters or applications for new Chapters from Dunckerley, Grand Chapter was stagnant and did no business. Starting with being Superintendent for Hampshire, he went on obtaining Warrants of Constitution for Chapters in the south-west of England, and notably at Salisbury (of which he was the original First Principal), Poole, Dorchester, and Plymouth. Superintendents then became Grand Superintendents; and Dunckerley, after coming to the chiefship for the counties of Somerset and Gloucester conjoined, because of “several irregularities having crept into the Chapters,” was on the same date made head of the Royal Arch in Bristol. Later he was appointed Grand Superintendent of every Province — to the number of eighteen; and of sixteen of these he was the first to hold the position, these Provinces ranging from Cornwall and Devon in the west to Essex and Suffolk in the east, to Warwick and Nottingham in the Midlands and to Durham in the extreme north. And any who imagine that this was a merely nominal overlordship should note how, in the winter of 1785, having to visit a Chapter at Bath, he wrote of “having but just finished a journey of one hundred miles over Ice and Snow, to discharge my duties in Somersetshire,” a record of voluntary service to be paralleled only by many such from Wesley. His continued labours were so far appreciated that he was called unanimously in 1791 to the headship of Grand Chapter, and presided at its four meetings that year. But he was nearing seventy and enfeebled by prolonged Masonic toil. He last attended Grand Chapter in May 1792, shortly after passing out of the First Grand Principal’s Chair. On October 9, 1795, a letter of his was reported to Grand Chapter, “in which he most solemnly declares his surrender of the office of Superintendent of the several Counties, etc., and every other office named in the Grand Chapter.” The end was growing very near, and in the following month — on November 19 — Dunckerley died at Portsea, in his beloved Hampshire. “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us,” and not only those with pedigree but those with personality. If the three D’s — Desaguliers, Dermott, and Dunckerley — be taken out of the record of English-speaking Freemasonry in its opening organized century, so little of vitality remains that the vast system we now see might have dwindled to a tiny sect. For it is the man behind the machine who all the time counts. Those who admire the picturesqueness of the case and the tone of the chimes too often forget the one who in the background winds the clock, regulates its progress, and causes it to strike.



It has been well said of Dunckerley, as the most notable Masonic figure of the eighteenth-century’s last half, that between 1754 and 1795 he devoted more time, thought, enthusiasm, and hard work to the extension and elevation of Freemasonry than any other member of the Craft. It was the period in which the two rival Grand Lodges were at grips struggling for mastery, and were virtually ignoring the recurring coming and final going of “The Grand Lodge of All England” at York or its short-lived progeny, that transient and embarrassed phantom “The Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent,” founded in the last quarter of the eighteenth century from a dispute over a single still-existing London Lodge. The ups and downs of this constant strife between “Moderns” and “Antients” are mainly of statistical interest, with the balance at first promising to be on the side of the latter, but steadily though slowly favouring the former. Dunckerley, in the midst of his myriad Masonic occupations, took his share of the fighting, and he seemed never so happy as when checking the “Antients.” With glee he reminded the “Modern” Grand Secretary in 1785 of how he had “jockey’d Dermott out of Newfoundland, by obtaining a warrant for a Lodge in Placentia”; and seven years later he took great credit for having persuaded an “Antient” Lodge at Southampton to come over to the “Modern” Constitution. But, as the national Twenty Years’ War went wearily on, Freemasons generally, not only in England but overseas, began to tire of what seemed to very many no more than a battle among themselves of kites and crows. When, indeed, a legislative danger threatened the Craft, the two were at one, for the Acting Grand Master of the Senior Grand Lodge (the Earl of Moira), the then Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV) being on the Masonic Throne, joined with the Grand Master of the Junior body (the Duke of Atholl), to obtain such modifications in a Government Bill declaring all oath-bound associations to be unlawful combinations, as to exclude from its operation every Masonic Lodge which annually returned a list of its members to the local Clerk of the Peace. This was the more noteworthy because the “Antient” Grand Lodge, long recognized by both Ireland and Scotland and still slowly extending, especially through travelling military Lodges, had only two years before rejected a motion in favour of Masonic Union.

Unity of spirit, however, kept breaking through. Though the “Moderns” did not then formally recognize the Royal Arch, which the “Antients” did, the former’s leading Grand Officers were its warm supporters, and on charity they were agreed. In 1788 the “Moderns” established what is now the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, but originally the Cumberland School, H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland being then Grand Master; and the “Antients” ten years later founded the Boys’ Institution, both at the outset working in harmony as, under the United Grand Lodge, they continue to do in increasing strength to-day. But the stars in their courses during the second half of the eighteenth century were fighting for the “Moderns.” After the death in 1751 of Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III, there was no Royal Mason until 1766, when two of Frederick’s younger sons, Edward Augustus, Duke of York, and William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, were initiated, to be followed the next year by a third, Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, the last of the three being elected Grand Master in 1782. Four years later, Prince William Henry (son of George III, and afterwards Duke of Clarence and William IV) was initiated at a “Modern” Lodge at Plymouth, and in another year the Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick, Duke of York, on different dates at one in Pall Mall. In 1790 when, on Cumberland’s death, his nephew, the Prince of Wales, was chosen Grand Master, the latter’s young brother, Prince Edward (in later years Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria and grandfather of the Duke of Connaught, Grand Master in 1930), was made a Mason at Geneva — just as his younger brother, Prince Augustus (later Duke of Sussex), was at Berlin in 1798, and his grandson, Edward VII (who, like Sussex, was to be Grand Master), was in Sweden in 1868, both these initiations in foreign lands being legitimate, as they were in Lodges under Jurisdictions recognized by the English Grand Lodge. The seventeen nineties likewise saw the entrance into Masonry of two other of George III’s sons, making six in all, these being Prince Ernest (in after years Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover) in 1796, with the future Duke of Sussex, as just noted, two years later. The cumulative effect of these royal entrances, with that of their first cousin, Prince William of Gloucester, not only gave a great fillip to the future of the Senior Grand Lodge, but induced a keener desire among the Masonic rank-and-file for early amalgamation. Much was still to come, but it is specially significant to recall that it was in 1796, when with his regiment in Canada, that Prince Edward — then joining member of an Atholl Lodge, and made “Antient” Grand Master to assist seventeen years later the signing of the Articles of Union — was the first Freemason in a prominent position publicly to formulate a wish to this end.

Events in that direction began to march with the incoming of the nineteenth century. The Senior Grand Lodge had long shown its desire for greater union internationally. In 1768, it cheerfully agreed to “an overture from the Grand Lodge of France for a friendly correspondence between them.” Five years later, a proposal to establish a friendly union and correspondence with the Grand Lodge of Germany, held in Berlin, met with general approval. This was marred a few years after by an objection taken in England to the intolerant spirit of certain German regulations; but when the compact was abrogated in 1788, an agreement was arranged with the Provincial Grand Lodge of Frankfort. After the London-Berlin breach had been composed in 1792, an exchange of representatives and reciprocal privileges was agreed with the Grand Lodge of Portugal, as well as with the National Grand Lodge of Sweden in 1799; and in 1805 fraternal communications were established with that of Prussia. But it was not until this latest year that an alliance was arrived at with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, though it had begun to be formally discussed in England close on a quarter of a century before. The way to lasting peace finally was opened by the always active and diplomatic Moira, “Modern” Acting Grand Master of England, at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of Scotland towards the end of 1803. There, having detailed the efforts made by the Senior Grand Lodge of England to secure a union on honourable terms, he urged the affection all English Masons felt for Scotland and plainly suggested inter-recognition. The appeal, we are told, met with loud and repeated applause, which encouraged Moira to persevere and with brilliant results. The leaders of Scottish Freemasonry were so persuaded by his arguments that, as the first step to secure the strictest communication and most intimate understanding between the two Grand Lodges, the Prince of Wales, Grand Master of the “Moderns,” was unanimously chosen in 1805 for the like position in Scotland. The Scottish Brethren at the same time, while virtually repudiating the “Antients,” expressed the hope for a Masonic reconciliation in England, to which the “Moderns” responded with a willingness to welcome mediation. This was at the beginning of 1806; and two years later the Grand Lodge of Ireland came into line by agreeing with the ruling bodies in England and Scotland that the one unquestionable ruling authority in any country must be a Grand Lodge representing by regular delegation the will of the whole Craft.

The ground on which the “Antient” Grand Lodge stood was thus being steadily and effectively undermined; and the two structures were soon to be merged. Though as recently as 1797 the “Antients” had emphatically negatived a proposal to meet representatives of the “Moderns” and with them to effect a union, the desire for peace was so far spreading that when in 1801 a complaint was laid in the Senior Grand Lodge against three Masons who belonged to Lodges working under both Jurisdictions, it was dropped on an announcement by the “Modern” Grand Treasurer that he had conversed with the “Antients’” Deputy Grand Master and with a past holder of that office, and “it had been suggested that a Union of the two Societies upon liberal and constitutional grounds might take place.” A committee was at once appointed, the leading member of which was Moira, the Acting Grand Master, who declared that he should consider the day on which a coalition was formed as one of the most fortunate of his life, and intimated the Grand Master’s agreement with that feeling. And then a prolonged series of informal negotiations began, which took twelve years to complete, but with a final result well worth waiting for.

As always, in a situation needing both statesmanship and diplomacy, one figure, though generally hidden in the fog of forgetfulness, stands out as dominant in determination, tact, and force. The leading member of this committee of 1802, as has been said, was the Acting Grand Master of the “Moderns,” charged with the day-to-day headship of the Craft when a Prince of the Blood is Grand Master, best remembered by Masons, despite his subsequent title and fame, as Francis, second Earl of Moira. This splendid Mason, gallant soldier, and great administrator stands out in British history as the 1st Marquis of Hastings, in honour of whose illustrious services as Governor-General of Bengal a Chantrey statue stands in Calcutta to-day. And a literary flavour attaches to him, because it was after him, when he was Lord Rawdon and intimate friend of the then Prince of Wales, that Thackeray’s Sir Pitt Crawley named his second son, the Colonel, husband of Becky Sharp.

Moira had been only the second to hold the Acting Grand Mastership. Given the position when the Prince of Wales was elected Grand Master in 1790, he retained it until his appointment as Governor-General of Bengal towards the end of 1812, at a moment when there was imminent the Masonic Union he had done the most individually to promote, and to be accomplished the next year by the Grand Master’s brother, the Duke of Sussex, to whom the Acting Grand Mastership was assigned. Moira left with drums beating and colours flying. Eight years before, Grand Lodge had shown its sense of his services by directing his portrait to be hung in Freemasons’ Hall with those of the Past Grand Masters as a testimony of gratitude and esteem. And in January 1813, on the eve of his departure for the Viceroyalty of India, he was entertained in that building by five hundred of his Brethren including six royal dukes — Sussex, York, Clarence, Kent, Cumberland, and Gloucester — but the Prince Regent, Grand Master, who claimed to have brought Moira into Masonry, was regretfully absent. A voluntarily subscribed-for special Jewel was presented to “the friend of his country and the friend of mankind”; and, after striking displays of eloquence and enthusiasm, Moira retired from the feast with the simple exclamation “God bless you all,” everyone remaining, in deference to his wish, until he had gone out alone.

Moira, with ten memorable years of Indian rule before him, had proved the greatest of Modern Masonic statesmen; and this was the more noteworthy as the Craft was only one of his preoccupations in public life, in some of which he earned the frank though friendly criticism of Sir Walter Scott. Son of an English baroness in her own right, who, before marrying an Irish earl, had been a lady of the bedchamber to two daughters of George II, Francis Rawdon was born in 1754. At seventeen he entered the Army as an ensign of foot, to become a lieutenant in the 5th Fusiliers two years later. Sent to America with his regiment, he distinguished himself at Bunker Hill, fought just a year before the Declaration of Independence and the first serious encounter between the British troops and the American colonists. For his services he was promptly rewarded with a captaincy; and, having proved his capacity in the battles of Brooklyn and White Plains in 1776, he was given a lieutenant-colonelcy two years after, and made adjutant-general to the forces. Commanding the left wing at Camden in 1780, and securing a victory at Hobkink’s Hill the following year — almost the last flicker of British success in the Independence struggle — the gallant soldier, when negotiations for peace had begun, turned towards England, only to have the hard luck of being captured by a French vessel on the voyage home. But he was not long held, and, made aide-de-camp to George III, he was further rewarded for his war services with a peerage. Always closely associated with the Court, and especially with the Prince of Wales on the Regency question in 1789, he displayed a cultured taste in becoming in 1787 a Fellow of the Royal Society. Three years after his appointment as Acting Grand Master, he went as a Lieutenant-General to the Continent in the earliest days of the Twenty Years’ War with France. At this time, according to an admiring contemporary, he possessed “a remarkably handsome figure: his manner polite, impressive, and unembarrassed”; while a peer of his acquaintance later recorded that he was “the most stately of human beings.” In the first ten years of the fighting in France and Flanders, and throughout the early portion of his tenure of the Acting Grand Mastership, he held various important commands. During the temporary lull in 1803 through the Treaty of Amiens in the protracted struggle with France, he was made commander-in-chief in Scotland. And it was in that position he was able, as has been shown, to put Anglo-Scottish Masonic relations on a more fraternal footing, and thus greatly to assist the informal negotiations for the Union.

These at the outset were threatened with wreckage by a violent section of the “Antients.” Thomas Harper, their Deputy Grand Master, who had held out hopes of fusion to the “Modern” Grand Treasurer in 1802, was made the subject of violent attack in his Grand Lodge. Twice in the twelvemonth succeeding the peace offer, he peremptorily closed its meeting while it was acrimoniously discussing the matter; and he was directly challenged with what he promptly described as “very frivolous charges,” while professing himself ready, if these were sustained by Grand Lodge, to “bow with the utmost deference to the decision.” His opponents went to the length of moving his expulsion, and of publishing a manifesto against all who had not received their Masonry “according to the Antient Constitutions.” But all the froth and fury, though delaying open peace negotiations for six years, proved of no avail. So far from being expelled from the “Antients,” Harper remained their Deputy Grand Master for a further ten years and until the Act of Union was accomplished. He had then the satisfaction of seeing the work carried on by his son, Edward Harper, who was appointed a joint Grand Secretary to the newly constituted United Grand Lodge of England.

The “Moderns,” having once under Moira’s guidance taken the right path, were not provoked to depart from it by the aggressiveness of angry “Antients.” 1804 saw the issue of “An Address to the Duke of Atholl on the Subject of an Union with the regular Masons of England”; and, though the plea for peace had no immediate effect, it became more and more apparent as years went on that “the best brains” were weary of the half-century of strife and desired its early end. After much private conferring, the Senior Grand Lodge, strengthened by the alliance it had now made with the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, made the first definite move by resolving, on April 12, 1809, on the advice of its administrative body, that “it is not necessary any longer to continue in Force these Measures which were resorted to, in or about the year 1739, respecting irregular Masons, and, therefore, enjoins the several Lodges to revert to the Antient Land Marks of the Society.” This careful wording did not involve recognition of the rival Grand Lodge, which had sprung into being in 1752; but it opened a wide door for peace. This was widened when, six months later, Moira issued a warrant for the formation of a Lodge “for the purpose of Promulgating the Antient Land Marks of the Society, and instructing the Craft in all matters and forms as may be necessary to be known”; and “The Special Lodge of Promulgation” met for the first time in the November of 1809. The Duke of Sussex, an earnest friend of fusion, who became four years afterwards the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge, attended an early meeting of the Lodge of Promulgation as Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, which while, by the accident of the ballot, numbered No. 2, is in effect No. 1 on the long list of working English Lodges, being directly descended from the senior of the four that constituted Grand Lodge in 1717. At that meeting Sussex, the first royal Grand Master to throw himself heartily — a shade too heartily his critics thought — into the work of the Craft, was pleased to contribute largely to the accumulation of valuable and Important Information; and so the work of pacification went on.

The extreme section of the Antients remained at the outset opposed to any further widening of the door for peace; and it secured in September 1809, the stifling of an endeavour to reopen the subject in their Grand Lodge. But wiser counsels speedily prevailed, and three months later the decisive step was taken of appointing a committee to report on the propriety and practicability of a Union. This first met on January 24, 1810; and it made such rapid progress that by March 7, the “Antient” Grand Lodge, on its recommendation, resolved “That a Masonic Union on principles equal and honourable to both Grand Lodges, and preserving inviolate the Land Marks of the Antient Craft, would, in the opinion of this Grand Lodge, be expedient and advantageous to both.” This was forwarded to Moira, who had been in correspondence with Atholl; and a month later the “Modern” Grand Lodge welcomed the resolution with “unfeigned cordiality.” Matters continued rapidly to move, for the same night a “Modern” committee was appointed “for negotiating this most desirable arrangement”; and in July the two committees met. Then Moira took the truly British step of assisting to compose any personal differences by inviting the “Antient” Brethren to dine with him at the historic Freemasons’ Tavern, adjacent to Freemasons’ Hall, an offer promptly accepted.

The details of the negotiations are of interest to Masons alone; but, though many seem to the Freemason of to-day to be of as little practical importance as the difference of the diphthong which originally split the Catholic Church into Eastern and Western halves, they were very real to Brethren who had earnestly worked their own systems so long. The “Modern” Lodge of Promulgation laboured with zeal until it closed down in February 1811; and then there was little to be done but leave to the two Grand Lodge committees the work of framing Articles of Union. When this had been accomplished, the next great step forward was to place in May 1813, the Duke of Sussex on the “Modern” Throne, the Prince of Wales, by now Prince Regent, making way for him after twenty-three years of Grand Mastership, with another royal brother, the Duke of Kent, as Deputy, Moira, his great labours being at last accomplished, vacating that position in the nick of time. The next move was with the “Antients,” who, on Atholl taking the like step to Moira, placed in the following November Kent on their Throne. Only formal sanction to the Union now was required. The twenty-one Articles of Union, to-day displayed in the Grand Lodge Library, were signed at Kensington Palace on November 25, 1813, by the two royal Grand Masters and three representatives of each Grand Lodge, for ratification by both bodies. This was done at contemporaneous meetings on December 1; and on St. John’s Day-in-Winter (December 27), 1813, a Grand Assembly of Freemasons was held to celebrate with solemnity the great reunion. The two royal brother Grand Masters, attended by all their leading officers, entering Freemasons’ Hall side by side, descended from their respective “Modern” and “Antient” Thrones to place the Act of Union in the Ark of the Masonic Covenant, designed by the famous Sir John Soane, then Grand Superintendent of the Works, but unhappily later destroyed by fire though the precious document it contained was safe. Then Kent proposed Sussex as first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge, and himself placed his brother on the Throne; the necessary regular business was transacted; the cup of brotherly love was presented to Sussex, who drank to the Brethren “Peace, Goodwill and Brotherly love all over the world”; Grand Lodge was closed with solemn prayer; and “the auspicious day,” it was officially recorded, “was concluded with the most festive harmony and brotherly love.”



Neither the most enthusiastic nor most dubious as to the success of the great Union experiment dreamed, as they entered Freemasons’ Hall on the night of March 4, 1814, for the assembling of the first Quarterly Communication of the United Grand Lodge of England, that before they left they would have made sure the main foundations of their Masonic structure. Their proceedings, which were baldly recorded, were put into print for the general information of the Craft, this being a step of deep significance, as showing that Grand Lodge was no longer to work in a sheltered corner, but to invite criticism as well as support. Yet even the simple printed statement reveals to-day that, while those present witnessed the pageant, it is those of to-day who see the permanence. It was a permanence of purpose, of governance, and of administration alike, and the whole essence of Modern English Masonic history was embodied in that first Communication. A great economist has taught the necessity for taking into constant consideration not only the things seen but the things unseen; and, applying that test to what was done on March 4, 1814, a review of the proceedings proves of utmost illumination.

There presided the Duke of Sussex, though not formally installed Grand Master until May 2. He had shown from the moment of election the determination, maintained throughout his prolonged tenure of the Masonic Throne, to get on promptly with the work. At the General Assembly of the previous December, it had been determined to draw up with all convenient speed a new Book of Constitutions and to establish Boards of Administration; while the Grand Master announced that, in order not to interrupt the course of Masonic benevolence, he should at once summon a committee to carry on that work, and should “authorize his own private Seal of Arms to be used on the issuing of Certificates and other documents, until the new Great Seal should be prepared.” As a consequence, when Sussex presided at his first Quarterly Communication, supported by the leading Grand Officers both “Modern” and “Antient,” a start could immediately be made by reading “The Laws relating to the Behaviour of Masons in Grand Lodge.”

The Grand Master had announced to the Grand Assembly in the previous December that he had “written to an exalted and distinguished Nobleman to be his Deputy Grand Master,” but that, because of absence from London, this peer had to be unnamed. The name continued unrevealed, indeed, for more than a century, but can now be stated as Charles, 11th Duke of Norfolk. This is the more remarkable as that peer not only was known by Sussex to be not even a Master Mason far less “Master of a Lodge,” the old qualification for the highest offices in the Craft, but was a rigid Roman Catholic. Sussex, always noted for his breadth of religious view, was not greatly troubled by either consideration. He was simply filled by a desire to make what in his letter to Norfolk written on December 30, only three days after the two Grand Lodges had fused, he termed “our Great Masonic Union a success; and he explained to Norfolk, “The nomination of the Deputy Grand Master belongs to me, which as yet I have not done, as my natural wish is, in an election which is annual, that this my first choice should fall upon your Grace, with your consent, as the highest dignity we have in the Craft after the Grand Master. This would give a grand éclat to the Union, and as it is merely for one year, and as it will call upon your attendance only four times in that period should it suit your convenience, I hope you will neither refuse me nor the Lodge at large, who would feel gratified in the extreme.” The Masonic difficulty he lightly waved aside: “I am well aware that you are not a Master Mason, but at any time previous to my institution, which is to take place, St. George’s Day, in the month of April next, this may be done privately either at Norfolk House or at Kensington Palace as may be most agreeable.”

But Sussex recognized the religious obstacle as more serious; and he assured Norfolk that, “numerous as the meetings may be, nothing of a religious or of a political controversy can be allowed, and consequently any scruples you might have from a fear of any disorderly occurrence must be of course removed. One of your Grace’s ancestors was at the head of our Society formerly, and we possess monuments of his munificence towards us.” Omitting to mention that that ancestor happened to be a Protestant, he went on to urge: “I should therefore hope that you would not refuse me a request which would afford so much personal pleasure and satisfaction to myself and so great a benefit and advantage to the fraternity at large. Your Grace’s acquiescence on this occasion, joined with your liberal mode of thinking, would, I am certain, soften in the world many of the religious leanings which ought not to be entertained in this enlightened age, and ultimately ensure their total removal.” The appeal was forwarded “with esteem, consideration, and affectionate regards” by Norfolk’s “Ever Truly Obliged and Devoted” Sussex; but it fell on deaf ears. Norfolk’s reply does not appear to exist; and no reference to this singular incident was made at the first Grand Festival of the new dispensation. At this Sussex simply announced the appointment as his Deputy of Thomas, 1st Lord Dundas, a distinguished Scotsman from the Orkneys, who had settled in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and had married a daughter of that great county’s foremost nobleman, the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam.

The choice of Deputy proved striking in unexpected ways. Dundas had sat in the House of Commons as early as 1763, ten years before Sussex was born, and been raised to the peerage by the younger Pitt in 1794. He was now seventy-three; and, though first Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge, he might have passed out of notice in Masonic history if he had not been begetter of the most striking dynasty of continuous rule the Craft has known. Those who desire to realize why English Masonry, composed of so many varying elements, has held with firmness together, and why English Masons treasure tradition to the point of looking to the county families in historic Provinces for their territorial leaders should study this record of service. Thomas, 1st Lord Dundas, earliest United Deputy Grand Master, was father of Lawrence Dundas, who, when the Province of Yorkshire, existing from 1738, was divided in 1817 into two — the North and East Riding and the West Riding — was appointed Provincial Grand Master of the former. In 1821 Lawrence succeeded his father in peerage and Deputy Grand Mastership alike; and, having left the latter position after two years, resumed it in 1834. The office of Pro Grand Master — earlier known as Acting Grand Master — being then revived in his favour, he retained it until his death in 1839, having meantime become 1st Earl of Zetland. He was succeeded as Pro Grand Master, as earlier he had been as Deputy Grand Master, by the great statesman known to British history as John, 1st Earl of Durham, who braved political obloquy and assured early death by labouring for the liberty of Canada. On Durham’s decease, Thomas, 2nd Earl of Zetland — who, immediately on his father’s passing, had been appointed not only Deputy Grand Master but Provincial Grand Master of the North and East Riding — was made Pro Grand Master. He soon soared to the highest height, for in 1844 he was elected Grand Master on Sussex’s death. Like his royal predecessor, he held the supreme position with distinguished ability and striking success for over a quarter of a century, marking out in the inner councils of the Craft a line of administrative policy still adhered to. And when, in 1870, he handed over the headship of the Craft to another distinguished North-country peer, the Earl de Grey and Ripon, afterwards 1st Marquis of Ripon, who for nine years had been his Deputy, he retained his Provincial Grand Mastership until his death in 1874, when it was given to Lawrence, 3rd Earl and 1st Marquis of Zetland. He, in turn, gave it over in his lifetime forty-nine years later to his heir, the Earl of Ronaldshay, 2nd Marquis of Zetland, who still occupied it in 1930. The unbroken Dundas succession in Provincial Grand Mastership in North and East Yorkshire from the Union until now has only a single parallel in English Masonic history. This is of the Cavendish family in Derbyshire, that being held throughout by successive Dukes of Devonshire; and the line, in the one case as in the other, shows no sign of fracture, the Marquis of Hartington, heir to the 9th Duke, having been Senior Grand Warden in Grand Lodge in 1929–30.

United Grand Lodge at the very outset proved the possession of a new spirit of advance, even if not of adventure, now that the internal wranglings of the previous half-century had been temporarily stilled. The Board of General Purposes, though only one of five of the newly instituted Grand Lodge Boards, three of which it subsequently absorbed, immediately and as by instinct took the position it still holds of chief administrative authority in the Craft. Its Report, presented to the earliest United Quarterly Communication, contained one item of special significance to English Freemasonry to-day. The Board promised at once to consider “the important Object of establishing such an Edifice in the Metropolis of the British Empire, as should make it the Centre for the resort, intercourse, scientific culture, and fraternal conviviality of the Masonic World.” This was in 1814, on the eve of Waterloo: 105 years later, in commemoration of the close of the Great War, the Duke of Connaught inspired as Grand Master a like idea as his great-uncle, Sussex, and with more permanent result. An Especial Grand Lodge “For the Celebration of Peace” was held in the Albert Hall, London’s largest meeting-place, on June 27, 1919, the day before the signing of the instrument which closed the struggle. It was attended by very nearly 8,500 English-speaking Masons from all parts of the world, including specially invited representatives of Canada and Australia, and twenty-eight from Sovereign Jurisdictions of the United States. The Grand Master thereat declared that “The great and continued growth of Freemasonry amongst us demands a central home; and I wish it to be considered whether the question of erecting that home in this Metropolis of the Empire, dedicated to the Most High, and worthy of the great traditions of the United Grand Lodge of England, would not be the most fitting Masonic Peace Memorial.”

Once more it was the privilege of a President of the Board of General Purposes — and that one the present writer — to carry forward the Grand Master’s wish. He immediately gave notice of intention to ask the Board to take action. This resulted at the next Quarterly Communication in the setting up of a Special Committee of Grand Lodge to the chairmanship of which he was appointed and throughout retained. As a result, the Grand Master issued an appeal to the whole Craft to raise by voluntary subscription a million pounds sterling; the Special Committee, under its original Chairman, laboured well; within ten years of inspiration there was so far realization that what at the start was thought by the doubting to be the impossible sum of a million was virtually promised and by far the larger part paid; a freehold site extending much beyond but still embracing the historic ground on which had stood Freemasons’ Hall for a century and a half, was acquired; plans were accepted, the foundations laid, and the superstructure begun. When this last has been completed, the Special Committee will be proud to present to Grand Lodge a property worth over a million sterling as a free gift from the subscribers, without compulsory levy on a single member of the Craft, and without having put Grand Lodge or any non-subscribing Brother to a penny of expense.

Thus one great seed for the far-extending future was sown at the earliest Quarterly Communication of United Grand Lodge. Another was the establishment of a Fund of Benevolence, to be supported by a quarterly payment of a shilling for all London members, and half that amount for those “at a distance from London, all Military Lodges, and all Foreign Lodges.” But, despite the fact that every Mason can seek relief from the central fund, overseas Lodges some fifty years later were exempted from contribution. At the same Quarterly Communication a Fund of General Purposes was set up to carry on the administration of the Craft. Towards this there was no compulsory levy, but all Lodges, as well as individual Masons, were earnestly asked to contribute. Perhaps not unnaturally, in the Masonic and national circumstances of that tangled time, the voluntary principle, as applied to the strictly practical business of administration, did not strongly appeal. Some Lodges and a few Brethren responded to the call, but not the majority. The voluntary part of the project quietly died out, and, after more than a century, a compulsory system was ripe to be considered. At the same Communication, and a further link with to-day, the two senior Masonic Educational Institutions, established under rival Grand Lodge auspices, those for orphan girls and boys, were pressed on the Craft’s attention; and a payment of five shillings per initiation into the Order recommended, but strangely enough, as it appears to-day, only in the case of London. Administration and benevolence having been thus provided for, Grand Lodge specifically gave to the Board of General Purposes on that same opening night its still-possessed and highly-effective power of discipline, by referring to it for adjudication a case of suspension from Masonic rights and privileges of a member of a Lodge which for thirty years had caused the authorities special concern. And, at the instance of the Board after investigation, the erring Brother was expelled from the Craft.

The one great stumbling-block at the start of the new system was controversy over the precise practice of the Masonic ritual. It can only here be indicated that certain of the detailed, though none of the essential, portions of the “working” of the various Masonic ceremonies had differed under the two old Grand Lodges. At the instance of the “Moderns,” the Lodge of Promulgation had endeavoured to formulate a set of principles acceptable to both, and, despite reservations by extremists, it did so with a great degree of success. Then with the Union a Lodge of Reconciliation was instituted, which strove to harmonize the two “workings.” In the result, this body exemplified the ritual in full to United Grand Lodge, which modified certain points; and the whole was recommended to the Craft generally for adoption. Then came the one fatal omission which marred the admirable design to ensure bringing adherents of both schools of thought into permanent agreement. The Lodge of Reconciliation, having executed its allotted task, was disbanded; no specific step was taken to ensure the work’s perpetuation; and now, over a century later, divers “workings” are practised in London, the Provinces, and Overseas, all agreeing in essentials, most differing in details, and revealing to the practised student their origin in far away “Antient” and “Modern” times. If only the usually far-sighted Masonic statesmen and admirable administrators, who set United Grand Lodge on the firmest of footings ensuring lasting success had kept the Lodge of Reconciliation in permanent being, directing it at regular intervals to exemplify in Grand Lodge the agreed ritual, and empowering it to fill vacancies in membership as they arose, there would have existed a body to-day which would carry the authority of authenticity in its every effort. But everything was trusted to human memory passing through differently predisposed minds; and now no absolute proof can be adduced of what precisely was authorized. Yet all that the thorough Freemason has to care for is the knowledge that, on every fundamental, all the divergent schools are at one.

Like another great body, the Church of England, also set on its present basis in Reformation days by a compromise attempting to harmonize extremes, United Grand Lodge again and again has had to suffer from the extremes not having been completely fused. At the outset differences of ritual and disputes over discipline were rife. Grand Lodge tried to arrange matters by delegating to accredited lecturers the duty of explaining to Lodges in the Provinces the freshly-framed ritual as it had been exemplified in London; but when these teachers passed they were not replaced, and the second chance for establishing what, in a sense, would have been an incontestable apostolic succession was inadvertently lost. The ill result was soon seen. In 1818 a Liverpool Lodge was held by the local Masonic authorities to have violated a constitutional rule directed against the printing and publication of any Masonic proceedings without the authority of the Grand Master or Provincial Grand Master, and was suspended by the latter for contumacy. The Provincial Grand Secretary for the then undivided Province of Lancashire realizing the true point at issue, not publicly divulged until after all the mischief had been done, suggested a new regulation regarding it; but the Board of General Purposes, anxious to avoid trouble, replied that the matter was of so much delicacy and difficulty that continued silence was best. Lancashire did not agree, and its Provincial Grand Lodge addressed a memorial to the Grand Master, which it afterwards desired to withdraw; and Sussex, always accustomed to act in direct and sometimes even arbitrary fashion, allowed this, without intimating anything on the matter to either Grand Lodge or the Board of General Purposes. The aggrieved Brethren of the suspended Lodge at once fell foul of the latter body. They formulated the erroneous accusation that it had detained the original communication: “consequently, if the Board of General Purposes acted thus, without the authority of the Grand Lodge, we consider their conduct highly reprehensible; and if, on the other hand, the Grand Lodge gave them power to act in this manner, then we consider it a dangerous innovation upon the landmarks of our Order.”

Up to that point the Board of General Purposes did not know of the development of the dispute, having been kept ignorant of the official document with concealment of which it was charged; and the breach caused by the well-meant but often disastrous policy of silence steadily widened. In 1821 the Lancashire Provincial Grand Master preferred to the Board direct charges against two Brethren of the suspended Lodge; but, as he had not himself investigated them, the administrative body returned the papers and declined interfering at that stage. It was doubtless hoped by those in central authority that a quiet rebuke for irregularity having by this time been administered to both sides in an originally trifling dispute, honour would be considered satisfied, and they would shake hands and be friends. This calculation proved as ineffective for good as the like often has done. The stubborn Lodge simply ignored all authority but its own, and formally declined to enter into any negotiation or appear before a Masonic tribunal of any kind until the Provincial Grand Master had reversed his course; and, as that great officer swerved from it so far as to depute his authority to the Master of a Liverpool Lodge, the trouble rapidly spread until other Lodges were involved. Then the Provincial Grand Master despairingly turned once more to the Board of General Purposes, which now at last intervened with effect. It successfully recommended Grand Lodge to suspend the Lodge which had started the quarrel; and, as the meetings continued defiantly to be held, it carried Grand Lodge to the point of directing the offending Lodge to show cause, at the next Quarterly Communication why it should not suffer erasure for disobedience, meantime allowing a meeting only for consideration of its defence, and suspending thirty-four members until their contempt was purged.

By this time the Lancastrian blood was thoroughly up. The litigious Lodge not only denied the power and right of Grand Lodge to take this course, but pungently said what was thought of it, and declared the determination to go defiantly on. This was too much for official patience. Grand Lodge at once ordered forfeiture of the Warrant and erasure from the List of Lodges; forbade the protesting members to visit other Lodges; communicated its decision to all Grand Lodges in communion with England; and ordered the revolters to show cause why they should not be expelled from the Order, meanwhile suspending them from all Masonic privileges. Yet defiance continued. The more determined rebels, not content with bitterly denouncing their more placable Brethren who had made peace with the authorities, publicly declared that they would neither ask for nor accept reinstatement until their original demands were satisfied. Grand Lodge, reluctant to the last to take the uttermost course, allowed a further nine months for repentance. Sixty-eight members from twelve Lodges had joined in the revolt, forty-two of whom recanted; but the remaining more desperate and determined twenty-six persisted in their obstinate design and repeated their affronts right up to the critical Communication of Grand Lodge in March 1823. That body then unanimously decreed them to be for ever expelled from Masonry, a fate that six months later befell another Liverpool Lodge which had declared for separation from Grand Lodge unless the proceedings against its friends were quashed.

This strange story has been fully told as there was thus asserted once and for all the absolute supremacy of Grand Lodge in every Masonic matter, which never since has been seriously challenged. But an added reason for lasting interest is that it furnished material for the only attempt at founding a rival Grand Lodge in England since the last abortive effort in the late eighteenth century, and this has left singular repercussions even until now. Probably not one in ten thousand English Freemasons has ever heard of the Wigan Grand Lodge; and yet its certificate of membership — as of the “Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England According to the Old Constitutions.” thus claiming association with the departed “Antients” — is still occasionally to be seen, passing uncritical muster as genuine. The threat to separate from the United Grand Lodge of England indulged in by the Liverpool Lodge which disastrously fought the rearguard action in June 1823, speedily proved, indeed, no empty one. Six weeks later the representatives of five of the Lodges which officially had fallen in the fray met at Liverpool, and declared their secession from “the United Grand Lodge usually held in London,” to which it denied continued existence because it had violated the Articles of Union, broken a Contract, and thus dissolved a Covenant. A voluminous “Magna Charta of Masonic Freedom” was immediately drawn up, the “Antient” Grand Lodge was sought to be re-established, and a Grand Master was nominated, his installation being arranged for the next December. Strangely enough, both he and the new body’s Grand Secretary were among the few leading members who had not been expelled from Grand Lodge; and the pseudo-Grand Master showed so little enthusiasm for the cause that he did not appear at the appointed date for installation, and wrote expressing apprehension “that Business would prevent his personal attendance upon the meetings of the Grand Lodge.” But that body was resolved to have him at its head, thanking him with effusion for accepting the office “under such manifest inconvenience to himself.” He was accordingly elected and “proclaimed” Grand Master, but never installed; and he was not present at a single Grand Lodge meeting during a prolonged tenure of office, the first occasion, indeed, when a Grand Master is recorded as presiding being in April 1838, more than a dozen years after the new organization had been summoned into existence.

So inauspicious a beginning was followed by periods of fluctuating activity, steady decay, and ultimate extinction. Of the twenty-six Brethren expelled by United Grand Lodge no fewer than sixteen were of two Lodges at Wigan, nine from a like number of Liverpool Lodges, and one from a Lodge at Colne; and, though the inaugural and earlier meetings of the new Grand Lodge were held at Liverpool, the organization speedily drifted to Wigan, where at the Cross Keys Inn, just as the original Grand Lodge of England at the Goose and Gridiron, it held its first ordinary business Communication. This was on March 1, 1824, under the motto “In Deo Nostrum Fidem Ponemus,” thus attesting at the outset faithfulness to the Almighty as every English Grand Lodge, real or imitative, had done. At the outset the youthful Masonic aspirant seemed to possess promise of expansion and thus of permanence; and at early meetings it not only brought in a Yorkshire Lodge from Barnsley but received an eagerly-accepted overture for joining from the Philanthropic Lodge of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, one of the Lodges latest established by the “Antient” Grand Lodge before that body’s absorption; but the latter sporadic effort obviously came to naught, as the Philanthropic still remains on the United Grand Lodge roll.

Many troubles threatened the start. The new Grand Lodge had lived not much longer than a twelvemonth when, at a Quarterly Communication held in a member’s house at Liverpool, “the Grand Secretary and the Lodges in Wigan” were seriously rebuked for negligence and apparent contempt. This was the more remarkable as the first Grand Secretary had already been expelled from the Order within the first year for embezzlement, contempt, “and other unmasonic conduct.” But as, even fifteen years later, a sum of five shillings per quarter was considered sufficient salary for that high official, it is little wonder that the qualifications for the post were low, and they evidently, from the extant minutes of the Grand Lodge proceedings, did not include precision in spelling, while large gaps in the minutes appear. It is plain that George Woodcock, the first Grand Master, never presided in Grand Lodge; and William Farrimond, who followed him, was the earliest Grand Master to be regularly installed. This was on June 28, 1838, the day of Queen Victoria’s Coronation, which the Wigan Grand Lodge joined “the Corporation and inhabitants of the Borough of Lynn” in celebrating by a procession followed by a feast. Under Farrimond’s rule activity revived; and, though the Barnsley Lodge had proved somewhat shy of full co-operation, it was sought to be soothed in August 1838 by being placed No. 3 on the Grand Lodge List of Lodges, a Wigan Lodge being given the first and a Liverpool Lodge the second place. But how weak was the organization was shown in the fact that these were the only three then in actual work. No. 4 at Ashton-in-Makerfield and No. 5 at Wigan were authorized at this meeting; but Barnsley declined to come in, and these were re-numbered 3 and 4 the next month, 5 being assigned to a third Wigan Lodge.

But, though Farrimond worked with a will and showed himself ready to make personal sacrifices, “the Grand Lodge in Wigan” tottered steadily to dissolution. Even the holding of a meeting at Ashton-under-Lyne did nothing to reinvigorate the moribund concern; No. 4 Wigan failed to pay its dues, disobeyed orders, and fell away; and the greatest blow was the defection of the original founder and inspirer of the movement. Michael Alexander Gage, a Past Master of the Liverpool Lodge that had led the revolt, and one of the expelled twenty-six, was unanimously called to the chair at the meeting of July 1, 1823. which summoned into existence a new Grand Lodge. He had been made the first Deputy Grand Master, and in the earliest years was most active in the cause; but he seemingly dropped all Masonic endeavours in or about 1827. Yet he was continued in position as Woodcock’s Deputy, though neither of them attended Grand Lodge; and when Farrimond in 1838 became Grand Master and continued Gage as Deputy, the latter still stayed away. The appointment went on until 1841, but in June 1842 Gage evidently felt it time for his position to be made clear. He was tired of a movement he had started in good faith but had led to nothing. He declared that it was “in consequence of very great irregularity in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge that our Excellent Grand Master and Respectable Brother George Woodcock had resigned his Office.” He considered that by that resignation his own post of necessity became vacant; and though in his desire “that the Ancient Authority and discipline should be maintained” he had consented to remain in office, he had at no time been consulted, with consequent great irregularities. He therefore resigned, and the Wigan Grand Secretary rebuked “the Main Instrument” of the original revolt for being both trivial and apathetic; but the “Great Commander” resisted an appeal to remain with the ship, returned no reply, and silence greeted his resignation. More leakages in the vessel began to appear; fines were ordered for such Wigan members as sought to join the United Grand Lodge; and on Sunday, March 30, 1845, this ill-starred Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of England assembled fully for the last time. Fitful glimpses of its Lodge meetings are to be caught from 1858 to 1866, but by this time its Lodge List had dwindled to one — Sincerity, Wigan, No. 1. This had been warranted originally by the “Moderns” in 1786, and it was continued under United Grand Lodge until 1823, then going over to the Grand Lodge in Wigan until 1866, when its records ceased. For a further forty-seven years, however, it struggled to preserve its independence of all superior authority. Even as lately as 1910, it continued to issue certificates that a member was “a regular Master Mason of Lodge Number 486 on the registry of England and registered on the books of the Grand Lodge in Wigan.” But in 1913 seven Past Masters from Lodges in that town, headed by a Past Grand Treasurer of England, petitioned the Grand Master to revive the long-excluded Lodge under its old title; and their request was granted, members of the interregnum Lodge being permitted later to offer themselves for joining on declaration of obedience. The new Lodge was consecrated under the old name but with a loss of all seniority; and it now appears as No. 3177 on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Thus what, under efficient leadership and effective organization, might have proved a national upheaval shrivelled into a local dispute, and from the beginning held no true promise of success. The Provinces as yet were neither sufficiently strong nor so effectually welded to combine against the supremacy of the centre; and thus they remained for a century, only after the expiration of which period being admitted to a direct share in the administration of the Craft. The daring Wigan experiment to all outward appearance had failed, but its essential protest proved permanent. Its earliest exponents promulgated by advertisement in the London Press a declaration of the principles and circumstances attending the coming into active being of the new — or, as it was claimed, revived — organization. This was a grave irregularity; but no English Freemason to-day can read their declaration without recognizing its fruit. Since then, no need has arisen for any Lodge or body of Masons to protest on similar grounds. Grand Lodge has refrained from further attempt to synchronize, systematize, and crystallize into one the slightly differing forms of working, and to insist on its use by all. Conditions necessitated such a fusion endeavour at the Union in 1813; and in very large degree it was justified. But from the moment a certain elasticity within clearly-defined lines was tacitly recognized, the happiness, prosperity, and influence of the English Jurisdiction advanced beyond the most optimistic expectations.



The United Grand Lodge of England, having emerged from the turbid tide of troubles which rose in the earliest ten years, marched steadily, and sometimes even swiftly, to ever-increasing success. The Duke of Sussex, during his three decades of Grand Mastership, proved an alert, energetic, and tireless leader. He spared no personal pains or physical fatigue in journeying all over the country, at a time when travelling was not only toilsome and tedious but dangerous, in the endeavour to bring the Provinces into touch with London. Whenever a Provincial Grand Mastership fell vacant, he summoned an Especial Grand Lodge and, attended by his leading Grand Officers, installed the successor, thus giving the ceremony the greatest dignity and importance in the eyes of the Provincial Brethren concerned. With unceasing zeal, he laid with full Masonic honours foundation-stones of churches, hospitals, and schools; and he instituted a special recognition for those Brethren who supported the Masonic Institutions then existing. But, as is not infrequently the case with a well-intentioned but impetuous leader, Sussex sometimes allowed zeal to outrun prudence; and, in regard to the Institutions, while strongly supporting those for the help of orphaned girls and boys, established under the auspices of the respective pre-Union Grand Lodges, he displayed much critical feeling concerning the proposed formation of a third for the benefit of aged Freemasons and widows of Freemasons, which provoked for some years a violent storm. Despite it all — his energy often too emphatic for the older Brethren, his doggedness too unsympathetic for the younger — Sussex was a great Grand Master. This was specially recognized when, in celebration of his twenty-five years of service on the Masonic Throne, he was presented by the Craft with a massive piece of plate, now displayed in the Grand Lodge Library. And there was erected shortly after his death in 1843 a marble statue of heroic proportions, which still dominates the seat of his successor in Freemasons’ Hall, while a further commemoration, which he specially would have valued, was the immediate starting of a Masonic fund which twelve years later resulted in the addition to the Royal Free Hospital in London of a Sussex Wing.

Discipline, in the estimation of the Duke of Sussex, was a primary duty in the case of so loosely-linked yet closely-compacted a body as English Freemasonry. He speedily recognized that its organization could not be sustained without a definite system of payment; and he fostered a plan for raising the necessary funds by allotted fees. These he backed the administrative authority in rigorously demanding; and, when frequent admonitions failed, no fewer than fifty-nine Lodges, which had disobeyed repeated calls, were ordered, at a single Quarterly Communication in 1828, to be erased from the Grand Lodge Roll and their Warrants declared forfeit. In the same spirit, Sussex, on his own account, issued an instruction in 1834 to the Lodges, some of which had proved very lax in this particular, strictly to comply with that provision in the law of 1798 against secret societies, by which the Order had been protected and supported. A little later, on the creation of the Irish constabulary force, when the Grand Master for Ireland carried in the House of Lords a clause exempting Freemasons from swearing that they did not belong to a secret society, Sussex recommended United Grand Lodge to express its full thanks. In other matters a like care for the Craft was displayed; and English Freemasons — and, indeed, Masonic students throughout the world — owe him gratitude for having assisted to form a Masonic Library. The necessarily close acquaintance of this royal Duke with affairs outside England led him to foster, notably towards the end of his Masonic reign, the earliest efforts to establish a regular system of friendly intercourse between the United Grand Lodge and those of other Jurisdictions of the like principles, beginning with those of New York and Virginia. And among his last endeavours was one to stimulate and strengthen the local Masonic governments in India.

Just before the end came in 1843 — thirty years after having been the main instrument in establishing and cementing the Union — Sussex claimed in Grand Lodge to have endeavoured throughout his Masonic career to bring into the Craft the conviction of mutual dependence between all classes. “The great power of Masonry is example and the chain extends from the highest to the lowest, and if one link shall break the whole is endangered. Equity is our principle, honour our guide; and my recommendation always is order, regularity, and observance of Masonic duties.” The 2nd Earl of Zetland, Pro Grand Master for the previous four years, was summoned as successor to the Masonic Throne, which he occupied from 1844 to 1870; and, though his quarter of a century of reign could not be marked by the same dramatic series of events as distinguished the period of Sussex, he was a highly capable head, and bequeathed to the ruling members of the Craft a system of principles and procedure which has proved of great value in all later time. In particular, he expanded and completed the work of his predecessors on the Masonic Throne by improving the system of delegation of detailed duties, without derogation from central authority, by the development of Provincial and District Grand Lodges. Originally all such bodies were styled “Provincial,” but as time went on the term was found too limited; and from 1866, under Zetland, those outside the British Isles were entitled “District.” By this date the system had become consolidated. The constitution of Middlesex as a Province in the last year of Zetland’s Grand Mastership very nearly completed it in England, and the Isle of Man, created a Province in 1886, has been the only one added since. Meantime, the number of District Grand Lodges slowly but steadily grew with the consolidation of the British Empire; but the closing half of the nineteenth century showed a striking shrinkage of decided importance, as others of the great Dominions followed the lead of Canada in the eighteen-fifties, and set up Grand Lodges of their own from the Lodges already founded by Warrants from England, and this with the friendly wishes of the parent body. The last to do this, and that within the present century, was Queensland in 1917; and it indicates the true strength of English Freemasonry that the process of separation is now so regulated as to prevent friction. No Lodge which desires to remain directly associated with the parent Grand Lodge is constrained to abjure its allegiance and come under the newly-constituted body. And that this is no merely formal recognition of exemption is proved by the fact that in every British State wherein there is an independent Grand Lodge certain of the Lodges are still, by their own wish, subject to direction from Freemasons’ Hall, and that in two of them the number of these is sufficient to warrant the continuance of a District Grand Lodge.

Success attended the Zetland rule until the end; and it happened that its closing decade proved permanently fruitful. That was particularly so at its outset in securing improved accommodation for the assembling of Grand Lodge and the administration of the Craft. This was at the historic Freemasons’ Hall, standing on a site in Great Queen Street closely associated with the Craft from its earliest organized days. There had existed a Freemasons’ Coffee Tavern in Wild Court hard by long before Grand Lodge in 1774 acquired property in Great Queen Street on which to erect a Freemasons’ Hall, the two very large dwelling houses and an extensive garden “being secured for £3,150. The “front house” was let at £90 per annum, being “useless to the Society at present”; the “back house” furnished “commodious committee rooms, offices, kitchens, etc., without much alteration”; and “the garden was sufficiently large to build a complete hall in, the expense of which would not exceed £3,000,” an estimate which as is customary in such cases proved far too low. A Hall Committee was appointed by Grand Lodge and instructed to “do what might be necessary towards building a hall.” The earliest funds were raised by a tontine; and Lord Petre, as Grand Master, laid the foundation-stone on May 1, 1775, the building being dedicated with impressive solemnity two years later.

Of the original Freemasons’ Hall, “dedicated to Masonry, Virtue, and Universal Charity and Benevolence,” little remains because of successive fires and restorations; but the Grand Temple existing until the fourth decade in the twentieth century, was built on the lines of the first Hall, and some of the original stone work was embedded within it. Costly alterations and enlargements had soon to be undertaken. The “front house” was rebuilt for the purposes of a tavern in 1788; additional property was gradually acquired; and the eminent architect, Sir John Soane, himself an active and distinguished Mason, was given virtually a free hand by the Duke of Sussex to mould as he wished. But from the beginning there were monetary difficulties; and, though Grand Lodge exercised much pressure on Lodges and Brethren to raise funds, continual appeals for more had to be made as additional accommodation was necessitated by the Craft’s steady growth. No comprehensive plan allowing for assured expansion ever existed, so that by continuous acquisition of small properties and frequent enlargement of buildings, the Craft was under the burden of perpetual debt. By 1862, when Zetland was in the full tide of his Masonic rule, the need for such a comprehensive plan had become fully perceived; and there was appointed by Grand Lodge a Special Committee presided over throughout its course by John Havers, the greatest of Victorian Masonic administrators, who had served as President of the Board of General Purposes, and was at this time Past Grand Warden. The outcome of that body’s long and arduous labours was a Freemasons’ Hall in much the same form known for nearly seventy years. The foundation-stone was laid on Grand Festival Day in April 1864; but, owing to many difficulties financial and structural, it was five years before completion. Even then, the building was soon found inadequate; and when, in 1877, additional office accommodation had to be provided, a movement developed to erect more commodious premises elsewhere. The Board of General Purposes took the view, which Grand Lodge accepted, that though the Craft might afford to secure a more conspicuous site, extensions on the old one were preferable; and some small additional purchases of property were made and further offices erected. This was a refusal to face facts which in the long-run cost the Craft dear; but, for the moment, the difficulties were overcome, and the extended building was inaugurated by Zetland at an Especial Grand Lodge on April 14, 1869. Havers remained Chairman of the Building Committee to the end, his great services being perpetuated by the erection in a conspicuous part of Freemasons’ Hall, at the cost of Grand Lodge, of a sculptured tablet surmounted by his marble bust and surrounded by medallion portraits of his colleagues.

Zetland in reminiscence must have considered it his crowning glory that in his Grand Mastership’s closing year was fulfilled one of the dearest wishes of Sussex, in the reintroduction to the Craft of Princes of the Blood. On George, Prince Regent, resigning the Grand Mastership in 1813, just before the Union, he took the honorary title of Grand Patron, and this he specifically continued to hold when, seven years later, he ascended the throne as George IV. When, in turn, he passed in 1830, and the Duke of Clarence, initiated not far from half a century earlier, became William IV, it was recalled that, “according to the practice of old Masons, Kings and other male sovereigns, when made Masons, are Grand Masters, by prerogative, during life.” This idea was not at the moment strictly carried out; but, at an Especial Grand Lodge in July 1830, held to express condolence at the death of the late King and give congratulation to the new, it was resolved, on the suggestion of his younger brother, Sussex, Grand Master, “to implore his Majesty’s protection as Patron of the Craft,” and this request was granted. The succession was broken by Masonic rule when, with Victoria, the Sovereign was a woman; and the direct royal connection with the English Craft was temporarily severed when the two last surviving sons of George III passed away, Sussex dying in 1843 and Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (who had been initiated in 1796, and had become King of Hanover on the Victorian accession), ended this life in 1851.

It was nearly twenty years before another royal Prince was made a Mason; and then, though he was to become one of the most popular rulers of United Grand Lodge, it was not in England. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Victoria’s eldest son, by the time he was twenty-seven, had been rumoured to be favourably disposed towards the Craft; but Punch, with heavy jocosity, published a parody of the very old “Entered Apprentice’s Song” designed to kill the report. Certain difficulties, apparently of the Court etiquette kind, were placed in the way of the Prince being initiated in his own country; but, as an always resourceful personage, he managed to overcome them. While visiting Stockholm in December 1868, as guest of King Charles XV, “Vicar Solomon” or Grand Master of Sweden, the English Heir-apparent was initiated by that monarch (assisted by the Crown Prince Oscar, afterwards King, and Swedish “Vicar Solomon” by hereditary succession) in a “harm’astorn” Lodge, in the Grand Freemasons’ Hall in Stockholm, taking the three steps necessary to Craft membership in the Nordiska Foista Lodge. The news first reached Zetland, as Grand Master, in a letter of December 29, 1868, from the 10th Duke of St. Albans, Hereditary Grand Falconer, and a few years later Provincial Grand Master for Nottinghamshire. The Prince, while still abroad, had written to the Duke, who told Zetland: “The Prince of Wales desires me to inform you — which I feel sure you will be very glad to know — that he has become a Freemason at the hands of the King of Sweden…. He intends joining one or more Lodges here on his return. The Prince seems delighted at what he has done and writes: ‘I feel sure it will be of great use to me in my position — and I shall have many opportunities of doing good.’” But these opportunities, though they came in abundance later and were eagerly availed of, had to be deferred until the English Masonic authorities were satisfied that the Prince’s entrance had been made in strict order.

This turned on certain technical points in which Masonic students of the abstruse delight, but are incommunicable to the uninitiated world. No doubt existed as to the long and intimate connection between the royal family of Sweden and Freemasonry, or the recognition by the Swedish ruling body of the essentials insisted on by the English Craft; but there was some difficulty concerning the composition of that ruling body itself and the wide scope of the powers it exercised. Zetland expressed to St. Albans his wish to know details, and there evidently was some hitch, the latter saying in a letter of the following March, “The Prince of Wales writes that he has no objection (as it is known) to you making the official communication to the Grand Lodge…. I wish the Prince could have been persuaded to comply before, but cannot you state that it had been your hope to communicate this before, but that difficulty of communicating with H.R.H. on the subject had prevented it?” It may well have been that in some high Masonic circles had appeared what the Prince at the outset had feared — disappointment and, perhaps, chagrin that he had not been initiated at home, and that this hindered his immediate welcome into Grand Lodge.

“H.R.H. hopes,” had written St. Albans to Zetland in the original December letter, “that the rank of the initiator will not allow of any disappointment that he went out of his own country”; and it is plain that Zetland was ready, the moment he was satisfied as to regularity, to recognize validity. He soon became assured in the regular Masonic way — by personal test. From the House of Lords, and after more than one interview with the Heir-apparent, the Grand Master wrote to the Grand Secretary on May 31, 1869, “I have seen the Prince of Wales this afternoon, and he proved himself a Master Mason, having also proved himself an Entered Apprentice and a Fellow Craft.” Thus sustained, Zetland went full steam ahead. At the June Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge only two days later, he announced from the Masonic Throne the illustrious entrant to the Craft; stated that, but for an irresistible official call, the Prince would have been present that night; added that admission would at once be sought to one or more English Lodges; and gave notice that at the following Communication he would move, in accordance with several precedents when a Prince of the Blood joined the Craft, that the Prince should be given the rank of Past Grand Master. This delay afforded the Grand Lodge of Scotland the chance to take a step in front, and, in the interval, it elected the Prince Grand Patron of the Masonic Craft in that country. As a consequence, when the English Grand Master’s proposal came forward in September, it was urged from among the rank and file in Grand Lodge that England should do the like, and not make the Prince a “Past Grand Master, put out of the way, and perhaps never more heard of”; but Grand Lodge overwhelmingly rejected the amendment and enthusiastically adopted the Grand Master’s proposal. Exactly five years later its wisdom was proved at another September Communication, when, on a sudden and altogether unexpected vacancy in the Grand Mastership, the Prince, as a Past Grand Master, stepped immediately into the breach, and acted fully as the Masonic Sovereign during the seven months’ interregnum until his formal installation in the supreme position to which meanwhile he had been regularly elected.

The Quarterly Communication of December 1869 saw not only the first appearance in Grand Lodge of the Prince of Wales, he being welcomed with loudest acclaim as he was formally conducted into Freemasons’ Hall, but almost the last of the Earl of Zetland, who for such a great number of years had occupied a prominent — for the larger portion the most prominent — position therein. The Prince told the assembled Brethren that for a long time he had wished to become a Freemason, and that, though he had been initiated in a foreign country, he felt that Masonry was one and the same in all. Then came the sad withdrawal of Zetland, who asked, after twenty-six years of Grand Mastership, not again to be put in nomination because of age, promising not to cease to take the greatest interest in anything that concerned the Craft as long as life remained, a promise completely fulfilled. And the Earl de Grey and Ripon (afterwards 1st Marquis of Ripon), who had been Deputy Grand Master as well as Provincial Grand Master for West Yorkshire, was at once put forward as the sole nomination for the greatest position of all.

It was an obvious and almost inevitable succession, de Grey and Ripon being the most distinguished contemporary living Freemason of long and fine service. Initiated in 1853 at Huddersfield, the flourishing West Riding town he then (as Viscount Goderich) represented in the House of Commons, he soon became Master of his Mother Lodge, and was promptly given high Masonic promotion, being made Senior Grand Warden in Grand Lodge in 1856. Five years later he was advanced to the Provincial Grand Mastership for his native Province of West Yorkshire; and 1861 also saw him chosen Deputy Grand Master by Zetland, in succession to another Whig statesman, the 11th Earl of Dalhousie, better known to parliamentary historians as in succession Fox Maule in the Commons and Panmure and Dalhousie in the Lords. De Grey and Ripon had never taken Masonry lightly; and a principal clerk at the War Office, who became his private secretary in 1859, when Lord Palmerston made him Under-Secretary of State for War, found it desirable to become a Freemason, in order to keep up with his chief’s engagements. Many West Yorkshire Lodges so greatly appreciated his Masonic energy and eloquence as to have extracts from his speeches to the Brethren placed on their walls; and seldom has there been a more popular Provincial Grand Master. When, therefore, he came into Zetland’s place in 1870, it was with a full-hearted welcome from the whole Craft, which joined in an affectionate farewell to the departing chief. This was tangibly displayed by the raising, as a memorial to Zetland’s services, of a substantial fund, which was assigned at his express wish for the relief in perpetuity of distressed Grand Officers and their dependents.

The new Grand Master, nominated in December 1869, was unanimously elected in the following March, with the idea of his being installed (without which ceremony the appointment was uncompleted) at the ensuing annual Grand Festival on April 27. But then intervened what may have been regarded as an omen of evil fate. His wife’s brother, Frederick Vyner, with several companions, mostly of the diplomatic service, was waylaid by Greek brigands at Marathon on April 11, and held to ransom, the demand being for £32,000, a free pardon for that and past outrages, and the liberation of certain bandit comrades. The Greek Government, disregarding all threats, determined to rescue the captives, who were carried into the mountains, while the British Minister eagerly laboured for their release even on the brigands’ terms; but Athens was adamant against amnesty, and the four remaining prisoners, including Vyner, were stabbed and shot. Before this tragic anxiety had arisen, the Prince of Wales, wishing to see the new Grand Master installed, had asked him for information concerning the Festival. Thanking de Grey and Ripon for supplying this, the Prince wrote, “I feel much for the anxiety Lady de Grey and yourself must feel for your brother-in-law’s safety. The demands of the brigands are quite outrageous, but I trust that Vyner will shortly be liberated.” The hope was expressed on April 22: it was the very day on which Vyner and his last-remaining fellow-captive were killed. This was only twenty-four hours after the slaughter of the two other prisoners who were left; and, by a striking and almost melancholy coincidence, one of these, Edward Herbert, secretary to the British Legation at Athens, was a cousin of the Deputy Grand Master-designate, the Earl of Carnarvon. “In consequence of the melancholy events which have taken place in Greece,” ran an official notice to the Craft, de Grey and Ripon’s installation as Grand Master was postponed until May 14, when it took place, under the presidency of the retiring Grand Master, in an Especial Grand Lodge. The Prince of Wales attended, as did Dalhousie, now Grand Master Mason of Scotland, whom Ripon had succeeded nine years before as England’s Deputy Grand Master. There assembled an unprecedented concourse of Grand Officers and Brethren; but an air of melancholy hung over the whole; and the further postponement of Carnarvon’s investiture until the June deepened the gloom. It would have fallen almost like a pall if it could have been dreamed by any present that Vyner’s tragic fate had already led to a change in the new Grand Master’s religious attitude, which ultimately had momentous results for both Freemasonry and himself.

Ripon’s first act, after election to the Masonic Throne, had been to invite the Prince of Wales to comply with the promise of over a year before to join an English Lodge; and the new Grand Master suggested entrance to the Alpha Lodge, with which he himself was officially associated, and long identified with royal entrants to the Craft. The Prince promptly accepted, adding, “I had long wished to belong to a London Lodge, and I am sure I could not belong to a better one than the Alpha Lodge.” And it was during Ripon’s Grand Mastership that two of the Prince’s brothers — the Dukes of Connaught and Albany, both later to hold high Masonic rank — were initiated into Freemasonry. He carried his missionary zeal into an international field when, in the spring of 1871, he was entrusted by Mr. Gladstone, then Prime Minister, with a mission to the United States, charged with the endeavour to settle the ten-year long and threatening difference over claims by American citizens growing out of depredations by the Confederate raider Alabama, De Grey and Ripon was the first Grand Master of England to visit the United States, and the American Masons showed themselves determined to do him full honour. On May 10, 1871, he was received with great enthusiasm in the capital city of Washington by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, being welcomed by delegations from all the other Grand Lodges of the United States. Speaking in reply to a welcoming address, he said: “We all know that fraternity is the first principle of Masonry; and, therefore, it is that all must rejoice at everything which tends to bind more closely together the Masons of different nations and countries. A union between American and English Masons, a union in which, for my part, I have always believed, and now believe more strongly than ever, cannot be too close and fraternal.” And during the after-proceedings he exclaimed: “I believe that it is for the highest interest of the world, I believe that it is for the highest interest of America and England, that there should be the closest and most intimate union between the two countries.” A very little over half a century later — in April 1924 — the writer of these lines was afforded the privilege, as the accredited representative of another English Grand Master (the Duke of Connaught), to bear to the same Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in Washington, a message, identical in spirit, while differing in form: “On the occasion of the visit of Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, P.G.W., President of the Board of General Purposes, to the United States, I take the opportunity of conveying through him to the Brethren of all Jurisdictions in friendly association with the United Grand Lodge of England, my fraternal good wishes and sincere desire for their continued happiness and prosperity. It is my earnest hope that the tenets of our Order may assist still further the bond of friendship and goodwill which so happily exists between our two nations; and I shall watch with sympathy every endeavour to promote those feelings of the development of Freemasonry in the purest and highest aspects.” And that latest message was personally delivered to ten American Grand Lodges in the East and Middle West, in the presence of representatives of more than a million and a quarter Masons, and circulated throughout the United States.

A marquisate, in recognition of the great service the Grand Master had rendered to not only his country but the cause of peace by arranging the Treaty of Washington, was conferred on his return; and when Ripon entered Freemasons’ Hall on June 7 and was formally seated on the Masonic Throne once more by Garter King-of-Arms, Grand Director of Ceremonies, he was greeted with loud acclaim. He at once referred to his American experiences in glowing terms. “I cannot doubt,” he exclaimed, “that one who was engaged in a mission of peace — in a mission the great object of which was to cement the friendship between the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race — was engaged in a truly and most purely Masonic work. I gladly seize the very first opportunity I have had since my return to this country to convey to you from our Masonic Brethren in the United States the warm expression of the truest Masonic feeling which they charged me on their behalf to carry with me across the Atlantic, and to communicate to the Grand Lodge of England. They gave to me — not the individual but the Grand Master of England, the representative of English Masonry — a magnificent reception, which proved the hearty Masonic feeling by which they were united to all the Masons of the old mother country. The Masons of the United States of America are not bound together by a single Grand Lodge: they have Grand Lodges in nearly all their States and Territories. But, though the meeting I attended was in name but a meeting limited to the District of Columbia, there were present Masons from every part of the vast continent over which the dominion of the United States extends. There were men who came from New England in the north, from Iowa in the west, and from Georgia and Louisiana in the south. There were men who came hundreds, some of them thousands, of miles with the view of showing that they felt themselves bound to the Masons of England by a warm tie of fraternal union. I was charged to express those feelings to you. It is a most gratifying task to have such a duty imposed upon me; and I think you will agree with and support me in what I said at that great meeting in Washington — that I would ensure to every American Freemason who might come to this country at any time the warmest, the heartiest, and the most fraternal greeting by the Grand Lodge of England.” A vote of congratulation to the Grand Master and of warm sentiments to the Brethren of the United States was at once moved by the Grand Registrar, and adopted with enthusiasm; and the greetings then exchanged have proved their true reality many a time since.

Ripon had thus furnished a splendid beginning to a striking Grand Mastership, in the four years’ course of which Masonry in England continued to advance by rapid strides, new Lodges being created all over the Jurisdiction, and still flourishing after sixty years. He was noted for the extreme care he displayed in scrutinizing every fresh application for a Warrant. Insistent that, as far as it could be avoided, there should be no overlapping of territory, he would not suffer the creation of a new London Lodge unless in a Masonically unoccupied part of the metropolis, or made appeal to a special section. But, even while thus careful, the Grand Master felt bound to recognize the growing demand for Freemasonry, especially among the professional and commercial classes. Towns were increasing in size and number, the metropolitan suburbs were ever spreading, individual Lodges were overflowing the bounds of close fraternal fellowship, and the rising swell had to be met. Thus it was that the number of Lodges warranted by Ripon in his little over four years of Grand Mastership was 216, which well carried on the energetic work in that direction of Zetland during the later years.

Equally striking was the fact that Ripon early recognized the desirability of — even the necessity for — the “Class Lodge,” as it is popularly known, the membership of which is virtually, though not formally, restricted to those of a particular calling or associated idea. As a consequence, there exist in London to-day Lodges separately composed in the main of among others clergymen, Nonconformist ministers, judges, barristers, solicitors, sailors, soldiers, airmen, physicians, surgeons, authors, journalists, architects, builders, painters, printers, advertising agents, and newspaper distributors, as well as of strict abstainers; but no encouragement is given to any for party politicians. All these Lodges perform an eminently useful social service by providing opportunity for active men of kindred tastes, pursuits, and daily work to have a central rallying ground where the items scattered over a vast city can meet at stated intervals to make or cement friendships, and stimulate one another to further good work. The visiting Brother, who is always cordially welcomed, feels at once that he is in a friendly family circle; and thus is fulfilled one of the main ideas in British Masonry — that a Lodge should not be so large as to drift into sections, but always so compact as to allow every member to be personally acquainted. This has made for a strength of fraternal feeling and a harmony of Masonic work which very largely account for the abiding success of English Freemasonry.

Ripon, through his four years of Grand Mastership, had the great advantage of being assisted by the 4th Earl of Carnarvon as Deputy. The combination proved in a very striking degree the absence of partisanship from the councils of the Craft, as, while Ripon was a strong Liberal and member of the Gladstone Cabinet, Carnarvon was an equally firm Conservative, acting in turn under Derby and Disraeli. Together they served the Craft with splendid zeal and efficiency; and everything promised the continuance of peaceful and prosperous development when, with absolute unexpectedness, a distressing blow fell. Ripon early in the autumn of 1874 became a Roman Catholic, and at once resigned.



Even now, so many years after this temporarily disturbing episode, Ripon’s abrupt resignation remains a psychological and metaphysical mystery. No one in Masonry had received a hint of his vital change of view even twenty-four hours beforehand, except his Deputy, Carnarvon, and he no more than forty-eight. It was, therefore, with stunned surprise and complete bewilderment that Grand Lodge on September 2, 1874, listened as the Grand Secretary, at the opening, read a letter written from Lincolnshire the previous day, in which “Yours faithfully, Ripon” said: “I am sorry to inform you that I find myself unable any longer to discharge the duties of Grand Master, and that it is, therefore, necessary that I should resign that office into the hands of the Members of Grand Lodge, with the expression of my grateful thanks for the kindness which I have ever received from them, and of my great regret at any inconvenience which my retirement may cause to them.” The Grand Registrar, the highest legal authority in Grand Lodge, immediately moved the acceptance of the resignation, declaring that he was unacquainted with the reasons for the step, “although he did know that they were entirely unconnected with the noble Order to which all present belonged.” The motion having been at once adopted without comment, a letter was read from Carnarvon, by this date Secretary of State for the Colonies for the second time, whose attendance was “prevented by very important business.” The Deputy Grand Master recorded that he had not known of the resignation until August 31, adding that the government of the Craft devolved on the Prince of Wales as a Past Grand Master, if he would accept the position. And a committee of three leading Grand Officers was immediately appointed to request the Prince to do this until the next annual period of the Grand Master’s Installation.

For some days the public, like the Craft, could simply guess at the cause of this strange affair; and then a London evening paper bluntly announced that it was conversion to Roman Catholicism. On the same night Carnarvon, addressing a well-known Lodge, said it was not for Grand Lodge or any other body of Masons to enquire into the reasons. But the next morning, the Times gave them to the world in a leading article, beginning, as was the then Times custom on great occasions, with the arresting sentence, “Lord Ripon has become a Roman Catholic … a step which can only be regarded as betraying an irreparable weakness of character.” This harsh judgment represented the general feeling of the moment, and certainly that of the main body of English Freemasons, who found it impossible to reconcile Ripon’s Masonic words and actions even within that year with the irretrievable step he had now taken. They could not but recall that only six months before, when returning thanks for re-election to the Grand Mastership, he had exclaimed: “Great prosperity and thorough Masonic harmony reign throughout the Craft in every part of the country. It is indeed a proud thing to be called to stand at the head of a body of men who, in the midst of such great prosperity and with ever-increasing numbers, are able to boast that there has not been during the past twelve months a single cloud for one moment to overshadow the perfect brilliancy of our Masonic harmony. It shows that we have been acting in the true spirit of this ancient Craft, and that we have been animated by those great principles which we ought ever to remember. It is because I hope and believe that these principles are deeply written in the hearts of all that I esteem it a very great honour once more to be called to preside over you.” This declaration of apparently unshakable Masonic faith was made at the March Quarterly Communication; and in essence it was adhered to at that of June. Then it was the Grand Master’s task to move a grant towards the Indian Famine Relief Fund, and he pleaded that “we white Masons owe a great debt of consideration to our Brethren in the East, of a different race and of a different colour, but who are many of them Masons as we are.”

Yet it was between these dates that the active process of conversion to Rome had begun. As a boy Ripon had been drawn towards one phase of its religious manifestations; but his first hearing of mass was in a London Roman Catholic cathedral on the Sunday after the murder in Greece of his brother-in-law, Vyner, whose death had greatly affected him. Yet he became Grand Master a very few weeks later, and remained an Anglican for another four years; and it was not until April 1874 that he felt he could no longer stay in that communion. Still for a little he lingered; but by the end of May he had resolved to accept the sacramental authority of the Pope, and this is to be learned from a letter of a Roman Catholic female relative, dated only five days after his last speech in Grand Lodge. By the third week in August he had made up his mind, and had communicated the decision to his closest political and clerical friends. He still shrank from telling his Masonic colleagues, and it was not until at least a week after the other letters that he wrote to Carnarvon, this letter arriving only two days before Grand Lodge. His Deputy replied in frigidly friendly terms that the loss to Freemasonry caused by the retirement would be very serious and the inconvenience great: “this is, of course, inevitable.”

There were those who asked at the time, and may ask still, whether it was inevitable; and it is to be believed that Ripon himself sought high ecclesiastical counsel on that point. He was not likely to forget that two of his predecessors as Grand Master of England had been avowed, and even ardent, Roman Catholics. Of the earlier, he had been strikingly reminded during his visit to Washington three years before. When he was welcomed by the American Grand Lodges the Grand Master of Massachusetts, in illustration of the truly liberal feeling of Freemasonry, mentioned that the first Warrant of the senior Lodge in his Jurisdiction had been issued in 1733 under the rule of “Anthony Lord Viscount Montague, Grand Master of the Free and Accepted Masons of England,” addressed “To all and every Our right Worshipful, Worshipful, and Loving Brethren now residing or who may hereafter Reside in New England.” The Massachusetts Grand Master added that this peer, because he was a Roman Catholic, was not allowed to sit by the then existing law in the House of Lords; but he evidently was unaware that, from the night of his Installation, Montague — or Montacute, these family names being interchangeable for centuries — never took an open part in the proceedings of Grand Lodge during his year of office. This precedent, therefore, may not have weighed with Ripon, even if he had recalled it; but a very different one was presented in the case of Robert, Lord Petre, who was Grand Master for five years from 1772, and whose portrait still hangs in Freemasons’ Hall. Petre sprang from an old and devoted Roman Catholic family, which had furnished martyrs for the faith. Under his rule the first Freemasons’ Hall was begun and opened, many Lodges were added to the roll, English Masonic rule was extended in India and America, the central administration was strengthened, and the number of Grand Officers increased, “so that,” as an old Masonic historian quaintly said, “under his banner the Society became truly respectable.”

Ripon may have thought, or been advised, that the question was not one of past precedent but of present practice; and yet it is plain that for at least a time he entertained regrets at having to sever himself from all Masonic effort, even for charitable objects. He consulted his leading spiritual adviser — Father Dalgairns, one of Newman’s first disciples and followers to Rome — as to whether he could continue to use his votes for the three Masonic Institutions. The reply was cautious but plain-hinting; “I see no objection whatever to your exercising your vote in consequence of past subscription. You have so bravely and publicly disconnected yourself with Freemasonry that no one will mistake your voting for adhesion to a forbidden society.” This was the true point, causing Ripon fully to realize that, in these times, Roman Catholics are forbidden either to enter or remain in the Craft. The reasons, explained in Papal bulls and by clerical apologists, are based not only on theological and ecclesiastical but political grounds, the greatest, in effect, being the political. The theological objection substantially is that the teaching of Freemasonry is not that of the Vatican; the ecclesiastical that, by the nature of his vow, a Mason cannot make full confession; and the political that the Freemasons of the Latin countries regard “clericalism as the enemy” and monarchy as a form of government to be overthrown. On the first two heads, English-speaking Freemasonry stands with the rest of the world; on the third it does not; but it is at no time wishful for religious controversy, and it is constantly content to carry on its good work in the world without external or adventitious aid.

Its resiliency was proved by the readiness with which it recovered from the shock Ripon’s sudden resignation administered. Before the end of the month in which it was tendered — Ripon being “received” within a week after — the Grand Lodge Committee entrusted with the task had offered the Grand Mastership to the Prince of Wales, who at once accepted it. He as promptly appointed Carnarvon Pro Grand Master, a position intermediate between Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master, and existing only when a Prince is on the Masonic Throne; and, in view of the greatest international problem raised, and very soon, in the Prince’s quarter-of-a-century occupancy, it is of interest to note that the announcement was officially made in a letter from Paris. Carnarvon was invested in the revived office at the December Communication, with Edward, 2nd Lord Skelmersdale (later 1st Earl of Lathom), as Deputy; and April 28, 1875, was fixed for the installation of the new Grand Master.

The Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, erected as a memorial to the Prince’s father, the Prince Consort, was selected for this momentous function. It is the largest assembly hall in the English metropolis, capable of comfortably accommodating over eight thousand; and the impressiveness of the scene was never forgotten by any privileged to attend, some of whom lived to tell of their remembrance more than fifty years after. The Duke of Connaught was among those who awaited the entrance of the Heir-apparent, as were deputations from the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland as well as the Grand Lodge of Sweden, under which the Prince’s initiation five years before had taken place, with a representative from the Grand Lodge of Denmark, the long friendliness of association between the Masonic ruling bodies of Britain and Scandinavia being thus emphatically attested. The ceremonial was splendid and the success complete, the new Grand Master acquitting himself to admiration. But, as in the case of the immediately preceding such Installation, there was later perceived to have been an ominous note. Carnarvon, when addressing the newly-enthroned chief, observed: “In some other countries it has been unfortunately the lot of Freemasonry to find itself allied with faction and intrigue, with what I may call the darker side of politics. In England it has been signally the reverse. The Craft here has allied itself with social order, with the great institutions of the country, and, above all, with monarchy, the crowning institution of all.” And the Prince replied: “Every Englishman knows that the two watchwords of the Craft are Loyalty and Charity. As long as Freemasonry keeps itself from being mixed up with politics, so long, I am sure, will their great and ancient Order flourish, and its benign influence tend to maintain the integrity of our great empire.” And among those who listened to these words and probably guessed their aim was the representative at the English Grand Lodge of the Grand Orient of France,

The Grand Lodge of England and the French Grand Orient had long been in friendly association, though the earliest French Lodges were of Jacobite origin and assisted in plotting Scottish risings, while the later developed ideas and practices of their own. Even before the eighteenth century’s end, an English Masonic observer gloomily recorded that “the homely Freemasonry imported from England has been totally changed in every country in Europe, either by the imposing ascendancy of French Brethren, who are to be found everywhere ready to instruct the world, or by the importation of the doctrines, the ceremonies, and ornaments of the Parisian Lodges.” Into the details of these it is impossible to go, but the main fact as concerning England is that from the establishment of the Third Republic in 1870 the Grand Orient began with definiteness to sever itself from beliefs held by the Grand Lodge to be fundamental. As lately as 1865 the former had placed at the head of its Constitution the declaration: “Freemasonry has for basic principle the existence of God and the immortality of the soul”; and all its announcements were issued “To the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe.” But a ferment arose in France after the Napoleonic collapse against everything that seemed to savour of “clericalism”; and in September 1877 the General Assembly of the Grand Orient voted to eliminate from its Constitution all statements, allusions, or suggestions of a religious nature. The Bible was banished from the Lodges; and, while the “Ad Gloriam” formula was for a while continued on the official letter-paper, it had soon to walk the plank with the rest. A long declaration of principles took the place of the ancient and simple belief, its central point being the declaration that “considering metaphysical conceptions as belonging exclusively to the domain of the individual, the Grand Orient refrains from every dogmatic affirmation,” though it did not include in that term its motto, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.“

British Freemasons, who had anxiously watched the year’s deliberations which led to this decisive repudiation of the Antient Landmarks of the Order, at once scented the danger. The Grand Lodge of Ireland was the first to move, and unanimously censured the Grand Orient’s action. The United Grand Lodge of England took the earliest opportunity to consider it; and the December Communication of 1877 was very largely attended to learn how to proceed. Carnarvon presided as Pro Grand Master, and in a characteristically cautious speech — always remembering that he was at the moment a Cabinet Minister, and that Europe was in a highly sensitive and even combustible state because the Russo-Turkish War was at its critical point — explained in detail the difficulty. He gave the opinion that Grand Lodge would be justified in at once following Ireland’s example, but urged instead the immediate appointment of a special committee to report on the French action “and on the course they recommend to be adopted.” This was at once unanimously agreed to. An unusually strong committee of eleven was chosen, with the Pro Grand Master and the Deputy Grand Master at the head, and including the leading legislators, legists, and administrators of the Craft, with its most distinguished historian. Only one criticism was raised, and that, strikingly enough, by two distinguished Masonic clergymen, who objected to the inclusion of another who had been Grand Chaplain, on the ground that the matter was one of traditional principle and not of theological dispute. The critics were soothed by the suggestion that it was as an experienced Deputy Provincial Grand Master that the suggested appointment was being made; and unanimity continued to the end. The committee set to work at once, and presented its report at the following Quarterly Communication, that of March 1878. This expressed profound regret at the Grand Orient’s action; declined to recognize as true and genuine Brethren any initiated in Lodges denying or ignoring a belief in God; and directed the non-admission as a visitor to any English Lodge of a foreign Brother who had not been initiated in a Lodge holding the ancient belief, and himself acknowledging that belief to be an essential Landmark of the Order. This was unanimously accepted, with an addition suggested from the body of Grand Lodge that the resolutions should be read at the next meeting of every Lodge, From that moment the Grand Orient of France has been severed from the Grand Lodge of England. Informal endeavours more than once have been made, but never by leading Masons, to build anew a bridge of union; and this was specially the case during, and in the years immediately following, the War throughout which the two countries were close allies. But all have been without avail; and there is not the slightest evidence to-day of any British weakening on that which always has been held fundamental to Freemasonry.

From an international point of view, this was the most striking episode in the Prince of Wales’s long Masonic reign; but there was a domestic development of great importance to English Freemasons — a thorough revision and rearrangement of the Book of Constitutions, the law code of the Craft. Adopted immediately after the Union, and frequently amended later, it had effectively set the administration on its feet; but it remained a confused mixture of archaic phrases and Modern enactments, which failed to convey the old meanings to the new mind. In 1883 Grand Lodge directed an extensive revision; and this was accomplished by the next year. It came through the adoption of a policy of give-and-take and of yielding in the end to experience and authority, without which neither that nor any other such complete system of bringing the code up to date could possibly have been adopted, a hint unlikely to be lost when another endeavour of the kind is essayed, as is becoming more and more necessary. In the main, the Book of Constitutions of 1884 continued to be the like Book in 1930; but such highly important amendments have since been adopted as to render a reference to the earlier on a number of critical points valueless to-day. And, when the moment for a further great revision arrives, Grand Lodge should prove as prudent, far-seeing, and individually self-sacrificing, as did its predecessors in 1815 and 1884.

This domestic matter was accompanied almost at the precise moment by another of painful interest which was promptly met. On May 3, 1883, the night immediately after the holding of the Quarterly Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter, a fire occurred at Freemasons’ Hall which almost entirely destroyed the time-honoured Temple in which Grand Lodge had met for over a century. Among the articles which once lost could never be replaced was the Ark of the Covenant, wherein were originally deposited the Articles of Union of 1813; but happily the documents themselves were in safe hold in another part of the building. The massive statue of the Duke of Sussex was greatly damaged, and most of the original pictures of Grand Masters of the past were burned; but by great exertions the fire was confined to the Temple, the archives and the administrative portions of the building being untouched. The Board of General Purposes scarcely lost a day before considering how to reconstruct and if possible enlarge the Hall, which had become insufficient to accommodate the great increase in Grand Lodge attendances. The idea of erecting a new Temple on the then novel site of the Thames Embankment was rejected, very much on the grounds which brought Grand Lodge to a similar decision forty years later when settling the site for the Masonic Peace Memorial Hall; and it directed plans to be prepared for renovation and such enlargement as would allow at least 1,500 in the Temple, or just double the previous accommodation. A special Committee was at once set up by Grand Lodge to deal with the building problem, as had been done in 1862 and was again to be done in 1919: and Havers, who had presided over the earlier but who by this time had withdrawn from active Masonic work, was pressed to serve, but declined for reasons of health. The Committee soon reported, its main proposal being such an enlargement as would double the seating capacity of the Temple; but at the December Quarterly Communication, Havers did lasting disservice to the Craft for which he had worked so long and well by securing the rejection of the extended plan, dominated by the desire for sentimental reasons to retain the original foundations of the Temple, as laid a hundred years before. As a consequence, only those portions of the early building which are buried out of sight remain to-day; and the reactionary policy thus adopted involved not only growing discomfort for many years but inevitably necessitated later greatly increased accommodation at a very far heavier cost on an enlarged site. The foundation-stone of this was laid in July 1927, by the Duke of Connaught as Grand Master, and in it is provided a Temple capable of welcoming over 2,000 Brethren, instead of the 750 provided for in 1864 or the 1,500 proposed twenty years later.

The initiation into the Craft of the Grand Master’s two brothers, the Dukes of Connaught and Albany, which had marked the year of his election to the Masonic Throne, was followed eleven years later by the entrance of the Heir-apparent’s eldest son, afterwards Duke of Clarence, immediately on his coming of age. A further link with the Royal House was established by the installation in 1886 of the Duke of Connaught as Provincial Grand Master for Sussex, the earliest example of a Prince of the Blood holding such a position; and this was followed two years after by the same illustrious Mason becoming District Grand Master for Bombay, the only instance of the kind yet furnished. The Craft’s loyalty to the Throne, thus stimulated, found striking expression in June 1887, when a “Great Assembly of Freemasons” — to be distinguished from a Grand Lodge — was held in the Albert Hall, the Grand Master presiding, and some seven thousand Brethren enthusiastically voting an Address to Queen Victoria on the Jubilee of her Accession, and giving more than £6,000 to the cause of Masonic benevolence. The Prince of Wales himself headed a deputation from Grand Lodge to present the Address in person at Osborne House to the venerable monarch — still more venerable ten years later at the Diamond Jubilee, when the Grand Master presided over a second Great Assembly, which with all the old enthusiasm adopted a like Address, received with the same graciousness and satisfaction. And this time the Brethren gave over £7,000 towards benevolence; but, in recognition of their illustrious Chief’s special services to that cause, devoted half the amount to the Prince of Wales’s Hospital Fund.

These were proofs of the Grand Master’s constant desire to render service to Freemasonry, and notably to its benevolent activities. Owing to his personal effort. Queen Victoria in 1882 became Chief Patroness of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls; and the Grand Master six years after presided at the Centenary Festival of that Institution, when the unprecedented amount of £51,500 was raised in a single evening for its advantage. It was at once determined to erect a great hall of assembly at its school at Wandsworth, which was opened as the Alexandra Hall in 1891 by the Heir-apparent and his Consort. The illustrious pair three years earlier had been presented by Grand Lodge with an address on the occasion of their Silver Wedding; and in 1898 the then Princess of Wales proved her continuing wish to assist Masonic good work by presenting the prizes in the Albert Hall to the successful students of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys in immediate anticipation of its Centenary Festival. The Grand Master, who presided as he had at the Girls’, made a special appeal for funds to build a far larger school at Bushey which, the demand for places having much outgrown its existing establishment at Wood Green, there was a strong wish to build. The most sanguine Brethren who attended that historic gathering could never forget the startled and delighted thrill which went through all when the Prince of Wales himself announced the total raised that night as £141,000. The foundation-stone was laid two years after, in the unavoidable absence of the Grand Master, by the Duke of Connaught, who had been given the distinction of Past Grand Master in 1890; and the succession to the Masonic Throne, to be vacant before long, was plainly marked out. The two royal brothers and Brethren were thus directly associated in a great Masonic function. Once before they had been so at another specially dear to the Grand Master’s heart, for it was in 1890 that he had installed, with his younger brother assisting, his then heir, the Duke of Clarence, as Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire, the county of his birth. And there is significance in the fact that that position was held in 1930 by the only son of another Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught, who himself installed Prince Arthur in 1924, just after similarly installing his great-nephews, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, as Provincial Grand Masters for Surrey and Middlesex.

The regard for Freemasonry thus strikingly displayed for over a quarter of a century the Prince of Wales showed to the end. No one outside those most intimately associated with the government of the Craft knew all he was constantly doing for it, though even the everyday Freemason could recognize how frequently the Grand Master presided in Grand Lodge, and notably when important business was to be discussed. Keenly interested in preserving the high character and traditions of the Order, he used his personal influence to attract within its ranks those he felt would prove the fittest leaders, while his individual and close scrutiny of suggested Grand Officers was unknown outside, and characteristically he was always a cautious adviser acting on strict constitutional lines. His personal devotion to the Craft was shown in the fact that he never ceased to wear a special Masonic ring which, at his own wish, was ultimately buried with him. That ring appears on his State portrait, painted by Fildes during his Kingship, the original of which is in Buckingham Palace, with the artist’s replicas in every British Embassy throughout the world. But only that which, by special permission of King George V, hangs in Freemasons’ Hall shows with precision the ring’s Masonic significance, the details being much later painted in by Fildes, who, not being a Mason, had not originally realized its full significance. It was with this ring on his finger that the Prince of Wales was constrained in 1901 to leave the Masonic for the Imperial Throne; and it was still there when nine years later he ceased to be.



The twentieth century was not a month old when a new Grand Master for the United Grand Lodge of England had to be elected. Queen Victoria, full of years and honours, died at Osborne on January 22, 1901; and only two days later a formal communication was made therefrom to the Grand Secretary, on behalf of the newly-ascended monarch, that “the King will very much regret ceasing to be the Grand Master of the Freemasons in England, but he thinks it would be convenient that he should follow the example of George 4th, who when he became King resigned the same Post, and became Protector.” The precedent was justly invoked, though not quoted with exactitude, as it was when George IV had become Prince Regent, and had handed over in 1813 the Grand Mastership to Sussex, that he signified his desire to accept the title of Grand Patron of the Order; and, when he ascended the Throne seven years later, he allowed his arms and title as Patron to be engraved at the head of the Grand Lodge Certificate as a public testimony of his high opinion of the Craft he for so many years had ruled. But, details aside, the incident revealed, as did others of State concern known to inner observers at the moment, how carefully the new King had thought out in advance problems certain to be before him immediately he reached the Throne. That the Masonic problem was so promptly attended to — and the intervening day had been occupied by his Majesty’s journey from Osborne to London, his Accession Speech to the Privy Council, and the mass of imperial business at once awaiting him — was an additional proof of his deep attachment to the Craft.

“I will let you know about the Duke of Connaught,” added, as a postscript, Sir Francis (afterwards Lord) Knollys, the royal private secretary, to the formal communication to the Grand Secretary; and that younger brother to the new King already had established himself in the Masonic mind as the one, and virtually only, successor. As has been shown, the Duke had been a Freemason nearly thirty years, had occupied the Provincial Grand Mastership of Sussex and the District Grand Mastership of Bombay, had been a Past Grand Master since 1890, and had filled in the last capacity the Grand Master’s place at an important function only a few months before; and in very marked ways he had otherwise shown appreciation of the Order. But a technical difficulty stood in the way of his immediate succession. On February 15, 1901, an Especial Grand Lodge was held to condole with and congratulate the new King, and to receive the announcement that he would assume the position and title of Protector of English Masons. The Grand Registrar then pointed out that the regular notice of annual nomination and selection of the Grand Master, which had already been given at the December Communication, had been rendered inoperative by King Edward’s withdrawal before election; but he submitted to Grand Lodge, as the supreme controlling authority, that the spirit of the Constitutions would be complied with by proceeding to a fresh nomination that day for the customary election in March and subsequent Installation. This view was accepted; and the Duke of Connaught was nominated as one known to them all as “courteous in manner, easy of address, steady and firm in principle, and well skilled in the antient landmarks and regulations of the Order.” And it is not without significance that “the proceedings were closed by the Brethren singing the first verse of the National Anthem,” a practice not then usual, but since the War began always adopted at the end of each Communication of Grand Lodge.

The Albert Hall, on July 17, 1901, witnessed for the second time the installation of a Grand Master; and the later great gathering was as picturesque and impressive as the earlier. Earl Amherst, as Pro Grand Master (a position given him in 1898, after three years as Deputy), occupied the Throne; and, after the Duke had been with all ceremony installed and proclaimed Grand Master of England, the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland tendered cordial felicitations. The new ruler in response recalled that, under the auspices of his immediate predecessor, not only had 1,311 Lodges been added to the roll, but the Craft had attracted into its ranks a large number of those holding the highest positions in Church and State, in the navy and army, on the bench and at the bar, and in both Houses of the Legislature. He specially noted that, in addition to the large sums given to local charitable funds, little short of two million pounds during his illustrious brother’s Grand Mastership had been subscribed to the Grand Lodge Fund of Benevolence and the three central Masonic Institutions, with £20,000 voted by Grand Lodge for the relief of other than Masonic distress — a record of charitable endeavour which seemed enormous then, but to be far transcended in the next twenty-five years. “We are a body of God-fearing men,” concluded the new Grand Master, “whose watchwords are religion, loyalty, and charity”; and this furnished the keynote of his position all through.

Under the Connaught rule the English Jurisdiction continued to strengthen and spread. The manner in which the new King had exalted and promoted Freemasonry — to use the words of the address of condolence presented by Grand Lodge to King George V, not himself a Mason, on his royal father’s death — was best testified by the devotion shown to his successor. This was in no way lessened during his frequent lengthened absences from England on high military and administrative duties to the British Empire, which marked the opening fifteen years of the Duke’s prolonged Masonic reign. He had been Commander-in-Chief in Ireland at the time of election, and for three years after. A like period later he took the same position in the Mediterranean, holding this until 1909, then proceeding to the Cape to open, on King Edward’s behalf, the first Parliament of the newly-established Union of South Africa. Opportunity had been intended to be taken at the annual Grand Festival in April 1911, emphatically to demonstrate the loyalty of the English Craft to their Grand Master by one further great gathering in the Albert Hall; but the proceedings were dampened by his sudden illness. The Duke lamented to the Pro Grand Master (by this time Lord Ampthill, appointed in 1908) in simple and human words: “I would have given anything not to have been knocked over by this most unwelcome attack of bronchitis,” an ailment which took him out of England for most of the remaining winters. But there must have been consolation in the warm expression of enthusiastic loyalty and appreciation emphasized by Grand Lodge in an address testifying that, “as members of a Society founded on the Grand Principles of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth,” they proudly and joyfully recognized that their Grand Master had discharged his public duties not only with eminent prudence, patience, firmness, and skill, but with “a public spirit, ardent and disinterested love of truth, serenity of temper, and benevolence of heart that well accord with the parent tenets of the Craft.” And this was no fulsome praise or insincere acclamation. All who knew the Duke’s character throughout would endorse every such expression in praise of his private character and public achievement.

Opportunity was taken at this gathering to express to the Grand Master lively satisfaction at hearing that the King had invited him to become Governor-General of Canada; and this position he held for five pregnant years, as before his term expired the Great War had come and the foundations of the earth were shaken. By the time he returned home, after fifteen years of Grand Mastership, his period of residence in England had scarcely been five; and consequently his activities in the Craft’s affairs were intermittent but never dead. It was the great good fortune of English Freemasonry that, during all those fifteen years, its chief direct and immediate governing force were two Pro Grand Masters each meriting grateful Masonic memory. The first was Earl Amherst who, having been Provincial Grand Master of Kent from 1860, was given the Deputy Grand Mastership in 1896, and three years later, was made Pro Grand Master. Amherst, a Kentish territorial magnate, was a fine type of English country gentleman, stern and unbending for the right, but courteous, suave, and full of ease in all public affairs, able to read the signs of progress in the Craft he so largely assisted to rule, and alert to guide its endeavours in a right direction with security and success. When because of advancing years, having not long withdrawn from the Masonic headship of Kent, he resigned the Pro Grand Mastership in 1908 the Grand Master appointed as his successor the 2nd Lord Ampthill, Provincial Grand Master for Bedfordshire, not then forty, but possessed of a strikingly wide knowledge at first hand of administration and affairs.

The choice of so young an acting chief seemed a daring one, and in the twenty and more years that followed it had far-reaching results. Heredity joined with physical fitness to mark Lord Ampthill out for rule. Sprung from two of England’s old families, long renowned in statesmanship and diplomacy, he combined the Russell with the Villiers blood; and, as son of the distinguished diplomatist known to the mid-Victorian world as Lord Odo Russell, and afterwards 1st Lord Ampthill, and grandson through his mother of the 4th Earl of Clarendon, a well-attested Victorian Foreign Secretary, his mettle in Masonic affairs was now to be proved. From his infancy, French had been his second language, while he acquired an intimate knowledge of the German tongue when as a boy he spent some years at the British Embassy in Berlin, his father having been appointed in 1881 the first Ambassador to the newly-established German Empire. Receiving some of his earlier education in Germany, he came home to Eton and Oxford, and at school and university alike proved his prowess as a leading oarsman. Joining the Craft while at Oxford he became, when not yet twenty-three, Provincial Grand Master for Bedfordshire, a county in which the Russell family had for close upon four centuries taken a foremost place. Having succeeded to his father’s peerage in 1883 when only fourteen, he showed his activity in the public service to such effect that in 1895 he was given by Joseph Chamberlain, the most famous of all Britain’s Colonial Secretaries, the honorary but hard-working position of private secretary, which proved a stepping-stone to much higher things. In 1900 Lord Salisbury, as Prime Minister, made him Governor of Madras; and the following year, still holding the Provincial Grand Mastership for Bedfordshire, he became District Grand Master of that great Indian section. After taking for a twelvemonth, in the temporary absence of Lord Curzon of Kedleston, the supreme position of Viceroy of India, and serving his five years’ term in Madras, Lord Ampthill returned home in 1906 full of eagerness for fresh work; and this was gratified in April 1908, when he was installed by Earl Amherst, his immediate predecessor, as Pro Grand Master of England.

Not even among the most illustrious holders of that position could there have been one who more perfectly looked the part. Of striking face and stalwart figure, Lord Ampthill stood like Saul a head above his fellows, and was happy in the possession of a singularly resonant voice. To these advantages was united the fact that, having been so long engaged in great public affairs away from England, he was unfettered by personal prepossessions or antipathies concerning individual Freemasons, which often hamper rather than help a chief who has to choose his leading colleagues. The result was not long in manifesting itself, as the new Pro Grand Master selected as the two leading administrative voluntary officers in the Craft Brethren from outside the circle which had for many years been accustomed to supply such prominent figures in Masonic affairs. It was a course that for a time cost him something in popularity within that circle, but it inspired Freemasons outside with confidence in his resolute independence of a crystallized tradition which had begun to wear out.

The new Pro Grand Master’s zeal for revitalizing the Government of the Craft soon again outran the desires of many immediately around him. He had perceived from almost the moment he entered office that the Grand Lodge machinery had greatly worn with wear, and that the conditions of the original organization of 1717 and the united body of 1813, admirable in theory and suited to the circumstances of the time, were unfitted to the vast and ever-growing Grand Lodge of the twentieth century. Enquiries he instituted among the London Lodges justified the belief that he would carry the Craft with him in a comprehensive scheme of reform, designed to restore Grand Lodge to the relatively small and thoroughly representative body its designers had intended. He invited the Board of General Purposes to assist him in framing such a plan; and the result of prolonged labour was laid before Grand Lodge by the President of that body in December 1913, with a direction to the Lodges throughout the Jurisdiction to vote as units on the principles laid down. These were the reduction of a continually growing and constantly changing assembly to one of definite size directly elected by the Craft, and, therefore, both representative and responsible. With it was coupled a proposal to divide the London area into ten Metropolitan Grand Lodges, each possessed of the same powers and privileges as the Provincial and District Grand Lodges, which had so long proved of the greatest value in the general administration of the Craft, always under the supreme control of Grand Lodge. Altogether unexpectedly by the Pro Grand Master, who had been given reason to believe that the decided majority of London Masons desired such a division, the project aroused a storm which, during the three months allowed for the Lodge votes, raged with bitter intensity. In the result, a majority in London opposed the scheme, while a distinctly larger majority in the Provinces and Districts were in its favour. Resolved to persevere in his reforming work, the Pro Grand Master carried Grand Lodge with him in arranging for a series of conferences with the London Lodges, gathered in their projected divisions, with a view to a settlement. But, by this time, it was June 1914; and, before a single conference could be arranged, the Great War had broken out. In accordance with the general feeling that that was not a time in which to engage in a large plan of constitutional change, especially in the absence of its chief promoter on military service, diligently given from the first to the last day of the struggle, the task was set aside by common consent. Other matters of high importance to the Craft have since arisen, some of the greatest as a direct consequence of the War, and Grand Lodge remains unreformed. But all who closely watch its work know that the subject, though dormant, is far from dead.



The War, immediately on its outbreak on August 4, 1914, presented problems of unprecedented delicacy and difficulty to Freemasons’ Hall. Divers developments of these arose throughout its course; but the general body of the Brethren learned of only those which were the common property of the market-place, and not such as involved very diplomatic handling to prevent disaster. Troubles which, in any event, must have been great were deepened by the fact that, at the outset, Britain’s international Allies were Masonically apart, the Grand Orients of France and Belgium and the Grand Lodge of France because of the deep divergence over fundamentals which had created the division of 1878, and Russia not recognizing Freemasonry in any form. As against this, all the German Grand Lodges — those of Prussia (with three of its own in Berlin), Hamburg, Saxony, Bavaria, Frankfort, and Darmstadt — were recognized by and represented at the United Grand Lodge of England. The three “Old Prussian Grand Lodges,” having their headquarters in Berlin, had been visited, indeed, only fifteen months before by a strong English delegation of twelve, headed by the Pro Grand Master, welcomed as eldest son of the first British Ambassador to the German Empire, who thus indicated a desire to preserve fraternity and peace. Though in the eighteenth century Frederick the Great had been the earliest to promote with energy the Masonic cause in Prussia, as the first head of the senior Grand Lodge in Berlin, and, in the nineteenth, the Emperor Frederick had shown activity in the cause, the former’s descendant and the other’s son, the then Emperor William, had never joined the Craft, and even in the opening days of his reign had shown disregard for and even dislike of it, an example followed by the Crown Prince. But German Masonry flourished under the Protectorship of Prince Frederick Leopold, the Emperor’s first cousin and brother-in-law of England’s Grand Master; and its leading spirits joined in cordial welcome to the English guests.

When the crash came, the Craft in England, startled at the unanticipated catastrophe, looked anxiously to its leaders for guidance, which, in face of unexampled difficulties, was immediately forthcoming. The Pro Grand Master, being colonel of a Territorial Battalion, at once joined his regiment; and his place as acting head of the English Craft was taken by the Deputy Grand Master (the Right Hon. T. F. — afterwards Sir Frederick — Halsey), the first not a peer to occupy the position, which he had then held eleven years. Halsey’s four years of virtual rule through the War proved of incalculable service; and by his sagacity, skill, and sanity of judgment he did more than any man to prevent English Freemasonry, in that time of personal agony and patriotic emotion, from striking the rocks. Long previously he had been made a Privy Councillor because of his thirty years of service in the House of Commons, where he had been chairman of two permanent committees calling for exceptional tact in guidance; and without delay he was asked to give counsel on Masonic points of the gravest difficulty and doubt. In the wave of excitement which swept over the country, a cry was raised in some quarters that during the War Lodges should cease to meet or gather only for formal purposes; but the Deputy Grand Master was at one with the Board of General Purposes in declining to yield to an idea which was contrary to the Book of Constitutions and would have worked ill to Freemasonry. In the same spirit was put aside by the highest authorities a suggestion the following spring from the annually-chosen Board of Grand Stewards that, because of the War, the Grand Festival, held every year from the very beginning of Grand Lodge for the installation of the Grand Master and the appointment and investiture of his Officers, should be deprived of the Feast permanently secured by constitutional rule. The determination from start to finish was that, however long and hard the struggle, English Freemasonry should show no sign of doubt as to the certainty of a victorious end.

War between Britain and Germany was declared on the night of August 4, 1914; and on the following evening English organized Masonry was afforded, at the regular Quarterly Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter, the first opportunity to speak. Ampthill, its acting head, already had “joined up”; and Halsey, who as in Grand Lodge had taken the position, at once suggested that, in the unprecedented circumstances in which had assembled “many of us older Brethren, who are unable to take the place of those younger already responding to the call of their country, and are filled with anxiety for our dear ones,” Grand Chapter should defer all controversial matters and deal only with formal business. This was done, but in the four weeks that passed before Grand Lodge gathered in the usual course, much of the utmost moment to the long-deferred end of the conflict had been endured. Those who attended the Quarterly Communication on the night of September 2 realized that they were present at the most thrilling and dramatic sitting Grand Lodge had ever known or was likely again to experience. The hour was fraught with fate, not only for the British Empire and her Allies but for all that English Masons held dear. The armies of Britain, of France, and of Belgium alike had been forced back in the sudden overwhelming rush of the invading hosts; the battle of the Marne had only just begun and the crowning mercy of success thereat was hardly hoped for; the enemy held Brussels and were sweeping on to Paris; and darkness was descending on many a soul. It was the anniversary of Sedan, the date fixed by the opposing High Command for triumphant entry into the French capital; and the grim anniversary loomed an omen of evil out of news that sobered all. But in Freemasons’ Hall in that awe-inspiring hour not a word of gloom, not a hint of despondency, was heard; and the Deputy Grand Master movingly submitted a resolution deeply appreciating the loyal and devoted service then being rendered to their country by Brethren of all ranks, and earnestly praying for their well-being. There followed the reading of a most fraternal message from “your oldest child in the Western Hemisphere,” the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, not only expressing deep concern for the English Brethren and their dependents who were suffering in body and estate, but offering all the Masonic succour within their power, consistent with citizenship in a neutral nation. A Past Grand Master of South Carolina, present as a visitor, heartily endorsed every word said from his Brethren of Massachusetts. He, like each attendant at Grand Lodge, had entered under the serene Masonic portrait of Washington, America’s first President; and these words of cheer from the United States, both North and South, sent away the English Masons that night uplifted in a spirit of true Brotherhood between the Freemasons of the two countries, which has deepened and broadened with fuller communication since. And three years later, when the Bicentenary of the Grand Lodge of England was celebrated, the Grand Master in specially welcoming the American guests declared that “with the fear of God ever before our eyes, we to-day dedicate ourselves anew to the supreme task of so maintaining Masonry in its fullest splendour that the results of our counsels and our acts shall be the dispensing of justice to all men, the maintaining of the honour and safety of the realm, and the uniting and knitting together of the hearts of all our Brethren in Love, Charity, and Masonic Truth.”

In the ebb and flow of war, with a constantly swelling tide of popular passion, much arising from personal pain, this high-water mark of reticent expression could not always be attained. As the conflict — confidently expected by all the combatants to be over in a few months — wearied on, popular sentiment became embittered; and feeling against members of English Lodges who though naturalized citizens were of enemy country birth steadily rose. This, as the Masonic authorities were constrained to recognize, was very largely due to the indiscretion, and sometimes even worse, of certain of these Brethren themselves; and the quiet majority, as is accustomed to be the case, suffered for the faults of an irritating minority. The rulers of the Craft early indicated their desire that no temporary emergency should induce Grand Lodge to depart from the position of aloofness in external relations it had always preserved; and they were content to make such regulations as were called for to prevent their own flock from suffering in the unprecedented situation. Large sums were voted by Grand Lodge, and received from both home and overseas Lodges and Brethren, for various relief funds in allied countries as well as in England; and some American Grand Lodges showed their willingness to assist, if necessary. Brethren suffering from the War. The reply was typical of the firm but restrained temper of the English Craft at that trying moment: “Though the necessity for relief is certain to be large, it is our happiness to believe that it will not overtax the resources or the benevolence of the Brethren within the English Jurisdiction. Should this most unfortunately not prove to be the case, from none would we more readily accept aid than from our American Brethren, to whom heartfelt thanks are tendered for so ready and practical an expression of sympathy in this troubled time.”

But combustible material was being too freely strewn to prevent early danger. A London Brother was so desirous to bring anti-enemy proposals before the Craft that he committed a serious breach of Masonic rule; and, after this had been rebuked in Grand Lodge, he was suspended from all Masonic privileges by the Board of General Purposes for contumacy, a decision upheld on appeal to the supreme authority. The Lodge of which he was a member went to the greater length of excluding one of its Past Masters simply on the ground of his German birth; and it was suspended likewise because no Masonic cause for exclusion had been shown, a decision also sustained by Grand Lodge. The higher authorities thus had reason to believe that they could prevent Freemasonry becoming as a body directly entangled with the War. But the sinking by submarine of the Lusitania in the spring of 1915 let loose a flood of feeling that threatened for a short time to be overwhelming. For months the rulers of the Craft had been restraining with great difficulty the temper of those Lodges which contained members of alien enemy country birth, who not only persisted in attending the meetings but sometimes disturbed the proceedings by unseemly and most untimely displays of anti-British sentiment. Such disorderly demonstrators had not followed the example of the two German-speaking Lodges in London which immediately the struggle began quietly ceased operations, not to resume them for fourteen years, when the War had been ended a decade. The consequence was that, after a number of the more fiery English spirits had been quietly persuaded not to suggest expulsion proposals to Grand Lodge, almost certain of adoption in that superheated hour, a resolution was submitted by the Board of General Purposes requiring, in order to prevent the peace and harmony of the Craft being disturbed, all Brethren of German, Austrian, Hungarian, or Turkish birth to abstain from attending any Masonic meeting under the English Jurisdiction during the War. This was adopted by Grand Lodge with regulations for the preservation of the Masonic rights of those affected, which would keep them in effective being until the time should come for ability once more to exercise such rights. That opportunity arrived ten years after the Armistice, and Grand Lodge took avail of it. The policy of 1915 had fulfilled the sole purpose for which it was put forward — that of preventing disturbance to the peace and harmony of the Craft. After its acceptance, not a single case of disturbance of the kind aimed at was reported to Freemasons’ Hall. The only extension of the policy was a twelvemonth later, when personal relations with the Grand Lodges of Germany were formally severed, a course taken a year and a half before by these bodies on their own account. But recognition of Masonic status remained throughout, and just ten years after the Armistice, when English feeling though by no means extinct had generally died down, the same President of the Board of General Purposes who was responsible for proposing the policy originally adopted was able, after seeing its success, to secure the acceptance by Grand Lodge of such a modification as to enable the resumption of full Masonic duties by all affected whom their Lodges desired to return.

Through all the War English Freemasonry, despite obvious surface troubles, steadily pursued its accustomed course. The rulers of the Craft from the beginning of battle rigidly resisted panic. Feeble-willed Brethren privately pressed at the start for the suspension of all Masonic activities, and when firmly rebuffed asked for at least the prohibition of the social amenities of the Craft, a course which equally failed of approval. Necessarily, there was a shortening of sail in both directions, largely springing from the steadily growing stream to the war zone of Brethren from young manhood to middle age. This in the circumstances was inevitable; but what continued unobservable to the body of the Craft, though constantly in the mind of those responsible for its administration, were difficulties arising out of the War which needed prompt handling. These ranged from the preservation of discipline to the provision of a substitute for gold bullion on Grand Lodge regalia, and from the peremptory suspension of work on the King Edward Memorial extension of Freemasons’ Hall to restrictive recommendations on Lodge dinners, these latter proving so effective as to win cordial commendation in Grand Lodge from Lord Rhondda, the nation’s saviour from starvation on the “home front” as Food Controller in 1917–18. They included such alterations in procedure as to permit the entrance into Lodges of private soldiers as well as those of commissioned or non-commissioned rank, and to provide for the admission of candidates who, being in all other respects fit and proper persons to be made Masons, were able, even though blind or maimed, to explain or exemplify the working of the Craft. Provision was made for the preservation of full membership rights to all Brethren who through being engaged in the War were unable to pay their annual dues, and for the keeping alive Lodges almost denuded of members from the same all-dominating cause. Comforts were arranged for regular delivery to some two hundred Brethren interned as civilian prisoners of war at Rühleben near Berlin; and arrangements were concluded with the Grand Lodge of the Netherlands by which, under its authority and since transferred to the English Jurisdiction, two Lodges were founded for British sailors and soldiers civilly interned respectively at Gröningen and Scheveningen.

These efforts of the Executive, demanding incessant toil and the closest thought, were duly reported to Grand Lodge, but, in the rush and pressure of momentous events, were little heeded, though without them the Craft would have fallen to pieces. Undeterred by any apparent lack of appreciation, the Executive steadily pursued its course, and was able to advance to success one constitutional change of the highest importance. Even when the War was at its critical mid-point, the Board of General Purposes submitted a scheme providing that half the number of its elected members should directly represent the Provinces, while the Districts were indirectly provided for. The change had long been desired outside London, but had not been attempted because of London’s lack of favour. But, by dint of tact, determination, and almost endless patience, it was effected in June 1916, without open dissent at the moment and with unanimous approval now that time has proved it an excellent administrative effort of lasting value. Following this was the absorption by the Board of General Purposes of the work of the old-established General Committee, which (like all organs in the body politic and physical alike that outlast their original design and immediate usefulness) had proved in time of emotional stress a permanent source of potential danger. In a breathing-space on June 24, 1917, Grand Lodge, at a great special gathering in the Albert Hall of nearly 8,000 Masons, celebrated under the Grand Master’s presidency the Bicentenary of its first assembling. Two days later, at a similar vast meeting, there was held a special service therein to return thanks to the Most High for all the blessings the Order had received.

Thus the War, from which timorous Brethren at the outset had forecasted the ruin of Freemasonry, proved full of power for good; and immediately the struggle ended the resolve was taken to celebrate the close as worthily as the Craft had doughtily accepted the beginning. The Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918; only eight days later the Board of General Purposes suggested that the necessary steps should at once be taken fittingly to commemorate the conclusion of Peace. Grand Lodge the next month accepted the suggestion; and early in 1919 it was announced that the celebration would take place at the Albert Hall on June 27. The choice of date proved most happy, for that day turned out to be the one immediately preceding the signature of the Peace Treaty. No statesman, European or American, concerned with the negotiations would have dared so far ahead to forecast the date of conclusion: if any had been sufficiently courageous he would have been handed down to posterity for laudation as a seer of the highest rank: but it was done in Freemasonry. The celebration proved an overwhelming success. Illness unhappily prevented the Grand Master’s attendance; but the Pro Grand Master, now back from the War, presided over an assembly of 8,330, including nearly five hundred members of Deputations from allied Grand Jurisdictions and visitors of distinction from Overseas. Ireland and Scotland were represented by powerful deputations, while the Dominions and the Districts sent contingents of their own. And a most striking and significant feature was the presence of twenty-eight Brethren specially representing sixteen Jurisdictions of the United States, ranging from Massachusetts and New York across the North American continent through Iowa and Michigan to Colorado and California. This was the happiest of preludes to the openly-developed Anglo-American Masonic rapprochement soon to follow.

But the War had a further lasting effect on the English Craft, almost unnoted at the time and its significance little heeded even after, but one no Masonic historian can ignore. It directly led to a strengthening and tightening of the bonds between Freemasonry and the Royal House, an event of the greatest import in a country like England. Immediately the struggle ended, the Board of General Purposes secured Grand Lodge’s approval for an application to Heralds’ College for a grant of arms, and thus regularizing from the official point of view the coat which for a full century had been borne by the United Grand Lodge of England. But there was further asked a striking and rarely granted addition to the former blazon, and that was the approval of the King to sanction the association with the Grand Lodge Arms of the ancient traditional Lions of England. His Majesty — and, as it was known, in special recognition of the loyalty and devotion to King and Country displayed by the Craft during the War — authorized this greater dignity; and, though not himself a Freemason, as his father, his uncles, and his deceased elder brother had been, the King a very few months later gave the necessary permission for Edward Prince of Wales, the Heir Apparent, to enter the Order. The young Prince years earlier when at Oxford had shown a disposition to do this, but was hindered before he came of age by the outbreak of hostilities, in which for over four years he gallantly took part; and in May 1919 he, as a Guards officer, was initiated in the Household Brigade Lodge, his next brother, the Duke of York, who had chosen the sea as his profession, coming six months later into the Navy Lodge, as did Prince George, the King’s fourth son, in 1928. And this renewed close association of the younger members of the Royal House with the Craft was in addition to the welcome given to the Grand Master’s only son into a distinguished London Lodge a very few years before the War.

Personal results from that epic struggle thus had been great, but there were permanent results of even more lasting significance. At the Craft Thanksgiving in 1919 for the restoration of peace, there was communicated to Grand Lodge the Grand Master’s desire that the occasion should be perpetuated by a Masonic Peace Memorial; and the outstanding fruit of that appeal has been told elsewhere. English Brethren also can be proud of the fact that a further permanent result of the War was the establishment in London of a Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, which in reality though not in name is a fourth Masonic Institution charged with purposes of benevolence. For years there had been a wish to add a Masonic Nursing Home to the Craft’s other activities; and a movement to this end, originally inspired by a single London Lodge, was set on foot three years before hostilities began. Its fair promise was checked by that all-overwhelming struggle, but its promoters never despaired. By the summer of 1916 they had secured the powerful aid of the City of London, as well as the most highly-placed Masons, to divert the original course to the immediate establishment of a Freemasons’ War Hospital. Owing to the energy and devotion of a number of voluntary workers of both sexes, this was promptly brought into being in a specially well-equipped and up-to-date infirmary, placed under the supervision of the War Office, and open to all wounded soldiers, without regard to qualification of Craft. This rapidly did such fine work that the Bishop of London, though not himself a Mason, lent for the purpose of a second hospital the venerable Fulham Palace, for several centuries London’s episcopal home, and in the courtyard of which at dead of night, according to superstitious legend, could be heard the shrieks of Protestant martyrs in process of being flagellated by the Marian Bishop Bonner himself. The institution was temporarily made complete by a Thames-side abode for convalescents, similarly provided by private generosity. At the end of hostilities, and after receiving an expression of War Office approval and thanks, the movement returned to the original idea with widened scope, and became the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home. After ten years’ existence as such, it had proved of such service and had appealed so strongly to the Craft that land was purchased and operations begun for the erection on a striking site in western London of a hospital twice the original size, and specially designed to secure the most effective results. Thus from an era of death and devastation came comfort and healing. Once more was demonstrated the essential truth of Samson’s allegory after slaying the young lion that had roared against him: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.”

All these good and abiding things were a prelude to a striking development of Masonic eagerness and activity in every part of the English Jurisdiction. During the earliest years of the War, as was to be expected in so vast an upheaval, the numerical progress of the Craft was stayed; but, after the mid-period, there was again a substantial rise in membership as well as in number of Lodges. The peak height was reached about three years after the Peace, and then the rate of growth in each case returned more nearly to the normal. But each succeeding year showed a substantial increase in Lodges and Brethren alike over the period immediately before the War, prosperous as that had been. This growth was marked not alone in London but with special force in the Provinces, Districts, and unattached Lodges beyond Seas. For the worthiest workers in these last, a special form of official recognition was constituted, as had been done for those in the London area a score of years before, corresponding with Provincial and District Grand Lodge honours, with the result of increased unity and force. The steady and even rapid progress thus manifested was rendered the more easy because of the continuity of administration. The Pro Grand Master (Lord Ampthill) occupied in 1930 under the same Grand Master (H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught) the position given him in 1908; while when in 1926 the Deputy Grand Master (the late Sir Frederick Halsey), full of years and honours retired from Masonic activity, his position was efficiently taken by Colonel (soon afterwards Lord) Cornwallis, of long Masonic association, who already had served the Craft well for twenty years as Provincial Grand Master for Kent. This continuity of rule, accompanied by a like continuity in administration, both essential to the best government, resulted in a measure of success for the United Grand Lodge of England never before approached in the course of its long history.



There has thus been traced the Grand Lodge of England from origin to present conditions; and this has been done in greater detail because of the salient influence that body throughout has had on the organized Freemasonry of the world. It seems fitting, therefore, previous to considering in general outline the Grand Lodge systems which stand outside but are in alliance or association with the English Masonic constitution, to state the accepted position. Each Jurisdiction is governed by a sovereign body, known in all English-speaking and certain other countries as a Grand Lodge; but in Latin countries generally, as well as the Netherlands, as a Grand Orient, in symbolic allusion to the traditional coming of Freemasonry from the East. The term “Grand Lodge” is sufficiently simple, but among even experienced Masons it may be heard applied in four significations, most of them erroneous. When a Mason says, “I am told at Grand Lodge,” he indicates that he has applied for information at Freemasons’ Hall; when he proclaims, “I shall appeal to Grand Lodge,” he means that he will lay his case before the great body which until very recent days held all its regular meetings in that building; when he observes, “I have been to Grand Lodge,” he alludes to his having been present at one of those assemblies; and when he refers to a Brother as “a member of Grand Lodge” he is apt to fall into the common error of using that term as equivalent to a present or past Grand Officer, though every Master of a Lodge, subscribing Past Master (with certain reservations), and Warden was in 1930 equally entitled to the description.

An elaborate definition of Grand Lodge was in a declaration published in 1769 in furtherance of a movement for turning Free and Accepted Masons into a chartered body. The preamble of the projected Charter declared in the name of King George III, that the “Society of Free and Accepted Masons have for Ages held frequent Meetings within this Realm, and have ever demeaned themselves with Duty and Loyalty to Us, and our Predecessors; with Reverence and Obedience to the Laws, and Kindness and Good-will to their Fellow-Subjects: and the said Society appears to have been originally instituted for humane and beneficent Purposes, and have distributed from Time to Time to all without Distinction, who have had the single claim of Wretchedness, Sums to a great Amount, collected by voluntary Contribution among themselves.” It was then sought to set up “a Perpetual Society, which shall be called by the Name of THE SOCIETY OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF ENGLAND,” and the Sovereign was desired to declare, “That the said Society shall consist of a Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Past Grand Officers, Provincial Grand Masters, Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, Grand Sword Bearer, Twelve Stewards, and the Masters and Wardens of the several subordinate Lodges, who, together with these already enumerated, compose the Grand Lodge.” But the movement for a royal charter, though for a time popular among the highest authorities in the Senior Grand Lodge, met with so much opposition that it passed quietly into oblivion, and has never been revived.

The present-day definition is supplied by the second rule of the Book of Constitutions, which regulates the English Order. This declares that “The public interests of the Fraternity are managed by a general representation of all private Lodges on record, together with the Grand Stewards of the year and the present and Past Grand Officers, and the Grand Master at their head. This collective body is styled THE UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ANTIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF ENGLAND, and is hereinafter referred to as ‘The Grand Lodge.’”

Its composition is determined by a further rule which, having placed in order of rank and precedence sixty-one different classes of Present and Past Grand Officers, with the Grand Stewards of the year and such Past Grand Stewards as are Masters or Past Masters of Private Lodges, concludes by embracing within the membership of Grand Lodge the Master, subscribing Past Masters, and Wardens of every Private Lodge, together with certain Brethren of eminence and ability who have rendered service to the Craft, and who may, in certain circumstances, be constituted members of Grand Lodge — a privilege which that body has not for many years exercised. The arrangement, except in one important particular, follows closely the seventh of the Articles of Union which in 1813 united the two old Grand Lodges, this directing that the United Grand Lodge should be composed of Grand Officers and “the actual Masters and Wardens of all warranted Lodges,” not more than one Past Master of a Lodge being at that time allowed to attend, with certain exceptions for pre-Union Lodges, unless he had been delegated by his Lodge. The one particular now changed is as to the Past Masters, each of whom, after service for a full year as Master, can attend Grand Lodge as long as he continues a subscribing Lodge member.

This is how Grand Lodge is composed; and it is of dominant importance because from that body emanate all laws affecting the Craft, in every matter it has the final decision, and it has the annually exercised right of electing the Grand Master. These powers are very clearly defined by the Book of Constitutions, which lays it down that “The Grand Lodge possesses the supreme superintending authority, and also has the inherent powers of enacting laws and regulations for the government of the Craft, and of altering, repealing, and abrogating them, always taking care that the antient Landmarks of the Order be preserved.” It is further provided that “The Grand Lodge has the power of investigating, regulating, and deciding all matters relative to the Craft, or to particular Lodges, or to individual Brothers which it may exercise either of itself or by such delegated authority as, in its wisdom and discretion, it may appoint; but the Grand Lodge alone has the power of erasing Lodges and expelling Brethren from the Craft, a power which it does not delegate to any subordinate authority.”

Grand Lodge, which originally was organized in 1717 specifically to arrange for the government of “the Lodges in and about London and Westminster,” has grown in just over two centuries into a legislative, judicial, taxing, and administrative body directly controlling in 1930 the affairs of some 4,500 Lodges in full working all over the world. Of these more than 2,600 had their home in the Provinces of England and Wales; some 700 in Districts and other Overseas places; and nearly 1100 in the Metropolitan area, which is defined as being within a ten-mile radius of Freemasons’ Hall. Nearly eighty are in such scattered and sparsely populated parts of the earth as to prevent their being grouped into Districts, remaining under the immediate direction of Freemasons’ Hall, but subject in specified conditions to supervision by a Grand Inspector appointed by the Grand Master.

To follow the growth of the United Grand Lodge of England, which to-day is continuously great, is instructive. In 1717 four among the semi-Operative old Masonic Lodges then existing in London joined to constitute the original Grand Lodge of England; and within a few years that body made rapid strides, despite being almost entirely confined in its very earliest period to the cities of London and Westminster and the regions round about. Though the Lodges at work under its Jurisdiction, at first four, have grown to decidedly over four thousand, that great number does not cover all that have existed under the Grand Master of England’s Warrant, as is shown by the fact that Lodges are now being consecrated which stand on the register of the United Grand Lodge of England bearing numbers well over 5,000. The discrepancy between the actual and recorded number of Lodges is accounted for in the main by the establishment, with the benison of the parent Grand Lodge, of independent Jurisdictions in all the great Dominions, except South Africa, which of their own free will the overwhelming majority of the local Lodges have joined. Without, therefore, being a world-wide Jurisdiction in the sense of governing the whole English-speaking universe, the United Grand Lodge of England is everywhere spoken of as “The Mother Grand Lodge of the World,” though this is a term of affectionate regard rather than literal accuracy, which would be more closely approached by the phrase, “The Senior Grand Lodge of the World.”

The powers of Grand Lodge are extremely far-reaching, while its definitions of principle, its declarations of policy, and its judicial pronouncements alike are watched with the greatest care, not only by those directly affected but by Masons in every part. These may not understand all the difficulties that inevitably occur in a Grand Lodge which governs a great number of men not of the same country, the same language, or the same race; but the Senior Grand Lodge is held in highest regard by the other Grand Lodges, not only because of its age but because of the steadiness of aim and sureness of judgment which, in very striking degree, have distinguished it throughout. Yet whether Grand Lodge, constituted in the present way, is not a growingly unwieldy body, that cannot fairly be expected to fulfil all the administrative, legislative, and judicial duties cast upon it, is one of the problems which English Freemasonry at some early day may be called frankly to face. The task, whenever undertaken, will demand the services of some Masonic statesman possessed of great experience of affairs, a special knowledge of men, a widely embracing outlook, and above all the utmost tact, persistence, clearness of vision, and unwavering courage.

Year after year, as Lodges in both the homeland and overseas are added to the Roll, there is a continuous and even startling growth in both the amount and complexity of the work performed by Grand Lodge. As far back as 1735, within twenty years of first assembling, it could not effectively do the business of the Fraternity by attempting to settle all Masonic affairs at the Quarterly Communication. Even ten years earlier, it had been found necessary to set up a Committee of Charity to relieve Grand Lodge of the necessity for itself investigating petitions for assistance; and from that grain of mustard seed has sprung the main part of the detailed administration of the Craft as seen to-day. In 1733, when the business usually brought before the Quarterly Communication had increased to such an extent as to be almost impossible to be got through in one night, it was resolved that all that portion which could not be effectively despatched by the Quarterly Communication should be referred to the Committee of Charity. That body, therefore, had given over to it not merely the details of Grand Lodge affairs, as well as its previously assigned benevolent work, but such remaining part of Grand Lodge business as had not been disposed of at the full meeting; and it was allowed to deal as it chose with disputed questions, simply reporting its decisions to Grand Lodge. After having possessed that extension of power for not more than three years, it recommended to Grand Lodge certain laws for the better regulation of Quarterly Communications and public assemblies, and these were voted to be necessary. Therein lay the germ of the present Board of General Purposes — a creation of much later date, and coming into existence with the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813 — which is empowered to recommend to Grand Lodge whatever it deems advantageous and necessary for the benefit of the Craft. The original Grand Lodge had thus only just come of age when, in a manner not intended or foreseen, there was constituted a body wielding enormous administrative powers, greater, indeed, than those possessed to-day by any body other than Grand Lodge itself. Thus so soon, and with a very small number of Lodges — attendance at Grand Lodge then being by difficulties of travel limited virtually to London Masons — it was found that the system of having a huge assembly to deal with detailed questions was one which for business purposes would not work; and delegation had to be begun.

The system of referring all details of administration, and even some questions of first importance, to the Committee of Charity continued until the Act of Union in 1813; and the United Grand Lodge had no sooner come into existence than it carried the process of devolution to what can now be considered an extreme degree. It determined that the business previously dealt with by the Committee of Charity should be divided between no fewer than seven Boards or Committees. There were to be elected Boards of General Purposes, Finance, Works, and Schools, in addition to a Committee or Lodge of Benevolence; a Committee of Grand Lodge, usually known as the General Committee, and disappearing as recently as 1918; and an Audit Committee, composed of Grand Officers of the year and twenty-four Masters of London Lodges charged with auditing the Grand Treasurer’s accounts. The Board of Schools speedily disappeared in favour of a more elastic system; the duties of the Board of Works were in a few years vested in the Board of General Purposes, as also subsequently were those of the Board of Finance, the Audit Committee, and the General Committee; while the Colonial Board, a creation of later date, vanished long ago. There are now Grand Lodge as the ruling power of the Craft, the Board of General Purposes as the administrative and disciplinary body, and the Board of Benevolence as the distributing agent of a Fund contributed by an annual levy on every subscribing member in England and Wales.

The manner in which the revenue of about £100,000 is raised throws a flood of light on the working of the Craft. From the moment an incoming Brother has paid for his Master Mason’s Certificate, he as yet contributes nothing for the remainder of his Masonic life towards the upkeep of the central administration, except in an extremely slight and indirect manner. If, therefore, it were not for the great sum which comes from the registration fees paid by those who yearly enter the Craft, and the lesser but still tangible amount of fees paid for the warranting of new Lodges, Grand Lodge would not possess anything like a sufficient income. In the case of the Fund of Benevolence, the contribution is a direct levy of quarterage on every member of a Lodge situated in England and Wales, the whole contribution of a London Brother going to the Central Fund, but only half that of a Provincial Brother, who has local funds of his own, while the Mason overseas, though in many cases receiving benefit, does not contribute. In addition, there are the Building Fund established by Grand Lodge in 1908, derived from an annual fee of sixpence from every English Brother, and the Masonic Peace Memorial Fund, organized in 1919 at the instance of the Grand Master and under the authority of Grand Lodge, which is supported by voluntary contributions only, and from these have come close on the million pounds originally asked for. Freemasons’ Hall in 1930 had within its charge not only Craft Lodges but Royal Arch Chapters to the number of some 6,500. The record of each of these is kept separately from its consecration, and preserved for all time.

The Board of Benevolence deals with 300 to 400 eligible petitioners every year; and, in the same period, under the direction of the Board of General Purposes, nearly 30,000 copies of the Book of Constitutions are printed and sold, as well as more than 3,000 of the Masonic Year Book, the vade-mecum of the Craft. Even all this far from exhausts the work performed by or under the auspices of Grand Lodge, which, as has been indicated, has to deal not only with the administration, finance, and legislation of the Craft, but with its judicial business. The last point is one which affects every Mason, as each one, if he feels aggrieved by any Masonic authority — whether the Master of his Lodge, the Board of General Purposes, the Provincial or District Grand Master under whom he is placed, or the Grand Master himself — has the right of appeal to Grand Lodge. This is a highly valuable privilege though, from the comparatively rare instances of such matters coming into court, it may be thought not often exercised. But that it is not more frequently used, while being a tribute to the general spirit of Masonic fairness and goodwill, is testimony to the great care exercised at Headquarters in dealing with questions of grievance. When a complaint of harshness on the part of any in authority is brought to Freemasons’ Hall, the Grand Registrar examines it from a legal, as well as Masonic, point of view; and this high official, always a barrister of distinction, after having the facts laid before him by both sides, writes a judgment, which is accepted when confirmed by Grand Lodge. He also advises on questions of discipline submitted to the Board of General Purposes concerning Lodges or Brethren within the Metropolitan area, or referred to it specifically by the Grand Master or Provincial or District authorities.

The activities of the Board of General Purposes furnish a striking example of continuous and heavy work. It is composed of certain leading and relatively permanent officers of Grand Lodge, with eight members nominated by the Grand Master, twelve elected by the London Brethren, and twelve selected by the Provincial Grand Masters from Provincial Grand Lodge nominees. Meeting monthly, its heaviest work is done by six Committees, which sit with frequency. These deal with Finance; Colonial, Indian, and Foreign Affairs; Procedure; Grand Lodge Premises; Officers and Clerks; and the Library and Museum at Freemasons’ Hall. This last came into existence in tentative fashion in the opening months of Queen Victoria’s reign, and, mainly through the gifts of Brethren, it now has a magnificent collection. Admission is free to every Master Mason; and the number of readers and visitors in recent years has rapidly increased, these coming from all parts of the Masonic world. Those interested in Grand Lodge work always remember that the English Jurisdiction is a world-spread organization, and as powerful an influence on Masonry outside as inside that domain. Grand Lodges of every Jurisdiction pay high regard to the actions of that of England, watch its proceedings with extreme care, and regard its decisions with every respect.

The most striking evidence of the universality of English Freemasonry can best be illustrated by an attempt to visualize the immensity of its direct responsibilities. Lodges are at work in every one of the five Continents — in Bermuda and Bulawayo; Cape Coast Castle and Coomassie; Cyprus and Grand Turk; Funchal and Fiji; Mashonaland and Madeira; Melbourne and Montreal; New Providence and New Zealand; Sydney and Sierra Leone; the Solomon Islands and Zanzibar. Those in the outer parts of the world are homes not only of Freemasonry but civilization. They are rallying points for Britons, and in them men of the same race and tongue come together for common converse, Masonic, social, and personal, fraternal and friendly alike. There is no civil organization other than Freemasonry which covers so wide a field, or does so much to preserve touch between Britons and their fellows in the far parts of the world. Grand Lodge has granted the fullest self-government, compatible with a strong central administration, wherever enough Lodges exist to form a District; and there is given the greatest attention to every Lodge which remains within the direct Jurisdiction, because of being situate in so vast a territory that there are no local Lodges with which it could become directly associated. This work of devolution has been practised also regarding the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge itself. In 1922 it resolved by an overwhelming majority that, while these should continue in the main to be held in London, that of September should be “in such place as from time to time may be determined by the Grand Master.” The first Province which had the privilege of welcoming Grand Lodge at a Quarterly Communication outside London was West Lancashire, the numerically greatest of them all; and the meeting at Liverpool in 1923 was such an unqualified success that the Province of Warwickshire was accorded the like privilege at Birmingham in 1928. And no doubt exists that the like success would be secured by any similar Communication of Grand Lodge, whether held at Leeds, York, Manchester, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Bristol, or any other distinct Masonic centre.

But even when the genesis of Grand Lodge has been dealt with, its methods of government described, and its wide-spread ramifications detailed, there remains the crucial question of how its operations are guided. At the head of affairs is the Grand Master elected annually by Grand Lodge, who appoints a Deputy Grand Master, and, if a Prince of the Blood, a Pro Grand Master ranking next himself, choosing indeed every Grand Officer except the Grand Treasurer who is elected by the Craft as a whole and the Grand Tyler chosen by Grand Lodge. The vast and far-reaching power thus exercised, while largely derived from the gradual growth of practice known as prerogative, is checked by the necessity for the Grand Master’s annual confirmation in office by a free vote. An essential difference exists between Grand Lodge and Provincial and District Grand Lodges, as the former, springing originally from the Lodges, possesses the supreme inherent authority, one of the chief manifestations of this being the yearly election of the Grand Master himself. But Provincial and District Grand Lodges emanate from the Provincial or District Grand Masters by virtue of the authority vested in them by the patents of appointment from the Grand Master. Thus it is by virtue of his patent to the Provincial and District Grand Masters that Provincial and District Grand Lodges are set up; but Grand Lodge by possessing inherent authority is the greatest power of all. Old writers on our national institutions were accustomed to dwell on the “checks and balances” automatically at work in the English Constitution to preserve the harmony of personal freedom with executive power; and they were especially accustomed to emphasize that not one of the Three Estates of the Realm was supreme, but that all must combine to ensure finality. In the end, the result in Masonry and the nation is the same. The country and the Craft each possesses a constitutional monarchy; and the central authority is enabled to control a widespread organization, which in the absence of such an authority would be certain to disintegrate. But all this would be of little or no avail unless there were absolute loyalty from the rank and file to the Chief. In the Craft, as in the country, this loyalty is freely given by lovers of freedom in its highest form. There as elsewhere it is true liberty which secures loyalty’s finest fruit.

As with Britain itself, Freemasonry has its Sovereign and its Cabinet; its central legislative authority and its local administrative assemblies; its self-governing Dominions and its directly-ruled units. The President of the Board of General Purposes, as the direct choice of the Grand Master, and liaison officer between him and the Board, stands in the position of Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council in the Masonic Cabinet, exercising a general supervision of all departments. The Grand Registrar, like the Lord Chancellor, deals with questions of law and equity. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, resembling the Chancellor of the Exchequer, carefully watches the balance-sheet with the income and expenditure, the duties of the annually elected Grand Treasurer being mainly acquiescent. The Chairman of the Colonial, Indian, and Foreign Committee stands in the place of the Foreign Secretary to the extent that the Board conducts communications with sister Grand Lodges and Brethren of eminence and distinction throughout the world. The Chairman of the Procedure Committee, which settles many disputed points and formulates definite lines of practice, resembles the ideal Primate of All England, zealous to prevent illegal practices and to stop the spread of false doctrine, but cautious in all things. The Chairman of the Library, Art, and Publications Committee is the Craft’s Minister of Education, as under his supervision is the artistic as well as literary side of the work at Freemasons’ Hall. The Chairman of the Premises Committee takes the powers of the First Commissioner of Works and Buildings, by looking after the upkeep of the central premises. And the Chairman of the Officers and Clerks Committee alone has no direct counterpart in the Cabinet, he dealing with a staff for the whole body, instead of this, as in the national Government, being relegated to the heads of the several departments. Added to all is the President of the Board of Benevolence, who, from his position and duties, might be thought of under the historic and honourable description of Grand Almoner. Freemasonry, therefore, as an organization, does not run of itself; its administration has to be systematically and most carefully watched; and discipline has to be steadily maintained. This is only done by continuous cordiality of work for the most part voluntarily rendered by devoted Freemasons specially skilled in the subjects brought before them; and to Grand Lodge is committed full charge of the whole.



The United Grand Lodge of England does not stand alone, but working in unison and amity with it at closest hand are the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland. What was long accustomed to be known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was composed of three independent countries, each possessed of its own system of government and procedure, but joined together for certain purposes common to all. The position which long obtained in the State is that which for two centuries has marked English, Irish, and Scottish Freemasonry, all of independent yet interdependent growth, all desirous of joining in a common cause, and each, consciously or unconsciously, working out its own salvation. Thus there exist in the old United Kingdom, each possessed of individual influence over its adherents in all parts of the English-speaking world, the United Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the Grand Lodge of Scotland (to name them in their order of seniority of existence as regularly organized bodies) which are entirely sovereign and independent, but associated by an informal bond which enables each to keep in close touch with the other.

The coming into being in 1717 of the Grand Lodge of England in London was the herald of the first recorded meeting eight years later of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in Dublin. Owing to the loss of all Irish official records before 1760 and minute-books up to 1780, it is very difficult to disentangle the facts concerning what occurred in the Irish Grand Lodge’s earliest days. A probability has been hazarded that 1723 or 1724 saw the first assembling of the Grand Lodge of Ireland; but a certainty is that a Dublin weekly journal of June 26, 1725, published a detailed account of a meeting of that body, indicated, by the completeness of organization and the treatment of the occasion, as an accustomed and not a novel event. Evidence exists that the Masonic practices of the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland at that originating period were similar; but, though much of their form of government and general procedure had close resemblance, a highly important divergence was at once manifest. The Grand Master of England possesses as of settled right the power to nominate all the Grand Officers except the Grand Treasurer and Grand Tyler, the Grand Treasurer and himself being subject to annual nomination in and election by Grand Lodge, but the Grand Tyler serving until called on to resign. But the choice of all the Grand Officers, save the Deputy Grand Master, has always rested with the body of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

The Earl of Rosse, the first known Irish Grand Master, had as his Senior Grand Warden Sir Thomas Prendergast, a baronet already to the fore in English Masonry; but during the half-dozen ensuing years, despite what reads as a highly auspicious start, nothing is to be found concerning the Irish Grand Lodge’s progress. The Brethren of Munster were more brisk and painstaking than those of Leinster; and the minutes still exist of a “Grand Lodge for the Province of Munster” which assembled at Cork on December 27, 1726, St. John’s Day-in-Winter, a date traditionally hallowed in Freemasonry. As a Provincial Grand Lodge, this body possessed for three-quarters of a century certain important powers now restricted to Grand Lodge, and framed its own regulations. Among these it enjoined on the Master and Wardens of each Lodge a due and full observance of the original “Constitutions of Masonry,” prepared by James Anderson in 1723, and adopted by the Grand Lodge of England. The close relationship, through personal as well as official association, between English and Irish Masonry at this earliest organized stage, is further shown by the fact that Springett Penn (great-grandson of Admiral Sir William Penn, who, as a superior official in the Admiralty, comes in for a deal of abuse from Pepys in the immortal Diary), Deputy Grand Master of Munster in 1728, at the age of twenty-seven, had five years earlier been member of a London Lodge, as probably was James O’Bryen, Munster’s Grand Master in 1726, when first that Provincial Grand Lodge came into the light. An even more striking link was established when James, 4th Lord Kingston, who had been Grand Master of England in 1728, was installed Grand Master of Ireland in July 1731. A month later he was made Grand Master of Munster, which meant the absorption of the provincial into the national body. Though evidently this step was challenged by a few, it had the happiest results in permanently uniting the Freemasons of Ireland. The claim is made by the latest and most trustworthy Irish historians of the Craft that no Masonic body in the world can show so long an undivided authority over the territory under its jurisdiction as the Grand Lodge of Ireland. That this can justifiably be claimed in a country so deeply rent by racial and political differences is one of the highest testimonies to the unifying spirit of Masonry the world affords.

Largely because of this internal unity, the Craft in Ireland took root at once; and it became so vigorous that towards the middle of the eighteenth century it was able, through Laurence Dermott, largely to assist in the stimulation of the Brethren in England by creating the “Antient” Grand Lodge. But in the very earliest days the difficulties to be overcome were as many as they are obscure. Making a good start in 1725, the Grand Lodge of Ireland disappeared from public view from the next year until 1729; but after Lord Kingston, an Irish peer, had become Grand Master of England in succession to Lord Coleraine, another Irish peer, Masonic interest was resuscitated in Dublin; and one of its journals uttered a clear hope that “this Mysterious Society, that is honour’d with several Persons of high Rank as members thereof, having made a very laudable Beginning,” would soon take up active work again. The Irish Grand Lodge while not dead was decidedly sleeping, though isolated facts indicate that occasional signs of vitality were exhibited. That it continued to have a Grand Master is proved by a statement published in a London journal in November 1732, and confirmed in essence by the English Grand Lodge minutes, that Lord Southwell, “late Grand Master of Ireland,” had been present at the most recent Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge in London. Without knowing in what year Southwell first occupied the Irish Masonic throne — and it was probably in one from 1726 to 1729 — it is certain he was a keen Craftsman, and that not only did he serve as Grand Master in 1743 but his son was Deputy Grand Master in 1751, and came to the chief position two years after.

Lord Kingston, who was to head the revival in Ireland, had shown his zeal for Masonry when, as Grand Master of England, he attended the Quarterly Communication in London in November 1729, in very exigeant circumstances. Being advised in his Irish home by express from the Grand Secretary that his presence was necessary, “he no sooner received the said Express, but he embarked for England, rode Post from Holyhead two days and a half, arrived in Town last Night, and attended in person this Night,” “which,” the Grand Lodge minutes go on to record, “being looked upon as a particular Mark of his Worship’s great Love and Regard to the Craft, the Brethren expressed their Gratitude in a publick manner.” It is only in the earliest records, whether of the House of Commons or the Grand Lodge of England, that these human stories, which thrill centuries later because of their personal interest, are to be found. Kingston was evidently the type of man to resuscitate the apparently moribund. In March 1731, as “late Grand Master of England,” he attended a meeting of an old Lodge in Dublin, at which also was present the Earl of Rosse, who had been the first known Grand Master of Ireland, and evidently had continued in or had resumed that position, as well as Lord Southwell and Lord Drogheda; while Lord Tyrone and Lord Netterville were on the same occasion “in due Form admitted Members of that Ancient and Rt. Worshipful Society.” This showed that revival was strong on the wing; and only a month later the Masters and Wardens of Dublin unanimously elected Lord Kingston “Grand Master for the ensuing year for the Kingdom of Ireland,” he being installed by that designation in the following July.

Under Kingston and his immediate successors, the “Most Ancient and Honourable Society of the Free and Accepted Masons in Ireland” as it is to-day officially styled, spread its influence and almost at once embraced several leading members of the Irish aristocracy, as well as the Earl of Middlesex, heir to a great English peerage. This was a specially significant event, as Middlesex was eldest son of the Duke of Dorset — “a man of dignity,” as Horace Walpole, a usually acid critic, courteously described one of his father’s favoured noblemen — who had been appointed by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Walpole) to be Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1730, holding that position seven years. Middlesex (still known to many by his earliest designation of Lord Charles Sackville) had at this time just come of age, and, “handsome of figure, had all the reserve of his family, and all the dignity of his ancestors” — again according to the critical Horace. He evidently embraced Freemasonry with heartiness; and about 1733 he founded a Lodge, plainly due to Irish inspiration, at Florence, where, as a product of Westminster and Oxford, he was regarded as “one of the most learned British noblemen.” “This respectable Society,” as a member of the Lodge informed in Italian a learned German correspondent in June 1736, “at its own cost caused a commemorative medal of Mylord to be struck: he did not wish that any other title should be placed on it but Carolus Sackville Magister Florentinus” Master of his Lodge apparently was the highest honour in Freemasonry Middlesex desired, for at this point, though living a further thirty years, he disappears from Masonic sight. Yet it is not without interest in this connection to note that in public life he was of the faction of Frederick, Prince of Wales, the earliest English royal Mason, whose Master of the Horse he was from 1747 to 1751. Though this foundation by him of the Lodge at Florence proved the earliest of a long and important series of Irish Masonic efforts beyond seas, it was not the first example of the stretching abroad of English-speaking Freemasonry, for there was at that time a Lodge in Vienna, “dependent upon the Lodge of the Grand Master of England,” instituted by the Duke of Lorraine, who had been received with all honour by Masonic London, as well as the English Prime Minister, in 1731.

Even more important in its permanent result was the step taken by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, towards the end of 1731 and in Kingston’s reign, to ensure the regularity of its membership and the due order of the Craft, by issuing a written Charter to such Lodges as acknowledged its supremacy. Lodges were ordered by advertisement in December 1731 to “take out true and perfect Warrants and be enroll’d in the Grand Lodge Book or they will not be deem’d true and perfect Lodges”; and the earliest were delivered to applicants on the ensuing February 1, 1732. A number which had been working under no authority but “time immemorial” usage applied for Warrants. Those which remained outside were threatened in 1740 with being “proceeded against as Rebel Masons” unless they at once came in, a threat that did not at once succeed against the premier “time immemorial” Lodge in Ireland, which continued to work without a Warrant until 1761. The Lodges in Ulster proved the most reluctant to submit to Dublin rule; and it was not before 1748 that a Warrant was applied for from Belfast, while Lodges of “Hedge Masons,” clandestinely assembled, were held in that Province to the end of the eighteenth century.

This great forward step of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in regularizing by Warrant its Lodges was too valuable and important to be restricted within the Jurisdiction of origin; and England was not long in following the example. Its two earliest lodges — Antiquity with Somerset House and Inverness — still date as from “time immemorial.” These have direct descent from two of the four “Old Lodges” which combined to summon the earliest assembly of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, but a third, with the like admitted descent — Fortitude and Old Cumberland — accepted a “constitution” from the central body in 1723. This was the earliest English method for regularizing its Lodges, which were called into existence by dispensation of or under constitution from Grand Lodge; and a simple authority to “meet and constitute” or even a “permission granted by the Grand Master” continued for years to suffice. In 1729 every new English Lodge was enjoined to pay two Guineas for their Constitution to the General Charity”; and a special payment for the Warrant, but assigned to the Fund of General Purposes, continues to-day. The ceremony of constitution was the personal act of the Grand Master or his representative, attested by a Certificate, while, if performed by some other competent Brother, it was verified by a “deputation”; and Certificates and Deputations alike served the same purpose as the Charter or Warrant now issued by the Grand Master.

“Constitutions” were so frequently matters of transfer and even sale that the practice had to be forbidden in 1766: but by that time the issue of the more elaborate Warrants had begun. It is not possible to give for England, as for Ireland, the precise date of this highly-important step; but a Warrant of Confirmation issued just at the creation of the United Grand Lodge in 1813 to Lodge Star in the East, assembling in Calcutta, recited what is described as a Warrant of June 24, 1740. From that time, though the act of constitution continued, the issue of Warrants developed; and to-day no Lodge can come into being without one from the Grand Master, which has to be in evidence at every meeting in order to attest and ensure its regularity. But, as the Craft spread into distant Provinces and far overseas, the personal constitution of Lodges by the Grand Master or his Deputy became impossible of complete realization, and a fresh form of Certificate was found necessary. For the earliest such document the “Antient” Grand Lodge, following the example of though differing in detail from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, is responsible. The Senior Grand Lodge did not long lag behind, and in 1755 it inaugurated the custom, which still prevails, of issuing to its members Certificates signed by the Grand Secretary and worded in Latin and English side by side. This was to amplify an earlier custom of Private Lodges issuing such to their own members; but these were in the nature of passes vouching for authenticity to other Lodges or Brethren, and seem an anticipation of what is known as a Clearance Certificate to-day, showing that its holder is a Mason “in good standing” in the Lodge of his birth or adoption.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland was thus early making, by its independent and far-sighted views, a very decided impression on the rapidly-growing body of English-speaking Freemasonry. But, from the beginning, it was striking a somewhat different note from the Grand Lodge of England; and, neither having formally recognized the other, a certain disassociation, even if not discord, was early developed. Though the Irish Grand Lodge never showed itself insensible to the advantage derivable from aristocratic headship, it always wished to choose for itself, and selected a ruler of popular sympathies. This was most markedly shown when, on July 1, 1740, two Grand Masters were installed. Lord Doneraile and the Earl of Anglesey; and though the latter had been nominated and installed by Lord Mountjoy, the outgoing occupant of the Throne, and supported at his installation by three Past Grand Masters, Doneraile held his ground as the popular candidate, and Anglesey faded out of sight in Irish Masonry. This was not at all to the taste of the more aristocratically-governed Grand Lodge of England. Starting with a clear disposition towards Ireland, the sympathies of England seem after the successive Grand Masterships of three Irish peers — the Earl of Inchiquin in 1726, Lord Coleraine in 1727, and Lord Kingston in 1728 — to have begun to veer towards Scotland, thus re-connecting a link established by the earlier Grand Masterships of two Scottish peers, the Earl of Dalkeith in 1723 and Lord Paisley two years later.

The Earl of Strathmore, a third Scottish peer, became Grand Master of England in 1733; and it is an interesting Masonic link between that day and this that he was ancestor of the Duchess of York, the gracious Princess who is wedded to the 1930 Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex. Two months after Strathmore’s installation, and acting as Master in the Lodge of Edinburgh, he initiated the Earl of Crawford, just come of age, who succeeded him on the English Masonic Throne only a year after. A third Scottish peer, the Earl of Loudoun, associated in Craft work with Strathmore and Crawford, became Grand Master of England in 1736, Crawford being present at his installation. In a further four years the English Masonic Throne was occupied by the Earl of Kintore, who had been Grand Master of Scotland in 1738; and he was followed on the one Throne as on the other by the Earl of Morton. And when in 1744 another Earl of Strathmore — who had held the Grand Mastership of Scotland in succession to Morton in 1740 — became Grand Master of England, the assertion of Scottish influence on English Masonry still more acutely roused Irish suspicion. The cup can be believed to have run over when in 1757 Lord Aberdour, the Earl of Morton’s heir, who had been Scotland’s Grand Master in the two immediately preceding years, was given the highest position in the Grand Lodge of England, and retained it for four years.

These personal facts, having national complications, coupled with a snub openly administered by the Grand Lodge of England to an Irish Lodge in 1734, exercised a very decided influence on the early destinies of both English and Irish Freemasonry, which, even after two centuries, have their repercussions now. The growth of Scottish over Irish influence may partly have been due to the efforts of Desaguliers, who, in the course of his scientific lecturings, had been well received in Scotland, being given special honour in some of its burghs. In this regard, it is significant to note that that Earl of Morton who was to become Grand Master in turn of Scotland and Ireland, possessed a decidedly scientific bent; and he had helped to transform the Medical Society of Edinburgh into the Society for Improving Arts and Sciences, becoming its first President in 1739, at a time Desaguliers was still Masonically alert. The consideration is always to be borne in mind, when dealing with history, that persons as well as — sometimes just as much as — principles are closely concerned in the evolution and development of any great organization. A string of facts, a list of names, a table of dates do not constitute history. The question is what was behind the facts, what was signified by the names, what was the relationship of the dates. All these, and every point associated with them, must be studied if there is to be understood when, why, and how the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland so drifted in spirit apart as to assist in bringing about the great schism in the former which split it apart for sixty years.

It has been seen how at the very outset the Grand Lodge of Ireland took a line of its own in the direction of internal independence from a Grand Master’s absolute rule; and this spirit of independence developed into disregard of English practice in esoteric Masonic affairs. The English tendency in ceremonial, broadly speaking, was in the direction of simplification, while the Irish was for full retention of old practice. The English leaning in Craft government was towards the aristocratic and even autocratic, and the Irish towards the democratic and self-ruling. Thus not only was there the difference at the start between the method of appointing Grand Officers, but this difference extended from the beginning to Private Lodges, all the officers except the Treasurer being appointed by the Master in England, and all in Ireland elected by the Master Masons. In various other and highly important points, affecting both ritual and internal rule, Irish practice differed from the outset from English, the former clinging with fervour to ancient observances which had ceased to appeal to the latter. This laid the train for the discontent with the old order of things that inspired Laurence Dermott, of Irish Masonic birth though later of London residence, to be the virtual founder in 1751 of the rival Grand Lodge of England. And that body promptly declared itself to be “Antient” as against the “Modern” proclivities of the older organization, a claim which the latter’s adherents weakly admitted.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland seven years later, and when the premier Grand Lodge of England was being ruled for five years by a Scotsman, placed the seal of its approbation on Dermott’s effort by acknowledging the “Antient” Grand Lodge as the one and only Grand Body in England with whom it would hold fraternal communication. This division was sustained until the Masonic Act of Union in 1813, when the Grand Lodge of Ireland sent its congratulations to the United Grand Lodge of England. It at the same time promised to despatch some of its officers to confer with the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland, “for the purpose of finally and effectually ascertaining and establishing a perfect Unity of Obligation and discipline to be hereafter maintained, upheld, and practised throughout the Masonic World.” This proved only the first of such conferences between the three Grand Bodies of the British Isles, which continue to be held when newly-arising subjects of importance to all need discussion. And the fruit of the latest of these, held in 1927, was the threefold adoption of a regulation that no Lodge under either Jurisdiction should initiate any candidate whose usual place of residence was within the exclusive Masonic rule of the others, without first communicating with its Grand Secretary, so that enquiries concerning the applicant may be made before the ballot.

The significant exemption of members of the forces on the active list from this new rule is to be noted in connection with one of the most important innovations in administrative practice introduced in its early days by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and only tardily adopted by the senior Grand Lodge of England. This was the issue of ambulatory Warrants to regiments of the British Army; and it had the unlooked-for and to England disturbing effect of carrying the Irish ritual and rule all over the English-speaking world, bringing into existence American Provincial Grand Lodges and in the result Grand Lodges, with important consequences in ritual and practice which every present-day English Masonic visitor to the United States can realize. Scotland proved no laggard in this regard, as in 1743 there was warranted the first Military Lodge held under her Grand Lodge; but it was not for a further seven years that England followed suit. What the “Moderns” did with hesitation, the “Antients,” like their Irish Brethren, did with alacrity; and so much was this the case that by 1789 the Antient Grand Lodge had issued forty-nine Army Warrants. So strong did they feel indeed that while, before the American War of Independence, Masonry in New York was the monopoly of the “Moderns,” seven “Antient” Lodges, one Irish, and one Scottish — six of the nine being Military Lodges — joined to organize a Provincial Grand Lodge on their own account when the city was occupied by the British Army. The United Grand Lodge of England, sprung in the main from the “Modern” stock which had never liked the system, steadily restricted it, until to-day it has under its rule only two “Military Lodges, not Stationary,” as they are formally termed, though there are a number associated with different regiments which have a fixed meeting-place. But it will remain a crowning glory for the Grand Lodge of Ireland that Australasian Masonry, springing into being from Military Lodges, established in 1820 its first Stationary Lodge by Irish Warrant.

In the matter of establishing Provincial Grand Lodges — or, more strictly speaking, of constituting Provincial Grand Masterships — Ireland early followed England’s example of 1725, to be followed by Scotland. But Ireland was ahead in having the earliest fully-formed Provincial Grand Lodge in anything approaching the present acceptation of the term. As has been noted, only a year after the Grand Lodge of Ireland had been formed, “an Assembly and Meeting of the Grand Lodge for the Province of Munster” was held at Cork on St. John’s Day-in-Winter, at which a Grand Master was elected, who appointed his Deputy and two Wardens. This may have considered itself at the outset an independent body, working under its own laws; but it became merged in the national Grand Lodge in 1731, though retaining the power of issuing Warrants, as was done by other Irish Provincial Grand Lodges throughout the eighteenth century. In the period of evolution, the Grand Master of Ireland appointed certain distinguished Masons as Deputy for a certain Province — and Province was used in the Irish sense as one quarter of the country — those of 1757 for Munster and Connaught, for example, being appointed on the same day, while in 1776 these two Provinces and Ulster received similar appointments; and the respective provincial Lodges were formally “required to take Notice and pay proper attention to” the Grand Master’s selection. Apparently at no time was there a Provincial Grand Lodge for Leinster, the Lodges of Dublin, the country’s capital, rendering direct service to the Grand Master as in to-day’s “Metropolitan District.” The Provincial Grand Lodges now are thirteen in Ireland itself — Antrim, Armagh, North Connaught, South Connaught, Down, Londonderry and Donegal, Meath, Midland Counties, Munster, North Munster, South Eastern Counties, Tyrone and Fermanagh, and Wicklow and Wexford, with those of South Africa, New Zealand, and the Southern Cape Province overseas.

The steady development of Irish Freemasonry was threatened with serious check in the closing two decades of the eighteenth century when first the Irish Volunteers and next the United Irishmen tried to take advantage of the strained public position to associate themselves with the Craft. In 1779, at a moment of peril to the whole country, the Irish Volunteers were formed to defend in especial their own shores, and the 2nd Duke of Leinster, who had been elected Grand Master of Ireland nine years before, headed the first regiment in Dublin. Leinster, who had made a great mark in the Irish Craft, was of very decided Masonic stock. He was grandson of the Duke of Richmond, Grand Master of England in 1725; and his mother was cousin of Sir Thomas Prendergast, England’s Grand Warden in the same year, who figured largely in the opening days of the Irish Grand Lodge. The family connection with the Craft remains established still, as a descendant of Leinster was appointed Senior Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in his last creation of Grand Officers previous to his becoming King Edward VII; and that link remained unbroken in 1930. When the immediate occasion for calling into being the Irish Volunteers had passed, as all danger of invasion was ended, they did not disband, but united to constrain the British Government to restore freedom to the Irish Parliament. Just as this effort had succeeded in the early summer of 1782, and when it was believed that continued pressure — England’s difficulty being Ireland’s opportunity — might secure further privileges, a Tyrone Lodge at Newtown Stuart resolved not only to form itself into a Volunteer Corps but “that the said Corps shall be called the First Free Mason Corps of the Kingdom of Ireland.” Dublin followed suit in September 1783, with what it called the “First Volunteer Lodge”; while there were also among others the “Lowtherstown Masonick Volunteers.” But, though these had been allowed by Grand Lodge to grow, dangerous political tendencies began to show themselves. A special Craft jewel struck by the Ballymascanlon Rangers, bore on one side the Irish harp with the grim inscription “Liberty or Death,” and the other the motto “The Struggle for Liberty” and “The Volunteers of Ireland,” with a well-executed picture of nine Volunteers, and above the points of their bayonets three Masonic groupings. It may be such a manifestation as this which caused the Irish Grand Lodge to pause in warranting Volunteer Lodges, and its Grand Master to offend the Volunteers generally by supporting the Government in his place in the House of Lords, and declaring that “he had no idea of constitutional questions being forced by the bayonet.”

But the evil effect of the leave-it-alone policy at first adopted by Grand Lodge respecting the Volunteer movement — always the first resource of timid men, and nearly always fraught with disaster — was later to be seen in a more formidable menace. The Society of United Irishmen, which at the outset was claimed to be a loyal body, was formed in 1791, when the tumult of political feeling aroused by the French Revolution of two years before was rising to its height. Being prohibited from meeting openly, it assembled secretly; and in the North of Ireland, which was its stronghold, its members often gathered as a Masonic Lodge. A number of these Lodges then assembled at a Convention at Dungannon, and effected a compromise with their conscience. Recognizing as “a wise Rule and Order” the opening injunction “That tenets of religious or political Parties should never be discussed in any Lodge,” it was directed that, after the necessary mysteries were performed according to Ancient Custom, they should resolve themselves into “an Assembly of Masonic Citizens, that they may take into consideration the important purposes of their meeting.” This evasion of the letter of the Masonic law in defiance of its spirit, producing pronounced political consequences, roused the Grand Lodge of Ireland to action. A letter was sent to all the Irish Lodges informing them that “their interference in religious or Political matters is contrary to the Constitutions of Masonry”; and they were required to “refrain from Religious and Political Discussions and all Publications on such Subjects.” Despite this, certain North of Ireland Lodges continued to forward political resolutions to Grand Lodge which were refused reception because of their disrespectful tone. The trouble went on until in 1798 the United Irishmen broke into open rebellion. Grand Lodge for a time ceased to meet; and when it reassembled there was a violent division of opinion. One section urged the expulsion of all Masons who had been connected with the insurrectionary movement, while the other pleaded that Grand Lodge should take no cognizance of a Mason’s public political actions. After a most stormy sitting, an adjournment for two months resulted in the adoption of “an act of oblivion of the differences in the Grand Lodge” and of thanks to the Grand Master for having effected a compromise which, while his own opinions were well attested, kept the warring factions together.

That Grand Master was the 1st Earl of Donoughmore; and it is of special interest that the 6th Earl, who occupied in 1930 the Irish Masonic Throne, as well as being a Past Grand Warden of England, had to experience dangers and difficulties from rebellion like his early kinsman and official predecessor, which — and here again is resemblance clearly to be seen — were ended satisfactorily by the same firm but placid and pleasant methods. In the early summer of 1922, when what are euphemistically termed “the troubles” in Dublin were at their height, the Sinn Feiners seized the fine Freemasons’ Hall in Molesworth Street, and turned it into a barrack, using the refectory for revolver practice. But their scattered shots were all the damage they did. Not a Masonic emblem or picture was damaged or book destroyed; and a Sinn Fein officer, who varied the monotony of “spoiling for a fight” by diving into Masonic literature, observed after evacuation that it was evident “Freemasonry was not so bad after all.” Only three years later, when the bicentenary of the Irish Grand Lodge was celebrated in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by a great gathering of Masons in full regalia from all parts of the world, not a hostile cry was heard or gesture seen in the streets. Not a protest was raised when for two days, and for the first time for many years, the banner of the Grand Lodge of Ireland was displayed on Freemasons’ Hall, which is not a gunshot from, and is in sight of, the place wherein the Dail was then assembled, and on top of which was being flown the Irish Free State flag.

Now that its origin and development have been traced, there can be no attempt to tell in detail the further story of the Irish Grand Lodge. Like its sister of England it has had many troubles, including the setting up for a period, in the earliest years of the nineteenth century, of a rival Grand Lodge in Dublin and another in Belfast. The established body had the cordial and proclaimed support of the “Antient” Grand Lodge in London; and in time the dispute, largely personal and in certain aspects petty in origin, died away. The then Lord Donoughmore stood firmly to his guns and in the end triumphed, though a Grand East of Ulster continued to trouble the waters for a further five years. But 1813 proved a year of unification for Ireland as for England; and Donoughmore, who seven years before had wished to retire from the Grand Mastership, but who had stuck to his post amid attack and obloquy throughout the rebellious period until he had put down all his enemies, at last vacated the long-held position. He was a broad-minded Irishman, a tolerant statesman, a fine administrator. It was not the least of his triumphs that Daniel O’Connell, “the Irish Liberator” and a fervent Roman Catholic, entered the Craft in Dublin early in his rule, and proved himself “a most enthusiastic Mason whom few could equal, and certainly none could excel, as a Masonic lecturer.”

In this atmosphere of restored unity in 1813, and of renewed confidence in 1925, the Grand Lodge of Ireland can be left. Its detailed organization of Metropolitan District and of Provincial Grand Lodges is to-day solid; and it is rendered secure by the direct presence on its Board of General Purposes of representatives from each, corresponding generally with the number of their Lodges. It possesses, what the United Grand Lodge of England lacks, a Grand Lodge of Instruction with a Grand Secretary for Instruction, and Assistant Grand Secretaries in Dublin and Belfast; and, like the Board of General Purposes, it is composed of not only the highest Grand Officers but of elected Metropolitan and Provincial Representatives. It also has a Grand Lodge Committee of Charity and a Metropolitan Committee of Inspection, as well as a like body in each Province; a Female Orphan School and a Masonic Boys’ School in Dublin; a Masonic Charity Fund, a Masonic Widows’ Fund at Belfast, and a Down Masonic Widows’ Fund, with a Victoria Jubilee Masonic Annuity Fund, all of them doing continuous good service. With some 800 Lodges working under its Jurisdiction in all parts of the world, the Grand Lodge of Ireland, in spite of unusual and heavy difficulties, has had a fine two hundred years of life and service, and will have very many more. “Quis separabit?” asks the old motto of the Order of St. Patrick; and none could wish to sever the Grand Lodge of Ireland from the always growing advance of Freemasonry in the English-speaking world.



The process of constitution in 1736 of the Grand Lodge of Scotland followed precisely that of the sister-countries of England and Ireland. Lodges had existed in Scotland, as in the other two, from time immemorial — or, to employ the more strict and appropriate legal phrase, from a time to which the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. Scotland had the greater number and the most ancient of these; and they were specially active at the period the Grand Lodge of England was formed. Desaguliers, the second English Grand Master, visited various Lowland centres in 1721 on a semi-scientific errand; and he not only was made a freeman of certain Scottish burghs but was welcomed into different Lodges. But internal jealousies, largely of a personal nature, prevented a prompt realization of the growing desire for union; and the legislative Union with England was much too recent and rankling to provoke desire for immediately following the English example in Masonry. Wrestlings over precedence between Lodges — an always thorny subject where the earliest dates supplied were conjectural rather than convincing, while the traditional claims were advanced with national stubbornness — were at the bottom of various of the hindrances. The fact that the existing Scottish Lodges were of Operative Masons, and that Speculative Freemasonry did not take any real root in Scotland until well after the Grand Lodge of England had been constituted, was likewise a very important factor in causing the delay.

The most painstaking of Scottish Masonic historians, and himself for a period Grand Secretary of Scotland, has recorded his considered and emphatic opinion that the Craft system existing in that country was an importation from England. The special reason assigned for this belief is striking: “seeing that, in the processes of initiation and advancement, conformity to the new ceremonial required the adoption of genuflections, postures, and the like, which, in the manner of their use — the country then being purely Presbyterian — were regarded by our forefathers with abhorrence as relics of Popery and Prelacy.” This historian who had dug very deeply into the earliest records of his native Masonry had “no hesitation in ascribing Scotland’s acquaintance with, and subsequent adoption of, English Symbolical Masonry to the conference which the co-fabricator and pioneer of the system held with the Lodge of Edinburgh in August 1721.” And in these words was described Desaguliers, that most forceful and formidable among earliest Masonic organizers and statesmen.

The important conference thus indicated was held “att Maries Chapell the 24 of August 1721”; and it was at the request of Desaguliers himself, then on his semi-professional, semi-Masonic, and specially significant visit to Scotland. He besought a meeting with the Master Masons of Edinburgh, who received him as a Brother into their Lodge, where he was welcomed by the Deacon — or, as we should now say, the Master — the Warden, and Brethren. That evening the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and two of the City Bailies, the City Treasurer, the Deacon-convener of the Edinburgh trades, and the Clerk to the Dean of Guild Court, were “admitted and received Entered Apprentices and Fellow-Crafts,” two Degrees then taken together, but not long afterwards separated by English example. This striking demonstration of civic disposition towards Freemasonry can well be held to have sprung from the fact that DesaguUers, who had occupied the Masonic Throne of England only two years before, had come to the city on business connected with the Edinburgh and District Water Supply, on which matter he was a recognized authority, and that for certain additional work he was appointed engineer. It is plain that his influence on Scottish Masonry, not only in the capital but in the regions round about, was very great. The first non-Operative Mason to be placed, in December 1727, in the Warden’s chair in a Scottish Lodge, was in that of Mary’s Chapel which Desaguliers had visited six years before. “Honorary members,” as the Speculatives were originally termed, were now recognized therein as having had “their admissions regularly done, conform to the Knowen lawes of this and other weall governed Lodges in Brittain” — that is in North and South Britain, as Scotland and England were then in law respectively termed. A great further step was taken two years later, when a Speculative Mason was chosen Preses (or Master as it would be termed to-day) of what up to a very recent period had been a purely Operative Lodge, and a powerful section in which had stoutly opposed all innovation, until defeated by the advancing tide inspired by England.

The Lodge of Mary’s Chapel then proceeded from strength to strength. In 1732, Lord Strathmore, ancestor of to-day’s Duchess of York, Grand Master of England, and nine years later to fill the like position in Scotland, attended to initiate into the Order the Earls of Crawford and Kintore, both of whom became Grand Masters of England and the latter of Scotland as well, together with Lord Garlies, also later to be elected head of Scottish Freemasonry. Even these illustrious names did not exhaust the wealth of potential Masonic talent admitted at that striking gathering, as two leading citizens who had been Lord Provost of Edinburgh were welcomed as Entered Apprentices, and were subsequently Scottish Grand Wardens. It was about this time that a desire was made manifest to follow the example of England and set up a Grand Lodge of Scotland. Already the English Symbolic working was making headway in Lodges there, and English Masonic practice was proving equally penetrative. The Preses (after a brief period when Mary’s Chapel substituted Grand Master as the title) became Master of the Lodge, and the custom rapidly spread.

The earliest decided steps in the direction of bringing into existence a Grand Lodge of Scotland were taken in the autumn of 1735; and in this case, as in England nearly a score of years before, they were the fruit of four “Old Lodges.” Canongate Kilwinning furnishes the first proof of the movement’s beginning, it having, on September 29, 1735, set up a committee charged with the duty of “framing proposals to be laid before the several Lodges, in order to the chusing of a Grand Master for Scotland”; and that body received renewed instructions to similar effect a fortnight later. It was joined in its efforts by Mary’s Chapel, Kilwinning Scots Arms, and Leith Kilwinning, these completing “the four Lodges in and about Edinburgh,” to whom credit for the election of the first Grand Master for Scotland is to be given. Conferences between their representatives were frequent, “a proper Secretary” for these being appointed “in order to his making out a scheme for bringing about a Grand Master for Scotland.” The work thus systematically undertaken was speedily done. On October 15, 1736, “the Master and Wardens of the four Lodges having met, they unanimously condescended and agreed upon the Methods for electing a Grand Master for Scotland, and upon certain Regulations to be observed thereanent for the good and prosperity of Masonrie in general.” These defined the powers of the Grand Master and the constitution of the Grand Lodge.

The first communication of the Grand Lodge of Scotland promptly followed, November 30, 1736, being the date and Mary’s Chapel the place of this memorable Assembly. Immediately signs were apparent of the great difficulties that had had to be overcome in its bringing together. About a hundred Masons’ Lodges in Scotland had been invited by the originators to send representatives, but no more than thirty-three responded. Any dispiriting effect must have been removed when the draft constitution which the several Lodges had considered was adopted as it stood. A further display of unanimity was at once unexpectedly forthcoming in another direction. Canvassing for the coveted position of first Grand Master had been going on for weeks on behalf of various Scottish personages of ancient degree. One of these at the last moment secured election by the clever tactical stroke of withdrawing a shadowy hereditary claim — based on Operative Masonry, and definitely set aside by Charles I just a century before — to be Patron and Protector of Masons in Scotland. William St. Clair, Laird of Roslin, who had been a Speculative Freemason only a few months, caused a special deed to be executed a week before the election, and read immediately after Grand Lodge had been regularly constituted. In this the withdrawal of his hereditary claim was made in terms of magnanimity and devotion to the Craft. Such apparent disinterestedness and zeal were held by the assembled Brethren, very many of them unaware of what had been going on, to deserve the immediate recognition of high reward; and this astute abdication of an obsolete Operative office made William St. Clair of Roslin the first Grand Master of Scottish Speculative Freemasons. Then the Grand Master, his Depute, and the Wardens were “saluted and congratulated in the usual method”; and the Grand Lodge of Scotland began in earnest its strenuous and successful career.

Up to that time the Operatives — differing from the situation at the constitution of the English Grand Lodge a score of years before — had very largely dominated Masonry in Scotland. But, from the visit of Desaguliers to the North in 1721, and especially after 1730, when aristocratic influence began to prevail, Speculative Masonry had come into the ascendant. As far as can be gathered from the official records, half the Brethren returned to Grand Lodge as members of the Lodges represented at the first “Grand Election” were not Shakspere’s “rude mechanicals.” They included a duke, five earls, five barons, and three heirs to peerages with thirteen baronets and knights. The law was strikingly represented by a Baron of the Exchequer and two Clerks of Session, a number of advocates, writers to the signet, and other “writers,” together with six ministers of the gospel, twelve surgeons, eighteen officers of customs and excise, seventy-five merchants, and a long list of lairds and five others of great social position. And even these did not embrace all of the Scottish nobility who were then Freemasons, among them two dukes and four earls, one of the former being the Duke of Atholl, whose descendant of 1930 has been Grand Master Mason of Scotland, and the Earl of Abercorn, ancestor of a distinguished Irish Mason of the present day, who has been Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England. The Scottish Grand Lodge, founding itself on Operative tradition, built solidly at once with legal and society materials. It presented from the outset an aristocratic façade. That façade is presented now as then; and, like Ireland, it has a peer at its head, while England, the senior of the three Brito-Irish Grand Lodges, has a Prince of the Blood.

William St. Clair of Roslin, the first of the two-century-long line of Scottish Grand Masters and last of his family, filled the Masonic throne only a year; but during the remaining forty-two years of his life he attended nearly every annual gathering, and showed active interest in the Craft’s affairs, exercised largely in the direction of securing a succession of aristocratic and socially distinguished Grand Masters. Sir Walter Scott, who as a schoolboy saw with admiration St. Clair’s feats of strength and skill at golf and archery, describes him as “considerably above six feet, with dark grey locks, a form upright but gracefully so, his complexion dark and grizzled, thin flanked and broad shouldered, built it would seem for the business of war or the chase, a noble eye of chastened pride and undoubted authority.” This authority was wielded to great and good effect in the Scottish Craft, to which belonged the twin Scottish heroes of later time, Walter Scott and Robert Burns. And “the dark grey man” compared by Scott and his schoolmates to that Douglas whose arm had achieved victory in the great days of old, furnished another example in Masonic history that the beginning and most momentous movements always need a powerful personality to lead.

St. John’s Day-in-Winter 1736 witnessed the first regular assembling of the newly-constituted Grand Lodge. Its rules for future gatherings made earliest mention of the Craft regalia, members attending being enjoined to be “suitably clothed” with gloves and aprons, paid for by themselves but kept in official custody whether in Grand or private Lodge. Years passed before sashes were added for officers, the introduction of jewels being later; and on all these points the Scottish Masons were acting “conform to the order observed in many rightly constituted Lodges in England.” But a picturesque variety of colour was introduced in Scotland, and in some directions continues to exist, compared with the severe uniformity of dark and light blue, with red and white, which prevails in her sister British Jurisdiction. Green, the colour of the Scottish Order of the Thistle, is largely made manifest, though unknown to English Masonry — except in a single, extraneous, and now well-nigh forgotten instance late in the eighteenth century — for England has largely depended on the blue of its great Order of the Garter, light for the Jacobites and dark for the reigning House, with an occasional admixture of the red appertaining to the lesser but important Order of the Bath. The Scottish observance permits the use of plaid as an apron border; and, as a consequence, an English Lodge attended by Brethren from various parts of North Britain presents an appearance akin to the Biblical coat of many colours. But the most picturesque scene of all must have been presented when the Sottish Grand Lodge adopted at the outset green for its ribands, and dressed its Tyler in coat and breeches of that colour, with a buff waistcoat, the whole surmounted by a cocked hat.

At that earliest period, an observance is to be noted among Edinburgh Masons which has obtained ever since in Scottish and English Lodges alike, and thus is sanctioned by at least two centuries of use. In an official record of the first quarterly meeting of Mary’s Chapel in 1740, at which visiting Brethren were present from not only Edinburgh and Leith but Linlithgow and “the Dales Coffee House att London,” this being the earliest such gathering under the purely Speculative system, “the common and ordinary healths were tost.” At the head of these was “The King and the Craft,” a toast greatly honoured to-day after two centuries of usage in every Lodge in a British Jurisdiction. The association of ideas was deliberate. Masonry had always been regarded as “the Royal Craft,” inspired and inaugurated by King Solomon, and it was but fitting that with it should be linked the Sovereign of the day. So strongly held is this opinion in British Lodges that, even when the monarch is not a Mason, as was the case in 1740, when George II was on the British Throne, and in 1930, when George V sits thereon, “The King and the Craft” is an always honoured sentiment. Even more strikingly, it was so during the unprecedentedly prolonged Victorian reign, when British Masons everywhere hailed at every assembling “The Queen and the Craft.”

“Prosperity to the severall Lodges whose members are present” was one of the toasts at the historic gathering of 1740; and there was entitled to respond a London Mason under the Grand Lodge of England. This informal recognition of the English status was made more regular in Mary’s Chapel within the same year, when, in addition to “The King and the Craft” and “The Grand Master and his Deputy, Grand Wardens, and other officers of the Grand Lodge,” there was given “The Grand Master of England,” a position frequently held at that period by a Scottish peer. And it is in the records of Private Lodges that we of to-day can best study the origin and development of many Masonic and social customs which still obtain. The drinking of healths was an early-established one in the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland alike; and we find in Scottish Lodge records the evolution of the musical portion of “the after-proceedings,” as the period of refreshment following labour is accustomed to be termed. Music was so highly esteemed in Scotland that those who would engage regularly to give “the benefit of musick to the Lodge” were admitted gratis, but the practice led to abuse and had to be officially prohibited. The drinking of healths called for ale and small beer which were supplied free, or wine, punch, and cold toddy for which the consumer had to pay; and when the glass had been drained it was struck loudly on the table in token of applause. This practice, which continues by many British Lodges to be observed, necessitated the provision of specially made “Mason glasses” or, as they are now termed, “Firing Glasses,” having bases of unusual thickness to stand the strain. “Constables,” capable of holding an English quart, were used by the Master and Wardens on high occasions, with decanters which would not stand of themselves, and had to be kept passing from hand to hand to preserve their rapidly lessening contents. Even these precautions did not prevent breakages; and a very early record of Mary’s Chapel is the payment of “seven pound six shillings for sack [sherry], bread, and two glasses broken at the election of the Deacons.” If the money were not reckoned in “pounds Scots,” there was never a clearer exemplification of Falstaff’s “halfpennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack.” The whole proceeding, indeed, showed neglect of another Shaksperian injunction — that the drinking of healths is “a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance.”

The Jacobite Rebellion of “The Forty-Five,” wherein participated Scottish Masons of opposing sections, was a temporary but not serious hindrance to the progress of the Craft. In September 1745 there was no quarterly meeting of Mary’s Chapel, because of “the troubles in the place occasioned by the Highland Army,” Prince Charles Edward having just occupied Edinburgh; and on December 27 the Lodge, “in respect of the present troubles,” resolved to have no special feast. But there was a more satisfactory reason for the abandonment of the quarterly meeting regularly due to be held on a date in June 1746, that proving to be a day of public thanksgiving for the defeat of the Rebellion. The proceedings of the Grand Lodge had been somewhat delayed in the previous December “by reason of the late troubles and disturbances within this city and the country”; and only two Edinburgh Lodges celebrated in accustomed form St. John’s Day-in-Summer of 1746. But, when the clouds had dispersed, the troubles were forgotten; and exactly ten years later Mary’s Chapel, always to the fore in matters of this kind, resolved to have their social gathering once a month instead of once a quarter, “taking to consideration the Great Loss they sustain by meeting so seldom in a Lodge way.” This, however, was not all conviviality, for there was welcomed in 1762 a Brother who so delightfully discoursed on the Virtue of Charity that the Master was directed to “consult with Gentlemen of Taste and Learning,” with the consequence that the Lodge authorized publication. The special interest of this incident for to-day is that the orator was son of a leading member of the Lodge, builder of the Martyrs’ Monument in the Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh, and himself compiler of the original edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and printer of the first Edinburgh edition of the poems of Burns, of whom he became an intimate acquaintance.

Along this way Scottish Freemasonry went on and prospered. It had an easy fashion with its Brethren when faced with practical difficulties, which engagingly appeals to these more formal times. “From a consideration that this season of the year” — the date was August 13, 1776 — “induced the genteelest inhabitants of this city, and many of the Brethren of this Lodge, to enjoy the pleasures of the country,” Mary’s Chapel resolved to suspend for a quarter the monthly meetings. The English Grand Lodge long previously had recognized the desirability of recognizing the need for recreation by holding in 1732 not only the usual Grand Festival in April but a Country Feast in June, presided over by the Duke of Montagu as Grand Master “at the Spikes at Hampstead”; and this custom was sustained for many years in the eighteenth century, the Country Stewards for the June Feast being accorded a special green regalia, scarlet being the colour of the regularly appointed Grand Stewards. Scotland apparently did not think to fill the recreative gap with what are now known as “Summer Lodges” though England as early as 1729, when a London Master in Grand Lodge acquainted the Deputy Grand Master that “several good Masons met at Scarborough in Yorkshire in the summer season and were desirous to meet as Masons, and humbly prayed a Deputation for constituting a Lodge there,” it was ordered accordingly.

To-day there are a number of “Summer Lodges” in the neighbourhood of London, a large proportion being in the Thames Valley; while in the Punjab one of the Lodges, having its headquarters at Peshawar on the plains, meets there in the cooler weather and at the hill station of Dunga Gali during the hot season. The same privilege is extended to one at Patiala to go to the hills at Chail, and another at Rawal Pindi, that meeting in the summer at Murree, but the Installation in each of these Lodges is held on the plains. This abnormal arrangement should be noted as indicating one of the little-known difficulties of the Grand Lodge of England in dealing with Lodges within the broad boundaries and extreme varieties of its Jurisdiction. Yet the Scottish recognition of necessary change and recreation did not, any more than in the English Jurisdiction, hinder the accustomed work of the Lodge or the imparting of instruction. The blending of the festive with the formal was well exemplified indeed when, in order to facilitate the delivery of “lectures of instruction upon the mysteries of the Order,” the most active Edinburgh Lodge decided that “the regular monthly meetings should alternately be the one as a convivial meeting, the other as an instruction meeting.” But there were outer temptations to be resisted; and “the first appearance in Edinburgh of the celebrated Mr. Kean” was recorded in the Mary’s Chapel minutes in 1816 as explaining the small attendance at the festive board.

In such tolerant and cheery atmosphere, Scottish Freemasonry steadily grew in strength at home and influence abroad. An institution to which “the Forty-Five” was merely a troublous episode passed unscathed through the storm aroused in French Revolution times by charges of “implication in the guilt ascribed to Freemasons on the Continent of Europe.” During the eighteenth century it had initiated the future King of Prussia, who was to be immortalized as Frederick the Great, in a Scots Lodge at Brunswick in 1738, as some years earlier England had brought in Francis Duke of Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany and afterwards Emperor of Germany, in an English Lodge at The Hague, this being followed by the constitution under the Scottish banner of several more Lodges in Holland as well as at Hamburg and other German towns. But the most marked Scottish development in that century was the constitution of a number of military Lodges, the Duke of Norfolk’s Regiment leading the way in 1747, closely followed by the Welsh Fusiliers four years later, White’s 32nd Regiment in 1754, Hooker St. John 70th Regiment in 1759, and Fort George 31st Regiment and King George III’s 56th Regiment in 1760, these with those of later creation greatly spreading Scottish Masonic practice in both hemispheres. The admission of private soldiers to the privileges of the Craft was never challenged under the Scottish Constitution, though until the middle of the twentieth-century Great War “no military person below the rank of a corporal,” save in exceptional conditions, could be initiated in an English army Lodge. A special regard for the private soldier, indeed, was from the first manifested by Scotland, his total fees at entrance being fixed in by-laws at half those paid by corporals and trumpeters, a third by sergeants, one-fifth by quarter-masters, and one-eighth by “all Officers and Stranger Gentlemen.” And the like proportions were enjoined for a monthly levy to form a Lodge Charity Fund for the assistance of discharged and distressed Brethren with their widows and children, though “if the Lodge shall become so rich that they can do it without hurting their own Brethren, they shall help a distress’d Brother, be he of what religion, country, or profession whatever.”

Thus were strikingly exemplified Brotherly Love and Relief, two of the three Grand Principles — the third being Truth — on which the Order is founded. In one further important regard Scottish Masonry stood firmly in very difficult circumstances to another fundamental belief of its English counterpart, and that was absolutely to forbid Masons as such to participate in political matters. In 1807 an attempt was made at a critical moment in British affairs to identify the Grand Lodge of Scotland with a party movement. By an almost startling coincidence this was defeated, as had been a similar attempt in the Grand Lodge of England eighty years before, by a single vote; and when the question was tried to be raised once more, after time for consideration had been given, the majority favouring continued abstention from politics was overwhelming. All this made for the securing of an amicable arrangement with England. There already has been traced the growth, largely at the instance and through the perseverance of Lord Moira, the English Deputy Grand Master, of a better feeling between the two Grand Lodges, originally disturbed by the Scottish patronage accorded to the “Antients,” through the influence of their greatest Grand Masters, the third and fourth Dukes of Atholl each in turn Grand Master of Scotland. The English Grand Lodge all through had carefully discriminated the “Antients” from Scottish and Irish regular Masons and any “made abroad, under the patronage of any foreign Grand Lodge in alliance with the Grand Lodge of England.” This was in 1777; and the English Grand Lodge, in its strivings for peace, had gone a step farther five years before by opening “intercourse and correspondence” with Scotland, and later by asking its Grand Master to adopt such means as would promote a good understanding among the Brethren of England, Ireland, and Scotland. But the time for full accomplishment was not yet ripe, and it was not until Moira’s dramatic appearance in the Scottish Grand Lodge in 1803, becoming Grand Master therein three years after, that the movement for full mutual recognition ripened. It speedily bore lasting fruit, as is testified in the fraternal intercourse and friendly communications of to-day.

Just at the period that this union of hearts between the Scottish and English Jurisdictions was slowly but steadily being accomplished, a serious schism which had been manifest in the former for some sixty years was happily nearing an end. The original trouble arose from a dispute over the respective precedence of the Lodges of Mary’s Chapel and Kilwinning, and the dispute long raged with bitterness. Kilwinning advanced surprising traditions, while Mary’s Chapel set forth not less surprising facts. No one seriously considers to-day the claim that Robert the Bruce about 1313 was Kilwinning’s Master, but there is reason to credit the assertion that Mary’s Chapel represented the Masonic half of the Society of Masons and Wrights of Edinburgh, which existed before 1475. In any case the famous Statutes of December 1599 declared that “Edr. salbe in all tyme coming as of befoir the first and principall ludge in Scotland, and yt Kilwinning be the second ludge as befoir.” When in 1737 the recently established Grand Lodge called for documentary evidence in proof of the relative antiquity of its Lodges, the oldest furnished by Mary’s Chapel bore date “Ultimo Julij 1599” and by Kilwinning December 1642. The former, therefore, was assigned first place on the Grand Lodge Roll, and Kilwinning accepted the second without protest until 1744, when, on the official decision being reaffirmed, it broke away, and resumed its never-renounced right to issue Charters for new Lodges, thus rendering itself an independent Jurisdiction. Grand Lodge soon found the rival movement so prospering that it forbade its Lodges to have any intercourse with those of Kilwinning authorization; and the breach remained unhealed until 1807, when a compromise was proposed by the two bodies, which, on renunciation of all right to grant Charters and a pledge to bring those Lodges already constituted within Grand Lodge jurisdiction, would place “Mother Kilwinning” for the first time at the head of the Grand Lodge Roll.

This was to reckon without Mary’s Chapel, which not without reason promptly and vigorously protested against being suddenly deprived of the right to stand first; and it declined to join in the next St. Andrew’s procession, as “inconsistent with the dignity of Mary’s Chapel Lodge to fall in second in a procession where they usually walked first.” Mother Kilwinning declined to recognize the right of Mary’s Chapel to interfere, regarding itself as an equal power with Grand Lodge and suffering no lesser body to intervene. The consequence of this resolute action, coupled with the fact that Scottish Masons generally were relieved to have the two rival bodies united, caused Grand Lodge in 1815 to dismiss a further protest from Mary’s Chapel as “incompetent and inadmissible.” Mary’s Chapel, evidently weary of the profitless conflict, at once withdrew the protest; and peace has ever since reigned, though once or twice threatened by what was thought by each side in turn to be aggressiveness on the part of the other. And to-day Mother Kilwinning is No. 0 on Scotland’s Grand Lodge Roll and Mary’s Chapel No. 1, and it was the former’s own wish in 1807 to be placed “without any number.” Honour thus being satisfied, the protracted duel ended without a serious wound.

Some of the closing phases of this strange dispute had turned on the fact that Grand Lodge in its compromise constituted the Master of Mother Kilwinning ipso facto Provincial Grand Master of Ayrshire. The Grand Lodge of Scotland, indeed, when its feet had been firmly planted on the road to success, felt, as England and Ireland had done, the necessity for devolving purely local duties and functions on subordinate Grand Lodges, both at home and overseas; and it set up Provincial Grand Lodges accordingly. The earliest was in 1738, when the Master of the Greenock Lodge was appointed Provincial Grand Master over the Lodges in the western counties of Scotland. But this was only a modest beginning for far more ambitious flights. By 1747 this original Scottish Provincial Grand Master, one Alexander Drummond, had become resident in Turkey; and having there set up several Scottish Lodges successfully sought from Grand Lodge a Provincial Commission, with full power to constitute Lodges in any part of Europe or Asia bordering on the Mediterranean. This magniloquent idea was speedily carried further by the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master over all the Scottish Lodges in America and the West Indies. The need was then felt for Provincial Grand Masters in the various parts of the home country; but again a bold flight was essayed when in the very year before the outbreak of the French Revolution, there was appointed a Provincial Grand Master over all the Scottish Lodges in France. And in the end Provincial Grand Masters, though abandoning the grandiose and impracticable early ambitions, were appointed not only over the whole of Scotland but in the British possessions overseas. They were established in Asia, Africa, Australasia, and the West Indies alike, while in another direction an overlordship was provided in the form of a Grand Master for Scottish Freemasonry in India.

The stability of the Grand Lodge of Scotland thus attested had been secured by the fact that from the outset it had attracted, and continues to attract, the support of not only leading representatives of professional and commercial life but a striking succession of Grand Master Masons from the Scottish aristocracy. At the outset it resembled England in choosing a Grand Master every year; and though this custom was departed from in some striking instances in the Victorian period — the 6th Duke of Atholl, for example, being Grand Master Mason from 1843 to 1864 — reversion to the original idea has more recently been made and notably in the present century, the usual term of Scottish Masonic sovereignty now being two or three years. And, while a full list of the Grand Master Masons reads like a roll of the most powerful members of the Scots peerage, there has been no neglecting of endeavour to increase prestige from without. For long it was traditionally asserted that Prince Charles Edward — the “Bonnie Prince Charlie” of the Scots, “The Chevalier” of all Jacobites, and “The Young Pretender” of the Hanoverians — was Master of a Scottish Lodge in Rome which existed from 1735 to 1737, when it was suppressed by Pope Clement X. This was a Lodge of undoubted Jacobite partisans, including the Earl of Winton, who had escaped from the Tower of London while under sentence of death for his share in “The Fifteen,” and John Murray of Broughton, secretary of the Prince, whose subsequent betrayal of the cause was so base and unforgivable as to cause the most dramatic incident of Walter Scott’s childhood. His father, though professionally obliged to avail himself of the traitor’s information, tossed from window to pavement a cup from which the unhappy man had taken tea in his house with the bitter exclamation, “Neither lip of me or of mine comes after Mr. Murray of Broughton’s.” But there is no proof in any form that Prince Charles Edward was ever a Mason.

It is different with later Princes of Wales, and none a “pretended” one. Before 1805 the Grand Lodge of Scotland had not secured the membership of a Prince of the Blood, but then George Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV, was accorded the title of Grand Master and Patron, though ineligible for the former position as not being a Scottish Mason. This title was conferred annually until the Prince’s succession to the Crown, when it was changed to the more fitting “Patron of the most Ancient Order of St. John’s Masonry for Scotland”; and on his death in 1830 William IV was similarly elected, but, like his brothers, his relationship to the Scottish Craft was purely nominal. In the case of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, both Scotland and Ireland proved as anxious as England, promptly after his Swedish initiation in December 1868, to do him honour. In May 1870 the then Heir-Apparent, who in the previous September had been appointed Past Grand Master of England, was chosen Patron of the Order of Scotland and was installed in the following October. Ireland, meantime, in November 1869, had given him the title of Patron of the Order in that country, but he was not invested until August 1871. The sequence has been continued in regard to both Scotland and Ireland in the case of Edward, Prince of Wales, though by 1930 the custom of conferring the honorary title of Past Grand Master had died out in England, in which Jurisdiction the Heir-Apparent first became Senior Grand Warden and then Provincial Grand Master for Surrey.

General interest attaches to the fact that among the great Scotsmen who have been brought within the Craft are two of the greatest of them all — Walter Scott and Robert Burns. The novelist was initiated in 1801 in the Lodge of Edinburgh St. David; but though in 1816, in the absence of the Provincial Grand Master, Scott, then Sheriff-Depute for Selkirkshire, laid the foundation-stone of the Selkirk Freemasons’ Hall, little is known of his activities — or passivities — in the Craft. It is very different with Burns, whose nervous energy can be traced at almost every step from initiation to the end. Brought in 1781 when nearing twenty-three into Lodge St. David at Tarbolton, chartered by Kilwinning. “Robert Burns in Lochly” speedily made himself a useful member by keeping the Lodge minutes. In three years he was chosen Depute Master, just as he had entered on possession of the famous farm of Mossgiel, three miles away. He was constant in attention to the duties of the Chair, holding it for four years; and the first candidate he initiated — eleven days after his pitiful parting with “Highland Mary” — was a famous fiddler of the time. He was little amenable to strict discipline, even holding Lodges in his own house to admit new members, and making the acquaintance of the famous Scotch philosopher Dugald Stewart at a Lodge meeting irregularly summoned by him at Mauchline. When the Mossgiel venture failed, and he resolved to try his luck in Jamaica, he bade farewell to his Lodge in the familiar lines

Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu!
Dear Brothers of the Mystic Tie!
Ye favoured, ye enlightened few.
Companions of my social joy!

But he was not destined to leave Scotland, and remained to prove the truth of his self-drawn portrait, “I am, as usual, a rhyming, Mason-making, rattling, aimless, idle fellow.” Yet he could turn his Masonic experiences to poetic advantage, for “Death and Dr. Hornbrook” was the fruit of an evening’s experience in Tarbolton Lodge; and it was in its records that he and his brother first signed “Burns” instead of their born-name “Burness,” and this to a note of that brother’s advance in Freemasonry. Passing in 1788 into a Lodge at Dumfries, he was a frequent attendant until April 1796, only three months before his death; and his memory as the assumed “Poet Laureate of the Craft” still is dear to every Scottish Freemason.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland, therefore, possessed of an Operative tradition which by connected and extant record is much more complete than that of England and far ante-dating that of Ireland, has a history of which all her sons are properly proud. It has attracted to itself some of the finest spirits, in blood and brain alike, the country has possessed. Its vitality to-day is eloquently attested in the work which regularly proceeds in every clime. The recognition it gives to its children in other lands is more systematic in the form of regular visitations by the Rulers of the Craft than that as yet of England; and it is the cause of much heartening and strengthening of the Scottish Lodges in overseas parts of the Empire. Working in close though independent accord with the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland, it marches steadily onward, and resolutely faces the world with the proud national boast, “Nemo me impune lacessit.”



Indications have been given of the manner in which English-speaking Freemasonry earliest spread in the transatlantic countries; but while, in the nature of things, it has always been an exotic in such as are governed by those of Latin descent, it has struck deep root and flourished abundantly where the English idea, in race and language, has been the inspiration. Just as plants and animals develop differences on transportation to another clime, so with Freemasonry; but, though the bird may assume a somewhat different plumage, it remains in every true particular the same. “What do they know of England who only England know?” once asked Rudyard Kipling, himself a Freemason. “What do they know of the English who only know them from home?” may with equal point be enquired. And a Masonic visitor to the Americas, both North and South, has to avoid judgments formed on first impressions, just as should all in the reverse direction.

A Mission undertaken by direction of the Grand Master of England (H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught) in the spring of 1924, to ten of the forty-nine Sovereign Jurisdictions in the East and Middle-West of the United States — only exigencies of time preventing an extension of the tour to the Far West and South — enabled the present writer to judge North American Masonry at first hand. On his return, he reported through the Grand Master to Grand Lodge that, in regard to such differences as are plainly visible between the system of Grand Lodge and Private Lodge government in the United States, and the English Jurisdictions — differences, it is ever to be understood, in degree but not in doctrine — national characteristics and local circumstances always and most steadily have to be borne in mind. A marked divergence in national psychology accounts for the one difference which to the Englishman is most apparent, and that is that what English Masons present to the mind’s eye is in America represented to the bodily vision. It is impossible openly to say more; but the manner in which the English Masonic working has developed across the Atlantic must impress those Brethren who desire to know what are the differences in practice, and how and why they arose. When an enquiry of this kind is undertaken, it must be with the preliminary recognition that American Masonry is very largely descended from the Antients, and from military Lodges working under Irish Masonic influences. And it must not be forgotten that, when the time was considered to have come at the Union for a simplified assimilation of the two “workings,” Britain and the United States were engaged in a four years’ war which left very rankling feelings behind. Even if American Freemasons had been likely to adopt the simplified method in happier times, nothing was less probable in the first quarter of the nineteenth century than a following of English example.

The study suggested would have fully to realize the temperamental and psychological differences between the English and the American peoples — differences more easily observed than accounted for. There are problems which directly touch American Lodges alone, and those which directly touch only English Lodges; but at the most they are non-essential. It is always to be remembered that the forty-nine American Grand Jurisdictions are independent of each other, having no central authority, acting on their own regulations and by their own methods of government within their several boundaries. As a consequence, the composition of the various Grand Lodges, the method of selection of the several Grand Masters, and even the term of service of these high officers, vary greatly with the Jurisdictions, just as does the working of the Private or Subordinate Lodges.

It is with great skill and assiduity that American Symbolic Lodges are managed, and with zeal and ability that their leaders promulgate the genuine principles and tenets of Freemasonry, while almost limitless patience is displayed in the discharge of the Masonic work. This is the more noteworthy in face of the overwhelmingly large size of very many Lodges; but a keen sense of order is shown in Grand Lodges and Private Lodges alike, while the strict regard paid to the presiding officer is voluntary discipline of the best kind. The keen interest in Masonic problems, both practical and philosophic, and the informed concern with Masonic questions of international interest manifested by the foremost Brethren in the various Jurisdictions are features to be highly appreciated; while two phases of American Masonic activity are specially to be noted — the great and growing exercise of benevolence and the ardent expansion of Temple building. In each case American Masons mainly rely on a Grand Lodge levy rather than as in England on the voluntary system; though individual gifts, and especially for benevolent objects, are many and munificent. Masonic Homes already exist in all the principal States and are increasing in number. Girls, boys, and aged Freemasons and their widows and other dependent female relatives have their separate Homes, situated within the same area; and all are splendidly looked after. It would be impossible in so vast a country to have only three centralized Institutions as in England; but there is a growing tendency to erect these Homes in Jurisdictions where they have not previously existed, and to extend such as are already in full operation.

One other phase of what may be termed Masonic aid-work is shown by various American Jurisdictions, wherein have been established Masonic Bureaux, Masonic Relief Boards, and Masonic Service Associations. Certain of the exercise the functions attempted in England to be covered by Employment Exchanges and Friendly Societies; and the first-named are an extension of Masonic effort into the relationship of employer and employed for which it is claimed for such bodies that they have earned the confidence of both sides to the Labour problem. Regarding Temple building, American effort is not confined to the large and splendid edifices erected all over the States for individual Lodges and Grand Lodges, but is extended to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. This great building will cost over a million pounds, the main portion being raised by a dollar levy on every subscribing member on approval of the project by his Grand Lodge. The edifice — erected not far from Mount Vernon, Virginia, the first American President’s home, and at the town in which he was earliest Master of the Alexandria Washington Lodge, still in existence, remaining a working member to the end — forms a central rallying-point and place of pilgrimage for American Masons wherever dispersed; and it is regarded as a true symbol of the unity of United States Freemasonry. But a difficulty presented to the visiting English Mason, and one with which from instinct and tradition he is unsympathetic, arises from the extremely varied and remarkably strong bodies in the United States which, though not directly, are in some way associated with Freemasonry. In this regard, considerations, to vary an old phrase, of genius populi as well as genius loci must always be held in mind; but the essential point is that the American Craft or Symbolic Brethren stand, where they always have stood, side by side with English Freemasons on the fundamental principles. As long as English-speaking Masons do not swerve from these principles, Freemasonry will be a great and growing influence for good in the world’s affairs.

The Masonic position in the great Dominion of Canada is described elsewhere; but a different set of conditions are presented when there are considered the Latin countries south of the Rio Grande. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Magellan, the various national governing Masonic bodies are of the Latin type. Such of the Central and South American Grand Lodges or Grand Orients — and the terms are equivalent — as agree with the English formula of fundamentals, the United Grand Lodge of England recognizes as being in friendly association. In four of these — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile — English-speaking and English-working Lodges exist; but though all in friendly all in differing relations with the Grand Jurisdiction in whose country they reside, and to whose sovereignty, under Masonic international law, they are bound to have regard.

In Argentina existed in 1930, under the District Grand Lodge of South America (Southern Division), twenty-five Lodges, together with one of long-established date in Chile, which are subject to the rule of the United Grand Lodge of England; and these are governed by a District Grand Master with the assistance of a District Grand Lodge. In Uruguay, both the English Lodges are directly under the governance of the United Grand Lodge of England, and work immediately under her rule, while in friendly association with the national Grand Orient. In Brazil there is no Lodge warranted by England; but some fifteen English-speaking and English-working Lodges exist by Warrant from the Grand Orient of Brazil, their internal affairs being represented at that body by a Grand Council of Craft Masonry, mainly of their own appointment, with a Grand Master of their own at the head, constituted under an Anglo-Brazilian Masonic Agreement of 1912. In Chile an arrangement was entered into in 1926 between its Grand Lodge and the United Grand Lodge of England, by which Lodges of English-speaking and working are founded, acknowledging the former as the Sovereign Jurisdiction of its country, but freely allowed to practise Freemasonry according to their own tenets, traditions, and tongue, and performing the ceremonial in the manner used throughout the English Jurisdiction. Thus, in harmony with the national Grand bodies in four of the greatest South American countries, English-speaking and working Freemasonry has a corporate existence, fully recognized not only by those bodies but by the United Grand Lodge of England.

The problems involved in unravelling the tangled skein thus endeavoured to be simplified by summary, may signify so much to future Masonic international diplomacy as to render necessary an indication of the circumstances in which these important differences of government of the English-speaking and English-working Lodges arose. As regards Argentina, the ratification took place at Buenos Aires in 1860 of a Treaty of Fraternal Alliance, entered into by plenipotentiary representatives of the United Grand Lodge of England and the then recently established Grand Orient of the Argentine Republic. This opened with the declaration that, in view of the mutual convenience which would result to the Order, the United Grand Lodge of England acknowledged the Grand Orient of the Argentine Republic as the only legal and legitimate national Masonic Authority in that Republic, with the proviso that Lodges holding Warrants under the Grand Lodge of England, or subsequently established in that country and governed by the Book of Constitutions, had the right to meet and work under a Provincial (or, as he is now termed, a District) Grand Master. It was further provided that representatives should be exchanged between the two Grand Bodies; and there was invoked on behalf of this Treaty of Mutual Alliance and Friendship, as it was officially termed, the blessing of the Almighty “as the only Sovereign Ruler of things in Heaven and earth.”

In the neighbouring state of Uruguay, an English Lodge was warranted in 1860 by the United Grand Lodge of England, with the assent of the then ruling Masonic authorities in the Republic; and it has worked in amity with the Uruguayan Brethren of the Grand Orient ever since, with another Lodge, promoted by the original, and warranted by England in 1909. Concerning the latter, the Uruguayan Grand Orient entertained doubts of regularity, which, while held throughout by England to be unfounded, induced a certain tension desirable to be removed. It was the good fortune of the author of this work to assist in its removal. While in Montevideo, during his Mission to the South American Atlantic Republics in 1927, he acted on the authority given him to have important conferences with the Grand Master of Uruguay on the subject. The Montevidean Brethren of both English Lodges had strongly represented their desire that this difference of opinion should be amicably brought to an end, that moment being considered particularly suitable for an arrangement fully to safeguard the rights and privileges of both the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient. As the result, an understanding was arrived at which came before both Sovereign bodies, as nearly contemporaneously as possible, for consideration with a view to ratification. That ratification was accorded by each in 1928–9 to an agreement based on the principles which always actuate the United Grand Lodge of England in the recognition of Sovereign Jurisdictions throughout the world, holding the fundamental principles on which English Freemasonry is based. Thus was composed equitably, honourably, and to the satisfaction of all immediately concerned a difference of many years’ standing, which had been the only drawback to completely harmonious relations between England and Uruguay.

The position is very different from that of either Argentine or Uruguay in the case of English-working Masonic Lodges in Brazil. In that country those existing by Warrant from the Grand Orient of Brazil are subject to that body under the agreement entered into in December 1912, between representatives of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Brazilian Grand Orient, accepted by Grand Lodge in June 1913. As its fruit, there was formed a Grand Council of Craft Masonry, under which the seven English-speaking Lodges then existing, and any similar Lodges subsequently to be founded, were empowered to work, it being settled that their by-laws must be drawn up “in accordance with the Liturgic Principles which rule the Grand Lodge of England, while not in any way contrary to the General By-Laws of the Grand Orient of Brazil.” New Warrants for English-working Lodges are granted only on this Grand Council’s recommendation; and it is specially provided that a belief in the Supreme Being, as a fundamental principle of the Order, shall be a necessary condition to membership of, or visitation in, any Craft Lodge in Brazil. The position thus created is without exact parallel in the English Jurisdiction, though one similar can be contemplated in the spread of English-speaking Masonry in Chile. As has been indicated, the Anglo-Chilean situation came into being as lately as 1926. Originating under friendly auspices on both sides, its early promise should ensure permanent fruit.

Peru, another of the South American Sovereign Jurisdictions to be recognized in association with England, possesses no English-speaking Lodges of the type existing in the four others described. It is the same with the three Grand bodies in the Republic of Colombia, as well as those of Ecuador, Paraguay, and Venezuela. But, concerning all the South American Sovereign bodies, observers from outside are well advised to exercise caution when attempting to consider their problems. National characteristics and local circumstances always and most steadily have to be borne in mind; and a marked divergence exists between the psychology of the two Ibero-American races ancestrally derived from the Spanish and Portuguese, who are the ruling power throughout South America, and the English. They are of a widely different mentality and temperamentality from the British peoples; and their Masonry reflects this difference, though without such a divergence of fundamentals as is often thought. When examining South American Masonry on its own ground and the origin of the several Sovereign Jurisdictions therein, one has clearly to bear in mind the times of political trouble and religious strife in which they came into being. Their founders were affected far more largely by the example and precepts of the Latin peoples of Europe than by those of the English race; but, providing that this does not involve any repudiation of the fundamental principles on which the United Grand Lodge of England is founded, differences of practice and procedure are relatively of small account. The devotion of all true Freemasons to the cause of good order and reasoned freedom under well-administered law springs from their firm adhesion to the essential principles on which the Craft always has rested — a reverential recognition of the Eternal Power supreme over us all, and of the revelation of His beneficent will and word. Fixed firmly on these principles, and resolved never to tamper with them. Freemasonry will go on and prosper, in North America and in South, side by side and hand in hand with Great Britain and all her associated nations.



In the United States of America are by far the greatest number of Free and Accepted Masons — Blue, Symbolic, or York, as they are there variously termed — of any country in the world. Their constantly growing total is approaching three and a half millions; and their efforts are not confined to what English Freemasons know as the Craft, but enormous energy and money are expended in super-Masonic, semi-Masonic, or pseudo-Masonic organizations, initial admission to which is obtained only through original membership of a regularly constituted Lodge. There is no Grand Lodge for the whole of the United States; and Masonic government is conducted by forty-nine sovereign Grand Lodges, one for each State in the Union, with one for the ten-mile square District of Columbia, embracing Washington, the national capital. The only American Masonry recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England is that under the governance of these Grand Lodges, every one of which is proud to derive by descent a recognition from their Mother Grand Lodge.

Some knowledge of the vast and varied activities of American Freemasonry is essential to a comprehension of the universal Masonic system. Like that of its progenitor across the Atlantic, earliest American Craft history is steeped and almost stifled in legend of an unprovable and often unbelievable type. Melvin Johnson, Past Grand Master of Massachusetts, and a painstaking, patient, and accurate chronicler, has made the cautious statement, after exhaustive examination, that “it is generally believed, as a warranted deduction from the known facts, that Freemasonry was brought into the colonies of North America at a very early period in the eighteenth century, and that the immigrating Freemasons soon established Lodges in various places, which they worked without the sanction of Warrants.” This was in accordance with the then general custom. Warrants for Lodges were non-existent, as there was no controlling organization which could grant them, every Lodge being a separate and self-created entity. It was only after the Grand Lodge of England had been constituted in 1717, originally as a rallying-point for the existing Lodges in the cities of London and Westminster alone, that the idea of a central ruling body was evolved. Even then, and for many years, when allowance was given to constitute a new Lodge, no Warrant in the present acceptation of the term was issued; and it was not until 1730 that that central body attempted to exercise, in any form, authority among the Brethren in America.

The senior Anglo-American Freemason can be given as Jonathan Belcher, of Boston birth and Harvard graduation, who while on his “grand tour” in Europe was “made” in an English Lodge in 1705. Returning to his native Boston the following year, with the glamour of having been presented on his travels to the ill-starred Sophia Dorothea of Zell, consort of the Electoral Prince of Hanover, who was afterwards George I, he became a prosperous merchant, and obtained from George II in 1730 the Governorship of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Actively patronizing at Boston the Mother Lodge of New England, and occasionally attending Provincial Grand Lodge, he stated in 1741, replying to a Masonic address on retiring from the Governorship, “It is now Thirty Seven years since I was admitted into the Ancient and Honble Society of Free and Accepted Masons, to whom I have been a faithful Brother, and well-wisher to the Art of Masonry.”

In 1730, the year in which America’s senior Mason became Governor of Massachusetts, the Masonic authorities of England took a step which changed the whole face of American Freemasonry, and ultimately of all the English-speaking Masonry of the world. Though the Grand Lodge of England had then existed only thirteen years, it had had to broaden its outlook far beyond the cities of London and Westminster. Even as late as 1724, it had explicitly limited its disciplinary powers to “any place within ten miles of London”; and this remains, two hundred years after, precisely the area of the direct exercise of Grand Lodge discipline over ordinary Lodges. But that very year saw the beginning of the present vast extension of its ambit to the outer world. Within half a dozen subsequent years, new Lodges were constituted or old Lodges regularized not only in many a county in England and Wales, but in Gibraltar, Madrid, and Bengal; and the Masonic movement was spreading like a flame.

All this while not a mention of America is to be found in the Grand Lodge of England’s archives; but of a sudden, without any explanatory word either before or after the event, that continent leaped into the light; and this it did on June 5, 1730, in the “Copy of the Deputation to Daniel Cox Esqr. to be Provincial Grand Master of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pensilvania in America.” This document, still to be read, is of extreme interest not simply to American but all English-speaking Freemasonry. It is not only the earliest such which has been preserved, but probably the earliest ever drawn up. Grand Lodge had previously recognized, indirectly or directly, Provincial Grand Masters for Cheshire and South Wales, and to Warwickshire has been officially conceded in late years a place with these two; but no record exists of how, when, or by whom these were appointed or what, if any, special powers beyond precedence, were enjoyed. All such information is first supplied in the historic document of June 5, 1730.

To “Daniel Cox of New Jersey Esqr.,” as he was formally described, very definite instructions were given by the Duke of Norfolk, “after the Princes of the Royal Blood first Duke, Earl, and Baron of England, Chief of the illustrious Family of the Howards, Grand Master of the free and accepted Masons of England.” He was empowered for two years after the ensuing St. John the Evangelist’s Day (June 24), to nominate and appoint his Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens, and to constitute with strict care regular Lodges throughout his Province; and the members of these, on the expiry of his commission, were every other year to elect a Provincial Grand Master themselves. No power of interference in that election or supervision of any kind was assumed by the Grand Lodge of England, and no fees were attempted to be levied. But the Provincial Grand Master was enjoined to see that the Book of Constitutions was strictly adhered to; and that the names of the Lodges and of their members should be annually sent in writing to the Grand Master, “together with such other matters and things as he shall think fit to be communicated.” And there was added a special injunction that at each recurring Feast of St. John the Evangelist, when all the Brethren of the Province should assemble, and at every Quarterly Communication, the Provincial Grand Master should particularly “recommend, as is done here, a General Charity to be established for the Releife of poor Brethren of the said Provinces.” And at that point began the constantly growing story of Masonic benevolence in what are now the United States.

Until recently little seems to have been known of this Daniel Cox or Coxe — sometimes termed “Colonel Cox” — of New Jersey, who thus received a two years’ Commission; but he is now recorded to have been son of Dr. Daniel Cox or Coxe, Governor of the Province of West (or New) Jersey under William III of England, who for a brief period had as his Deputy John Skene, claimed to be the first known Freemason in America, having as “Merchand and Measson” been initiated in a Lodge at Aberdeen. Daniel Cox the younger was born in London in 1673; and at the age of twenty-nine he accompanied to America Lord Cornbury, then Governor of the Province of New York, also being commissioned Governor of New Jersey. Cornbury early appointed Cox colonel of militia in West Jersey and later gave him a seat in the Provincial Council. Cox obviously was one of very varied public activity, as for many years he was assistant judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court and in 1716 was elected to the General Assembly and chosen Speaker. Political rivalry is declared to have brought about his expulsion from that position, and he came back to his home-country where he assisted his father in A Description of the English Province of Carolana, published in London in 1727. Restlessly he returned to New Jersey, only to be in England again in 1730 on, it is stated, governmental matters. It used to be said that he then petitioned the Grand Master of England for a Commission as Provincial Grand Master; but, while there is no trace of any such in the well-preserved archives of the English Grand Lodge, Cox undoubtedly possessed friends in London’s social and public life who could effectively submit his claims to the Masonic authorities.

The Commission, though granted on June 5, 1730, was not immediately acted upon; but Cox was not in England at the moment to receive it, being in America from April to December 1730. Immediately after his return to London, however, and on January 29, 1731, “Daniel Cox, Esqr., Provincial Grand Master of North America” — a wide extension of his original title — is to be found officially recorded to have attended the Grand Lodge Quarterly Communication, “held at the Devil Tavern within Temple Bar.” Thereat, “after the general Healths were drank the Deputy Grand Master proposed the health of Br. Cox, Provincial Grand Master of North America, which was drank accordingly”; and his appearance may have coincided with his admission to the Lodge assembling at the same place “by Leave of the Grand Master,” his name appearing on the list of its members that year. But whatever was the official reason or personal motive for his appointment, he does not appear to have acted on his Provincial powers within the allotted time. A former Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, when requested by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey to give Cox’s Masonic record, concisely wrote after exhaustive search: “He did not make any report of the appointment of Deputy Grand Master or Grand Wardens; neither did he report the congregating of Masons into Lodges. He did not transmit any account of having constituted Lodges, and does not, indeed, appear to have established any.” There exists among New Jersey Masons a tradition that he instituted a Lodge at Trenton, the State capital, and that he authorized and possibly took part in the institution of St. John’s Lodge No. 1 of Philadelphia, capital of the adjoining Province of Pennsylvania. But it is all very shadowy, and no proof exists of any Masonic activities in America of America’s first Grand Master.

The reason not improbably was that Cox was at the time mainly absorbed in trying to perfect his title to nearly half the North American continent, a congenial occupation for one who was being described as Provincial Grand Master of North America. The claim rested on an alleged grant to his father, asserted to have been a physician to both Charles I and II. This may have been the case, but the dates seem doubtful; and, though various medical members of the Cox or Coxe family are known to English national biography, only one of the Civil War period is among them. This was a certain Thomas Coxe, a Cambridge Master of Arts, Padua Doctor of Medicine, and London Fellow of the College of Physicians. And he was no Royalist but a physician to the Parliamentarian Army, who fell into poverty after the Restoration of Charles II, and died a bankrupt in France. It is only to be added that Cox, being succeeded in the Provincial Grand Mastership by Henry Price in 1733, passed quietly out six years later. It is singular that his chosen rôle as a do-nothing ruler furnishes us with the last glimpse to be obtained of him. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts acting on its original authority instituted a Lodge in New Jersey, and that Province protested that it already had had a Provincial Grand Master whose duty this should have been. In the course of the correspondence Cox’s name came into the argument, and a prominent New Jersey Mason wrote to the Provincial Grand Master at Boston, “I cannot find that Mr. Daniel Cox had anything to do with the Province of Maryland, and upon the strictest enquiry I find that he Died before 1754 the Time you mention” — evidently as a precedent. And therein lay Cox’s most fitting Masonic epitaph, “He was alive and is dead.”

Before this ineffective appointment of America’s earliest Provincial Grand Master, there must have been justification for the action in the existence of individual self-constituted Lodges, started originally by Masons from England, who probably had expressed a desire to become “regular” according to the new Grand Lodge system. For Masonry at that time was making itself effectively though unofficially felt in the American Colonies. Earliest allusions are fitful, Modern deductions frequently fanciful; but from 1730, the date of Cox’s “Deputation,” distinct Masonic references are to be found in American newspapers, and notably first in Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin, printer, publicist, patriot, and statesman, destined to become one of America’s most moving spirits in freedom as well as in Freemasonry, was born at Boston in 1706, passed a formative period in London, and went to Philadelphia before he came of age, setting up as a printer. He formed in the last-named city in 1728 a Leather Apron Club, held by some to have been in semi-rivalry to a St. John’s Lodge of Freemasons, asserted to have been started the previous year. It is in Franklin’s paper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, founded in 1722, that we find in July 1730 — and 1730 in every way looms largely in American Masonry — the earliest allusion on that side of the Atlantic to the Grand Lodge of England. Special significance attaches to the reprint in the following December of an alleged exposure of Freemasonry, one of a thousand to come, which had been published in London, and this given for the all-sufficing editorial reason that “as there are several Lodges of FREE MASONS erected in this Province, and People have lately been much amus’d with Conjectures concerning them; we think the following Account of Free-Masonry from London will not be unacceptable to our Readers.” It was so acceptable to Franklin himself that two months later, in February 1731, he was made a Mason in St. John’s Lodge of Philadelphia, one of the various American self-constituted but genuine Lodges, meeting “according to the old customs,” then existing in America. And he early made amends for previous sneers at the Craft by giving in his journal of the following May “Some Information concerning the Society called Free Masons,” taken from Chambers’s then just published Universal Dictionary of all Arts and Sciences, which admitted them to be “now very Considerable, both for Numbers and Character, being found in every Country in Europe, consisting principally of persons of Merit and Consideration … and tending to promote friendship. Society, mutual Assistance, and Good Fellowship.”

Franklin, always ambitious, alert, and persevering, went forward in Freemasonry with a bound. He is believed to have become a distinctive officer of his Lodge within six months of admission, and its Master in a year and a half, meantime having produced the oldest draft of American Masonic Lodge by-laws still in existence. But he speedily flew for much higher game. According to his own newspaper of June 26, 1732, he two days before had been appointed Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, then alleged to have been first formed. If formed it was self-created, deriving no authority from the acknowledged centre of Freemasonry. It has been claimed that Cox may have granted the necessary powers under his commission; but no evidence is available that he ever attempted their exercise. He had been given authority to make and to regularize Lodges, but not to create a Grand Lodge; and, while he had bound himself to report annually to the Grand Master all his important proceedings, he furnished none of such a decisive step. This Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, as had been the case in England with the earliest Provincial Grand Lodges, was doubtless first between equals among the Philadelphia Lodges; and William Allen, its original Grand Master, was not new to or averse from the title, having been entered as such in his own Lodge account book just a year before.

While Pennsylvania thus was stirring, with New York and New Jersey within the original Provincial Jurisdiction quiescent, Massachusetts began to move, for Boston, with the first American Lodge known to have been regularized under the Mother Grand Lodge, came in 1733 to the front. This was largely due to the promptly displayed energy of Henry Price, patron saint of Massachusetts Masonry. Born in London about 1697, he removed to Boston when twenty-six.

In 1730, the year Cox received his “Deputation,” one “Henry Price” appears on the Grand Lodge records as member of a London Lodge, meeting at the “Rainbow coffee house in York Buildings,” contemporaneously with Cox’s membership of a Lodge at “the Devil Tavern within Temple Bar.” Belief is permissible, though not provable, that London being then comparatively small and its regular Lodges few, these two New Englanders may have met and Masonically talked; and personal acquaintance would partly account for Price being given the “Deputation,” when it fell from the nerveless hands of Daniel Cox. The original Commission expired on June 24, 1732, and it would seem that the Provincial Brethren then exercised the right accorded to them of choosing a successor, for approval and appointment by the Grand Master of England. This can be gathered from the statement made by the Duke of Montague, the then Grand Master, in giving the second commission, that “Application has been made unto me by our Rt. Worsh. and well-beloved Bror. Mr. Henry Price in behalf of himself and several other Brethren now Residing in New England.” In that case June 24, 1732, would deserve bicentenary celebration, as the date of the first recorded meeting in English-speaking Freemasonry of a Provincial Grand Lodge assembled for business. This new “Deputation” was for a “Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging,” a decided extension of the original title; and for the document Price, as nearly forty years later he wrote to Grand Lodge, “paid myself” three guineas to the Deputy Grand Master. If this, as appears to be indicated by the wording, was paid in person, Price evidently at once returned to Boston, where he promptly set to work, and convened a Provincial Grand Lodge. Immediately, a number of “Free and Accepted Masons regularly met and congregated at the Sign of the Bunch of Grapes,” petitioned him to constitute the evidently already existing “Chapter,” as they termed it, into a regular Lodge “by virtue of ye power and authority to him given by the Grand Master of England.” This Price at once did, while among the petitioners was Andrew Belcher, Governor Belcher’s son and an American-made Mason, soon afterwards to be Deputy Provincial Grand Master. One of the earliest-appointed Wardens of the First Lodge of Boston, as it still is proudly called, was Frederick Hamilton, a name specially honoured there to-day as for many years in the opening three decades of the twentieth century Frederick William Hamilton held the office of Grand Secretary of Massachusetts.

The authority given to Henry Price in 1732 over “New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging,” was apparently extended two years later to all North America. The English Grand Lodge archives furnish no evidence on this point; but Franklin obviously credited a statement to the effect which appeared contemporaneously in the Boston journals. He wrote, in November 1734, heartily congratulating Price on having received widened powers, the fullness of which he recognized in a letter declaring that Masonry in the Province of Pennsylvania “seemed to want the sanction of some authority derived from home” — and “home” to Americans in those times was England — “to give the proceedings and determinations of our Lodge their due weight.” Accordingly he asked Price, as “Grand Master of all America” to confirm, “by virtue of his Commission from Britain,” the Pennsylvanian Brethren in the privileges they enjoyed in their self-constituted Grand Lodge, for which Franklin signed as Grand Master. This letter is of double value — first as showing that Pennsylvania at that day did not claim to possess an independent and sovereign Grand Lodge, and next that the Grand Lodge of England was fully recognized as the central Masonic fountain of honour and power.

Meanwhile, and at the English Grand Lodge Communication of December 1733, a decisive step had been taken towards spreading and strengthening Masonry in the North American Colonies. There was started a subscription among all the English Lodges towards “sending to the new Colony of Georgia in America, now being planted, distressed Brethren, where they may be comfortably provided for.” “A generous collection amongst all members of regular Lodges” was urged; and the need was strongly emphasized once more at the next ensuing Quarterly Communication. The coming of the Brethren into the new Plantation stimulated Masonic zeal. A Lodge was founded in 1735 at the Georgian centre of Savannah; and in the English engraved list of Lodges in 1736, “Savannah in ye Province of Georgia” figures as No. 139, this being the second American Lodge thus to appear, the earliest, as No. 126, being that of “Boston in New England” in the list of 1734. The Craft speedily spread into South Carolina and New Hampshire; and for the former a claim is made that the Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 of Charleston, still in existence and flourishing, is the oldest authentic Masonic Lodge on the American continent, challenging even the seniority of the St. John’s Lodge of Boston, on the ground that no mention of a Lodge of that name appears to the Records of the Grand Lodge of England. The pity of it is that no Charleston Lodge is in those records either, and that, though it is asserted to have been No. 48 on the Grand Lodge Register, it is not to be found there under that or any other number. The semi-official Engraved List of Lodges in 1734 gave as the foreign Lodges under English jurisdiction not merely No. 50 at Madrid (which had first appeared as the only one of them in the 1729 List), No. 124 at “Hamburgh in Lower Saxony,” and No. 127 at “Valenciennes in French Flanders,” but No. 126 at “Boston in New England,” clearly to be identified with the First or St. John’s Lodge in Boston, constituted in September 1733. The earliest appearance of any other American Lodge in an English authoritative record was in the Engraved List for 1736, when there appears No. 139 at “Savannah in ye Province of Georgia.” But South Carolina can take pride from the fact that it was officially announced in England as early as 1738 that two years before the Earl of Loudoun as Grand Master had issued a Deputation to John Hammerton as Provincial Grand Master for South Carolina. Hammerton, a member of the Horn Lodge in Westminster, had proved his Masonic zeal in 1730 by being the first of five to offer in Grand Lodge his services as a Steward for the Annual Feast, and that at a moment when, because of the trouble and cost involved, not half the needed number volunteered. As Provincial Grand Master of South Carolina Hammerton attended Grand Lodge in April 1738, when Lord Damley presided as Grand Master, supported by such earliest predecessors on the Masonic Throne as Desaguliers and George Payne, and with James Anderson acting as Junior Grand Warden. He was again there in January 1739, and this time in company with “Robt. Tomlinson, Esqr., P.G.M. of New England,” the seniority of whose official position was attested by his place on the list. No more is to be learned from the English Grand Lodge archives of either Hammerton or South Carolina in those earliest days; but the starting-point in that Province can be reckoned from a Lodge meeting at the Harp and Crown, Charleston, and owing its existence to the Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston. This Lodge, according to the contemporary South Carolina Gazette, formally met for the first time on October 28, 1736, when “John Hammerton, Esq., Secretary and Receiver General for this Province, was unanimously chosen Master” and at once appointed his officers. But no Charleston Lodge appeared in the English Engraved Lists until 1760, and in the next year’s List it figured as “Solomon’s Lodge in Charles Town, South Carolina,” dated as from 1735. It is difficult to disentangle the facts about these earliest American Lodges from the super-incumbent mass of legend, theory, and sheer fiction. But it is plain that American Freemasonry was first planted along the Atlantic coast from New England towards the South, and that South Carolina and Georgia were the earliest Southern Provinces to enjoy the blessings which it brought.

Lodges under both the premier Grand Lodge of England and its “Antient” rival of 1759 multiplied exceedingly in the forty years before the War of Independence. Previous to 1782, when that struggle ended, the “Modern” Grand Lodge had Lodges of its own obedience in every one of the States which originally constituted the Union, while the “Antient” Lodges, and especially the military ones, greatly flourished. These in no way or at any time were interfered with in their domestic concerns by the central authority in London: there was no question with American Masons in pre-Independence days of “taxation without representation.” Not one of their Lodges was called on to contribute towards the cost of the original governing body, though some occasionally subscribed voluntarily towards the Committee of Charity, the fund of which was widely administered. As a consequence, when the time plainly came for a similar separation between the Masonic as between the national ruling authorities, it was without friction on the one side and with grace on the other.



In the absence of a mass of early and exact records of American Masonry, it is extremely difficult not only to trace its detailed growth but all the steps which led to the separation of the Brethren of the newly-freed American Provinces from the two English Grand Lodges, as well as from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Each of these bodies had issued powers to American Provincial Grand Lodges, and there was a special trouble in regard to the former because of differences in their internal system of government, with the consequence of confusion in the time to come. But it is possible to perceive that the separation movement began with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and became markedly decided in the years following the signature in 1782 of the Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the United States of America. Happily in respect to one of these Provincial Grand Lodges — of “Modern” origin but “Antient” revival — documents of the first importance exist on both shores of the Atlantic, throwing great light on not alone the quietude of the parting but the admirable Masonic feeling that existed on each side, despite the bitter conflict through which the two peoples had been constrained to pass.

As might have been looked for, Pennsylvania, from whose capital of Philadelphia the Liberty Bell first sounded the tocsin of American independence, proved devoted to the revolutionary cause, and its Masons paid special honour to that cause’s chief exemplar, Washington. The Declaration of Independence was agreed to there on July 4, 1776; but, in the troubled and tangled period which presaged that coming crisis, its Lodges were so sparsely attended as often to be unable to proceed to business. During the fateful months from February to October 1776, in which the Declaration was discussed, adopted, and acted upon, the Lodges ceased to meet, placing it on record that, while extremely unhappy that the present contest (though in favour of Liberty) “had rendered their attendance impossible, they hope that the extreme necessity of the Times will fully compensate for such Deficiency, Conscious that Brother Masons are so sensible of the advantages of Freedom as to accept the apology.” But then came the relatively brief British occupation of the city, during which one of the Philadelphia Lodges, because of its devotion to the American cause, ceased to meet, and had its jewels, paraphernalia, and books taken by the troops, though its warrant from the “Antient” Grand Lodge of England was placed in safety by the irregular action of an American officer among its members, and continues to be preserved. One of the two remaining Philadelphia Lodges, in the period the British flag waved once more over Independence Hall, showed as distinct an American as the other a distinct English sympathy. While Washington went into winter quarters at Valley Forge, watching the city with tired and hungry troops, Masonry in Philadelphia and the whole of Pennsylvania was largely at a standstill; but after the city’s evacuation in June 1778 interest revived; and it was resolved to have the first public procession of Masons held for over thirty years, since, indeed, the “Modern” Provincial Grand Lodge had dedicated a Lodge there. By this time that original body had virtually ceased to exist; many of its leading members had gone for political reasons; others had joined the “Antients”; and the recently constituted “Antient” Provincial Grand Lodge determined that on St. John’s Day-in-Winter it would celebrate the city’s deliverance thoroughly. “George Washington, Esq., commander-in-chief of the United States,” had arrived on December 22 to confer with Congress on the next military operations; and on the following day the Philadelphia Lodges invited him to walk in their procession, “and his Excellency was pleased to express ‘a grateful satisfaction and consent thereto.’” The greatest Masonic celebration in numbers and brilliancy ever held up to then in America accordingly took place on December 28, 1778 — St. John’s Day in that year falling on Sunday — and the leading figure therein was “His Excellency our illustrious Brother George Washington, Esquire, supported by the Grand Master, William Ball and his Deputy.” And the £400 collected at the church service, the patriotic sermon at which was dedicated to “The Friend of his Country and Mankind, ambitious of no higher title if higher were possible,” was given to the poor.

Pennsylvania was so proud of the occasion that in 1780 it was the most prominent in organizing a movement to nominate Washington as General Grand Master of the Colonies. Though that movement failed because of being strenuously opposed by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, it was the outward and visible beginning of the Masonic separation from England which ultimately accompanied the political. A committee of the American Army Lodges in February 1780 expressed regret at the differences “separating us from the Grand Mother Lodge in England.” but desired to establish “one Grand Lodge in America, to preside over and govern all other Lodges of whatever degree or denomination,” and asked for the nomination of a General Grand Master. Representatives of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as one from the Massachusetts Bay and Washington Lodges, signed this declaration. But none could speak for the whole of Massachusetts, for that State possessed a divided Masonic authority, though this was a temporary division which in no way broke either the legitimate succession or the true supremacy of the Grand Lodge at Boston. But the fact stood that at the time of the War of Independence there were in Massachusetts two bodies which acted as Grand Lodges. One was the St. John’s Grand Lodge, founded by Henry Price under his 1732 commission from England, and the other known as Massachusetts Grand Lodge, which had received its Charter from Scotland. The St. John’s records during the great struggle were carried to Halifax, and though they were returned no records between June 27, 1775, and February 17, 1787, exist. But while both this Grand Lodge, like its subordinate Lodges, met with reasonable frequency during this long interval, which covered the war period, it does not seem at any time to have taken definite action regarding Masonic independence from England. Even when in 1792 a union between the two Massachusetts governing bodies was consummated after much negotiation, there is no indication of any communication to England of a desire to depart.

It was the Secretary of the St. John’s Grand Lodge of Massachusetts who replied to the American Army Lodges in 1780, after many months’ delay, and decidedly negatived the General Grand Lodge suggestion. He recalled that the Grand Lodge of England had appointed only Provincial Grand Masters, elected by the Provincial Grand Lodges themselves, for South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts; demurred to that power being handed over even “to so illustrious a person as General Washington”; and asserted its own right to grant “a Charter of Dispensation” to another State — and in this case New Hampshire, though at the moment possessed of only a single Lodge — to appoint a Grand Master of its own. Pennsylvania replied that it had done the like to Delaware and Maryland, though “we know that necessity alone can be a plea for this.” But what Pennsylvania urged was the desirability of having “a Grand Master General over all the United States, and each Lodge under him to preserve its own rights, jurisdiction, etc., under him as formerly under the Grand Lodge of Great Britain, from whence the Grand Lodges of America had their warrants.” A convention of all the Lodges was suggested “not far northward on account of some Brethren from Virginia who will attend”; but Massachusetts proved obdurate, and in January 1781 it declared, “That any Determination upon the Subject cannot, with the propriety and justice due to the Craft at Large, be made by this Grand Lodge until a general peace shall happily take place through the Continent.” This ended the movement, and it is significant that, though a number of propositions to the same end have since been made, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, its original projector, has steadily refused to entertain them.

A significant movement of the present century towards unity of thought and feeling without “entangling alliances” — to employ a historic Washingtonian phrase of permanent import in both national and international affairs — is, however, to be observed. There have assembled from time to time conferences of American Grand Masters to discuss in fraternal and non-committal fashion questions of interest to all; and since the War these have been regularly held. At a largely-attended gathering in 1919, the idea was adopted of having such an organization among themselves as, without forming anything like a General Grand Lodge, could bring in American Grand Lodges to act in concert in the case of domestic calamity or foreign war. Certain official and personal difficulties prevented this organization from working on the originally-designed lines; and from 1925 the Grand Masters’ Conference was convened in association with the annual meeting of the George Washington National Memorial Association, held on February 22 of every year in the national capital. These Conferences are becoming of growing practical importance, and have always possessed great personal influence. They have offered an opportunity for the free discussion of many subjects, for extending the acquaintance of Grand Masters, and for suggesting ideas which might lead to greater uniformity in practice. But in order to secure permanent results in the last direction much time and patience promise to be required. It is never to be forgotten that each American Grand Lodge is very jealous of its sovereignty, and deeply resentful of anything which looks like the remotest suggestion of external control. The fear of some movement for a General Grand Lodge — though as far as can be perceived no American Masons of importance now desire such a body — was noted by certain of the more observant and experienced of those attending the earliest series of Conferences as more or less at the back of the mind of many present. But such keen well-wishers to the movement as were disappointed at the occasional displays at the earlier Conferences of what they regarded as mere provincialism or moral timidity, plainly hope that patience and persistence in assembling will ultimately though slowly result in much good.

With the new departure by Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin, held in honour by American Masons and patriots alike, is to be noted. During many years in the mid-eighteenth century, he was frequently and long absent from Philadelphia in the official interests of Pennsylvania, his adopted Province, soon to become a State; and he would seem while abroad to have been nominally continued in position as Deputy Grand Master of Pennsylvania under the original “Modern” Grand Lodge jurisdiction, and to have been regarded as such until certainly 1777. He does not appear to have become affiliated to either any English or German Masonic body during this period, though it is recorded in the minutes of the Grand Lodge of England that, among those attending its Communication of November 17, 1760, very soon after the accession of George III, was “— Franklyn, Esq., P.G.M. [Provincial Grand Master] of Philadelphia.” But this aloof attitude was not maintained towards French Freemasonry; and in November 1776, four months after the Declaration of Independence, while a Commissioner to France of the then recently-formed Continental Congress assembled at Philadelphia, he became member of a Lodge in Paris subject to the Grand Orient of France, later serving as its Master, and joining Masonic bodies at Rouen and Carcassonne. Returning to Philadelphia in 1785, after his prolonged labours in Europe for the newly-established United States, he found that the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and its subordinate Lodges, with which he had been prominently associated from the beginnings of Masonry in America over half a century before, had ceased to exist, and that a new Grand Lodge of “the Province of Pennsylvania and the Territories Thereunto Belonging,” had taken its place. The striking difference was that while Franklin’s had derived direct from the original or “Modern” Grand Lodge of England, its successor was under the rival or “Antient” Grand Lodge; and this was a distinction which caused confusion in the development of the new situation.

Franklin, as the most eminent living American Mason, was approached, though a “Modern,” to become head of the still-existing though absolutely moribund “Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging” (a significant difference in description as compared with the “Antient” Provincial body already established), which should be independent of English authority. This evinced a plain desire to bring into a united fold the successful “Antients” and the scattered “Moderns”; but it was not yielded to, though, in the entire absence of Masonic mention in Franklin’s famous Autobiography the reason can be conjectured only as advanced age. But the movement for independence went rapidly forward; and on September 25, 1786, ten years after the great Declaration, a Grand Convention of thirteen Pennsylvanian Lodges — a number significantly reminiscent of the thirteen States which originally constituted the Union — assembled in Philadelphia, and unanimously resolved, “That the Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, lately held under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, will, and do now, form themselves into a Grand Lodge, to be called the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.” But the assertion that this body was and ought to be perfectly independent and free of any foreign jurisdiction, was accompanied by the publication of an obviously authorized statement, in the high-flown language of the time, that “We shall endeavour to hold forth every engaging allurement that the members of the British Grand Lodge may approach, and apply their elegant and wonder-working fingers to finish the beauties of so well-ordered a Dome in this New Empire, and make this favourite land, what we really wish, the distinguished residence, the last best retreat of heaven-born Masonry.”

An official declaration of the same desire for continued fraternal feeling was speedily forthcoming. The new Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania within three days of its establishment resolved to send the Grand Lodge of England a leave-taking letter. This, which was unanimously adopted, approved, and signed by all the Grand Officers, began, “Brethren, We salute you in all Love and Respect, We acknowledge your past Goodness, and We pray your kind and candid Acceptance of this Address. It having pleased the Grand Master of all Events in human affairs, to dissolve the Political Connection which subsisted between your Country and ours when We were honoured with your Warrant, and to change the Situation of this Country into that of a Sovereignty instead of a Province, it has seemed meet to the Brethren here no longer to consider themselves as a Provincial Grand Lodge…. We hope and trust that this procedure will meet your approbation; and that we shall continue to receive your salutary counsels and brotherly advice and Communications upon every Occasion which may occur to you as requiring it.” But after so promising a prelude came a series of contretemps. The document dated October 16, 1786, was sent across the Atlantic with a covering personal and explanatory letter, to Laurence Dermott, who was supposed to be still Grand Secretary of the “Antient” Grand Lodge. But by this date he was out of office, and the document did not from some unexplained cause reach its destination.

After awaiting an answer for two years, Philadelphia sent a duplicate on November 10, 1788, to a London Brother, who mistakenly delivered it to the “Modern” Grand Lodge. That body’s officials, thinking it emanated from their own Pennsylvanian Provincial Grand Lodge which had quietly faded out of existence, reproved the writers for bringing politics and affairs of State into the Craft; deprecated division on Masonic grounds alone, as “this Grand Lodge can sustain no pecuniary loss by the separation of the Brethren of Pennsylvania”; but assured the writers that “the Grand Lodge of England, ever ready to promote the extension and universality of the Order, will continue to acknowledge and receive in its Lodges the Brethren initiated in the Lodges of America.” Pennsylvania, in a reply of November 18, 1791, explained the misdelivery of its original letter; described the first Provincial Grand Lodge as having been “many years entirely extinct”; gave an assurance of “continuing to regard the Brethren in England with unabated warmth of affection; and adding that they would be happy “to keep up that fraternal communication with the Grand Lodge of England to which an accident has given a beginning, and which, in their opinion, is absolutely necessary to the general welfare.” Up to then the “Antient” Grand Lodge, parent in 1761 of the Pennsylvania Provincial Grand Lodge, had received no intimation of its subordinate having declared itself sovereign; but almost contemporaneously with the just-quoted communication to the “Moderns,” one was sent to the “Antients,” through a keen patriotic politician and soldier who published at Philadelphia the earliest American commercial journal. This letter declared the continuance of “attachment, and affection to the Grand Lodge which is due to those from whom we derived our Existence”; told the London Brethren of the dangers which would have come through lack of independence, “particularly from our being open to the influx of Masons of every description and variant forms of working, from every foreign Jurisdiction”; and ended, “We shall be happy in every intercourse of fraternal friendship and information.” Philadelphia’s trust to succeed in their third attempt to communicate with its parent body was justified. The “Antient” Grand Lodge glowingly replied, noting “with pleasure that it had given birth to a Grand Lodge in the Western world, whose strict adherence to the ancient and immutable landmarks of our Order reflects honour on its original founders”; and giving promise of esteem, best wishes, and regular communication. Thus the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was the first if not the only American Jurisdiction to be recognized by both English Grand Lodges, a happy omen for the Union between these of a quarter of a century later. The whole involved matter was little understood until the discovery in 1908 by a Pennsylvanian student in the Grand Lodge of England’s fine series of archives of much of the original correspondence; and the subsequent finding in the Secretary’s vault of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania of a number of rough minutes and memoranda completed the tale.

The importance of the Masonic departure made in Philadelphia in 1786 was emphasized by the fact that, though the development of the complete process is hidden by the disappearance of important official documents — if, indeed, any existed — it signified the termination of even the nominal overlordship of England over the other Provincial Grand Lodges of North America. It was a change which, though of little practical effect — for the American Brethren had always chosen their own rulers, framed their own regulations, and paid no tribute to the Masonic Power in London that had given them birth — had an immense potential value. In setting the American Masons on their own feet, it gave the example of free and independent action which Canada and Australasia, though still within the British Empire as a political entity, have in turn followed. The reasoned way in which the English Grand Lodge always yielded to the wishes of its children for release from leading strings has been an example to its national statesmen. It has resulted in an accumulation of good will which grows even greater with the years; and it is destined to have even more lasting effect on the future relations of the English-speaking communities the whole world through.

Evidence of this is furnished by the experience of a highly important American Grand Lodge which had swung into special prominence in the Craft constellation while the great events leading to the Masonic as well as the national separation from Great Britain were maturing. The original “Deputation” of 1730 to Daniel Cox had constituted him Provincial Grand Master of New York as well as of New Jersey and Pennsylvania; but Cox did nothing to carry out his commission, and it was not until 1737 that the “Grand Master of his Majesty’s Dominions in North America” — or, according to another version, the Grand Master of England himself — directed the coming into being of a Provincial Grand Lodge of New York. There followed a period of activity in that city, quaintly testified to by a newspaper attack in the winter of that year, and the same New York journal’s publication in the summer of 1738 of “A Song for the Freemasons,” with an appended parody for the ladies, while a few months later appeared an advertisement of the change of meeting place of a New York Lodge.

That the powers of this Provincial Grand Lodge did not at first extend far beyond the city may be gathered from the fact that Massachusetts warranted in what would be its present territory an army Lodge “in Expedition to Crown Point” in Essex county in 1757, and in 1758 one at Lake George “South of Crown Point.” But in the latter year the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York constituted a Lodge at the Fountain Tavern within the city; and, though Massachusetts authorized yet another Lodge at Crown Point just at that time and certain later army Lodges, it apparently ceased thus to intervene after 1764. The authorization of the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York was by this time so definitely accepted as coming direct from the Grand Lodge of England that most of the Warrants of the senior half-dozen Lodges on the New York Grand Lodge Register to-day were of its issue. But in 1773 there was the intrusion of an “Antient” Provincial Grand Lodge of New York, which authorized in the summer of that year a Lodge to meet at the “House of Widow de la Montaigne,” though afterwards assembling in time for the St. John’s-Day-in-Winter celebration, at “The Globes, near the City Hall.” This continued to flourish during the War of Independence, and a British army Lodge was constituted by it in 1780. By the next year it had virtually edged its “Modern” rival out of the active field, and definitely in 1781 constituted itself a Provincial Grand Lodge of New York, its severance from England after the Peace of 1782 being effected as quietly and in as fraternal a fashion as in the case of all the other American Provinces similarly situate.

This friendly Anglo-American Masonic feeling became so firmly rooted that seventy years later it bore strikingly significant fruit, which can best be displayed here. In 1823 a schism developed among the Masons of New York which resulted in the establishment of a rival Grand Lodge. Union was re-established in 1827; but further dissensions grew, and a St. John’s Grand Lodge was constituted in 1837. While this was continuing its work, there was a formidable outburst in the regular Grand Lodge in 1849, with the consequent attempted creation of a third ruling Masonic body. This proved too much for the St. John’s, which the next year returned to its old allegiance; but it left the 1849 seceder still fighting, and continuing to do so until 1858, just before the American Civil War, when it came back. The two chief rivals were colloquially known as the “Willard” and the “Phillips” Grand Lodges, from the names of their respective chiefs, the former of the regular organization long recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, of which at the rupture Willard was Grand Master, and the latter of the seceders whom Phillips had led as a Past Deputy Grand Master who had been defeated by Willard in a contest for the principal position.

So great was the faith reposed by the Brethren of both New York sections in the impartiality and fraternal feeling of the United Grand Lodge of England, that they showed willingness to submit their dispute to the English Grand Master, then the Earl of Zetland. A hitherto untold chapter of Anglo-American Masonic fraternal relations was thus furnished, which is of special interest to be related with some fullness now. At the December Quarterly Communication of the English Grand Lodge in 1850 the Grand Secretary (William Henry White, who had held the position from the Union in 1813) reported by direction of the Grand Master, unable to be present, the Craft disunion in the State of New York, and said that the Grand Master had had an application to receive a representation from its Grand Lodge. Zetland, being aware of the existence of two Grand Lodges in that State, had declined to receive a representative from either, as that would convey an opinion as to which was to be legally considered by the English Grand Lodge; but he had written, deploring the damage which would be done by the schism, offering to do anything possible to effect a reconciliation through mutual concessions, but adding that he could not acknowledge the existence of two Grand Lodges in any one State or country. The Grand Lodge of New York had then made an application to the Grand Master of England to arbitrate between them, but, as Zetland felt he could not force any decision upon either, he had desired to know from both whether they were prepared to accept and act on his decision if he undertook an investigation. Zetland added that the New York Grand Master at the time of the rupture (Bro. J. D. Willard) had replied expressing confidence that the New York Brethren would be very willing to receive any suggestion from the English Grand Master; and a communication of a somewhat similar character had been made by the Grand Lodge over which Bro. Isaac Phillips presided. He, therefore, expressed willingness to give his aid towards a reconciliation, but demanded an expression from both parties that they would accept and abide by his decision; and he promised that on its receipt, he would appoint experienced Brethren to investigate the whole matter and report to him, which report would be laid before Grand Lodge and its opinion taken.

This seemed highly promising; and at the Quarterly Communication of June 1851, the Grand Master reported in person the presence of Bro. Willard, now Past Grand Master of the State of New York, whom they would be much rejoiced to receive with the distinction his high station demanded. He called on the Brethren to salute the Brother accordingly, and Willard is recorded to have “suitably responded.” Zetland then referred to “the unhappy differences which existed among the Freemasons in the State of New York”; and stated that, as a result of the several documents which had reached him he would fulfil his promise to appoint a Committee, on which he placed the President of the Board of General Purposes, the Grand Registrar, a Past Grand Registrar, and a Past Grand Warden, with the Grand Secretary. This body at once set to work, and at the ensuing Quarterly Communication submitted a unanimous report already communicated to the rival Grand bodies in New York. The findings were decidedly in favour of the “Willard” section on the constitutional issue, which was as to the alleged inherent right of Past Masters to vote in Grand Lodge, a practice which, although allowed by the United Grand Lodge of England, was now formally declared to be “neither ancient nor universal, neither a landmark nor an established usage of the Order.” The trouble had originated in the fact that England’s “Antient” Grand Lodge, which had given to the Grand Lodge of New York its effective Charter, had recognized a practice never assented to by the “Moderns,” and not accepted by the United Grand Lodge until a few years after the Union of 1813. The committee emphasized the fact that twenty-two other United States Grand Lodges had “investigated with impartiality, with learning, and with zeal” the questions at issue, and had adopted the conclusions at which the English Committee had come; it severely condemned the conduct of the seceders, who had even, among their other illegal acts, “assumed to accredit a representative to the Grand Lodge of England”; it declared that “the Grand Lodge, which for so many years had subsisted in the State of New York and continues its functions, still possesses of right an unimpaired jurisdiction, and is, within the limits of that jurisdiction, the only Grand Lodge which can be Masonically recognized”; and it exhorted “the erring Brethren to reconsider their differences of opinion,” anticipating that “the calm exercise of their judgment will lead them back to the path of Masonic duty, and to perfect reunion with the Sons of Light all over the world.”

But the dispute was not so easily to be composed. Naturally the old-established Grand Lodge of New York accepted the English Committee’s conclusions with enthusiasm, and its Grand Master (now Bro. Oscar Coles) wrote to London expressing thanks on behalf of the Fraternity in New York for the consideration given by the Grand Master of England and his Committee, and the hope that their recommendation would be the means at no distant date of restoring harmony in the State. A suggestion of “the advantages which would accrue from the interchange of representatives between England and New York,” apparently suspended during the dispute, gave the chance, however, to one present at the English Quarterly Communication of March 1852, when this letter was read, to try and “side-track” the whole matter, by at once moving “That it be recommended by this Grand Lodge that, under the circumstances of the Masonic differences in the State of New York, and there being two Grand Lodges in the State at litigation, it is essential that no Representatives be received from or sent to that State while differences are existing,” With equal promptitude the obviously fitting amendment was submitted, “That this Grand Lodge entirely concurs in the conclusions to which the Grand Master has come on the differences existing among Freemasons of the State of New York”; and this was carried with only two dissenting voices.

But a cardinal factor in the further delay of the desired and destined reunion was the material fact that the Phillips body, being in possession of the Grand Lodge records and funds, continued the fight not only in New York, but in London. A Commission was appointed by the Supreme Court of New York City, in a suit brought by the Phillips section against the Willard, to take testimony from English Grand Lodge sources, and particularly the Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, concerning the origin and history of the Grand Lodge of the State; and the record of this Commission was available in New York in 1855. As an awkward result, a Mason, apparently of the Willard section, published a pamphlet the next year challenging the authenticity of the “Antient” Charter of 1781, on the text of which the Phillips body relied for their strongest point. But that authenticity had been definitely accepted not only by both the contending New York bodies but implicitly by the skilled Committee of the United Grand Lodge of England. Though the doubting New York Mason urged his contention with force, the Charter continues to be accepted by Masonic authorities to-day; and September 5, 1781, remains for all time a memorable date in the annals of New York Freemasonry.

It may be that the publication of a pamphlet plainly designed to blow up the Phillips pretensions but containing elements of wider destruction, may have brought both contending sections to realize the peril of continued delay in coming to reunion; and in November 1858 a formal reconciliation was effected. The Brethren who had been suspended or expelled for participation in “the difficulties of 1849” were restored to full Masonic privileges; the Lodges which had been warranted by the “Phillips” body were gratuitously granted legal Charters; and the “Phillips” Grand and Past Grand Officers were recognized as Past Grand Officers of the regular Grand Lodge. It resembled the mutual recognition of the rival “Modern” and “Antient” Grand Lodges of England nearly fifty years before, though there had been nothing quite like it since the quiet recognition of Popes and anti-Popes alike after the fierce struggle in the Roman Catholic Church between competing candidates at Rome and Avignon in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But the main point was that the prayer of the United Grand Lodge a few years earlier, when asked to arbitrate on the dispute, for the perfect reunion of the seceding Brethren with “the Sons of Light all over the world,” was thus fulfilled.

Long before this dispute had broken out in New York, and in the closing two decades of the eighteenth century, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was markedly making Masonic history in its declaration of independence of England. Contemporaneously New York was firmly setting out on the same path, while Massachusetts, the other great American Grand Lodge comprised within the territory England had originally covered by the historic “Deputation” of 1730, was steadily progressing. From the time Daniel Cox, of great projects with small results, quietly faded out and Henry Price in 1734 took the guiding hand, Massachusetts, had proceeded with regular and steady steps. It competed not openly but effectively with Pennsylvania in issuing Warrants for the constitution of other Provincial Grand Lodges under the assumed powers of the “Provincial Grand Master of North America,” though it probably, if put to the question, would have owned — as did Pennsylvania in 1783, when it doubted the regularity of formation of the Grand Lodge of Maryland — its inability to decide “from what authority a Warrant could be issued.” In point of fact, much of the confusion surrounding the pre-Independence period of American Freemasonry springs from haziness on this head. There can be no doubt as to the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania “Deputation” of 1730, as that is fully recorded in the available archives of the Grand Lodge of England; while in the same are recorded the visit in April 1738 of “John Hammerton Esqr., P.G.M. of S. Carolina” who, as of the “Horn in Westminster,” had been the first to offer himself as a Grand Steward five years before, and “Robert Tomlinson Esqr., P.G.M. of New England” as well as Hammerton again in January 1739. But in April 1735 there had suddenly blossomed forth in Grand Lodge “a Motion made for and on behalf of Randolph Took Esq. to be Provincial Grand Master of South America,” which was agreed to. This may have been the “Mr. Randal Took” who five years before had officially been given as among the members of the London Lodge assembling at the “Queen’s Arms in Newgate Street”; but the episode is a strange one, springing from nowhere, leading to nothing, and elsewhere unmentioned. In most other cases, the Provincial Grand Lodges sprang from Massachusetts or Pennsylvania and later occasionally from New York.

Lodges in a single Colony, soon to become a State, would on occasion meet in convention, and for obvious advantages of proximity and kinship form themselves into a Provincial Grand Lodge. This caused the Pennsylvanian doubt in the instance of Maryland in 1783, which was started by five out of its eight Lodges, all warranted by Pennsylvania; but, as this step was taken without that Province’s sanction, there was a further Convention four years later which regularized the proceedings, and placed the Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Secretary in their old positions. There was a certain haphazardry about the whole proceeding, but in the end all things worked together for good in Freemasonry. By the time National Independence came, the Craft was so firmly established in the then settled portions of North America — the Middle West and West alike being in those days almost unknown — that, when the Masonic severance arrived, Sovereign Grand Lodges with increasing rapidity sprang into organized existence, and carried United States Freemasonry to its present heights.



As none but a profound geologist would attempt to analyse the Alps, the Alleghenies, or the Andes, none but the dryasdust would try to describe in detail the origin, progress, and ramifications of all the forty-nine Masonic Sovereign Jurisdictions of the United States of America. Typical instances have been taken of the earliest and most enduring, and there have been given with some precision the history and development of the framework adopted by them all, originally in greatest part devised by or directly derived from the Masons of England. A mass of information has been gathered, and is continually and even rapidly being added to, in the United States concerning the history of their Grand Lodges and Regular or Subordinate (or, in English nomenclature, Private) Lodges; but the rough-hewn stones from so vast a quarry have not yet been so deprived of all superfluous knobs and excrescences as to enable them to be fitted into a perfect superstructure. It may be that no one man could be found possessed of the requisite strength to collect and skill to collate the materials, added to the historical sense to use only those of value and import, capable of proof, and free from taint of picturesque legend or fantasy. Even a historian gifted with such a rare combination of faculties might not have the breadth of insight and impartiality of vision to use his opportunity without regard to personal, sectional, or State impressions, or the courage to tell the plain truth concerning controversies in which his own friends have borne part. When this Bayard-cum-Hercules among historians shall have been found, a concise though complete story of American Freemasonry can be looked for. He is not as yet forthcoming, and no one but an American Mason could assume to fill the place.

All that can here be done is to present, in addition to the story of the beginnings already told, an outline of American Masonic advance during its century and a half of independence of external contact. To comprehend the extent of that advance, not to be measured alone by the steady increase in number of supreme and subordinate bodies or in masses of membership, it is necessary to note the special perils which on the way have beset the mighty organization we now see, and on occasion have threatened its destruction. The failure of peoples as a whole to understand other peoples is their lack of knowledge of the individual difficulties those others have to overcome. American Masons in the main do not realize the gravity of the problem presented to the United Grand Lodge of England by it being in supreme control of 4,500 Lodges, scattered throughout the British Empire, composed of citizens of every colour, caste, creed, custom, and tongue. But British Masons similarly fail in comprehension when they ignore difficulties which have existed, and may again exist, among those who, like the Americans, live within a clearly-defined ring fence, in very great degree unassailed by the troubles of external Empire. An endeavour has been made to show these British drawbacks; unless the American are made clear, the Masonic history of the United States is certain to be misunderstood.

The creation of State Grand Lodges — those of pre-Independence establishment simply proceeding on the old though now independent lines, those of later creation deriving their birth and infant nurture from American Grand Lodges having English Masonic origin — became in post-Independence days a regular and even rapid process. At this present every one of the forty-eight States has its own Sovereign Jurisdiction, with another for the small but highly important national central enclave, the District of Columbia, which embraces and is embraced by the capital city of Washington. The size of these Jurisdictions vastly varies, not merely in superficial area but in number of Lodges and membership. British allowance of dual membership — a Mason being permitted to be member of more than one Lodge, whether in the same town, Province, or Jurisdiction — is only slowly though steadily making way in the United States. The present practice, therefore, greatly varies in the divers Jurisdictions. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia, all of very old English association, permit plural membership without restriction. North Carolina allows a Mason to be a member of two Lodges, apparently one within and one without the Jurisdiction, or two without; and in effect this seems a like regulation to that of Oklahoma, where a Mason retains membership in his “Mother Lodge,” and if he remove to some other location may affiliate with a Lodge in the place of his residence whether within or without the Jurisdiction. New York, New Hampshire, Alabama, Delaware, and Louisiana allow membership of one Lodge in the Jurisdiction and one without; and it would thus appear that ten of the forty-nine American Grand Jurisdictions — and the number goes on growing — permit some form of plural membership.

Yet, despite all limitations, the American Lodges are apt to be extremely large. The British idea of a Lodge as of the nature of a family, of which every member is of personal acquaintance and in private touch, is obviously inapplicable to American Lodges wherein five or six hundred subscribing members are not uncommon, with gigantic growths of four and even six or seven thousand. There is gain in impressiveness of numbers and dramatic quality of work in these great Masonic aggregations, but gross totals are not the only test of true result. The fruit is thus presented of yet another psychological difference between the American and English points of Masonic view. To the British Mason a Lodge is a small group of men intimately associated in a compact entity by intellectual ideas, moral ideals, and social aims. To the American Mason a Lodge, accepting and approving the like ideas, ideals, and aims, is a body assimilated in thought and intention to other organizations and clubs wherein numbers are a source of pride. As to which is the form of development the better suited to ancient Masonic ideals the upholders of each will differ; the one point on which the zealous Freemason insists as essential is that, whatever the extent of his surroundings, the boundary of his beliefs shall be strictly defined.

Yet even those who distrust the multiplication table as a Masonic criterion of value will recognize the weight attaching to the massed effect; and the non-American will understand that a difference of idea prevails in the two hemispheres which neither side has attempted to analyse, with the consequence of mutual misunderstanding. To how many of either American or British Freemasons has it occurred that the explanation largely lies in that almost forgotten and altogether unhappy incident, the Anglo-American War of 1812? But therein was the germ of much of the lack of unity between the American and English systems of Masonic polity and policy which have proved a recurrent difficulty. 1812, when that struggle began, found England’s Masonry in the melting-pot that fused its two contending Grand Lodges into one. The greatest consequence of that fusion was to bring into harmony by compromise not only the governmental system but the ceremonial workings of “Moderns” and “Antients.” Though the process, as has been seen, was never fully complete, it had sufficiently crystallized and cooled as to have been in 1816, when the Anglo-American War ended, accepted in England all round, even though in some quarters grudgingly. It may be doubted whether the American Masons, still at that time as patriots hot with anger against their recent enemies, either heard of or cared for the great changes thus made. The revised and simplified ritual accepted by the United Grand Lodge, carrying further the English practice of symbolizing rather than spectacularizing action, was not of a kind to appeal to a people possessed of keen dramatic instinct and ability and eagerness to display it, and least of all at a moment of restored national peace but remaining personal enmity. As a consequence, the American Masons clung with an almost touching fidelity to customs England had gradually and at length finally discarded, and to teachers whom the parent country had long ceased to regard as inspired, and whom it had in some cases discovered to be deficient.

This episodic national incident thus proved epic in effect on Anglo-American Masonry; and the coolness of feeling engendered by the War of 1812 largely accounts for the lack of the old and now happily revived custom of inter-communication between the two greatest Masonic Powers on matters affecting both internal and external affairs. It took over thirty years, as has been shown, for the temporarily severed Masons of New York to seek advice and arbitration from the United Grand Lodge of England, and another ten to accept the decision to which both sections at the outset had promised to yield. But in later times, a greater and more gratifying inclination has been displayed on the American side to take into fraternal consultation internal points of difference and difficulty, on which an impartial outside body of unquestioned authority can advise with the advantage of experienced age. Without even such consultation, the Grand Lodge of New York within the past few years has adopted as its own a ruling of the United Grand Lodge of England, formulated by its Grand Registrar (Sir Thomas Willes Chitty, K.C.) on a point of long-standing Masonic difficulty concerning which difference of opinion had been deep. In other important ways, the consultation has touched questions of history and development whereon only an older and originating body could speak with absolute authority. One of the greatest troubles American Freemasonry has had to face, already indicated in the case of New York — where at one moment in mid-nineteenth century no fewer than six contending bodies were claiming to exercise rule — has been schism. Partly because of the confusion and haziness of earlier records, there exist even to-day organizations which claim to be co-equal Grand Lodges with those long recognized as Sovereign in the State affected. Some of these are specious, some unmistakably spurious, but all have to be met and disposed of. The Grand Lodge of California, in the twenties of this twentieth century, called in the expert testimony of the Grand Lodge of Scotland successfully to support in the Courts its legitimate claims. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has had even more recent aid from the leading officials of the United Grand Lodge of England to sustain its right to have and to hold the position of Sovereign Masonic authority in that State. And all this close fraternal consultation makes for good.

In great part these Masonic schisms have arisen from contending personal ambitions, not always apart from political aims, and varying from “up State” and “down State” considerations to fantastic claims. But, and mainly since the abolition of slavery as a result of the Civil War of the early eighteen-sixties, a colour question has arisen, which is largely kept out of sight but occasionally looms ominously into the light. When in June 1851 Willard, the rightful Past Grand Master of New York, was welcomed in the United Grand Lodge of England and given at the Grand Master’s instance a special salute, he proudly claimed that “the principles of Freemasonry know no distinctions of country, colour, or realm.” As to his own country, and speaking for the regular Jurisdictions, he erred in respect to colour, though not with such absolute completeness as the casual British visitor to an American Lodge would be apt to think. There can be set down to the ferment for freedom all round which dominated feeling in some Northern States immediately after the Civil War that there were in that period warranted two Lodges by New Jersey composed of men of colour, mainly of the professional — clerical, medical, or legal — and thriving mercantile classes, whose accredited representatives attend in due course the Annual Communication in the State capital; and on occasion West Indian English Masons of unmistakable colour are received as visitors in American Lodges. But, though “Negro Masonry” is very largely existent under powerful organizations in various parts of the United States, it is silently ignored by the regular Jurisdictions, and the shadowy claims of one of their bodies to be derived from the Grand Lodge of England have again and again been dispelled. Yet the phenomenon, though partially hidden or wholly ignored, remains; and it would be to give a misleading picture of American Masonic problems to omit it from consideration.

At the very end of the nineteenth century the negro Masonic problem for a time threatened to have disruptive results. The Grand Lodge of Washington — established in the north-western State of that name, far removed from the portion of the country in which the colour question is of daily consequence, and not to be confounded with the ruling body of the District of Columbia, having the capital city of Washington as its home — recognized the existence, thereby acknowledging the legitimacy, of negro Masonry. This bold step aroused violent antagonism in other American sovereign bodies, some of which promptly broke off recognition. The storm raged for a time with violence, but it died down; and, though self-constituted Grand Lodges of coloured men are now to be found in various States, none of them is recognized by any regular American Grand Lodge or by the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, each of which holds that there cannot be acknowledged opposing ruling bodies in the same territorial area. The whole problem, however, is one to be studied with the utmost care, and not only in the country it most closely affects. It especially interests England, because the head and front of the movement is the Prince Hall Jurisdiction of negro birth and membership from the time of its coming into being very early in the nineteenth century. This derives its name and original inspiration from a negro named Prince Hall, who was initiated in a British Army Lodge during the War of Independence. There is a foundation claim that the Lodge to which he belonged was fully recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, and that from it was legitimately evolved, a score of years later, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge. This is a claim which on close and impartial investigation can be dismissed on both heads; but the belief in it cannot be ignored. It was held to be sufficiently strong to warrant a proposal in 1875–6 by the Grand Lodge of Ohio to recognize the Prince Hall Jurisdiction. This movement ended in nothingness, as did that of the Washington State Grand Lodge a quarter of a century later. Yet the fact that the claim is still persistently urged has to be reckoned with in conjunction with the rest, and it should give pause before any dogmatic attempt is made to dismiss with a gesture an intricate problem, filled with combustible materials and possible to break into flame at any moment if handled with roughness and inconsideration.

Apart from sectional schisms and a continually abiding colour difficulty, there was one moment of crisis in American Masonry which thrilled the whole nation and even temporarily threatened absolute destruction. A century has passed since its occurrence, but the memory, though forgotten by outside observers, excites many an American even now. “The Morgan Affair,” as it is generally known, remains one of those historic mysteries which, like the Casket Letters in Scotland, the Man in the Iron Mask in France, and the Letters of Junius in England, have proved insoluble; and, as with all these, it had repercussions continuing controversially to reverberate still. It can easily be summarized: it cannot effectively be explained. One William Morgan, who from all verifiable accounts was a shiftless wastrel of fifty, settled in 1826 in a small village in Western New York. In some undiscoverable Lodge he seems to have become a Freemason, though this remains problematic; and, being in sore need of money, he joined a local printer in a project to publish yet another “Exposure” of the Secrets of the Order, being assisted therein by an expelled Knight Templar. If any speculator of the same type had at that time essayed this experience in England — as a score or two have done from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries — none would have troubled, as the practice has been common and disreputable form. But the Brethren of Batavia and the village region round about took the venture so seriously to heart that, after ineffectually trying to burn Morgan’s shop and just as foolishly getting him on flimsy pretexts clapped into gaol, some of them resolved to abduct him and carry him across the border into Canada. They took him from the prison as far as Fort Niagara, but there the arrangements were bungled and broke down; the captive became violently troublesome; and then ensued an impenetrable silence. Morgan as completely vanished from sight as twenty years before had the English diplomatist, Benjamin Bathurst, presumably spirited away in most mysterious circumstances by Buonapartist agents when on a mission from Vienna to London. Whether Morgan was deliberately murdered and thrown into the river, or was smothered while struggling with his captors, will never be known. The story that he escaped and made his way to Smyrna in Turkey — how and why never attempted to be sanely explained — can be dismissed. The main point is that the man had vanished from the Masons who illegally held him in custody; and all non-Masonic and some of Masonic America cried “Murder” with rapidly rising voice.

There ensued one of those violent bursts of hysterical indignation known to all peoples at varying periods; and in the Morgan case, as with others of the sort, this was fanned by unworthy motives of the baser political type. An obvious duty rested on the Masonic body to repudiate an ugly transaction in which some of its members had avowedly shared. The Governor of New York State, De Witt Clinton, who was likewise its Grand Master, rose to the occasion, and at once tried to stem the soaring tide of popular indignation, by using the utmost endeavours to solve the mystery and track those immediately implicated. Four men were charged with the admitted abduction and formally indicted; the Governor publicly declared that the breaking of a Masonic obligation was “no justification or excuse for any violation of the laws of the State”; he inspired a proclamation enjoining the pursuit and apprehension of Morgan’s assailants, and commanding the co-operation of the people in maintaining the ascendancy of the laws; and he offered increasing rewards for the discovery of “the perpetrators of a crime so abhorrent to humanity, and so derogatory to the ascendancy of law and order,” with promise of a free pardon to any accomplice making full revelation. All his efforts were vain. Thurlow Weed, an unscrupulous politician eager for leadership, turned the incident to party use; and various religious denominations were so swept away with the torrent that, fantastically discovering that the Craft was not only accommodated to the prejudices of the Jews but adoptive of “Orders of Knighthood from Popery,” excluded Masons from participation in the Holy Communion. They were rejected as jurors, prevented from occupying even the smallest official position, and assembled mothers by solemn resolution forbade their daughters to keep them company. Masonic meetings were suppressed, often by recourse to arms, Masonic merchants boycotted, and ministers who would not denounce Masonry from their pulpits dismissed. And this malignant fever raged at great height for three years.

De Witt Clinton was forced by the storm to withdraw from both his Governorship and Grand Mastership; and, though the Anti-Masonic candidate for the former post was defeated by 100,000 votes in 1828, he came within 8,000 of victory two years later. In the next Presidential election year of 1832 the Anti-Masonic party polled close on 350,000 votes in the United States, and Vermont not only elected an Anti-Masonic Governor but cast its solid vote for the Electoral College in favour of the Anti-Masonic candidates for President and Vice-President, though these were hopelessly out of the running when that body came to its choice. This was the final great effort of the Anti-Masons, but during their five years of turbulent agitation they had worked enormous harm. Hundreds of Lodges throughout the United States ceased to work; many forfeited their Charters, some of which were afterwards put to illegitimate use; and several thousands of members crouched before the tornado and crept silently away. Some went decidedly farther in disregarding their Craft’s allegiance, for two of the nineteen Anti-Masonic Conventions held in New York State in 1827 were organized by “Seceding Masons,” who had severed their connection so as to wage war against all secret societies, even one who for fifteen years had been Senior Grand Warden of the State Grand Lodge leading many in public renunciation of the Order. When the gale had blown past, and those who had remained faithful were given fitting honour, only one permanent result of the agitation remained, and that was the creation of National Conventions in the United States, for the Anti-Masonic leaders, wishing to perfect their organization throughout the country, summoned the first ever held. The example was quickly followed by the rival political parties, who at various National and State Conventions began to adopt resolutions, a system which has developed into the “platform” on which every American electoral campaign is now conducted. But the troubled waters in Masonry took long to subside; and as lately as 1853 a further secession was added to that then troubling the Grand Lodge of New York, because of an apparently groundless accusation against the newly-elected Grand Master of having lent the powerful aid of his pen to the injury of Freemasonry “during the dark days.”

Just when memory of the Morgan troubles had died away as an effective hindrance to the Craft, another difficulty threatened, which sprang from a deeper source and had in essence a more thrilling appeal, but which by much patience and great tact was surmounted. This arose from the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, in the month following which the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, one of the Southern States, wrote to the Grand Lodge of New York, imploring the exercise of its influence to stay hostilities destined to continue four years. New York held that no enquiry could be made into the subject and no appropriate action suggested without discussing political questions and affairs of civil government clearly outside the province of Freemasonry. Yet, in another direction, Tennessee’s plea proved a power for good. She prayed God to “dissipate and disperse the storm-cloud of destruction which seems to hang so fearfully above us,” but “if all efforts fail, if every appeal for peace shall be thrust aside, if the sword must still be the last resort, and accepted as the final arbiter, we beseech the Brethren engaged in the awful contest to remember that a fallen foe is still a brother, and as such is entitled to warmest sympathies and kindliest attentions.”

The plea was heeded. A New York Mason, severely wounded at Bull Run, was taken prisoner to New Orleans, where the Grand Master of Louisiana at once provided for his comfort and supplied other Masonic war captives in the city with food, clothing, and medical attention. The Grand Lodge of New York expressly thanked this Southern Brother, and just at the same time learned of a courtesy extended by some of its own members to a Virginia Lodge, which was much appreciated in the South. Among the deserted buildings in the Virginian village of Hampton, a New York regiment, finding the Masonic Hall open to depredation, carefully removed its jewels, regalia, and warrants, including one of 1787, and had them restored under a flag of truce to the Grand Secretary of Virginia as the rightful custodian until peace. While thus keeping itself scrupulously free from interference in political affairs and declining to join a proposed Peace Conference of Masons called by Kentucky early in the strife. New York set an example to the North by declaring against the establishment or continuance of military Lodges doing their work in various and sometimes subjugated States, as well as by forbidding its Lodges to present individual Brethren serving in the Northern Army with swords, sashes, and other insignia of war. This largely served to preserve Masonic harmony during the strenuous time; and, when it was over and the people of the South were severely suffering from its results, the Grand Master of New York strengthened that harmony by declaring, “Famine, distress, and want point the road to duty. A labour of charity is before us: let it be performed promptly and generously.” And there was a liberal and lively response, in accordance with the spirit of that one among the ancient “Charges of a Free-Mason” which declares that “Craftsmen are bound by peculiar ties to promote peace, cultivate harmony, and live in concord and brotherly love.”

This age-old Charge had also laid it down that “Masonry has ever flourished in times of peace and been always injured by war, bloodshed, and confusion”; but American experience after the Civil War, just as that of England after the Great War, did not fully bear out this contention. The two experiences, indeed, were strikingly similar alike in outline and detail. In the decade from 1861 to 1870, which embraced the Civil War, the Grand Lodge membership of New York nearly tripled in numbers, the total of 30,835 Master Masons affiliated with the regular Lodges in the former year, which had risen in the latter to 77,079, reaching in 1876 the peak height of 83,594. But then came a serious drop to 71,788 in 1881, and a steadier rate of progress was resumed, to be decidedly accelerated as a result of the Great War thirty-five years later, with always the possibility of reaction. This has been the precise experience of the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1913, the year immediately preceding the struggle, 14,831 fresh English Master Masons’ certificates were issued, which annually dwindled to 12,193 in 1916, but then again, though two years before the War closed, began to rise. The 15,328 of 1917 and 18,453 of 1918 grew with rapidity until the record of 30,983 was reached in 1921, but then went progressively down to 20,011 in 1928, very near which figure the total of incoming Masons stabilized itself for the next few years. The Craft membership, therefore, had returned to a normal rate of growth; and, as the English Jurisdiction always has prided itself on the quality rather than the quantity of its membership, its authorities declare themselves content to look forward with confidence to a continuance of strength.

If the statistics of all the forty-nine American Jurisdictions could be analysed, they would probably show a like result: in any case they can be described only as stupendous, and this despite the openly displayed hostility of the Roman Catholic Church and the occasionally outrageous attacks of the Ku Klux Klan. When the great Bishop Berkeley, discoursing two centuries since “On the Prospect of planting Arts and Learning in America,” wrote “Westward the course of empire takes its way,” he was precisely though unconsciously forecasting the course of not only American nationhood but American Freemasonry. Both, for all practical purposes, began in New England and for long were content to travel southwards along the Atlantic coast; but as the country was opened up to population and wealth the tide turned from east to west, and nationhood and Freemasonry alike travelled with it from the Atlantic to the Pacific shore. It would be impossible here to give the several steps by which the Middle West and Far West alike were steadily covered with Masonic Jurisdictions following on the creation of States; but wherever men went Masonry was wanted, and its organized form was supplied from the same original fount. The creative radiation was from England, with strivings from Scotland towards Massachusetts and Virginia, but it was from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with an occasional outreaching from New York, that the American Lodges directly or by devolution came. By the end of the eighteenth century the settled part of the country had been covered with Sovereign Jurisdictions: by the end of the nineteenth all the forty-eight States had been so provided, leaving only the Philippine Islands for the twentieth, to be effectively dealt with in its opening year.

The throwing of American Masonic sovereignty as far as the Philippines was part of a world-spreading movement, affecting more continents than one, that is of growing importance as possessing a significance of which even its authors may not have realized the full power. It was no new thing in Masonry for the Sovereign Jurisdiction of one nation to warrant Lodges in countries not its own. England did it very early in its history and does it still, the only qualification being that it refrains, except by special agreement, from the practice in territories already occupied by a ruling Masonic authority. Scotland followed the example, and, while England was content with setting it only temporarily in respect to Spain, Scotland to-day possesses a Lodge of its own at Ferrol. Certain of the American Grand Lodges, and notably New York, Massachusetts, and California (from the second among which the third primarily derives) have during the present century done much to spread the influence of their own Masonry over the universe by either directly constituting or personally inspiring the constitution of Lodges and even Grand Lodges in Europe, Asia, the Islands Overseas, and Latin America. The original impulse was from the Great Britain of two centuries since, but it was only towards the close of the last century and the earlier years of the present that it bore most fruit for the Masons of the United States. Massachusetts, as befitted its seniority of position on the American Roll of Grand Lodges, began the process in 1853 by authorizing a Lodge at Valparaiso, and thus paving the way towards the formation of a District Grand Lodge of Chile, now composed of a Lodge formed in 1876 at Santiago and another eight years later at Concepcion, in addition to that at Valparaiso. In 1863 a China district was begun by a Massachusetts-authorized Lodge at Shanghai, followed by two others there just forty years after, and five in various towns of China and Manchuria since the establishment of the Chinese Republic. The creation of a Massachusetts District Grand Lodge in the Panama Canal Zone was of much later date, beginning with two Lodges at Cristobal in 1912, with five at various Canal points from 1915 to 1921. And believing, as leading American authorities do, in seeing at first hand the work done in their name, the Grand Master of Massachusetts visited in 1925 his Lodges in the Canal Zone, and a successor in 1930 those in China.

This taste for travel, now beginning to be acquired also by the United Grand Lodge of England, accounts in some degree for the energetic way in which the Grand Lodge of New York within recent years has lengthened its cords and strengthened its stakes in the Eastern hemisphere. The Great War has been largely responsible for that particular effort. In 1922 this Jurisdiction went a very long way in broadening the Masonic theory of extra>territoriality by granting a petition from a number of Brethren, citizens of Finland and chiefly members of Lodges under New York rule, to establish a Lodge at Helsingfors according to New York regulations; and this was consecrated in that year by the New York Grand Master himself. A Lodge at Tammerfort and another at Abo were warranted by the same authority the next year; and in 1924, on the petition of the three, the New York Grand Lodge granted a Charter of Constitution for a Grand Lodge of Finland, called into active existence by the same great Masonic official who had consecrated its first Lodge; and this supreme authority has now received regular recognition by England, with which Jurisdiction it to-day stands in friendliest relations. Roumania also has furnished a further field for New York activity in Europe, the first constitution of Lodges therein after the War being of American authorization, and now formed into a Grand Orient of their own. But the most romantic development was in Syria and the Lebanon in Asia Minor, wherein Beirut saw the first Syrio-American Lodge, to be follow’ed by one in the ancient historic city of Damascus, and others in that once “red rose country half as old as time.” By the side of these resuscitations from far-off antiquity, California’s authorization in the present century of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines has a decidedly Modern aspect; but, with its own three Lodges in Honolulu, California assists the story of American far-reaching Masonic adventure which is not yet complete.

Meantime, the Grand and Regular Lodges of the United States continued to expand and to multiply exceedingly. The latest returns available in 1929 showed a total of 16,529 Lodges, with an aggregate and steadily increasing membership of 3,303,629, a number calculated to stagger Masons in other lands. New York headed the list of Lodges with 1,011 and that of membership with 343,700, with Illinois running closely up with 1,008 and 293,000 respectively. Among the oldest American Grand Lodges, Pennsylvania with no more than 565 Lodges had as many as 212,803 members and Massachusetts with 325 had 125,288. These must be taken as samples of a very large sack, the component parts of which it would not be possible to analyse. The figures are those of Craft Masonry alone, that being the type which England recognizes as true in theory, tradition, and practice; and American Masonry is often misjudged by visitors from without because of the prevalence of excrescent bodies of spurious origin and specious pretence which the ruling American authorities, greatly to their own detriment, allowed to grow until the parasitic plants have become so strong as to draw continuous sap from the parent tree. Apart from the extravagancies and eccentricities of these outside organizations, American Freemasonry possesses a courage, vigour, and scholarship which should carry it to even greater heights.

This must largely depend on the degree to which the Craft Masonry of the United States continues to attract to itself leaders from the thinking classes, who from the outset have furnished its chief strength. In a special measure lawyers have been to the front throughout, with doctors, ministers of religion, and active men of affairs to assist in giving guidance. Unpossessed of territorial or aristocratic chiefs, America has looked for guidance to men of civil ascendancy. Her Masons are proud to recall those of their Order who were among the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, and to remember the many Presidents from “the Father of his Country” to Mr. Hoover who have been Brethren of the Craft, these including James Monroe of the famous “Doctrine,” “Old Hickory” Andrew Jackson (who had been Grand Master of Tennessee), James Buchanan and William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft, the last-named later to hold the greatest judicial position in the United States as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at Washington. Federal and State judges have abounded in prominent Masonic positions, as well as active lawyers and assiduous literary men. Concerning these last, it proved symbolically prophetic that Benjamin Franklin, the first American Freemason of world fame, was both printer and publisher, for love of the printed word is strikingly displayed in the United States. In no other country is there such a mighty and continuous Masonic outpouring, and this not only of histories and both permanent and passing records, but journals of striking literary calibre, making either national or State appeal. The mass is so great and constantly growing that the historic student is apt to cry with the prophet, “Can these dry bones live?” But so much meat attaches to them that the hope can be indulged that some American Mason possessed with the will and the skill, the balance and the bravery needed for the enterprise, will undertake the Herculean task of separating the gold from the dross, the fantasies from the facts, and fuse the result into a concrete whole.

Very much could be said concerning the splendid benevolence displayed by the American Masons, but there can here be noted their enormous expendiiture of skill and money on buildings worthy of their highest aims. The House of the Temple at Washington, while not of Craft erection, serves only those who have entered through the Craft. But, though it is probably the finest Masonic edifice in the world, its glory threatens to be somewhat eclipsed by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, erected close to the capital by Brethren all over the United States. By this superb erection American Masons specially commemorate the First President, who took the Oath to the Constitution on the Bible of his Mother Lodge, and whose Chair, occupied by him while Master, is regarded by American Freemasons with reverence. This is similarly given by Germans to the Master’s gavel used by Fredrick the Great as head of the senior Lodge among those which compose the Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes, most ancient of the traditional three Old Prussian Grand Lodges with headquarters in Berlin, and having its home on ground presented by Frederick himself. But the true strength of American Masonry as of British is in its innermost faith, manifesting itself in a multitude of good works. Britain and America alike hold that a simple explicit belief in God is the rock on which Freemasonry was founded, to which it has always clung, and from which it will at no time and in no circumstances be driven or allured.



Freemasonry already had established itself in England, Ireland, and Scotland before it began to spread overseas, and it is necessary to trace the general beginnings of that spread before examining the particular. In the early times of British Masonic organization overseas meant everywhere outside the United Kingdom, as no doctrine of territorial jurisdiction limiting the powers of Grand Lodge to its own country or, at the widest, to its own nationals had yet been evolved or probably dreamed of. This is plain from the fact that in 1728 “a Letter from several Masons at a Lodge at Madrid, residing at present in Madrid and other places in the Kingdom of Spain” was read to Grand Lodge — described in the whole correspondence as “the Grand Lodge” and not of England” — for the first time “asking the favour of being inserted in the Book under the name of The Madrid Lodge.” “Sometime agoe,” the signatories said, when they had had “the Opportunity of the Presence of his Grace the Duke of Wharton” — who had been Grand Master in 1723 but three years later was in Spain, having been exiled for his active Jacobitism — “to Constitute a Lodge in this Town, the which he readily granted.” The brilliant, restless, eccentric Wharton, then only twenty-seven, and dying an outlaw in Catalonia when barely thirty-three, had no right to do this; but Grand Lodge accepted the accomplished fact, “drank prosperity to the Brethren of the Lodge at Madrid,” and desired the Grand Master to write them word of their being acknowledged and received as Brethren.

Despite this earliest attempt at overseas development, the Madrid Masons remained uneasy as to the regularity of their constitution. Their Master, who had signed the letter read to Grand Lodge in the April of 1728, appeared himself therein in the following November. He “stood up and confirm’d what was said therein concerning their Regularity and submission to us, etc., and acquitted himself in a handsom manner like a Gentleman and a Good Mason; and then the Health to the Brethren of the Madrid Lodge was propos’d and drank with three Huzzas.” But the Master evidently remained in doubt; and in March 1729 in Grand Lodge he again represented that his Lodge had never been “regularly constituted by the Authority of the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Wardens in England, and therefore humbly prayed a Deputation for that purpose.” This indefatigable Master — Charles Labelle, De la Belle, or de Labelye, as he is variously recorded in the easy-going spelling of proper names of the time — was instantly requested to undertake the task himself, whereupon once more his health was drunk, and he returned the compliment to the Grand Master, his Deputy, and the Grand Wardens, “with all the Brethren present and prosperity to the Craft wheresoever dispersed.” And the last to be learned of this diligent Freemason is that in 1730 he was Senior Warden of a London Lodge.

It was likewise from the Peninsula that the second overseas Lodge sought to be made regular. Gibraltar (against which the outlawed Wharton, as a Spanish colonel, had served in the siege of 1727) possessed a St. John’s Lodge, obviously of military origin. In 1728 its Brethren, having “nothing more at heart than their Duty to God, our King and Country, and his Grace the Duke of Richmond as Grand Master,” petitioned the Grand Master “that they may be instituted a regular Lodge in due fform.” Their prayer was granted in March 1729; and there was issued a “deputation” — or as it now would be termed in England a Warrant — delegating to certain specified Brethren the power to “constitute a regular Lodge in due fform (taking especial care that they and every one of them have been regularly made Masons) with like Privileges as all other regular Lodges do enjoy.” This document of March 9, 1729, is of special importance in the history of English-speaking Freemasonry, as, with one of just a month before (February 6) to certain Brethren at “Fort William in Bengal in the East Indies,” the nucleus of to-day’s great city of Calcutta, it is the earliest English Warrant yet traced, and it still exists. These transactions are of the more significance as showing the rapid growth of general recognition of “the Grand Lodge in England” as being the Grand Lodge of England — a distinction of as marked difference as between the status of the last “King of France” and the only “King of the French,” or between “the Emperor of Germany” and “the German Emperor,” a distinction thoroughly understood by diplomats and historians though generally passing unseen.

A Lodge, therefore, was being constituted at Fort William contemporaneously with that at Gibraltar; and both “deputations,” similarly worded with great care, contain the essential injunctions appearing in the Lodge Warrants of to-day. One of the Calcutta petitioners, who presented the document “to the Chair,” having “offered himself to perform the service, he intending to make a voyage to that place in a short time,” was accorded the duty, carrying with him “ample necessary Instructions, agreeable to ancient custom, and the present Regulations of this Society.” These were so satisfactorily obeyed that not only were the Lodge “regulations,” equivalent to present-day by-laws, approved by Grand Lodge but “their healths were drunk.” This was in January 1731; and Masonic matters at Fort William progressed with such smoothness and harmony that just four years later the Grand Master “was pleased to Order a large quantity of Rack” — arrack, the potent spirit which furnished the foundation for the rack punch beloved of the hard-headed eighteenth century — “that was made a Present of from Bengall in the East Indies to the Grand Officers to be made into Punch and to be distributed among the Brethren.” And the Bengal Masons were not only hospitable but charitable, for at the end of this same 1735 they gave twenty guineas to the Grand Charity. In the accustomed fashion their health was once more saluted, and the Grand Secretary was “Ordered to write them a Letter of Thanks for their generous Contribution to the Charity, and the other handsome Present of Arrack sent by them to the Grand Lodge.” By 1735, therefore, the foundations of English overseas Masonry had been well and truly laid. The most important developments were in North America, when New England, with Boston as its centre, was given, as has been shown, a Provincial Grand Lodge in 1730, with Lodges in what are now the Southern States of Georgia and the Carolinas to come not long after.

Meantime, the Masonic system established in England was rapidly spreading on the European Continent, its ramifications extending to Paris in 1732, Valenciennes in the following twelvemonth, and Aubigny two years later, while Hamburg had an English-founded Lodge in 1733, and Lisbon and The Hague in 1735. France, Germany, Portugal, and the Netherlands were thus brought into the fold, in addition to the earlier, at first unauthorized but speedily recognized, inclusion of Spain. But before Switzerland with Lausanne followed in 1740, there had been manifested in practical form the desire of Lodges in other countries to rule themselves and to receive no direction from the Mother Grand Lodge of England. The four Lodges born in Paris in the seventeen-thirties joined the Grand Lodge of France in 1738; and this example seems not long later to have inspired “Lodge Perfect Union of Strangers” of Lausanne to show the old Switzer spirit of independence. Warranted on February 2, 1740, by the English Grand Lodge, and assembling, as it is noted, in a private room and not at a hostelry, as had been the invariable custom in London and Paris, the Lausanne Lodge promptly declared itself a Grahd Lodge on its own account. But it was a mushroom growth, and lived no more than three years, in either its subordinate or self-asserted position. It was closed by the State on March 3, 1743; and, though it lingered on the English official list until 1769, Masonic history knew it no more.

As was natural, the attraction of the Grand Lodge of England remained most marked for Masons dwelling in English lands overseas. Those of North America — Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, and the Carolinas — showed the most rapid progress; and there was a decided spread in the West Indies of the movement that had proved so active in the East. 1738 saw the foundation of a Lodge at Parham, and the next year one at St. John, both in the island of Antigua; while likewise in 1739 Jamaica came into Masonic line, with a Lodge at Kingston and one to follow seven years later at Spanish Town, Barbados entering the fold with a Lodge at Bridge Town in 1740. Canada with her present nine Independent Grand Lodges had not yet stirred, any more than Australasia with her seven. But all the most important spade-work had been done in those earliest years by the 1717 Grand Lodge of England. No detailed relation can here be attempted of the way in which Lodges of England’s warranting, with those springing from British authority — English, Irish, or Scottish — began to spread over the universe. Grand Lodges were early evolved in every European country, including even Russia, while in Turkey Lodges of English inspiration existed in 1738 at Smyrna and Aleppo. The magnetic effect of the Masonic effort put forth in all lands in the first quarter of a century of English-organized Freemasonry never faded,amid all the vicissitudes of internal dissension and external attack of the following fifty years.

Even when attention is restricted to English-authorized Lodges, their story can only in outline be told. It has been shown how indefatigably Henry Price discharged his duties from 1733 as Provincial Grand Master of New England, deriving his power from the Grand Lodge in London. He laboured to extend his Masonic dominion, Canada naturally soon coming under his notice; and 1738 is accepted as the date of his foundation of the first Lodge constituted in that part of the world. Sundry Brethren at Annapolis — “the City of Anne” occupied by the British in that Queen’s reign — petitioned Price to institute a Lodge; and this he did, appointing Major Erasmus James Phillips, a British officer. Deputy Provincial Master of Acadia, now Nova Scotia. Phillips — who was of a family specially known in twentieth-century England for its overseas connections — had been made a Mason under Price’s auspices in Boston, and in December 1739 he figured in the Massachusetts minutes as “G.M. De Nov. Scot.” He was either son or nephew of the British Governor of the Province, and proved himself active in official as well as Masonic life. To him on June 12, 1750, was addressed a petition of great moment in Canadian Craft history, praying for “a Warrant or Deputation” to establish a Lodge at Halifax, up to the previous year known as Chebucto Harbour. There were five signatories, one a brewer and merchant, two British lieutenants, and one a clerk of the Governor. But the most important, and of special significance to us of a later day, was “The Rt. Worshl. His Excellency Edwd. Cornwallis, Esqr.,” whom Phillips, when acceding to the petition, appointed the first Master. Brigadier-General Edward Cornwallis (a far-away family connection of Lord Cornwallis, Deputy Grand Master of England in 1930) already had proved himself a good Mason. He probably was the “Honble. Mr. Cornwallis,” named in the Grand Lodge records as member of a London Lodge, largely aristocratic and military, which met in 1725 at the Bedford Head in Covent Garden. In 1748 he was the first Senior Warden of a Lodge of the 20th Foot, warranted by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the Master being Lord George Sackville, brother of the Earl of Middlesex, already noted as founder of a Lodge in Florence, and himself a very few years later to be Grand Master of Ireland. Son of Charles, 3rd Baron Cornwallis of the older creation, Edward had served in the 20th Foot, which he quitted on appointment in May 1749 as Governor of Nova Scotia. It is interesting to note that the vacant lieutenant-colonelcy passed to Major James Wolfe, who died later in the act of winning immortal fame on the Heights of Abraham. Cornwallis, being Governor of the Province, delegated to a Deputy his duties as Master of the new Lodge; and this custom was continued by his successor in both the Governorship and the Lodge Chair.

With Nova Scotia as originating centre, and Halifax forming a second Lodge within a twelvemonth of the first, Canadian Masonry steadily spread in the eighteenth century, though sometimes in an irregular way. The “Antients” soon perceived the fertility of the field the “Moderns” had been first to farm; and in December 1757 their Grand Lodge warranted a Provincial Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, and Halifax, in this instance as before, furnished its first two Lodges, both formed within the earliest twelvemonth. Gradually Canada quietly parted from the over-leadership of New England, and we find in 1760 record of a “Grand Master of Canada” of “all Canada” four years later; “for Quebec” in 1767; and “for Canada” in 1786. But the “Antient” Grand Lodge in 1792 appointed H.R.H. Prince Edward (afterwards Duke of Kent and grandfather of the Duke of Connaught, England’s 1930 Grand Master) to be “Provincial Grand Master for Canada.” As has been indicated already, it was when leaving his position there in 1796 that Kent, later to assist his brother Sussex in consummating the English Masonic Union, was the earliest Freemason of prominence to recommend steps towards a happy ending for the then long-abiding divergence between “Moderns” and “Antients.” Strikingly enough, it was from Canada, whence this urge to Masonic unity originally came, that in the nineteenth century signs of breakaway of Overseas Grand Lodges generally from the English Jurisdiction first developed.

This was made manifest to Grand Lodge in 1823, when Sussex as Grand Master stated that, as a number of Lodges in Upper Canada professed to have been constituted under Grand Lodge authority but appeared to be acting without regular Warrants from any Grand Lodge, he had appointed a Past Grand Warden, “about to visit Canada,” to be Provincial Grand Master, specially charged to bring such Lodges into regularity. Simon McGillivray, thus designated for a most important duty, had in point of fact been appointed to the post in May 1822, after a delay of three years in dealing effectively with Canadian communications of complaint — a delay which aroused suspicion of the Grand Lodge of England’s good intentions and sowed seeds of a distrust very slowly eradicated, though admission is now made that one of their own high officials should share the blame. In the July of 1822 McGillivray, acknowledged to have been eminently qualified for his difficult task, arrived on the scene of action as Provincial Grand Master for Upper Canada, and at once set to work on the first directly accredited Overseas Mission of peace and concord ever undertaken. The result was immediate success, and the main body of Canadian Lodges were brought within the warranted fold. Masonry was rendered so strong by this creation of a united feeling that even the William Morgan agitation across the American border, though a part of the mystery came from the missing man being brought by his abductors across the river at Niagara, had little ill effect.

Yet as time went on, despite an apparent re-establishment of unity under the Grand Lodge of England and the growth of the Craft as a result, a desire for the Masonic independence of Canada grew, until in 1855 it reached definite fruition. Canadian grievances were stimulated by English delays, and, as no reply had been received to a recital of the former despatched to London eighteen months before, a Special Communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West, held at Niagara Falls in July 1855, resolved to send a special agent to Grand Lodge to obtain an answer “in order to allay that intense excitement already too prevalent in this Provincial Grand Lodge.” What was sought from the Mother Grand Lodge was such an extension of powers as practically to form an independent Grand Lodge in Canada. The English Board of General Purposes at last scented danger, and in the September, but too late to be acted on by Grand Lodge at that month’s Quarterly Communication, it reported that “the expedience and propriety of rejecting or complying with the prayer of the petition rests with the Grand Master.” But, while thus temporizing, it censured the Grand Secretary, by this time an old and wearied man, for the delays which had occurred in dealing with Canadian complaints.

This halting action came too late to stem the rising tide; and on October 10, 1855, a historic date in Canadian Masonry, twenty-five English Lodges (exactly half the whole), all the fourteen Irish Lodges, and the one Scottish Lodge in that portion of what is now “the Dominion,” organized the Grand Lodge of Canada, a still-existing body but to-day known more formally as the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West dissociated itself from this movement which had outrun that body’s original objective, but it made strong representations to England concerning grievances of its own, and it asked terms equivalent to independence. Zetland, now the Grand Master, met the difficulty in a dilatory but placable spirit, echoed by Grand Lodge in March 1857 in the adoption of an arrangement going far towards meeting the demand. But the Canadian Brethren were by this time in no reciprocal mood, and they declined to accept the suggested plan. The Provincial Grand Lodge of West Canada on June 30, 1857, declared itself in its turn independent as “the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada,” and directed the return of its various Warrants to Grand Lodge. Thirty-four such Warrants were sent back to England before the end of the year by Sir Allan Napier Macnab, who had been appointed in 1844 Provincial Grand Master of Canada West, and had taken the position of first Grand Master in the break-away Grand Lodge, which promptly prayed for recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England. But the grant of the prayer was quietly delayed, with the accustomed and deleterious result.

By this time all Canadian Masonry, whether in East or West, was in a ferment which spread to England, causing stormy debates and even uproarious scenes in Grand Lodge itself, customarily in present days the most serene of assemblies. Its official reports at that time were extremely inadequate, but it can be gathered from contemporaneous sources that the habitual procrastination of the highest Masonic authorities and the chilling tone of the official correspondence were the subject of severe criticism not only outside but inside Freemasons’ Hall. In the midst of the turmoil Thomas Douglas Harington, who in 1852 had been appointed Provincial Grand Master for the City and District of Quebec and Three Rivers — and there was a third Canadian Provincial Grand Master for Montreal and William Henry — wrote to the Grand Master in November 1857, tendering his resignation. He complained that his warnings respecting the condition of Masonry in the Canadas had been ignored, with the resulting formation of the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada, which he desired to be recognized, while admitting that the three Lodges of Quebec, in his own portion of Canada, had decided not to withdraw their allegiance from the Grand Lodge of England. Zetland replied with unaccustomed promptitude to the various statements point by point, and concluded in frigid terms by saying that recognition could not be granted. Harington with similar promptitude drew up a voluminous answer, which, with Zetland’s letter, he circulated to the whole Craft in Canada, endeavouring, as he himself claimed, “to bring about, what we must all wish for, a firmly cemented union of the fraternity under one Grand Lodge of Canada.” A new English Grand Secretary, more alert but not more diplomatic than his predecessor, answered at the Grand Master’s direction; and the almost brusque terms of the letter provoked Harington to invite the members of both the self-constituted Canadian Grand Lodges then existing — one the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Canada and the other the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada — to meet in solemn assembly, and become incorporated under the former title. This invitation he at once communicated to the Grand Secretary in London, indicating that, while he did not look for immediate recognition of Canadian independence, he had no doubt it would come. On July 14, 1858 — the true Independence Day of Canadian Freemasonry — the union of the two bodies was formally ratified at a joint convention. Zetland, at last thoroughly aroused to the seriousness of the situation, proved ready at once to act. He told the Grand Secretary that, if official news of the union reached London before the September Quarterly Communication, he would immediately move the recognition by England of the new Grand Lodge. But no such formal news was received at Freemasons’ Hall until November 30; and then at the December Communication, held the very next day, Zetland recommended Grand Lodge, without anything like adequate notice, to adopt a resolution recognizing the newly-united body as an independent Grand Lodge, having jurisdiction over the Province hitherto known as Canada West, and expressing the “desire to entertain with it henceforth such a cordial and fraternal intercourse as will serve to promote the interests of Masonry in both countries.” It was clearly indicated, however, that Grand Lodge would guard the interests of those Lodges in Quebec, Montreal, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick which had not thrown off their allegiance to the United Grand Lodge of England.

But Zetland’s haste to repair the faults caused by previous delays had an unfortunate result. Even those who in Grand Lodge had stoutly upheld the Canadian claims immediately raised serious doubts as to the dignity or wisdom of taking so decisive a course without full consideration. An angry discussion ensued, and a proposal was made to adjourn the question “for further information and an opportunity for more mature deliberation.” The clerical mover declared that “there was a great difference between habitually travelling by a goods train and embarking all at once on a runaway engine” — a shrewd double-barrelled hit at the Grand Master’s strongly-contrasted methods of dealing with the Canadian difficulty. Zetland, by frankly admitting that his earlier concessions to Canada’s demands had come too late, won the whole of Grand Lodge to his request that action should at once be taken, so that recognition should be given gracefully and as a spontaneous act. The adjournment proposal was promptly withdrawn; and, according to a contemporary recorder, “the Grand Master’s resolution was agreed to amidst loud cheering.”

When this decision reached the other side it provoked further dispute, as the Jurisdiction recognized was limited to the Province of Canada West; and as the two Provinces of Canada East and Canada West had been politically united for nearly twenty years, the newly-united Canadian Grand Lodge, at Harington’s instance, rejected the English proposal. As a consequence, at the March Communication of the Grand Lodge of England, the non-confirmation of the December resolution was moved by the same clerical upholder of Canadian claims as in December had proposed postponing its consideration. But the acute and alert President of the Board of General Purposes — at that time John Havers, the Craft’s greatest administrator in Victorian days — soothed ruffled feelings by stating that within the previous twenty-four hours the Grand Master had received from the Canadian Grand Lodge a most courteous and fraternal letter asking reconsideration of the matter, and that “in that kindness of feeling by which he was actuated to our Colonial Brethren, he was ready to remedy whatever error they had fallen into at the last meeting, and to grant the independent Grand Lodge of Canada a jurisdiction coextensive with the Canadian Territory.” The amendment for non-confirmation was then rejected by an overwhelming majority, on the understanding that Zetland should at once enter into negotiations with William Mercer Wilson (who had been elected the first full Canadian Grand Master) for safeguarding the status of such Lodges in Canada as adhered to their allegiance to the Grand Lodge of England. Hence the Zetland-Wilson Agreement, which secured their right to continue work irrespective of the authority of the newly-formed Grand Lodge. When this arrangement was submitted to the English Grand Lodge in June, a motion, seconded by the combative pro-Canadian canon who previously had fought every step, was carried by acclaim, expressing gratification at what had been done and gratitude to the Grand Master for “the able and judicious manner in which he has brought this important matter to a successful termination.”

It might have been hoped that this would have ensured the end of what by this time had drifted into a conflict between local ambition and settled authority; but unhappily such did not prove the case. Though the Grand Lodge of Canada had accepted the Zetland-Wilson Agreement as that of England had done, it declared within two years one of the Quebec Lodge meetings in Montreal to be irregular, because its Master without authority had surrendered its Charter to Canada at the beginning of the quarrel, and the Lodge now had insisted on having it back and continuing to work under England. After a wrangle the Lodge was admitted by Canada to be regular, but the next year the same allegation of irregularity was made against a second Montreal Lodge, and once again it had to be withdrawn.

These were the concluding episodes of a dispute which at the outset could have been avoided and the acute troubles of ten years escaped, if the authorities of the Grand Lodge of England had been alert to their duty in regard to the Brethren overseas. It was due partly to procrastination, partly to inability to understand local grievances, and partly to the fear of hasty decision — ignoring the fact that indecision and delay are the worst of administrative sins — that Canada was lost to the Grand Lodge of England in the nineteenth century as the United States had been lost to the British Empire a century before. But in each case the net result has been for good. As in the United States so in the Dominion of Canada, freedom to work out their own salvation, if so desired, resulted in the Craft’s development to a high degree. This in Canada was in despite of the troubles due to the fissiparous tendencies which from time to time developed, usually beginning with Lodges of other than English jurisdiction, these, which had unremedied grievances of their own, forming a nucleus which attracted to them English Lodges similarly smarting. That had been the precise course of constitution of the Grand Lodge of Canada itself in the later eighteen-fifties; and the example was followed in 1866 by Nova Scotia, the Scottish Lodges in that province then uniting to establish a Grand Lodge. In 1869 all the Nova Scotian Lodges under the English Obedience, except the Royal Standard of Halifax, broke away and joined them; and on September 1 in that year the Grand Lodge of England, faithful to its policy of protecting its own children from involuntary absorption while yielding to the wish of those who desired self-government, formally recognized the newly-constituted Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. This was with a reservation of liberty to choose for the Royal Standard Lodge, which remained in 1930 under the Masonic banner of England, despite continuing efforts to bring it within the Nova Scotian ambit.

The Grand Lodge of Canada, with headquarters at Toronto, obviously did not feel its authority impinged on by this newly-constituted Grand Lodge, any more than it had done by the formation in 1868 of a Grand Lodge of New Brunswick. But it was different when in 1869, on their own doorstep, there was created the Grand Lodge of Quebec by a majority of the Lodges in that Province. The Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario suspended those taking part in the movement, but the rising was not to be so easily quelled; and, after consultations carried on for two years, the original Grand Lodge of Canada agreed in 1871 conditionally to recognize the Grand Lodge of Quebec, but refused to recognize a Coloured Lodge which claimed to hail from an American Jurisdiction. A very decided hitch took place, however, in 1872. The Grand Lodge of Quebec declined to assent to the conditions imposed by that of Canada in Ontario, and the matter was held up for a year. During that period the Grand Lodge of Vermont intervened in this purely domestic difference, and for a time with awkward result. Vermont in 1873 passed a resolution instructing its Grand Master completely to suspend intercourse with the Grand Lodge of Canada unless all claims to jurisdiction over Quebec were withdrawn. The Canadian Grand Master at once retorted by suspending intercourse with Vermont; but the difficulty blew over in 1874, being then settled by Canada’s full recognition of Quebec.

The Grand Lodge of Quebec was a storm-centre from the start. Immediately on its self-constitution in 1869 and its claim to full independence, it was promptly reminded from London of the terms on which the Grand Lodge of England had agreed with that of Canada concerning the three Montreal Lodges under its jurisdiction; and, while offering no obstacle to their allying themselves if they wished with the newly-established Grand Lodge of Quebec, it declined to force them to that course, holding the established English Masonic doctrine that “the creation of a new Grand Lodge cannot invalidate actual Lodges already existing in the territory over which it assumes jurisdiction.” The Grand Lodge of Quebec declined to assent to this view, and, therefore, it was not recognized by England; and the matter, though continuing to be corresponded upon, remained for years in statu quo. When in 1884 the Grand Lodge of Quebec informed the Grand Lodge of England that it had formally severed all intercourse with the three Montreal English Lodges, England’s Grand Master (then the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII) stated with reasoned detail that he could not ask Grand Lodge to force these Lodges against their expressed desire to agree to self-extinction. Quebec at the moment said nothing further to England, but complicated the situation by sending its excommunication to the Grand Lodges of the United States. This bore fruit in only one direction, and that the Grand Lodge of Illinois, which, with but one side of the case before it, promptly forbade all Masonic intercourse with the three Montreal Lodges. The Grand Lodge of England rose promptly and even peremptorily to the defence of its faithful children; and in March 1886 it severed direct relationship with the Illinois Grand Lodge, and recommended the Grand Master to withdraw the Patent issued by him to its Representative in London, who at once in Grand Lodge itself tendered his resignation “after such action on Illinois’ part.”

In the later much-improved state of Anglo-American Masonic relations, it would be unthinkable for the two Grand Lodges of England and Illinois to sever friendly relations in so abrupt a way, apparently without attempt on either side to ascertain the other’s point of view. Still less could it happen, in the present condition of personal communication, that so anomalous a state of things could have been allowed to continue for seven years; but the breach was healed by the Grand Lodge of Illinois towards the end of 1892 withdrawing its edict banning the Brethren of the Montreal Lodges who held firm to the English Obedience, and suggesting a resumed exchange of representatives with England. On this being communicated to London, there was a prompt expression of great satisfaction by the leading authorities; and in April 1893 it was intimated to Chicago that “His Royal Highness the Grand Master much regretted the circumstances under which he found it necessary to withdraw the Representative of the Grand Lodge near the Grand Lodge of Illinois, and he is gratified to learn the cause of his so doing has now been removed.” The good feeling thus re-established has continued ever since, strengthened by the fact that Illinois’ representative was in 1930 of English birth and initiation; but it is to be noted that, though in 1886 the severance of diplomatic relations had been openly declared in Grand Lodge, their resumption in 1893 was effected in private correspondence, and was not reported to the ruling body of the English Craft. Yet, despite this action on the part of Illinois, the Grand Lodge of Quebec for many years remained silent in its tent. In January 1906, however, “feeling that the time had come for our two Grand Bodies to be in closer touch and all differences eliminated in the interests of our great Fraternity,” Quebec in its turn asked for an exchange of Representatives, it being understood that the Montreal Lodges should decide their future for themselves. Grand Lodge, on the understanding that “the rights of the Lodges under the English Constitution still working in the Province are reserved,” unanimously agreed fully to recognize the Quebec Grand Lodge. The two Montreal Lodges remaining of the original three — as well as one of great age at Halifax, Nova Scotia — are still working under the Grand Lodge of England; and all trouble for long has ceased. And these were the closing chapters of a dispute which had been drawn out to exhaustion point.

The progress of this dispute is a long, sometimes tangled, and often tedious tale, which when fully documented is a weariness to read. Yet it has needed fully summarizing in order to show the necessity for the gracious as well as the prompt handling of all such difficulties, which as they are allowed to develop by delay breed personal resentments and evil traditions most difficult to eradicate. From the time of the Masonic settlement between Canada and England, the problems with which the Canadian Brethren all over the Dominion have had to deal have been in the main domestic rather than international. Nations have passed through terror to safety, and Grand Lodges through struggle to security. The old exclamation, “Happy is the country which has no history,” may be doubted. History is a tale of trouble rather than a hymn of happiness, but while a hymn may soothe the tale thrills, and in its vibrancy strengthens the national nerve. Canada had learned much during its disputatious period; and, when the fissiparous tendency within itself more and more developed, it had become qualified by experience to deal satisfactorily with the various problems. To-day the Dominion is under the Masonic rule of nine Independent Grand Lodges — the original Grand Lodge of Canada (in the Province of Ontario), and those of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, though Newfoundland, so near the Dominion of Canada and still politically apart from it, continues Masonically to flourish as a District of the Grand Lodge of England.

It is not possible here to tell even in outline the story of how all this striking development was brought about — it must suffice to note the net result. According to the figures latest available, the parent Grand Lodge of Canada (in the Province of Ontario), bordered by Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, with headquarters at Toronto, is far at the top of the list with 563 Lodges and a steadily-growing membership amounting to 114,265. The Middle West State of Saskatchewan, of far later development than those towards the Atlantic, comes next with 196 Lodges and 14,316 Brethren; followed closely by her neighbour on the Pacific side, Alberta, with a respective 155 and 13,751; British Columbia, on the Pacific coast, with 112 and 15,235; Manitoba, back to the Middle West and bordering on Ontario, with 103 and 12,070; Quebec, possessing a largely Roman Catholic population, with 89 and 15,512; Nova Scotia, first of all “break-aways,” with 81 and 9,889; New Brunswick, which followed its lead, with 43 and 6,034; Prince Edward Island, with 15 and 1,224, ranking with the smallest Sovereign Grand Lodges of the world. And the significant fact is that in every instance these Canadian bodies show to-day not only an increase in membership but development of the healthiest kind. A more safe and satisfactory test of the true solidity of Canadian Freemasonry could not be applied. That it will long prove of the same type is confidently assured.



The foregoing survey of English-speaking Freemasonry in the Western Hemisphere has been necessarily incomplete in detail though accurate in outline. For a similar survey of the Eastern — all of it, except Australasia, of “the Old World” — the same can be claimed for the outline, with a like admission as to the detail, and this made with the less reserve because of Masonic problems presented in the Eastern Hemisphere, decidedly more in both number and complexity than in the Western. In the latter, English-speaking Freemasonry covers all North America except Mexico, but only sporadically exists in Central and South, which are covered by Masonry of the Latin type and Spanish or Portuguese variety. This problem, though needing careful elucidation and constant vigilance, is simple compared with that of “the Old World.” There it does not suffice to speak in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, for Masonry furnishes as wondrous a manifestation through many tongues as once was mystically shown in Jerusalem. Those unbound by the Masonic tie may marvel how the Craftsmen to whatever race they belong can enter into the thoughts, share the feelings, and comprehend the ideas of those as different from them and from each other as Parthians and Medes and Elamites and the dwellers in Mesopotamia. It is an abiding problem, which James Anderson essayed two centuries since to explain. “Upon the Tygris and Euphratis.” he asserted in his accustomed positive way, “flourished many learned Priests and Mathematicians known by the Names of Chaldees and Magi, who preserved the good Science, Geometry, as the Kings and great men encouraged the Royal Art…. From hence the Science and Art were both transmitted to later ages and distant Climes, notwithstanding the Confusion of Languages or Dialects which tho’ it might help to give Rise to the Masons Faculty and ancient universal Practice of conversing without speaking, and of knowing each other at a Distance, yet hinder’d not the Improvement of Masonry in each Colony, and the Communication in their distinct National Dialect.”

Of this “Improvement of Masonry in each Colony, and the Communication in their distinct National Dialect,” fruits are to be seen every day and everywhere, the most striking of all being furnished just two hundred years after Anderson wrote. This was in India, the earliest portion of the Eastern Hemisphere outside the British Isles, except Gibraltar, in which English Lodges were founded. In 1927–8, as previously indicated, a Grand Lodge delegation of five members, headed by Lord Cornwallis, England’s Deputy Grand Master, visited the Lodges in India, Burma, and Ceylon. It reported to the Grand Master on its return: “We have seen as many as five Volumes of the Sacred Law in use at one and the same time, and Brethren of the following among other races, taken at random — Europeans, Parsis, Chinese, Burmese, Hindus, Americans, Ceylonese, Punjabis, Mohammedans, Sikhs, Armenians, Greeks, Bengalis, Jews, Aracanese, and Madrassis participating in the Ceremonies. The Brotherhood of Man, under such circumstances, becomes a living reality.” This impression was confirmed during the stay in Burma, when the Delegation attended in Rangoon a Lodge which included representatives of no fewer than seventeen nationalities and seven different religions.

In the Eastern Hemisphere the Masonic observer surveys a world from China and Japan to the western extremity of the British Isles. Freemasonry is growing in Asia, Africa, and Australasia alike, as well as in Europe. Setting aside its legendary beginning in the Garden of Eden — though in the Iraq Group of English-warranted Lodges there are those of Babylonia and Mesopotamia, names redolent of Biblical association — the world-spread growth is due to the inspiring influence of organized English Freemasonry. This has sprung from a variety of causes. The British have ever been not so much a conquering as a commercial and colonizing people. It thus came about that the military drum-beat was promptly followed by the Masonic knock, and where the merchant went the Mason followed, a process which is still going on, and especially in Africa, to-day. But from the beginning it was instinctively felt that no good would come of trying to thrust English customs and doctrines on every diverse race. It is possible to foster friendship: it is impossible to force fraternity. The one must spring spontaneously from the other, and recognition of this has been the safeguard and mainstay alike of English civil, commercial, religious, and Masonic progress. Elasticity of development within what planners of railways term a deviation line, adhering strictly to the main route but allowing freedom of movement within due limits to meet local conditions or unforeseen contingencies, has allowed the Craft to lengthen its ropes and strengthen its stakes to a degree the ultra-rigid could not have dreamed of or, if they had, would have destroyed.

India, as has been shown, led the Masonic way in the East. In 1728 George Pomfret, specifically noted in the official records as “a Member of the Grand Lodge and Brother to one of the Gentlemen who signed the Petition,” presented the request of several Masons at Fort William in Bengal to be constituted into a Regular Lodge. As he was returning to India shortly and promised to carry out the necessary duties, he was given the Commission; and Lord Coleraine, as Grand Master, “Ordered Brother Pomfret to attend him at his Lordp.’s house for Instructions.” These evidently were promptly attended to, and in the Engraved List for 1730 the Lodge holden at the “East India Arms in Bengall,” with the blood-brothers George and Edward Pomfret among the members, was given a place, and “their healths were drank” in Grand Lodge when their regulations or by-laws were read therein and “highly approved of.” The former process was repeated four years later when one of their number brought home twenty guineas to the General Charity and a “handsom Present of Arrack sent by them to the Grand Lodge.” Captain Ralph Farr Winter — member in 1730 of the Queen’s Arms and Hoop and Griffin Lodges, both of London — is recorded as having in December 1731 attended Grand Lodge as “Provincial Grand Master of East India”; and in that capacity he forwarded on his return to Calcutta “a Chest of Arrack for the Use of the Grand Lodge, and ten Guineas to the General Charity being the Contribution of our Brethren in East India.” He also became one of the Stewards for the Grand Festival of 1735, among his colleagues being the artist William Hogarth and the Mason-scientist Martin Clare. By this time Winter had ceased to be Provincial Grand Master, an annually appointed officer; but he had laid Calcutta foundations so well that its Provincial Grand Lodge passed successfully through the troubles of 1756–7, its capture by Surajah Dowlah in the former year and re-capture by Robert Clive in the latter.

With 1728 as the opening date for Freemasonry in Bengal and 1730 as that of the first absolute recognition of a Provincial Grand Master in India, 1752 is to be given as that of the earliest Lodge in Madras, and 1767, when three others had been founded, as the coming into existence of its Provincial — now District — Grand Lodge. Up to the last-named year, the ruling local organization in Bengal had been known as the Province of East India, just as for a time that in Madras was recognized as for “the Coast of Coromandel, the Presidency of Madras, and Parts adjacent.” Bombay fitfully started with a first Lodge in 1758 and a Provincial Grand Master five years after, only to be quietly dropped out in 1799, and no other formally to reappear until 1861, and having a quarter of a century later its most illustrious District Grand Master in the Duke of Connaught, afterwards for very many years Grand Master of England. In the course of continuous wars and rumours of wars one Provincial Grand Master for Bengal was so hard put to it that in 1786, “being obliged for a long time past to live under a foreign jurisdiction, he cannot now come to Calcutta but on Sunday, or, if he comes on any other day, is obliged to conceal himself during the day time, and to be extremely cautious how he goes out when it is dark.” But, despite all, Masonry flourished in India and the regions round about. It spread in the progress of years to the Punjab, Ceylon, Burma, and the Eastern Archipelago, until in 1930 Bengal, earliest of all to start, headed the Indian list of District Grand Lodges with 82 Lodges, Bombay following with 49, Madras 35, the Punjab 34, Burma 20, the Eastern Archipelago 15, and Ceylon 9. Looking towards the Farthest East, the District of Hong Kong and South China had 10 and Japan 5; with in the Middle East an Iraq Group of 5, as well as 2 in Palestine, one of them rightly of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the central city traditional Freemasonry.

Asia thus being covered, attention comes to the neighbouring continent of Africa where, even more than in the other, competition in Masonic activity has long been keen. The Grand Jurisdictions of England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands work in South Africa side by side in official harmony, while in North Africa the English District Grand Lodge of Egypt and the Sudan is firmly established, with in 1930 two conflicting native Grand Lodges of Egypt centred at Cairo. To the “Antients” belongs the credit of founding the earliest recognized Lodge associated with West Africa, which for long was the nursing ground of English Masonry in what used to be termed “the Dark Continent.” Gould, up to late years the accepted English historian of Freemasonry, has stated that as long ago as 1735 one Richard Hull was appointed “Provincial Grand Master for Gambay in West Africa”; David Creighton for Cape Coast the following year; and William Douglas “for the African coast and American Islands” in 1737. But there is no trace of such appointments in the well-kept records of the Grand Lodge of England, where likewise the name of Creighton does not anywhere appear, even in the fully-published contemporary lists of members of existing Lodges, though Hull figures in 1730 on the roll of the Queen’s Arms, as well as the Hoop and Griffin, and in company on each occasion with Farr Winter, whose Masonic efforts for overseas have been already recorded. “Capt. William Douglas” also is to be noted as having belonged in the same year to the Cross Keys, a London West-End Lodge, the others just named being in the City, with Sir Cecil Wray as Master and Martin Clare as Senior Warden, the former to become in later years Deputy and the other Acting Deputy Grand Master. These two consequently were in such good Masonic company that there is nothing impossible in the idea that, if they were going abroad in those not-too-strict times, they were given by the authorities a kind of “letter of credit” enabling them to act temporarily as head of the distant places they were about to visit. A more provable statement from the Grand Lodge record is that in 1764 a Lodge under the Senior Grand Lodge of England was founded at James Town in the historic island of St. Helena, off the west coast of Africa. This had but a fitful twelvemonth of existence, and little better fate awaited another in the same town, warranted in 1798 but rendering its last dues to Grand Lodge in 1807. Nothing more promising was furnished by another African island Lodge, that of Port Louis in Mauritius on the east coast, warranted in 1816 but soon to disappear.

Capetown meantime had witnessed the foundation of a Lodge of the 91st Regiment in 1800, which did not fade out of the official list for over a quarter of a century. The Grand Orient of the Netherlands had set up a Lodge there in 1772, and thirty years later it started another when the Cape Settlement had been for a time restored to Holland in 1802, by the Peace of Amiens, after seizure by a British force in 1795. The English retook the Settlement in 1806, and received it permanently under the Treaty of Vienna a decade after. Meantime, in 1811 and 1812 respectively, the “Moderns” warranted one Cape Lodge and the “Antients” another. The latter was a military or “travelling” Lodge, but in 1821, when the first band of English settlers had arrived, United Grand Lodge authorized a second stationary one. A third English Lodge followed at Grahamstown in 1828; and, according to an official statement made long after to the Grand Lodge of England, “the Dutch Lodges received the English Brethren with open arms and with great satisfaction.” This is borne out by the fact that when an English Provincial Grand Lodge had been definitely set up in the later eighteen-twenties — though a Provincial Grand Master had been named in 1801 — Sir John Truter, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Netherlands was warranted in 1829 as Provincial Grand Master for England, evidently by way of compromise, and he continued to hold both offices until his death in 1834. The Masonic cause at the Cape, however, languished then for many years, no addition being made to the very few English Lodges between 1828 and 1850; but during the following decade six were warranted, these embracing such places afar as King William’s Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Grahamstown. So marked a progress was effected that in 1877 an Eastern Division of South Africa was created, with headquarters at Port Elizabeth, and a Western Division with Capetown as its centre, and eighteen years later a Central Division, pivoting on Kimberley. In 1882 Natal was made into a District and in 1929 Rhodesia; and in 1930 the respective total of Lodges in these Districts was 46 in the Eastern, 29 in the Western, and 12 in the Central Divisions of South Africa; 40 in Natal; and 6 in Rhodesia. The Lodges under all four Jurisdictions covering South African Freemasonry work in amity, and inter-visitation is frequent. This speaks highly for the tact exhibited by the highest authorities in London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and The Hague alike, as well as the good temper shown by the respective local administrators and their Brethren, though both tact and temper have sometimes been tried by difficult questions of Masonic territoriality.

Not only in the far South, but in North, East, West, and Central Africa, wherever English influence is dominant, Masonry flourishes. There is a District of East Africa with fourteen Lodges, founded in 1926, with Nairobi as headquarters; and groups of Lodges under Inspectors for such farthest-off places in that vast territory as Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar, with a group for Sierra Leone (all four at Freetown), and one for the Gold Coast. This last is largest of all, with eleven Lodges, situated at Accra, Cape Coast Castle, Coomassie, Sekondi, and Tarkwa; a twelfth standing alone at Insuta in Gold Coast Colony, another at Moshi in the Tanganyika Territory, and a third at Windhoek in South-West Africa. But it is when the North of Africa is reached that a special problem is presented, and that is the existence of two rival National Grand Lodges of Egypt, side by side with the English District Grand Lodge of Egypt and the Sudan. This, which had for its first chief Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, appointed in 1899 just after the final crushing of the Mahdist movement, has seventeen Lodges, of which six are in the headquarters city of Cairo, four at Alexandria, and three at Khartoum, the others ranging from the Delta to the upper waters of the Nile and from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. As far, therefore, as English Freemasonry is concerned, Africa is a “Dark Continent” no more.

Thence attention turns to Australasia, the latest-found and brightly-glittering Masonic jewel of the Eastern Hemisphere. Therein English Freemasonry, the growth of just a century, flourishes in high degree, especially because no dividing line of colour, caste, or creed creates the least sense of divergence. Its centenary in 1928 marked a period of development undreamed of by its most sanguine pioneers. Ireland was at work there before England, establishing Lodges in Tasmania as early as 1823, and again in 1829, 1833, and 1834; but it was not until 1828 that the first English Lodge warranted in the whole of Australasia came into being. New South Wales was at that time synonymous with Australia from a governmental point of view, the other colonies being later carved out; and it was natural that Sydney, its capital, should have the Cumberland (afterwards the Sydney) Lodge warranted by the United Grand Lodge of England on June 21, 1828, the true date of birth of regular English Freemasonry in Australasia. An Irish military Lodge attached to the 46th Foot, founded in 1752, was after many vicissitudes at work at Sydney in 1816, while Irish stationary Warrants were issued for Lodges there in 1820 and 1824. But the Cumberland of 1828 was the earliest English Lodge, to be followed ten and twelve years later with some rapidity by others established in the vast tract then known as New South Wales. Scotland joined in the race in 1843, and, though so late in the start, made such splendid running that after forty years, while the English Lodges were seventy-four, the Scottish were fifty, and the Irish no more than one. In 1839 the earliest English Provincial Grand Master was appointed, Scotland following the example in 1855, and Ireland three years after, but the latest-created Irish Provincial Grand Lodge in no long period faded quietly out. Progress continued so great in the English Lodges, though not as marked in the others and especially the Irish, that an ultimately successful separatist movement, largely fomented by those othars, arose demanding emancipation from British Masonic control; but this will be dealt with when certain governing facts in Australasian Freemasonry have been stated.

After the successful effort in New South Wales, beginning in 1828, came half a dozen years later the start of a similarly successful one in South Australia, created a colony in 1834. Several actual or would-be South Australians were at that time in London, and the Masons among them agreed to petition for a Lodge at Adelaide, their colony’s capital, named after the Queen Consort of William IV, and thus the then Grand Master’s sister-in-law. Their petition was granted, and the South Australian Lodge of Friendship was, by unusual circumstance, both warranted and consecrated the same day in London on October 22, 1834. Becoming in 1871, after the absorption of two junior Adelaide Lodges, the Lodge of Friendship under the United Grand Lodge of England, it now most fittingly, and with the later name, is No. 1 on the Register of the since-formed Grand Lodge of South Australia.

It seemed, as with Shakspere’s splendid Beatrice, as if a star danced when English Freemasonry in Australasia was born. The new Adelaide Lodge opened a striking career by immediately initiating into the Craft two destined to become prominent in colonial history. One was John Morphett and the other Richard Davies Hanson, both of such outstanding mark in affairs as to merit immortalization in that literary Valhalla of the worthy English dead, The Dictionary of National Biography. Morphett, twenty-five when brought into Masonry, already had his eyes fixed on South Australia, to which young and growing colony he emigrated in 1836. A general merchant, he engaged actively in politics, and was nominated for the South Australian Legislative Assembly in 1843, and became its Speaker from 1851 to 1855. He proceeded from position to position, dignity to dignity, being successively Chief Secretary and President of the Legislative Council, receiving the crowning distinction of being knighted by Queen Victoria in 1870, while holding the last official appointment, dying full of years and honours in the country of his adoption at the age of eighty-three.

Hanson, before his Australian experience, had had a varied career. He early edited the Globe, then a well-known London evening paper, and supported Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s historic colonization scheme. In 1838 he accompanied Lord Durham, himself a zealous Mason, on his great mission of liberty and hope to Canada; and from 1840 to 1846 he was Crown Prosecutor of New Zealand. Thereafter his attention was devoted to South Australia, for which he drafted a constitution in the early eighteen-fifties, becoming its Attorney-General for three years, and then in 1861 its Chief Justice, holding this position for thirteen years, towards the later portion of which he was knighted. For some time Acting-Governor of the colony, he occupied his leisure in authorship, writing among other works The Jesus of History, and passing away in 1876, when just three score years and ten. It is no wonder that Australian Freemasonry has flourished, seeing that its two earliest initiates, “made” in London, were of such a high, energetic, and enthusiastic type. Another illustration is thus furnished of the necessity for extreme care in selecting those only of the highest moral and mental capacity as leaders at the outset of any high endeavour. As was believed by Burke, Britain’s leading political philosopher, great empires and little minds go not well together.

Though consecrated in John Street, Adelphi, in October 1834, the South Australian Lodge of Friendship did not hold its first meeting in Adelaide until August 11, 1838; but every effort was then put forth to make up for lost time, with the result of establishing it as the premier South Australian Lodge, meeting at one period at a Masonic Hall in Morphett Street, named after its illustrious first initiate, by this time so prominent in the colony’s affairs. Adelaide soon had a second English Lodge and its first Scottish, both in 1844, and an Irish one followed eleven years later; but Scotland in 1846 anticipated England by a year in constituting a Province of South Australia, this example being followed by Ireland in 1860. In all, twenty-three Lodges were warranted by the English Grand Lodge before the “break-away” yet to be described.

Victoria, which was to be the starting-point of the separatist movement, came into the English Masonic field in 1841, when the Lodge of Australia Felix at Melbourne was granted a Warrant. Because of some misunderstanding of powers, this had been consecrated in March 1840, though the Warrant, without which it could not properly exist, was not issued until April 2 of the following year. To ensure regularity, a Warrant of confirmation was issued in December 1841, and the Lodge is now No. 1 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Victoria. The Lodge of Australasia, to-day No. 3 on that list, received its Warrant in 1846; and between these two English Lodges a Scottish was formed in 1843, while an Irish followed in 1847. Masonic prosperity ensued by leaps and bounds. Between 1847 and 1862 36 English, 12 Irish, and 3 Scottish Lodges were added to the list; in the next thirteen years 28, 7, and 3 respectively, and in the following ten, 20, 3, and 2; figures to be noted when the separatist movement is considered. The Grand Lodge of Scotland was earliest in the field with a Provincial Grand Master, appointing one speedily after Australasian Kilwinning had been founded in 1843, and England and Ireland followed suit in 1855 and 1856.

Western Australia, at that time the Swan River Colony, came into the Anglo-Australian Masonic field in August 1842, with a Lodge at Perth, first named after the place of its meeting, but the Western Australia two years later, and a Lodge of St. John in 1845. For a time progress was slow, but the steady growth of population and wealth brought over a dozen Lodges later into the field, though this Australian Grand Lodge, now recognized as sovereign, is the smallest of them all.

Not until 1859 Queensland swim into the Masonic constellation of the Southern Cross; and this was the last of the Australian States to set up an independent Grand Lodge, though, unlike the others, retaining even to-day an English District Grand Lodge, composed of half a dozen Lodges still adhering to their original Obedience. Its earliest Lodge, the North Australian, was both warranted and consecrated in the summer of 1859, its home naturally being the colony’s capital, Brisbane, as was that of the second Queensland Lodge, called into active being two years later, Rockham following in 1862. It is a sign of the strong English sentiment existing in this distant part of the Australian Continent that among the many Queensland towns later obtaining Warrants were those bearing such British historic names as Gladstone and Hughenden; Copperfield was a reminder of the most human as well as humorous Victorian novelist; and the British place-names of Durham, Warwick, Ipswich, Southport, and Ravenswood further linked the land of the North Star with that of the Southern Cross.

In Australia, as in Canada, success in time begat desire for secession, partly arising from complaints of London’s delay in dealing with asserted grievances. This was not due only to a rooted official inclination to let out of sight account for out of mind, but to the great hindrances to rapid communication presented in the larger portion of the nineteenth century by the absence of swift steamships and world-spread cables, while wireless was in its most infant stage. But this was not all, for in Australia, once more as in Canada, there was a steady development of local, which by now has broadened into national, consciousness, and this has affected in high degree Whitehall as well as Great Queen Street, the British Empire as earlier it had the English Grand Lodge. It would be a tedious and tasteless, as well as tactless, task to attempt, when all has been amicably agreed, to trace every step of the long, complicated, and not specially heartening dispute which in the end brought about Australian Masonic Independence. Victoria began the movement in 1863, and, when opposed by Zetland as England’s Grand Master — though the memory of his futile opposition to Canadian independence only seven years before should have prevented another such display — the question was submitted in the spring of 1864 to Grand Lodge. That body declared “strong disapprobation” of the suggested secession; and a powerful Mason, though he himself had seen the red light when displayed by Canada, gravely exhorted the Victorian Brethren “to remember that union is strength, and universality one of the watch words of Masonry.” The immediate result was that the movement slept for a dozen years; but in 1876, forgetting or disbelieving the oracular official observation of twelve years before that “every new Grand Lodge was a stone pulled away from the foundations of Masonry,” Victorian discontent bubbled up again, and this time the movement spread with practical results to New South Wales. At Sydney a dozen or thirteen Irish and Scottish Lodges, specially resenting having to send any fees to their parent Grand Lodges in Britain, set up a second Grand Lodge of New South Wales, without either Masonic legal or traditional authority, and the 13 assumed to dictate terms to the other 73 British Lodges, a total made up of 47 English, 9 Irish, and 30 Scottish. The leader of the agitation was the Irish Provincial Grand Master, the Irish Masons in Australia, again as in Canada, being the first to hoist the flag of revolt. He had been Prime Minister of the State, but his management of Masonic affairs was so inefficient that, after he had been Irish Provincial Grand Master nine years, the Grand Lodge of Ireland felt forced to arrange a composition of about fifteen shillings in the pound for the arrears due from New South Wales.

The three British Grand Lodges declined with one accord to recognize the irregular body, but the yeast was being further stirred which led to complete Australian administrative severance. The process was varied, but in the end successful all round. A Grand Lodge of South Australia was formed on April 16, 1884; of New South Wales on August 16, 1888; and of Victoria on March 20, 1889, eleven years later to be followed by Western Australia, with Queensland last of all. This latest of English-speaking Sovereign Jurisdictions in its long and rough journey to ultimate full recognition, furnished the accustomed tangled and troubled tale. With the assistance of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales — which remained instinctively acknowledged the parent of Australian Freemasonry — a Grand Lodge of Queensland was sot up on April 30, 1904, by 25 Irish and 14 Scottish Lodges, there then being in Queensland 62 English, 64 Scottish, and 26 Irish Lodges. Recognition at the outset was refused by all of the three Home Jurisdictions, but Ireland, despite protests from England and Scotland, accorded recognition in 1912. Various ballots were taken by the English and Scottish Brethren in Queensland from 1910 to 1920 on the question of the formation of a separate independent Grand Lodge or of amalgamating with the Grand Lodge of Queensland already established. In 1920 a ballot under the Book of Constitutions proved successful in favour of the formation of an independent Grand Lodge, 96 English out of 101 Lodges voting in favour, and 92 Scottish out of a total of 101. The Queensland Grand Lodge accordingly was established in April of that year by Lodges previously under the District Grand Lodges of England and Scotland in Queensland, there being one English and two Scottish Districts, and the Grand Lodge of England in the following June accorded it recognition. It was not, however, for another two years that the whole tangle was straightened out, when on June 7, 1922, Grand Lodge extended recognition to the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, established by the Union in April 1921 of the Grand Lodge of Queensland formed in 1904 and the Queensland Grand Lodge of 1920. But the six dissenting Lodges of 1920 stood firm to their original Obedience, and now continue the old District Grand Lodge, but at the beginning under the local chieftaincy of the same distinguished Mason who was head of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland and in 1930 was still District Grand Master. Again, as it had done under much stress in Canada, England declined to cast aside any child which, though the rest had separated, claimed its seat by the family hearth. This course it already had taken regarding one Lodge in New South Wales, another in Victoria, and a third in Western Australia, which remain in allegiance to their parent Grand Lodge of England.

Tasmania, part of the Commonwealth of Australia though separated by the sea, had early become associated with English Masonry. There, as so often elsewhere, the Irish had made the running first, founding four Lodges at Hobart between 1823 and 1834, and a fifth at Launceston in 1843. In 1844 England came along with the Tasmanian Union Lodge, this being originally constituted by a New South Wales Provisional Warrant, confirmed two years later by one from Grand Lodge. Launceston followed with a Lodge of Hope, consecrated in 1852; a Lodge of Faith started three years after, under dispensation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of New South Wales; and to complete the list of virtues a Lodge of Charity — unhappily the shortest-lived of the three — in 1856. But when the first Master of Hope, having started Faith and Charity, was chosen by the three to become Provincial Grand Master, the Tasmanian Union Lodge at Hobart, objecting that the proceedings had been carried on clandestinely, was suspended and closed for ten months by the new Masonic ruler. Hobart’s action engendered passions which for the time nearly ended English Masonry at Launceston. “Lodge Faith became dormant,” has written with unaccustomed sententiousness the best-known English Masonic historian; “Charity was voluntarily wound up, and even in Hope the light almost went out.” But not quite, for there came a revival, with the result that by June 1890, when the Grand Lodge of Tasmania was formed, sixteen Lodges had been warranted in the island by the United Grand Lodge of England.

Outside Australia but within Australasia is New Zealand, with a vigorous Masonry of its own. This time England was first in the new field, the New Zealand Pacific Lodge at Wellington, now No. 2 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand, being authorized in 1842 by a Provincial Warrant, confirmed by one from Grand Lodge three years later. Lyttleton was the next, with a Lodge consecrated in 1852, but Christchurch, with a Warrant granted in the same year, was not consecrated until two years later. Thenceforward the tale was of steady progress, every town of any size in both the North Island and the South forming an English Lodge, a process which continued until New Zealand, adopting Australian lead, formed on April 29, 1890, a Grand Lodge of its own. But, as in Queensland a quarter of a century later, there was a definite dissenting minority, and in this case of a stronger kind. In the North Island remain two English District Grand Lodges, Auckland with seventeen and Wellington with six Lodges, while in the South Island the Canterbury District and the Westland and Nelson have seven apiece, and the Otago and Southland four, all of them, forty years after the separation, remaining full of hope. Meanwhile the Grand Lodge of New Zealand pursues its work with vigour, though, from considerations of local susceptibility as well as distance, it may be somewhat hampered by changing at stated periods its headquarters from North Island to South and back again.

Australasia is thus provided with Masonic problems of her own, which have to be faced on the spot, and for the solution of which none without intimate knowledge of, and sympathy with, the feelings of those on the spot can fitly deal. Its vast distance from Britain prevents the inter-visitation which is becoming more and more a necessity in modern world-spread Freemasonry. Several London Lodges specially seek to get over something of this by entertaining on all possible occasions visits from Brethren overseas, and some of them exist to cement the bond between them. The very name of the Southern Cross speaks for itself in association with Australasia, while the Royal Colonial Institute, the Anglo-Colonial, the Anglo-Overseas, the Overseas, and the Motherland, with a Lodge named after the present writer, notably welcome Brethren from all English-speaking lands. They feel that, though distance cannot be annihilated when face-to-face interviews are needed, it can be mitigated by such opportunities as these. Greeting is as eagerly extended by those across the oceans as by the English Brethren. And, while it would open widely the eyes of the majority of these latter if they could go and see for themselves the great educational and benevolent work their Brethren overseas are continuously doing, it is well that such illumination as can be gained by the growing degree of personal inter-visitation should be made the best avail of. One more step will thus be taken to render Masonry in the best sense universal.



“By their fruits ye shall know them,” This is the acid test applied by the everyday man to all human institutions, civil or religious, beneficent or educational. It is one which English-speaking Freemasonry can stand without a tremor. The Craft’s responsible exponents can never too often repeat or too strongly emphasize that the Masonic body is not, in the regularly accepted meaning of the term, a benefit society; but they can always be ready to assert and to prove that it is one which confers a spiritual benefit, and, in case of need, is prepared to add material aid. Of the Three Grand Principles on which Freemasonry rests — Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth — over-stress has been laid by many of its members on the second attribute, but a fusion of the whole is necessary for full fruition of Masonic endeavour. Without brotherly love to soothe and truth to stimulate, relief in simply eleemosynary shape would often prove of harm rather than help. But, placed in its rightful perspective and when thankfully received and faithfully applied, the practice of relief is one of the most outstanding fruits of Freemasonry. And the care which is taken to help the suffering, to assist the aged, and to educate the young in cases where in time of stress such is of greatest use, is so world-spread that its ramifications can only be indicated so that its results can wholly be admired.

All this has been a matter of development from very small beginnings, and it is when evolution is observed that the origins have to be carefully traced. When the Grand Lodge of England was called into existence in 1717, no idea was entertained by its conveners that Masonry was to be a body for mutual assistance in time of need: it was simply to be one for the promotion of a closer fraternal relationship. Significance is in the fact that the earliest Masonic contribution to a Brother in distress to be found in official record was that of a collection made at the instance of Lord Dalkeith, then England’s Grand Master, who on November 25, 1723, “recommended Mr. Henry Prichard’s Case to the Grand Lodge that he should not be a sufferer.” The result was a collection, headed by the Grand Master and supported by the Duke of Richmond, who was to succeed him, as well as by twenty-two London Lodges, which brought in a sum of £28 17s. 6d., handed to Prichard at the next Grand Lodge Communication. For two centuries studious and enquiring English Masons wondered at this sudden generous outburst, because of recognizing in it the seed of a very great and generous harvest. Then in 1910 came the accidental discovery, from a casual reference in a London daily paper of 1723, that Prichard, overhearing in a hostelry a blusterous fellow malignantly assail Freemasonry, promptly knocked him down and was cast in costs for the assault. Prichard could not afford the expense; Grand Lodge came to his aid; and that was the almost bizarre beginning of official and organized Masonic relief to the poor and distressed Freemason.

Prichard’s case obviously drew the attention of that excellent Grand Master, Dalkeith, to the necessity for systematically preparing to meet with promptitude any such that might arise. At the first Communication after he had vacated the Masonic Throne, one decidedly in point came before Grand Lodge in a recommendation from Richmond, the new Grand Master, to endorse a petition for assistance from Anthony Sayer, the earliest of all Grand Masters. This would seem to have been set aside — and no relief to him can be traced until five years later, when it was agreed that he should have £15 on Acct. of his having been Grand Master — and Dalkeith immediately moved “That in Order to promote the Charitable Disposition of the Society of ffree Masons and render it more Extensive and beneficiall to the whole Body a Monthly Coleccon be made in Each Lodge according to the Quality and Number of the Said Lodge and put into a Joynt Stock.” The outcome, after much deliberation, of Dalkeith’s proposal “to Establish a Generall Bank of Charity” was the formation of that Grand Lodge Committee of Charity which was the dominant administrative body until the Act of Union in 1813, after which pride of both place and power was given to the Board of General Purposes. The older body to-day is represented by the Board of Benevolence, the work of which has elsewhere been indicated, though the present aspects of it will later demand note; but this can be reserved until other eighteenth-century developments of the Masonic charitable spirit of the greatest significance even to those of to-day have been considered.

Grand Lodge reserved from the beginning the right to make benevolent grants outside the scope of “the General Charity.” A striking example was furnished in 1730, when the always vigilant Desaguliers “acquainted Grand Lodge that the Directors of the Infirmary at Westminster out of their regard to Masonry (several of them being Masons) had offered to take Care of any poor Brother who may happen to be disabled by broken Limbs etc. from following his employment which often happens amongst working Masons: Whereupon it was proposed that five Guineas be paid annually to the said Infirmary by the Treasurer, and the Question being put It was carried in the affirmative Nemine contradicente.” But, though willing thus in a practical way to recognize the existence of a spiritual bond between the ancient Operative and the Modern Speculative Freemasonry, Grand Lodge emphatically declined to be drawn further along the path of benevolence than it had laid down in the firm establishment of the Fund of Charity.

A courageous and far-seeing Brother brought the matter to a clear issue when in January 1739, under the Carnarvon Grand Mastership, “the Scheme proposed by Bro. John Boaman” — who thus comes suddenly out of the night and as suddenly, his work being done, returns thereto — “for raising a sufficient Fund to maintain cloath and place out Apprentice a certain number of Masons Sons was spoke to. But, after a long Debate and several Questions put There being reason to apprehend that it would greatly affect the Fund of Charity already established the same was rejected” — a plea for delay always urged when any new beneficent endeavour is suggested. Boaman’s scheme was a very modest one, it having been to raise yearly £310 for the carrying on and Providing for 20 Children of Masons & Binding 4 to Trades every year.” It was sent by the Grand Master and his Wardens to the various Lodges and considered by them; but lukewarmness in its support was obviously a contributing cause to its rejection. The only London Lodge with extant records which reported on its receipt sent in sixteen names of members as attesting that they were “Desirous to assist and Encourage so laudable & good an Undertaking.” But, though they subscribed this document on January 22, the Lodge was not represented at the Quarterly Communication nine days later, when, though no details are given, the proposal, it is plain, was adversely reported on by the Committee of Charity and absolutely defeated. This result was obtained in a Grand Lodge more largely attended than ever before; but lack of foresight and an undue desire to prevent overlapping killed a promising project; and the question of provision for Masonic orphans in England slept for half a century.

But in Ireland only forty years elapsed before there was launched by her Grand Lodge a Lottery Scheme — at that time not merely a legalized but thoroughly legitimate method of raising money for public purposes — to secure funds for charitable ends, among which the claims of the orphans were prominent. This was freely advertised in the Dublin journals, and the Grand Lodge authorities resolved to issue in 1777 fifty thousand tickets at the odd price of 11s. 4½d. each, offering twenty-five major prizes ranging from £3,000 to £100, and 15,900 minor prizes of half a guinea apiece. The scheme was to be grafted on the State Lottery of the year, and was estimated to leave a balance for the Chaity, if all the tickets were sold, of precisely £1,767 5s. 10d.; and the circular magniloquently declared that “Whilst Brotherly Love and Charity continue genuine Principles of Christianity and Free Masonry, the Grand Lodge trust their Scheme cannot fail to meet the support of their Fraternity, and the Favour of the Public.” For a time the affair went swimmingly. Grand Lodge gleefully announced in the October that “the Freemason Lottery Scheme has met with such universal approbation, and such liberal Encouragement, as to enable them to declare, That They Will Stand The Drawing.” But within a month the foremost bank in Dublin, the chief proprietors of which were prominent Masons, quietly withdrew from the scheme. They had found that while the tickets had been sold they had not been paid for, and that when the prizes were drawn they would more than swallow the profits, and could be paid only pro rata. One half-guinea ticket holder, who received but £249 11s. 6d. instead of the looked-for £500 13s., became so irate that he advertised his opinion that the managers of the scheme were defaulters, and that “what is stiled the Grand Lodge has shamefully abused the Confidence of the Public.” Even this was not the worst. The legal agent employed by Grand Lodge to collect outstanding arrears defaulted; and, when another was engaged to bring him to book, years elapsed only to add to the bills of costs, and the loudly-trumpeted Orphans’ Relief Fund was still-born.

A brighter fate awaited the establishment on March 25, 1788, under the auspices of the “Modern” Grand Lodge of England, of the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School, so named after H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland, then Grand Master. This was due to the energetic initiative of the Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini, an Anglicized Italian, who had been initiated at Bristol just a quarter of a century before. Expressly limited at the start to fifteen daughters of indigent Freemasons, the Duchess of Cumberland became its Patroness, and the “Modern” Grand Lodge in February 1790 gave it express recognition. Though its earliest days were charged with anxiety and stress, its growing prosperity became so evident that it was with admiring eyes that the English Brethren saw in June 1792 the foundation-stone of a “Female Orphan House” laid in Dublin, and contemporaneously “Sundry Brethren” in that city, inspired by the Ruspini example, formed a “Society for the Schooling of the Orphan Female Children of Distressed Masons.” The latter petitioned the Irish Grand Lodge in 1795 for recognition and approval. These were cordially given as well as thanks to “the worthy Brethren with whom the idea originated,” to whom, indeed, the credit of establishing the nucleus of the present admirable and flourishing Irish Freemasons’ Orphan School is due. In 1797 Donoughmore, as Grand Master, permitted Philip Astley, progenitor of the long-famous Astley’s Amphitheatre in London, to give what proved a profit-making performance at his Dublin establishment “for the Benefit of the Orphans and Destitute Children of Distressed Free and Accepted Masons.” And it is a further pleasant outcome of heredity that his descendant, Ireland’s Grand Master in 1930, was not only then at its head but was a Trustee of the English Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, into which the modest scheme of Ruspini has now developed.

On the face of it, orphan boys had been neglected and note taken only of orphan girls, but orphans of both sexes were clearly intended to be within the ambit of the rejected Boaman scheme in England in 1739. The misconception is due to the official summary of the debate in an early issue of the Book of Constitutions, the scheme being erroneously summarized as “for the placing out Masons Sons Apprentices.” But there was no such limitation in the plan as printed, a copy of which is preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, as it proposed to “provide for Twenty Children of Masons … for the Relief of our indigent Brethren, their Offspring, and the Honour of the Craft,” the scheme plainly embracing both sexes. The efforts much later in the eighteenth century were, however, confined to girls; and the success they met in both London and Dublin was such that the claims of the boys were felt necessary to be reckoned with. In addition the “Antients” felt challenged by the example of the “Moderns”; and the girls having been given their chance by the latter in 1788, the boys were accorded theirs by the former ten years afterwards. In the summer of 1798 various members, headed by their Treasurer, of an “Antient” London Lodge now on the United Grand Lodge Roll, established an “Institution for Clothing and Educating the sons of Indigent Freemasons,” the original number being six. Athol, the “Antient” Grand Master, became its Patron in 1807; and after existing a few years his Grand Lodge took it under immediate protection, voting much towards support, and in its last days of independent existence contributing regularly a proportion of its initiates’ fees. A Grand Lodge grant in 1809 of £210 to commemorate George III’s Jubilee enabled the number of pupils to be raised to fifty; and increased prosperity was assured by the Masonic Union of 1813, soon after which a similar Institution under unofficial auspices by “Moderns” was absorbed with growingly successful results. What notably strikes to-day’s observer is the special interest those who “went down to the sea in ships” displayed in these early begettings of the Boys’ Institution. The “Antient” United Mariners’ Lodge started the Institution; the “Modern” Royal Naval Lodge of Independence — now the Royal Naval Lodge — followed the excellent example; and when the “Sailor King,” William IV, a brevet Past Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, accepted the position of Patron, the Institution could prefix its title with “Royal,” as its two sister Institutions are likewise proud to do.

No necessity exists to try to trace in detail the continued development and rapid growth of the Girls’ and the Boys’ Institutions; but the coming into existence of the third, that for aged Freemasons and widows of Freemasons, though earlier indicated, needs to be told. It is an intricate and at various points unsatisfactory story, in which at the outset conflicting personal irritations and ambitions were allowed too much sway; and it would be of no service to attempt to analyse it now. As is customary in all such matters, the movement was the offspring of a single foreseeing mind; but the worthy Mason, Crucefix by name, who possessed this was somewhat lacking in the diplomacy and discretion necessary to carry to success so relatively novel an idea as to add assistance for the old to that already provided for orphans. When he launched on the Craft in 1834 a plan to establish a Charity for Aged Freemasons, to take the form of an asylum which should be for them a House of Refuge and Rest, Sussex, as Grand Master, had no love for the suggested innovation, and threw against it the great weight of his influence. Crucefix was persistent, Sussex was implacable, and the earthen pot crashed against the iron with temporarily disastrous results. But, though Crucefix for a time was thrust into the outer darkness, his asylum plan persisted, and his root idea so far prevailed that in 1842 Sussex, a year before he died, allowed a scheme to come before Grand Lodge for the grant of annuities to aged and distressed Freemasons. The administration of this was placed under the Board of General Purposes, Grand Lodge being entrusted with the control of its rules, a course entirely different from that taken with the Girls’ and Boys’ Institutions, which are self-governed by bodies elected from their own subscribers, as in the main, except the rules control maintained by Grand Lodge, is the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution to-day. “The Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund (Male),” with its earliest fifteen beneficiaries, Grand Lodge developed seven years later by the addition of a Female Annuity Fund; but, while all this was being done, Crucefix and his friends went on building, and erected a Home for Aged Freemasons and Widows of Freemasons at Croydon, within ten miles of London, and this was dedicated in 1850. In the same year all the old differences were healed by the amalgamation of the Grand Lodge Annuity Fund and the Asylum Fund, with the grant of responsible self-government, under Grand Lodge overlordship, to the now firmly-established Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

Under such self-government the three great Masonic Institutions have flourished amazingly. The numbers receiving their benefits, whether girls, boys, or old people, have grown with ever-increasing prosperity, and especially within the present century. The schools for older and younger girls at Wandsworth and Weybridge, accommodating 400 children, have had to be supplemented by an extensive system of out-education covering twice that number, living all over England and Wales. A plan also has been sanctioned for building a Senior School for 400 girls at Rickmansworth Park, a strikingly open and picturesque spot within easy distance of London, this to take the place of the original at Wandsworth, the school at Weybridge, accommodating 120 very young children, remaining untouched. The accommodation for boys has had likewise to be expanded, and the 400 at a fine building at Bushey not remote from Rickmansworth which, when set up in the century’s earliest years for 400 boys, was thought by the timorous to exceed all likely demand, had to be doubled in size within three decades, with the addition of an extensive out-education plan. The Masonic Home at Croydon has stood in no need of expansion, as the demand for such a haven has never grown, but the number of out-annuitants living in their own chosen way has increased fourteen-fold; and in this as in the other directions the end is not yet. The special point to be noted is that these three English Institutions, which demand for their regular upkeep no less than a quarter of a million every year, are entirely supported by voluntary subscriptions annually given. Grand Lodge grants a nominal sum yearly to each, and all the rest, apart from interest on invested capital, is gathered at an Anniversary Festival for each Institution held in London, and presided over by a Provincial Grand Master, who specially rallies round him the Brethren of his Province. No levy is made by either Grand Lodge or Provincial Grand Lodge on the individual member; and yet whereas when the Duke of Connaught became Grand Master a Festival yielding £20,000 was considered good, and ten years later one of £30,000 generally thought probable, a yield of £80,000 came to be placably accepted, one of £100,000 not considered surprising, and even £120,000 not out of the question in the later period of the Connaught Grand Mastership.

Monetary success even for the best of causes need not be stressed too much, and in the case of the Masonic girls and boys the great question is what are the physical and educational results. These can be tested both theoretically and practically. The aim is to build up the women and men of the future so as to take their full share in commercial, civil, and domestic life. No guarantee of success is given, but every facility is accorded for it being attained whether at the university, in office or counting house, or at home; and the results in overwhelming proportion prove gratifying. Further, each aged inhabitant of the picturesque and pleasantly-situated Home at Croydon enjoys the use of a small self-contained flat, and is supplied free with lighting and fuel as well as a wireless service, usable at discretion, with the full pension as given to such as have not chosen to avail themselves of the privilege of coming to the Home. Citizenship is the ideal set before the young: self-respect is carefully preserved to the old; and, even if English Freemasonry had achieved no more abiding result, it would have deserved well of mankind.

Up to the years immediately before the Great War, no effort had been made to fill the only gap in the great scheme of English Masonic benevolence, which was in the direction of helping the sick and relieving the suffering. About 1912 some zealous London Brethren suggested the establishment of a Freemasons’ Nursing Home, and a scheme to this end was promulgated, and the movement in its support opened promisingly and well. But the demands of the War proved so insistent that, as earlier has been indicated, it was deemed desirable in the spring of 1916 to turn the project into a Freemasons’ War Hospital; and this, with the aid of a willing band of enthusiastic helpers, female as well as male, started operations within a very few months. The entire service of this institution, fitted with every most recent surgical contrivance, was placed at the disposal of the War Office, no Masonic qualification being required for a patient; and the project so rapidly succeeded that the Bishop of London’s offer of Fulham Palace as a supplementary hospital as well as of a Berkshire country house as a home for convalescents was accepted in the summer of 1918. When with the restoration of peace the War Office had no further additional hospital need, the promoters went back to and broadened their original idea, and evolved the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home. This rapidly became popular among the whole English Craft because of the fine service it rendered to all who sought its aid. So swiftly grew its popularity, indeed, that in 1929 it was felt necessary to prepare for the erection of a larger hospital. In the previous year, though close on 700 in-patients — Freemasons, their wives, widows, or children — had been admitted from all parts of the English Masonic world, hundreds had to be turned away through lack of room. An appeal for a quarter of a million sterling was at once issued, and this was responded to with such alacrity that an excellent site was acquired and plans for a new building settled before that year’s end.

Still, the original organized charitable endeavour centred in Grand Lodge remained in full activity, and, despite all these later efforts, flourished ever more abundantly. What to us appears the meagre Fund of Charity of 1735 had developed by 1930 into the very great Fund of Benevolence, the investments of which were valued at close upon £300,000. Its annual revenue had become £50,000, four-fifths of this being derived from the statutory contributions from Brethren and that proportion being paid to petitioners who come for aid, not only from the home Lodges which contribute, but from overseas Lodges which in modern times are called on for nothing in charity, not even for the voluntary gifts for which they were formerly asked and often responded to. The Fund is administered by the Board of Benevolence, which meets monthly under a President chosen by the Grand Master as his liaison officer with so important a body, and two Vice-Presidents annually elected by Grand Lodge. Those eligible to attend, in addition to twelve of Grand Lodge’s choice, are all Present and Past Grand Officers and every Master of a Lodge or his immediate Past Master, or, if necessary, a subscribing Past Master. From thirty to fifty petitions are dealt with at each meeting, and sums up to £75 can be granted immediately, but all above that amount must be submitted to Grand Lodge for approval.

Direction is given by the Book of Constitutions that “the Fund appropriated to the object of Benevolence shall be solely devoted to charity,” and this definition is widely construed. There has never been a question of it being absolutely restricted to Masonic objects of sympathy deserving relief. Sufferers by flood in Hanover at that time under the British King’s rule, were assisted as long ago as 1825; such very varied causes as the Patriotic Fund created after the Crimean War, the far-apart Indian Mutiny and Famine Funds, and the Lancashire Cotton Famine Fund were helped, as have been movements for alleviating distress in England’s metropolis, the extension of different London hospitals, and, in particular, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, this in addition to earlier grants being given £7,400 in 1919. War again and again has taken toll of the gifts. French sufferers from invasion in 1870 were aided, as were South African War victims thirty years later and those of the Great War in more recent times. Individuals suffering physically or pecuniarily by the great fire at Chicago, by earthquakes in Peru, Japan, India, Jamaica, Sicily, and the Island of Zante, by floods in Paris and Lincolnshire, and by disasters to Newfoundland seal fishers, were alike given ready aid, as well as victims of the mining distress in Wales, all irrespective of country, creed, or Craft. The wide efforts of the Grand Lodge of England’s Fund of Benevolence have been a development of charitable endeavour of permanent value to got only its own kindred but the world.

The seed of such endeavour originally sown in England has abundantly been scattered. Ireland, as has been shown, was early in the field; and to-day the Masonic Female Orphan School of Ireland (which claims descent from that founded in 1792) and the Masonic Orphan Boys’ School of Ireland flourish in the city of Dublin. Naturally both institutions are on a smaller scale than those in England, there being just over 100 children in each; but the training given them, educational, moral, and physical alike, is admirably adapted to secure success in life if due endeavour is made to win it. As on the other side of St. George’s Channel, Ireland felt it necessary when the claims of the children had been met to provide for the wants of the aged. Consequently in 1887 was founded the Victoria Jubilee Masonic Annuity Fund of Ireland, which furnishes annuities for old and distressed Irish Masons and for Irish Masonic widows in need, and a number approaching 150 is being thus relieved. The Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master of Ireland are foremost in inspiring a work which redounds greatly to the credit of their Brethren, who have allowed no domestic strife to put a stop to this truly Masonic effort.

In Scotland — probably, as in the United States, because of the excellent system of popular education so long established — there has not been felt the same need for schools as in England and Ireland; but no lagging behind has taken place in the cause of charity. The Scottish Grand Lodge possesses a General Annuity Fund, the capital value of which is just £200,000, and an Orphan Annuity Fund of £6o,ooo, as well as a Fund of Scottish Masonic Benevolence of £45,000. From the formation of the first-named in 1889, £100,000 has been distributed in annuities, the contributions for which came directly from the Lodges, and £21,000 from the second’s establishment as recently as 1919, while the Fund of Scottish Masonic Benevolence gives grants yearly to the extent of between £3,500 and £4,000. But when considering all these central benevolent endeavours in England, Ireland, and Scotland alike, there have to be taken into account those of their Provincial Grand Lodges as well as the provision made by many of their private Lodges to meet the needs of their own Brethren. No attempt has yet been made to collect and collate the facts relating to these; but it would be a revelation to the British Brethren if such an effort were put forth. It would show a breadth of charitable exertion in the form of not only immediate grants but permanent annuities undreamed of by those outside the ambit of the particular endeavour.

It is when attention is turned to the Grand Lodges of the United States of America that a sense of breathlessness is aroused by contemplation of the enormous charitable benefactions therein made. Because, owing to the vast extent of the country and the consequent necessity for the existence of forty-nine Independent Jurisdictions, there are no central Masonic Benevolent Institutions, English Brethren generally suffer from the idea that no similar American Institutions exist or that, even if some such do, they are sporadic and small. The contrary is the case, for, though no special Masonic schools for girls and boys are in being, there are many large homes for them as well as for the aged, some of these possessing buildings of great extent and freehold estates producing farm produce both live and grown, sufficient not only to feed the residents but to assist the revenues by profitable sale. A number of such homes — which usually provide domestic accommodation for the old as well as the young in segregated and excellently-appointed buildings — are constantly in receipt of large benefactions from individual Brethren attached to their Grand Lodge; but the principal part of their income is derived from an annual levy of a dollar on every subscribing member of a Lodge within the particular Jurisdiction. In effect, this is approximately the sum of four shillings every Freemason in the London area is called on to pay to the Grand Lodge Fund of Benevolence. Though the sum received by that Fund from each Provincial Brother is only half that amount, the other half — and in several cases even more — has to be paid to the Provincial Grand Lodge under which he serves, to be devoted to purposes of benevolence and administration. It would be of no service to attempt to argue whether the American levy or the English annual gift is the form of assistance most calculated to ensure permanence. The true point is that each is fitted to the national tradition and temper and ensures that end, and this should suffice for all but the ultra-disputatious. Precisely the same is to be said concerning whether the necessary education should be given inside or outside the Institutions. It suits both English and Irish tradition and temper to give it inside. The United States system of public schools, of which every citizen is so justly proud, is such that as sound an education can be imparted outside as in, and patriotic sentiment demands that it be given in the public schools. Here, again, only those hungry for dispute would attempt to argue the comparative value of the two systems. Their results are all that need be regarded, and these are good.

American Masonic educational efforts are greatly aided by the benevolent exertions put forth in many States, and especially in the direction of hospital building, notably for children. Certain of these come from quasi-Masonic bodies officially unrecognized by the Craft but entrance to which is restricted to the Craft’s members; and among these is the Wealthy and influential male organization popularly known as the Shrine and the growing female Order of the Eastern Star. When even the strictest Craftsman witnesses the splendid exertions these put forth in the cause of Masonic benevolence, he is constrained to look over any technical irregularity or ceremonial extravagance which may attach to either; and like Sterne’s Recording Angel he is inclined to drop the tear which wipes out the fault.

The pity of it is that not even America itself — and, therefore, far less the rest of the world — knows the full extent of these wondrous benevolent efforts of both Masonically regular and technically irregular bodies. The present author has examined certain of them at close hand, and returned to his own Brethren profoundly impressed with affectionate admiration. Whether at Utica in the Jurisdiction of New York or Elizabethtown in that of Pennsylvania, St. Louis in Missouri or Springfield in Ohio — and these are taken simply as samples of a wonderful sack — he saw the work of Masonic benevolence so carried out as to cause a thrill of pride for the American Brethren. But when he endeavoured to obtain particulars of the nation-spread work, he could get details of much but no picture of the whole. It is better, therefore, to hope for that picture to be painted by a representative American Mason, sufficiently detached from local sentiment as to visualize a great national whole, and possessed of the latest facts which would ensure the accuracy of the detailed portrait. With reluctance the author leaves what Americans themselves call “the high spots,” tempting as they are, and contents himself with the highest spot of all. And this is the American Masonic benevolence which is a glorious product of that belief in the great brotherhood of man which cements and adorns, as well as glorifies, the whole of English-speaking Freemasonry.

What has been said of England, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States could be applied in essence to Canada, Australasia, South Africa, India, and oversea Lodges, all exhibiting benevolent and educational Masonic endeavour in the ways best suited to their traditions and surroundings. Among them is displayed an abiding desire to act on the principle of that concluding “Antient Charge” which enjoins every Mason who finds “a true and genuine Brother in want” to “relieve him if you can, or else direct him how he may be relieved.” That injunction is now extended to the distressed Mason’s helpless widow and fatherless children, and it furnishes abiding proof of the practical as well as theoretical good of the Masonic Craft.



There has thus been attempted to be brought within the compass of a single volume a clear survey of the most wonderful and widespread social and beneficent ethical organization the world has known. It has been endeavoured to be shown what is represented within it by English-speaking Freemasonry, which comprises four-fifths of the whole; and it may be asked whether anything has been done to bring together more closely for good the scattered elements organized under independent Jurisdictions in all parts of the globe. No one who knows the Craft at first hand will for a moment dream of fusing the world’s Freemasonry into one Grand Lodge, for its liberty of movement combined with firmness of belief is its life. But the present writer, in the summer of 1918, when the Great War was approaching the final wrestle, tried to set forth, in response to the wish of a distinguished American Mason, how the desired effect might be secured in spirit without being fettered by the letter. This effort was not only approved by the leaders of the United Grand Lodge of England but was cordially received in various American Grand Lodges to which it was read. Since then signs of desire for greater unity of spirit translatable into action, have been growingly visible in all parts of the English-speaking Masonic world. The plea of 1918 can, therefore, be once more put forward in firmer hope of its ultimate, and perhaps early, universal acceptance.

It has been shown how, throughout Masonic history, a bond of unity has existed between British and American Freemasonry. Boundaries, whether of nature or nationality, have never, as such, served to sever Brethren wherever dispersed over the face of earth or water. “Masonry,” it is laid down in the first of the Ancient Charges, “is the centre of union between good men and true, and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.” “It has ever flourished in times of peace,” declares the second, “and … Craftsmen are bound by peculiar ties to promote peace, cultivate harmony, and live in concord and brotherly love.” No one to-day will dispute these verities from of old; and in no direction have they been more persistently testified than in the relation of Anglo-American Freemasonry.

If the rulers of the English State had displayed the same breadth of wisdom and understanding towards her children and kinsmen in America as from the beginning was shown by the rulers of the English Craft, there would have been no War of Independence. The fullest liberty of self-government would, from the outset, have existed, sweetened by the strongest yet simplest bonds of fraternal relationship, regard, and trust. The test may be taken from the fact that when, on the Fifth of June, 1730, American Masonry’s true Independence Day, the Duke of Norfolk, as Grand Master of England, signed in London the appointment of the first Provincial Grand Master in America, he gave him full power to nominate his own acting officers, and levied no contribution of any kind on the Brethren under the new rule. American Freemasons, therefore, possessed the full choice of their immediate Rulers in the Craft from the earliest moment of organized existence. They had virtually selected their first chief; they were directly empowered to elect every successor; and, in return, all that was required was that they should observe the Book of Constitutions, and forward to Masonry’s central home an annual account of their Lodges and membership, “together with such other matters and things as they should think fit to be communicated for the Prosperity of the Craft.” There was no question of “Taxation without Representation,” for the American Lodges from the beginning controlled their own finance, without either remittance or reference to England. All that was suggested in this direction was that their ruler, at each annual gathering, “at that time more particularly and at all Quarterly Communications do recommend a General Charity to be established for the Relief of poor Brethren of the said Provinces,” this being the usual course adopted at home. Liberty to choose their own chiefs; freedom from overseas interference with their finance — these were the corner-stones of the Charter of Independence sent from England to American Masonry on the Fifth of June, 1730. They were not fully asked from England by American citizenship until the Fourth of July, 1776, close on half a century after.

From the outset the relations thus happily and spontaneously established worked with smoothness. American Provincial Grand Masters, on the rare occasion of a stay in England, visited Grand Lodge and were placed in the official records with the Rulers of the Craft. Individual Lodges occasionally communicated with the central authority; but so little was there any idea of interference that the records of Grand Lodge during the War of Independence may be searched in vain for trace of intervention in the struggle or of intent to impose English ideas on American Masons. Grand Lodge at the very beginning had accorded liberty of thought and action, and it never departed from that original standpoint. Brethren remained Brethren despite constitutional dispute and civil discord; and even to-day in some of our ancient Lodges, closely allied by circumstance with Atlantic voyage, each entrant to the Craft has the universality of Masonry forcibly impressed upon him by allusions plainly dating from Continental times.

A profound cause exists for this abiding alliance in spirit between English-speaking Freemasons, whether in Africa, India, Australasia, Canada, or the Americas. All alike hold in highest regard honourable obligation, moral responsibility, and human freedom. The “all men are created equal” of the American Declaration of Independence is but to emphasize the Masonic belief that we have all sprung from the same stock, are partakers of the same nature, and sharers in the same hope. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, directing that Congress should make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise, is in absolute accord with the First Article of the Ancient Charges, which enjoins; “Let a man’s religion be what it may he is not excluded from the Order, provided he believe in the Glorious Architect of Heaven and Earth, and practise the sacred duties of morality.” And nothing more completely could consort with the theory and practice of modern Brito-American citizenship than the declaration of the Fourth Article: “All preferment among Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only; that so the lords may be well served, the Brethren not put to shame, or the Craft despised.” These are of the fundamentals of Masonry as practised by English-speaking Brethren; and the ideal should be a beacon-light to the real. For two centuries all English-speaking Freemasons, standing side by side, have worked hand in hand. Rendering service, not of the lip but of the life, to the immortal truths embodied in the principles of the Craft, not wasting energy in mystical speculation but bending strength to practical endeavour, the union of hearts existing throughout Masonic history common to all might now lead to a union of hands.

The formal official relationships long established between the Grand Lodges of the United States and the United Grand Lodge of England might be made more real. If the distinguished Brethren thus accredited on both sides of the Atlantic could act as ambassadors, they would keep each other in constant comradeship. There could be organized a system enabling visiting representative Masons of all the English-speaking Jurisdictions to attend Lodge meetings at their desire during their stay among others. Means could be devised for making them better acquainted with each other’s methods, each other’s ideas, each other’s ways, the first condition of true friendship being full knowledge. Development of the idea would demand time, entail trouble, necessitate thought. But the time, trouble, and thought would be well expended to bring the Craft in all English-speaking countries into closer communion and surer touch.

If this were adopted as the Masonic ideal, means would be found to make it real. While statesmen have striven to stabilize a League of Nations, there could be set up for the Brethren allied in principle and practice a League of Masons. Reverent recognition of the Eternal, resolute renouncement of the political — these are the foundation and corner stones of the Masonic system. On so sure a basis a superstructure could be raised, perfect in its parts and honourable to the builders, embracing as in a house of many mansions the vast Masonic family, independent as units, united as a whole. Britain and America, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the Cape, India and the Isles beyond the Seas, could dwell together under that roof. It may be only a vision, but a vision inspires. He who stood on Pisgah could only see, could never enter, the Promised Land. Yet even the sight gladdened his failing eyes, after his long toilings to lead his people into the light.

In the pursuit of so high an endeavour, difficulties exist only to be dispersed. Bound to each other by ties of common origin, identical ideals, and never-broken friendship, English-speaking Freemasonry all the world through could render inestimable service, not only to the Brotherhood but to mankind, by more intimacy of association, elevation of idea, and intensity of aim. The task is worthy the devotion of all, and English-speaking Masons in every clime should rise to so supreme an occasion. Then even the War which provoked these thoughts will have had its compensations. Out of the eater will have come forth meat, and out of the strong will have come forth sweetness. The far-flung battle-line will have given place to the far-flung Brother-line; and severe though the labour the reward will be sure.