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support; and among the very liberal subscriptions from the Lodges, the Shakspeare Lodge is particularly distinguished; having, as a Lodge, and from individuals belonging to it, paid above a thousand pounds to the fund. From these donations, and the increase of annual contributions, an Institution, which reflects great honour on the Fraternity, promises fair to have a permanent establishment.*
The late Duke of Cumberland continued in the office of Grand Master till his death in September 1790. It may be truly said, that such a valuable acquisition was made to the Society during his royal highness's administration, as is almost unparalleled in the annals of Masonry.
On the 10th of February, 1790, regular notice was given in Grand Lodge, that His Royal Highness Prince Edward, late Duke of Kent, while on his travels, had been regularly initiated into Masonry in the Union Lodge at Geneva ; and we were afterwards informed, that His Royal Highness Prince Augustus Frederick, now Duke of Sussex, had been likewise initiated into the Order at a Lodge in Berlin.
The Grand Lodge, highly sensible of the great honour conferred on, the Society by the initiation of so many royal personages, unanimously resolved, that each of them should be presented with an apron, lined with blue silk, the clothing of a Grand Officer; and that they should be placed, in all public meetings of the Society, on the right hand of the Grand Master, and rank in all processions as Past Grand Masters.
On the 2d of May, 1790, the grand feast was honoured with the presence of the Duke of Cum
* William Preston, Esq. the author of this book, bequeathed to this charity, by his will, 5001. three per cents, consols; and a like sum to the General Charity Fund of the Grand Lodge.—Editor.
berland, the Grand Master in the chair; attended by his royal nephews, the Prince of Wales, and the Dukes of York and Clarence, with above five hundred other Brethren. At this Grand Assembly was confirmed the re-instatement of the members of the Lodge of Antiquity in all their Masonic privileges, after an unfortunate separation of ten years; and among those who were reinstated, the Author of this treatise had the honour to be included.
On the 24th of November, 1790, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was elected to the high and important office of Grand Master; and he was pleased to appoint Lord Rawdon (now Marquis of Hastings) Acting Grand Master; who had previously filled that office under his late royal uncle, on the resignation of the Earl of Effingham, who went abroad on his accepting the governorship of Jamaica.
On the 9th of February, 1791, the Grand Lodge resolved, on the motion of Lord Petre, that in testimony of the high sense the Fraternity entertained of the honour done to the Society by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's acceptance of the office of Grand Master, three elegant chairs and candlesticks should be provided for the use of the Grand Lodge; and at the grand feast in May following, these were accordingly finished, and presented to public view; but, unfortunately, the Grand Master's indisposition at that time prevented him from honouring the Society with his presence. Lord Rawdon, however, officiated as proxy for His Royal Highness, who was re-elected with the most joyful acclamations.
History of Masonry from the Installation of the Prince of Wales as Grand Master, to the Grand Feast of 1795 inclusive.
At the Grand Feast held at Freemasons'-Hall, on the 2nd of May J 792, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was installed Grand Master, to the inexpressible joy of the Fraternity, in the presence of his royal brother the Duke of York, the right hon. Lord Rawdon, now Marquis of Hastings, and above 500 other respectable Brethren. The repeated applauses bestowed by the company upon the royal brothers were highly grateful to their feelings; while the affability and heartfelt satisfaction of the Grand Master at the head of his Brethren were particularly noticed. His Royal Highness performed the duties of his office in a style superior to most of his predecessors. His observations were clear, acute, and pertinent; his expression was fluent, manly, and distinct; and his eulogium on his deceased uncle, the last Grand Master, pathetic, graceful, and elegant. The compliment that he conferred on Lord Rawdon, as Acting Grand Master, was truly masonic; and to all his Officers, on their appointments, he paid the proper tribute to their respective merits. In short, during the whole ceremony, his demeanour was courteous, pleasing, and dignified.
An sera so important in the annals of Masonry must be recorded with peculiar satisfaction. Testimonies of loyalty and attachment to the family on the throne, and to the happy constitution of the country, were transmitted to his Royal Highness from the Brethren in every quarter. The Lodges in town and country vied with each other in express sions of duty and affection to the Grand Master; and in various addresses to his Royal Highness testified submission and obedience to the laws, and an ardent wish to support that well-regulated form of government, from which they and their ancestors had derived the invaluable blessings of liberty, so truly essential to the happiness of his Majesty's subjects in general, and to the propagation of those principles which distinguish the Craft of Masons in particular—universal charity, brotherly love, and peace.
On the 21st of June, the Brethren jn the county of Lincoln transmitted their grateful acknowledgments to his Royal Highness in a column of heart of oak, which was presented by the Rev. William Peters, their Provincial Grand Master. Stimulated by the same motive, several other Lodges copied the example; and on the 7th of January, 1793, the Freemasons of Cornwall unanimously voted an Address to his Royal Highness, which was presented by Sir John St. Aubvn, their Provincial Grand Master, and most graciously received. It short, one spirit seemed to animate the whole Fraternity, who joyfully hailed the rising splendour and prosperity of the Craft.
The French revolution, which, in extent and importance of effect, is unquestionably the most momentous event that has happened since the religious revolutions in Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century, having unfortunately given rise at this time to many unhappy dissensions, which spread their contagion among some of the inhabitants of this island, it became necessary to counteract the measures of those mistaken individuals who were endeavouring to sow the seeds of anarchy, and poison the minds of the people against his Majesty's government, and the excellent constitution under which they enjoyed the invaluable blessings of liberty and property. This induced most of the corporate bodies in the kingdom, and all the true friends to the constitution, to stem the torrent of opposition, and promote, in their different departments, a just sense of the advantages enjoyed under the present government. Hence, addresses to the throne were daily presented, with assurances of a determination to support the measures of administration; and among the rest, it was deemed proper that the Society of Masons, by adding their mite to the number, should show that attachment to the King and Constitution which the laws of the Order enjoined. Accordingly, on the 6th of February, 1793, the Grand Lodge unanimously resolved, that the following Address should be presented to his Majesty, by his Royal Highness ; who, in compliance with the request of his Brethren, condescended to present it in person to his Royal Parent, by whom it was most graciously received:
To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
The humble Address of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons under the Constitution of
At a time when nearly the whole mass of the people anxiously press forward, and offer with one heart and one voice the most animated testimonies of their attachment to your Majesty's Person and Government, and of their unabated zeal, at this period of innovation and anarchy in other countries, for the unequalled Constitution of their own, permit a body of men, Sire, which, though not known to the laws, has been ever obedient to them—men who do not yield to any description of your Majesty's subjects in the love of their Country, in true allegiance to their Sovereign, or in any other of the duties of a good citizen —to approach you with this public declaration of their political principles. The times, they think, demand it of them; and they wish not to be among the last, in such times, to throw their weight, whatever that may be, into the scale of Order, Subordination, and good Government.
It is written, Sire, in the Institute of our Order, that we shall not, at our meetings, go into religious or political discussion; because, composed (as our Fraternity is) of men of various nations, professing different rules of faith, and attached to opposite systems