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Freemasonry was first introduced to Sweden in the year 1735, when Count Axel Eric Wrede Sparre, who had been initiated in Paris, established a Lodge at Stockholm. Of this Lodge scarcely anything is known and it probably soon fell into decay.

Wing Frederick I promulgated a Decree in 1738 which interdicted all Masonic meetings under the penalty of death. At the end of seven years the Edict was removed, and Freemasonry became popular. Saint John Auxiliary Lodge, however, was working when the Decree was wit withdrawn. Lodges were again publicly recognized and in 1746 the Freemasons of Stockholm struck a medal on the occasion of the birth of the Prince Royal, afterward Gustavus III. In 1753, the Swedish Freemasons laid the foundation of an orphan asylum at Stockholm which was built by the voluntary contributions of the Fraternity, without any assistance from the State.

In 1762, King Adolphus Frederick, in a letter to the Grand Master, declared himself the Protector of the Swedish Lodges, and expressed his readiness to become tile Chief of Freemasonry in his dominions, and to assist in defraying the expenses of the Order. On April 10, 1765, Lord Blayney, Grand Master of England, granted a Deputation to Charles Fullmann, Secretary of the British Embassy at Stockholm, as Provincial Grand Master, With the authority under the "Moderns" Grand Lodge of England to constitute Lodges in Sweden. At the same time, Schubarb, a member of the Rite of Strict Observance, appeared at Stockholm, and endeavored to establish that Rite. He had but little success, as the advanced Degrees had been previously introduced from France.

But this admixture of English, French, and German freemasonry occasioned great dissatisfaction, and gave rise, about this time, to the establisment of an independent system known as the Swedish Rite. In 1770, the Illuminated Grand Chapter was established, and the Duke of Sudermania appointed the Vicarius Salornonis. In 1780, the Grand Lodge of Sweden which for some years had been in abeyance, was revived, and the same Prince elected Grand Master. This act gave an independent and responsible position to Swedish Freemasonry, and the progress of the Institution in that kingdom has been ever since regular and uninterrupted. On March 22, 1793, Gustavus IV, the King of Sweden, was initiated into Freemasonry in a Lodge at Stockholm, the Duke of Sudermania, then acting as Regent of the Kingdom, presiding as the Grand Master of the Order. In 1796 a Royal Decree enacted that in future all Swedish Princes were by right of birth Freemasons and a Decree against secret societies in 1803 made a Special exception of the Craft. The whole Swedish system has, indeed, been to a large extent under the control of the Royal Family. On the application of the Duke of Sudermania, in 1788, a fraternal alliance was consummated between the Grand Lodges of England and Sweden, and mutual representatives appointed. The Duke of Sudermania ascended the throne in 1809 under the title of Charles XIII. He Continued his attachment to the Order, and retained the Grand Mastership. As a singular mark of his esteem for Freemasonry, the King instituted, May 27, 1811, a new Order of Knighthood, known as the Order of Charles XIII, the members of which were to be selected from Freemasons only. In the Patent of Institution the Wing declared that, in founding the Order, his intention "was not only to excite his subjects to the practice of charity, and to perpetuate the memory of the devotion of the Masonic Order to his person while it was under his protection, but also to give further proofs of his royal benevolence to those whom he had so long embraced and cherished under the name of Freemasons." The Order, besides the Princes of the Royal Family, was to consist of twenty-seven lay, and three ecclesiastical knights, all of whom were to hold equal rank. The Strand Lodge of Sweden practises the Swedish Rite, and exercises its jurisdiction under the title of the National Grand Lodge of Sweden (see Swedish Rite).

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