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Grand Lodge of England


Freemasons' Monthly Magazine - 1842

The most august Masonic Body in the world, is the Grand
Lodge of England - whether considered with reference to its
great respectability of character, the vast social and moral
influence it exercises, or the almost boundless extent of its
jurisdiction: on which it may be said, as of the British empire,
the sun never sets! Before his evening rays leave the Brethren
at Quebec, his morning beams have burst upon the Lodge at
Port Jackson and while sinking from the waters of Lake
Superior, his eye has opened upon the Fraternity on the
Ganges! So vast is the extent of the English Masonic
jurisdiction! Its Charities are not less extensive. No Grand
Lodge, - no single Society in the world, can successfully
compare with it in this respect. And they are truly Masonic
Charities. There are no limits to them. There is no numbering
them. They are as diffusive as between the north and the south,
the east and the west.

In the city of London, alone, besides the usual measures of
relief, there are several extensive and well organized
eleemosynary establishments, managed and supported
entirely by the Masonic Fraternity. Among them are the "Royal
Freemasons' School for Girls," and the "Royal Masonic
Institution for Boys." They are two of the noblest, most
flourishing, and best regulated Charities in the kingdom. As
their titles indicate, they are Schools where the Orphan children
of indigent Masons are taken, - rescued from distress, misery,
and ruin, - clothed, educated, and prepared for the duties of
life, - qualified to become useful citizens, instead of tenants of
alms-houses and prisons.

There is another, and more general Charity, called the "Board
of Benevolence" the special object of which, is to relieve the
immediate necessities of poor and deserving Brethren, who
may be overtaken by misfortune or sickness, or any of the
thousand "ills that flesh is heir to." It is a most useful institution,
and annually dispenses large sums in Charity.

In addition to these, - and not less entitled to our admiration, is
the "Asylum for the Worthy Aged and Decayed Freemason." It
is a new Charity. It was found that the relief afforded by the
"Board of Benevolence," being temporary, was inefficient in
cases where age and infirmity required continual support. It
seemed to the originators of it, a discredit to the wealthy,
extensive, and intellectual body composing the Masonic
Fraternity in England, that their Charities should be limited to
tire immediate necessities of the unfortunate, and to the care
and instruction of the young - while for the aged Mason, who
had passed his youth amid the enjoyments of those happy
associations which belong to our Fraternity, and contributed in
the hour of his prosperity, to the maintenance of those
deserving Charities, - no Asylum reared its head to give him
shelter, when age and misfortune should overtake him, - to
afford him the solace of a home and a resting place, before his
final departure to where troubles can come no more, and tears
are forever wiped away. To remedy this, the new Asylum was
projected and it has received the general and cordial support
of the Fraternity.

We shall probably hereafter have frequent occasion to speak
of these Charities more in detail.

The present Grand Master of England, is his Royal Highness
Prince Augustus Frederick, DUKE OF Sussex, sixth, but now
the second surviving, son of King George the Third, born on the
27th of January, 1773, and is, consequently, now in the sixty-
ninth year of his age. He was educated at the University of
Gottengen, with his brothers, the present King of Hanover and
the Duke of Cambridge, and is accounted one the best
scholars in Europe, particularly in theological and moral

He was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry in year
1798, at Berlin, in the Royal York Lodge. On the demise of the
late Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Deputy Grand Master, and one
of the most zealous Masons of the day, the Prince Regent, late
George the Fourth, then Grand Blaster, appointed him, on the
12th February, 1812, Deputy Grand Master.

One of the most interesting Masonic Festivals in English
history, was held on the 27th Feb., 1813, in compliment to that
highly distinguished Mason, the late Earl of Moira, (afterwards
created Marquis of Hastings, and at that time Acting Grand
Master,) on the eve of his departure from England, to take
upon himself the important office of Governor General of India.
At this festival, the Duke of Sussex presided, supported by his
royal relatives the Dukes of York, Clarence, (late King William
the Fourth,) Kent, (father of the present Queen,) Cumberland,
(present King of Hanover,) and Gloucester.

On the 7th of April, 1813, the Prince Regent having expressed
a wish not to be re-elected Grand Master, the Grand Lodge
unanimously elected the DUKE OF SUSSEX to fill that
important and dignified station in the Craft. He has conse-
quently held his present office for more than twenty-eight years
during which time, the Fraternity, under the English jurisdiction,
has attained to a degree of eminence and prosperity
unexampled in the annals of Masonry.

On the 25th of April, 1838, a splendid "Masonic Offering,"
purchased by the voluntary subscriptions of his Brethren
throughout his jurisdiction, was presented to his Royal
Highness, in token of their love and respect for his character as
a Mason, a Prince, and a Christian. The presentation-address
on the occasion was delivered by Lord John Churchill. We
subjoin the Duke's reply. It is replete with true Masonic
sentiment and feeling, and will be read with interest:-

"BRETHREN - I rise under feelings of intense interest, and, if I
may use the expression, amid a warfare of feelings, to utter my
humble and sincere thanks for the kindness evinced to me on
the present occasion. It is not the trifle that is offered, but the
sensation it has produced, which affects me it is of a mingled
nature, and consequently very difficult to express.

"Surrounded by so many faces, seeing so many kind friends,
and yet marking vacancies, crowded as the tables are, which
cast a shade upon thought, it is impossible to feel very lively, or
that I should express myself as I ought. You have kindly noticed
the past period of twenty-five years - ay, to me twenty-five
years of great anxiety. I have presided over you with fidelity, yet
sometimes with feelings of oppression. Your kindness has
given vigor, and I feel renovated and from that kindness I have
derived my confidence. In my career I have met with many and
severe trials, trials to which human nature ought to be exposed,
and which, as a Mason, it was my duty to bear up against. I
have observed many a kind head has been laid low, and my
account must be rendered up. On the mercy of God I have ever
relied, and in the rectitude of my conscience I shall lay my head
down in peace.-That is a subject which every morning a Mason
ought to call to mind when he supplicates his Maker, and when
he closes his eyes.

"When the profane, who do not know our mysteries, are carried
away by prejudice, and do not acknowledge the value of our
Society, let them, by our conduct, learn, that a good Mason is a
good moral man, and as such will not trifle with his obligation.
The principles of morality I am bound to enforce, and did I not, I
should betray the confidence you repose in me.

"My duty as your Grand Master is to take care that no political
or religious question intrudes itself and had I thought that in
presenting this Tribute, any political feeling had influenced the
Brethren, I can only say that then the Grand Master would not
have been gratified. Our object is unanimity, and we can here
find a centre of unanimity unknown elsewhere. I recollect
twenty-five years ago, at a meeting in many respects similar to
the present, a magnificent Jewel (by voluntary vote) was
presented to the Earl Moira, previous to his journey to India. I
had the honor to preside, and I remember the powerful and
beautiful appeal which that excellent Brother made on the
occasion. I am now sixty-six years of age - I say this without
regret - the true Mason ought to think that the first day of his
birth is but a step on his way to the final close of life - there may
be older Masons-but that is a pretty good specimen of my
attachment to the Order.

"In 1798, I entered Masonry in a Lodge at Berlin, and there I
served several offices, and as Warden was representative of
the Lodge in the Grand Lodge of England. I afterwards was
acknowledged and received with the usual compliment paid to
a member of the Royal Family, by being appointed a Past
Grand Warden. I again went abroad for three years, and on my
return joined various Lodges, and upon the retirement of the
Prince Regent, who became Patron of the Order, I was elected
Grand Master. An epoch of considerable interest intervened,
and I became charged, in 1813-14, with a most important
mission - the union of the two London Societies. My most
excellent Brother, the Duke of Kent, accepted the title of Grand
Master of the Athol Masons, as they were denominated I was
the Grand Master of those called the Prince of Wales's. In three
months we carried the union of the two Societies, and I had the
happiness of presiding over the united Fraternity. This I
consider to have been the happiest event of my life. It brought
all Masons upon the Level and Square, and showed the world
at large, that the differences of common life did not exist in
Masonry, and it shew to Masons, that by a long pull and a
strong pull, and a pull altogether, what great good might be

"I have endeavored all through my Masonic career to bring into
Masonry the great fact, that from the highest to the lowest, all
should feel convinced that the one could not exist without the
other. Every Mason owes respect to the recognized institutions
of Society, and the higher his station, the more is required from
him. The great power of Masonry is the example - the chain
extends from the highest to the lowest, and if one link shall
break, the whole is endangered.

"I recommend to you order, regularity, and observance of
Masonic duties. If you differ with any Brother, never attribute
sinister motives to him with whom you differ. These are the
principles, Brethren, which I hope to enforce, and many a time
have I checked myself from too marked an expression, thinking
that a Brother might not be aware of his position, and we have
argued the matter in private. I trust in this, the twenty-fifth year
of my Presidency, I may not be considered as saying too much
by declaring what I have always done. I am grateful for the
kindness and affection hitherto shown, and that my
government, as far as it may be so considered, is one of
kindness and confidence. I once again enjoin the observance
of the Laws, which are founded upon EQUITY, and not
SPECIAL PLEADING. Equity is our principle - Honor our
guide, - I gave full scope to my feelings in Grand Lodge, and
have forgotten all that passed, except those feelings of good
will with which I left it, and assure the Brethren, that as long as
my services are at my own command, the Grand Lodge may
claim them but they shall be given honestly, fearlessly, and

The Duke resumed his seat amidst the warmest expression of
the gratified feelings of his Brethren. The following beautiful
Ode, written for the occasion by Br. JOHN LEE STEVENS,
was then sung:

AIR - "The Meeting of the Waters."

"There is joy in the temple, unbounded, unfeigned,
Where Masonry's truths have their triumph sustained,
To see the Grand Master once more in the chair
And to hang on the words of his eloquence there!

Not a subject disloyal, a servant untrue,
In our ranks can the keen eye of jealousy view
For united attachment and duty evince
Our respect for the Master-regard for the Prince !

So distinguished by learning, by virtue, by skill,
All our hopes, Royal Master, thy mandates fulfil
And, oh! long may the Giver of Blessings above
Spare thee thus to rule o'er us with wisdom and love !"

It was at this Festival, that, on proposing the first sentiment of
the evening, the Grand Master took occasion to say:

"That at all public meetings, and of course Masonic meetings,
the first toast is a tribute of loyalty and affection to the
Sovereign whom Providence has appointed to preside over
the destinies of this country. At all times this toast must be a
grateful one, but particularly so at this moment, (1838) when we
are governed by a virgin Queen. Up to the hour of the
accession of her present majesty, we had the happiness and
good fortune to have in the Sovereign a Member and Patron of
our Society the name is not reserved for us now, but we have
a good and gracious Queen, who is the daughter of a Mason,
and who herself is favorable to our Order. In a breast so pure
as hers there can be no suspicion but she can learn that there
was a Queens who was jealous of our Order, but who, on a
clear investigation of its principles and precepts, afforded it her
protection. Like her great predecessor, our Queen will protect
our Order and as all her relatives who are connected with the
Order, are also bound to be liege subjects, so I shall endeavor
to bring it under her notice, and shall claim the patronage of the

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