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direction of the present G. M. many magnificent structures were raised; he was employed by command of the king to plan a new palace at White Hall. He continued in office until 1618, when he was succeeded by the Earl of Pembroke, under whose auspices the order flourished.
During the reign of Charles the First, Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby, became G. M. in 1630. He was succeeded in 1633 by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, the ancestor of the Norfolk family. In 1635, Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford, succeeded him, and continued in his office until 1646. In Charles the Second's reign, who became Patron of the order, Masonry revived, having previously been obstructed by the civil wars ; during his reign, on the 27th December, 1663, a general assembly was held, when Henry Jernyn, Earl of St. Albans, was elected G. M., who appointed John Denham his deputy, Mr. Christopher Wren (afterwards the celebrated Sir Christopher Wren) and John Webb, his wardens. At this assembly, many useful regulations for the better government of the Lodges were made, and the greatest harmony prevailed among the craft. In 1666, the Earl of St. Albans was succeeded by Earl Rivers, who appointed Sir Christopher Wren his deputy, and distinguished himself more than any of his predecessors in promoting, not alone the prosperity of the Lodges, but the general welfare and reputation of the craft, but more especially St. Paul's Lodge, now the Lodge of Antiquity: he presented them with three magnificent candlesticks, which are still preserved, as also the mallet used by Charles the First, in 1673, at the laying of the foundation stone of St. Paul's church, which had been destroyed during the great fire which destroyed London.
In 1674, Earl Rivers resigned his Grand Mastership in favour of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who left the care of the fraternity to his wardens and Sir Christopher Wren, who continued to act as his deputy. In 1679, Rivers resigned in favour of Henry Bennett, Duke of Ar
lington, during whose term of office many noblemen joined the order.
In 1685, Sir Christopher Wren became G. M., and notwithstanding the celebrity of this architect, Masonry declined until the year 1695, when King William was initiated into its mysteries, who honoured the Lodges with his presence, and presided in the one held in Hampton Court. Many of the nobility were present, in particular at a general assembly, in 1697, when Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lenox, was elected G. M. for that year; the next year he resigned his office in favour of Sir Christopher Wren, who continued in office till the death of King William, in 1702.
During the reign of Queen Anne, Masonry declined, owing to Sir Christopher's age and infirmities; the festivals were neglected, and the number of Masons diminished, when it was determined that the privileges of Masonry should not alone be confined to operatives, but that people of all professions should be admitted to participate in them, provided they were approved previous to their initiation.
The society during the reign of George the First rose in esteem; the lodges then in existence met at the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles street, Covent Garden, London, constituting themselves into a Grand Lodge pro tempore, where they agreed to renew the quarterly communications, and at the annual meeting Mr. Anthony Sayer was elected G. M. He was invested by the oldest Master Mason of the oldest lodge present, who had due homage paid him by the fraternity. In 1718 Mr. Sayer was succeeded by Mr. George Payne, who collected many valuable manuscripts on the subject of Masonry, and requested the brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings or records concerning the fraternity, to show the ancient usages, and see that none of the landmarks had been infringed, which throughout many generations had never been deviated from. At this assembly
several Gothic records were produced. On the 24th of June, 1719, at the annual communication, Dr. Desaguliers was unanimously elected G. M. At this festival the regular toasts were introduced; and from this time we may date the progress of Masonry on its present plan in England. In 1720 the fraternity met with an irreparable loss by the burning of many valuable manuscripts. done by some scrupulous brethren, who became unnecessarily alarmed at the publication of the Masonic Constitution.
The fraternity was, as before stated, divided into two different governments; the one in the north, the other in the south of England. The greatest harmony, however, prevailed, and many persons were initiated into the mysteries of the order. The only distinction between the two grand lodges was, that those of the north bore the title of Grand Lodge of all England, while the other was only called the Grand Lodge of England.
In the year 1723, under the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Buccleugh, who succeeded the Duke of Wharton, the noble project originated, the scheme of raising a general fund for distressed Masons. A committee was appointed to mature a plan to carry the scheme into execution.
The disposal of the funds was vested in twelve masters of contributing lodges, who in rotation, with some of the grand officers, should form a committee of charity, who were to meet four times a year, or whenever a case of exigency should require, at the discretion and command of the G. M. The petitions of distressed brethren were then considered, and if found worthy, a sum of five guineas was immediately granted. Should the necessities of a distressed worthy brother require further relief, at a subsequent meeting twenty guineas were granted. Thus the distresses of a brother found always ready relief from this general charity fund, which is supported by the voluntary contributions of the different lodges, out of their private funds, without being burthensome to any member in particular.
Thus was the charity fund of the Grand Lodge established, which has its existence up to this day in every country. And so liberal have its contributions at all times been, that although the sums yearly expended have been great, the excellent management of these funds always left plenty in its coffers to alleviate the distresses of the worthy distressed brother, his widow or orphans.
The two Grand Lodges of England remained under separate governments until the 27th of December, 1813, when a happy union took place, and all differences healed, under the auspices of his Royal Highness, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, who was elected and proclaimed Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of England, and who continues in his office up to the present day.
Extract from a work written in 1772, by the R. W. D.
G. M., Laurence Dermott.
In the first place, when you intend to be made a Free Mason, go
your friend to the lodge and desire him to show you the warrant or dispensation by which the lodge is held, which you will find to be an instrument printed or written on parchment, and signed by the Right Worshipful Grand Master, his Deputy, Wardens, Grand Secretary and Treasurer, and sealed with the Grand Lodge Seal, constituting and appointing certain persons therein named, and their successors, as Master and Wardens with power to congregate and hold a lodge at a certain place, and therein
make and admit Free Masons, according to the ancient custom of the craft, well known in all ages and nations throughout the whole world, with power to nominate and choose their successors; without such an authority no regular lodge can be in operation. After satisfying yourself as to the genuineness of this document, you have a right to call for and peruse the by-laws, to consider whether your natural disposition will incline you to be conformable to them. Next you may look at the list of the members, where you may find the names of your intimate and most esteemed friends, or perhaps the names of such (other of your acquaintances) as you would not choose to associate with; when at the perusal of the list of members of another lodge you may find a greater number of your acquaintances. You will very naturally ask, when you see an objectionable name on the list of the members of some of the lodges, by what means such an individual got admittance into a society which boasts of so much honor and virtue as to rank themselves with kings and princes? To this I answer, that often a sufficient scrutiny had not been taken by the committees who have in charge the application of every candidate as regards his standing and moral character; while others, who have stood the test of strict investigations, behaved well for years, and afterwards fell into all manner of vices, which serves to show the instability and weakness of human beings, and that all the doctrine of laws upon earth, without the grace of God, is not sufficient to make men wise, or deter them from evil. Nevertheless, in the system of Free Masonry, there are many ways to mend the manners, polish the disposition, correct the judgment, and refine the taste of a soul virtuously inclined. And as the number of wise and good Free Masons have always, and I trust shall ever, exceed that of the foolish and wicked, it would be as absurd to condemn the whole for parts, as it would be in the Israelites to