The Architects of America: Freemasons and the Growth of the United States

By Russell Charles Blackwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2. “To BE SEEN AT THE ROYAL-EXCHANGE EVERY DAY…”

‘Now Masonry flourish’d in Harmony, Reputation and
Numbers; many Noble-men and Gentlemen of the first
Rank desir’d t 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.’

—Anderson’s Constitutions, 1723


I

From 1717 onwards, the Grand Lodge of England began to assert its authority over Masonic Lodges apart from the original four, and naturally, this growth started in London and its environs and then spread further afield. Within a decade, over seventy such Lodges in England and Wales accepted the Grand Lodge’s jurisdiction17, a measure of not only how widespread the old, casual fraternity had been, but also testament to the burgeoning popularity of the new, formalized Order. Expansion across Britain certainly found favor with the leaders of the Society, for it emphasized the effectiveness of their movement and its attractiveness to newcomers, though they were still acutely aware there were still challenges to be addressed, primarily the need to codify procedures for the

17 Hammill, The Craft, pp.43–44

-29-

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