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His Royal Highness The Duke Of Sussex was MW Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1813 to 1843, during which period he exerted considerable influence upon the fortunes of the Craft. It is the purpose of this lecture to set forth the nature and extent of that influence. It is not intended as a biography, 1 but it is necessary first to know something of the man himself.

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, sixth son and ninth child of George Ill and Queen Charlotte, was born in 1773. From early childhood he suffered from severe asthma, which sometimes incapacitated him for weeks at a time. It necessitated his living abroad until he was over thirty years of age and prevented him from adopting the customary military career. Educated in Hanover, his days were spent in travel and study whereby he acquired a well-stocked mind and a famous library. A youthful and indiscreet marriage2 cut him off from his father and the Court, while the Whig principles to which he steadfastly adhered alienated him from the Tory Governments of the day. Hence he never obtained any of those lucrative appointments which usually fell to members of the Royal Family and always suffered from pecuniary embarrassment. A good speaker and a good trencherman, his wide interests and liberal ideas made him a welcome chairman at many functions. For nine years he was President of the Royal Society and was also, at times, the head of several other learned bodies. 3

The Duke of Sussex's religious convictions have been the subject of much speculation. Undoubtedly he was very devout, spending upwards of two hours daily in the study of Holy Writ. In a letter published in The Christian Observer, May 1843, the Duke wrote that he was convinced of the divine origin of the Scriptures, 'which contain matters beyond human understanding', and that he did not 'concern himself with dogmas, which are of human origin. I am making this honest declaration,' he said, 'not to be thought a Freethinker, which imputation I would indignantly repel; nor to pass for a person indifferent about religion.`5 His marginal comments in some of the theological works in his library show that his Christianity was unorthodox in that he opposed Creeds and held that the Scriptures must be reconciled to reason.5 He was a Modernist before his time. Among

  1. See Royal Dukes, Fultord. R. : AQC. Iii. pp 184-224.
  2. Royal Archives. Windsor Castle. Box File 'Augustus, D. of Sussex. 1786-1842, No 48019
  3. Gentleman s Magazine, N.S.. vol xix, pp 645-652.
  4. Some of the opinions of his lateR.H. The Duke of Sussex on the subject of Religious Doctrine. by Richard Cogan. Esq; Br  it Mus, 4014 dd 6.
  5. eg, The State in its Relation with the Church. W. E. Gladstone. l838: Brit Mus. 1413 c 10: see also Cogan, loc cit.