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delivered by the MW the Grand Master, requested His Royal Highness to permit the same to stand recorded in the minutes of the day's proceedings, to which HRH acceded.1

The process of de-Christianising the Craft ritual and ceremonies, gradual since 1717 2 was now completed. In place of the two Festivals kept by the Ancients on the two St John's Days, there was to be, under Article XIV of the Union, 'A Masonic Festival, annually, on the Anniversary of the Feast of St John the Baptist, or of St George, or such other day as the Grand Master shall appoint'. The General Regulations then adopted and the Book of Constitutions settled for .the Wednesday following the great national festival of St George'.3 The structure remains Christian, but nearly every Christian allusion has been eliminated in favour of universality. Whose was the influence remains a moot point; in any case, the responsibility was that of the Grand Master.4

The 'new method' was not received with unanimous approval. Both sides felt that they had surrendered something vital, and there was bitter rivalry among lodges and individual brethren. The Union was carried through in the last stages of the Napoleonic War and was worked out during its aftermath of distress and discontent, complicated by the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution. For a generation the country was torn by numerous more or less violent agitations which provoked the Government into repressive legislation or reluctant concessions. Such conditions were not conducive to masonic progress and the number of lodges declined. When the Duke of Sussex ascended the throne there were some 650 of them; when he died there were fewer than 500. In 1828 fifty-nine lodges were erased for not having made returns for a considerable time; no new lodges were warranted in London between 1813 and 1839 .5 The new Grand Master, who was resolved, unlike his predecessors, to rule as well as to reign, realised that a firm hand was necessary. 'I recommend to you,' he said, 'order, regularity and the observance of masonic duties.'6 Not unnaturally, there was some opposition.

From his own Lodge of Antiquity there came, in 1814, an Address to him as its RW Master, drawn up by Charles Bonnor, who had been the Acting Master and had done much useful work in the Lodge of Promulgation. It complained, in 'exceedingly objectionable, offensive and slanderous terms', that the Duke had not done his duty by the lodge in allowing it to lose some of its privileges at the Union, especially that of being No 1 on the roll. His Royal Highness referred the complaint to the lodge, when the opposition to Bonnor, led by William Meyrick, Grand Registrar, presented a counter Address expressing complete confidence in their RW Master, and expelled Bonnor from the lodge. For printing his Address, Bonnor was charged before the Board of General Purposes and expelled from Grand Lodge, though he was soon reinstated. Two years later he fell into disgrace again and was deprived of his Grand Rank. At the same time, in Grand Lodge, Bro Robert Leslie, jun, RWM of Lodge No 9, used some disrespectful remarks to

  1. GL Quarterly Communication, Minutes. 1 September, 1 December 1819; History of the Emulation Lodge of Impressment, H.'Sadler, pp 109-12.
  2. Lodge of Research. Leicester, No 2429, Transactions, 1906-7, pp 39 -40.
  3. Memorials of the Masonic Union, W. L Hughan, ed J T. Thorp. p 76.
  4. The Symbol of Glory Dr G. Oliver (1850). pp xvii, 20,51, 78; FQR, 1844,0 36, 1845, pp 409-11; A Commentary on the Freemasonic Ritual, E. H. Cartwright, pp 10, 14. 92; A QC, xlv, p 93.
  5. AQC. lxviii, pp 129-31; Dorset Masters Lodge. No 3366. Transactions, 1918. p 112: Illustrations of Masonry W. Preston. 14th Edn, p 418.
  6. FQR Supplementary No 1843, p 193.