Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library

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Grand Chaplain, Sword Bearer and, for a time, the Grand Treasurer, being selected from three brethren nominated by the Grand Lodge.1 He also chose nearly half the members of the Boards through which that body exercised its administrative functions. The Duke's appointments to Grand Rank have met with some criticism. He said: 'Merit is the sole means of promotion' 2 and that he had 'never given any Brother office who was not in other respects eligible to enter Grand Lodge .3 The appointments for 1837 were said to have honestly represented the various interests of the Craft and to 'prove that the---“Eye"of the Grand Master is observant of merit, and that it does not limit its range of vision to this or that Lodge' .4 Yet three years earlier, when the Grand Master's sight was failing, it was alleged that there had been 'a kindly yielding to the solicitations of private friendship', and therefore the appointments were 'not altogether gratifying to the expectations of the Craft'.5 Three days after the Union the Duke offered the Deputy Grand- Maste rship to the dissolute and unwashed Duke of Norfolk, who had once been PGM for Herefordshire.6 The SGW of 1838, Lord Worsley, had been raised only a few days before his appointment,7 and the Grand Registrar, appointed to that very important office at a critical time in 1840, was seventy years of age and had only four years' experience as a Freemason.8 Gould wrote that 'The Duke of Sussex was, in his way, a despot . . . his patronage was not confined to the right (from 1819) of nominating all the Grand Officers, except the Treasurer. He altered at pleasure the status of any Grand Officer, created new offices, and freely appointed Brethren to rank in Grand Lodge'.9 He may have asked a Brother at a Quarterly Communication to fill a casual vacancy through absence, but an analysis of his appointments from 1813 to 1843 shows that Gould's assertion is not true. The Wardens and Deacons were changed annually, the Sword Bearer almost so; the other officers continued for several years and there was no abnormal creation of new offices. During the whole period there were less than a dozen promotions and, although he was at loggerheads with him at the time, he made Dr R. T. Crucefix Junior Grand Deacon in 1836.

The Duke of Sussex was prone to act on his initiative and to interfere personally in proceedings, though he denied any intention of dictation.10 He conferred privileges upon those lodges in which he was specially interested.11.He decided that a Serving Brother could only become a subscribing member in a lodge other than that in which he was initiated under dispensation, but he was not disposed to do anything further in the case of a lodge which has initiated two serving brethren and an excessive number of candidates after being refused a' dispensation, because he thought they had acted under a misapprehension.12 The disputes in Bristol and in the Silent Temple Lodge, No 126, Burnley '13 were

  1. 1. GL Quarterly Communications, Minutes. 7 September 1814. 6 March 1816. etc.
  2. FQR, 1836. p 319
  3. FQR. 1840, p 498
  4. FQ R. 1837, pp 293-4,
  5. FQR, 1834, pp 240-1,
  6. AQC, Iii. pp 208. 214 216; Complete Peerage (Doubleday').
  7. FQR. 1840, p 285.
  8. 8. Lodge of Research. Leicester, No 2429. Transactions. 1919-20. p 96.
  9. 9. Gould, ed Poole, iii. 110. AQC. Iii, p 192. eg, Firebrace, op cit. p 155, GL Quarterly Communications, Minutes. 5 March 1834. Communicated by W Bro N. Rogers