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suggested the erection of an Asylum for Aged and Decayed Freemasons, inviting the Duke to become its president. But the Grand Master opposed the scheme on the grounds that the proceedings of Dr Crucefix and his supporters were irregular, that it would induce improper persons to enter the Fraternity, and that it would adversely affect the two existing Charities - the Girls' School being at that time in financial difficulties. Interviews between the Duke and Crucefix were variously interpreted, the latter saying that the Grand Master was 'not opposed' to the Asylum, whilst the former said he was,1 though he changed his grounds. 'Finding that opposition but aided the Asylum, [he] adopted the plan of competition and hoisted the standard of a Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund. The Duke of Sussex for a long time denied his patronage, but Walton2 sought an interview with him and, meeting with a repulse on his favourite theme, he fairly told the Grand Master, on taking leave, that there remained no other means of preventing the Asylum being built and endowed. This decided the matter; the Grand Master relaxed, adopted Walton's scheme and thus proved the fallacy of all opposition to the Asylum principle; which, so far from being uncalled for and unnecessary, became the parent of a second Masonic Charity.,3

Crucefix, fortified by a Grand Lodge resolution unanimously in favour of the Asylum, 4 went on with his scheme and managed it as though it was an official business with governors, collections, festivals, and so on. A dispute at a meeting held 3 November 1839, led to Crucefix and his lieutenant, J. Lee Stevens, being temporarily suspended from their masonic duties. Crucefix's appeal against the sentence being disallowed, he wrote a highly improper letter to the Duke of Sussex, accusing him of disregarding the Ancient Charges. and recalling a memorable scene in the Grand Secretary's office on 29 April 1840, when the Grand Master 'threatened me with the enforcement of a power beyond the Masonic Law and expressed that threat in language so unusual and unexpected from a Brother of your exalted Rank and Station, as was calculated to lower the respect due to the person of Your Royal Highness, and above all the dignified Office of Grand Master'.5

This the Duke ignored until it was published in Crucefix's periodical, The Freemason's Quarterly Review. Now, publication of masonic proceedings was anathema to the Grand Master. Charles Bonnor, of the Lodge of Antiquity, No 2, and the brethren of Lodge No 31, Liverpool. had been penalised for such an offence. Also, Laurence Thompson, a Prestonian Lecturer and one of Crucefix's opponents, fell under the Grand Master's displeasure for publishing a form of ceremonial promoted by the Lodge of Reconciliation, of which he was a member.6 Earlier in this same year, 1840, the Duke had circularised all lodges warning them against printing masonic information. The appearance of Crucefix's letter in the Review, therefore, caused the Grand Master to lay it before the Board of General Purposes, 'leaving to their Discretion the Proceedings

  1. AQC, Iii. p 199-200; FQR, 1837, pp 484-5
  2. Isaac Walton, PM of the Moira Lodge, No 92.
  3. Gould, ed Poole, iii ' 109-10
  4. 4. FQR  1838  flyleaf
  5. 5. GL 6 1838.Qoartelyly Communication, Minutes, 2 September 1840. The letter over the Pseudonym 'Pythagoras' in FQR, 14-52 differs from that officially recorded.
  6. AQC xxiii, p 86.