British Freemasonry, 1717-1813 by Robert Peter download in ePub, pdf, iPad
Higgins claimed to have found evidence to support this case. Despite this religious radicalism, Sussex showed a less assured touch in dealing with social and economic change. The work of John Belton and others has established without any doubt the way in which the s inaugurated a period of decline from the previous high levels of membership.
To Sussex, the capacity of Freemasonry to reform society was best expressed in its ability to help transcend christianity. He insisted that freed slaves could not become freemasons, creating chaos in the organisation of Freemasonry in the Caribbean which lasted until the s. First, while this periodisation relates to major events in masonic history, it is not completely driven by them. Crucefix argued for a Freemasonry which was more evangelistic and more committed to social reform.
This legislation drove a wedge between Freemasonry and other forms of fraternal society. Similar lodges were established for many other professional groups. The Duke also had wider ambitions from his reform. It is in this event that we can find the beginnings of the myths of Freemasonry. What I will attempt to do for the remainder of my time this afternoon is to try and justify this framework, and briefly review why these particular periods seem to me distinctive.
Reluctant to enter pubs and taverns, the establishment of a masonic lodge provided a means by which the new professional classes could socialise in a neutral atmosphere after work. The records do not speak unbidden. Freemasonry was just one of many means by which the late Victorian middle classes could affirm their respectability and social prestige and feel a vicarious sense of community.
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