During the 18th, 19th and early 20th century Freemasonry grew to enormous proportions. Groups of lodges operated under various Grand Lodges, but each Grand Lodge was more or less independent from one another.
Thus, many different types of degrees, rites, back stories and systems of mythology and theology sprang up across Europe and the US, and yet few, often times none of these were indicative of general Freemasonry.
In the same manner, while politics has long been forbidden in a lodge, groups of freemasons, linked closely in comradeship, might have similar political beliefs and with back room deals and handshakes attempted at times to pull off some shady shenanigans. So within the history of Freemasonry, there have been little plots here and there, but they too are independent of general Freemasonry.
You can’t have an organization of that size, especially a boys club that revels in secret handshakes and “ancient knowledge” without some of those boys trying to pull off some tomfoolery.
Talk of great, grand secret plots to rule Europe, the world, act as an arm for the One World Government, Zog, the Illuminati, etc, ect is pure poppycock and rubbish. Don’t be a douche.
But… there have been some boys who have tried all sorts of mischief and plenty of intrigue stories to go around.
We shall tell of the very first intersection of Freemasonry and politics. Back in the beginning of modern Freemasonry (meaning 1700s). The first political forays and probably good reason why politics became forbidden to talk about in Lodges.
Come back with me to the 1700s, the place, Westeros, where the Lannisters and the Starks… hang on… fact checker… ah, excuse me. 1700s, the place, England! Where the Hanovers and the Jacobites square off in a game of thrones.
For many years, the Stuarts ruled Britain. King Henry the 7th, the 8th, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, all of these were Stuarts. Okay, so by the late 1600s Protestants and Catholics are still making snarly faces at each other. England is officially Anglican, not Catholic, but tensions still run high. James the II comes on the throne. He is Catholic and pro-French and drives the Protestants into fits of anger.
Interestingly one thing James also stood for which proved very unpopular was religious tolerance. He urged the country to adopt a tolerant view towards the different form of Christianity that were now all across Britian. (Not to Jews of course who as we all know are somewhere between filthy dogs and filthy rats). Tolerance was not popular.
His Divine Right Of Kings idea was not popular and with that went not liking Parliament having any power. Not popular with a very Protestant Parliament. Finally, when James bore a Catholic heir, a son, that was that. In 1688 a group of leading nobles called on James’ PROTESTANT son in law and nephew Willaim of Orange to come invade England and kick James’ ass out.
William of Orange comes to kick some ass
William did. And thus ended the reign of the Stuarts and began the reign of the Hanovers, which went up to Victoria.
The Jacobites were those who wanted the return of James.
In 1689 they organized a rebellion and James himself landed in Ireland to reclaim the throne. Sadly for him he got his ass handed to him in 1690 at the Battle of Boyne.
Now for Freemasonry. So… most of the original Freemasons slowly being let into the Craft despite not being actual working Masons were Hanover supports. Pro-protestant, pro-William, anti-French.
However, as the 1700s came round more and more Jacobites were becoming Freemasons. In 1715 James’ SON, James III landed in Scotland to retake the throne backed by a long, carefully planned Jacobite series of plots.
He ALSO got his ass handed to him and many, many Jacobites were exiled to France.
In 1717 a group of Freemasons from different lodges, all Hanover supporters, got together and formed a Grand Lodge and established Freemasonry as firmly Pro-Hanover. Part of their aim was to deny any Jacobites a potential network for subversion.
But a whole bunch of exiled Jacobites had been Freemasons themselves and established Freemasonry in FRANCE. Pro-Jacobite Lodges.
However, Hanoverian England was quite popular with France, and so England sent over charters for OFFICIAL Grand Lodge backed lodges in Paris that would be part of mainstream Freemasonry (and pro-Hanover).
The Jacobites and Hanovers fought a 20 year covert struggle within French Masonry. The English Embassador himself played a key part.
Eventually the Jacobites lost. However, they were not out of the game. They gave some big fuck you blows back.
They enlisted Cardinal Fleury who was ALSO head to police to stamp out Freemasonry. Thus Freemasonry was put under sanctions and meetings broken up by baton happy police. However, there were by now a lot of high ranked French Freemasons, and the Cardinal could only go so far before he’d get his ass handed to him by politics superiors.
Like this but with wigs and sashy coats and… you know. 1700 apparel. Okay, like this but not.
So the Cardinal went to the Pope. And the Pope issued a bull edict condemning Freemasonry and excommunicating all Catholic Freemasons from that point on.
Thus began the long, long squaring off between Catholicism and Freemasonry. We shall talk of this further tomorrow with the ABSOLUTELY AWESOME story of the Palladium Affair.
One last thing though: the jacobites, as part of their cold war against Hanoverian Freemasonry, began coming with the own system of rites and degrees. By the 1740s it was fully formed and called Scottish Masonry. It was a longer, more comprehensive system.
This new system rose in popularity, was backed by Jacobites and promised to garner a new wave of alternate Freemasons. However, in 1745 James II’s GRANDSON, Charles (Bonnie Prince Charlie) ALSO tried to take the throne. He landed in Scotland, rallied the Scots and the English Jacobites, took Edinburgh and marched into England.
At the Battle of Culloden the Duke of Cumberland utterly buggered him. Utterly. Bonnie Prince Charlie was so soundly defeated that any hope of future uprisings were laid to rest.
The Battle Of Culloden
The Jacobites little by little simply ceased to be. They dwindled into irrelevancy.
HowEVER, their Scottish Rite system popped up years later as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. 100 years later it became the most popular series of rites and degrees in Freemasonry.
What happened is the Jacobite rites sort of shmucked around in some lodges here and there until the 1850s, when Albert Pike found them and reworked them brilliantly into an astonishing powerful system of Masonic rites. It is from the Scottish rites that we have Masons that instead of having 3 degrees, as is proper, have instead 33 degrees, which became widespread.
I’m done for today, kids. Tune in tomorrow for Freemasonry Pt. 3: The Palladium Affair. It’s my favorite.