Freemasons Monthly Magazine - 1842
THE following notice of the Incorporation of the Masons of the city of London, will probably be new to many of our readers. It may be found in Maitland's History of that city:- "Masons, No. 30. - By the arms granted this society by William Hanckestow, Clarencieux-King at Arms, in 1477, it appears to be of considerable antiquity; however it was only incorporated, by letters patent, of the 29th of Charles II. Sept. 77, Anno 1677, by the name of the Master, Wardens, Assistants and Commonalty, of the company of Masons of the city of London."
"Their armorial ensigns are azure on a chevron between three castles argent, a pair of compasses somewhat extended of the first. Crest a castle of the second."
This incorporation of course included the operatives of the Freemasons, who, in their society, make use of the same armorial bearings, which originally belonged to them. The following are extracts from the Act of Incorporation (or Letters Patent) of the present Grand Lodge of England "GEORGE THE THIRD, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, TO ALL, to whom these PRESENTS shall come, Greeting, WHEREAS the SOCIETY Of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS have for Ages held frequent meetings within this Realm, and have ever demeaned themselves with Duty and Loyalty to Us and our Predecessors, with Reverence and Obedience to the Laws, and Kindness and Good Will to their Fellow Sub- jects: And whereas, the said Society appears to have been originally instituted for humane and beneficent Purposes, and have distributed, from Time to Time to all without Distinction, who have had the single Claim of Wretchedness, Sums to a great Amount, collected by voluntary Contribution among themselves."
"NOW, KNOW YE, That WE, out of Our Princely Regard to a Body of Men, associated for such laudable Purposes, willing to manifest to the World our entire Approbation of their past Conduct, and desirous to enable them to answer more effectually the humane Ends of their Institution, of Our especial Grace, certain Knowledge, and mere Motion, have ordained, given and granted," &c.
From its origin to the present hour, in all its vicissitudes, Masonry has been the steady unwearing friend of man. - Rev. Erastus Burr