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Bruxelles May 12 - M. Scanlan gives a lecture at Lodge of Research Ars Macionica


On 12 May 2007, Prof. Matthew Scanlan will give a lecture in English entitled "The secret conspiracies of the Duke of Wharton, Grand Master 1722 - 1723 " at the Lodge of Research Ars Macionica Nr. 30, Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium. 

The Lodge will be opened in the First Degree at 10.30 a.m., 265 rue Royale in Brussels.


Philip, 1st Duke of Wharton, is known to masonic historians for two main reasons: his controversial year in office as the second noble grand master of English Freemasonry (1722-23), and his very public defection to the court of the Stuart Pretender early in 1725. However, the relationship between Wharton's masonic association and his secretive political machinations, have been largely overlooked. Indeed, most historians have simply ignored the fact that Wharton was not only a secret partisan of the Jacobite cause before he became grand master in June 1722, but that he also seems to have been using his masonic office as a platform to promote an anti-government agenda. 

It is also generally accepted that in 1728, Wharton founded the first masonic lodge in Madrid (known today as 'La Matritense'), which was the first foreign lodge to be officially warranted by the grand lodge in London. However, close examination of this traditionally accepted view highlights a series of problems. Firstly, why did Wharton suddenly patronise a masonic lodge belonging to an order that he had publicly renounced and ridiculed some years earlier? And even if he had rekindled a genuine interest in Freemasonry, why should an exiled Jacobite Duke who, at the time, was being charged with high treason in absentia, choose to register the Madrid lodge with the avowedly pro-Hanoverian grand lodge in London? After all, during the 1720s and 30s, groups of masons in the north of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and Sweden, were quite content to found, or maintain, lodges that were completely independent of the grand lodge in London and who clearly did not feel the need to seek London's imprimatur. So why didn't Wharton do the same? 

This paper will therefore re-examine Wharton's life and together with new research it will seek to explain his apparently contradictory career when set against a broader social and political canvas

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