Saturday, 21 July 2012

21st July 1812: A Mason from Manchester informs the Home Secretary that a Luddite has infiltrated a local lodge

Manchester 21st July 1812

My Lord

I have just come to the knowledge of a circumstance, which, I deem of too great importance in regard of our safety, to keep concealed, for a moment, from his Majesty's Government: for, when I consider the introduction of Illuminism into the Lodges of Germany and France, and reflect upon its disastrous consequences to Europe generally, and to France in particular — any attempt, of the people termed Luddites, to disseminate their doctrines with their Oath, into the Masonic institutions of this country, overwhelm the mind with alarm, and seems to demand your Lordship's earliest attentions.—Yesterday, a deputation arrived, at the Lodge of Integrity here, from Eccles, (about four miles distant), to give information to Mr Lynch, (Deputy-Provincial-Grand-Master,) of the suspension of one of their members, on account of an attempt made by him, to twist-in several of the Brethren; and, for his having been, himself+, twisted-in.

All that the deputation wanted was Mr. Lynch's authority to destroy the certificate of the suspended Member, and to request that, the necessary precautions might be, immediately, used to prevent his again ever entering that, or any other Lodge, in the province.

As this was a mere proforma business, I was unwilling that it should here terminate.—I took an opportunity of explaining to Mr. Lynch the facility which the secrecy of masonic meetings afforded to the promotion of seditious plans, and at the same time mentioned the advantage which the Diciples of Weishaupt had taken of this secrecy in promoting the views of the Illuminati.—Concurring exactly with myself in opinion, I proposed to make your Lordship acquainted with the circumstance, and, (if we were fortunate enough to meet your Lordship's approbation,) to search all the Lodges of the county minutely: and, further, to send to every Lodge in our province a list of the names of those men tried and condemned at Chester and Lancaster, with the names of those who have since been taken into custody, the purpose of ascertaining, whether any considerable proportion of these infatuated men were are Masons.—From the tenor of the enclosed oath, we are inclined to believe that, it has been drawn up by disaffected Mason; as, the Oath itself is by no means dissimilar from that one of those, administered to the candidates for one of the degrees of Masonry—

Determined to preserve the strictest silence on the subject, until I have the honor of being made acquainted with your Lordship's pleasure

I am [etc]

Henry Hardie M.D.

To the Right Hon:le Lord Sidmouth

Dr. Hardie

+ He is to be tried, at the next New Bailey Sessions, on the above charge.

This letter can be found at HO 42/125.

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