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this description. His success in the prosecution of his schemes is thus detailed in the memoirs of Abbe Georgel, touching the case of Cardinal Rohan. "In the mean time an unfortunate circumstance contributed to hurry the Cardinal into extraordinary adventures. I do not know what monster, envious of the tranquility of honest men, had vomited forth upon our country an enthusiastic empiric,—a new Aj/ostlc of the religion of nature, icho created converts in the most desjwtic maimer, and subjected tliem entirely to his injlvence.
"Some speedy cures effected in cases that were pronounced incurable, and fatal in Switzerland and Strasburg, spread the name of Cagliostro far and wide, and raised his renown to that of a truly miraculous physician. His attention towards the poor and his contempt for the rich, gave his character an air of superiority and interest which excited the greatest enthusiasm. Those whom he chose to honour with his familiarity, left his society with ecstacy at his transcendent qualities. The Cardinal de Rohan waa at his residence at Saverne, when the Count de Cagliostro astonished Strasburg and all Switzerland with the extraordinary cures he performed. Curious to see so remarkable a personage, the Cardinal went to Strasburg. It was found necessary to use interest to be admitted to the Count. If M. le Cardinal is sick, said he, let him come to me and I will cure him; if he be well, he has no business with me, nor have I with him. This reply, far from giving offence to the vanity of the Cardinal, only increased the desire he had to be acquainted with him.
"At length, having gained admission to the sanctuary of this new Esculapius, he saw on the countenance of this incommunicative man a dignity so imposing that he felt himself penetrated by a religious awe, and that his first words were inspired by reverence. This interview, which was very short, excited more strongly than ever the desire of a more intimate acquaintance. At length it was obtained, and the crafty empiric timed his conduct and his advances so well, that at length, without seeming to desire it, he gained the entire confidence of the Cardinal, and possessed the greatest ascendency over him. His Egyptian lodges were opened at night in the Cardinal's own drawing room, illuminated by an immense number of wax tapers; and he succeeded in persuading his dupe, that under the influence of a familiar demon, he could teach him to mako gold out of baser metals, and transmute small diamonds into large precious stones. And thus under the pretence of developing the rarest secrets of the Rosicrucians and other visionaries, who believed in the existence of the Philosopher's stone, the elixir of life, &c., he cheated the Cardinal out of large sums of money, which, instead of passing through the crucibles, found their way into the pockets of the sharper."
The true science of Freemasonry guards against such impostures by the most stringent regulations; and recommends the practice of virtue as a shield against the impositions of designing men. Thus the Constitutions declare that no person shall be admitted as a candidate without notice and strict enquiry into his character and qualifications. That every candidate must be a free man and his own master, and at the time of his initiation, be known to be in reputable circumstances. He should be a lover of the liberal arts and sciences, and have made some progress in one or other of them. And previous to his initiation, he is called upon to subscribe a declaration that he will cheerfully conform to all the ancient usages and established customs of the Order. And even then, he cannot on any pretence be admitted, if, on the ballot, three black balls shall appear against him.
The Charge delivered to an entered apprentice is equally plain and significant. "No institution can boast a more solid foundation than that on which Freemasonry rests—the practice of social and moral virtue; and to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced, that in every age, monarchs themselves have become the promoters of the art, have not thought it derogatory from their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the trowel; have patronized our mysteries, and even joined our assemblies."
With such precautions, it will appear at least very improbable that vicious or unworthy characters should gain admission into a lodge. But unfortunately this does sometimes occur. And the characters of men undergo such extraordinary and unexpected changes by the force of circumstances, that it is impossible for Freemasonry to answer for the stability of every brother who may have been enrolled amongst its members; and such alterations in the disposition cannot be provided against by any sumptuary law. The universal system remains unsullied by the introduction of an occasional impostor, although the locality where such an event occurs may suffer a temporary shadow to obscure its light; for as Agesilaus observed when the director ot ceremonies in the Gymnasium placed him in an unworthy situation; "it is not the place that makes the man, but the man that makes the place honourable or dishonourable."
It is to be regretted, however, that such impostors sully and avert the stream of masonic charity. They prowl about the country with false certificates, and often succeed in deluding benevolent brothers, to tiie injury of those who are really in distress. And the difficulty of distinguishing between real and assumed objects of charity may be estimated from such cases as the following, which has been extracted from the Quarterly Communication for Dec., 1823. "A Report from the Board of General Purposes was read, stating that an individual, calling himself Simon Ramus, had been endeavouring to impose upon the brethren, and to obtain pecuniary assistance, under colour of a fabricated certificate, stating him to have been a member of the Lodge No. 353. And also that another individual, calling himself Miles Martin, but supposed to be one Joseph Larkins, had, in a similar manner, been endeavoring to impose upon the brethren, under colour of a certificate from the Grand Lodge of Ireland and another from the Lodge No. 145, at Norwich} all which certificates had been detained and transmitted to the Grand Lodge. The Board stated that they were induced to make this Report with a view to guard brethren against further attempts at imposition by those individuals, although their means were in a great measure destroyed by the detention of the certificates."
Such cases are of common occurrence in the country; and to guard against them as completely as possible, the laws, under the presumption that ignorance is the parent of vice, provide against the admission of uneducated persons who are incapable of writing their own names, by requiring them actually to suscribe the Declaration. A want of attention to this rule is calculated to produce many other irregularities. The following censure of the Grand Lodge on this point merits general circulation amongst the brethren. For obvious reasons the name of the offending lodge is omitted. "It being remarked in the Grand Lodge that some of the brethren of the Lodge No. — were unable to write, inasmuch as their marks only were affixed against their names, and amongst them was the Junior Warden; and the law, sec. iv., p. 90, declaring such individuals ineligible for initiation, the M. W. Grand Master will, after this notice, feel it a duty he owes to the Craft to bring under the cognizance of the Grand Lodge the conduct of any Lodge which shall violate the wholesome and necessary law above referred to; a breach of which it is declared in the preamble to the regulations for proposing members, &c., p. S8, shall subject the offending lodge to erasure. And the M. W. Grand Master will require his Provincial Grand Masters to warn the lodges under their respective superintendence, of this His Royal Highness's determination, and to report to him any instance which shall come to their knowledge of a disregard of the law in this respect."2
My Dear Brethren And Friends,
Whom I know so well, and esteem so highly, will accept this trifling testimony of my regard, resulting from a connection of many years' standing, and a social intercourse that has, I flatter myself, been mutually advantageous.
Oft have I met your social band,
Oft, honoured with supreme command,