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MASONIC ANECDOTE.

From the Travels of ALEXANDER DRUMMOND, Esq. Consul at Aleppo; written at

Smyrna in 1745, and published at London, in folio, 1754.

A

T this Carnival season they have an assembly here, to, which Mr. formed a Lodge of Free Masons in the place, the ladies had conceived a strange notion of my character; for I had been represented to them, by some priest, as a conjurer of the first magnitude, who had the devil at my command, and raised the dead by my diabolical incantations. These terrible prepossessions, 'instead of frightening them, had only served to raise their curiosity; and when I entered the room they surveyed me with truly female attention : after they had satisfied their eyes with a most minute examination, they seemed to think I did not differ much from the other children of Adam, and became so familiar to my appearance,

that one of the number was hardy enough to desire me to dance with her; and, as she escaped without danger, I was afterwards challenged by a pretty little blooming creature, with whom I walked seven minuets during the course of the evening.

As I have mentioned the Lodge of Free Masons, I cannot help congratulating myself upon the opportunity I had of making so many worthy Brethren in this place, and of forming the only Lodge that is in the Levant.

For ages past a savage race

O’erspread these Asian plains,
All nature wore a gloomy face,

And pensive mov'd the swains,
But now Britannia's gen'rous sons

A glorious Lodge have rais'd,
Near the famd banks where Meles runs,

And Homer's cattle graz'd;
The briery wilds to groves are chang'd,

With orange-trees around,
And fragrani lemons, fairly rang’d,

O'ershade the blissful ground.
Approving Phæbus shines more bright,

The flow'rs appear more gay,
New objects rise to please the sight

With each revolving day.
While safe within the sacred walls,

Where heav'nly friendship reigns,
The jovial Masons hear the calls

Of all the needy swains.
Their gen'rous aid, with cheerful soul,

They grant to those who sue;
And while the sparkling glasses roll,
Their smiling joys renew.

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ACCOUNT

OF

JOHN WATKINS, L. L.D.

[WITH A PORTRAIT.]

N

TOTHING, perhaps, can be of a more delicate nature than the

biographical delineation of a living character. While curiosity on the one hand is alive to know every particular relative to those persons by whose labours we have profited, or whose situation in life fenders them the objects of admiration; the hand of the biographer, on the other, is restrained from that boldness of execution which is necessary to give his figure force and effect. Many.circumstances must be thrown into shade; others entirely suppressed ; and the free representation of character and disposition cannot possibly be expected.

It is only when the hand of death gives the finish, that we çan look for the full and impartial representation, attended with all those minutia which the tenderness of friendship hitherto kept concealed.

of the living personages, therefore, whose portraits occasionally grace our Magazine, our readers are to look for little more than a leading account of circunstances, and to a brief sketch of character.

The gentleman, whose portrait we have given in the present number, is a native of Devonshire; though we are informed he had not any part of his education in that county.

If our intelligence is accurate (and we have no reason to question it) he may be considered as avlodixo, one of those whose genius will burst forth in spite of depression, and arise to full view and catch the admiration of men.

Through all the juvenile part of his life, he seemed to be hovering over the chambers of death. His early years were chequered wita misfortunes, and clouded with disease. More than once, we are told, leave the anxious attendants declared him to be no longer an inhabitant of this nether sphere.

In such a state of weakness and inadequacy for society, literature formed his only amusement. Though placed in a respectable seminary of learning, his infirmities pressed so severely upon him, that the advantages which he derived from that situation were comparatively but small. To the exercise, therefore, of his own inind, aided by the sedentariness which necessity thus imposed upon him, his attainments either in the languages or the sciences are principally to be attributed.

Of one who has devoted himself entirely to literary pursuits, and a life of learned ease, scarcely any particulars can be gathered to gratify public curiosity. The adventures of but few authors have afforded entertainment by their variety, or excited surprize by their novelty.

If the subject of the present memoir has not dazzled by the splendour, or astonished by the number, of his productions, he can yet kelicitate himself on their tendency. Nor has he any reason to conplain of the want of public approbation. Though the fas greater part

1

yators.

of them have been anonymously ushered into the world, they have yet been marked with the applause of the judicious and the worthy.

We cannot presume to withdraw the veil; otherwise we could point out some distinguished pieces which have issued from his pen. Among these are some political performances of considerable vigour and celebrity. He has not been the least active or successful in the literary ranks who have come forward in the season of alarm to yindicate our glorious constitution against the insidious attempts of inno

In 1791 he published “ Proposals for a History of the Church of

England, from the Establishment of the Reformation under Queen “Elizabeth to the present time.” This undertaking, which is designed to be comprised in two volumes quarto, was recommended to him by some of the most learned and worthy prelates of the Church. The prospectus to this history has been greatly admired by the best judges of good writing. In this great design he has made a large progress; and we are informed, that one volume will make its appearance in the present year.

In 1792 he printed, in one volume octavo, “ An Essay towards a “ History of Bideford;" but a small impression only of this work was struck off, as it was originally compiled for the use of the author's learned and ingenious friend Mr. Polwhele, who is coinpiling the History of Devonshire.

As a Mason, Dr. W.is undoubtedly entitled to a very distinguishing potice. A Lodge has been established by him at the place of his residence; and, we are informed, is in a very flourishing state. The CHARGE delivered at its Constitution was published at the unanimons request of the numerous and respectable assembly of brethren who attended the ceremony,' and is a very animated composition. The Prayer pronounced at the Consecration has been greatly admired. Both were republished in the IVth Number of our Magazine* ; and deserve to be carefully read as well by those who are not, as those who are Members of our Society.

In the Preface toʻthe Charge, the author says, “ He has it in contemplation to devote some future period of his life to a search into the History of Masonry, comprehending, of course, a view of the Pro

gress of Civilization, with a Biography of those persons who have " adorned the world, and have been dignified by the Masonic character.” This we sincerely hope (and we are sensible that we have herein the concurrent wish of many eminenc brethren) that he will be enabled by leisure, health, and encouragement, to perform. Wed

e can, however, assure our readers that a MASONIC TREATISE from the Doctor's pen will be announced for publication in a short time. But the plan of this is rather elucidatory than historical.

Possessed of a vigorous intellect, he has been indefatigable in his rescarches into the various branches of our Order. His knowlege of the Hebrew language, and acquaintance with the Cabala, have enabled him to explore even the most obscure intricacies of an institution that certainly takes its dure in the patriarchal times.

* Yol. I. p. 275

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