Jacobites, Masons, and Fredericksburg

I’m about halfway through Jake Bacharach’s The Bend of the World, which is enormously fun to read. You should all go and buy it now. It deals heavily with the occult history of Pittsburgh, and this being a somewhat witchy post, there’s one bit that’s just too topical not to begin with. It’s what is proving to be one of my favorite characters, the protagonist’s best friend Johnny, describing the theories of one Winston Pringle, in a book called Fourth River, Fifth Dimension:

So basically, he said, you’ve got this ancient sacred geometry, sacred topography, what with the three rivers and the underground fourth river all meeting at the Point. Usual back story. Indians knew it was holy, blah blah blah. So the Marquis Du Quesne, who’s the governor-general of New France, and who also just happens to be the grand master of the Priory of Scion, hears about this, in particular the fourth river, which is, duh, obviously, the underground stream of medieval European esotericism, immediately puts together an exhibition, kicks out the Indians, and builds Fort Duquesne. So then Adam Weishaupt, the thirty-third-degree Freemason and immortal founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, gets wind of this, and basically does the Illuminati version of Aw No She Di’in! Now, uh, well, there’s basically a big digression about how Shea and Wilson stole all of Pringle’s ideas about Weishaupt killing and replacing George Washington, but yeah, basically, he uses Washington, who he either is or is manipulating, and conceives the Forbes expedition, and burns down Fort Duquesne, and erects Fort Pitt, and lays the groundwork for the founding of Pittsburgh. Then etc. etc. ad infinitum, a bunch of boring shit. Then Andrew Carnegie arrives and him and Frick get involved; Frick, by the way, is linked back to the Priory of Sion via a tenuous connection to Isaac Newton; the Pinkertons at the Homestead Strike, that’s all basically a blood sacrifice sort of thing, it begins this century-long magical working, which eventually gets taken over by the CIA, of course, which is where Pringle’s family gets involved. It’s the goddamn Remembrances of Conspiracies Past. Well, the point is to open up the transdimensional portal between quantum realities, allowing travel between any points in space-time and total control over the historical timeline and all that good stuff. I’m telling you, it’s fucking awesome.

*****

The fateful Braddock expedition, which preceded the Forbes expedition by several years, crossed the Potomac at a place called the Key of All Keys, the name for a big rock that served as a landmark in what is now Washington, DC. In the army’s ranks at the time was a lieutenant colonel by the name of George Washington. Today, all that remains of the Key of All Keys lies at the bottom of a covered well near the present location of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which may or may not be built on human remains. According to most accounts, the stone from the area was quarried for use in the White House and Capitol.

At some point Braddock’s army was joined by a former Jacobite-turned-country doctor, Hugh Mercer, who had moved to the Pennsylvania frontier in 1746 after serving as a surgeon until the Battle of Culloden. He quickly enlisted in the very same army that he fought ten years earlier. Accounts vary as to where exactly Washington and Mercer met, either at the Monongahela or at the beginning of the Forbes expedition, but at any rate they became close friends. Washington was already a Mason at the time, having joined the newly-formed Fredericksburg Masonic lodge in November 1752 (It was officially chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1758).

In the Battle of Fort Duquesne, which ended in the French burning the fort and turning tail in the face of superior numbers, the commanding officer of the one regiment of highlanders that saw any action was James Grant, who went on to found a rather mysterious Provincial Masonic Grand Lodge of the Southern District of America in St. Augustine while governor of East Florida, also under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. (Which was suppressed by the Dominicans and Spanish after the Treaty of Paris, when East Florida ceased to exist, and few records remain.)

The other John Forbes, commander of the Forbes expedition, made it to the fort on November 25 after the battle, but returned to Philadelphia after about a week, where he died three months  later. Command was left in the hands of Mercer, then a lieutenant colonel. I suppose Winston Pringle could probably fill in the details here better than I could.

Mercer moved to Fredericksburg in 1760 — a decision that is often reported to have been influenced by his friendship with Washington — and joined the Fredericksburg Masonic lodge in 1767. One account from 1784 describes him as, “generally of a just and moderate way of thinking and possessed of liberal sentiments and a generosity of principle very uncommon among those with whom he embarked.”

It is not insignificant that John T. Goolrick, who served as a private in the Fredericksburg Artillery, surrendering at Appomattox before becoming a judge and Fredericksburg’s greatest chronicler, can’t end his biography of Mercer without a “sketch” of his Masonic social circle:

This narrative would not be complete without a short story of the friends of Hugh Mercer at Fredericksburg his daily associates, who communed with him at the sessions of the Masonic Lodge; who sat Around the old open fireplace at the Rising Sun tavern and talked with him about the gossip of the town ; who watched and waited with him, in front of the post-office, for the coming of the rumbling, rattling old stage with its weekly mail and its belated news from Williamsburg. It is not, however, my purpose to write a biography of these people, but only a short sketch of them as their lives touched that of Mercer s, and as these distinguished people were connected and associated with Fredericksburg; and, as Washington stands in the forefront of this nation s life, so he stands, peerless and high above all others, in the life of this town.

Goolrick ends with the remarks General Lafayette supposedly gave during a visit to the lodge in November 1824:

The pleasure I ever feel in our frater nal meetings cannot but be enhanced by the consideration, that in this city the first les sons of childhood, and in this Lodge the first lessons of Masonry, were conferred upon the man who was first in all our hearts.  … This old Lodge has many valuable relics and mementos of the old times; among them, a portrait of Washington painted from life by Sully, and the Holy Bible upon which Washington, Mercer and Weedon were obligated as Masons.

*****

Before we go any further, watch my friend Daniel Bachman, who I ran into in the Reykjavik airport this March, play a beautiful song in the beautiful St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg:

There is a plaque in the narthex, dedicated to the man who laid out the town of Fredericksburg, that reads as follows:

In Memory of Goerge Hume second but only son with issue of Sir George
Hume of Wedderburn, Baronet

Born at Wedderburn Castle, Scotland 1698
Died in Culpeper County, Virginia 1760

Served in his father’s command in the Rising for King James VIII & III
1715. Captured at Preston, England, imprisoned in the Marshall sea but
permitted to come to Virginia, 1721.

Officer of the colonial militia, 1729, Crown Surveyor for Spotsylvania,
Orange and Frederick counties. From him, George Washington learned
surveying. By Act of the General Assembly, he Laid out the Town of
Fredericksburg, 1727.
Vestryman of this parish, and, in 1733, Planned the Church. His son,
Captain Francis Hume, was an original member of the Society of the
Cincinnati in the state of Virginia instituted in Fredericksburg, 1783.

The tablet was dedicated in 1938, in a small ceremony, pictures of which can be seen here (Hugh Mercer and James Monroe were also both vestrymen at St. George’s). One of the people giving dedicatory speeches was George Hume’s descendent, the highly decorated Edgar Erskine Hume — Kentucky Senator Earle C. Clements called him the “most decorated medical officer in American history” — then a lieutenant colonel. From his remarks:

He was the second son of Sir George Hume of Wedderburn, Baronet, being the only one of the six sons who left issue. With his father he participated in the Rising of 1715, the ill-fated attempt to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. When this effort failed, both father and son were taken to London as prisoners and there sentenced to die for their loyalty to the dynasty which had ruled Scotland for so many centuries. The father was finally pardoned after the forfeiture of his lands, and the son spared because of his youth, for he was but seventeen when he took arms. At length, after imprisonment, he was permitted to come to Virginia in 1721.

Here in the colony of Virginia he sought a home. This was the colony which King Charles II called The Old Dominion, because of all his realms, only Virginia had refused to acknowledge Oliver Cromwell. We are proud of our name The Old Dominion. It was for a time the only land which acknowledged the Stuart Kings.

Edgar Erskine Hume went on to serve under General Eisenhower, then as Chief Surgeon of the Army’s Far East Command during the Korean War, and as President of the Cincinnati, among many other things.

(Also buried in the churchyard of St. George’s is John Paul Jones’s brother, William Paul. The younger Jones arrived in Fredericksburg  1773, three years after becoming a freemason in Scotland, to put his recently-deceased brother’s affairs in order. This means he may have been present at the mobilization in Fredericksburg in the Spring of 1775 mentioned in a previous post; he wouldn’t receive his commission on the Alfred until December. And lest the lines get too neatly drawn, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore and Governor of Virginia, who seized the magazine at Williamsburg, prompting the rally, also marched in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army.)

*****

I suppose we’d better give the last word to old Judge Goolrick:

Mercer and [John Paul] Jones, both Scotchmen, were residents there at the same time, and it can scarcely be drawing on the imagination to picture these men of the Clans of old Scotland often meeting in social intercourse to talk of the land of their birth, being drawn together as friends and associates by the strong bond of their mother-country.

It was from Fredericksburg that Mercer went forth to make his name immortal, fighting the battles of the Colonies on land; and it was from there that John Paul Jones went to become illustrious by his great victories on the sea. The memories of both these great and illustrious men are cherished by old Fredericksburg, and will ever be cherished by her as long as the story of their lives shall live and Fredericksburg shall last.

*****

Chaser: I don’t know who’s responsible for this. At any rate, part of the reason for this post is to establish beyond any doubt, for the next one, that our own tradition is a thoroughly Atlantean one. (The only word fit to use, really, ‘Atlanticists’ are strange creatures who reside in think tanks.) As opposed to both our Napoleonic shapers of foreign policy, and those segments of the right that have, shall we say, turned toward the continent.

Further reading: The Accidental Illuminati,” Rune Soup:

So they were all Freemasons and hermetic sympathisers. Does this make it a conspiracy? A conspiracy of what? We’re talking a good couple of centuries here. These are just ideas. Popular beliefs. Ideas are what gets passed down, not secret plans.

This is more or less how Herr Dugin understands the phenomenon as well. Relatedly, be careful of hoaxes, like the Leo Taxil hoax, which implicates the one Confederate officer — Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite during the war, and later a Klan official — with a public statue in DC, Albert Pike, along with Otto von Bismarck and a whole bunch of other people in one big Satan-worshiping shadow government. Pike’s statue does raise some questions, though, doesn’t it? It’s pretty shocking that in today’s hypersensitive age — in which Washington and Lee has removed Confederate battle flags from General Lee’s tomb — that it would be allowed to stand. Do you think there’s a conspiracy?

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