Notes on Richard Parsons, 1st Earl of Rosse
1."The greatest disappointment that meets the historian is the fragmentary, and often misleading, resumé of the transactions of the Grand Lodge 1730-50 given by [Edward] Spratt in his "Constitutions" of 1751. For example, he was ignorant of the Grand Mastership of the Earle of Rosse in 1725, and that the same nobleman was G.M. again in 1730...." [p. 224.]
2."This is shown by a notice that appeared in The Dublin Weekly Journal, No. 13, Saturday. 26 June 1725, when the Grand Lodge is introduced as already in existence, possessing a Grand Master and a complete organization." [p. 53.] "In January 1729/30 the installation of the Duke of Norfolk as Lord Kingstons successor is reported in the Dublin Press...." [p. 74.] "...as Rosse was Grand Master again in 1730." [p. 80., also see "Succession of Officers.... p. 464.] "When the Grand Lodge, in this year , gave a first official sign of life since 1725, the Earl of Ross was still the Ruling Grand Master.... (The Dublin Weekly Journal 13 March, 1730/31)." [p. 82.]
3."Coming to speak of the personages who took part on this memorable occasion, we are disinclined for many reasons to rake up old scandals, about the character of our first recorded Grand Master, Richard Parsons, second Viscount and first Earl of Rosse; but our chief reason for so refraining is that we consider them unjustified by the available evidence.
"The greatest of Irish masonic historians did not hesitate to write of Rosses character as follows:
"'Certainly, if the formula 'of good morals and great skill' was used on behalf of the Earl of Rosse, his sponsors must have been sore put to it for conscience' sake. His Lordships idea of morals was inverted, and his skill shone most in the management of the small-sword and the dice-box.' (Crawley: "Camentaria Hibernica," Fas., 11. 12).
"We think that, on this occasion, Dr. Crawley attached undue importance to some contemporary gossip. We do not wish to perpetuate such an opinion of Rosse, let us rather record that he was left an orphan early and lacked a fathers wisdom in the most susceptible years of his life; that he was an outstanding wit and scholar in a century of wits and scholars; that he was generous in his dealings with the world, and the protector and fosterer of artistic genious." [pp. 61-62.]
4.See pp. 130-32, History.
5.See Peter Somerville-Large, Irish Eccentrics p 146-47.
History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, John Heron Lepper and Philip Crossle. vol i. Dublin : Lodge of Research. CC , 1925 542p. Pages noted in square brackets.