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The 4th Earl of Carnarvon (1831-1890) and freemasonry in the British Empire.

Daniel, James Wallace (2011) The 4th Earl of Carnarvon (1831-1890) and freemasonry in the British Empire. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Historians who have considered the role of freemasonry in the British Empire have pointed out that some of the more prominent players on the imperial stage in the latter half of the nineteenth century were freemasons and have assumed that their freemasonry was significantly relevant to their political lives. Moreover, in the case of the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, a leading English freemason and twice Britain's Colonial Secretary, it has been claimed that his 'imperialist and Masonic agendas merged' and that he used freemasonry to promote the realisation of his imperial vision. This thesis tests that claim by examining in greater detail Carnarvon's two careers and the relationship between them. In case studies of Carnarvon's involvement with Canada, South Africa and Australia the extent to which the establishment of independent masonic Grand Lodges in those territories between 1850 and 1890 was consistent with or ran counter to Carnarvon's imperial philosophy is explored. It is contended that while freemasonry was much more than a passing episode in Carnarvon's life, its relevance to his imperial interests has recently been overestimated, and that his careers as a politician and statesman on the one hand and as a freemason on the other ran parallel to each other rather than merged. The thesis also argues that rather than consolidating the British Empire the formation of independent masonic Grand Lodges in Canada and Australia in the latter half of the nineteenth century presaged by many decades the dissolution of Britain's imperial power. This study suggests that a more nuanced view of Carnarvon the freemason and of freemasonry as an institution in the Empire between 1850 and 1890 is needed, along with further re-thinking of the relationship between freemasonry and the Empire.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.590286
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 10:53
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24988

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