Nicolas Robinot, Charles DeValois and Loge Saint Edoüard
May 07, 2013
As I was cataloging recently, I came upon a very early manuscript book of Regulations of the Venerable Loge Saint Edoüard. The manuscript is dated 1748 and contains information about a Masonic lodge which was located in Paris, France. According to French historian Alain Bihan, it was a very early lodge that could have received its constitution and regulations from the Grande Loge de France. Freemasonry was introduced to Paris about 1725 from England, although the official history of the Grand Lodge of France didn't begin until 1743.
The lodge members list included in this manuscript gives members names, occupations, and street addresses in Paris. The list reveals that lodge members had diverse occupations: doctors, notaries, painters, professors and many members who were noblemen or had royal positions. These royal positions included Turaut who was Apothecary to the king, Martinet who was a noblemen and valet to the king, and Jandin who was Interpreter of the Affairs of the king. Some are listed as just gentlemen or "Bourgeois de Paris" meaning they came from a very privileged class of people. Other Masonic members held military posts such as De St. Martin who is described as "Chevalier de l'ordre Militaire de Louis Amien Brigadier de Mousquetaires". Translated from the French this means that this Mason held a very elite position as Knight of King Louis XV in the Amien Brigade of Musketeers. This certainly was an elite and bourgeois group of Masons.
The "Très Venerable Mâitre" of this lodge was Nicolas Robinot (b. 1713/active 1748-1765). He was an "Ecuyer, Conseilleur secrétaire du Roi, maison et couronne de France et de ses finances", translated to English he was a Nobleman and Secretary and Finance Minister to the King of France, Louis XV (1710-1774) . Robinot was the son of Nicolas Robinot (1679-1735) who held the position of Secretary to the king before him. The "Secrétaire" of the lodge was Charles DeValois (active 1748-1765). He certified the text of the regulations. He was an "Ecuyer" or nobleman.
Robinot and DeValois were also a members of the Ordre de la Coignée, another fraternal order in Paris. Robinot held the position of "Second Inspecteur" and DeValois held the position of "Perpetuel Secrétaire". Like the Loge Saint Edoüard, the Ordre de la Coignée was composed of elite members of French society.
Reglements de la très Venerable Loge St. Edoüard, Paris, 1748. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/4/1.
Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 1927, v. 40, p. 94, 104-105.
Coil, Henry Wilson. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. Richmond, VA: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., 1995, p. 258-262.
Le Bihan, Alain. Loges et Chapitres de la Grand Loge et du Grand Orient de France. Paris: Bibiothèque Nationale, 1967, p. vii-xv, p. 128-130.