In his 84th year, Bro Voltaire proved it is never too late to become a Freemason by being Initiated and made an Entered Apprentice of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters in Paris. Among the distinguished visitors was Benjamin Franklin who later became Master. Born in 1694 and famous for his travels, wit and irrepressible grin seen on hundreds of paintings, sketches, caricatures, statues and busts, Voltaire once wrote “Let us always march forward along the highway of Truth, my brothers, grinning decisively”.
Philosopher, historian, and writer who also led many campaigns against injustice, inequality and tyranny and who introduced the term “Human Rights”, Bro Voltaire is described on his tombstone monument in Paris as the ‘Immortal symbol of the Age of Enlightenment’.
Learning to be a successful investor whilst living in London in the late 1720s Voltaire never had to rely on book sales or aristocratic patronage for the rest of his life. He loved England, especially the coffee houses and the London Exchange, writing that “There the Jew, the Mahometan and the Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same religion”.
Having lived a long, full and eventful life, it appears that one of the World’s greatest ever Philosophers found in Freemasonry the same ‘Brotherly Love’ and tolerance for all religions and denominations to work together, similar to that which had impressed him so much in the London Exchange where “the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist and the Anglican accepts the Quaker’s bond”
Voltaire’s grin and wit stayed with him all his life, even during his dying hours when a Jesuit priest, who had been sent for, urged him to renounce the devil to which Voltaire softly replied “Now is not the time to be making enemies”. Fortunately for the Age of Enlightenment, which greatly influenced the development of Freemasonry, Bro Voltaire also refused to renounce any of his works before his ‘passing’ to the Grand Lodge Above on 30th May 1778.