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  • René Guénon (1886 - 1951)
    René-Jean-Marie-Joseph Guénon (French: [%CA%81%C9%99ne ʒan maʁi ʒozɛf ɡenɔ̃]; 15 November 1886 – 7 January 1951), also known as ʿAbd al-Wāḥid Yaḥyá, was a French author and intellectual who remains an ...
  • Andrew Michael Ramsay, Chevalier Ramsay (1686 - 1743)
    Andrew Michael Ramsay (9 July 1686 – 6 May 1743), commonly called the Chevalier Ramsay , was a Scottish-born writer who lived most of his adult life in France. He was a Baronet in the Jacobite Peerage....

According to a tradition dating to 1777, the first Masonic lodge in France was founded in 1688 by the Royal Irish Regiment, which followed James II of England into exile, under the name "La Parfaite Égalité" of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Historians think such an event is likely, but it can never be proved conclusively.[2] The same can be said of the first lodge of English origin, "Amitié et Fraternité", founded in 1721 at Dunkerque[3] The first lodge whose existence is historically certain[4] was founded by some Englishmen in Paris "around the year 1725". It met at the house of the traiteur Huré on rue des Boucheries, "in the manner of English societies", and mainly brought together Irishmen and Jacobite exiles. It is quite probable that it was this lodge that in 1732 received official patents from the Grand Lodge of London under the lodge-name "Saint Thomas", meeting at the sign of the "Louis d'Argent", still on the rue des Boucheries.

In 1728, the Freemasons decided to recognise Philip Wharton, 1st Duke of Wharton (1698–1731) as "grand-master of the Freemasons in France". Wharton was staying in Paris and Lyon from 1728 to 1729, and in 1723 had already become grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of London.[5] His nomination as French grandmaster, prior to the transformation of the "Grand Lodge of London" into the "Grand Lodge of England in 1738, is considered by some historians as a point of departure for French Freemasonry and a declaration of its independence from British Freemasonry. He was succeeded as grandmaster of the French Freemasons by the Jacobites James Hector MacLean (1703-1750) and then Charles Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater (1693-1746).

If the existence of a grandmaster in France is already attested in 1728, it took ten more years for a true assembly of representatives from all the "English" and "Scottish" lodges[6] to form the first Grande Loge de France on 24 June 1738 and set up Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin (1707–1743), 2nd Duke of Antin, as "general and perpetual Grand Master in the kingdom of France". It was this Grand Lodge which gave birth to the French Masonic jurisdictions which still exist today.