During an unconnected routine search of the internet a Brother from Rosslyn St. Clair came across this certificate dated 13 January 1798 recording the Admission of 21 year old Bro. Robert Baxter as an Entered Apprentice of St. Mungo Lodge No.28 ……
Realising the there could be only one such certificate in existence the Rosslyn Brother immediately informed the Secretary of Lodge St. Mungo’s (Glasgow) – today renumbered 27 – that the item was to be auctioned, following which the Lodge successfully purchased the document in competition with a Masonic Museum in Latvia!
At more than 200 years old this unique acquisition is a most important addition to the St. Mungo’s heritage. Clearly, Bro. Baxter was a man of substance and respected in his chosen career, and while there may yet be more to be revealed about him, the immediately known history of Bro. Baxter is worthy of note, as follows:
Alexander Baxter (1777-1841) studied medicine in Edinburgh and on 3rd August 1799, only some 18 months after joining the Craft, he received a Commission into the Army as Assistant Surgeon to the 35th Foot Regiment. The Regiment subsequently served in the Mediterranean and, in 1805, Baxter was appointed Surgeon to the Royal Corsican Rangers, where he became acquainted with Hudson Lowe, later Governor of St Helena during Napoleon’s exile. Lowe arranged for Baxter, who had by that time served in the Peninsula and the American War, to accompany him to St Helena in 1816, where he hoped Baxter would become a medical attendant to Napoleon. Baxter remained on St Helena until 1819, and although he met Napoleon a few times, the Emperor would not accept him as a medical attendant and Baxter had to compile medical reports on Napoleon for the Governor on the basis of what he was told by Napoleon’s preferred surgeon, Barry O’ Meara (full details in Arnold Chaplin, ‘A St Helena Who’s Who’).
In common with every other Masonic Lodge in Scotland, St. Mungo’s 27 (Glasgow) will welcome qualified visitors when the Covid 19 restrictions on our gatherings are eventually lifted – with the added attraction for visitors of being able to view a unique piece of Masonic history, now carefully preserved for posterity in its rightful home.