William Winston Seaton, Past Master, Congressional Reporter, Publisher, Mayor, but not a Dickens Character.
Lebanon Lodge #7, Past Master William Winston Seaton served as Master of Lebanon Lodge #7 in 1818- 1821, and again in 1825-1827. He served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge from 1822-1824.
He with his brother in law Joseph Gales were publishers of the National Intelligencer. The National Intelligencer was the only paper covering Congressional Debates from 1812 to 1820. Their archives serve as a basis for understanding the politics of the time. They also had keen insight from 1824-1837. Seaton was active in the York Rite, and an intimate of many important political people. He would eventually become Mayor of DC.
In 1842, when Charles Dickens visited America, MWB Seaton entertained the author and was said to have entertained him very well. The History of the Grand Lodge and of Freemasonry in the District of Columbia with Biographical Appendix by WB Kenton Harperon on page 338 says suggests that the Cherryble Brothers in Nicholas Nickleby “might seem to have been inspired by the subject of this sketch and his partner, so nearly akin in every gentle characteristic.”
The only problem with this is that Nicholas Nickleby was published in a serial format from 1838 to 1839. Yet, if our brothers in writing the history of the Grand Lodge could see our brother in these legendary characters that speaks well for our brother. Indeed, in the depictions of the brothers and MWB Seaton there is a bit of a semblance. It should be noted that Dickens visit to America was generally considered a bad experience with Dickens being fairly critical of American society and downright disdainful of DC itself. Of note, is that during this time the office of Master is titled Right Worshipful Master, and the Wardens are the Worshipful Senior Warden and the Worshipful Junior Warden.