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masonry dissected



Samuel Prichard

The first edition of this 32 pp. 8vo pamphlet (about 7" x 4 ¾") was advertised for sale in the Daily Journal on Tuesday, 20th October 1730: "This day is published… MASONRY DISSECTED… by Samuel Prichard… Printed for J. Wilford…".

The second edition, also printed for Wilford, was advertised the very next day, 21st October, and again on 23rd October.

The third edition (also printed for Wilford) was advertised on Saturday, 31st October1730. The pamphlet had been reprinted in Read's Weekly Journal on 24th October.

An undated and pirated edition (printed by Thomas Nichols), with the title misspelt Masonry Disected, had also probably made its appearance by the end of October 1730.

Until quite recently it was believed that this Nichols pirated reprint was the first edition (see Vibert, Rare Books; Dring, A.Q.C., xxv, 366; Thorp, 15), but in 1940 Bro. S. N. Smith (A.Q.C., li, 138) drew attention to the existence of a copy of the genuine first edition in Grand Lodge Library, and of another in the Wallce Heaton collection. There is a copy of the Nochols edition in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts(1), which originally belonged to E. T. Carson of Cincinnati, who reprinted it in 1867.

The second edition, of which there is a copy in the Leicester Masonic Library, was reprinted in 1929 in Leics. Reprints, xii, with Introduction and Notes by J. T. Thorp.

The third edition, the earliest in the British Museum, is the first to contain "A List of Regular Lodges according to their Seniority and Costitution", though the fact that this list is appended is not indicated on the title page, as is the case with at least some subsequent editions (e.g., 7th and 21st). To make room for this list, the "Fellow- Craft's degree" in the 3rd edition begins half way down p. 19 (which was left half blank in the 2nd edition), thereby enabling the "Master's Part" to finish on p. 28, instead of on p. 29. In each edition the following two pages (29 and 30 in the 3rd; 30 and 31 in the 2nd) contain the "Author's Vindication"; in the 3rd edition pp. 31 and 32 are occupied by the List of Lodges, printed in double column, whereas in the second edition p. 32 is blank. Some thirty numbered edition of the pamphlet printed in England, and eight printed in Scotland, have been traced. In addition to these 8vo or 12mo numbered editions which mostly contain from 24 to 32 pages, there is an old unnumbered and undated (? Pirated) foolscap 4to edition, (8 3/8" x 6 ½"), consisting of 8 pages, mostly printed in double column, with no indication where, or by whom it was printed. The only known copy of this edition is in the Lahore Masonic Library; a photographic reproduction, reduced to 5 ½" x 4", was issued in 1941.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014