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On the title page of a 32-page pamphlet, The Free Mason Examined, published at London, England, 1754, the author is given as "Alexander Slade, Late Master of Three Regular Constituted Lodges, In the City of Norwich." Careful search among the archives failed to find a Brother who by the year 1751 had occupied the chair of three Norwich (England) Lodges. The pamphlet was reproduced in facsimile by the Lodge of Research, No. 2429, Leicester, 1926-7, with comments by Brother John T. Thorp, who also read a paper "Freemasonry Parodied in 1754 by Slade's Free Mason Ezamin'd" (see Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1907, volume xx, pages 95-111).
Slade has not been identified with Norwich nor with Freemasonry and the purpose of this unknown writer is mysterious, Brother Thorp suggesting several possibilities: first, that this curious production is what it claims to be--an account of some Lodge ceremonies of that time; second, perhaps published to ridicule the claims made to a remote antiquity by the Grand Lodge of the Ancient; third, a misleading parody upon certain Masonic work of that period, and fourth, an outright invention prompted by pure greed, there being a lively demand for such information, Prichard's pamphlet of 1730 having four editions in a month and nearly twenty by 1754. Six editions of Slade's work were published four in 1754, the others bear no date, and Copies of all are rare.
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