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Prichard, Samuel

"An unprincipled and needy Brother," as Doctor Oliver calls him, who published at London, in 1730, a book with the following title: Masonry Dissected; being a Universal and Genuine Description of aU its Branches, from the Original to this Present Time: as it is delivered in the constituted, regular Lodges, both in City and Country according to the several Degrees of Admission, giving an impartial account of their regular Proceedings in initiating their New Members in the whole Three Degrees of Masonry, viz., I. Entered Prentice; II. Fellow Craft; III. Master. To which is added, The Author's Vindication of Himself, by Samuel Prichard, Late Member of a constituted Lodge.

This work, which contained a great deal of plausible matter, mingled with some truth as well as falsehood, passed through a great many editions, was translated into the French, German, and Dutch languages, and became the basis or model on which all the subsequent so-called expositions, such as Tubal-Kain, Jachin and Boaz, etc., were framed. In the same year of the appearance of Prichard's book, a Defence of Masonry, as a reply to the Masonry Dissected was anonymously published, and has often been erroneously attributed to Doctor Anderson, but it has been discovered that its author was Brother Martin Clare (see Clare Martin). No copy is now known to exist of this Defence, but it will be found at the end of the 1738 edition of the Constitutions.

It is not, however, a reply to Prichard, but rather an attempt to interpret the ceremonies which are described in the Masonry Dissected in their symbolic import, and this it is that gives to the Defence a value which ought to have made it a more popular work among the Fraternity than it is. Prichard died in obscurity; but the Abbe Larudan, in his Franc-Maons crass, Freemasons Crushed (page 135), has manufactured a wild tale about his death; as herein desired. I entreat, therefore, that whatever stating that he was carried by force at night into the Grand Lodge at London, put to death, his body burned to ashes, and all the Lodges in the world in formed of the execution. The Abbe is satisfied of the truth of this wondrous narrative because he had heard it told m Holland and in Germany, all of which only proves that the French calumniator of Freemasonry abounded either in an inventive faculty or in a trusting faith.

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