All good secrets are within plain sight, always waiting for someone to notice them. In 1754 the Englishman Alexander Slade made a most entertaining and useful contribution to our pursuit.
He gives us a drawing ‘A Free Mason Form’d Out of the Material of his Lodge’, and a short book ‘The Free Mason Examin’d’. The former is far more interesting, although the latter makes some interesting claims.
Slade’s book is found on research lists relating to ‘exposures’ of Freemasonry and continues to be recognized as such.
Written by Slade in his introduction is the following passage. He tells us that he was not initiated in the regular way.
The reader will wonder then by what means I obtained the secrets, having never been initiated; and for my own part, I am surprised they were never made public before, having pass’ed for so many centuries, through 80 many countries, languages, sects, and parties.
But however, as they never were, I shall no longer suspend the reader’s curiosity, who will now have a fair opportunity of being as good a Mason as the best, by time, patience, and his own industry; for without a close application, he cannot be sufficiently expert, to pass an examination before his admission into a lodge. ‘Tis now upwards of ten years since this grand secret fell into my hands, which was in the following manner.
Slade then describes finding some extraordinary papers in the drawer of his father.
He continued a member of that lodge about 34 years, which was as long as he lived; and at his death, I became master of all his effects, with a small freehold estate.
As I was one day looking over some papers in my Father’s bureau, I found one folded up, and laid in a private drawer by itself, upon which I hastily opened it. thinking it was something very extraordinary, and so it was; for this was the title, A Free-Mason’s Instruction.
I thought this extremely valuable, knowing my Father had been a Mason many years, and therefore I made not the least doubt but the account was authentick. I immediately applied myself to the study of Masonry, and shortly became master of the whole art.
This image is considered a verified source of occult information by Code 144, and it has proven itself useful many times.
The remainder of this short 32-page book is divided into 3 chapters, The Minor’s Degree, The Major’s Degree, and the Ceremony of Installment.
Although Slade initially claims he reveals the secrets of Masonry, such a thing is not done in reality, at least not to the extent we would like. The remainder of the text is somewhat anticlimatic. What he does do is reveal some rare written rituals.
More interesting to us is his drawing ‘A Free Mason Form’d Out of the Material of his Lodge’.
The drawing is dated 1754, so it was published a few years before the book.
Slade goes as far as to include a notice directly underneath his drawing.
A Free Mason
Form’d Out of the Material of his Lodge
Behold a Master Mason rare
Whose mystic portrait does declare
The secrets of Free Masonry
Fair for all to read and see
But few there are to whom they’re known
Tho’ they so plainly here are shown
In The Free Mason Examined
Alexander Slade - The Free Mason Examined. from 1754.