This week’s instalment from Masonic Periodicals Online comes from The Freemason, 19 January, 1889, where we find on page 26 the announcement with great fanfare and praise for Brother William James Hughan’s latest book.

'The reading brethren of the Craft will rejoice to hear that another work is just being circulated of Bro. Hughan's , making the eighth of the series of "Masonic Sketches and Reprints" inaugurated by him in 1869, and which has been very heartily appreciated in Great Britain, and America especially, and wherever Masonic students abound. The previous seven are out of print, much to the regret of several brethren who desire a complete set of the valuable series. Owing to the scarcity of these books, and as only small editions have been printed (particularly of the earlier issues), there is always keen competition when any occur for sale. In December last, at the bi-annual sale of the “Masonic Publishing Company," New York, Bro. Hughan's "Memorials of the Masonic Union" (1874), fetched £16s., though the original cost was only 10s., and his "Constitutions of the Freemasons" (1869), which was issued to subscribers only at half a guinea, regularly makes two to three guineas when a copy is offered for sale.'

William James Hughan in his regalia ©Museum of Freemasonry, London
Hughan’s Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871 ©Museum of Freemasonry, London
Hughan’s The Old Charges of British Freemasons, 1895 ©Museum of Freemasonry, London
Engraved List of Regular Lodges, by John Pine, with frontispiece by Thornhill, 1725 ©Museum of Freemasonry, London

'The present volume is a charming souvenir "of ye olden tyme, " being a fac-simile reproduction of the Engraved List of Regular Lodges, by John Pine, of 1734, of which the only copy known in the world is owned by Bro. James Newton, of Bolton, who fraternally lent it for the purpose. The exact representation of the unique original is by the photo-zincographic process, and certainly nothing could possibly be better, as the reproduction is simply perfect.'

The article then lists much detail including mentioning Bro. Thornhill’s “fine frontispiece” (see image above) before taking note of the international appeal:

'The work is dedicated to the M. W. Bro. S. C. Lawrence, who was Grand Master of Massachusetts when the sesqui-centennial of the St. John's Lodge, Boston, was celebrated, which is the only one in America on the roll of 1734; and doubtless this curious fact will lead many in the United States (where the Craft is flourishing) to lose no time in subscribing, as we understand a second edition will not be issued, at all events, not for some time, as Bro. Hughan's hands are we believe pretty full with other works in preparation. This we need not say will be good news to the general body of Masonic readers; our worthy brother's ready pen and large experience have always been at the service not only of fellow students in the higher walks of Masonic literature and research, but of the more humble enquirer after knowledge in Masonic law and practice, and now that he is fairly restored to comparative health and strength we shall look forward, and we feel sure our readers will as well, to a succession of works of the character which has made him so deservedly popular.'