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Although not a masonic reference the earliest reference to secret societies was the Decree XXXVII, columns 763-4, vol. 25 of the "Concilium Avenionense" of 1326, in which the Church attacks secret societies, describing them with such terms as: fraternal assistance, signs, tokens, obligations and election of Masters. [AQC Vol. 106, p. 41.]
The first attack on Freemasonry can be found in a London fly-sheet of 1698, addressed 'to all Godly people', which warned believers that membership of the Craft might endanger their salvation, 'For this devillish sect are Meeters in secret which swere against all without their Following. They are the Anti-Christ which was to come leading them from Fear of God. For how should they meet in secret places and with secret Signs taking care that none observe them to do the Work of God; are not these the Ways of Evil-dom?"
[Early Masonic Pamphlets, ed. D. Knoop, G.P. Jones and D. Hamer. Manchester: 1945, p. 34.]
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Early masonic references
1589
"In the mean season, sweet Martin Junior, play thou the knave kindly as thou hast begun, and waxe as olde in iniquitie as thy father. Downe with learning and Universities, I can bring you a Free-mason out of Kent, that gave over his occupation twentie yeeres agoe. He wil make a good Deacon for your Purpose, I have taken some tryall of his gifts, hee preacheth very pretilie over a Joynd-stoole." (A.iij)

A Countercuffe given to Martin Junior, "Pasquill". [Thomas Nashe, possibly Robert Greene] London : John Charlewood, 1589. A Church of England sponsored response to criticisms from Martin Marprelate [Puritan pseud.; see Charles Nicholl A Cup of News]. The term "Deacon" would not refer to any masonic office existing at the time, deacons being a relatively modern addition. Cited by Ron Heisler in "The Impact of Freemasonry on Elizabethan Literature." The Hermetic Journal, 1990.
1594
"Masons paid nothing for hair to mix their lime."

The unfortunate traveller : Or, the life of Iacke Wilton : Newly corrected and augmented, Thomas Nash (1567-1601). The complete works of Thomas Nashe / for the first time collected and edited with memorial-introduction, notes and illustrations, etc. by Alexander Balloch Grosart (1827-1899). Vol. 5: The unfortunate traveller ; Nashes lenten stuffe. 1594-1599. The Huth library. [S.l.] : printed for private circulation, 1883-5. 308 p.
1686
Robert Plot mentions the freemasons in his Natural History of Staffordshire, published in 1686.

See Natural History of Staffordshire, for full quotes.
1709
Possibly the first mentions of Freemasonry in a newspaper are found in Addison and Steele’s The Tatler.

See The Tatler for full quotes.

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