By Terry Melanson (February 18, 2013)


Amongst the source material utilized during the writing of Perfectibilists, was a 1956 International Review of Social History article by Arthur Lehning: “Buonarroti and His International Secret Societies.”

I became fascinated with the so-called “first professional revolutionist,” especially the evidence of his indebtedness to the stratagems of the Bavarian Illuminati (directly or otherwise).

In the midst of Lehning’s thorough outline of the central role Buonarroti played in various secret societies during the period, a short passage caught my attention involving a clandestine nexus of French Carbonarists, Joseph Rey’s ‘L’Union,’ and a particularly revolutionary Masonic Lodge of the Grand Orient: the ‘Amis de la Vérité’ [Friends of Truth]:

In 1821 the secret leadership of the anti-Bourbon opposition went over to the “Charbonnerie française”. Bazard, the later Saint-Simonist, formed in 1818 the “Loge des amis de la vérité” with its military “Compagnie franche des écoles”. Behind the “Loge” stood the secret “Union” of Rey, and it was Victor Cousin (of the “Union”) who, in fact, took the initiative. Involved in the military conspiracy of 19th August 1820, two of its members, Joubert and Dugied, having fled to Italy, brought back from Naples the statutes of the Neopolitan “carbonari”. They form 1st May 1821 the first “Haute Vente” of the “Charbonnerie française” of which soon the leading personalities of the parliamentarian opposition such as Lafayette, De Corcelle, Koechlin, Manuel – all deputies – and also Cabet and De Schonen, became members (127).

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