Disparate Illuminati-Related, Tangents and Ruminations
By Terry Melanson (June 28, 2021)
Thompson, Arthur R. To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments: The History of the First 100 Years of the War Against God and the Constitution, 1776 – 1876, and Its Modern Impact. American Opinion Foundation Publishing. Kindle Edition. (2016)
Before purchasing Arthur Thompson’s book, I watched his video series, Myths vs. Facts, which goes over his research on the Illuminati, masons and revolutionaries. I won’t address those here, because it’s obvious the info was culled/excerpted from his book.
Mr. Thompson was the CEO of the John Birch Society (JBS) from 2005 to 2020 when he retired. To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments is a familiar JBS offering. Adherence to the Master Conspiracy thesis is explicit throughout.
In the ‘About the Author’ section, what you’re in store for is made abundantly clear:
In order to release this work as soon as possible, the author decided not to wait for a year to have it read like a flowing novel. It reads more like a book of facts. The facts are not footnoted. In this day and age, if in doubt or you desire more elaboration, you can surf the Internet to discover 95% of the facts for yourself. Plus, the author wants the doubting reader to look into matters for himself and to fully explore history. Being skeptical is a good beginning. This is more of a narrative than a book. It will be repetitive from time to time to remind the reader of the background of certain personalities who were involved in various movements over a period of decades. [italics added] (Kindle Location 68)
Some people love this trait of mine; others not so much. I’ll be blunt: incompetence, laziness or subterfuge? Regardless, it can easily be construed as an insult to the reader and to those who source properly. Amateur historians can play in the big leagues too. You cite your sources so we can check your work. “Peer review” is not just for scholars. It’s common courtesy that the author provide the means to evaluate their claims.
Fortunately, I’ve studied enough about the Bavarian Illuminati to navigate the text and locate where, ultimately, a statement came from.
In To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments (KL 307, 312):
Recently we have seen an influx of new books which tell part of the story, and some authors who are now admitting that the primary conspiratorial wellspring in Europe, the Illuminati, did not die when our history books said it did. Therefore admitting, the average reader then assumes the remainder of the book is accurate, even when it propagates the myth of the ineffectiveness of the Illuminati. The idea now is to hide from interested Americans reading such matters that there is any American connection to early Illuminists and the direct influence of these men on American organizations and personages. [talics added]
Oblivious to the reader, Thompson has on his mind here a singular, very influential individual: Thomas Paine. I’ve poured over the lists of genuine Illuminati members since 2005. In Perfectibilists there’s 448 biographies of members, and the official tally of genuine initiates stands at 1339. (Press the play button, left, to start the database query – 1339 member results.) Membership means membership. Illuminati-adjacent is not enough. Illuminaten scholars specialize and need accurate figures and sound primary sources backing up member identification. Paine wasn’t an Illuminatus, nor was Nicolas de Bonneville.
By the recent influx of books on the Illuminati, Thompson is thinking of Mark Dice, Jim Marrs, Marco di Luchetti, Joe Wages, Jeva Singh-Anand, and myself. No one in the preceding list “propagates the myth of the ineffectiveness of the Illuminati,” nor “hide from interested Americans reading” relevant, up-to-date facts on the Illuminati. (Who’s hiding what? You hide your sources.) Joe Wages was the one who uncovered a secret Illuminati plan to settle a colony in America; Illuminati order-name, Elysium in correspondences. I’ve also written extensively about the best confirmed member of the Illuminati who can be tracked afterwards to America. Plenty new territory to explore.
Scrolling through the Kindle notes, another highlight catches my eye. Thompson quotes from Winston Churchill’s “Zionism versus Bolshevism,” with the unabashed caveat that “his motivation may be questioned.” Note to self in Kindle (indelicate it may be): “Churchill is talking here about Jews. That Weishaupt was a Jew like the rest of them and that the conspiracy is a Jewish one. Be up front about what you are quoting.”
Nesta Webster and her adherents played a big role in the conspiracies offered by the John Birch Society.
At KL 1198, Thompson writes about “the popular belief” that the Illuminati were suppressed, and then quotes John Robison, that the Illuminati had in fact:
revived immediately after, under a different name, and in a different form, all over Germany. It was again detected and seemingly broken up; but it had by this time taken so deep root, that it still subsists without being detected, we are told, into all the countries of Europe.
In a reply directly below the Robison quote, Thompson writes:
More “scholarly” works admit that the Illuminati existed up to 1800, but try all they can to not only convince the reader that there is no proof of its existence after this time, but deny historians who claim that certain individuals were members, such as Buonarroti and Mirabeau.
The last vestiges of the Illuminati are recounted in the following bio ‘9. Friedrich Ludwig Ulrich Schröder (1744-1816)‘ (and in my book, 131-133 [print edition]). Also see, in Perfectibilists 60-68, the section on the Illuminati’s reading society interconnections — founded, infiltrated or otherwise. In addition, an exceeding amount of effort was made to include details of any reading society affiliations in the members bios; and documenting associations with the Knights of Malta, or the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem; Order of the Garter; Order of the Golden Fleece; Order of the Elephant; Order of the Dannebrog etc.
Here we’re starting to get into the territory of source criticism, a foundation of historiography. Having written a monograph on arguably the most infamous secret society in history, I am all too familiar with the process. It can be maddening — and infuriating — plodding through one claim after another that has persisted for 240+ years. And since Thompson mentioned Buonarroti, our understanding of Filippo Buonarroti, and his web of secret societies, has matured. See this essay in particular: Militant Masonry: Amis de la Vérité, Buonarroti Masters and French Carbonari,
Research deemed reliable on conspiracies, requires discipline and fearlessness. Deep politics author Jeffrey M. Bale wrote:
Very few notions nowadays generate as much intellectual resistance, hostility and derision within academic circles as a belief in the historical importance or efficacy of political conspiracies. … So strong is this prejudice among academics that, even when clear evidence of a plot is inadvertently discovered in the course of their own research, they frequently feel compelled, either out of a sense of embarrassment or a desire to defuse anticipated criticism, to preface their account of it by ostentatiously disclaiming a belief in conspiracies. [italics added]
(“Political Paranoia V. Political Realism: On Distinguishing Between Bogus Conspiracy Theories And Genuine Conspiratorial Politics,” Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2007, p. 47)
Another observation that should be obvious:
… the rigorous techniques of primary and secondary source criticism that have long been employed with success by serious historians are in fact very well suited for analysing the sort of fragmentary bits of information that periodically surface in connection with actual cases of conspiratorial politics. [italics mine] (Ibid., p. 60).
In other words, conspiracy theorists don’t have to be “theorists.” Treat it like any historical subject and use the same methodology.
In Thompson, the claims in the following paragraph could use some clarification:
Yet evidence persists that the latter arguments cannot be true. It was Mirabeau, after all, who invited the Illuminist leader Christian Bode to bring the program of Illuminism to France. Talleyrand worked with Mirabeau to convince Bode. It was Mirabeau who was the public figure of the Illuminati in France. He wrote with Illuminists, hired Illuminists, and sloganeered Illuminist thought and action. [emphasis mine] (KL 1204, 1210)
First of all, the last sentence I wholeheartedly agree with. We don’t let Mirabeau off the hook for the glaring interconnectedness of his Illuminati, Freemason and banking web of associates and acquaintances. Once again, I’ve been over the territory before: 2 * Gabriel Honoré Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791). For what it’s worth: in this case, it doesn’t matter if he signed an Oath to the Order. Collaboration is adequately documented. Mirabeau most certainly “wrote with Illuminists, hired Illuminists, and sloganeered Illuminist thought and action.”
And there are similar cases, namely that of Christian G. Salzmann.
From Perfectibilists, pp. 403-405; 431:
Salzmann, Christian Gotthilf (1744 Sömmerda, Germany – 1811 Schnepfenthal, Germany)
Despite the generally held belief by previous investigators, Salzmann’s initiation into the Illuminati was never fully realized.52 However, he was still very important to the Order and its objectives, was courted for years, and the Gotha Illuminati financed Salzmann’s famous educational institute at Schnepfenthal.
He studied theology in Jena, became a pastor in 1768, a deacon at Erfurt in 1772, and a member of the Erfurt Academy of the Arts and Sciences Useful to the Public in 1780.53 Salzmann went to Dessau to become a pedagogue. From 1781-85 he was a professor at the Philanthropinum, a famous school instituted by Johann Bernhard Basedow. The Philanthropinists modeled their pedagogy on the teachings of its founder and those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Salzmann planned the formation of a school in Dessau with Illuminatus Rudolph Zacharias Becker, without success. He soon looked elsewhere to fulfill the dream of establishing his own institute.
Salzmann was already connected to the “enlightened” circles in Erfurt: men such as suspected Illuminatus Carl Friedrich Bahrdt (1741-1792), and Illuminatus Karl Theodor von Dalberg (then governor of Erfurt). He was also no stranger to Illuminatus Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha, having already been recommended to the ruler by Christoph Martin Wieland in 1778. Duke Ernst was eager to set up a training school in Gotha, and Salzmann was up for the task. Becker’s recommendations would have cleared the last doubts about Salzmann’s suitability as a leader of a training school dedicated to the indoctrination of the youth into the principles of Illuminism.54
As Dr. Christine Schaubs observes, the education of the younger generation for the realization of the Order’s plan was a question of survival for the Illuminati; it was imperative that suitable men be found for the task. The Order’s Minerval Academies only accepted young adults of 16 years of age and up. The Illuminati saw in Salzmann a person capable of educating an even younger generation, so that they could be accepted later without difficulty into their “schools of wisdom, the Minerval Churches.”55
It is clear from the letters exchanged between Bode, Helmholt and Wehmeier that the establishment of Salzmann’s educational institute was substantially prepared by the Illuminati. In addition, Christine Schaubs writes that Salzmann and Becker were specifically mentioned by Bode in connection with the founding of a training school in Gotha.
On the recommendation of a host of Illuminati, Salzmann’s admission into the Order was nearly secure at the Gotha Lodge in January 1783. However, Duke Ernst II had earlier decreed that membership was to be limited, with the end result of Salzmann having never been officially inducted. Bode proposed Salzmann for membership again in August; and Weishaupt was happy about the prospect of admitting such a man to his Order. In September 1783 the latter writes that Salzmann should be supported and observed, and if possible he should be won over to the cause.56
Despite the fact that Salzmann was not yet a member, all the preparations for the educational institute in Schnepfenthal were run by the Gotha Illuminati. The negotiations for securing the property were led by Illuminati C. Helmolt and Wehmeier after February 1783. When the countess Zech von Berbisdorf supplied the money for the property in October, Salzmann was merely a middle-man in the transaction, and handed the sum over to Helmolt. In December Becker, together with Wehmeier, receive a donation from Duke Ernst II to buy the property. Every step of the way the proceedings were controlled by the Illuminati, and Ernst II made it clear that Salzmann was only to be appointed the head of the institute rather than financially controlling the enterprise.57
In the summer of 1784 the institute was opened by Duke Ernst II and christened the “New Philanthropinum.” Salzmann’s new school at Schnepfenthal was designed exclusively for children of the upper classes and was under the patronage of the royal family of Saxe-Gotha. The school was to become famous, and it attracted students from all over Europe. The first pupil was Karl Ritter, the founder of comparative geography. After Salzmann’s death, the school was continued by members of his family, and continued in existence for over a century.58 Weishaupt’s own children, at the behest of the Duke, were educated there.59
- On the authority of Richard van Dülmen, I was ready to acknowledge that Salzmann
was a confirmed member. However, Dr. Hermann Schüttler’s, Peggy Pawlowski’s,
and particularly Dr. Christine Schaubs’ research (“Salzmanns Schulgründung im Lichte
der Illuminaten,” URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20030121091617/www.geheimegesellschaften.
de/Schaubs-Salzmann.htm) has confirmed that Salzmann’s insinuation
never occurred. That he was proposed for membership on numerous occasions is true, but
throughout all communications yet discovered between Illuminati members, Salzmann is
never once addressed by his alias (once officially inducted, mainly for secrecy, members are
thereafter never referred to by their true names).
- Schüttler, “Christian Gotthilf Salzmann,” URL: http://www.2hap.org/Geheime-Gesellschaften/
- See Schaubs, op. cit.
- Dr. Anthony F. Gilberti, “The Great Educators,” URL: http://web.archive.org/
- René Le Forestier, Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie Allemande [Paris
1914], Archè reprint, 2001, p. 551.
[NB: Incidentally, if anyone wants a copy of the missing url pages, c. 2005, let me know. For some reason they directed the WaybackBack to remove the crawled page archives.]
Johann Joachim Christoph Bode had not been invited to Paris by Mirabeau as claimed by Thompson earlier. A rumor suggesting such can be found in Augustin Barruel’s Memoirs Illustrated the History of Jacobinism (1798; Real View Books Edition, 1995), however.
In the late 1790s, exiled in England after the revolution, ex-Jesuit Abbé Barruel had devoured the latest intrigue from France and Germany. He reported on the master conspiracy thesis, fully formed in his imagination:
Let it then be remembered, that it was to the Committee of the Amis réunis that Mirabeau had directed the illuminizing brethren from Germany.– Savalette and Bonneville had made this committee the central point of revolution and of the mysteries. There [they] met in council, on the days appointed, not only the Parisian adepts, but those of all the provinces who were judged worthy of being admitted to the profound mysteries of the Sect. There were to be seen for the Elect of the Philaletes [sic], the profound Rosicrucians and Knights Kadosch, the Elect of the Rue Sourdière, of the Nine Sisters, of the Lodge of Candour, and of the most secret committees of the Grand Orient. This was the landing-place of the travelling brethren from Lyons, Avignon, and Bourdeaux. The emissaries from Germany could not find a central point better adapted to their new mysteries than this committee; and there it was that they unfolded all the importance of their mission. Weishaupt’s code was ordered to lie on the table, and commissioners were named to examine it and make their report.
But here the gates of this secret senate are shut against us. I do not pretend to penetrate the dark recess, and describe the deliberations that took place on this occasion. Many brethren have informed me, that they remember the deputation, by [sic] they scarcely recollect Amelius-Bode and Bayard-Busche under any other denomination than that of the German brethren. They have seen these deputies received in different Lodgees [sic] with all the etiquette due to visitors of high importance; but it was not on such occasions that a coalition was debated on, between the ancient mysteries of Masonry and those of the modern Spartacus. All that my memorials say on the subject is, that negotiations took place; that the deputies reported to their Areopage; that the negotiations lasted longer than was expected; and that it was at length decided, that the new mysteries should be introduced into the French Lodges, but under a Masonic form; and that they should all be illuminized, without even knowing the name of the Sect whose mysteries they were adopting. Only such parts of Weishaupt’s code were to be selected as the circumstances would require to hasten the revolution. Had not the facts that immediately followed this negotiation transpired to point out its effects, we should still have been in the dark as to its great success; the news of which Amelius and Bayard carried back to their illuminized brethren in Germany. But happily for history, facts have spoken; and it will be easy to see how far this famous embassy influenced the French Revolution. [italics in orig.] (Barruel, op. cit. 738-9)
This is a perfect example of the need to interrogate your sources — beginning with the earliest. Barruel cites no one, despite the very specific claims.
Barruel’s chief inspiration was Professor Leopold Alois Hoffmann, editor of the Wiener Zeitschrift, who was among the progenitors of German Conservatism combating Masonry, Illuminati and Jacobins in the early 1790s. Barruel read many foreign newspapers and periodicals warning of the Illuminati and Jacobins, regularly.
The late historian, Klaus Epstein lists the following in the bibliographical essay section: “Wiener Zeitschrift (6 vols., Vienna, 1792-93). Hoffmann’s famous journal which appeared in six quarterly volumes between January 1792 and September 1793. Most of the articles were written by himself, and the whole bears the imprint of his personality.” (The Genesis of German Conservatism, Princeton University Press, 1966, p. 697)
“The Wiener Zeitschrift earned its reputation,” wrote Steven Luckert, “not as a journal dedicated to an impartial discussion of the news, but as a polemical organ, which specialized in denunciations, personal attacks, and the unmasking of revolutionary conspiracies.” It was the first “to trumpet a full-blown version of the illuminati conspiracy theory.” (in Jesuits, Freemasons, Illuminati, and Jacobins: Conspiracy theories, secret societies, and politics in late eighteenth-century Germany, Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1993, pp. 524; 556.)
Barruel: “it was to the Committee of the Amis réunis that Mirabeau had directed the illuminizing brethren from Germany.” Made up whole cloth. Mirabeau wasn’t ever associated with the Lodge Amis Réunis let alone directing its “committee” to illuminize brethren from Germany. It’s true, however, that the Amis Réunis had contact with a multitude of masonic and occult rites throughout the whole of Europe.
As I wrote in “Karl R. H. Frick on The Philalèthes“:
In regard to the entire milieu of high-grade Freemasonry during the Enlightenment, the Philalèthes are as noteworthy as they come. The Rite itself – more of a regime – and the Lodge ‘Amis Réunis’ from which it was founded, constituted a clearing house for all things occult or esoteric on the continent and beyond; Savalette de Langes and the Marquis de Chefdebien may even be described as engaging in Masonic espionage. There isn’t a single volume on 18th Century Freemasonry that doesn’t give the major details of the Amis Réunis and the Philalèthes. Members of the rite came not only from France, but from Germany, England, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Russia (and as was shown with the publishing of J. J. C. Bode’s diary in 1994, the Bavarian Illuminati had managed to officially join forces with it just two years before the revolution).
Per Barruel, again, from the above-quoted passage: “Savalette and Bonneville had made this committee the central point of revolution and of the mysteries.” That’s an incendiary statement, but just that — a statement. Bonneville, for one, is nowhere documented as having ever been associated with the Amis Réunis nor is there any indication he was acquainted or corresponded with Savalette de Langes. The Cercle Social and the Bouche de Fer were unrelated to the Amis Réunis. The seminal Philalèthes/Amis Réunis reference work, Charles Porset’s Les Philalèthes Et Les Convents De Paris: Une Politique De La Folie, H. Champion (1996), for example, mentions Bonneville only a few times in passing — meaning Bonneville was neither a Philalèthes nor a member of the Amis Réunis. And two, no mention of Bonneville or Mirabeau in the list of members in Pierre-François Pinaud’s «Une loge prestigieuse à Paris à la fin du xviiie siècle : les Amis Réunis, 1771-1791», Chroniques d’histoire maçonnique, n° 45, 1992.
At KL 1210, Thompson writes:
Talleyrand, one of the most important luminaries of eclectic Masonry, and an Illuminist himself, was instrumental with other Illuminists in the rise of Napoleon I from 1797 to 1799.
Talleyrand is not on any authentic lists of the Illuminati. In fact he wasn’t even a mason before or during the revolution, never mind a mason in the Eclectic Rite. Masonic historian Jean Bossu, in “Talleyrand et la Franc-Maçonnerie,” writes that the first time Talleyrand was initiated into masonry was in 1805, at the Loge Impériale des Francs-Chevaliers. It was an adoption lodge, initiating both men and women.
The next paragraph in Thompson:
Mirabeau is said by some to have been initiated into Illuminism at Brunswick. According to Howard Mumford Jones in America And French Culture, 1750-1848, Mirabeau was initiated as an Illuminati by Bode in Berlin. Regardless, the evidence is overwhelming that Mirabeau was a member of the Illuminati.
Now we have a source, but alas no page number — of course. Bode is mentioned only once in Jones’ 1927 book, on pages 397-398. Jones is indeed writing about the Illuminati in these pages — objectively:
For a time the society languished; then in 1780 the organizing genius of Baron Adolf Freiderich Knigge applied itself to the task of extending the fraternity, and by 1784 there were 2000 or 3000 members, including various German prince of the liberal persuasion, Herder, Goethe, and Pestalozzi. On June 22, 1784, Karl Theodor of Bavaria, who since 1779 had been anti-liberal and ultramontane, launched the first of a succession of edicts against the order which by 1787 had disappeared in Bavaria, and which failed to flourish outside of that state. In the meantime, however, revelations real and imaginary of the purpose of the Illuminati, coinciding with the desire of conservative people everywhere to explain the sudden upheaval of the French Revolution, led to the foundation of the the great legend in which Democratic Clubs, Freemasons, the Jesuits, and the Illuminati were equally implicated; namely, that the leaders of the French Revolution and the philosophes were members of a vast world-embracing society aiming to destroy Christianity and government.37
37 This theory seems first to have been seriously advanced with reference to Bode and Mirabeau. According to the theory, Mirabeau, during his residence in Berlin in 1786-7, had been inducted into the order by Johann Joachim Christoph Bode (1730-1793), the successor of Weishaupt, and upon his return to Paris he indoctrinated that branch of French Freemasonry known as Philalèthes or Amis Réunis with Illuminism, Bode and Busche coming to Paris in 1787 to assist in founding French Illuminism. French Freemasonry thus became the foundation of a secret revolutionary movement which on July 14, 1789, sprang its mine in the destruction of the Bastille. All subsequent events in the Revolution were traced to the Order. (emphasis mine)
No wonder Thompson doesn’t cite properly. In this case, he makes up what he would wish to be the truth and then attributes it to the source. On the next page, Jones then names the main promulgators of the theory: A single paragraph on the conspiracy books by Robison and Barruel and eventually the Illuminati panic in America, sourced from Vernon Stauffer’s New England and the Bavarian Illuminati (1918).
At KL 1215, Thompson makes reference to the ostensible “Illuminati list” sent to Vienna. I’ve addressed it on this site before in 2011:
There is an official diplomatic communiqué, dated 1791, that names Mirabeau among “Illuminati and Freemasons.” It was sent by Bavarian Foreign Minister Count Karl Matthäus von Vieregg (1719-1802), to Imperial Ambassador Ludwig Konrad von Lehrbach (1750-1805) at Munich, who then forwarded it to Vienna. There are a few individuals mentioned in the list that have since been confirmed as indeed being Illuminati, so Vieregg was better informed than his contemporaries.14 In addition to Mirabeau he lists such French revolutionaries as Duke d’Orléans, Lafayette, Antoine Barnave, Jacques Pierre Brissot, Claude Fauchet, even Thomas Paine. But in the end, since no distinction whatsoever is made between Freemasons and bona fide Illuminati, it’s effectively useless.15
14 The Bavarian authorities kept secret many of the names found in the original writings of the Illuminati – on purpose – out of fear of the repercussions, while the Illuminati themselves, in correspondences, would frequently only give an alias or initials and leave us with very little else to go on. Some, but not all, of the missing names have since been identified. The remaining “unidentified” are listed in Schüttler, op. cit., pp. 188-195, should someone wish to take a crack at it.
15 Discovered in an Austrian archive and published for the first time in Sebastian Brunner, Die Mysterien der Aufklärung in Oesterreich, 1770-1800: Aus archivalischen und andern bisher unbeachteten Quellen (F. Kirchheim [Mainz] 1869), p. 35 [viewable at Google books]; cf. René Le Forestier, Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie Allemande [Paris: 1915], Archè reprint, 2001, pp. 654-5.
Turns out I was bit credulous. More skepticism was in order once the story of the list — its provenance — is recounted in more detail. The originator is none other than Leopold Alois Hoffmann mentioned earlier. Historian of the Illuminaten Eberhard Weis, in Montgelas: Zwischen Revolution und Reform 1759-1799 (1988), has the details (pp. 74-5).
According to the late Jeva Singh-Anand, translator of the Illuminaten rituals (in my email communication with him, March 2014), the gist of it is this: “…in a nutshell, Munich is still in the grip of the Illuminati fear, and against the backdrop of the French Revolution, even Leopold II is affected by the general panic about the Illuminati, although the order is now defunct and there is no proof of any member gatherings. Count Lehrbach reports to Leopold II on July 8, 1791. The Elector and Minister Vieregg offer to loan Leopold their Illuminati files and safety measures, and he accepts their offer. The deceased privy chancellor Kreittmayr had discovered important documents that provided information about the member’s identity. Former Illuminatus Eckartshausen, who had been accused stealing important Illuminati documents, is ordered to provide the Emperor with a list of members he had received from professor Hoffman, an Illuminati opponent, in Vienna. Then follows the translated passage I have already sent you”:
|Lehrbach übersendet die Liste nebst einem Schreiben Franks dem Kaiser, bemerkt aber gleich, daß in der Liste Illuminaten und gewöhnliche, ganz bannlose Maurer vermengt seien.46 Die Liste enthält neben tatsächlichen Illuminaten wie den Herzögen Ernst von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha und Karl August von Sachsen-Weimar mit Hofrat Wieland, Dalberg, dem Kanzler für Böhmen Graf Kollowrath und dem kaiserlichen Gesandten in London, Philipp Graf Stadion, sowie dessen Bruder Friedridt, dem Würzburger Domherrn46 auch solche Persönlichkeiten, deren Mitgliedschaft nicht durch andere Quellen bestätigt wird, wie den Kronprinzen (Friedrich Wilhelm III.) von Preußen, den ehemaligen Minister Hertzberg, den Kanzler für Ungarn Graf Palffy und aus Frankreich den Herzog von Orleans, Necker, La Fayette, Barnave, Brissot und Mirabeau, aus England Thomas Paine, von den Göttinger Professoren Frise, während vonSchlözer, Spittler und Meiners vermerkt wird, sie hätten auf den Orden «feierlich renuncirt».
|Lehrbach sends the list along with a letter from [Ignaz] Frank to the emperor, but notices immediately that in this list, Illuminati and ordinary, completely harmless Freemasons are mixed together (46). In addition to actual Illuminati, such as Dukes Ernest of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha and Charles August of Saxony-Weimar, along with privy counselor Wieland, Dalberg, chancellor of Bohemia, Count Kollowrath, and the Imperial delegate in London, Count Philipp Stadion, as well as his brother Friedridt, canon of the cathedral in Wurtzburg (46), the list also includes persons whose membership is not confirmed by other sources, such as the crown prince (Frederick William III) of Prussia, the former minister Hertzberg, the chancellor of Hungary, Count Palffy, and in France: the duke of Orleans, Necker, La Fayette, Barnave, Brissot, and Mirabeau; in England: Thomas Payne; and of the Goettingen professors: Frise, while it is said of Schloezer, Spittler, and Meiners that the had “solemnly renounced” the order. [my emphasis]
Besides the obvious point being that Lehrbach took the time to add a remark that there was no distinction between masons and illuminati made in the list; Eckartshausen’s ultimate source, as disclosed above, was Hoffmann and ex-Jesuit Ignatius Franciscus Franck Ignaz Franck, Zirkeldirektor of the Munich Golden and Rosy Cross — sworn enemies against the Illuminati order. Needless to say, “[Duke] [d’]Orleans, Necker, La Fayette, Barnave, Brissot, and Mirabeau; in England: Thomas Payne,” have not (as yet) turned up in an official list of Illuminati members.
In 1791, Hoffman was in the service of Leopold II to uncover plots emanating from secret societies and revolutionary clubs and salons. Part of his task was to fight fire with fire:
The main task of Leopold’s secret police was the surveillance of the bureaucracy itself.
The point is illustrated by Leopold’s dealings with L. A. Hoffmann, editor of the Wiener Zeitschrift.36 Hoffmann knew a great deal about the more recondite branches of Masonry, including its offshoot the Illuminati, who had been defunct for several years. Their machinations, he claimed, were the true cause of the French Revolution. He was willing enough, however, to see such methods employed to advance the Revolution from Above. Under Leopold’s instructions, he began in 1791 to organize an Association with a hierarchy of four levels of secrecy. The lowest “secret” was to combat the French Revolution, to inculcate obedience in the people, and obtain “a more secure balance between moderate monarchism and democratism.” The next higher secret was to oppose “aristocratism” so far as it obstructed the plans of the government. The “highest secret” was to bring the crown prince, Francis II, to these views; and the top secret of all, the allergeheimster Zweck, was to exert an influence on foreign states. In the whole program, and especially in the idea of propagandizing in foreign countries, Leopold and Hoffmann proposed to do precisely what they imputed (perhaps “projected” is the modern psychologist’s term) to the leaders of the Revolution in France. It was the second level of secrecy that was closest to Leopold’s continuing interests—the campaign against “aristocratism” within his own empire. He hoped to strengthen the bureaucracy whose inadequacy had caused the failure of Joseph’s plans; to infiltrate the government service with secret members of his Association, men known only to each other, a disciplined elite with shared ideas, responding to confidential directives, inspecting, reporting on, and driving forward the ordinary employees of government; working, in short, for a Revolution from Above, and in effect realizing what the Illuminati had vainly dreamed of. Hoffmann managed to recruit various persons for the Association, including several professors and a Hanoverian doctor, J. G. R. Zimmermann, who was a personal physician to the King of England. But Leopold died before the Association could be really formed, and with his death it was forgotten.R. R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800 (1959; 2014), p. 495.
In the following screenshot from Thompson, he cites my book (sans page number).
Thompson goes on to write that the Illuminati were “so successful that they were able to take over Grand Orient Masonry on the Continent.” (KL 1491) This is a big misconception that’s been perpetuated in Illuminati conspiracy offerings over the last few hundred years. In actuality, the Illuminati made little headway into the Grand Orient. They did manage to take over a big share of the Lodges in German-speaking lands, north, south and in central Europe. And after the dissolution of the Rite of Strict Observance in 1782, many Illuminati lodges immediately turned themselves into Eklektischer Bund (Eclectic Rite) lodges, founded by Illuminatus Franz Dietrich Freiherr von Ditfurth in 1783. A “Consolidation and Expansion of the Eclectic Masonic Federation” occurred in 1790 at the guidance of the Gotha Illuminaten faction, Duke Ernst II and Bode. (See Perfectibilists, pp. 131-3, for details beyond the death of J. J. C. Bode in Dec. 1793)
From KL 1423 to 1447, Thompson entertains the exaggerated declarations of Rosicrucians, who, during the 19th century and into the occult revival at the turn of the 20th — in an appeal for recruits — claimed descent from the Bavarian Illuminati, in complete ignorance of their own history. The Rosicrucian swindlers, recounts Thompson:
claim that earlier there existed a Council of Three composed of Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, and Thomas Paine, then Paine was replaced by Lafayette. Franklin and Lafayette both belonged to the Humanidad Lodge, which allegedly was a Rosicrucian entity. It is rare that anyone refutes these two facts: their membership and that it was a Rosicrucian entity.
There was no “Humanidad Lodge” during the Enlightenment. There was a Spanish Lodge, “La Logia Amigos de la Naturaleza y Humanidad,” founded in 1850. In 1908 it became the Mother Lodge of the Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm. See Galtier, Maçonnerie égyptienne, Rose-Croix et néo-chevalerie: Les fils de Cagliostro (1989), pp. 297, 301, 327. “It is rare that anyone refutes these two facts: their membership and that it was a Rosicrucian entity,” writes Thompson. Rare that anyone would claim Franklin and Lafayette as members of a then-non-existent lodge … unless you’re a Rosicrucian charlatan looking for fees and recruits.
To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments is a free-for-all conspiracy polemic, and in many respects doesn’t even meet JBS standards. I’m a sucker for punishment, I suppose, but the “About the Author” section — as written — is probably adequate to ward off rational people from wasting their time and cash.