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New England and the Bavarian Illuminati - Chapter III

by Vernon L. Stauffer Ph.D.



THAT great European movement in the direction of the secularization of thought to which the expressive term, the Aufklädrung or Enlightenment, has been applied, and which reached its apogee in the latter half of the eighteenth century, encountered a stubborn opposition in southern Germany in the electorate of Bavaria. The pivot of Bavarian politics, particularly from the beginning of the sixteenth century, had been the alliance which had been effected between the clerical party and the civil power. The counter reformation which followed in the wake of the Lutheran movement was able to claim the field in Bavaria without the necessity of a combat.
In the third quarter of the eighteenth century Bavaria was a land where sacerdotalism reigned supreme. Religious houses flourished in abundance; the number of priests and nuns was incredibly large.1. So easy were the ways of life in that fertile country that a lack of seriousness and intensity of feeling among the masses flung open the door for superstitious practices which made the popular religion little better than gross fetichism. So-called "miraculous" images were commonly paraded through the streets; innumerable statues and sacred relics were exposed to the gaze of crowds of the faithful; the patronage of the saints was assiduously solicited. Among the educated there was a widespread conviction that the piety of the people was ignorant and that their trustful attitude made them the prey of many impostors.
The degree of power to which the representatives of the Society of Jesus had been able to attain in Bavaria was all but absolute.2. Members of the order were the confessors and preceptors of the electors; hence they had a direct influence upon the policies of government. The censorship of religion had fallen into their eager hands, to the extent that some of the parishes even were compelled to recognize their authority and power. To exterminate all Protestant influence and to render the Catholic establishment complete, they had taken possession of the instruments of public education. It was by Jesuits that the majority of the Bavarian colleges were founded, and by them they were controlled. By them also the secondary schools of the country were conducted. 3.
The prevailing type of education in Bavaria had little more to commend it than the popular type of religion.4. The pedagogical aim of the Jesuits was the development of the memory with scant regard for other faculties of the mind. To learn the catechism, or in the case of advanced pupils to receive unquestioningly the dogmatic instruction offered by clerical pedagogues, was the ideal honored throughout the Bavarian schools. Books which bore the slightest taint of Protestant influence, or which in any other way gave evidence of a liberalizing spirit, were ruthlessly banned.5.
Such were the conditions of life under which the great mass of the people lived. There was, however, a relatively small group of cultivated people in Bavaria who, despite the clerical oppression and bigotry from which they suffered, had contrived to share in the liberalizing spirit of the larger world. The censorship exerted by the Jesuits had found no adequate means to guard against the broadening influences of travel or of contact with travelers from other lands, or even to prevent the introduction of all contraband journals and books. The effect of the former had been to create a humiliating and galling sense of inferiority on the part of liberal-minded Bavarians, 6. while the latter had served to stimulate a thirst for the new knowledge which the rationalism of the age made available. To this small group of discontented and ambitious spirits the ancient faith had ceased to be satisfactory, and the burden of clericalism had become insufferable.
The University of Ingolstadt, established in 1472, was destined to become a rallying point for these radical tendencies. In the middle of the sixteenth century the Jesuits had gained control of its faculties of philosophy and theology, and for two centuries thereafter the university had been counted upon as the chief fortress of clericalism in Bavaria.7. By the middle of the eighteenth century the deadening effect of the rigorous censorship exerted by the Jesuits had produced its full fruitage at Ingolstadt. The university had fallen into a state of profound decadence.8.
With the accession of Maximilian Joseph9. as elector, in 1745, the breath of a new life soon stirred within its walls. For the position of curator of the university the elector named a well-known and resolute radical of the day, Baron Johann Adam Ickstatt, and charged him with the responsibility of reorganizing the institution upon a more liberal basis.10. Measures were adopted promptly by the latter looking to the restoration of the prestige of the university through the modernization of its life. The ban was lifted from books whose admission to the library had long been prohibited, chairs of public law and political economy were established, and recruits to the faculty were sought in other universities.11.
It was, of course, not to be expected that the clerical party, whose power in the university, as has been intimated, was particularly well entrenched in the faculties of philosophy and theology, would retire from the field without a struggle.12. A sharp contest arose over the introduction of non-Catholic books, into which the elector himself was drawn, and which in addition to the substantial victory that Ickstatt won, had the further effect of aligning the two parties in the university squarely against each other.13. It was only a few years after this episode, when the Jesuits were still chafing under the sharp setback which their policies had suffered, that the name of Adam Weishaupt first appeared (in 1772) on the roll of the faculty of the university as professor extraordinary of law.
Weishaupt (born February 6, 1748; died November 18, 1830) entered upon his professional career at Ingolstadt after an educational experience which had made him a passionate enemy of clericalism. His father having died when the son was only seven, his godfather, none other than Baron Ickstatt, compelled doubtless by the necessities of the case, had turned the early training of the boy over to the Jesuits. The cramming process through which he thus passed was destined to prove unusually baneful in his case14. on account of certain influences which penetrated his life from another quarter. Accorded free range in the private library of his godfather, the boy's questioning spirit was deeply impressed by the brilliant though pretentious works of the French "philosophers" with which the shelves were plentifully stocked.15. Here was food for the fires of imagination just beginning to flame up in this unsophisticated and pedantic youth. Here, also, were ready solvents for the doubts with which his experience with Jesuit teachers had filled his mind. The enthusiasm of the most susceptible of neophytes seized him: he would make proselytes, he would deliver others from their bondage to outworn beliefs, he would make it his duty to rescue men from the errors into which the race had long been plunged.16. His object in life thus early determined, he threw himself with great zeal into the study of law, economics, politics, history, and philosophy. He devoured every book which chanced to fall into his hands.17.
After graduating from the University of Ingolstadt in 1768, he served for four years in the capacity of tutor and catechist until his elevation to the rank of assistant instructor took place. The favor he was permitted to enjoy as the protegé of Ickstatt 18. brought him more rapid advancement than that to which his native abilities entitled him. In 1773 he was called to the chair of canon law, which for a period of ninety years had been held by representatives of the Jesuits.19. Two years later, when he was but twenty-seven years of age, he was made dean of the faculty of law. Such a rapid improvement in his professional standing proved far from salutary. The young man's vanity was immensely flattered and his reforming resolution unduly encouraged. His sense of personal worth as the leader of the liberal cause in the university quite outran his merit.20.
Meantime the Jesuits, observing with deep resentment Weishaupt's meteoric rise,21. together with a growing disposition on his part to voice unrestrained criticism of ecclesiastical intolerance and bigotry, entered into intrigues to checkmate his influence and undermine his position.22. The payment of his salary was protested and the notion that he was a dangerous free-thinker industriously disseminated.23. On his part, Weishaupt did not scruple to furnish Ickstatt's successor, Lori, with secret reports calculated to put the Jesuit professors in the university in an unfavorable light.24. A disagreeable squabble resulted, marked on the one hand by clerical jealousy and pettiness and on the other by Weishaupt's imprudence of speech25. and indifference to considerations of professional honor.
The effect of this unseemly strife upon Weishaupt was to establish firmly in his mind the conviction that as the university's most influential leader against the cause of ecclesiastical obscurantism he was being made a martyr for free speech.26. In no way disposed to be sacrificed to the animosity of enemies whose power he greatly overestimated, he arrived at the conclusion that a general offensive against the clerical party ought immediately to be undertaken. A secret association was needed which, growing more and more powerful through the increase of its members and their progress in enlightenment, should be able to outwit the manoeuvres of the enemies of reason not only in Ingolstadt but throughout the world. Only by a secret coalition of the friends of liberal thought and progress could the forces of superstition and error be overwhelmed. Over the scheme of such an association consecrated to the cause of truth and reason, the self-esteem of Weishaupt kindled anew as he contemplated none other than himself at its head.27.
His imagination having taken heat from his reflections upon the attractive power of the Eleusinian mysteries and the influence exerted by the secret cult of the Pythagoreans, it was first in Weishaupt's thought to seek in the Masonic institutions of the day the opportunity he coveted for the propagation of his views. From this, original intention, however, he was soon diverted, in part because of the difficulty he experienced in commanding sufficient funds to gain admission to a lodge of Masons, in part because his study of such Masonic books as came into his hands persuaded him that the "mysteries" of Freemasonry were too puerile and too readily accessible to the general public to make them worthwhile.28. He deemed it necessary, therefore, to launch out on independent lines. He would form a model secret organization, comprising "schools of wisdom," concealed from the gaze of the world behind walls of seclusion and mystery, wherein those truths which the folly and egotism of the priests banned from the public chairs of education might be taught with perfect freedom to susceptible youths.29. By the constitution of an order whose chief function should be that of teaching, an instrument would be at hand for attaining the goal of human progress, the perfection of morals and the felicity of the race.30.
On May 1, 1776, the new organization was founded, under the name of the Order of the Illuminati,31. with a membership of five all told. The extremely modest beginning of the order in respect to its original membership was more than matched by the confusion which existed in Weishaupt's mind as to the precise form which the organization had best take. Only three elementary grades, or ranks, had been worked out by him, and these only in a crude and bungling fashion, when the enterprise was launched. A feverish regard for action had full possession of the founder of the order; the working-out of his hazy ideas of organization might wait for quieter days.32.
Out of the, voluminous and rambling expositions which Weishaupt at various times made of the three primary grades, viz., Novice, Minerval, and Illuminated Minerval, the following brief descriptions are extracted.
To the grade of Novice youths of promise were to be admitted, particularly those who were rich, eager to learn, virtuous, and docile, though firm and persevering.33. Such were to be enrolled only after their imaginations and desires had been artfully aroused by suggestions concerning the advantages to be derived from secret associations among likeminded men, the superiority of the social state over that of nature, the dependence of all governments upon the consent of the governed, and the delight of knowing and directing men.34. Once enrolled, the instruction of each Novice was to be in the hands of his enroller, who kept well hidden from his pupil the identity of the rest of his superiors. Such statutes of the order as he was permitted to read impressed upon the mind of the Novice that the particular ends sought in his novitiate were to ameliorate and perfect his moral character, expand his principles of humanity and sociability, and solicit his interest in the laudable objects of thwarting the schemes of evil men, assisting oppressed virtue, and helping men of merit to find suitable places in the world.35. Having had impressed upon him the necessity of maintaining inviolable secrecy respecting the affairs of the order, the further duties of subordinating his egoistic views and interests and of according respectful and complete obedience to his superiors were next enjoined. An important part of the responsibility of the Novice consisted in the drawing-up of a detailed report (for the archives of the order), containing complete, information concerning his family and his personal career, covering such remote items as the titles of the books he possessed, the names of his personal enemies and the occasion of their enmity, his own strong and weak points of character, the dominant passions of his parents, the names of their parents and intimates, etc.36. Monthly reports were also required, covering the benefits the recruit had received from and the services he had rendered to the order.37. For the building-up of the order the Novice must undertake his share in the work of recruitment, his personal advancement to the higher grades being conditioned upon the success of such efforts.38. To those whom he enrolled he became in turn a superior; and thus after a novitiate presumably two years in length,39. the way was open for his promotion to the next higher grade.
The ceremony of initiation through which the Novice passed into the grade Minerval was expected to disabuse the mind of the candidate of any lingering suspicion that the order had as its supreme object the subjugation of the rich and powerful, or the, overthrow of civil and ecclesiastical government.40. It also pledged the candidate to be useful to humanity; to maintain a silence eternal, a fidelity inviolable, and an obedience implicit with respect to all the superiors and rules of the order; and to sacrifice all personal interests to those of the society.41. Admitted to the rank of Minerval, the candidate received into his hands the printed statutes of the order, wherein he learned that in addition to the duties he had performed as novice, his obligations had been extended with special reference to his studies.42. These were to be more highly specialized, and the fruits of his researches from time to time turned over to the superiors. In the prosecution of difficult labors of this character, he was to be free to call to his assistance other Minervals in his district,43. He might also count upon the assistance of his superiors in the form of letters of recommendation in case he undertook travels in the pursuit of his studies; and should he form the resolve to publish his material, the order pledged itself to protect him against the rapacity of booksellers who might show themselves disposed to overcharge him for the works he wished to consult, as well as to render assistance in attracting the attention of the public to his work.44.
In the assemblies of this grade the Minerval for the first time came into contact with the members of the order. In other words, his life within the society actually began.45. The thirst for the sense of secret association with men like interests and aims, which the member's long novitia had developed, began to find its satisfaction.46. Ordina Minervals and " illuminated " Minervals mingled together in these assemblies 47. and mutually devoted their deliberations to the affairs of the order.
To the grade Illuminated Minerval were admitted those Minervals who in the judgment of their superiors were worthy of advancement. Elaborate initiatory ceremonies fixed in the candidate's mind the notions that the progressive purification of his life was to be expected as he worked his way upward in the order,48. and that the mastery of the art of directing men was to be his special pursuit as long as he remained in the new grade. To accomplish the latter, i.e., to become an expert psychologist and director of men's consciences, he must observe and study constantly the actions, purposes, desires, faults, and virtues of the little group of Minervals who were placed under his personal direction and care.49. For his guidance in this difficult task a complicated mass of instructions was furnished him50.
In addition to their continued presence in the assemblies of the Minervals, the members of this grade came together once a month by themselves, to hear reports concerning their disciples, to discuss methods of accomplishing the best results in their work of direction and to solicit each other's counsel in difficult and embarrassing cases.51. In these meetings the records of the assemblies of the Minervals were reviewed and rectified and afterwards transmitted to the superior officers of the order.
Such, in brief, was the system of the Illuminati as it came from the brain of Weishaupt, its founder. By means of such an organization he proposed to effect nothing less than the redemption of the world. In its assemblies the truths of human equality and fraternity were to be taught and practised.52. Its members were to be trained to labor for the welfare of the race; to strive for a civilization, not like that of the present, which left men savage and ferocious under its thin veneer, but one which would so radically change their moral dispositions as to put all their desires under the control of reason-the supreme end of life, which neither civil nor religious institutions had been able to secure.53. The study of man was to be made at once so minute, so comprehensive, and so complete 54. that two immense advantages would result: first, the acquisition of the art of influencing favorably the wills of one's fellows, thus making social reformation possible; and second, self-knowledge.55. Then is to say, the thorough scrutiny of the instincts, passions, thoughts, and prejudices of others, which the order imposed upon him, would react in turn upon the member's judgment of his own personal life. As a result his conscience would be subjected to frequent examination, and the faults of his life might be expected to yield to correction. From both of these advantages, working together, a moral transformation of the whole of society would result, thus securing the state of universal well-being.56.
But this conception of the order as essentially an instrument of social education requires to be balanced by another, viz., its anticlericalism. Its founder professed that at the time when the idea of the order was taking shape in his mind he was profoundly influenced by the persecutions which honest men of unorthodox sentiments had been compelled to suffer on account of their views.57. Considerations growing out of his own personal embarrassments and imagined peril on account of his clashings with the Jesuits were also admittedly weighty in his thought.58. It is therefore to be regarded as a substantial element in his purpose to forge a weapon against the Jesuits, and in a larger sense to create a league defensive and offensive against all the enemies of free thought.59.
Accordingly, the expression of utterances hostile to Christian dogmas was early heard within the assemblies of the order60. and only the difficulty experienced in working out the supreme grade of the order inhibited Weishaupt's intention of converting it into a council of war to circumvent and overwhelm the advocates of supernaturalism and the enemies of reason.61. The pure religion of Christ, which, doctrinally conceived, had degenerated into asceticism and, from the institutional standpoint,62. had become a school of fanaticism and intolerance, was pronounced a doctrine of reason, converted into a religion for no other purpose than to make it more efficacious.63. To love God and one's neighbor was to follow in the way of redemption which Jesus of Nazareth, the grand master of the Illuminati, marked out as constituting the sole road which leads to liberty.64.
The objects of the order were such as to appeal to the discontented elements in a country suffering from intellectual stagnation due to ecclesiastical domination.65. Despite this fact, its growth during the first four years of its existence was anything but rapid. By that time four centers of activity, in addition to Ingolstadt, had been established, and a total of possibly sixty members recruited.66. While its visionary founder considered that a solid basis for encouragement had been laid 67. as a matter of fact at the termination of the period just indicated the organization was seriously threatened with failure. Fundamental weaknesses had developed from within. Chief among these was the tension which existed almost from the first between Weishaupt and the men whom he associated with him in the supreme direction of the affairs of the order.68. The thirst for domination, which was native to the soul of Weishaupt, converted the order into a despotism against which men who had been taught by their leader that they shared with him the innermost secrets of the organization, rebelled. The result was the constant breaking-out of a spirit of insubordination and a series of quarrels between the founder and his associates which rendered the future progress of the order very precarious.69. The extreme poverty of the organization constituted another serious obstacle to its rapid growth. With a view to demonstrating the genuine disinterestedness of the society, an effort had been made from the beginning to emphasize the financial interests of the order as little as possible.70. The rules of the organization were far from burdensome in this regard, and it is by no means surprising that many of the proposed measures of the leaders in the interests of a more extensive and effective propaganda proved abortive for the very practical reason that funds were not available to carry them into effect.71.
A decidedly new turn in the wheel of fortune came some time within the compass of the year 1780,72. with the enrollment of Baron Adolf Franz Friederich Knigge73. as a member. In the recruiting of this prominent North German diplomat Weishaupt and his associates found the resourceful and influential ally for which the organization had Waited, a man endowed with a genius for organization and so widely and favorably connected that the order was able to reap an immense advantage from the prestige which his membership bestowed upon it. Two weighty consequences promptly followed as the result of Knigge's advent into the order. The long-sought higher grades were worked out, and an alliance between the Illuminati and Freemasonry was effected.74.
Such was the confidence which Knigge's presence immediately inspired in Weishaupt and his associates that they hailed with enthusiasm his admission to the order, and gladly abandoned to him the task of perfecting the system, their own impotence for which they had been forced to admit.75. Manifesting a zeal and competency which fully justified the high regard of his brethren, Knigge threw himself into the task of elaborating and rendering compact and coherent the childish ideas of organization which Weishaupt had evolved.
The general plan of the order was so shaped as to throw the various grades or ranks into three principal classes.76. To the first class were to belong the grades Minerval and Illuminatus Minor; to the second 77. ( i ) the usual three first grades of Masonry, Apprentice, Fellow, and Master, (2) Illuminatus. Major, and (3) Illuminatus Dirigens, or Scottish Knight; and to the third class were reserved the Higher Mysteries, including (a) the Lesser Mysteries, made up of the ranks of Priest and Prince, and (b) the Greater Mysteries, comprising the ranks of Magus and King.78.
A detailed description of the various grades of Knigge's system would far outrun the reader's interest and patience.79. The present writer therefore will content himself with making such comments as seem best suited to supply a general idea of the revised system.
The grade Novice (a part of the system only in a preparatory sense) was left unchanged by Knigge, save for the addition of a printed communication to be put into the hands of all new recruits, advising them that the Order of the Illuminati stands over against all other forms of contemporary Freemasonry as the one type not degenerate, and as such alone able to restore the craft to its ancient splendor.80. The grade Minerval was reproduced as respects its statutes but greatly elaborated in its ceremonies under the influence of Masonic usages with which Knigge was familiar.81. The grade Illuminatus Minor was likewise left identical with Weishaupt's redaction, save in unimportant particulars as to special duties and in the working-out and explanation of its symbolism.82.
The three symbolic grades of the second class seem to have been devised solely for the purpose of supplying an avenue whereby members of the various branches of the great Masonic family could pass to the higher grades of the new order.83. Membership in these grades was regarded as a mere formality, the peculiar objects and secrets of the order having, of course, to be apprehended later.
A candidate for admission to the grade of Illuminatus Major was first to be subjected to a rigorous examination as respects his connections with other secret organizations and his objects in seeking advancement. His superior, being satisfied upon these points, it was provided that he should be admitted to the grade by means of a ceremonial highly Masonic in its coloring. His special duties were four in number: (1) to prepare a detailed analysis of his character, according to specific instructions furnished him; (2) to assist in the training of those members of the order who were charged with the responsibility of recruiting new members; (3) to put his talents and his social position under tribute for the benefit of the order, either by himself stepping into places of honor which were open or by nominating for such places other members who were fitted to fill them; and (4) to coöperate with other members of his rank in the direction of the assemblies of the, Minervals.84.
Advanced to the grade of Illuminatus Dirigens, or Scottish Knight, the member bound himself with a written oath to withhold his support from every other system of Masonry, or from any other secret society, and to put all his talents and powers at the disposition of the order.85. His obligations in this rank were purely administrative in their character. The inferior grades of the order were territorially grouped together into prefectures, and upon these the authority of the Illuminatus Dirigens was imposed. Each Illuminatus Dirigens had a certain number of Minerval assemblies and lodges assigned to him, and for the welfare of these he was responsible to the superiors of the order. The members of this grade constituted the "Sacred Secret Chapter of the Scottish Knights," from which issued the patents of constitution for the organization of new lodges.86.
To the first grade of the third class, that of Priest,87. were admitted only such members as, in the grade Minerval, had given proof of their zeal and advancement in the particular sciences which they had chosen.88. The initiatory ceremonies of the grade emphasized the wholly unsatisfactory character of existing political and religious systems and sounded the candidate's readiness to serve the order in its efforts to lead the race away from the vain inventions of civil constitutions and religious dogmas from which it suffered.89. Relieved entirely of administrative responsibilities, the members of this grade devoted themselves exclusively to the instruction of their subordinates in the following branches of science: physics, medicine, mathematics, natural history, political science, the arts and crafts, and the occult sciences. In brief, the final supervision of the teaching function of the order was in their hands, subject only to the ultimate authority of their supreme heads.90.
Knigge's statutes provided that only a very small number of members were to be admitted to the grade of Prince.91. From this group the highest functionaries of the order were to be drawn: National Inspectors, Provincials,92. Prefects, and Deans of the Priests. Over them, in turn, at the apex of the system and as sovereign heads of the order, ruled the Areopagites.93.
So much for the external structure of the system which Knigge reshaped. With respect to the aims and principles of the order the modifications introduced by him were considerable, although scarcely as comprehensive as in the former case. 94. In certain instances the ideas of Weishaupt were retained and developed;95. in others significant alterations were made or new ideas introduced. Of the new ideas the two following were unquestionably of greatest weight: 96. the notion of restricting the field of recruiting solely to the young was abandoned, and this phase of the propaganda was widened so as to include men of experience whose wisdom and influence might be counted upon to assist in attaining the objects of the order; 97. the policy was adopted that henceforth the order should not occupy itself with campaigns against particular political and religious systems, but that its energies should be exerted against superstition, despotism, and tyranny.98. In other words, the battle for tolerance and enlightenment should be waged along universal and not local lines. Accordingly, the esoteric teaching of the order, under Knigge's revision, was reserved to the higher grades.
The progress of the order from 1780 on 99. was so rapid as to raise greatly the spirits of its leaders. The new method of spreading Illuminism by means of its affiliation with Masonic lodges promptly demonstrated its worth. Largely because of the fine strategy of seeking its recruits among the officers and other influential personages in the lodges of Freemasonry, one after another of the latter in quick succession went over to the new system. 100. New prefectures were established, new provinces organized, and Provincials began to report a steady and copious stream of new recruits. 101. From Bavaria into the upper and lower Rhenish provinces the order spread inito Suabia. Franconia., Westphalia, Upper and Lower Saxony, and outside of Germany into Austria ' and Switzerland. Within a few months after Knigge rescued the order from the moribund condition in which he found it, the leaders were able to rejoice in the accession of three hundred members, many of whom by their membership immensely enhanced the prestige of the order. Students, merchants, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, judges, professors in gymnasia and universities, preceptors, civil officers, pastors, priests - all were generously represented among the new recruits. 102. Distinguished names soon appeared upon the rosters of the lodges of the new system. Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, Duke Ernst of Gotha, Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar, Prince August of Saxe-Gotha, Prince Carl of Hesse, Baron Dalberg, 103. the philosopher Herder, the poet Goethe, 104. the educationist Pestalozzi, 105. were among the number enrolled, By the end of 1784 the leaders boasted of a total enrollment of between two and three thousand members 106. and the establishment of the order upon a solid foundation seemed to be fully assured. 107.
But just at the moment when the prospects were brightest, the knell of doom suddenly sounded. 108. Dangers from within and from without, with bewildering celerity and concurrence, like a besom of destruction swept from the earth the order which Adam Weishaupt, with such exaggerated anticipations, had constituted out of a little group of obscure students at Ingolstadt, on May Day, 1776.
The internal difficulties were of the nature of dissensions among the chiefs. The old jealousies that existed between Weishaupt and the Areopagites 109. before Knigge, reconstructed the order were not eradicated by the introduction of the new system, and in course of time they flamed forth anew. 110. But ugly in temper and subversive of discipline and order as these petty contentions were, they were of little importance as compared with the fatal discord which arose between Weishaupt and Knigge. The spirit of humility that the former manifested in 1780, when in desperation he turned to Knigge for assistance, did not long continue. Aroused by the danger of seeing his personal control of the order set aside and himself treated as a negligible factor, Weishaupt sought opportunities of asserting his prerogatives, and the ambition of Knigge being scarcely less selfish than that of Weishaupt, the two men quarreled repeatedly and long. 111. So bitter and implacable the spirit of the two became that in the end, exercising a discretion dictated by despair rather than generosity, Knigge withdrew from the field, leaving Weishaupt in undisputed possession of the coveted headship of the order.
But the fruits of his victory the latter had little chance to enjoy. 112. On June 22, 1784, Carl Theodore 113. launched the first of his edicts against all communities, societies, and brotherhoods in his lands which had been established without due authorization of law and the confirmation of the sovereign. 114. The edict, to be sure, was general in its character, and the Bavarian Illuminati were glad to believe that their system was not specially involved: by lying low for a season the squall would speedily blow over and the activities of the order might safely be resumed. 115. These anticipations, however, were doomed to disappointment. Having surrendered himself completely to the spirit of reaction, and spurred by reports of the covert disobedience of the order which his entourage spread before him, 116. the Bavarian monarch, on March 2 of the following year, issued another edict that specifically designated the Illuminati as one of the branches of Freemasonry, all of which were severely upbraided for their failure to yield implicit obedience to the will of the sovereign as expressed in the previous edict, and a new ban, more definite and sweeping in its terms than the former, was thereby proclaimed. 117.
A fixed resolution on the part of the government to give full force to the provisions of the interdict left no room for evasion. 118. In response to the call of its enemies, former members of the order who, either because of scruples of conscience or for less honorable reasons, had withdrawn from its fellowship, came forward to make formal declarations respecting their knowledge of its affairs. 119. In this direct manner the weapons needed for the waging of an effective campaign against the society were put into the government's hands. 120. Judicial inquiries were inaugurated, beginning at Ingolstadt. 121. Measures of government, all aimed at nothing short of the complete suppression and annihilation of the order, followed one another in rapid succession. Officers and soldiers in the army were required to come forward and confess their relations with the Illuminati, under promise of immunity if ready and hearty in their response, but under pain of disgrace, cassation, or other punishment if refractory. 122. Members and officers of consular boards were subjected to similar regulations, 123. Officers of state and holders of ecclesiastical benefices who were found to have connections with the order were summarily dismissed from their posts. 124. Professors in universities and teachers in the public schools suffered a like fate. 125. Students who were recognized as adepts were dismissed, and in some cases were banished from the country. 126.
As a system the order was shattered but its supporters were not wholly silenced, Weishaupt particularly, from his place of security in a neighboring country, lifted his voice against the men who had betrayed the order and the government which had ruined it. Taking recourse to his pen, with incredible rapidity he struck off one pamphlet and volume after another,127. in a feverish effort, offensive and defensive, to avert if possible total disaster to the cause which, despite all his frailties, he truly loved. The one clear result of his polemical efforts was to draw the fire of those who defended the denunciators of the afflicted order and who supported the clerical party and the government. A war of pamphlets developed, the noise and vehemence of which were destined to add, if possible, to the embarrassment and pain of those members of the order who still remained in Bavaria. Once more the suspicions of the government were aroused; a search was made by the police for further evidence, and in the month of October, 1786, at Landshut, in the house of Xavier Zwack, 128. one of the order's most prominent leaders, decisive results were achieved. A considerable number of books and papers were discovered,129. the latter containing more than two hundred letters that had passed between Weishaupt and the Areopagites, dealing with the most intimate affairs of the order, together with tables containing the secret symbols, calendar, and geographical terms belonging to the system, imprints of its insignia, a partial roster of its membership, the statutes, instruction for recruiters, the primary ceremony of initiation, etc.130.
Here was the complete range of evidence the authorities had long waited for. Out of the mouths of its friends, the accusations which its enemies made against the order were to be substantiated. By the admissions of its leaders, the system of the Illuminati had the appearance of an organization devoted to the overthrow of religion and the state, a band of poisoners and forgers, an association of men of disgusting morals and depraved tastes. The publication of these documents amounted to nothing less than a sensation.131. New measures were forthwith adopted by the government. Leading representatives of the order, whose names appeared in the telltale documents, were placed under arrest and formally interrogated, Some of these, like the treasurer, Hertel, met the situation with courage and dignity, and escaped with no further punishment than a warning to have nothing to do with the organization in the future under fear of graver consequences. 132. Others, like the poltroon Mändl,133. adopted the course of making monstrous "revelations" concerning the objects and practices of the order. Still others, like Massenhausen, against whom the charge of poison-mixing was specifically lodged,134. sought safety in flight.
As a final blow against the devastated order, on August 16, 1787, the duke of Bavaria launched his third and last edict against the system.135. The presentments of the former interdicts were reëmphasized, and in addition, to give maximum force to the sovereign's will, criminal process, without distinction of person, dignity, state, or quality, was ordered against any Illuminatus who should be discovered continuing the work of recruiting. Any so charged and found guilty were to be deprived of their lives by the sword; while those thus recruited were to have their goods confiscated and themselves to be condemned to perpetual banishment from the territories of the duke.136. Under the same penalties of confiscation and banishment, the members of the order, no matter under what name or circumstances, regular or irregular, they should gather, were forbidden to assemble as lodges.137.
The end of the order was at hand. So far as the situation within Bavaria was concerned, the sun of the Illuminati had already set.138. It remained for the government to stretch forth its hand as far as possible, to deal with those fugitives who, enjoying the protection of other governments, might plot and contrive to rebuild the ruined system. Accordingly, Zwack, who had sought asylum first in the court of Zweibrücken and had later obtained official position in the principality of Salm-Kyburg, was summoned by the duke of Bavaria to return to that country. The summons was not accepted,139. but the activities of Zwack as a member of the Illuminati, as the event proved, were over. Count (Baron) Montgelas, whose services on behalf of the order do not appear to have been significant, but who, upon the publication of the correspondence seized in the residence of Zwack, had likewise sought the protection of the duke of Zweibrücken, found the favor of that sovereign sufficient to save him from the power of the Bavarian monarch.140. As for Weishaupt, whose originary relation to the order the Bavarian government had discovered in the secret correspondence just referred to, his presence in Gotha, outside Bavarian territory but in close proximity to the Bavarian possessions, added greatly to the concern of Carl Theodore.141. Efforts were made by the latter to counteract any influence he might exert to rehabilitate the Illuminati system.142. They were as futile as they were unnecessary. Broken in spirit, making no effort to regain the kingdom which his vanity insisted he had lost, contenting himself with the publication of various apologetic writings,143. permitted for a considerable period to enjoy the bounty of his generous patron, Duke Ernst of Gotha, he sank slowly into obscurity.144.
As for the fortunes of the order outside of Bavaria, the measures adopted by the government of that country proved decisive. Here and there, especially in the case of Bode,145. a Saxon Illuminatus, efforts were made to galvanize the expiring spirit of the order, but wholly without result.
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: The amount of literature, chiefly polemical in character, which has sprung up about the subject of the European Illuminati is astonishingly large. Wolfstieg, Bibliographie der Freimaurerischen Literatur, vol. ii, pp. 971-979, lists ninety-six separate titles of principal works, not counting translations, new editions, etc, In the same volume (pp. 979-982) he lists the titles of one hundred and fourteen "kleinere Schriften". In addition, he also lists (Ibid., p. 982) three titles of books occupied with the statutes of the order, and the titles of five principal works devoted to the order's ritual ( p. 983), together with the titles of nine smaller works likewise occupied (ibid.). No student penetrates far into the study of the general topic without being made aware that not only were contemporary apologists and hostile critics stirred to a fierce heat of literary expression, but that a swarm of historians, mostly of inferior talents, have been attracted to the subject.
In view of the thoroughgoing work which bibliographers like Wolfstieg have performed, no necessity arises to repeat the task. For the benefit of the student who may wish to acquaint himself at first hand with the principal sources of information respecting the order, the titles are grouped in three principal divisions.
I. Apologetic writings.
Weishaupt, Apologie der Illuminaten, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786.
" Vollstständige Geschichte der Verfolgung der Illuminaten in Bayern, I, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786.
" Das verbesserte System der Illuminaten mit allen seinen Graden und Einrichtungen, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1787.
" Kurze Rechtfertigung meiner Absichten, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1787.
" Nachtrag zur Rechfertigung meiner Absichten, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1787.
Bassus, Vorstellung denen hohen Standeshäuptern der Erlauchten Republik Graubü, Nuremberg, 1788.
Knigge, Philo's endliche Erklärung und Antwort auf verschiedene Anforderungen und Fragen, Hanover, 1788.
II. Documents of the order, published by the Bavarian government or otherwise, and hostile polemics.
Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, Munich, 1787.
Nachtrag von weiteren Originalschriften, Munich, 1787
Der ächte Illuminat, oder die whren, unverbesserten Rituale der Illuminaten, Edessa (Frankfort-on-the-Main), 1788
Cosandey, Renner, and Grünberger, Drei merkwürdige Aussagen die innere Einrichtung des Illuminatenordens, Munich, 1786
Same (with Utzschneider), Grosse Absichten des Ordens der Illuminaten mit Nachtrag, I, II, III, Munich, 1786.
Der neuesten Arbeiten des Sparticus und Philo, Munich, 1793.
Illuminatus Dirigens, oder Schottischer Ritter. Ein Pendant, etc., Munich, 1794.
III. Historical treatments of the precise character and significance of the order.
Mounier, De l'influence attribuée aux philosophes, aux francmaçons et aux illuminés, sur la révolution de France, Tübingen, 1801.
Mounier, J.J., On the Influence attributed to Philosophers, Freemasons, and to the Illuminati, on the Revolution of France.... Translated from the Manuscript, and corrected under the inspection of the author, by J. Walker, London, 1801.
Engel, Gerschichte des Illuminaten-Ordens, Berlin, 106.
Forestier, Les Illuminé de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie allemonde, Paris, 1915.
Although the Order of the Illuminati was dead, the world had yet to reckon with its specter. So intense and widespread was the fear which the order engendered, so clearly did the traditionalists of the age see in its clientele the welding together into a secret machine of war of the most mischievous and dangerous of these elements which were discontented with the prevailing establishments of religion and civil government, that it was impossible that its shadow should pass immediately.146.
The emergence of the order had attracted public attention so abruptly and sharply, and its downfall had been so violent and so swift, that public opinion lacked time to adjust itself to the facts in the case. In Bavaria, particularly, the enemies of the order were unable to persuade themselves that the machinations of the Illuminati could safely be regarded as wholly of the past.147. The documents of the order were appealed to, to supply proof that its leaders had made deliberate calculations against the day of possible opposition and temporary disaster and with satanic cunning had made their preparations to wring victory out of apparent defeat.148. Besides, the depth of the government's suspicions and hostility was such that additional, though needless measures of state149. kept very much alive in that country the haunting fear of the continued existence of the order.
Outside of Bavaria numerous factors contributed to create the same general impression in the public mind. Among these were the efforts of the Rosicrucians to play upon the fears that the Illuminati had awakened, the mistaken connections which, in the Protestant world, were commonly made between the members of the Order of the Illuminati and the representatives and promoters of the Aufklärung, and the emergence of the German Union. To each of these in turn a word must be devoted,
Following the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, members of that order in considerable numbers, attracted by the rapid growth and the pretentious occultism of the Rosicrucians,150. had united with the latter system.151. The result was the infusion of a definite strain of clericalism into the order of the Rosicrucians and, in consequence, a renewal of the attack upon the Illuminati. In Prussia, where the Rosicrucians had firmly established themselves in Berlin, King Frederick William II was under the influence of Wöllner, one of his ministers and a leading figure in the Rosicrucian system.152. Through the latter's relations with Frank, who at the time stood at the head of the Rosicrucian order in Bavaria, the Prussian monarch was easily persuaded that the operations of the Illuminati had not only been extended to his own territories, but throughout all Germany.153. Encouraged by Wöllner, Frederick William took it upon himself to warn neighboring monarchs respecting the peril which he believed threatened, a course which bore at least one definite result in the measures taken by the elector of Saxony to investigate the situation at Leipzig where, according to the king of Prussia, a meeting of the chiefs of the Illuminati had been effected.154. Thus the notion that the order of the Illuminati was still in existence was accorded the sanction of influential monarchs.
The disposition of orthodox Protestants to confuse the advocates of rationalism with the membership of the Illuminati finds its suggestion of plausibility at a glance and stands in little need of specific historical proof. The general effect of the undermining of traditional faiths, for which the dominating influences of the period of the Aufklärung were responsible, was to create the impression among the more simple-minded and credulous elements in the Protestant world that a vast combination of forces was at work, all hostile to the Christian religion and all striving to supplant faith by reason. So vast and significant a movement of thought naturally enough tended to engender various suspicions, and among these is to be numbered the naïve conviction that the order which the Bavarian government had felt compelled to stamp out, on account of its alleged impiety and its immoral and anarchical principles, was but a local expression of the prevailing opposition to the established systems and orthodox doctrines of the age.155.
The excitement occasioned by the appearance of the German Union (Die Deutshe Union), on account of its definite connections with one of the former leaders156. of Weishaupt's system and the unsavory private character and avowed unscrupulous designs of its originator, gave still more specific force to the Illuminati legend. Charles Frederick Bahrdt,157. a disreputable doctor of theology, in 1787, at Halle, proposed to reap advantage from the ruin of Weishaupt's, system and to recruit among its former members the supporters of a new league, organized to accomplish the enlightenment of the people principally by means of forming in every city secret associations of men158. who were to keep correspondence with similar groups of their brethren and who, by the employment of reading-rooms, were to familiarize the people with those writings which were specially calculated to remove popular prejudices and superstition and to break the force of appeals to tradition. Further, these associations were to supply financial assistance to writers who enlisted in the Union's campaign, and to fill the palms of booksellers who for the sake of a bribe, show themselves willing to prevent the sale of the works of authors who withheld their coöperation.159.
As an organization the German Union scarcely emerged from the stage of inception; but the absurd policy of publicity pursued by its founder gave to the project a wide airing and provoked hostile writings160. that added immensely to the importance of the matter. The new system was boldly denounced as continuing the operations of the odious order dissolved in Bavaria, with a shrewd change of tactics which substituted "innocent" reading-rooms for the novitiate of Weishaupt's organization, and thus, it was urged, the way was opened for the exertion of a really powerful influence upon the thought of the German people.161.
By such means, and in such widely diverse and irrational ways, the popular belief in the survival of the defunct Order of the Illuminati was kept alive and supplied with definite points of attachment; but it remained for the French Revolution, in all the rapidity and vastness of its developments and in the terrifying effects which its more frightful aspects exercised upon its observers, to offer the most exciting suggestions and to stimulate to the freest play the imaginations of those who were already persuaded that the secret associations that plagued Bavaria still lived to trouble the earth,162.
The supposed points of connection between the Order of the Illuminati and the French Revolution were partly tangible, though decidedly elusive,163. but much more largely of the nature of theories framed to meet the necessities of a case which in the judgment of dilettante historians positively required the hypothesis of a diabolical conspiracy against thrones and altars (i.e., the civil power and the church), though the labors of Hercules might have to be exceeded in putting the same to paper.
Of the exiguous resources of interpreters of the Revolution who made serious efforts to trace its impious and anarchical principles and its savage enormities to their lair in the lodges of the Illuminati, the following are perhaps the only ones worthy of note.
The public discussion of the affairs and principles of Weishaupt's organization, to which attention has already been called in various connections, continued with unabated zeal even beyond the close of the eighteenth century. At the very hour when the Revolution was shocking the world by its lapse from its original [sic] self-control into its horrible massacres, executions of Monarchs, guillotine-lust. and ferocious struggles between parties, new pamphlets and reviews bearing on the demolished order's constitution and objects found their way into the channels of public communication.
Conspicuous among these were the following: Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten, Orden, jetzt zum ersten Mal gedruckt und zur Beherzigung bei gegenwärtigen Zeitläuften herausgegeben,164. and Illuminatus Dirigens oder Schottischer Ritter,165. announced as a continuation of the former. These works, published at the instigation of the authorities at Munich, attracted public attention anew to the most extreme religious and social doctrines166. of the order. Thus the revolutionary character of Illuminism received heavy emphasis167. synchronously with contemporary events of the utmost significance to the imperilled cause of political and religious conservatism.
In Austria an independent literary assault upon Illuminism developed. At Vienna, Leopold Hoffman,168. editor of the Wiener Zeitschrift, fully convinced that the Order of the Illuminati had exercised a baneful effect upon Freemasonry, to which he was devoted, abandoned his chair of language and German literature at the University of Vienna to dedicate his talents and his journal to the overthrow of Illuminated Freemasonry169. Finding a zealous collaborator in a certain Dr. Zimmerman, a physician of Hannover, a radical turned an extreme conservative by the developments of the French Revolution, the two labored energetically to stigmatize the Illuminati as the secret cause of the political explosion in France.
The discontinuance of the Wiener Zeitschrift in 1793 by no means marked the end of the campaign. A deluge of pamphlets170. had been precipitated, all based upon the assumption that the order Weishaupt had founded had subsided only in appearance. Declamation did not wait upon evidence. It was alleged that the lower grades of the Illuminati had been dissolved, but the superior grades were still practised. Under cover of correspondence, recruits of the system were now being sought. Freemasonry was being subjugated by Illuminism only that it might be forced to serve the ends of its conqueror. journalists partial to the interests of the Aufklärung had been enlisted for the same purpose. The German Union was thus only one of the enterprises fostered by the Illuminati to further their designs. The dogmas of the order had been spread secretly in France by means of the clubs of that country, and the effectiveness of the propaganda was being vividly demonstrated in the horrors of the Revolution. Unless German princes should promptly adopt rigorous measures against the various agents and enterprises of the order in their territories, they might confidently expect similar results to follow.171.
Much more of like character was foisted upon the reading public. As for contemporary historians who searched for specific evidence of an alliance between the Illuminati of Germany and the Revolutionists in France, their energies were chiefly employed in the development of a clue which had as its kernel the supposed introduction of Illuminism into France at the hands of the French revolutionary leader, Mirabeau, and the German savant, Bode.172. Unfolded, this view of the case may be stated briefly as follows: Mirabeau, during his residence at Berlin, in the years 1786 and 1787, came into touch with the Illuminati of that city and was received as an adept into the order. Upon his return to Paris he made the attempt to introduce Illuminism into that particular branch of Masonry of which he was also a member, the Philalèthes or Amis Réunis.173. To give force to his purpose, he called upon the Illuminati in Berlin to send to his assistance two talented and influential representatives of the order. The men chosen by the Illuminati circle in Berlin, Bode and von dem Busche,174. arrived in Paris in the early summer of 1787. To conceal their purpose from prying eyes, they spread the report that they had come from Germany to investigate the subjects of magnetism and the extent of the influence exerted by the Jesuits upon the secret societies of the age. Meantime, the lodges of the Philalèthes, and through them the French Masonic lodges in general, were with the principles of Illuminism. French Freemasonry thus became committed to the project of forcing the overthrow of thrones and altars. So transformed, these lodges created secret committees who busied themselves with plans for the precipitation of a great revolutionary movement. To these committees belonged the subsequent leaders and heroes of the French Revolution-de Rochefoucauld, Condorcet, Pétion, the Duke of Orléans (Grand Master of French Masonry), Camille-Desmoulins, Danton, Lafayette, de Leutre, Fauchet, et al. Through these and their associates the connection between the lodges of Illuminated French Freemasonry and the powerful political clubs of the country was effected. Thus Illuminism was able to inspire Jacobinism. Finally, on the 14 of July, 1789, the revolutionary mine was sprung, and the great secret of the Illuminati became the possession of the world.175.
At every point this fantastic exposition suffered the fatal defect of a lack of historical proof. Even the specific assertions of its inventors which were most necessary to their hypothesis were disproved by the facts brought to light by more cautious and unbiased investigators who followed. E.g., the idea of Mirabeau's intimate connection with the program of the Order of the Illuminati and his profound faith in it as the best of all instruments for the work of social amelioration is rendered untenable the moment the rash and unrepublican temper of his spirit is called seriously to mind.176. Again, the real object of Bode's visit to Paris, a matter of vital importance in the Illuminati-French Revolution hypothesis, was not to communicate Illuminism to French Freemasons, but to attend an assembly of representatives of the Philalèthes, called to consider the results of an inquiry previously undertaken, respecting the occult interests and tendencies of that order. Convinced that that branch of French Masonry was yielding to an inordinate passion for the occult sciences, Bode had been prevailed upon by German Masons, von dem Busche177. among the number, to make a journey to Paris to warn his French brethren of their mistake. A subsidiary personal interest in the newly-discovered "science" of animal magnetism178. helped to form his decision to make the trip.179.
The much more important contention that the Illuminati were instrumental in starting the French Revolution, shows a lack of historical perspective that either leaves out of account or obscures the importance of the economic, social, political, and religious causes, tangible and overt, though complex, that rendered the Revolution inevitable.
Yet the legend of Illuminism as the responsible author of the French Revolution found numerous vindicators and interpreters,180. to the efforts of two of which, because of their intimate relation to the interests of the investigation in hand, our attention in the remainder of this chapter is to be confined.
In the year 1797 there appeared at Edinburgh, Scotland a volume bearing the following title: Proofs of a Conspiracy against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of the Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies.181. Its author, John Robison,182. an English savant and Freemason whose position in the academic world entitled his statements to respect, had had his curiosity regarding the character and effects of continental Freemasonry greatly stimulated by a stray volume of the German periodical, Religions Begebenheiten,183. which came under his notice in 1795, and in which he found expositions of Masonic systems and schisms so numerous and so seriously maintained by their advocates as to create deep wonderment in his mind.184. Bent upon discovering both the occasion and the significance of this tangled mass, Robison obtained possession of other volumes of the periodical mentioned185. and set himself the task of elucidating the problem presented by Masonry's luxuriant growth and its power of popular appeal.
The conclusions Robison came to are best stated in his own words:
I have found that the covert of a Mason Lodge had been employed in every country for venting and propagating sentiments in religion and politics, that could not have circulated in public without exposing the author to great danger. I found, that this impunity had gradually encouraged men of licentious principles to become more bold, and to teach doctrines subversive of all our notions of morality-of all our confidence in the moral government of the universe-of all our hopes of improvement in a future state of existence-and of all satisfaction and contentment with our present life, so long as we live in a state of civil subordination. I have been able to trace these attempts, made, through a course of fifty years, under the specious pretext of enlightening the world by the torch of philosophy, and of dispelling the clouds of civil and religious superstition which keep the nations of Europe in darkness and slavery. I have observed these doctrines gradually diffusing and mixing with all the different systems of Free Masonry; till, at last, AN ASSOCIATION HAS BEEN FORMED for the express purpose of ROOTING OUT ALL THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS, AND OVERTURNING ALL THE EXISTING GOVERNMENTS OF EUROPE. I have seen this Association exerting itself zealously and systematically, till it has become almost irresistible: And I have seen that the most active leaders in the French Revolution were members of this Association, and conducted their first movements according to its principles, and by means of its instructions and assistance, formally requested and obtained: And, lastly, I have seen that this Association still exists, still works in secret, and that not only several appearances among ourselves show that its emissaries are endeavouring to propagate their detestable doctrines, but that the Association has Lodges in Britain corresponding with the mother Lodge at Munich ever since 1784. . . . The Association of which I have been- speaking is the order of ILLUMINATI, founded, in 1775 [sic], by Dr. Adam Weishaupt, professor of Canon-law in the University of Ingolstadt, and abolished in 1786 by the Elector of Bavaria, but revived immediately after, under another 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, and has spread into all the countries of Europe.186.
The "proofs" to which Robison appealed to support these conclusions betrayed the same lack of critical mind187. with which all the advocates of the Illuminati-French Revolution hypothesis are to be charged. Only the more significant elements are here brought under survey.188.
That inclination for a multiplication of the degrees and an elaboration of the ceremonies of simple English Freemasonry which Robison found operative among French Freemasons from the beginning of the eighteenth century on,189. had resulted in making the lodges attractive to those elements in France whose discontent over civil and ecclesiastical oppressions had grown great.190. Under the pressure imposed upon private and public discussion by the state and by the church, men of letters, avocats au parlement, unbeneficed abbés, impecunious youths, and self-styled philosophers thronged the halls of the lodges, eager to take advantage of the opportunity their secret assemblies afforded to discuss the most intimate concerns of politics and religion.191. Despite the wide contrariety of minor views thus represented, one general idea and language, that of "cosmopolitanism," was made familiar to a multitude of minds. Worse still, the popular interest of the period in mysticism, theosophy, cabala, and genuine science was appealed to, in order to provide a more numerous clientele among whom might be disseminated the doctrines of atheism, materialism, and discontent with civil subordination.192. Thus the Masonic lodges in France were made "the hot-beds, where the seeds were sown, and tenderly reared, of all the pernicious doctrines which soon after choked every moral or religious cultivation, and have made . . . Society worse than a waste ...."193.
The introduction of French Freemasonry into Germany according to Robison, was followed by similar results.194. Thither, as to France, simple English Freemasonry had first gone, and because of its exclusive emphasis upon the principle of brotherly love the Germans had welcomed it and treated it with deep seriousness;195. but the sense of mystery and the taste for ritualistic embellishments which the advent of French Masonry promoted, speedily changed the temper of the German brethren.196. A reckless tendency to, innovation set in. The love of stars and ribbons,197. and the desire to learn of ghost-raising, exorcism, and alchemy,198. became the order of the day. Rosicrucianism flourished,199. rival systems appeared, and questions of precedency split German Freemasonry into numerous fiercely hostile camps.200.
Meantime, on account of the propaganda carried on by the Enlighteners,201. a revolution of the public mind took place in Germany, marked by a great increase of scepticism, infidelity, and irreligion, not only among the wealthy and luxurious but among the profligate elements in the lower classes as well.202. Rationalistic theologians, aided and abetted by booksellers and publishers and by educational theorists,203. coöperated to make the ideas of orthodox Christianity distasteful to the general public.204. To give effect to this campaign of seduction, the lodges of Freemasonry were invaded and their secret assemblies employed to spread free-thinking and cosmopolitical ideas.205. Thus German Freemasonry became impregnated with the impious and revolutionary tendencies of French Freemasonry.206. At such an hour, according to Robison, Weishaupt founded his Order of the Illuminati.207. Employing the opportunities afforded him by his connections with the Masons,208. he exerted himself to make disciples and to lay the foundations of an "Association . . . which, in time, should govern the world," the express aim of which "was to abolish Christianity and overturn all civil government."209.
To accomplish this end a most insinuating pedagogy was adopted,210. the members were trained to spy upon one another,211. and hypocrisy which did not stop short of positive villainy was practised.212. As a fitting climax to a program that involved the complete subversion of existing moral standards, women were to be admitted to the lodges.213.
Following an analysis of the grades of the order,214. lifted little if any above the general plane of ineptitude upon which the author moved, Robison incorporated into his history of the Bavarian Illuminati a table of the lodges that had been established prior to 1786.215. Drawing professedly upon the private papers of the order as published by the Bavarian government, he worked out a list which included five lodges in Strassburg; four in Bonn; fourteen in Austria; "many" in each of the following states, Livonia, Courland, Alsace, Hesse, Poland, Switzerland, and Holland; eight in England; two in Scotland; and "several" in America.216.
The suppression of the Illuminati by the Bavarian government was regarded by Robison as merely "formal" in its nature: 217. the evil genius of the banned order speedily reappeared in the guise of the German Union218. Into the discussion of the German Union Robison read the "proofs" of an enterprise truly gigantic both as to its proportions and its baneful influence. The illuminated lodges of Freemasonry were declared to have given way to reading societies wherein the initiated, i.e., the members of the Union, actively employed themselves, apparently to accomplish the noble ends of enlightening mankind and securing the dethronement of superstition and fanaticism,219. but actually to, secure the destruction of every sentiment of religion, morality and loyalty220. The higher mysteries of Bahrdt's silly and abortive project were declared to be identical with those of Weishaupt's order (natural religion and atheism were to be substituted for Christianity, and political principles equally anarchical with those of the Illuminati were fostered)221.
Although Robison confessed himself driven to pronounce Bahrdt's enterprise "coarse, and palpably mean,"222. and although the archives and officers of the Union were held to be " contemptible,"223. none the less an elaborate though most disjointed tale was unfolded by him. This involved the organization of the German literati and the control of the book trade, with a view to forming taste and directing public opinion;224. and the establishment of reading societies to the number of eight hundred or more,225. among whose members were to be circulated such books as were calculated to fortify the mind against all disposition to be startled on account of the appearance of "doctrines and maxims which are singular, or perhaps opposite to those which are current in ordinary societies."226. Thus it would be possible "to work in silence upon all courts, families, and individuals in every quarter, and acquire an influence in the appointment of court-officers, stewards, secretaries, parish-priests, public teachers, or private tutors."227.
Robison was unable to present anything beyond the most tenuous "proofs" that a direct relation existed between Weishaupt's system and Bahrdt's enterprise;228. still he did not hesitate to affirm that, on account of the emergence of the latter, it had been made clear that the suppression of the Illuminati had been futile.229. "Weishaupt and his agents were still busy and successful."230.
Arriving finally at the subject of the French Revolution, Robison devoted something more than sixty pages to an effort to connect the system of Weishaupt with the great European debacle. Approaching the matter with unconcealed dubiety,231. he found his confidence, and boldness growing as he proceeded. Relying chiefly upon such uncritical and promiscuous sources as the Religions Begebenheiten, the Wiener Zeitschrift, and the Magazin des Literatur et Kunst (sic), and a work entitled Memoires Posthumes de, Custime, he sought a point of direct contact between the Illuminati and the French revolutionary movement by stressing the enlistment of Mirabeau,232. the mission of Bode and von Busche,233. and the instructions which, he alleged, were given by the latter to the Amis Réunis and the Philalèthes through their chief lodges at Paris.234.
The mission of Bode and von Busche, according to Robison, had been undertaken at the request of Mirabeau and the Abbé Perigord235. (Talleyrand). When Weishaupt's plan was thus communicated to the two French lodges mentioned, "they saw at once its importance, in all its branches, such as the use of the Masonic Lodges, to fish for Minervals-the rituals and ranks to entice the young, and to lead them by degrees to opinions, and measures which, at first sight, would have shocked them."236. By the beginning of 1789 the lodges of the Grand Orient237. had received the secrets of the Illuminati.238. The Duke of Orléans, who, had been "illuminated" by Mirabeau,239. and whose personal political ambitions were strongly stressed by Robison,240. gave hearty support to the enterprise; and thus in a very short time the Masonic lodges of France were converted into a set of secret affiliated societies, all corresponding with the mother lodges of Paris, and ready to rise instantly and overturn the government as soon as the signal should be given.241. The political committees organized in each of these "illuminated" lodges familiarized not only their brethren but, through them, the country in general, with the secret revolutionary program.242. Thus it happened that the "stupid Bavarians" became the instructors of the French in the art of overturning the world";243. and thus, also , it happened that "the whole nation changed, and changed again, and again, as if by beat of drum."244.
Such in its main outlines and in its "principal links" of evidence is the Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe. Yet to obtain a just appraisal of the book it must not be overlooked that its author wrote an additional one hundred and fifty pages, not of "proofs" but of argument, partly to defend errors of judgment he may have committed in his treatment of the subject, but chiefly to persuade his fellow countrymen that the principles of Illuminism were false and to urge them to turn a deaf ear to these doctrines.
We turn now to consider another much more elaborate exposition of the Illuminati-French Revolution legend. Almost at the moment of the appearance of Robison's book, there appeared in French, at London and Hamburg, a far more finished production, devoted to the same thesis and bearing the title, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire du Jacobinisme.245. Its author, the Abbé Barruel,246. who had been trained as a Jesuit, enjoying literary talents much superior to those of Robison and relying upon documentary evidence more copious if not more convincing, defined his purpose in the following manner:
We shall show that with which it is incumbent on all nations and their chiefs to be acquainted: we shall demonstrate that, even to the most horrid deeds perpetrated during the French Revolution, everything was foreseen and resolved on, was combined and premeditated: that they were the offspring of deep-thought villainy, since they had been prepared and were produced by men, who alone held the clue of those plots and conspiracies, lurking in the secret meetings where they had been conceived, and only watching the favorable moment of bursting forth. Though the events of each day may not appear to have been combined, there nevertheless existed a secret agent and a secret cause, giving rise to each event, and turning each circumstance to the long-sought-for end. Though circumstances may often have afforded the pretense of the occasion, yet the grand cause of the revolution, its leading features, its atrocious crimes, will still remain one continued chain of deep-laid and premeditated villainy.247.
The amazing breadth of Barruel's canvass, as well as the naiveté of the artist, are immediately disclosed in his foreword respecting the "triple conspiracy" which he proposes to lay bare.248. To present this "triple conspiracy" in his own words will do more than define the abbé's conception of his task: its transparent incoordination will make it apparent that much of the work of examination that might otherwise seem to be called for is futile.
1st. Many years before the French Revolution, men who styled themselves Philosophers conspired against the God of the Gospel, against Christianity, without distinction of worship, whether Protestant or Catholic, Anglican or Presbyterian. The grand object of this conspiracy was to overturn every alter where Christ was adored. It was the conspiracy of the Sophisters249. of Impiety, or the ANTICHRISTIAN CONSPIRACY.
2dly. This school of impiety soon formed the Sophisters of Rebellion: these latter, combining their conspiracy against kings with that of the Sophisters of Impiety, coalesce with that ancient sect whose tenets constituted the whole secret of the Occult-Lodges of Free-Masonry, which long since, imposing on the credulity of its most distinguished adepts, only initiated the chosen of the elect into the secret of their unrelenting hatred for Christ and kings.
3dly. From the Sophisters of Impiety and Rebellion arose Sophisters of Impiety and Anarchy. These latter conspire not only against Christ and his altars, but against every religion natural or revealed: not only against kings, but against every government, against all civil society, even against property whatsoever.
This third sect, known by the name of Illumines, coalesced with the Sophisters conspiring against Christ, coalesced with the Sophisters who, with the Occult Masons, conspired against both Christ and kings. It was the coalition of the adepts of impiety, of the adepts of rebellion, and the adepts of anarchy, which formed the CLUB of the JACOBINS . . . Such was the origin, such the progress of that sect, since become so dreadfully famous under the name JACOBIN. In the present Memoirs each of these three conspiracies shall be treated separately; their authors unmasked, the object, means, coalition and progress of the adepts shall be laid open.250.
The sole proposition which Barruel proposed to maintain is thus made clear enough. All the developments of the French Revolution were to be explained on the basis of the following postulate: The Encyclopedists, Freemasons, and Bavarian Illuminati, working together, not unconsciously but with well-planned coördination, produced the Jacobins, and the Jacobins in turn produced the Revolution. Over all, embracing all, the word " conspiracy " must needs be written large.
The first volume of the Memoirs was devoted to the conspiracy of the philosophers, Voltaire, D'Alembert ' Frederick II, and Diderot-"Voltaire the chief, D'Alembert the most subtle agent, Frederick the protector and often the adviser, Diderot the forlorn hope"251. -these were the men who originally leagued themselves together "in the most inveterate hatred of Christianity."252. Bringing out into bold relief the most malignant and brutal of the anticlerical and anti-Christian utterances of Voltaire and his friends,253. as well as all available evidence of a crafty strategy on the part of the conspirators to avoid detection of their plan,254. Barruel was emboldened to affirm a desperate plan to overturn every altar where Christ was adored, whether in London, Geneva, Stockholm, Petersburg Paris, Madrid, Vienna, or Rome, whether Protestant or Catholic.255.
The first definite step in this campaign of the philosophers is declared to have been the publication of L'Encyclopédie;256. the second, the suppression of the Jesuits and the widespread elimination of religious houses;257. and the third, the capture of the French Academy by the philosophers and the diversion of its honors to impious writers.258.
The foregoing were measures which primarily concerned "the chiefs," or "better sort."259. Efforts to extend the conspiracy to the hovel and the cottage were also made. Accordingly, appeals to toleration, reason, and humanity became the order of the day.260. These were intended to impress the populace and, by a show of sympathy with those who complained of their condition, prepare the way for the days of rebellion, violence, and murder which were yet to come.261. Free schools were established, directed by men who, privy to the great conspiracy, became zealous corrupters of youth.262. All was carefully calculated and planned to render possible the full fruitage of the designs of the conspirators when the harvest day should come.
Having thus dealt with the conspiracy against altars, Barruel turned in his second volume to consider the plot against thrones. The great inspirers of this covert attack upon monarchy were Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. Voltaire, though by nature a friend of kings, whose favor and caresses were his delight, yet, since he found them standing in the way of his efforts to extirpate Christianity, was led to oppose them, and to substitute the doctrines of equality of rights and liberty of reason for his earlier emphasis upon loyalty to sovereigns.263. Unwittingly, through his Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu had helped on the antimonarchical resolution by his heavy emphasis upon the essential differences between monarchies and democracies, thus for the first time suggesting to the French people that they lived under a despotic government and helping to alienate them from their king.264. As for Rousseau, in his Social Contract he had widened the path which Montesquieu had opened.265. His doctrines had the effect of placing monarchy in an abhorrent light. They filled the minds of the people with a passion for Liberty and Equality.
The systems of Montesquieu and Rousseau, particularly, induced the Sophisters of Impiety to combine the task of overthrowing monarchy with the task of overthrowing religion.266. A sweeping attempt to popularize the leveling principles embodied in those two systems immediately developed. A flood of antimonarchical writings appeared,267. governments were sharply criticized, despotism was roundly denounced, the minds of the people were agitated and inflamed, and the notion of revolution was rendered familiar both by precept and example.268.
Some powerful secret agency was needed, however, to promote this vast conspiracy. The lodges of Freemasonry suggested a tempting possibility. The members of the craft gave ample evidence that they were susceptible.269. The occult lodges,270. moreover, already had traveled far toward the goal of revolution. All their protests to the contrary, their one secret was: "Equality and Liberty; all men are equals and brothers; all men are free."271. Surely it would not be difficult for the enemies of thrones and altars to reach the ears of men who cherished such a secret, and to convert their lodges into council-chambers and forums for the propagation of the doctrines of impiety and rebellion.
An alliance was speedily consummated,272. and a fresh torrent of declamation and calumnies, all directed against the altar and the throne, began to pour through these newly discovered subterranean channels.273. The Grand Orient constituted a central committee which as early as 1776 instructed the deputies of the lodges throughout France to prepare the brethren for insurrection.274. Condorcet and Sieyès placed themselves at the head of another lodge, to which the Propaganda was to be traced.275. In addition, a secret association bearing the title Amis des Noirs created a regulating committee, composed of such men as Condorcet, the elder Mirabeau, Sieyès, Brissot, Carra, the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Clavière, Lepelletier de Saint-Fargeau, Valade, La Fayette, and Bergasse.276. This regulating committee was also in intimate correspondence with the French lodges of Freemasonry. Thus a powerful secret organization was at hand, composed of not less than six hundred thousand members all told, at least five hundred thousand of whom could be fully counted upon to do the bidding of the conspirators, "all zealous for the Revolution, all ready to rise at the first signal and to impart the shock to all other classes of the people."277.
However, all these machinations might have come to naught had it not been for the encouragement and direction supplied by the Illuminati. In the latter Barruel saw the apotheosis of infamy and corruption.278. With diabolical ingenuity the chiefs of the Illuminati succeeded in evolving an organization which put into the hands of the conspirators, i. e., the philosophers and Freemasons, the very, instrument they needed to give full effect to their plans. The superiority of that organization was to be seen in its principles of general subordination and the gradation of superiors in the minute instructions given to adepts and officers covering every conceivable responsibility and suggesting infinite opportunities to promote the order's welfare, and in the absolute power of its general.279. Thus was built up a hierarchy of savants, an association held under a most rigid discipline, a formidable machine capable of employing its maximum power as its governing hand might direct,280. With the close of the third volume Barruel considers that he has been able to present a complete "academy of Conspirators."281.
Barruel's last volume, the most formidable of all, was devoted by its author to the forging of the final link in his chain: the coalescence of the conspiring philosophers, Freemasons, and Illuminati into the Jacobins. To establish a connection between the "illuminated" Masons and the immediate "authors and abettors of the French Revolution,"282. i. e., the Jacobins, Barruel had recourse to the familiar inventions of the reappearance of the Bavarian Illuminati after its suppression,283. the rise and corrupting influence of the German Union,284. that treacherous "modification of Weishaupt's Minerval schools,"285. and, particularly, the, pretended mission of Bode and von Busche to Paris.286.
With respect to this last invention, no more worthy of our comment than the others except for the fact that it was supposed to supply the direct point of contact between the conspirators and the French Revolution, Barruel was obliged to admit that he was unable to place before his readers evidence of the precise character of the negotiations that took place between the deputation from Berlin and the French lodges:287. "facts" would have to be permitted to speak for themselves.288. These "facts" were such as the following: the lodges of Paris were rapidly converted into clubs, with regulating committees and political committees;289. the resolutions of the regulating committees were communicated through the committee of correspondence of the Grand Orient to the heads of the Masonic lodges scattered throughout France;290. the day of general insurrection was thus fixed for July 14, 1789;291. on the fatal day the lodges were dissolved, and the Jacobins, suddenly throwing off their garments of secrecy and hypocrisy, stood forth in the clear light of day."292.
His last two hundred pages were devoted by Barruel to arguments shaped chiefly to show that the principles of the Revolutionary leaders were identical with the principles of the illuminated lodges;293. that the successes of the Revolutionary armies, of Custine beyond the Rhine,294. of Dumouriez in Belgium,295. of Pichegru in Holland,296. and of Bonaparte in Italy, in Malta, and in Egypt,297. were explicable only on the ground of treacherous intrigues carried on by the agents of Illuminism; and that no country, moreover, need flatter itself it would escape the seductions and plots of the conspirators. The dragon's teeth of revolution were already sown in Switzerland, in Sweden, in Russia, in Poland, in Austria, in Prussia, and in America.298. With Barruel's comment upon America,299. our discussion of the Memoirs of Jacobinism may well come to a close.
As the plague flies on the wings of the wind, so do their triumphant legions infect America. Their apostles have infused their principles into the submissive and laborious negroes; and St. Domingo and Guadaloupe have been converted into vast charnel houses for their inhabitants, So numerous were the brethren in North America, that Philadelphia and Boston trembled, lest their rising constitution should be obliged to make way for that of the great club; and if for a time the brotherhood has been obliged to shrink back into their hiding places, they are still sufficiently numerous to raise collections and transmit them to the insurgents of Ireland;300. thus contributing toward that species of revolution which is the object of their ardent wishes in America.301. God grant that the United States may not learn to their cost, that Republics are equally menaced with Monarchies; and that the immensity of the ocean is but a feeble barrier against the universal conspiracy of the Sect!
: The literary relationship between the works of Robison and Barruel is of sufficient interest and significance to warrant some comment. Robison's volume was published before its author saw Barruel's composition in its French text.302. Later, Robison was moved to rejoice that Barruel had confirmed his main positions and contentions. A few things in the Memoirs of Jacobinism, however, impress him as startling. He confesses that he had never before heard the claim seriously made, that "irreligion and unqualified Liberty and Equality are the genuine and original Secrets of Free Masonry, and the ultimatum of a regular progress through all its degrees."303. He is driven to assert that this is not the secret of Masonry as he has learned it from other sources. Robison also recognizes differences in the two works respecting the exposition of certain Masonic degrees, For his part he is not willing to admit that his sources are unreliable.304.
Barruel, on the other hand, did not get sight of Robison's volume until just as his third volume was going to press.305. He comments in part as follows: "Without knowing it, we have fought for the same cause with the same arms, and pursued the same course; but the Public are on the eve of seeing our respective quotations, and will observe a remarkable difference between them."306. That difference Barruel attempts to explain on the ground that Robison had adopted the method of combining and condensing his quotations from his sources. Besides, he thinks his zealous confederate "in some passages . . . has even adopted as truth certain assertions which the correspondence of the Illuminées evidently demonstrate to have been invented by them against their adversaries, and which," he continues, "in my Historical Volume I shall be obliged to treat in an opposite sense.307. Barruel also differs with Robison respecting the time of the origin of Masonry.308. But all such matters are of slight consequence; all suggestions of opposition and disagreement between Robison and Barruel are brushed aside by him in the following summary fashion: ". . . It will be perceived that we are not to be put in competition with each other; Mr. Robison taking a general view while I have attempted to descend into particulars: as to the substance we agree."309.
It was one of the most confident boasts of the supporters of the idea of a "conspiracy against thrones and altars" that these two writers, Robison and Barruel, had worked at the same problem without the knowledge of each other's effort, and thus following independent lines of investigation, had reached the same conclusion. The merit of the claim may safely be left to the reader's judgment.

Vernon [L.] Stauffer, New England and the Bavarian Illuminati. Studies in History, Economics and Political Law, edited by the Faculty of Political science of Columbia University. Volume LXXXII, Number 1. Whole Number 191. Chapter III, pp. 142-228. New York: The Columbia University Press, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents. London: P. S. King & Son, Ltd., 1918. (Dean and Professor of New Testament and Church History, Hiram College) 374 pages.


1 Forestier, Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie allmande, p. 103. This author, upon whose recent painstaking researches much reliance is placed in this chapter, relates that one traveller who was in Bavaria at this time, found 28,000 churches and chapels, with pious foundations representing a total value of 60,000,000 florins. Munich, a city of 40,000 inhabitants, had no less than 17 convents. When a papal bull, issued in 1798, authorized the elector to dispose of the seventh part of the goods of the clergy, the Bavarian government, in executing the pope's directions, deducted 25,000,000 florins, and it was remarked that this amount did not equal the sum which had been agreed upon. Cf. ibid., pp. 103 et seq. ^
2 Forestier, op. cit., p. 108: "Dans aucun pays du monde, si l'on excepte le Paraguay, les fils de Loyola n'avaient obtenu urne victoire plus compdète, ni conquis une autorité plus grande." Cf. Mounier, De l'inflnuennce (attribuée aux Philosophes aux franc-maçons et aux illuminés sur la révolution de France, p. 189. ^
3 Ibid., pp. 109, 100. Duhr, B., Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Ländern deutscher Zunge im 16, Jahrhundert, Freiburg, 1907, discusses the earlier development. The work of F. J. Lipowsky, Geschichte der Jesuiten in Baiern, München, 1816, 2 vols., is antiquated and is little more than a chronicle. ^
4 Engel, Geschichte des Illuminaten-Ordens, p. 29. ^
5 The suppression of the Jesuits by Pope Clement XIV, in 1773, did not greatly diminish the influence and power of the order in Bavaria. Refusing to accept defeat, the new intrigues to which they gave themselves inspired in their enemies a new sense of their cohesion, and the result that they appeared even more formidable than before their suppression. ^
6 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 105 et seq. ^
7 Forestier, op. cit., p. 19 et seq. ^
8 Ibid., p. 18. Cf. Engel, op. cit., pp. 19, 28, 29. ^
9 In the person of Maximilian Joseph, Bavaria found an elector whose earlier devotion to liberal policies gave promise of fundamental reforms. Agriculture and manufactures were encouraged; judicial reforms were undertaken; the despotism of the clergy was resisted. The founding of the Academy of Science at Munich, in 1759, represented a definite response to the spirit of the Aufklärung. However, the elector was not at all minded to break with the Catholic faith. All efforts to introduce Protestant ideas into the country were vigorously opposed by the government. In the end the elector's program of reform miscarried. At the time of his death, in 1777 (the date given by Forestier, p. 106, is incorrect; cf. Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. xxi, p. 30; also Brockhaus, Konversations-Lexikon, vol. xi, p. 683.), the absolute power of the clergy remained unshattered. ^
10 Forestier, op. cit., p. 107. ^
11 As a result of this effort, George Weishaupt, father of Adam, came to the University of Ingolstadt as professor of imperial institutions and criminal law. ^
12 Engel, op. cit., pp. 19 et seq. ^
13 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 19 et seq. Cf. Engel, op. cit., pp. 20 et seq. ^
14 Ibid., pp. 22 et seq. ^
15 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 16 et seq. ^
16 I Forestier, op. cit., p. 18. ^
17 Ibid. ^
18 Ickstatt withdrew from direct participation in the affairs of the University of Ingolstadt in 1765, but he continued to exercise a controlling influence over the policies of the institution for some time to come. The son of one of his former pupils, Lori, a man of liberal notions, was later chosen co-director of the institution, and with him Weishaupt made common cause in his campaign against the Jesuits. ^
19 Forestier, op. cit., p. 21 Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 33. ^
20 No clearer illustration of Weishaupt's lack of nobility is needed than his treatment of his protector and patron, Ickstatt. Owing to a marriage which he had contracted in 1773 against the wishes of Ickstatt, a decided chill came over the relations between the two men. All considerations of gratitude were carelessly tossed aside by Weishaupt. Later, in utter disregard of the anticlericalism of his benefactor, Weishaupt entered into an intrigue with the Jesuit professor Stadler, to obtain a coveted ecclesiastical position for the latter. Ickstatt, hearing of this, renounced Weishaupt as an ingrate. Forestier, op. cit., pp. 22 et seq. ^
21 Engel, op. cit., p. 31. ^
22 Forestier, op. cit., p. 21. ^
23 Ibid. Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 32. ^
24 Ibid., p. 22. ^
25 Ibid., p. 25. ^
26 Ibid. ^
27 The motives which led Weishaupt to consider the formation of a secret organization of the general character indicated were not all of a kind. In part they were creditable, in part discreditable. That he had a genuine interest in the cause of liberalism and progress, born largely of the personal discomfort and injury he had experienced at the hands of intolerance and bigotry, there can be no honest doubt. But a thirst for power was also a fundamental element in his nature. The despotic character of the order which he attempted to build up is in itself a sufficient proof of this. Besides, the cast of his personal affairs at the time the organization was launched smacks loudly of the man's over-weening vanity and yearning for personal conquest. His break with Ickstatt had been followed by a breach between him and Lori on account of the constant recriminations in which Weishaupt engaged against his enemies in the university. The secret alliance he had formed with the Jesuit Stadler likewise soon dissolved. His complaints because of alleged infringements of his freedom of speech as a teacher were vehement. His interference in university affairs outside the proper sphere of his authority was frequent and involved him in numerous acrimonious verbal battles. (Engel seeks to relieve Weishaupt of part of the odium of these charges by shifting somewhat of the burden to other shoulders. (Cf. Geschichte des Illuminaten-Ordens, pp. 29-54.) His partiality is, however, sufficiently accounted for by the fact that at the time his work was published, he was the head of the revived Order of the Illuminati. Cf. op. cit., p. 467; cf. Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, vol. iii: article, "Illuminaten "). Yet none of these experiences brought home to the mind of Weishaupt that he was to blame. As to the matter of motive, Forestier's comment is much to the point: "Ainsi le hardi confesseur de la vérité se trouvait seul à lutter visière levée contre la tourbe des bigots. Une volonté moins bien trempée aurait laissé sombrer dans une résignation inerte ou dans la manie de la persécution ce modeste professeur d'une Université sans prestige, perdu dans un coin de la Bavière, mal payé, mal vu de la majorité de ses collègues, mal noté par le Curateur surveillé, soupçnné par tous ceux que scandalisait le radicalisme de ses opinions. Mais l'àme de Weishaupt disposait de deux puissants ressorts: la soif du prosélytisme,et la volonté de puissance." (Op. cit., pp. 25 et seq.) The view adopted by Kluckhohn is not essentially different: "Rachsucht, Ehrgeiz, Herrschbegier mischten sich in ihm mit dem Drange, grosses zu wirken und ein Woltäter der Menschheit zu werden." (Herzog-Plitt, Real Encyclopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 2. Aufl., vol. vi, Leipzig, 1880: article, "Illuminaten," p. 699.) ^
28 Forestier, op. cit., p. 28. Weishaupt readily detected the disparate character of current Freemasonry, and for a brief time he was enthusiastic over the project of developing a rarified type of Masonry to which only men of superior talents should be admitted. For the reasons given, the idea was abandoned. ^
29 Ibid., p. 29. ^
30 1 Forestier, op. cit., p. 75. The teaching function of the order is well set out by Forestier in the following: "Faire de l'homme actuel, resté sauvage et férocement éégoïste sous le vernis d'une civilisation apparante, un être véritablement sociable, c'est-à-dire respectueux des droits de ses semblables et amàne dans ses rapports avec eux, enseigner à ses membres 'l'art de réaliser le bien sans trouver d'opposition, de corriger leurs défauts, d'ecarter les obstacles, d'attaquer le mal à la racine, de faire en un mot ce que jusqu'à présent l'éducation, l'enseignement de la morale, les lois civiles et la religion ême ont été incapables d'accomplir,' leur apprendre 'à soumettre leurs désirs au contröle de la raison,' tel est donc en dernière analyse ce que l'Ordre considère comme sa fin suprême. Société d'enseignement par les occupations qu'il impose à ses adeptes, il est essentiellement, par le but qu'il se propose, un institut d'éucation sociale." (Op. cit., p. 78.) ^
31 It was Weishaupt's original purpose to style the new order the "Perfectibilists", but this he later renounced as too bizarre and lacking in the element of mystery. ^
32 Forestier, op. cit., p. 46: "Au moment où Weishaupt avait fondé son Ordre, l'organisation de tout le Systèmie était à peine ébauchée dans son esprit. Quand il s'était subitement décidé à jeter les bases de son édifice, il avait hâtivement rédigé des Statuts provisiores, se promettant de les remanier et d'arrâter définitivement dans le silence du cabinet le plan général." Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 90: " Die ersten Ordensstatuten, welche einen Einblick geben über das, was Weishaupt wollte, bestanden nur kurze Zeit; sie waren recht dürftig und unklar." It was not until Baron Knigge came to his assistance, four years later, that Weishaupt was able to rescue the organization of the society from the mire of puerility into which his impractical nature had plunged it. ^
33 Engel, op. cit., pp. 56 et seq. The recruiting of women, Jews, pagans, monks, and members of other secret organizations was forbidden. Weishaupt preferred the enrollment of men who were between the ages of 18 and 30. ^
34 Cf. Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordents, pp. 49, 50, 56. ^
35 Ibid. p. 26. ^
36 Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, pp. 61-65. ^
37 Ibid., p. 63. From time to time the Novice was required to submit to his superiors notations he had made upon interesting portions of books which he had read, in order that his instruction might be properly directed. Cf. ibid., pp. 62, 65. In the pursuit of the art or science that he had chosen as his principal occupation, he was expected to keep in close touch with his enroller. ^
38 Ibid., p. 31. ^
39 Forestier, op. cit., p. 61. ^
40 Ibid., pp. 61-64. ^
41 Forestier, op. cit., p. 64. ^
42 Ibid., p. 65. ^
43 Ibid. ^
44 Ibid., p. 66. It was in the mind of Weishaupt to make a sort of free university out of this grade. He himself declared: "In der nächsten Klasse [i. e., Minervals], dächte ich also eine Art von gelehrter Academie zu errichten: in solcher wird gearbeitet, an Karakteren, historischen, und lebenden, Studium der Alten, Beobachtungsgeist, Abhandlungen, Preisfragen, und in specie mache ich darinnen jeden zum Spion des andern und aller. Darauf werden die Fähigen zu den Mysterien herausgenommen, die in dieser Klasse etliche Grundsätze und Grunderfordernisse zum menschlichen glückseligen Leben sind." (Quoted by Engel from Weishaupt's correspondence with Zwack, p. 76.) The grade Minerval is therefore to be regarded as designed to supply the opportunity par excellence for imparting the revolutionary ideas of which the founder of the order boasted. Under the direction (of their superiors the Minervals were to continue the study of the humanities which they began as Novices; they were to study the world of the ancients, to prepare dissertations upon subjects in those fields to which their special talents were suited, etc., -in a word, to show themselves worthy of membership in an academy of savants. Cf. Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, p. 216. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 74. Weishaupt entertained extremely ambitious notions of a system of special libraries under the control of the order, and in which the literary and scientific productions of the order should be assemble and preserved. Cf. Der äehte Illuminat, p. 46. ^
45 Forestier, op. cit., p. 66. ^
46 The fantastic element in Weishaupt's mind is well illustrated at this point. In view of the fact that he particularly sought the recruitment of youths between the ages of 15 and 20 years (cf. Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, p. 261), it is difficult to see the possibility of sustained satisfaction in such associations. We shall see later that Baron Knigge substantially modified the character of the organization in this particular. Weishaupt did not scruple to employ outright deception with reference to the reputed age and power of the order to enhance in the minds of the members the sense of the value of these secret associations. Forestier, op. cit., p. 82. ^
47 Ibid., p. 66. ^
48 Der ächte Illuminat, p. 94. The notion that the supreme head of the order, whose identity of course was concealed from the members, were individuals of exceptional purity, was kept before the minds of the "illuminated" Minervals as an added incentive. ^
49 From two to four Minervals were given to each Illuminated Minerval, to receive his instructions in the principles and objects of the order. The selection of these pupils in a given instance was supposed to be based upon their openness to the influence of their particular instructor. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 70 et seq. ^
50 Ibid., p. 71. The principle of espionage was an important element in the administration of the order. Weishaupt acknowledged his indebtedness to the ideal of organization which the Society of Jesus had set before him (Cf. Endliche Erklärungen, pp. 60, et seq. Cf. Forestier, pp. 97-99), and the principle of one member spying upon another was apparently borrowed from that source. It was Weishaupt's theory that dissimulation and hypocrisy could best be eradicated by proving to the members of the organization the inutility of such courses of life in view of the incessant surveillance under which all the members lived. (Cf. Der äche Illuiininat, p. 102.) Accordingly the Novice was left to surmise just how many eyes of unknown superiors might be upon him. The duty imposed upon the Illuminated Minerval of informing upon his disciples has been noted above. Weishaupt seems never to have surmised that this policy of espionage would tend to kill mutual confidence and fraternal regard at the roots. ^
51 Forestier, op. cit., p. 71. ^
52 Weishaupt's conception of the content of these terms left room for a recognition of the benefits to be derived from society, but denied the value of the state. Man had moved forward, not backward, from his primitive condition. The satisfaction of his needs had supplied the motive force to his progress. In the state of nature, it is quite true, man enjoyed the two sovereign goods, equality and liberty. However, his disposition and desires were such that a continuance in the state of nature was impossible. The condition of misery into which he came resulted from his failure to acquire the art of controlling his faculties and curbing his passions, and from the injustice which he suffered the state to impose upon him. With the erection of the state had come the notions of the subjection of some men to the power and authority of others, the consequent loss of the unity of the race, and the replacement of the love of humanity with nationalism, or patriotism. But political revolutions were not needed to accomplish the emancipation of the race; such revolutions had always proved sterile because they touched nothing deeper than the constitutions of states. Man's nature needed to be reconstituted. To bring life under the control of reason would enable men again to possess themselves of equality and liberty. A return to man's primitive state is both impossible and undesirable. Social life is a blessing. Only let men learn to govern themselves by the light of reason, and, civil authority, having been found utterly useless, will quickly, disapear. Forestier, op. cit., pp. 311-316. ^
53 Der ächte Illuminat, pp. 110, 123. ^
54 Forestier, op. cit., p. 78. ^
55 Forestier, op. cit., p. 80. ^
56 In view of the connections which the enemies of the order later made between the Illuminati and the French Revolution, it is worthy of particular emphasis that Weishaupt eschewed the principle of effecting reform by political revolution, and definitely committed himself to the ideal of moral and intellectual reformation. The slow process of ameliorating the unhappy condition of humanity through the leavening influence of the ideas propagated in the order, i.e., by reshaping private and public opinion, was the pathway which Weishaupt chose. Der ächte Illuminat, pp. 10, 205. Such, at least, was the theory in the case. In practise the order abandoned the policy of non-intervention and sought to influence government by putting its members in important civil positions. Forestier, op. cit., pp. 329 et seq. ^
57 Einige Originaischriften des Illuminaten Ordens, p. 339. ^
58 Ibid., p. 279. ^
59 Forestier, op. cit., p. 88. The anticlerical spirit of the order did not receive an official emphasis commensurate with its importance and weight, doubtless because of Weishaupt's desire to work under cover against his enemies as completely as possible. Forestier's comment seems thoroughly just: "Il ne faut pas oublier que Weishaupt en fondant sa Societé n'avait pas songé seulement à faire le bonheur de l'humanité, mais qu'il avait cherché aussi à trouver des alliés dans la lutte qu'il soutenait à Ingolstadt contre le parti des ex-Jésuites, A côté du but officieldement proclamé, l'Ordre avait un autre but, auquel on pensait d'autant plus qu'on en parlait moins." (Op. cit., p. 87. Cf. ibid., pp, 92, 110.) ^
60 Ibid., p. 90. ^
61 Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, p. 216. The order was to be used in the circulation of anticlerical and antireligious books and pamphlets, and the work of the priests and the monks was to be held in mind as constituting the chief obstacle to intellectual and moral progress. Forestier, op. cit., pp. 91, 92. ^
62 Ibid., p. 317. ^
63 Ibid., p. 318. ^
64 Forestier, p P. 318. This was treated as the esoteric doctrine of Christ, coming to the surface here and there in His teachings and acts, and revealed in the disciplina arcani of the early church. It is only when this secret teaching is grasped that the coherence of Jesus' utterances and the significance of the true doctrines of man's fall and his resurrection can be understood. It was because man abandoned the state of nature that he lost his dignity and his liberty. In other words, he fell because he ceased to fight against his sensual desires, surrendering himself to the rule of his passions. His work of redemption will be accomplished when he learns to moderate his passions and to limit his desires. The kingdom of grace is therefore a kingdom wherein men live in reason's light. ^
65 "Par ses divers caractères avoués ou secrets, l'Ordre des Illuminés était l'expression d'une époqu~e et d'un milieu. Le Systènhe né dans le cerveau de Weishaupt avait trouvé des adeptes en Bavière parce qu'il répondait aux aspirations et satisfaisait les haines de la classe cultivée dans ce pays." (Ibid., p. 99.) ^
66 These new centers were Munich, Regensburg, Freising, and Fichstdtt. For data concerning the early enrollment of recruits, cf. ibid., pp. 30 et seq. ^
67 Ibid., p. 45. ^
68 The term Areopagite was applied to the men who shared with Weishaupt the supreme direction of the order. Each was assigned a pseudonym. With one exception, Xavier Zwack (Danaus), they seem to have been men of very ordinary ability. Forestier, op. cit., p. 232. ^
69 Ibid., pp. 231 et seq., 112 et seq. ^
70 Weishaupt's original plan had been to leave the matter of financial support to the discretion of the members. Eittige OriginaIschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, p. 16. Time, however, proved the imprudence of this arrangement, and hence fixed dues, very modest in their character, were imposed. Forestier, pp. 130 et seq. ^
71 Ibid., pp. I32 et seq. ^
72 Engel gives the date of the admission of Knigge as July, 1780. Cf. Geschichte des Illuminaten-Ordens, p. 114. Forestier is less specific. Les Illuminés de Bavière, &c., p. 217. ^
73 Baron Knigge (born near Hannover, October 16, 1752; died at Bremen, May 6, 1796) was a man of considerable distinction in his day. He had studied law at Göttingen, and later had been attached to the courts of Hesse-Cassel and Weimar. Retiring subsequently to private life, he made his home successively at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Heidelberg, Hannover, and Bremen. He was an author of note, a writer of romance, popular philosophy, and dramatic poetry. His best known work, Ueber den Umgang mit Menschen (Hannover, 1788), a volume filled with a discussion of practical principles and maxims of life and characterized by a narrow and egoistical outlook, enjoyed a considerable notoriety in its time. (Knigge's complete works were assembled and published in twelve volumes at Hannover, 1804-1806). He had a decided bias for secret societies, and at the earliest moment that his age permitted had joined a lodge of the Strict Observance, one of the Masonic branches of the period. The Strict Observance was particularly devoted to the reform of Masonry, with special reference to the elimination of the occult sciences which at the time were widely practised in the lodges, and the establishment of cohesion and homogeneity in Masonry through the enforcement of strict discipline, the regulation of functions, etc. (Later, the leaders of the Strict Observance found themselves compelled to yield to the popular clamor for the occult sciences which were all but universal in European Freemasonry, and adopted them. Their presence and practice had been influential in attracting Knigge to the Masonic system. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 207.) Knigge's Masonic career proved to be of such a nature as to leave him restless and unsatisfied. Because he was not permitted to enjoy the advancement in the order of the Strict Observance that he coveted, he temporarily lost his interest in Masonry only to have it revived a little later by being chosen to assist in the establishment of a new Masonic lodge at Hanau. Meantime his interest in the subjects of theosophy, magic, and particularly alchemy, grew apace. On this account he was led to make an effort to affiliate himself with the Rosicrucians, a branch of Freemasonry notorious for the absurdity of its pretensions and its shameless pandering to the popular desire for occultism. Knigge's advance did not happen to be received with favor; and the result was that, finding himself compelled for the moment to be content with his membership in the Strict Observance, he renounced his interest in alchemy and devoted his reflections to the development of a form of Masonry which should teach men rules of life by the observance of which they might gradually regain that perfection from which their original parents fell. It was at the moment when Knigge's mind was occupied with this project that his membership in the Order of the Illuminati was solicited. Cf. Forestier, pp. 214 et seq. As to the personality of the man, the following estimate by Forestier is excellent: ". . . gentilhomme democrate, dilettante par temperament, homme de lettres par necessité, ecrivain abondant et mediocre, publiciste, moraliste, romancier sentimental et satirique, . . . un personnage interessant moins encore en lui-meme que comme representant d'une caste en dissolution." (Op. cit., p. 202.) &c., p. 217. ^
74 Weishaupt himself, overcoming his earlier antipathy to Freemasonry, had joined the Masons at Munich, in 1777, influenced particularly by his desire to find suggestions for the working out of the higher grades of his order. Out of this connection, and under the persuasion of Zwack, the plan of forming an alliance between the Illuminati and Freemasonry had occurred to Weishaupt's mind before Knigge joined the order. One Masonic lodge, that of Theodore of Good Counsel, located at Munich, had, by the middle of 1779, come so completely under the influence of members of the Illuminati that it had come to be regarded as a part of the order. Cf. Forestier, p. 200. But here again the situation waited upon the energetic leadership of Knigge. ^
75 Ibid., pp. 133 et seq. Cf. Engel, op. cit., pp. 114 et seq. Soon after Knigge was admitted to the order, Weishaupt found himself driven to make to the former a most humiliating confession. Knigge hesitated for some time before becoming a member, and to bring him to a decision, Weishaupt painted the objects and character of the order before him in flaming colors. The Illuminati represented the greatest advancements in science, the most marvelous speculative philosophy, and a truly wonderful system to carry its purposes into effect. Having joined the order, Knigge's suspicions were aroused, on account of the feeble and trifling character of its organization; and Weishaupt, upon being repeatedly pressed for an explanation concerning the nature of the so-called higher grades, had finally to confess to Knigge that they did not exist. Cf. Forestier, pp. 218-226. Knigge's resolution was staggered, but his courage was finally rallied because of the confidence which Weishaupt and the other leaders reposed in him. Cf. ibid., pp. 228 et seq. ^
76 Nachtrag von weiteren Originalschriften, vol. i, p. 108. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 250; Engel, op. cit., p. 117. ^
77 The ligament to bind the Illuminati and Freemasonry together was supplied by Knigge in the grades of the second class. Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 115. ^
78 Apparently these grades were never worked out. See Forestier, p. 250. ^
79 Forestier devotes more than forty well-packed pages to a discussion of this phase of the subject. Ibid., pp. 251-294. ^
80 Der ächte Illuminat, p. 14. Pages 17-37, ibid., contains the description of this grade as revised by Knigge. ^
81 Ibid., pp. 39-78. ^
82 Ibid., pp. 82-138. ^
83 Knigge had, of course, to provide a new ritual and code for these grades. These have not been preserved. They were doubtless similar to those of other Masonic systems, in their Blue Lodge features. "La Franc-Maçonnerie bleue étant le sol commun où poussaient les végétations luxuriantes et diverses des hauts grades et le terrain où tous les Franc-Maçons pouvaient se rencontrer, les diffèrents Systèmes, pré0ccupés eétablir leur authenticité et aussi pour ne pas dérouter les transfuges des autres sectes, avaient soin de respecter les formes et les usages traditionnels. La Franc-Maçonnerie Illuminée obéit vraiseinbdablement aux mêmes considérations." (Forestier, op. cit., p. 262.) ^
84 Forestier, op. cit., p. 272. Der ächte Illuminat, pp. 139-212, contains the ritual and statutes of this grade. ^
85 The initiatory rites of this grade were followed by a banquet, which in turn was concluded by a ceremony fashioned after the pattern of the Christian Eucharist. Bread and wine were given to the members, and an effort was made to throw an atmosphere of great solemnity about the observance. Cf. Forestier, pp. 278 et seq. Christian enemies of the order took special umbrage at this ceremony. ^
86 The Chapter was placed under obligation to see that Blue Lodges, not to exceed thirty all told, were established in all the important centers of its district. They had also to see that the Order of the Illuminati secretly obtained a preponderating influence in the lodges of other systems, to reform them if possible, or, failing in this, to ruin them. A Prefect, or Local Superior, who furnished regular reports to his superiors, presided over the Chapter. Cf. Forestier, pp. 279-281. ^
87 The members of this class were usually referred to as Epopts, and their immediate superiors as Hierophants. These superiors were technically known as Deans. Ibid., pp. 287, 281. ^
88 Their admission to the rank was further conditioned upon their advancement in Masonry and the effectiveness of their service in the lower grades of the Illuminati. Cf. ibid., p. 281. ^
89 The rites of initiation into this grade expressed a growing tendency in the direction of sacerdotal pomp. Cf. ibid., pp. 283-286. ^
90 "Comme toutes les demandes de renseignements leur étaient transmises, ils devaient s'efforcer de satisfaire leurs gens et d'établir des théories solidement construites en faisant étudier et élucider par leurs subordoinnés les points restés obscurs." (Ibid., p. 288.) Free entrée to all the assemblies of the inferior grades of the order was accorded the Priests, but only in the ceremony of reception into the grade of Scottish Knight did they appear in costume. On other occasions they were not obliged to make their official character known. ^
91 The prefectures were grouped together into provinces, of which there seem to have been twelve, to each of which, as to the prefectures and their capitals, pseudonymous names were given. For the geographical divisions of the Illuminati system, cf. Forestier, pp, 295 et seq. ^
92 The title of Regent was also used in this connection. ^
93 Provincials, as the term suggests, had control over the various provinces. ^
94 An important modification in the government of the order was made by Knigge with respect to its general form. Knigge found the order a despotism, and this he regarded as a fundamental weakness and error. The Areopagites, who chafed excessively under Weishaupt's immoderate zeal to command, and between whom and their leader constant and perilous divisions arose, eagerly sided with Knigge in his efforts to distribute authority. At the latter's suggestion a congress was called at Munich, in October, 1780, at which the position and authority of the Areopagites were definitively settled. The territory, present and prospective, of the order was divided into twelve provinces, each of which was to be governed by a Provincial. The posts of Provincials were thereupon distributed among the Areopagites. Each Provincial was to be left free to administer his province, without direct interference on the part of Weishaupt, who remained the supreme head. Cf. Forestier, pp. 231-234; cf. ibid., p. 244. Knigge was thus permitted to take pride in the fact that whereas he found the order a monarchy, he left it under "une espèce de gouvernement républicain." (Cf. ibid., p. 305.) ^
95 To illustrate: The teaching function of the order was fully worked out and made effective by centering its direction in the grade of Priests. Forestier also notes Knigge's retention of the founder's insistence upon the knowledge of man as "la science par excellence." The principle of espionage was likewise retained. Cf. Forestier, pp. 298-304. ^
96 The remodeling of the order in order to graft it on to the stem of Freemasonry has already been indicated. No practical result of Knigge's work exceeded this. ^
97 Certainly at this point Knigge's feet were planted more solidly upon the earth than those of his fanciful predecessor. Cf. Forestier, pp. 240 et seq. ^
98 The practical considerations which impelled Knigge to adopt this position were dictated by diplomatic rather than by conscientious reasons, although the latter were not wholly wanting. Knigge was well aware of the conditions in Catholic countries like Bavaria which gave rise to the violent anticlerical sentiments that the leaders of the Illuminati echoed. Nor was he out of sympathy with the men of his time who protested against religious intolerance and bigotry. But a spirit of anticlericalism readily enough becomes transmuted into a spirit essentially anti-religious, and Knigge saw that any manifestation of this sort would seriously embarrass the propaganda of the order in Protestant as well as in Catholic lands. Knigge's personal religious views appear to have been liberal rather than ultra radical. For a full and lucid discussion of the whole topic, cf. Forestier, pp. 238 et seq. ^
99 Knigge's proposed modifications of the organization and principles of the order were adopted by the Areopagites, July 9, 1781. Cf. Forestier, p. 240. This action amounted to a virtual defeat for Weishaupt and a corresponding triumph for Knigge. In other words, a new epoch had begun. Engel's observations on the significance of the new policies and the respective services rendered by the two men is characteristically biased: "Weishaupt war tatsächlich der einzige im Orden, der streng darauf achtete, sein System der Notwendigkeit unterzuordnen, wohl wissend, dass dadurch allein der Bestand des Ordens gesichert würde. Phantastische Grade entwerfen, ohne eine Spur der Notwendigkeit, dass durch diese der Zweck der Vereinigung sicherer erreicht werde, dann die Mitglieder in die Aeusserlichkeit dieser Form einpressen und einschnüren, ist leider ein vielfach noch jetzt angewandtes, unbrauchbares Rezept, dem auch Knigge huldigte. Letzterem war es, ebenso wie vielen Areopagiten nur darum zu tun,, viele Mitglieder zu haben, um dadurch Eindruck zu erzielen, die geistige Qualitët stand in zweiter Linie." (Geschichte des Illumillaten-Ordens, pp. 123 et seq.) Knigge brought more than organizing skill to the languishing order. His accomplishments as a winner of recruits materially helped to fan the smouldering fires of enthusiasm among the earlier leaders. As early as November, 1780, he had begun to enroll adepts (the term commonly applied to members of the order, new and old), and some of these turned out to be most effective propagandists. Cf. Forestier, pp. 343 et seq. ^
100 Forestier is disposed to explain the power of appeal which the new system had for the members of rival Masonic systems on the following grounds: (1) it at least pretended to take more seriously the doctrines of equality and liberty; (2) it emphasized the period of adolescence as the best of all ages for the winning of recruits; (3) it made appreciably less of financial considerations; and (4) it tended to turn attention away from such chimeras as the philosopher's stone, magic, and knight-templar chivalry, which filled with weak heads and visionary spirits the high grades of most of the other systems. Cf. ibid., p. 340. German Freemasonry was far from being in a wholesome and promising condition when the order of the Illuminati emerged. From its introduction into that country sometime within the second quarter of the eighteenth century, it had developed two general types; viz., English Freemasonry and the French high grades. The former was generally disposed to be content with simple organizations. Its lodges were little more than secret clubs whose members had their signs of recognition and their simple rituals, and whose ideals were represented by the terms fraternity and cooperation. The latter developed an excess of ceremonies and "mysteries", and thus opened the door for the introduction of impostures of every sort. Visionaries and charlatans flocked to the French lodges, and alchemy and thaumaturgy found in their secret quarters a veritable hot-house for their culture. It is Forestier's opinion that this activity and influence of dreamers and mountebanks within the Masonic lodges is to be regarded as a reaction from the dreariness and sterility of current rationalism. Cf. ibid., p. 146. However that may be, in the third quarter of the eighteenth century German Freemasonry generally was catering to a popular thirst for mystery, and the order of the Illuminati was able to draw advantage from that fact. Certainly the very novelty of the new system had much to do with its attractiveness. ^
101 Forestier, op. cit., p. 344. Engel's treatment of the situation would seem to be inadequate and lacking in accuracy. Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 352. Forestier submits ample proofs of the expansion of the order to include Austria and Switzerland, notably the former. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., pp. 346 et seq., 398 et seq. ^
102 Ibid., pp. 349 et seq. ^
103 Engel identifies Dalberg as the last elector of Mainz, and, in the time of Napoleon I, grand duke of Frankfort. See Ibid., p. 354. Forestier extends the list of civil notables to include Count Metternich, imperial ambassador at Coblenz; Count Brigido, governor of Galicia; Count Leopold Kolowrat, chancellor of Bohemia; Baron Kressel, vicechancellor of Bohemia; Count Poelffy, chancellor of Hungary; Count Banffy, governor of Translyvania; Count Stadion, ambassador at London; and Baron Van Swieten, minister of public instruction. (The last seven were members of the lodge established at Vienna.) Cf. Ibid., pp. 400 et seq. ^
104 Goethe's connection with the order is fully established by both Engel (cf. Ibid., pp. 355 et seq.) and Forestier (cf. Ibid., pp. 396 et seq.,). The question whether Schiller belonged to the Illuminati is answered in the negative by Engel. Cf. Ibid., p. 356. ^
105 Un pédagogue célèbre, Pestalozzi, figurait parmi les membres de I'Église Minervale de Lantern." (Forestier, p. 349.) ^
106 Ibid., p. 399. ^
107 In its efforts to obtain a decisive triumph over rival systems of Freemasonry, substantial progress had been made. At Munich, the Secret Chapter of the dominant Masonic fraternity in that city capitulated to the new system. At Vienna, Masons eagerly enrolled as Illuminati with a view to blocking the attempt of the Rosicrucians to extend the hegemony of that branch. The important general congress of Freemasons, held at Wilhelmsbad, in July, 1782, for the purpose of arriving at some conclusion concerning the claims of rival systems, yielded to the Illuminati a double advantage: the pretensions of the Order of the Strict Observance, its most dangerous rival, were disallowed and the opportunity which the congress offered in the form of a field for winning new recruits was adroitly seized by representatives of the Illuminati, with the result that its emissaries retired from the congress completely satisfied. Further, the Order of the Illuminati had apparently put itself on the high road to a complete victory in the Masonic world by securing the enlistment of the two most important personages in German Freemasonry, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and Prince Carl of Hesse. The full extent of the order's conquests among the various branches of Masonry is impossible of full and accurate statement, for the principal reason which Engel gives: "Nur wenige Dokumente existieren als Nachweis, denn es ist natürlich, dass solche in der Verfolgungszeit in Bayern vernichtet wurden, um nicht verdächtigt zu werden und äussere Verbindungen ziemlich schroff abgebrochen wurden, als sich die Skandalsucht erhob und, dem Orden und deren Leiter all erdenlichen Schlechtigkeiten andichtete. Im Laufe der Zeit sind dann die betreffenden Schriften von den Logen als minderwertig missachtet und beseitigt worden, so dass eine Aufklärung heute ungemein erschwert ist." (Op. cit., pp. 349 et seq.,) Still, Forestier, in his chapter on "L'Action sur les Loges Allemandes" (pp. 343-388), from which the foregoing isolated facts are drawn, gathers together a very considerable body of evidence, all tending to show that Illuminated Freemasonry was permitted to enjoy a very gratifying, though brief, period of prosperity. ^
108 Writing of the condition of the order at the hour of its apogee, in 1784, Forestier says: "La situation de l'Ordre à cette époque parait donc des plus prospères. Solidement établi en Bavière, il s'étend sur toute l'Europe Centrale, du Rhin à la Vistule et des Alpes à da mer du Nord et à la Baltique. Il compte au nombre de ses membres des jeunes gens qui appliqueront plus tard les principes qu'il leur a inculqués, des fonctionnaires de tout ordre qui mettent leur influence à son service, des membres du clergé auxquels il enseigne la tolérance, des princes dont il peut invoquer la protection et qu'il espère diriger. Il semble que le Grand Architecte de l'Univers ait spécialement veillé sur lui...." (Op. cit., p. 401) ^
109 The term was no longer in official use, but the men remained. In other words, Weishaupt's Areopagites were Knigge's Provincials. ^
110 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 411-413. ^
111 Engel asserts that the chief apple of discord was the grade of Priest. Weishaupt believed that Knigge had injected into the ritual of the order at that point expressions of radical religious sentiment which, if once discovered to the public, would be found extremely injurious to the order. Cf. Ibid., pp. 133 et seq., Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 415. But this was only one of many bones of contention. At bottom the two men were inordinately jealous, both as to their positions in the order and the systems which they had worked out. ^
112 Knigge withdrew from the order April 20, 1784. in July of the same year he put his name to an agreement, pledging himself to restore such papers of the order as he possessed and to maintain silence concerning what he knew of the order's affairs. Cf. Forestier, p. 428. Freed from his responsibilities to the order, Knigge resumed his work as a writer, by which he managed to maintain himself very indifferently in funds. He was finally accorded a government post, as inspector of schools, at Bremen, where he died. Cf. Ibid., pp. 549-551. ^
113 Carl Theodore, successor to Maximilian Joseph, as Elector Palatinate had been ruler of the provinces of the Rhine since 1742. When he became duke of Upper and Lower Bavaria in 1777, he had established a reputation as a liberal-minded sovereign. The first two years of his rule in Bavaria gave promise of a tolerant reign; but reactionaries, in the persons of his confessor, the ex-Jesuit Frank, a certain Baron Lippert, who was devoted to the cause of ultramontanism, and the duchess dowager of Bavaria and sister of the duke, Maria Anna, worked upon his spirit and easily persuaded the well-meaning but weak-willed monarch to reverse his former policy and come to the defence of the cause of clericalism. See the comments of Professor August Kluckhohn, quoted by Engel, p. 4. ^
114 Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 161, where the edict in full may be found. Cf. Forestier, p. 453. The Bavarian monarch's bold and, at first blush, precipitate action is explained by the following facts: Flushed with a sense of their growing influence and power, the Bavarian Illuminati for some time past had been guilty of extremely impertinent utterances which had excited the public mind. To certain of their critics, notably the priest Frank and the canon Dantzer, director of the schools of Bavaria, they had not deigned to make a specific reply. (Dantzer, not wholly unfairly, charged the members of the order with interference in the affairs of the public school system of the country). A lofty tone of assumed indifference characterized the leaders; but a spirit of boasting which led the members to profess the exercise of a controlling influence in civil affairs, together with less guarded expressions respecting the extreme religious and political ideals of the order, served to arouse public suspicion. To this extent the Bavarian Illuminati had themselves to blame for the ruin of the order. Cf. Forestier, pp. 430-438. On the part of the government, the situation in its main outlines developed somewhat as follows: Early in October, 1783, the duchess dowager, Maria Anna, was made the recipient of a document that contained detailed accusations against the Illuminati of Bavaria charging them with holding such vicious moral and religious sentiments as that life should be controlled by passion rather than reason, that suicide is justifiable, that one may poison one's enemies, and that religion should be regarded as nonsense and patriotism as puerility. Finally, and much more seriously from the particular point of view of the duchess, the Bavarian Illuminati were accused of being in the service of the government of Austria, whose efforts at the time to extend its hegemony over Bavaria had created considerable tension in the latter country. For a copy in full of the famous letter, cf. Engel, pp. 183-187. Cf. Forestier, pp. 440 et seq., The author, or at least the inspirer of the document seems to have been one Joseph Utzschneider (Engel disallows this; see op. cit., pp. 187 et seq. ) who, discontented on account of his slow advancement and enraged by exactions imposed upon him to prove his loyalty, had withdrawn from the Order of the Illuminati, in August, 1783. Later, Utzschneider persuaded several other members, among them Grünberger and Cosandey, fellow professors with him in the Academy of Santa Maria, to follow him in the course he had taken. Obtaining from his associates the ritual of the higher grades of the order, he prepared and despatched his presentment to the duchess. Cf. Forestier, pp. 444 et seq., The latter, greatly alarmed by the document, carried the accusations, particularly the charge of intrigues in the interests of Austria, to the duke, who thus far had manifested an attitude of indifference to the suspicions that had been engendered concerning the order. His fear being awakened by the considerations of danger to his person and throne that were urged, the duke resolved to bring matters to an immediate crisis. Cf. Ibid., p. 452. ^
115 Engel, op. cit., p. 161. The leaders of the order in Bavaria exerted themselves to disarm the suspicions of the government with reference to any lack of loyal submission to the interdict. Circular letters containing copies of the edict and commanding the lodges to suspend their labors were addressed to the brethren. A lack of sincerity showed itself, however, in the efforts of the leaders to convey the impression to their subordinates that the sudden tempest would soon pass and that care therefore must be observed to preserve the cohesion of the order. In one important particular this effort to allay suspicion over-reached itself. In July, 1784, certain members of the order inserted an article in a Bavarian journal, the Realzeitung of Erlangen, of the nature of a counter-attack upon the Jesuits, and claiming that the latter, in defiance of the government, were continuing their secret associations. To this a recriminating answer was promptly made, and a war of newspaper articles and pamphlets was soon on. All of this tended, of course, to lend color to the suspicion that the operations of the order continued unabated. Cf. Forestier, pp. 454 et seq., Cf. Engel, pp. 240 et seq., The duchess, Maria Anna, moreover, continued her efforts to strengthen the purpose of the duke. Cf. Forestier, p. 467. ^
116 The precise occasion, if any existed, for the launching of the second edict remains wholly in doubt. In a final effort to clear the order from the suspicions and calumniations raised against it, an appeal was made to Carl Theodore, in February, 1785, to permit representatives of the order to appear before him and furnish proofs of its innocence. This last desperate device failed. Cf. Engel, pp. 283-290, for a copy of this letter. Cf. Forestier, pp. 465 et seq., ^
117 Engel, as in the former instance, copies the second edict in full. Cf. op. cit., pp. 161-164. Cf. Forestier, pp. 468, 469. The terms of the second interdict provided that, in view of the alleged degenerate character of the Order of the Illuminati, as well as of the disorders it had occasioned, all its financial resources should be confiscated, half to be given to the poor and half to the informer against the order, "wenn er gleich selbst ein Mitglied wäre . . und solcher keineswegs geoffenbart, sondern in Geheim gehalten werden solle." (Engel, p. 164.) ^
118 Forestier's comment is trenchant: "Par une ironie du sort, le gouvernement, si indifferent ou si tolerant jusqu'alors, ne commença à servir que lorsque le danger était passé et, après avoir respecté si longtemps l'organisme vivant, il s'acharna sur le cadavre." (Op. cit., p. 469.) ^
119 Cosandey and Renner (the latter also a professor associated with Cosandey on the faculty of the Academy of Santa Maria) were two of the men who supplied important information in this manner. Engel, pp. 291-304, prints their declarations. In this way, also, lists of names of members of the order came into possession of the government. Cf. Engel, pp. 303 et seq., ^
120 A considerable amount of the most valuable papers of the order were either carefully concealed or devoted to the flames immediately after the launching of the second edict. Cf. Forestier, p. 469. Later, the government obtained important assistance in its campaign by coming into possession of a considerable portion of those that were spared. Cf. Engel, pp. 259 et seq.,, 276 et seq., ^
121 Cf. Forestier, p. 475. Weishaupt was well out of harm's way when the inquiry began in his home city. He brought lasting discredit upon himself by resorting to precipitate flight two weeks before the proclamation of the second ban. It is evident that he saw the storm gathering, and was resolved to put himself beyond personal danger, whatever might happen to his associates. The excuse he seems to have trumped up to justify his early flight had reference to a difficulty that arose between him and the librarian of the University of Ingolstadt over the latter's failure to purchase two books which Weishaupt held he needed for his classes. He fled across the border to Regensburg, and finally settled at Gotha. ^
122 Cf. Engel, op. cit., p. 305, for a copy of the order. This measure seemed to be rendered necessary by the fact that the lists of Illuminati which Cosandey and Renner furnished the government contained the names of several officers and other military personages. A later decree called upon ex-members of the order in the army to furnish information concerning the teachings and membership of the order, and to present such papers and insignia as might be at hand. Cf. Forestier, p. 481. ^
123 Those who made a frank acknowledgment of their membership in the order were to be pardoned, while those who hesitated or showed themselves contumacious were not only to lose their positions but to suffer other penalties. Cf. Forestier, p. 478. ^
124 Ibid. ^
125 Ibid. ^
126 Ibid., p. 475. ^
127 Forestier gives the title of nine such productions that came from Weishaupt's pen within the space of a few months. Cf. op. cit., p. 484. The most notable of these were: Apologie der Illuminaten, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786, and Vollständige Geschichte der Verfolgung der Iluminaten in Bayern, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1786. The latter was planned to consist of two volumes, but only one appeared. ^
128 Zwack's name had been on the list of members which Renner had put into the hands of the government. He was at the time a councillor of state. A short time before his house was invaded by the police and his papers seized, he had been deposed from his position on account of his relations with the Illuminati. At the time of the seizure he was living at Landshut in circumstances of disgrace and suspicion. Cf. Engel, p. 303; Forestier, pp. 480, 498. ^
129 These documents were published by the Bavarian government, under the title: Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, Munich, 1787. Engel, pp. 259-262, publishes the list compiled by the government. ^
130 Among these papers were found two smaller packets which gave a foundation for the most inveterate hostility to the order. These contained intimations of the order's right to exercise the law of life and death over its members, a brief dissertation entitled, Gedanken über den Selbstmord, wherein Zwack, its author, had recorded his defence of suicide (cf. Engel, p. 262), a eulogy of atheism, a proposal to establish a branch of the order for women, the description of an infernal machine for safeguarding secret papers, and receipts for procuring abortion, counterfeiting seals, making poisonous perfumes, secret ink, etc. (Cf. Forestier, pp. 499 et seq.) The receipts for procuring abortion were destined to have a very ugly personal association in the public mind. Weishaupt, while still a resident of Ingolstadt, had stained his private life because of a liaison with his sister-in-law. On the 8 of February, 1780, his first wife had died. Her sister, who was his house-keeper at the time, continued in the household, and during the time that Weishaupt was waiting for a papal dispensation, permitting his marriage with her, she was found to be with child. Thrown into a panic on account of the failure of the dispensation to arrive (as a matter of fact it did not reach Ingolstadt until three years after it was first applied for), Weishaupt contemplated recourse to the method of procuring an abortion, in order to extricate himself from his painfully embarrassed position. In August, 1783, he wrote Hertel, one of the prominent members of the order, admitting the facts just stated. This letter fell into the hands of the authorities and was published by them in the volume entitled, Nacktrag von weiteren Originalschriften, Munich, 1787, vol. i, p. 14. The stigma of a new disgrace was thus attached to the order. Weishaupt made a pitifully weak effort to suggest extenuating circumstances for his conduct, in his volume Kurze Rechtfertigung meiner Absichten, 1787, pp. 1,3 et seq. Taken in connection with the objectionable papers referred to above, this private scandal of the head of the order made the accusation of gross immorality on the part of the Illuminati difficult to evade. A spirit of intense revulsion penetrated the public mind. ^
131 Other secret documents of the order were seized by the police in a search of the quarters of Baron Bassus, whose membership in the order on account of his close friendship with Zwack, brought him under the government's suspicion. The police visitation referred to yielded no very important result, apart from establishing more solidly the government's claim that the order had not obeyed the first edict. The papers seized in this instance were published by the government under the title, Nachtrag von weiterein Originalschriften ... Zwei Abtheilungen, Munich, 1787. ^
132 Forestier, pp. 504 et seq., ^
133 Mädl, in the most cowardly fashion, charged the order with unmentionable practices. He seems to have been the Judas in the order's inner circle. Cf. Forestier, pp. 505 et seq., Cf. Engel, pp. 3,31 et seq., ^
134 Massenhausen was Ajax in the order. The papers seized by the police identified him as one of Weishaupt's intimates. ^
135 The "revelations " of Mändl appear to have been immediately responsible for the edict. Cf. Forestier, P. 507. ^
136 Engel, op. cit., p. 280. ^
137 "Unter der nemlichen confiscations-und relegations Straf werden die illuminaten Logen, sie mögen gleich auf diesen oder anderen Namen umgetauft seyn, ebenfalls verbothen, worauf man auch allenthalben gute Spehr' ,Späher] bestellen, und die Gesellschaften, welche entweder in Wirth-oder Privathähusern mit versperrten Thüren oder sonst auf verdächtige Weise gehalten werden, als wahre Logen behandeln lassen, und die so leer als gewöhnliche Ausrede, das es nur ehrliche Compagnien von guten Freunden sind, zumal von jenen, welche sich des Illuminatismi und der Freygeisterei vorhin schon suspect gemacht haben, nicht annehmen wird...." Quoted by Engel, p. 280. ^
138 Forestier, op. cit., p. 509. ^
139 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 511 et seq., Cf. Engel, op. cit., pp. 378 et seq., ^
140 Ibid., p. 369. Cf. Forestier, pp. 511 et seq., ^
141 Ibid., P. 512. ^
142 Ibid., pp. 512 et seq., An effort to secure the extradition of Weishaupt was defeated by an appeal to Duke Ernst. Cf. Engel' pp. 231 et seq., ^
143 The most significant of these were the following: Einleitung zu meiner Apologie, 1787; Bemerkungen uber einige Originalschriften, published soon after the former; Das verbesserte System der Illuminaten mit allen seinen Graden Einrichtungen, also soon after the first mentioned work; Kurze Rechtfertigung meiner Absichten, 1787; Nachtrag zur Rechtfertigung meinier Absichten, 1787. ^
144 A sympathetic and moving account of the last years of Weishaupt's life appears in Engel, op cit., pp. 380-402. ^
145 Forestier. op cit., pp. 543 et seq. ^
146 "Es muss die Furcht vor dem verschrieenen Illuminatismus geradezu wei ein Druck in der Luft gehangen haben, den der Orden selbst existierte in seiner festeren Organisation schon lange nicht mehr, als sich die Gespensterfurcht vor ihm in so allgemeiner Weise breit machte." (Engel, op. cit., p. 425.) ^
147 Forestier, op. cit., p. 613. ^
148 Ibid., pp. 613 et seq. ^
149 As late as November 15, 1790, incited thereto by the priest Frank, the duke of Bavaria proclaimed a new interdict against the order. The threat of death as a punishment for membership in the order or activity on its behalf was again imposed. Cf. Engel, p. 371; Forestier, pp. 614 et seq., The following year the police of the city of Munich compiled a list of ninety-one names (Forestier gives the number as ninety-two, Cf. Ibid., p. 615), of members of the order who were supposed to be still active, and proceeded to apply the policy of banishing those who were held to be most dangerous. A number suffered in this way. Cf. Engel, pp. 371 et seq. Cf. Forestier, pp. 615 et seq., A spirit of reckless denunciation ruled in Munich, because of which no suspected man's person was safe. Not until the death of Carl Theodore, in 1799, did this period of hostility to the order on the part of the Bavarian government finally come to an end. ^
150 A reorganization of the Rosicrucian system had taken place in 1767, which stressed the antiquity, sanctity, and superior character of the order in its relations to the rest of the Masonic fraternity. According to their claims, the Rosicrucians alone were able to explain the hieroglyphics, symbols, and allegories of Freemasonry. The structure of the order was greatly elaborated at the time indicated, and thus supplementing its traditional appeal to the thirst for alchemy and magic, the order grew rapidly. Cf. Forestier, pp. 187-191. Cf. Engel, p. 240. ^
151 Vehse, in his Geschichte des Preussischent Hofes, vol. ii, p. 35, puts the matter thus: "In den Ländern nun, wo sie aufgehoben waren, brauchten die Exjesuiten das Mittel in den geheimen Gesellschaften Aufnahme zu suchen. Sie bildeten hier eine schleichende und deshalb um so sichere Opposition gegen alle Aufklärungstendenzen. In dem Freimaurerorden stifteten sie die sogenannten 'inneren Systeme.' Hier waren sie als Proselytenmacher ganz in der Stille tätig und arbeiteten mit Macht darauf hin, das obscurante Pfaffentum und die despotische Hierarchie in beiden Konfessionen, im Protestantismus sowohl als Katholizismus wieder herzustellen." (Quoted by Engel, pp. 241 et seq.,) ^
152 Forestier, op. cit., p. 191. Engel, op. cit., p. 242. ^
153 Ibid., p. 242. ^
154 Ibid., pp. 247 et seq., Forestier brings into connection with this effort of the king of Prussia to check the supposed operations of the Illuminati, a further reproach which came upon the order on account of the course pursued by the Rosicrucians in spreading the report in the Masonic world that the Eclectic Alliance, an ill-fated effort to unite and dominate German Freemasonry, launched in 1783, was a survival of the Order of the Illuminati. The unpopularity and suspicion which the Eclectic Alliance incurred were due in part to its attempts to eliminate the high grades of Masonry, but more especially to the charges made against it by representatives of rival Masonic Systems that it had at heart the undermining of the Christian religion. Cf. Ibid., pp. 617 et seq.,, 383-388. The Iluminati had had affiliations witih the Eclectic Alliance, and hence a certain justification had been given for the accusations which were transferred from the former to the latter. ^
155 The loose use of the term "Illuminati" involved in these statements is only partially illustrated in the following comment of Mounier: "On a donné par dérision la qualité d' Illuminés à tous les charlatans mystiques de ce siècle, à tous ceux qui s'occupent d'alchimie, de magie et de cabale, de revenans, de relations avec des esprits intermédiaires, tels que les Saint-Germain, les Cagliostro, les Swedenborg, les Rosecroix et les Martinistes: mais il a existé une autre espèce d'illuminés en Allemagne" (i.e., Weishaupt's system). (De l'influence attribuée aux philosophes, aux franc-maçons et aux illuminés, sur la révolution de France, p. 169.) Not these systems alone, but the representatives of the diffused forces of the Enlightenment were appointed to share the mantle of the ambiguous term. ^
156 Baron Knigge. In responding to Bahrdt's appeal to assist him in working out the system of the German Union, Knigge violated the pledge he had made to the Bavarian government not to concern himself again with secret organizations. For his indiscretion he paid the penalty of an unpleasant notoriety. Cf. Forestier, p. 629. ^
157 Bahrdt's career was objectionable from almost every point of view. He had been first a pastor, and later a professor of sacred philology at the University of Leipzig. Here, as at Erfurt, the place of his next professional labors, his dissolute conduct involved him in public scandals which lost him his post. In 1771 be went to Giessen as preacher and professor of theology. Later, after numerous changes of location and in the character of his educational activity, he took refuge at Halle, where he conducted courses in rhetoric, eloquence, declaimation, and ethics. A man of low tastes, his life was without dignity and solid convictions. Cf. Forestier, pp. 624 et seq., ; Mounier, pp. 201 et seq.; P. Tschackert, in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädic, 3. Aufl., ii, (1897) pp. 357-359. ^
158 These associations were to be divided into six grades: Adolescent Man, Elder, Mesopolite, Diocesan, and Superior. A ritual was provided and the low initiation fee of one thaler imposed. The system, never fully developed, conveys the impression of crudeness and absurdity. ^
159 Mounier, pp. 201 et seq., Forestier makes the added suggestion that Bahrdt saw in the formation of the Union a chance to further his own literary ambitions and pecuniary interests. Cf. Forestier, p. 627. ^
160 Ibid., pp. 629, 630. ^
161 Ibid. ^
162 Mounier, p. 186. ^
163 "Die merkwürdigste, aber auch gleichzeitig groteskeste Beschuldigung, die jemals dem Illiminatenorden nachgesagt worden ist, war die, dass er die französische Revolution zur Explosion gebracht habe. Es gehörte recht viel Kombinationsvermögen und Taschenspielerei in der Logik dazu, um den Beweis für these wundersame Behauptung zusammenzuleimen, aber in jener Zeit wurde tatsächlich alles geglaubt, sobald es sich darum handelte, dem Illuminatismus eine neue Schurkerei auf zuhalsen." (Engel, pp. 402, 404 Cf.Mounier, pp. 124, 215 et seq.,) ^
164 Published anonymously at Munich, in 1794. ^
165 Title in full: Illuminatus Dirigens oder Schottischer Ritter. Ein Pendant zu der nicht unwichtigen Schrift: Die neuesten Arbeiten, etc., Munich, 1794. ^
166 The grades of Priest and Regent were reproduced in the first of these two works. The most objectionable principles of the order were reserved to these two grades. ^
167 Forestier brings into connection with the publication of these pamphlets the appearance of certain brochures of Knigge's, wherein he espoused with great ardor the cause of the French Revolutionists. The special import of this requires no comment. Cf. Ibid., pp. 636 et seq., ^
168 Hoffman had himself been a member of the Illuminati, at Vienna. Cf. Forestier, op. cit., p. 646. ^
169 The date was early in 1792 (!). Cf. Ibid., p. 646. ^
170 Forestier, whose treatment at this point is characteristically thorough, gives the titles, or otherwise refers to not less than fourteen pamphlets or brochures, in addition to numerous magazine articles. Cf. Ibid., pp. 649-658. ^
171 Forestier, op. cit., pp. 649-658. ^
172 Johann Joachim Christoph Bode (1730-1793), by no means a distinguished representative of the German literati of his period, occupied a fairly important rôle in the history of the Order of the Illuminati. After Weishaupt's flight to Ingolstadt he was the most active leader in the ranks of the persecuted order. Cf. Forestier, pp. 543 et seq., He was profoundly interested in Masonry. In 1790 he projected a plan for the union of all the German lodges of Masonry. The effort proved futile. ^
173 The Philalèthes were conspicuous among French Freemasons for their unequalled devotion to alchemy and theurgy. The order was founded about 1773. ^
174 Staack, in his Der Triumph der Philosophie im 18. Jahrhuttdert (1803), vol. ii, p. 276, represents von dem Busche as a military official, in the service of the Dutch government, and as a member of Weishaupt's order. Mounier (p. 212) refers to him as a major in the service of the landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. His figure is of no historical importance apart from its chance connection with the Illuminati legend. ^
175 This bizarre and preposterous explanation of the genesis of the French Revolution was a favorite with contemporary German and French writers of the special-pleader type. It was used, as we shall see later, by both Robison and Barruel in their discussions of the rôle played by the Illuminati in the great French political and social debacle. Its classic statement was made a few years later by Staack, in his Der Triumph der Philosaphie im 18 Jahrhundert, vol- ii, pp. 348 et seq.
A more silly exposition of the relation of the Illuminati to the French Revolution is that found in the fabulous tale related by the notorious Sicilian impostor, Giuseppe Balsamo ("Count" Allessandro Cagliostro) who, in 1790, having been arrested at Rome and interrogated by officials respecting his revolutionary principles, attempted to divert suspicion by recounting experiences he claimed to have had with two chiefs of the Illuminati, at Mitau, near Frankfort, Germany. Revelations had been made to him at that time (1780), he alleged, to the effect that the Order of the Illuminati was able to number 20,000 lodges, scattered through Europe and America; that its agents were industriously operating in all European courts, particularly, being lavishly financed with funds drawn from the immense treasures of the order; and that the next great blow of the order was to be delivered against the government of France. Cf. Sierke, Schwärmer und Schwindler zu Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts, pp. 407 et seq., Both Engel (pp. 420 et seq.,) and Forestier (pp. 658 et seq.,) devote an unnecessary amount of space to Cagliostro's foolish "revelations". It is sufficient for our purpose to remark in passing that, in any case, Cagliostro was not discussing the affairs of Weishaupt's order, but the affairs of the Strict Observence whose growing credulity and occultism caused the term "Illuminati" sometimes to be applied to them. ^
176 "Ses principes étaient directement contraires à ceux des illuminés; il n'était pas homme à placer ses espérances dans une intervalle de mille ans. Il n'a jamais pensé qu'un peuple pût devenir assez vertueux pour se passer de lois et de magistrats. Il a soutenu la vraie théorie de la balance des pouvoirs, et combattu le despotisme populaire, toutes les fois que l'amour de la célébrité et l'intérêt de son ambition ne le faisaient pas agir contre sa propre doctrine, et les illuminés n'auraient été capables, ni d'ajouter à ses lumières, ni de changer sa théorie, ni de corriger ses vices." (Mounier, pp. 216 et seq.) This judgment of a sensible and impartial critic of the French Revolution, first submitted to the public in 1801, is as valid now as then. ^
177 Without citing his authority, Forestier makes the statement that von dern Busche's interest in the reform of the debased order of the Philalèthes led him not only to accompany Bode but to offer to pay his expenses. Cf. Forestier, p. 666. ^
178 The theories and séances of the empiric, Mesmer, were greatly agitating Paris at the time and attracting attention throughout Europe. ^
179 Mounier, pp. 212 et seq. Cf. Forestier, pp. 664 et seq. While Bode was in Paris he kept in close correspondence with his German friend, Frau Hess, of Hirschberg. Engel, who made an examination of this correspondence in the Royal Library at Dresden, was unable to discover the slightest intimation that Bode's mind, while he was in Paris, was occupied with anything more revolutionary than the turning of the Philalèthes away from their craze for alchemy, cabala, theosophy, and theurgy, or in Mesmer's theories. Cf. Engel, pp. 409~415. When Bode returned to Germany it is undeniable that he carried with him an unfavorable opinion of French Masonry. Cf. Forestier, p. 668. ^
180 In addition to the two elaborated upon in the remainder of this chapter, the following are most worthy of note: Staack, Der Triumph der Philosophie im 18. Jahrhundert, vols. i, ii, 1803 (already noted) ; Proyard, Louis XVI et ses vertus aux prises avec la perversité du siècle, Paris, 1808 (4 vols.) ; De Malet, Recherches politiques et historiques qui prouvent l'existence d'une secte révolutionnaire, son antique origine, ses moyens, ainsi que son but, et dévoilent entièrement l'unique cause de la Révolution Française, Paris, 1817; De Langres, Des Sociétés Secrètes en Allemagne et dans d'autres contrées, de la Secte des Illuminés, du Tribunal Secret, de l'assassinat de Kotzebue, 1819; Le Couteulx, Les Sectes et Sociétés politiques et religieuços, Paris, 1863; Deschamps, Les Sociétés Secrètes et la Société, vols. i, ii, iii, Avignon, 1874-1876. As late as 1906, in an article in the Edinburgh Review of July of that year, Una Birch traversed much of the ground covered thus far in this and proceeding chapter and, on the theory that an event as spontaneous (?) as the French Revolution must have originated in a definite coordination of ideas and doctrine, reaffirmed the general notion that the Masonic lodges of France, having been innoculated with the doctrines of the Illuminati, became the principal points of associative agitation for, and thus the direct cause of, the French Revolution. This essay may also be found in the volume of essays entitled, Secret Societies and the French Revolution (London and New York, 1911), by the same author. ^
181 Later editions of this work, which in their number and geographical extent strongly suggest the degree of interest the subject had for the reading public, appeared as follows: second edition, London, 1797; third edition, London, 1798; fourth edition, London and New York, 1798; a French translation, London, 1798-99 (2 vols.) ; a German translation, Königslutter and Hamburg, 1800; a Dutch translation, Dordrecht (n.d.). See Wolfstieg, Bibliographic der Freimaurerischen Literatur, vol. i, pp. 192, 193. ^
182 Robison was a mathematician, scientific writer, and lecturer in the field of natural philosophy, of considerable ability and distinction. The son of a Glasgow merchant, he was born in Scotland in 1739. He received the benefits of a thorough education, graduating from Glasgow University in 1756. The connections he enjoyed throughout his life were of the best. Subsequent to his graduation he became tutor to the son of Sir Charles Knowles, the English admiral, and later was appointed by the government to service in the testing out at sea of the newly completed chronometer of John Harrison, the horologist. Still later he went to Russia as private secretary to Sir Charles. While in Russia he was called to the chair of mathematics established in connection with the imperial sea-cadet corps of nobles. Abandoning this post, he returned to Scotland, and in 1773 became professor of natural philosophy in Edinburgh University, lecturing on such subjects as hydro-dynamics, astronomy, optics, electricity, and magnetism. His distinction in this general field seems clearly demonstrated by the fact that he was called upon to contribute to the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica articles on seamanship, the telescope, optics, waterworks, resistance to fluids, electricity, magnetism, music, etc., as well as by the fact that when the Royal Society of Edinburgh was organized under royal charter in 1783, Robison was elected general secretary of that distinguished organization, an office he continued to hold until within a few years of his death. The versatility of the man is further evidenced by the fact that he was deeply interested in music, attaining the mastery of several instruments, and in the writing of verse. His reputation was not confined to Great Britain. In 1790 the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. (Cf. General Catalogue of the College of New Jersey, 1746-1896, p. 177. The Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xlix, p. 58, incorrectly gives the date for the bestowal of this degree as 1798.) Later, his alma mater, Glasgow University, bestowed upon him a like honor.
In addition to his encyclopaedia articles and his book on the Illuminati, Robison edited and published the lectures of Dr. Black, the chemist, and the following scientific works, the product of his own intellectual activity: Outlines of a Course of Lectures on Mechanical Philosophy, Edinburgh, 1797, and, Elements of Mechanical Philosophy, Edinburgh, 1804. The latter was intended to be the initial volume of a series, but its successors were not forthcoming. A posthumous work of four volumes entitled, A System of Mechanical Philosophy, with Notes by David Brewster, LL.D., was published at Edinburgh in 1822. The death of Robison occurred in 1805. (For the material incorporated in the foregoing the writer is chiefly indebted to the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xlix, pp. 57, 58, and to casual references in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vols. i-v.) ^
183 "Die Neuesten Religionsbegebenheiten mit unpartheyischen Anmerkungen mit Beihülfe mehrerer von H.M.G. Köster, Professor in Giessen, herausgegeben Jg. 1-20, Giessen, 1778-97 verfolgten gleichfalls den Zweck, von den wichtigsten Vorfälen aus der Religionsgeschichte der Gegenwart eine deutliche, gründliche und nützliche Beschreibung zu liefern, doch beschränkten sie sich dabei vornehmlich auf Deutschland und richteten sich in erster Linie an Laien und Nichttheologen" (Herzog-Hatick, Realencyklopädic, 3rd ed., vol. xxiv, Leipzig, 1913, p. 673). ^
184 Though a Mason, Robison was by no means an ardent supporter of Freemasonry. The English Masonic lodges with which he was acquainted impressed him as having no higher function than that of supplying "a pretext for passing an hour or two in a sort of decent conviviality, not altogether void of some rational occupation." He found the lodges on the continent, however, "matters of serious concern and debate." Cf.Proofs of a Conspiracy, etc., pp. 1 et seq. (The edition of Robison's book here as elsewhere referred to is the third [London] edition of 1798.) Robison professed to have visited lodges at Liège, Valeinciennes, Brussels. Aix-la-,Chapelle, Berlin, Königsberg, and St. Petersburg. Everywhere he found an elaboration of ritual, joined with a spirit of grave interest in the affairs of Freemasonry, which filled him with astonishment and seemed to call for explanation. Cf. Ibid., pp. 2 et seq. ^
185 Robison, op. cit., p. 7. Robison also made use of several of the works which the disturbances occasioned by the Bavarian Illuminati called forth on the continent. Conspicuous among these were the documents of the order published by the Bavarian government. Cf. Ibid., pp. 133, 185, 186, 205, etc. He also made use of Hoffman's violently hostile sheet, the Wiener Zeitschrift. Cf. Ibid., pp. 358, 393. Robison's knowledge of the German language was, however, far from perfect, as he himself freely admitted (Cf. Ibid., pp, 14, 499), so that his handling of his sources must be viewed as neither capable nor complete. The meagerness of his resources is perhaps best illustrated in his treatment of the conspiracy which he assumed underlay the French Revolution. Such "proofs" as he made use of in this connection amounted to little more than the political manifestoes of certain secret lodges and clubs, fugitive revolutionary documents which chanced to blow across his path, current historical conjecture and gossip, etc. The whole was pieced together in the spirit of one who ventured to hope that his "scattered facts" might be of some service to his generation. (Cf. Ibid., pp. 493-496.) ^
186 Robison, op. cit., pp. 10, 11, 15. ^
187 An illustration of the carelessness with which Robison handled his dates is found on pages 15 and 133 (Cf. p. 103) of the Proofs of a Conspiracy, etc., in the matter of the date of the founding of the Order of the Illuminati. Far more serious in its reflection on the author's lack of accuracy and insight is such looseness and general unsoundness of treatment as permitted him to represent the Jesuits as frequenters of English and French Masonic lodges, while at the same time indicting the latter as fully committed to a free-thinking propaganda which sought nothing less than the eradication of religion, not to speak of its institutions. Cf. Ibid., pp. 22 et seq. Robison's superficial explanation of the anticlericalism of Weishaupt might be cited as another illustration of the blundering method pursued in the book. Cf. Ibid., pp. 101, 103 et seq. His weak and practically pointless digression in order to find opportunity to comment on the educational projects of Basedow will serve to illustrate the discursive quality in his work. Cf. Ibid., 85 et seq. ^
188 Robison's exposition of the elements of uncontrolled curiosity and conjecture as elements in his purpose in writing the book is not without significance: "I must entreat that it be remembered that these sheets are not the work of an author determined to write a book. They were for the most part notes, which I took from books I had borrowed, that I might occasionally have recourse to them when occupied with Free Masonry, the first object of my curiosity. My curiosity was diverted to many other things as I went along, and when the Illuminati came in my way, I regretted the time I had thrown away on Free Masonry. (But, observing their connection, I thought that I perceived the progress of one and the same design. This made me eager to find out any remains of Weishaupt's Association. I was not surprised when I saw marks of its interference in the French Revolution.) In hunting for clearer proofs I found out the German Union-and, in fine, the whole appeared to be one great and wicked project, fermenting and working over all Europe." (Ibid., pp. 493 et seq.) Encouraged by his friends, Robison "set about collecting my [his] scattered facts." (Ibid., p. 494.) ^
189 Ibid., pp. 28 et seq. ^
190 Robison does not wholly miss the true point in his survey of the backgrounds of the French Revolution. He points out numerous "cooperating causes" which served to make the Revolution inevitable. "Perhaps there never was a nation where all these cooperating causes had acquired greater strength than in France. Oppressions of all kinds were at a height. The luxuries of life were enjoyed exclusively by the upper classes, and this in the highest degree of refinement; so that the desires of the rest were whetted to the utmost. Even religion appeared in an unwelcome form, and seemed chiefly calculated for procuring establishments for the younger sons of insolent and useless nobility. For numbers of men of letters were excluded, by their birth, from all hopes of advancement to the higher stations in the church. These men frequently vented their discontents by secretly joining the laics in their bitter satires on such in the higher orders of the clergy, as had scandalously departed from the purity and simplicity of manners which Christianity enjoins. Such examples were not unfrequent, and none was spared in those bitter invectives. . . . The faith of the nation was shaken; and when, in a few instances, a worthy Curé uttered the small still voice of true religion, it was not heard amidst the general noise of satire and reproach. The misconduct of administration, and the abuse of the public treasures, were every day growing more impudent and glaring, and exposed the government to continual criticism." (Robison, pp. 60 et seq. Cf. ibid., 1)ln. 362 et seq.) These "cooperating causes" receive little emphasis, however, in Robison's zealous effort to trace the revolutionary spirit to its lair in the Masonic lodges of France. ^
191 Ibid., pp. 40 et seq. ^
192 Robison, Op. Cit., pp. 43 et seq. ^
193 Ibid., p. 51. Robison's account of this phase of the situation has little to commend it. Upon his own unsupported assertions many of the Revolutionary leaders, as, for example, Mirabeau, Sieyès, Despremenil, Bailly, Fauchet, Maury, Mouunier, and Talleyrand, are brought into direct connection with one or another of the French Masonic systems. Cf. Robison, pp. 49 et seq. Similarly, it is maintained, it was among Masonic lodges that the ideas contained in such books as Robinet's La Nature, ou l'Homme moral et physique, Condorcet's Le Progrès de l'Esprit humain, Lequinio's Les préjugés vaincus par la raison, and the book Des Erreurs et de la Vérité, were first disseminated. Indeed, some of these books are said to have sprung out of the very bosom of the lodges. Cf. Ibid., pp. 43 et seq. ^
194 Ibid., pp. 67 et seq. Comparison with Forestier, pp. 141 et seq., will make clear the paucity of the data upon which Robison drew in attempting to write the earlier chapters of the history of German Freemasonry. ^
195 Robison, op. cit., p. 64. ^
196 Robison's language is absurdly strong. "In half a year Free Masonry underwent a complete revolution all over Germany." (Ibid., p. 70.) ^
197 The sheer puerility of the treatment is indicated by the following: "A Mr. Rosa, a French commissary, brought from Paris a complete wagon-load of Masonic ornaments, which were all distributed before it had reached Berlin, and he was obliged to order another, to furnish the Lodges of that city. It became for a while the most profitable business to many French officers and commissaries dispersed over Germany, having little else to do." (Robison, op. cit., pp. 69 et seq.) ^
198 Ibid., p. 73. ^
199 Ibid., pp. 65 et seq. ^
200 Ibid., pp. 78, 79. Robison read into this situation a deliberate effort on the part of the leaders of French Freemasonry to extend the hegemony of the latter. He surmised that political uses and benefits were thus aimed at. Cf. ibid. ^
201 Robison's term for the representatives of the Aufklärung. Cf. Robison, p. 81. ^
202 Ibid., p. 80. This declension of faith and morals Robison, more wisely than he was aware, traced in part to the clash between the Roman Catholic and Protestant systems in Germany and the spirit of free inquiry which was thus promoted. See Robison, pp. 85 et seq. ^
203 It is in this connection that Basedow is brought into relations with Robison's devious exposition. Cf. ibid., pp. 85 et seq. ^
204 Ibid., pp. 82 et seq. ^
205 Robison, op. cit., pp. 92 et seq. Germany has experienced the same gradual progress, from Religion to Atheism, from decency to dissoluteness, and from loyalty to rebellion, which has had its course in France. And I must now add, that this progress has been effected in the same manner, and by the same means; and that one of the chief means of seduction has been the Lodges of the Free Masons. The French, along with their numerous chevaleries [sic], and stars, and ribands, had brought in the custom of haranguing in the Lodges, and as human nature has a considerable uniformity everywhere, the same topics became favorite subjects of declamation that had tickled the ear in France; there were the same corruptions of sentiments and manners among the luxurious or profligate, and the same incitements to the utterance of these sentiments, wherever it could be done with safety; and I may say, that the zealots in all these tracts of freethinking were more serious, more grave, and fanatical. These are assertions a priori. I can produce proofs." (Ibid., pp. 91 et seq.) The "proofs" here referred to concern the Masonic career of Baron Knigge, whose antagonism to orthodx Christianity Robison distorts both as to its temper and its effect. ^
206 Ibid., pp. 126 et seq. ^
205 Ibid., pp. 100 et seq. ^
207 Ibid., pp. 101 et seq. These connections Robison almost wholly misconceived. Cf. supra, pp. 150, 163 et seq. ^
208 Robison op. cit., p. 103. ^
209 Ibid., p. 105. The ulterior object of the order is later stated by Robison in the following manner: "Their first and immediate aim is to get possession of riches, power, and influence, without industry; and, to accomplish this, they want to abolish Christianity; and then dissolute manners and universal profligacy will procure them the adherence of all the wicked, and enable them to overturn all the civil governments of Europe; after which they will think of further conquests, and extend their operations to the other quarters of the globe, till they have reduced mankind to a state of one indistinguishable chaotic mass." Robison, pp. 209 et seq. ^
210 Ibid., p. 126. ^
211 Ibid., p. 212. ^
212 Robison omitted nothing in his effort to fasten the stigma of moral obliquity upon the order. The published papers of the order were appealed to to show that crimes of bribery, theft, and libertinism were not uncommon on the part of the leaders. See Robison,, pp. 144 et seq. The unsavory documents of the order referred to on page 181 of this dissertation likewise received Robison's zealous attention. Cf. Ibid., pp. 138 et seq. Weishaupt's personal immorality in his relations with his sister-in-law is made to do full duty as "a brilliant specimen of the ethics which illuminated" the leaders. Cf. Ibid., pp. 164 et seq. (If a particular illustration of Robison's bungling way of handling his German sources were needed, that might be found in the fact that our author identified the victim of Weishaupt's lust as the sister-in-law of Zwack. Cf. Ibid., p. 167.) ^
213 To Robison's mind this constituted the crowning infamy of the order. "There is nothing in the whole constitution of the Illuminati that strikes me with more horror than the proposals of Hercules and Alinos to enlist women in this shocking warfare with all that 'is good, and pure, and lovely, and of good report'. . . . Are not the accursed fruits of Illumination to be seen in the present humiliating condition of women in France? . . In their present state of national moderation (as they call it) and security, see Madam Tallien come into the public theatre, accompanied by other beautiful women, (I was about to have misnamed them Ladies), laying aside all modesty, and presentingthemselves to the public view, with bared limbs, a la Sauvage, as the alluring objects of desire . . . Was not their abominable farce in the church of Notre Dame a bait of the same kind, in the true spirit of Weishaupt's Eroterion?" (Robinson, pp. 243, 251, 252.) ^
214 Robison, op. cit., pp. 110-200. ^
215 Ibid., pp. 201 et seq. ^
216 Ibid., Although offered to the public with every show of confidence, Robison's list was largely chimerical. He had depended upon isolated references in the papers of the Order, many of which he must have misread. Doubtless in numerous cases he took the hopes of the ambitious leaders of the order as sober statements of fact. The importance of the reference to America will, of course, appear later. ^
217 Ibid., p. 272. ^
218 Ibid., p. 286. ^
219 Ibid., p. 290. ^
220 Robison, op. cit., pp. 315 et seq. ^
221 Ibid., p. 322. ^
222 Ibid., p. 321. ^
223 Ibid., p. 317. "All the Archives that were found were the plans and lists of the members, and a parcel of letters of correspondence. The correspondence and other business was managed by an old man in some inferior office or judicatory, who lived at bed and board in Bahrdt's house for about six shillings a week, having a chest of papers and a writing-desk in the corner of the common room of the house." (Ibid.) ^
224 Ibid., pp. 291, 296, 297. ^
225 Ibid., p. 299. Bahrdt's fantastical program called for the division of these societies into Provinces or Dioceses, each directed by its Diocesan, and subordinate to a central organization. Cf. ibid., p. 292. ^
226 Ibid., p. 294. ^
227 Robison, op. cit., p. 297. ^
228 Ibid., pp. 322 et seq. "...although I cannot consider the German Union as a formal revival of the Order under another name, I must hold those United, and the members of those Reading Societies, as Illuminati and Minervals. I must even consider the Union as a part of Spartacus's work." (Ibid.) ^
229 Ibid., pp. 355 et seq. "Thus I think it clearly appears, that the suppression of the Illuminati in Bavaria and of the Union in Brandenburgh were insufficient . . . The habit of plotting had formed itself into a regular system. Societies now acted everywhere in secret, in correspondence with similar societies in distant places. And thus a mode of cooperation was furnished to the discontented, the restless, and the unprincipled in all places, without even the trouble of formal initiations, and without any external appearances by which the existence and occupations of the members could be distinguished." (Ibid.) ^
230 Ibid., p. 355. Cf. Ibid., p. 286. ^
231 Ibid., p. 358. ^
232 Robison, op. cit., p. 371. ^
233 Ibid., pp. 393 et seq. ^
234 Ibid., pp. 397 et seq. ^
235 Ibid., p. 374. ^
236 Ibid., p. 398. ^
237 The Grand Orient, according to Robison, represented the associatin of all the improved Masonic lodges of France. Its Grand Master was the Duke of Orbéans. Cf. ibid., p. 381. ^
238 Ibid., pp. 400, et seq. ^
239 Ibid., p. 376. ^
240 Ibid., pp. 376 et seq. ^
241 Robison, op. cit., p. 405. ^
242 Ibid., p. 402. Robison regarded the famous Jacobin Club in Paris as "just one of those Lodges." (Robison, p. 406. Cf. Ibid., p. 402.) He allowed his statement to stand, however, without making any effort to substantiate it. Further, he held that the political committees in these "illuminated" lodges of France were in correspondence with similar committees in Germany, Holland, Austria, and Switzerland. Cf. Ibid., pp. 406 et seq., 414 et seq., 420. The contradictory character of his "evidence" is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that he treats the Masonic lodges of Paris as trying to seduce the lodges of German Freemasons. Cf. Ibid., p. 418. ^
243 Ibid., p. 402. ^
244 Ibid., p. 405. ^
245 The London edition of 1797-8 (4 vols.) was reprinted in five volumes at Hamburg, Augsburg and Braunschweig; and a new edition, revised and corrected by the author, was issued at Lyons in 1818. Barruel himself put forth an English translation at London in 1798; and this was reprinted at Hartford, Conn., New York, and Elizabeth-town, N.J., the following year. Continental allies of the ex-Jesuit must have been responsible for translations into Polish, Dutch and Portuguese, which enjoyed but one printing apiece, as well as for the three editions of the Spanish translation, and for two of the three Italian editions. During the anti-Masonic campaign of the swindler Leo Taxil (1887), the Italian translation was reprinted at Rome by the Tipografia de Propaganda Fide.
Abridgements and excerpts were also circulated in several languages, including English. In this connection the following titles may also be noted: Applications of Barruel's Memoirs of Jacobinism to the Secret Societies of Ireland and Great Britain, London, 1798; The Anti-Christian and Antisocial Conspiracy. An extract from the French of Barruel, to which is prefixed "Jachin and Boaz," Lancaster, (U.S.), 1812.
Cf. Sommervogel, C., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jêsus, i, Bruxelles, 1890, coll. 938-941; also Wolfstieg, Bibliographie der Freimaurerischen Literatur, vol. i, pp. 324, 325. ^
246 Augustin Barruel (1741-1820) was a French controversialist and publicist, whose zeal was aroused in the defence of traditional ecclesiastical institutions and doctrines, in opposition to rationalistic tendencies manifest in the eighteenth century. Barruel entered the Society of Jesus in 1756 and was later driven from France when that order was suppressed by the French government in 1773. Permitted the next year to terminate his exile, he gave himself to literary pursuits. As might be expected, the turbulent condition of public affairs in France drew him into the currents of political discussion. His loyalty to the interests of the church would brook no silence. The civil oath demanded of ecclesiastics and the promulgation of the civil constitution in the earlier period of the Revolution specially roused his spirit, and led to the publication of a number of pamphlets from his pen. His ecclesiastical loyalties and political antagonisms were such that when the full fury of the revolutionary storm broke, Barruel became an emigré and sought asylum in England. There he continued his literary employments, and published in 1794 his well-known Histoire du clergé de France, pendant la révolution française. In that same year he brought out an English translation at London. This work Barruel dedicated to the English people in grateful recognition of the hospitable treatment which they accorded the persecuted ecclesiastics of his own land. Later, and while still in England, he wrote his Memoirs of Jacobinism. The number of editions through which this work passed is in itself a gauge of its claim upon popular interest. After the fall of the Directory, and after he had given his pledge of fidelity to the new government, Barruel again was permitted to return to France. With a view to healing the schism in the French church which the Revolution had produced, be championed the cause of the government in a work entitled, Du Pape et ses droits religieux, 1803. As the Napoleonic régime drew towards its close, Barruel came to be regarded as an emigré priest, and suffered arrest at the hands of the government. In August, 1816, Barruel was allowed to make his profession in the Society of Jesus. Shortly before this he wrote to its General: "Je m'étais toujours regardé comme lié par mes voeux, sans cesser d'être vraiment Jésuite, ce qui heureusement a fait pour moi une douce illusion dans laquedle je remercie Dieu de m'avoir laissé vivre jusqu' au mliment où vous vous prêtez avec tant de bonté à la demande que j'ai faite pour ma profession." (La Compagnie de Jésus en France, Histoire d'un siècle, 1814-1914, Par Joseph Burnichon, S.J., Tome 1er, Paris, 1914, pp. 74 et seq.) The last years of Barruel's life were spent in retirement. A list of his writings may be found in Quérard's La France Littéaire, Tome Premier, pp. 196, 197, and a more elaborate one, in Sommervogel, op. cit., i, Coll. 930-945. ^
247 Barruel, op. cit., pp. i, vi. ^
248 Ibid., pp. xiii et seq. ^
249 Barruel's term was Sophistes. ^
250 Barruel, op. cit., pp. xiv, xv. ^
251 Ibid., p. 2. ^
252 Ibid., p. 1. ^
253 Barruel's main reliance is the correspondence of Voltaire, as published in the edition of Kehl. ^
254 Barruel, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 25 et seq. ^
255 Ibid., pp. 26, 27, 33. ^
256 Ibid., pp. 54 et seq. Barruel represents the Encyclopedists as arguing that force could not be employed until there had first been a revolution in all religious ideas; hence L'Encyclopédie, with all its insinuating doubts, its artful cross-references, its veiled impiety, was planned to give the first great impulse in that direction. Thus the old forms of thought would perish "as it were, by inanition;" later, the laying of the axe to the altar would not be hazardous. ^
257 Ibid., pp. 75 et seq. ^
258 Ibid., pp. 127 et seq. ^
259 Ibid., pp. 163 et seq. According to Barruel, the conspirators numbered among their adepts the following: Joseph II of Germany, Catherine Il of Russia, Christian VII of Denmark, Gustave III of Sweden, Poniatowski, king of Poland, and the landgrave Frederick of Hesse-Cassel. ^
260 Ibid., p. 154. ^
261 Barruel, op. cit., p. 157. ^
262 Ibid., pp. 321 et seq. ^
263 Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 9, 10, 13 et seq., 21. ^
264 Ibid., pp. 52 et seq., 66, 76. Barruel labors hard to save himself from the cruel necessity of including Montesquieu in the list of conspirators. He finds it "painful to, apply such a reproach to this celebrated writer." (Ibid., p. 76.) With some cleverness he remarks: " He [Montesquieu] did not conspire by setting up his systems, but his systems formed conspirators." (Ibid., p. 98.) ^
265 Ibid., p. 101. ^
266 Barruel, op. cit., pp. 130, 131, 157 et seq. ^
267 Ibid., pp. 159 et seq. ^
268 Barruel contended that the popular uprisings of the period in Geneva, Bohemia, Transylvania, and even among the negroes of St. Domingo, were all directly due to the conspiracy. Cf. Barruel, pp. 203 et seq., 255 et seq., 260 et seq., 271. ^
269 Barruel's estimate of Freemasonry was appreciably lower than that of Robison. Its mysteries were to be traced to Manes, and to the introduction of Manichaeism into Europe in the period of Frederich II (1221-1250). Condorcet was appealed to for proof in this connection. Cf. Barruel, pp. 399 et seq. The general idea that the Freemasons were responsible for the campaign against monarchy and the Catholic religion which, many believed, characterized the greater part of the eighteenth century, had already been made familiar to the French by the ecclesiastics Larudan and Lefranc. Cf. Forestier, pp. 684 et seq. ^
270 By the occult lodges Barruel meant those whose members had received the higher mysteries and degrees. Cf. Barruel, vol. ii, p. 293. ^
271 Ibid., pp. 276, 277, 278, 279. ^
272 Ibid., pp. 436 et seq. ^
273 Ibid., p. 436. ^
274 Ibid., p. 438. ^
275 Ibid., pp. 444 et seq. ^
276 Ibid., pp. 455 et seq. ^
277 Ibid., pp. 471 et seq. Cf. Ibid., p. 437. ^
278 "Under the name of ILLUMINES a band of Conspirators had coalesced with the Encyclopedists and Masons, far more dangerous in their tenets more artful in their plots, and more extensive in their plans of devastation. They more silently prepared the explosions of the Revolutionary volcano, not merely swearing hatred to the Altar of Christ and the Throne of Kings, but swearing at once hatred to every God, to every Law, to every Government, to all society and social compact; and in order to destroy every plea and every foundation of social contract, they proscribed the terms MINE and THINE, acknowledging neither Equality nor Liberty but in the entire absolute and universal overthrow of all PROPERTY whatever." Barruel, op. cit., p. 478. Cf. vol. iii, pp. 17, 22 et seq.) ^
279 Barruel attributed little or no success to the efforts which Weishaupt's associates made to strip him of much of his despotic power. Cf. Barruel, ch. xviii. ^
280 The discussion of the character of the order fills the entire third volume of the Memoirs. It is not too much to say that Barruel's analysis of the organization is characterized by no little soundness of judgment as well as by literary skill. The documents on which he draws are not only those published by the Bavarian goverment, but also the apologetic writings of Weishaupt and Knigge as well as a considerable part of the polemical literature which developed after the suppression of the order. Yet it need scarcely be said, the author's bias is nowhere obscured. On page after page he conveys the impression that he is dealing with the sum of all villainies. His judgment of Weishaupt was, of course, severe: "An odious phenomenon in nature, an Atheist void of remorse, a profound hypocrite, destitute of those superior talents which lead to the vindication of truth, he is possessed of all that energy and ardor in vice which generates conspirators for impiety and anarchy. Shunning, like the ill-boding owl, the genial rays of the sun, he wraps around him the mantle of darkness; and history shall record of him, as of the evil spirit, only the black deeds which he planned or executed. . . . Scarcely have the magistrates cast their eyes upon him when they find him at the head of a conspiracy which, when compared with those of the clubs of Voltaire and D'Alembert, or with the secret committees of D'Orléans [sic], make these latter appear like the faint imitations of puerility, and show the Sophister and the Brigand as mere novices in the arts of revolution." (Barruel, op. cit., pp. 2, 3, 7.) ^
281 Ibid., p. 293. Cf. Ibid., p. 413: "Will not hell vomit forth its legions to applaud this last Spartacus, to contemplate in amazement this work of the Illuminizing Code? Will not Satan exclaim, 'Here then are men as I wished them" [?]. ^
282 Ibid., vol. iv, p. 379. Cf. Ibid., p. 387: "...in this den of conspirators . . . we find every thing in perfect union with the Occult Lodges, to which it only succeeds. Adepts, object, principles, all are the same; whether we turn our eyes towards the adepts of impiety, of rebellion, or of anarchy, they are now but one conspiring Sect, under the diastrous name of Jacobin. We have hitherto denominated some by the name of Sophisters, others by that of Occult Masons, and, lastly, we have described those men style Illuminees. Their very names will now disappear; they will in future all be duly described by the name of Jacobin." ^
283 Barruel, op. cit., ch. ix. ^
284 Ibid., ch. x. ^
285 Ibid., p. 326. ^
286 Ibid., ch. xi. ^
287 Ibid., p. 370. ^
288 Ibid., pp. 370 et seq. ^
289 Ibid., pp. 375 et seq. ^
290 Ibid., p. 376. ^
291 Ibid., p. 377. ^
292 Ibid., p. 379. ^
293 Barruel, op. cit., passim. ^
294 Ibid., pp. 468 et seq. ^
295 Ibid., pp. 472 et seq. ^
296 Ibid., pp. 476 et seq. ^
297 Ibid., pp. 482 et seq. ^
298 Ibid., pp. 493-551. Barruel found no difficulty in making the conspiracy broad enough in Prussia to take in Imnmanuel Kant. Cf. Ibid., pp. 523 et seq. The Professor of Königsberg and the Professor of Ingolstadt developed systems which ultimately lead to the same end (!). Cf. Ibid., p. 526. ^
299 Ibid., pp. 493 et seq. ^
300 The reference is to the United Irishman, an organization whose affairs got somewhat mixed with the discussion of the Illuminati in America. Cf. infra, pp. 271 et seq. ^
301 A foot-note connects the French minister, Adet with the Iluminati campaign in North America. Cf. ibid., p. 494. ^
302 Robison, op. cit., p. 535. ^
303 Ibid., p. 537. ^
304 Ibid., p. 538. ^
305 Barruel, op. cit., vol. iii, p. xiv. ^
306 Barruel, op. cit., vol. iii, p. xiv. ^
307 Ibid., p. xv. ^
308 Ibid., pp. xv, xvi. ^
309 Ibid., p. xviii. ^