Bavarian Illuminati were a Secret Society Code of the Illuminati

Founded in 1776, shortly before the American Revolution, the Bavarian Illuminati were a secret society with a revolutionary ideology and a centralized structure. According to Abbé Barreul, they subverted the Masonic lodges of Europe and were one of the key driving forces behind the French Revolution. New members were gradually initiated into the group’s radical ideas, which, according to Barreul, were atheist and anarchist in essence.
Barreul was very conservative, and his translator, Robert Edward Clifford, likewise. However, Barreul was a serious historian, even though he wrote from a decidedly non-neutral point of view. As a contemporary, he was able to view the primary source documents and interview participants. As such this book is today, in and of itself, a primary source.
Today, civil society in Europe and America has enshrined the ideas of ‘Liberty and Equality’ that Barreul thought would lead to the complete breakdown of civilization. The Bavarian Illuminati are considered by some to be the forerunners of the Communist and Fascist movements. However, as I have stated before, this is probably parallel evolution. The more paranoid believe that the Illuminati (or some equivalent, such as a cabal of reptilian shape-shifters) are still in business and manipulating, e.g., world leaders, the education system, and mass movements.
On the Illuminees and on the different Works whereon these Memoirs are grounded.
The third conspiracy, which I am now about to investigate, is that of the Atheistical Illuminees, which at my outset I denominated the conspiracy of the Sophisters of Impiety and Anarchy against every religion natural or revealed; not only against kings but against every government, against all civil society, even against all property whatsoever.
The name of Illuminee which this Sect (the most disastrous in its principles, the most extensive in its views, the most atrociously cunning in its means) has chosen, is of ancient standing in the annals of disorganizing Sophistry. It was the name which Manes and his disciples first affected, gloriantur Manichæi see de cælo illuminators.
The first Rosicrucians also, who appeared in Germany, called themselves Illuminees. And later, in our time, the Martinists (with many other sects) have pretended to Illuminism. As an outline for history, I distinguish them by their plots and tenets and will reduce them into two classes, the Atheistical and the Theosophical Illuminees. These latter more particularly comprehend the Martinists, whom I have already mentioned in my second volume, and the Swedenbourgians, whom I shall mention in their proper place, where also I shall give what information I have been able to collect relating to them. The Atheistical Illuminees are the objects of the present volume, and it is their conspiracy that I mean to disclose.
The very numerous letters, books, and manuscripts, which I have received since the publication of my proposals, has rendered it impossible for me to comprise the proposed investigation in one volume. The baleful projects of the Sect and the laws for their execution are so strangely combined, that I thought it necessary to begin by making my reader perfectly acquainted with its code; that is to say, with the regular progression of its degrees, mysteries, and government.
This alone requiring an entire volume, I am reduced to the necessity of giving a fourth, in which I shall develop the history of Illuminism, and make an application of the triple conspiracy to the French Revolution. I have more particularly applied myself to the investigation of the legislative part of this conspiring Sect, as no work has yet been published in which the whole of their code is to be found.
Detached parts only were to be met with scattered throughout the papers which had been seized by the public authority. These I have collected and digested; thus enabling the reader more easily to judge what has been and what must have been the result of such laws.
In such an undertaking, I feel bound to lay before the public an account of the documents on which I ground my proofs. The following then is a list of the principal works, with a few observations on each, that the reader may form his own judgment as to their authenticity.
I. The first is a collection entitled “Some of the Original Writings of the Sect of Illuminees, which were discovered on the 11th and 12th of October, 1786, at Landshut, on a search made in the House of the Sieur Zwack, heretofore Counsellor of the Regency; and printed by Order of His Highness the Elector.—Munich, by Ant. Franz, Printer to the Court.”
II. The second is a supplement to the Original Writings, chiefly containing those which were found on a search made at the castle of Sandersdorf, a famous haunt of the Illuminees, by order of His Highness the Elector. Munich, 1787.
These two volumes contain irrefragable proofs of the most detestable conspiracy. They disclose the principles, the object, and the means of the Sect; the essential parts of their code, the diligent correspondence of the adepts, particularly that of their chief, and a statement of their progress and future hopes. The editors indeed have carried their attention so far, as to mention by whose hand the principal documents or letters were written. At the beginning of the first volume, and on the frontispiece of the second, is seen the following remarkable advertisement by order of the Elector:—”Those who may harbour any doubt as to the authenticity of this collection, have only to apply to the office where the secret archives are kept at Munich, and where orders are left to show the originals.”
I entreat that my readers will recollect this advertisement whenever they shall see the Original Writings cited.
III. “The True Illuminee, or the real and perfect Ritual of the Illuminee; of the Illuminee; comprehending the Preparation, the Noviciate, the Minerval Degree, that of the Minor and Major Illuminee, all without addition or omission.”—With respect to the authenticity of this work, we need only quote the testimony of Baron Knigge, surnamed Philo, the most famous of the Illuminees after the Founder of the Sect; and who was actually the chief compiler of its Code, as he tells us himself: “All these degrees (says he), such as I composed them, have been printed this year at Edesse (Frankfort on the Mein) under the title of the True Illuminee. I am ignorant of the author; but they appear exactly as they flowed from my pen; that is to say, as I compiled them.”
This certainly is an authenticated document on the Sect and recognized by the compiler himself.
IV. I now proceed to a work which was published by this same Philo,—under the title of “Last Observations, or Last Words of Philo, and Answers to divers Questions on my connections with the Illuminees.” In this work, Philo-Knigge gives us an account of himself and of his Illuminism, of his agreements with the chiefs of the Sect, and of his labors for it. His vanity, however, makes this narrative fulsome. The reader will observe in his writings one of those pretended Philosophers who treat all religious objects with that contempt which they themselves deserve. This is of no consequence; he attempts to justify his own conduct; his avowals may, therefore, be received in testimony against the Sect.
V. “The last Works of Spartacus and Philo,” Die neusten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo. Except for the Original Writings, this is the most intelligent and important work that has been published on the Illuminees. It contains the two degrees of the greatest consideration both on account of the mysteries revealed in them by the Sect, and of the laws laid down for the adepts.—Not a shadow of doubt can be maintained as to the authenticity of this work. These degrees and laws are published with a certificate of Philo attesting their conformity with the original and under the seal of the Order. This certificate was scarcely necessary. Whoever can read must easily perceive that these degrees and these laws are no other than a compilation, and often (in the most essential parts) but a copy of the discourses, precepts, and principles, contained in the Original Writings.
A publisher is a man who has passed through all the degrees of Illuminism. More dexterous than Philo, he makes himself master of his secret, and of that of the whole Sect. The better to unmask Illuminism, he becomes an Illuminee; and he has so well succeeded, that no member of the Order was better acquainted with it than himself.
VI. The same writer has published A Critical History of the Degrees of Illuminism, a valuable work, in which everything is proved from the very letters of the grand adepts.
VII. The Directing Illuminee, or the Scotch Knight. This may be said to be the counterpart of the Last Works of Philo and Spartacus. It is a description of the most important intermediary degree of Illuminism. The Editor does not indeed publish it under the signet of the Order; but when the reader has compared it with the Original Writings, and even with the criticism on it by the chief, who was not much pleased with the compiler, he will soon decide that the grand seal of the Order is not necessary to authenticate it.
VIII. Remarkable Depositions respecting the Illuminees. These are three juridical depositions on oath, and signed 1st by Mr. Cosandy, Canon, and Professor at Munich; 2dly by Mr. Renner, Priest and Professor of the same Academy; 3dly by Mr. Utzschneider, Counsellor of the Electoral Chamber; 4thly by Mr. George Grümberg, a member of the Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Mathematics. As everything is juridical in these depositions, it would be useless for me to insist on the weight they must carry with them. These were four pupils, who did not wait to be initiated in the grand mysteries of the Sect to form their judgment on and to quit the Sect.
They were cited at a tribunal to declare all they knew, and they answered with moderation and truth. Their depositions will find a place in the historical part of this work.
IX. The Apologies published by some of the leaders of the Sect are also to be classed among the incontrovertible evidence which we have acquired. These gentlemen will not be expected to have aggravated their own wickedness.
X. The list would be endless were I to subjoin all the works that have been written against the Sect. But I must distinguish in this place the works of Mr. Hoffman, Professor at the University of Vienna. I am but little acquainted with those of Doctor Zimmerman, though I have been informed by letter, that he furnished many valuable articles in a journal published at Vienna, and chiefly directed against the Sect. I often find Mr. Stark’s name mentioned as a strenuous opponent of the Sect. I have seen no publication with his name to it, except an Apology in Answer to the Calumnies of the Sect, which it continues to repeat, notwithstanding the victorious manner in which he has answered them.
Among the anonymous writings, I find an excellent work entitled the Ultimate fate of the Freemasons (Endliches Schicksal des Frey-Maurer Ordens). It is a discourse pronounced at the breaking-up of a Freemason’s Lodge. The writer of this discourse gives an excellent statement of the reasons why the Lodges should suspend their labors since Illuminism had intruded itself into Masonry.
I believe he would have pronounced this discourse much sooner, had he known that all Lodges were not so pure as his own.
I have also perused the Biographical Fragments of the Sieur Bode, a famous Illuminee; these will be very useful in our Historical Volume. As to numberless other works which I have read on the same subject, it will suffice to give the titles of them when quoted. I have said more than enough to show that I am not in the dark with respect to the subject on which I am writing.
I could wish to express my gratitude to those virtuous men who, by their correspondence, and the memorials which they have sent me, have greatly advanced my undertaking. But open expressions of such a gratitude would prove fatal to them. To have contributed to the public utility is a sufficient reward for their virtue; and if my work is not so perfect as it ought to be, it arises not from any want of energy in their endeavors.
I find myself much against my will obliged to answer certain objections which my Translator has made, and which will, doubtless, be repeated by many other readers, grounded on the work of Mr. Robison, entitled Proof of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, &c. &c.
That work was published just as this Third Volume was going to the press. Its author had not then met with my two first Volumes, but in a second Edition, he is pleased to mention them in his Appendix. I am much flattered by his approbation, heartily congratulate him on the zeal he has himself shown in combating the public enemy and am happy to see that he has wrought on the best materials. Without knowing it, we have fought for the same cause with the same arms, and pursued the same course; but the public is on the eve of seeing our respective quotations, and will observe a remarkable difference between them.
I fear lest we should be put in competition with each other, and the cause of truth suffer in the conflict. I entreat the reader to observe, that these differences arise from the different methods followed by him and myself. Mr. Robison has adopted the easiest, though the most hazardous method. He combines together in one paragraph what his memory may have compiled from many, and sometimes makes use of the expressions of the German author when he thinks it necessary. Besides, he has seen much, and read much, and relates it all together in the paragraphs marked by
That work was published just as this Third Volume was going to the press. Its author had not then met with my two first Volumes, but in a second Edition, he is pleased to mention them in his Appendix. I am much flattered by his approbation, heartily congratulate him on the zeal he has himself shown in combating the public enemy and am happy to see that he has wrought on the best materials. Without knowing it, we have fought for the same cause with the same arms, and pursued the same course; but the public is on the eve of seeing our respective quotations, and will observe a remarkable difference between them.
I fear lest we should be put in competition with each other, and the cause of truth suffer in the conflict. I entreat the reader to observe, that these differences arise from the different methods followed by him and myself. Mr. Robison has adopted the easiest, though the most hazardous method. He combines together in one paragraph what his memory may have compiled from many, and sometimes makes use of the expressions of the German author when he thinks it necessary.
Besides, he has seen much, and read much, and relates it all together in the paragraphs marked by inverted Commas. The warning he has given in his preface will not suffice to remove the objections of some readers. In some passages, he has even adopted as truth certain assertions which the correspondence of the Illuminees evidently demonstrate to have been invented by them against their adversaries, and which in my Historical Volume I shall be obliged to treat in an opposite sense. Nor will I pretend to say, that Illuminism drew its origin from Masonry; for it is a fact demonstrated beyond all doubt, that the founder of Illuminism only became a Mason in 1777, and that two years later than that he was wholly unacquainted with the mysteries of Masonry.
I know perfectly well, that this will not make Illuminism less disastrous; nevertheless, I am obliged to differ from Mr. Robison when treating on that subject, as well as on some other articles.—So much for objections; here is my reply.
In the first place, Mr. Robison and I always agree as to the essential facts and the Conspiracy of the Illuminized Lodges; we also agree on their maxims and degrees, and this must be sufficient to convince the reader.
In the next place, in his general view of the Sect, he has observed its detestable and most dangerous principles. Like a traveler, he has seen the
Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens .
But he has not described its forms, its manners, and its habits. Nor would it be very prudent to reject his narrative because some few circumstances are not perfectly authenticated, or because here and there some want of order may be observable.
In short, if we except one or two letters, which may be said to be translations, all the other quotations (though in the form of letters) cannot be called so, for they are not to be found in the letters of the Illuminees.
They are Extracts from different parts, all brought together under one head; Mr. Robison has given them to the public in his own style, and sometimes makes the Illuminees speak in clearer terms than is done in the Originals. His addition in the Translation of the famous letter from Spartacus to Marius, page 165-6, 9 has given rise to numberless questions, how the even d—was expressed in the German text.
A parenthesis follows (can this mean death?). I was obliged to answer that the even d—, as well as the parenthesis, were additions; but at the same time that they were not additions contrary to the
sense of the letter. I could willingly have attributed these deviations to a difference in the editions of the Original Writings; but a new work must be supposed, as well as new letters, to justify the quotations, and all Germany must have noticed such changes. In the first place, the Court of Bavaria would have protested against such a supposition; as the Original Writings could not have coincided with an edition so dissimilar; next, the Illuminees who have not spoken in such clear language, though clear enough in their letters; in fine, the authors who have combated Illuminism, and whose quotations all exactly agree with the Edition of Munich. The Pages may change in different Editions; but whole Letters and Discourses cannot, especially when the public may, as we have seen above, have access to the Originals.
As for myself, whose name cannot be expected to have such authority as Mr. Robison’s, I have taken all the precautions of which I felt myself to stand in need. I never make a quotation but with the Original before me; and when I translate any passage which may stagger the reader, I subjoin the original, that each may explain and verify the text. I follow the same line of conduct when I compare the different testimonies.
I never mention a single law in the code without having the original before me, or the practice of it to vouch for my assertion. Hence 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. I heartily congratulate him on his zeal in combating the monster; and though we do not agree in certain particularities, we both evince the monstrous nature of the Sect and the certainty of its horrible Conspiracies.
I never make a quotation but with the Original before me; and when I translate any passage which may stagger the reader, I subjoin the original, that each may explain and verify the text. I follow the same line of conduct when I compare the different testimonies. I never mention a single law in the code without having the original before me, or the practice of it to vouch for my assertion. Hence 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. I heartily congratulate him on his zeal in combating the monster; and though we do not agree in certain particularities, we both evince the monstrous nature of the Sect and the certainty of its horrible Conspiracies.
I never make a quotation but with the Original before me; and when I translate any passage which may stagger the reader, I subjoin the original, that each may explain and verify the text. I follow the same line of conduct when I compare the different testimonies. I never mention a single law in the code without having the original before me, or the practice of it to vouch for my assertion. Hence 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. I heartily congratulate him on his zeal in combating the monster; and though we do not agree in certain particularities, we both evince the monstrous nature of the Sect and the certainty of its horrible Conspiracies.
I never make a quotation but with the Original before me; and when I translate any passage which may stagger the reader, I subjoin the original, that each may explain and verify the text. I follow the same line of conduct when I compare the different testimonies. I never mention a single law in the code without having the original before me, or the practice of it to vouch for my assertion. Hence 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. I heartily congratulate him on his zeal in combating the monster; and though we do not agree in certain particularities, we both evince the monstrous nature of the Sect and the certainty of its horrible Conspiracies.


Spartacus-Weishaupt, Founder of the Illuminees.
There sometimes appear men formed with such unhappy dispositions, that we are led to consider them in no other view than as emanations from the evil genius, bereft by the avenging God of the power of doing good. Imbecil in the sphere of wisdom, such men are only efficient in the arts of vice and destruction; they are ingenious in those conceptions, skillful in that cunning and fruitful in those resources which enable them despotically to reign in the schools of falsehood, depravity, and wickedness. In competition with the Sophisters, these men will surpass them in the arts of exhibiting error in false and delusive colors; of disguising the vicious passions under the mask of virtue; and of clothing impiety in the garb of Philosophy. In the den of conspirators, they are pre-eminent by the atrocity of their deeds; they excel in the arts of preparing revolutions, and of combining the downfall of the Altar with that of Empires. If their career be ever impeded, it is only when they approach the paths of virtue and of real science. When Heaven in its wrath permits a being of this species to appear on the earth, it has only to put nations within the sphere of his activity, and it will be awfully avenged.
With such qualities, and under such auspices, was born in Bavaria, about the year 1748, Adam Weishaupt, better known in the annals of the sect by the name of Spartacus. To the eternal shame of his Serene protector, this impious man, heretofore Professor of Law at the University of Ingolstadt, but now banished from his country as a traitor to his Prince and to the whole universe, peacefully at the court of Ernest Lewis, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, enjoys an asylum, receives a pension from the public treasury, and is dignified with the title of Honorary Counsellor to that Prince.
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 ardour 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. Of mean birth, his youth was passed in obscurity, and but a single trait of his private life has pierced the cloud in
which he had enveloped himself—but it is one of hateful depravity and of the most consummate villany.—Incestuous Sophister! it was the widow of his brother whom he seduced.
Atrocious father! it was for the murder of his offspring that he solicited poison and the dagger.—Execrable hypocrite! he implored, he conjured both art and friendship to destroy the innocent victim, the child whose birth must betray the morals of his father.
The scandal from which he shrinks is not that of his crime; it is (he says and writes it himself) the scandal which, publishing of the depravity of his heart, would deprive him of that authority by which, under the cloak of virtue, he plunged youth into vice and error.
Monstrous Sophister! he accuses the devils of not having screened him from this scandal by those abominations which called the vengeance of the God of Nature on the son of Judah.
Then, impudently daring, he perjures himself; he calls everything that is sacred to witness, that neither he nor his friends ever knew of the existence of those poisons or secret means of screening him from infamy, much less that they had ever proposed, sought, or employed them. He challenges, and at length forces, the magistrates to prove the accusation; they produce the letters of the perjured Sophister, and therein we behold him entreating a first, a second, and even a third confidant, to seek, or cause to be sought, and to communicate to him, these horrid arts.
We see him recalling promises of three years standing with respect to these means. He complains of the little success of his attempts, he accuses the agents of timidity or of ignorance; he entreats and conjures them to renew their attempts, telling them, that it was not yet too late, but that expedition was necessary. Who can paint the depravity of this single trait?
How monstrous the being who could have combined such depravity! That the God who humiliates the Sophister should have permitted this single trait to have been brought to light, will suffice to show how far wickedness may be carried by the man who, with virtue on his tongue, and under the shade of that sacred name, was forming and fanaticising the blood-thirsty legions of a Robespierre.
After so shocking an accusation the reader will naturally expect us to produce incontrovertible proofs. We will, therefore, first lay before him the letter of Weishaupt to his adept Hertel; it is the Third Letter in the Second Volume of the Original Writings of the Illuminees in Bavaria.
“Now,” says Weishaupt to this adept, “let me, under the most profound secrecy, lay open the situation of my heart. It destroys my rest, it renders me incapable of everything. I am almost desperate. My honor is in danger, and I am on the eve of losing that reputation which gave me so great an authority over our people. My sister-in-law is with a child.
I have sent her to Athens (Munich) to Euriphon, to solicit a marriage license from Rome. You see how necessary it is that she should succeed and that without loss of time; every moment is precious. But should she fail, what shall I do?
How shall I restore the honor of a person who is the victim of a crime that is wholly mine? We have already made several attempts to destroy the child; she was determined to undergo all, but Euriphon is too timid. Yet I scarcely see any other expedient. Could I depend on Celse’s secrecy (the professor Bader at Munich), he could be of great service
to me; he had promised me his aid three years ago. Mention it to him if you think proper. See what can be done. I should be sorry that Cato knew anything of it, lest he should tell all his friends. If you could extricate me from this unfortunate step, you would restore me to life, to honor, to rest, and to authority (that is over his people). If you cannot, I forewarn you of it, I will hazard a desperate blow, for I neither can nor will lose my honor. I know not what devil”.
[Here decency obliges us to be silent, but he continues] “As yet nobody knows anything about it but Euriphon; it is not too late to make an attempt, for she is only in her fourth month, and the worst of it is, that it is a criminal case, and that alone makes the greatest efforts and the most extreme (or boldest) resolution necessary. Be well and live happier than I do, and do think of some means which can extricate me from this affair. I am yours, &c. Spartacus.”
Notwithstanding his repugnance to let Cato into the secret, Weishaupt is at length obliged to write to him on the subject, and, after repeating that which through decency we have omitted above, this monster of hypocrisy says, “what vexes me the most in all this, is that my authority over our people will be greatly diminished—that I have exposed a weak side, of which they will not fail to advantage themselves whenever I may preach morality, and exhort them to virtue and modesty.”
Now let us observe the same Weishaupt barefacedly saying in his apology, “I think and declare before God (and I wish this writing to be looked upon as a most solemn declaration), that in all my life I have never heard of those secret means (of abortion) nor of those poisons; that I have never seen nor had knowledge of any occasion when I or my friends could even have thought of advising, administering, or making any use whatever of them. And this I say in testimony and affirmation of the truth.”
It is thus that by the most abominable hypocrisy he sustains a barefaced and detestable perjury.
So much for the moral virtue of this man; but our chief object is, to consider him in his character of a Conspirator. Let us then descend into that baleful abyss, and observe him in the schools of impiety, rebellion, and anarchy. Here again, he appears to have been ignorant of the gradations of crime, of the space that lies between the slightest deviation from rectitude and the most profound wickedness.
Here, 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’Orleans, make this latter appear like the faint imitations of puerility, and show the Sophister and the Brigand as mere novices in the arts of revolution.
It is not known, and it would be difficult to discover, whether Weishaupt ever had a master, or whether he is himself the great original of those monstrous doctrines on which he founded his school. There exists, however, a tradition which on the authority of some of his adepts we shall lay before the reader.
According to this tradition, a Jutland merchant, who had lived some time in Egypt, began in the year 1771 to overrun Europe, pretending to initiate
adepts in the ancient mysteries of Memphis. But from more exact information I have learned that he stopped for some time at Malta, where the only mysteries which he taught were the disorganizing tenets of the antient Illuminees, of the adopted slave; and these he sedulously infused into the minds of the people.
These principles began to expand, and the island was already threatened with revolutionary confusion when the Knights very wisely obliged our modern Illuminee to seek his safety in flight. The famous Count (or rather a mountebank) Cagliostro is said to have been a disciple of his, as well as some other adepts famous for their Illuminism in the county of Avignon and at Lyons. In his peregrinations, it is said, he met with Weishaupt and initiated him into his mysteries. If impiety and secrecy could entitle a person to such an initiation, never had any man better claims than Weishaupt. More artful and wicked than Cagliostro, he knew how to direct them among his disciples to very different ends.
Whatever may have been the fact with respect to this first master, it is very certain that Weishaupt needed none. In an age when every kind of error had taken root, he did what is naturally to be expected from men who, guided by their unhappy bias, both in religious and political opinions, always select the most abominable.
He must have had some notion of the ancient Illuminées, for he adopted their name, and the disorganizing principles of their horrid system. These notions were then strengthened, without a doubt, by his favorite application to the disorganizing mysteries of Manichæism, since we may observe him recommending the study of them to his disciples as a preparatory step for, and as having a close connection with, those for which he was preparing them.
But perfect Atheist as he was, and scorning every idea of a God, he soon despised the twofold God of Ancient Illuminism and adopted the doctrines of Manes only in as much as they threatened every government, and led to universal anarchy. He was acquainted with the systems of the modern Sophisters; but, notwithstanding all their democracy, he did not think they had given sufficient latitude to their systems of Liberty and Equality.
He only adopted their hatred for God or pure Atheism. One class led to the destruction of all civil and political laws, the other to the overthrow of all religion; he combined them both, and formed a monstrous digest, whose object was the most absolute, the most ardent, the most frantic vow to overthrow, without exception, every religion, every government, and all property whatsoever. He pleased himself with the idea of a distant possibility that he might infuse the same wish throughout the world; he even assured himself of success.
With the talents of a vulgar Sophister such a hope would have been the summit of folly; but with a genius like that of Weishaupt, formed for great crimes, it was the confidence of unlimited wickedness. The Bavarian Sophister knew his powers; he believed no crime impossible; he only sought to combine them all to reduce his systems to practice. The mediocrity of his fortune had obliged him to consecrate the latter years of his education to the study of the laws. Whether by dissimulation he concealed the plans fostered in his breast,
or whether he had not as yet digested them all, he, however, found means of getting himself named to the chair of Laws in the University of Ingolstadt, before he had attained his twenty-eighth year. On the 10th of March 1778, he writes to Zwack that he was not yet thirty years of age; and in the same letter, he informs him, under secrecy, of his future projects on Illuminism, which he had founded two years before.
He must have known himself possessed of profound dissimulation; he must have been master of strange resources, to ground his plans for the subversion of all laws throughout all empires, on the very function of public interpreter of the law.
It was nevertheless at the College of Ingolstadt that Weishaupt, affecting the greatest zeal for his duty, conceived himself to be admirably situated for forming and conducting by invisible means the great revolution which he had planned. He justly estimated the influence which his office of a teacher gave him to his scholars, and he had the courage to supply in private the deficiency of those lessons which he was obliged to give to them in public.
But it would have been too poor a conquest for Anarchy or Impiety to have gained only those who were under the eye of the founder. Weishaupt beheld mankind subject to religious and political laws from pole to pole, and his jealous zeal weighed the means which the Saints had employed to extend the faith of Christ.
There still existed the scattered remnants of an Order which the imprudent policy of Kings had obliged the Sovereign Pontiff to sacrifice to the machinations of a Philosophism, the professed enemy of both Kings and Pontiffs. Weishaupt knew how to appreciate the support which the laws had acquired from men who were heretofore spread throughout all Catholic countries, and who, in the towns and villages, publicly taught youth, thundered from the pulpit against Vice, directed Christians toward the path of virtue, and went to preach the faith of Christ to idolatrous and barbarous nations.
He well knew how much empires were indebted to religious Orders, that in preaching the duty which each man owed to his God, strengthened the ties that bound him to his neighbor and to his Prince. Though he in his heart detested the children of Benedict, Francis, or Ignatius, he admired the institutions of these holy founders, and was particularly charmed with those of Ignatius, whose laws directed so many zealous men dispersed throughout the world toward the same object and under one head: he conceived that the same forms might be adopted, though to operate in a sense diametrically opposite.
What these men have done for the Altar and the Throne (said he to himself) why would not I do in opposition to the Altar and the Throne? With legions of adepts subject to my laws, and by the lure of mysteries, why may not I destroy under the cover of darkness, what they edified in broad day? What Christ even did for God and for Cæsar, why shall not I do against God and Cæsar, by means of adepts now become my apostles?”
In attributing such a wicked emulation to Weishaupt, I will not leave the historian to fruitless conjectures. No, these very wishes in plain language are contained in his confidential letters to his disciples; and he even reproaches
them with not imitating the submission of the followers of those holy founders. 5 His most celebrated adepts have declared, that they had observed him copying them throughout his code; 6 they must also have remarked, that Weishaupt, in planning his systems according to the forms adopted by those religious founders, had reserved it to himself to add all the artifices which the most infernal policy could suggest. At the actual period when this conspirator formed his plans, he was ignorant of the object of Freemasonry:
He only knew that the fraternity held secret meetings: he observed that they were bound by mysterious ties, and recognized each other for brethren by certain signs and words, whatever might be their country or religion. In his mind, therefore, he combined the plan of a society, which was at once to partake as much as convenient of the government of the Jesuits, and of the mysterious silence and secret conduct of Masonry. Its object was the propagation of the most Antisocial Systems of ancient Illuminism, and of the most Antireligious Systems of modern Philosophism.
Brooding over this disastrous project, Weishaupt cast his eyes on the young pupils whom the government had entrusted to his care to form them for magistrates of their country, and defenders of the laws, and he resolved to begin his warfare against both by the perversion of these youths. He beheld in distant succession his first disciples seducing others, those again, subject to his laws, forming further adepts; and thus by degrees, he came complacently to view his legions multiplying and spreading from the towns to the country, and resident even in the Courts of Princes. He already heard those oaths which, under the secrecy of the Lodges, were to bind the minds and hearts of those new legions who, replete with his disorganizing spirit, were silent to undermine the Altar and the Throne. He calculated the time necessary and smiled to think that he would one day have only to give the signal for the general explosion.
Scarcely had this modern Eratostratus attained his eight-and-twentieth year, ere he had laid the foundations of those laws which he meant to give to his disorganizing Sect. Though he had not actually written his code, he had arranged it in his mind, and he made his first essay on two of his pupils, one named Massenhausen (whom he surnamed Ajax), about twenty years of age, and afterwards a Counsellor at Burghausen; the other called Merz (whom he surnamed Tiberius) 8 nearly of the same age, but whose morals and character proved so abominable, that they made even his vile seducer blush. These two disciples soon vying with their master in impiety, he judged them worthy of being admitted to his mysteries and conferred on them the highest degree that he had as yet invented. He called them Areopagites, installed himself their chief, and called this monstrous Association The Order of Illuminees. 9
It was on the first of May, 1776, that the inauguration was celebrated. Let the reader well observe this epoch. It indicates a feeble beginning; it preceded the French Revolution but by a few years; that however was the time when that abominable Sect first started into existence, which was to combine all the errors, all the conspiracies, and all the crimes of the adepts of Impiety,
[paragraph continues] Rebellion, or Anarchy, and which, under the name of Jacobin, was to consummate the dreadful Revolution. Such was the origin of that Sect which I had in view when I proclaimed to all nations, and unfortunately with too much truth, “That whatever their government or religion might be, to whatever rank they might belong in civil society, if Jacobinism triumphed all would be overthrown; that should the plans and wishes of the Jacobins be accomplished, their religion with its Pontiffs, their government with its laws, their magistrates and their property, all would be swept away in the common mass of ruin! Their riches and their fields, their houses and their cottages, their very wives and children would be torn from them. You have looked upon Jacobinical faction as exhausting itself in France when it was only making a sportive essay of its strength.” 10
According to the wishes and intentions of this terrible and formidable Sect, nations, astonished, have yet only seen the first part of the plans formed for that general Revolution which is to beat down every Throne overturn every Altar—destroy all property—blot out every law and conclude by the total dissolution of all society!
The omen is fatal; but (more fatal still!) I have numberless proofs to demonstrate the truth of this assertion. With respect to the Conspiracies of Illuminism, I shall draw my proofs from their own code and their archives. I will begin with their code; it will lay open the object, the extent, the manner, the means and inconceivable depth of the Conspiracies of the Sect. This First Part will comprehend the plan of their conspiracies, the extract, and analysis of the code of laws which they had constructed for attaining their ends.
The Second Part will show their progress and their successes from their first origin, till that period when powerful in Revolutionary Legions, without leaving their secret dens, they unite and confound themselves with the Jacobins, and in unison with them prosecute that war of desolation which menaces with total ruin the Altar of every God—the Throne of every Monarch—The Law of every Society—and the Property of every Citizen. O! that I could in delineating what the Sect has done, what it is doing, and what it still meditates to do that I could but teach nations and the chiefs of nations what they themselves ought to do, to avert the impending danger; those, I say, who have mistaken these disasters for a sudden explosion, while they are in fact but an essay of the strength of the Sect, and the commencement of their general plan.
Code of the Illuminees. General System, and Division of the Code.
By the code of the sect of Illuminees I mean the principles and systems which it had formed to itself on Religion and Civil Society, or rather against all Religion and Civil Society whatever; I mean the government and the laws which it has adopted to realize its plans, and to guide the adepts in bringing the whole universe into its systems.
This was not so much a code springing from an ardent mind, and an enthusiastic zeal for a great revolution, as the offspring of reflection on the means of rendering it infallible; for no sooner had Weishaupt conceived a plan than he foresaw the obstacles which might thwart its success.
Though he decorated the first pupils whom he had seduced with the title of his profound adepts, yet he did not dare unfold to them the vast extent of his plans. Pleased with having laid the foundation, he did not hurry the elevation of that edifice, which might have been exposed to fall for want of the proper precautions; no, he wished it to be as durable as time itself.
For five whole years he meditated, and he foresaw that he should still have to pause for many a tedious day on the means of securing the success of his plans. His plodding head silently ruminated and slowly combined that code of laws or rather of cunning, of artifice, of snares and ambushes by which he was to regulate the preparation of candidates, the duties of the initiated, the functions, the rights, the conduct of the chiefs, and even his own. He watched every means of seduction, weighed and compared those means, tried them one after the other; and when he had adopted any of them would still reserve the power of changing them, in case he should happen to fall upon any that would be more disastrous.
Meanwhile, his first disciples, now his apostles, gained him many partisans; he seduced many himself and directed their conduct by letter. His advice was adapted to circumstances, and, artfully husbanding his promises, he kept the minds of his disciples perpetually in suspense as to the last mysteries. To his trusty adepts he promises systems of morality, of education, and of policy, all entirely new; and they might easily surmise that this future code would be no other than that of a morality without restraint, of a religion without a God, and of a policy without laws or any dependence whatsoever; though he did not care entirely to throw away the mask.
But his laws appeared imperfect, his snares were not sufficiently concealed; and he was convinced that time and experience alone could perfect the work on which he had so long meditated. Such are the colors, at least, in which we see him representing himself when his adepts, impatient to be initiated in the last mysteries, reproach him with the slowness of the proceedings: “It is from time and experience,” says he, “that we are to learn.
I daily put to the test what I made last year, and I find that my performances of this year are far superior. Give me then time to reflect on what may forward and on what may delay the execution of our plans; to weigh what may be expected of our people left to themselves or led and conducted by us.—Remember that what is done in haste, speedily falls to ruin. Leave me then to myself, let me act alone, and believe me, time and I are worth any other two.”
Let not the reader imagine that these meditations of Weishaupt alluded to the object of his views; that never varied; the destruction of Religion, the destruction of Society and the Civil Laws, the destruction of property,—that was the point at which he always aimed; and this impious man too well knew his crime, not to be alarmed; we see him writing to his confident, “You know the situation in which I stand.
I must direct the whole by means of five or six persons. It is absolutely necessary that I should during my life remain unknown to the greater part of the adepts themselves.—I am often overwhelmed with the idea that all my meditations, all my services, and toils are perhaps only twisting a rope or planting a gallows for myself; that the indiscretion or imprudence of a single individual may overturn the most beautiful edifice that ever was reared.”
At other times wishing to appear above such fears, but still reproaching the adepts with want of caution, he says, “If our affairs already go on so ill, the whole will soon be undone: the fault will be thrown upon me, and, as author of everything, I shall be the first sacrificed.
Yet that is not what frightens me; I know how to take everything on my own score; but if the imprudence of the Brethren is to cost me my life, let me at least not have to blush before men of reflection, nor to reproach myself with an inconsiderate and rash conduct.”
Thus does every motive stimulate this famous Conspirator to transfuse into his code every precaution that could at the same time skreen him from condign punishment, and secure the success of his plots. At length, after five years meditation on his side, and numerous consultations with his trusty adepts, particularly with Philo, or Baron Knigge, who acts a very exalted part in Illuminism, Weishaupt had regulated the mode of his mysteries, and had digested the code of his Sect, that is to say, the principles, the laws, and government adopted by the Illuminees to accomplish the grand object of their Conspiracy. Before we lead our readers through the immense labyrinth of this code, let us give a general idea of the system which stimulated its author to the formation of those laws.
The more we meditate on that part of the code which we shall lay before our readers when we come to treat of the mysteries of Illuminism, the more
Clearly, we observe Weishaupt adopting the principles of Equality and of Liberty, (propagated by modern Philosophism) in order to present them in a new light and to lead his disciples to the ultimate consequences of the most absolute Impiety and Anarchy.
The modern Sophisters, some following Voltaire, others Rousseau, had begun by saying, that all men were equal and free; and they had concluded with respect to Religion, that nobody, though speaking in the name of a God who reveals himself, had the right of prescribing rules to their faith. The authority of revelation being cast aside, they left no other basis for Religion to rest upon, then the Sophistry of a reason the perpetual prey of our passions. They had annihilated Christianity in the minds of their adepts. With respect to Governments they had also asserted, that all men were equal and free, and they had concluded that every citizen had an equal right to form the laws, or to the title of Sovereign; this consequence abandoning all authority to the capricious fluctuations of the multitude, no government could be legitimate but that founded on Chaos or the volcanic explosions of the democratic and sovereign populace.
Weishaupt, reasoning on the same principles, believed both the Sophisters and the Democratic Populace to be too timid in drawing their inferences, and the following may be said to be the essence of all his mysteries.
“Liberty and Equality are the essential rights that man in his original and primitive perfection received from nature. Property struck the first blow at Equality; political Society, or Governments, were the first oppressors of Liberty; the supporters of Governments and property are the religious and civil laws; therefore, to reinstate man in his primitive rights of Equality and Liberty, we must begin by destroying all Religion, all civil society, and finish by the destruction of all property.”
Had true Philosophy but gained admittance to these lodges of Illuminism, how clearly would she have demonstrated the absurdity of each and all of these principles, and the extravagance and wickedness of such consequences, both to the master and his adepts! She would have shewn, that the rights and laws of primitive man alone upon earth, or parent of a scanty generation, neither were nor ought to be the rights and laws of a man living on an inhabited globe.
She would have proved, that Nature, when she ordained that man should increase and multiply on this earth, and that he should cultivate it, clearly announced that his posterity was hereafter to live under the empire of social laws. She would have observed, that without property this earth would have remained uncultivated and uninhabited; that without religious and civil laws the same earth would have only nurtured struggling hordes of vagabonds and savages.
Then would our Bavarian Illuminee have concluded, that his Equality and Liberty, far from being the essential rights of man in the state of perfection, would only be the instruments of his degradation, and assimilate him to the beasts of the earth, if they were to be incompatible with Property, Religion, and Society. But true Philosophy was an alien to his school; and Weishaupt, with his detestable genius formed for error, applauds the sophism makes it the basis of his system, and the ultimate secret of his mysteries.
I am not simply to prove that such is the grand object of the Conspiracy, and of the ultimate revolution which he is preparing with all his adepts. Were that my only task, I should cite the blessings which the hierophant of Illuminism pours out on those hordes that roam without laws or society, and the curses which he vents against those men who, fixing their abodes, name chiefs and constituted states.
The very menaces of the teacher unfold the whole of the Conspiracy. “Yes, Princes and nations shall disappear from off the face of the earth; yes, a time shall come when man shall acknowledge no other law but the great book of nature: This revolution shall be the work of the secret societies, and that is one of our grand mysteries.
This single passage of the code is sufficient to demonstrate both the object of the Conspiracy and the extent of the projects of the sect; but though the Conspiracy should be clearly proved, still that would be doing little for the public good. Instead of a terrible and formidable Sect, nations and chiefs of nations might mistake the Illuminees for a band of senseless madmen, plodding without means a chimerical Revolution; therefore little to be feared, and too despicable to deserve notice.
Thus would wickedness find a cloak in its excesses; the Sect would prosecute its hellish plots more actively, more confidently, and more successfully, merely because their object was supposed impossible. Society would be dissolved; our laws, our religion, and our property would be wrested from us because we believed them proof against any attempt.
Nations would tranquility slumber on the brink of the precipice, and be plunged into destruction while they considered the fatal cause as the delusion of delirium, and smiled on the plots of Illuminism. And its founder foresaw this: for he says to his adepts, “Let the laughers laugh, let the scoffers scoff; he that compares the past with the present, will see that nature continues its course without the possibility of diverting it. Its progress is imperceptible to the man who is not formed to observe it, but it does not escape the attention of the Philosopher.”
Society then calls upon me to develop more than the existence or even the extent of the plots of the Sect
I say it calls on me loudly to proclaim the dangers which threaten us; yes, the evils which threaten all society must be clearly shown. A manner of proceeding and an artful cunning big with crime, which will speedily plunge nations into those disasters which they may believe chimerical, is to be clearly ascertained. I have to unfold the whole of a system, an entire code, in which each institute, each maxim, each regulation, is a new step towards a universal revolution which shall strike society a mortal blow.
I am not then about to inform each citizen that his religion, his country, his property, that every society, people, or nation, are menaced; unfortunately that would be a task too easily performed. But I am bound to say, “In this horrible plot, such are the dangers which threaten your country, and such the perils that hang over your persons.” I must show extensive resources combined with consummate villainy, where you imagined that nothing existed but the delirium of modern Philosophism, destitute of means.
Weishaupt, like yourselves, had foreseen numerous obstacles to his conspiracy; and it appears that he had even exaggerated them. That for which his most famous adepts seem to despise their countrymen should be mentioned here as redounding to their honor.
Weishaupt, surrounded by the faithful Bavarians, faithful to their God and to their country (rather speculating on the human heart from his books, than closely observing men in the common intercourse of life), was not aware of how very much Philosophism had forwarded his systems.
The generation which had attained the age of manhood appeared too much infected with the antiquated ideas of religion and government. But, unfortunately, facts soon undeceived him; and this error only served, by deferring his hopes, to turn his mind to further precautions and meditations, which sooner or later were to render his success infallible.
He would say to himself, he would say to his trusty brethren, “According to my views, I cannot employ men as they are; I must form them; each class of my Order must be a preparatory school for the next, and all this must necessarily be the work of time.” But to accelerate the time he cast his eyes on that class of young men, which, just entering the world, easily fall a prey to error, because at that age they are under the influence of their passions.
I shall hereafter show what it was that both shortened the time, and abridged their education, in presenting him with whole legions of adepts ready formed to his mysteries. It is first necessary, however, that the reader should be acquainted with the profundity of his system; because had the French Revolution not taken place, that system would alone have sufficed to render it certain and infallible; for, could the French Revolution be done away at the present moment, and the ancient regimen be restored, this code would furnish Illuminism with all the means of effectuating one that should be still more disastrous.
Let us then study it, let us dissipate the cloud in which it is enveloped. Reader, your own interest requires that you should follow our steps; and observe all the snares that have been laid for you; see with what art its disciples are beguiled, with what precaution it chooses, calls, and disposes of its adepts. Its proceedings appear indeed to be slow, but they are nevertheless sure. It seems to exhaust all its art to acquire a single proselyte, but the same allurements attract whole legions. Its springs are secret, but the reader must know their power and with what constancy they move toward and direct the common ruin. He has seen the people agitated, animated, and even misled to ferocity; but he must also be informed how those adepts were created who fanaticised the people and rendered them ferocious.
Weishaupt lays down as an invariable and infallible principle, that “the grand art of rendering any revolution whatsoever certain is to enlighten the people; and to enlighten them is, insensibly to turn the public opinion to the adoption of those changes which are the given object of the intended revolution.
“When that object cannot be promulgated without exposing him that has conceived it to public vengeance, he must know how to propagate his opinion in secret societies.
“When the object is a universal Revolution, all the members of these societies, aiming at the same point, and aiding each other, must find means of governing invisibly, and without any appearance of violent measures, not only the higher and more distinguished class of any particular state, but men of all stations, of all nations, and of every religion Insinuate the same spirit everywhere In silence, but with the greatest activity possible, direct the scattered inhabitants of the earth toward the same point.” This is what he calls the grand problem on the policy of states, on which he grounds the force of secret societies, and on which the empire of his Illuminism was to rest.
“This empire once established by means of the union and multitude of the adepts, let force succeed to the invisible power. Tie the hands of those who resist; subdue and stifle wickedness in the germ;” that is to say, crush those whom you have not been able to convince.
He that teaches such doctrines is not to be looked on as a weak enemy. When Weishaupt reserved them for his mysteries, as well as the revelation of his ultimate object, he knew too well that they were only fitted for men who had long been trained to view them as the lessons of nature and of Philosophy, and should he meet with any who had anticipated them, it would only abridge their novitiate. But he needed nothing less than a whole generation. It was therefore to multiply the number of adepts, to dispose of them by insensible degrees to receive his doctrines; by an invisible hand to direct their ideas, their wishes, their actions, and their combined efforts, that the code of laws which he framed for Illuminism constantly tended.
According to these laws, the sect is divided into two grand classes, and each of these again subdivided into lesser degrees proportionate to the progress of the adepts.
The first class is that of preparation. It contains four degrees, those of Novice, of Minerval, of Minor Illuminee or Illuminatus Minor, and of Major Illuminee or Illuminatus Major.
Some intermediary degrees belong to the class of Preparation, which may be called of Intrusion; such are those which the sect have borrowed from Freemasonry as a means of propagation. Of these Masonic degrees, the code of Illuminees admit the three first without any alteration: it adapts more particularly to the views of the sect the degree of Scotch Knight as an ultimate preparation for its mysteries, and it is still the degree of Directing Illuminee or Illuminatus Dirigens.
The second class is that of the Mysteries, and this is subdivided into the lesser and greater mysteries. The lesser comprehend the priesthood and administration of the sect, or the degrees of Priests and of Regents or Princes.
In the greater mysteries are comprised the two degrees of Magi or Philosopher, and of the Man King. The Elect of the latter composes the council and the degree of Areopagites.
In all these classes, and in every degree, there is a part of the utmost consequence, and which is common to all the Brethren. It is that employment known in the code by the appellation of Brother Insinuator or Recruiter.
The whole strength of the Sect depends on this part; it is that which furnishes members to the different degrees; and Weishaupt, well knowing the importance of the task, turned all his genius toward it. Let us, therefore, begin by directing our attention to the discovery of it.
First Part of the Code of the Illuminees.—Of the Brother Insinuator, or the Recruiter.
By the appellation of Brother Insinuator, is to be understood the Illuminee whose peculiar office is to make proselytes for the Sect. Some brethren were more particularly instructed for that end; they might, indeed, be called the Apostles or Missionaries of the Order, being those whom the superiors sent to the different towns and provinces, and even into distant countries, to propagate its doctrines and to establish new Lodges.
These had received, in addition to the common rules, further instructions peculiar to the higher degrees. “These (as Weishaupt writes) may sometimes be the most imbecile, and at other times the most ingenious of the Brotherhood.” From the former he can depend on a blind obedience to the rules he lays down, which are never to be deviated from; and with respect to the latter, provided they be zealous and punctual, should they even transgress any of the laws, it would not be in such a manner as to commit either their own safety or that of the Order; and they would soon make amends for their indiscretion by some new artifice.
But, whatever may be the sense of the Illuminee, he is obliged once or twice in his life to act the part of Brother Insinuator, and that with a certain success, by the acquisition of two or three proselytes, under pain of perpetually remaining in the lower degrees. Some Brethren of high rank may have been dispensed from this formality, but as to the generality of them, there exists a positive law on that point.
To stimulate the zeal of the Brethren, the Insinuator is by the laws of the code established superior over every novice that he has gained to the Order: It is expressed as follows: “Every Illuminee may form to himself a petty empire; and from his littleness, emerge to greatness and power.”
Such then is the first duty imposed upon every Illuminee for the propagation of the Sect; and this is the part which first claims our attention, in order that we may be able to form an idea of the immeasurable powers of Weishaupt for seduction.
This part may be said to be subdivided into three. The rules laid down are, first, those which are to guide the Brother Insinuator in the choice of persons to be admitted or excluded; then follow those which are to teach him how to entice into the order those persons whom he has judged proper for it; and lastly come those rules and arts by which novices are to be formed, and even involved in Illuminism before they are officially admitted.
In order to judge of the qualifications of the persons whom he may enlist, every Illuminee is to begin by procuring tablets, which he is to keep in the form of a Journal; and this is his Diary. Assiduously prying into everything that surrounds him, he must vigilantly observe all persons with whom he becomes acquainted, or whom he meets in company, without exception of relations, friends, enemies, or entire strangers; he must endeavour to discover their strong and their weak side; their passions and prejudices; their intimacies, and above all, their actions, interests, and fortune; in a word, everything relating to them: and the remarks of every day he must enter in his Diary.
A twofold advantage is to be reaped from these particulars of information; first, by the Order in general and its superiors; secondly, by the adept himself. Twice every month he will make a general statement of his observations, and he will transmit it to his superiors. By these means, the Order will be informed what men, in every town or village, are friendly or inimical to it.
The means of gaining over the one or destroying the other will naturally occur. With respect to the Insinuator, he will learn how to judge of those who are proper persons to be received or rejected, and he will carefully insert his reasons for the admission or rejection of those persons in his monthly statements.
The Recruiting Brother will carefully guard against giving the most distant hint that he is an Illuminee. This law is peremptory for the Brethren, but more particularly for all the Insinuators, whose success may often essentially depend on it. It is to them that the legislator so strongly recommends all that exterior of virtue and of perfection, that care of shunning all public scandals which might deprive them of their ascendancy over the minds of those whom they seek to entice into the Order.
The law expressly says, “Apply yourselves to the acquiring of interior and exterior perfection;” but lest they should conceive that this perfection even hinted at the mastering of their passions, and at renouncing the pleasures of the world, he adds, “Attend particularly to the art of dissembling and of disguising your actions, the better to observe those of others and to penetrate into their inmost thoughts. “Die kunst zu erlernen sich zu verstellen, andere zu beobachten, and aus zu forschen.” It is for that reason that these three great precepts are to be found in the summary of the Code: hold thy tongue—be perfect—disguise thyself—almost following each other on the same page, and serving as an explanation of each other.
Having made himself perfect master of these precepts, and particularly of the last, the Insinuator is next to turn his attention to those persons whom he may admit or ought to reject. He is not to admit into the Order either Pagans or Jews, but he is equally to reject all religious; and above all to shun the Ex-Jesuits as he would the plague. Ordens geistliche dürfen nie aufgenommen werden, und die Ex-Jesuiten soll man wie die pest fliehen.
The cause of such exclusions is obvious. To speak of religion, and admit, without any precaution, Jews, Turks, and Pagans, would be to open a manifestation of what their religion was; and not to reject religious, would be exposing themselves to be betrayed by their own adepts.
Unless they gave evident signs of a sincere amendment, all indiscreet talkers were to be rejected; and also those men whose pride, or headstrong, interested, and inconstant minds denoted that it would be impossible to infuse into them that zeal so necessary for the order; all those again, whose drunken excesses might injure that reputation of virtue which the Order was to acquire; all those, in short, whose meanness and grossness of manners would render them too intractable to give hope for their ever becoming pliant and useful.
“Leave those brutes, those clownish and thickheaded fellows!” he exclaims in his Chapter on Exclusions; but, though he excluded these thickheaded fellows, Weishaupt was aware that there existed a good sort of being which some might call stupid, but who are not to be told so, as advantage may be taken of their stupidity. Such were, for example, a Baron D’Ert, and many others, who hold a certain rank in the world, though destitute of common sense, have at least their riches to recommend them. “These are a good sort of beings,” says our illuminizing legislator; “they are necessary beings. They augment our number and fill our coffers, augent numerum et ærarium. Courage then! and make this gentry swallow the bait, but beware of communicating to them our secrets; For this species of adept must always be persuaded that the degree they are in is the highest.
Indeed, there is a sort of half exclusion for princes.
The Code ordains that they shall seldom be admitted, and even when they are, shall scarcely ever rise beyond the degree of Scotch Knight; or, in other words, they are never to pass the threshold of the mysteries. Hereafter we shall see the Legislator finding an expedient for introducing them beyond that degree, but still without giving them any further insight into the mysteries; 9 and being particularly careful to hide from them certain laws of the Order.
I cannot take upon myself to say, whether a similar expedient had been found as an exception to the general rule which excluded women; but it is certain, that this law was, during a long time at least, only provisional; and many of the brethren sought to revoke it. Freemasonry had its female adepts, and the Illuminees wished to have theirs. The plan is written in Zwack’s own hand-writing, and he was the most intimate friend and confidant of Weishaupt, in short, his incomparable man. It is couched in the following terms:
“Plan for an Order of Women.This Order shall be subdivided into two classes, each forming a separate society, and having a different secret. The first shall be composed of virtuous women; the second, of the wild, the giddy, and the voluptuous, auschveifenden.
“Both classes are to be ignorant that they are under the direction of men. The two superiors are to be persuaded that they are under a mother Lodge of the same sex, which transmits its orders; though, in reality, these orders are to be transmitted by men.
“The Brethren who are entrusted with this superintendent shall forward their instructions without making themselves known. They shall conduct the first, by promoting the reading of good books, but shall from the latter to the arts of secretly gratifying their passions, durch begnügung ihrer leidenschaften im verborgenen.”
A preliminary discourse prefixed to this plan points out the object and future services of these illuminized sisters. “The advantages which the real Order would reap from this female Order would be, first, the money which the sisterhood would pay at their initiation; and, secondly, a heavy tax upon their curiosity, under the supposition of secrets that are to be learned. And this association might moreover serve to gratify those brethren who had a turn for sensual pleasure.”
A list and description of eighty-five young ladies of Manheim accompanied this project of Zwack, very properly surnamed the Cato of Illuminism; from among whom, in all probability, the founders of these two classes were to be chosen. Circumstances not having favored our modern Cato’s views, we observe several other adepts proposing similar plans.
An assessor of the Imperial Chamber at Wetzlaar of the name of Dittfurt, known among the Illuminees by that of Minos, and who rose to the degree of Regent, and to the dignity of Provincial, seemed to dispute the honor of this invention, both with Brother Hercules and even with Cato himself:
We must allow, at least, that nobody was more anxious for the execution of the project than he was. He had already submitted his ideas to Baron Knigge, and he applies a new to Weishaupt. He even despairs of ever bringing men to the grand object of the order without the support of the female adepts. Indeed, so ardent is his zeal, that he makes an offer of his own wife and his four daughters-in-law to be the first adepts.
The eldest was exactly the person for the philosophized sisterhood; she was four-and-twenty years of age, and with respect to religion her ideas were far above those of her sex; they were modeled on her father’s.
He had attained to the degrees of Regent and Prince of the Illuminees, and she would have been Regent and Princess. In the higher mysteries, together with Ptolemy’s wife, we should have seen the one corresponding with her father, the other with her husband.
These illuminized Princesses would be the only two persons of the order who should know that they were all under the direction of men. They would preside over the trials and receptions of Minerals and would initiate those whom they judged worthy into the grand projects of the sisterhood for the reform of governments and the happiness of mankind.
But, notwithstanding all the plans and zeal of the Brethren, it does not appear that the legislator ever consented to the establishment of the Sisterhood. Yet he supplied the want of such an institution by secret instructions which he gave the Regents on the means of making the influence of women over men subservient to the order, without initiating them in any of the secrets.
He says, that the fair sex having the greatest part of the world at their disposition, “no study was more worthy of the adept than the art of flattery in order to gain them; that they were all more or less led by vanity, curiosity, the pleasures or the love of novelty; that it was on that side they were to be attacked, and by that they were to be rendered serviceable to the order.”
He nevertheless continued to exclude great talkers and women from all the degrees, nor was the sixth article of his instructions for the Insinuator rescinded.
Notwithstanding all these exclusions, the legislator leaves a sufficient scope wherein the Insinuator may exercise his zeal. He recommends generally young men of all stations from eighteen to thirty; but more particularly those whose educations were not completed, either because he thought they would more easily imbibe his principles, or would be more grateful and more zealous for doctrines for which they were indebted solely to him.
But this preference is not an exclusion for men of a certain age, provided they are not past service and are already imbued with the principles of Illuminism.
This, however, chiefly regards those persons whose rank in life can give a consequence and afford protection to the order. The Recruiters are particularly instructed to insinuate themselves into the good opinion of such persons, and if possible to entice them into the Order.
There is yet another species of men, who have speech as it were at command; such are attornies, counselors, and even physicians. “Those are worth having,” says Weishaupt; “but they are sometimes real devils, so difficult are they to be led; they, however, are worth having when they can be gained over.
The Insinuator is also to admit artists, mechanics of all professions, painters, engravers, white-smiths, and blacksmiths; but above all booksellers, those who keep post-horses, and school-masters. Hereafter the reader will see the use for which these men were intended.
To yet another class of men our legislator often calls the attention of the Insinuator: “Seek me out, for example,” says Weishaupt, “the dexterous and dashing youths. We must have adepts who are insinuating, intriguing, full of resource, bold and enterprising; they must also be flexible and tractable, obedient, docile, and sociable. Seek out also those who are distinguished by their power, nobility, riches, or learning, nobles, potentes, divites, doctors, quærite—Spare no pains, spare nothing in the acquisition of such adepts. If heaven refuses its abidance, conjure hell.
“Flectere si nequeas superos, Acheronta moveto.”
With respect to religions, he prefers the disciples of Luther and Calvin to the Roman Catholics and greatly prefers the former to the latter. This distinction should alone suffice to open the eyes of many who wish to persuade themselves that the whole of the revolutionary fury is aimed at the Roman Catholic religion.
This motley crew certainly did the Catholics the honor of directing their shafts more pointedly at them, as strenuous opponents of their impiety and of their religious and civil anarchy; but was it to preserve the Protestant religion that Weishaupt gives them such a preference, in hopes of making them subservient to his plots?
That he did give such a preference cannot be doubted, when we see him expressly writing to an adept whom he had commissioned to look out for a person proper to be received into the higher mysteries and to found a new colony of Illuminees—were this man a Protestant I should like him much better.—Wäre es ein Protestant, so wäre es mir um so Lieber.
Weishaupt’s most famous adept constantly manifests the same predilection; he even wishes to retrench certain parts of the mysteries that he may not alarm the Catholics and seems always to hint at Frederic the IId’s saying, We Protestants go on brisker.
Most certainly this proves beyond a possibility of doubt, that the destruction of all Protestant laws, whether civil or religious, had a place in their plans. Nor were the Protestants of Germany the dupes of such a policy, as many of the most determined antagonists of Illuminism were of that religion.
Further, he wishes to entice men into his order who have fixed residences in towns, such as merchants and canons, who might assiduously propagate his doctrines, and establish them in their neighbourhoods.
The Recruiter must use every art (for an obvious reason) to engage schoolmasters, and to insinuate his doctrines into, and gain adepts in the military academies, and other places of education; he is even to attempt the seduction of the superiors of ecclesiastical seminaries.
“He will spare no trouble to gain the Prince’s officers, whether presiding over provinces, or attending him in his councils. He that has succeeded in this has done more,” says the code, “than if he had engaged the Prince himself. 23 In fine, the Provincial, or the chief Insinuator, is to recruit every thing that can be tainted with Illuminism, or can be serviceable to its cause.”
The following extraordinary instructions are also given by Weishaupt respecting the choice of adepts: “Above all things (he says to his Insinuators) pay attention to the figure, and select the well-made men and handsome young fellows.
They are generally of engaging manners and nice feelings. When properly formed, they are the best adapted for negotiations; for first appearances prepossess in their favour. It is true, they have not the depth that men of more gloomy countenances often have. They are not the persons to be entrusted with a revolt, or the care of stirring up the people; but it is for that very reason that we must know how to chuse our agents. I am particularly fond of those men whose very soul is painted in their eyes, whose foreheads are high, and whose countenances are open.
Above all, examine well the eyes, for they are the very mirrors of the heart and soul. Observe the look, the gait, the voice. Every external appearance leads us to distinguish those who are fit for our school.”
“Select those in particular who have met with misfortunes, not from accidents, but by some act of injustice; that is to say, in other words, the discontented; for such are the men to be called into the bosom of Illuminism, as into their proper asylum.”
Let not the reader already exclaim, How deep are the views of this illuminizing Sophister? How has he foreseen every point! With what discernment does he lay his snares to entrap those who are to be the future agents of his plots!
The reader has as yet seen merely a schedule of those persons who may be admitted or rejected; but that does not sufficiently secure the order with respect to the elections which the Insinuator may have made. Before he undertakes the initiation of any person whom he may have thought proper, he is to make a statement from his diary of every thing that he may have observed with respect to his morals, opinions, conduct, and even of his connections in life. He is to submit this statement to his superiors, who will compare it with the notes they are already in possession of, or may acquire from other adepts, respecting the candidate, or even with a new statement, in case they judge the last to be insufficient.
Even when the choice made by the Insinuator is approved of, all is not settled; the superiors have to determine which of the Insinuators is to be entrusted with the care of enticing the approved person into the Order: for all this is foreseen in the code. It is not allowed to all the brethren to exercise promiscuously so important a trust among the prophane, though they may have pointed out the person proper for reception.
The young adept is not to measure his strength with the man who has the advantage over him in years and experience, nor is the tradesman to undertake the magistrate. The superior is to name the most proper Insinuator, judging from the circumstances, age, merits, dignities, or talents of the future candidate.
At length, when the mission is given, the Insinuator begins to lay his snares.—Such is the second part of this extraordinary functionary, and all his subsequent steps are regulated by the code.
Candidate, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, means a person who has shown a desire or taken some steps into some order, or to acquire some dignity. In Illuminism it means the person on whom the Order has fixed its attention. It often happens, that the candidate is ignorant of the very existence of the sect. It is the Insinuator’s business to inspire him with the wish of entering it.
To accomplish this grand object, two different methods are inculcated. The first is for the Insinuator who has some candidate in view remarkable for his science or of a certain age. The second, for him who is entrusted with young men from eighteen to thirty, and who are susceptible of a second education.
A third method was proposed for workmen, and those clownish fellows whose education had been but little attended to. We may observe Weishaupt consulting with his confidant Zwack on this part of the code; but whether it was never digested, or that he saw the Insinuators could easily supply the defect, no further mention is made of the third method. Let us then examine the essence of the first two.
To exemplify the first method, let us suppose one of those men who have gone through a complete course of modern Philosophism, who, should they not scoff at Christianity, would at least hesitate at every thing which is called religion; for the code forewarns the Insinuator, that his efforts would be vain should he attempt to seduce Philosophers of another stamp, men of sound judgment, and who would never be partizans of doctrines which could not endure the light of broad day.
But when he shall have discovered one of the former who has already pretty well imbibed the principles of the sect, he will assume the character of a Philosopher well versed in the mysteries of antiquity. He will have little difficulty in acting such a part, as he will find ample instructions in the code. To follow those instructions faithfully, he must begin “by descanting on the supreme felicity of being versed in sciences which few can approach, of walking in the paths of light while the vulgar are groping in darkness.
He must remark, that there exist doctrines solely transmitted by secret traditions, because they are above the comprehension of common minds. In proof of his assertions he will cite the Gymnosophists in the Indies, the Priests of Isis in Egypt, and those of Eleusis and the Pythagorean school in Greece.”
He will select certain sentences from Cicero, Seneca, Aristides, and Isocrates; and, lest he should ever be taken unawares, he will learn those by heart which the legislator has carefully inserted in the code. Though it would be very easy to demonstrate from those very authors, that the ancient mysteries laid down no fixed principles on the important points of the Providence of God, and of the origin and order of the universe, the Insinuator is nevertheless to quote those texts to prove that there exists a secret doctrine on these objects, and above all a doctrine calculated to render life more agreeable, and pain more supportable; and to enlarge our ideas on the majesty of God.
“Let him add, that all the sages of antiquity were acquainted with these doctrines; let him insist on the uncertainty that man is in with respect to the nature of the soul, its immortality, and its future destiny. He will then sound his candidate, to know whether he would not rejoice at having some satisfactory answers on objects of such great importance.
At the same time he will hint that he has had the happiness of being initiated into these doctrines, and that, should the candidate wish it, he would do his best to procure him the same felicity; but that it was a science gradually imparted, and that certain men possessed the talent of guiding him from a distance, of leading him to the discovery of this new world, and that without being ever in his presence.
When the Insinuator has by such language succeeded in exciting the curiosity of his candidate, he must then ascertain his opinions on some particular articles. He will propose the discussion of certain questions in writing, and of certain principles, as the groundwork on which they are in future to proceed.
The code does not determine what these questions are to be, because they vary according to the political and religious dispositions which the Insinuator may have observed in the candidate. Should these dissertations noway agree with the principles of the sect, the Insinuator will abandon his prey. Should the sophisticated candidate, or the man of importance, be found properly disposed, he will be admitted to the very threshold of the mysteries. The Insinuator will simply explain the inferior degrees to him, and mention the divers trials which the order has dispensed with in consideration of his merit.
Notwithstanding the artifice observable in this method, it is still reserved for those who need only to be acquainted with Illuminism to adopt its tenets. But should the Insinuator be entrusted with a young candidate, or with one whose principles noway coincide with those of the sect, and who is yet to be formed; it is then that Weishaupt developer that immense theory of art and cunning by which he is insensibly to ensnare his victims.
“Let your first care,” he says to the Insinuators, “be to gain the affection, the confidence, and the esteem of those persons whom you are to entice into the Order—let your whole conduct be such, that they shall surmise something more in you than you wish to show—hint that you belong to some secret and powerful society excite little by little, and not at once, a wish in your candidate to belong to a similar society Certain arguments and certain books which the Insinuator must have, will greatly contribute to raise such a wish; such are, for example, those which treat of the union and strength of associations.” The Legislator then carefully adds a list of those books, and the Order charges itself with the care of furnishing a certain number of them to the adepts.
The works of Meiners, and particularly of Bassadows, are frequently recommended by Weishaupt, as the best fitted to inspire their readers with the love and principles of secret societies. But nothing can equal the art with which he himself has drawn up the reasons, by the help of which the Insinuator is to persuade his young candidate of the pretended necessity for these mysterious associations.
“One represents, for example,” says the code, “a child in the cradle; one speaks of its cries, its tears, its weakness—One remarks how this child, abandoned to itself, is entirely helpless; but that by the help of others it acquires strength—One shows how the greatness of Princes is derived from the union of their subjects—One exalts the advantages of the state of society over the state of nature—Then one touches on the art of knowing and directing mankind—How easily, you will say, could one man of parts lead hundreds, even thousands, if he but knew his own advantages. This is evidently proved by the organization of armies, and the amazing power which princes derive from the union of their subjects.”
After having descanted on the advantages of society in general, touch upon the defects of civil society, and say how little relief is to be obtained even from one’s best friends,—and how very necessary it would be to support each other in these days. Add, that men would triumph even over heaven were they but united—That it is their disunion which subjects them to the yoke.—This is to be explained by the fable of the wolf and the two dogs, the latter of whom could only be vanquished by the former after he had parted them; and by many other examples of the same kind which the Insinuator will collect.
As a proof of what great and important things secret societies can effectuate, he will adduce the examples of the Freemasons, of the mysterious societies of antiquity, and even of the Jesuits. He will assert, that all the great events of this world are dependent on hidden causes, which these secret societies powerfully influence; he will awake in the breast of his pupil the desire of secretly reigning, of preparing in his closet a new constitution for the world, and of governing those who think they govern us.
“When you shall have got thus far,” says the code, “begin to show (as it were unguardedly) that you are not entirely ignorant of those secrets; throw out some half sentences which may denote it. Should your candidate take the hint, press him, and return to the charge, until you see him betray symptoms of a desire instantaneously to unite with such a society.
“The Insinuator, however, who has thus far succeeded in inspiring his pupil with such a wish, has not played off every engine with which the code has furnished him. To sound the very bottom of his mind, he will pretend to consult him as if he had been entrusted with certain secrets, he will make objections on the secrecy of these societies; but should they make too much impression he will resolve them himself. At other times, to stimulate the curiosity of his pupil, he will hold a letter in his hand written in cypher, or he will leave it half open on his table, giving his candidate sufficient time to observe the cypher, and then shut it up with all the air of a man who has important correspondences to keep secret. At other times studying the connections and actions of his pupil, he will tell him of certain circumstances which the young man will think he has learned by means of these secret societies, from whom nothing is hidden, though they are concealed from all the rest of the world.”
These artifices may be greatly abridged, according as the friendship or communicative disposition of the candidate shall have laid him more open; but on the other hand, should they not suffice, the Insinuator is not on that account to abandon his purpose; let him try to accomplish by others what he has failed in himself—Let him examine his own conduct, and see if he has not neglected some one or more of the rules prescribed in the code; let him redouble his attention and his complaisance. Should it be necesssary to humble himself in order to command, let not the Insinuator forget the formal precept of his legislator, “Learn also to act the valet in order to become master.” Auch zu weilen den knecht gemacht, um dereinst herr zu werden.
After such a long series of condescensions and discussions the candidate at length must pronounce. If he submit to all these insinuations, he is admitted among the novices of the order; but should he persist in his refusal, let him learn the fate which awaits him from those who have experienced it. “Unhappy, supremely wretched is the youth whom the Illuminees have sought in vain to entice into their sect. Should he even escape their snares, do not let him flatter himself with being proof against their hatred; and let him take care.
The vengeance of secret societies is not a common vengeance; it is the hidden fire of wrath. It is irreconcilable, and scarcely ever does it cease the pursuit of its victims until it has seen them immolated.” 34 Such at least is the account which history gives us of those who have been guarded enough to withstand the insinuations of the Sect, and particularly of those who, after having gone the first steps with the Insinuator, have refused to proceed any farther with him.
I could cite divers examples; though I once thought that I had met with one of a quite opposite nature, in the person of Camille de Jourdan, the same deputy who was to have been involved in the sentence of transportation against Barthelemy and Pichegru after the revolution of the 4th of September, but who luckily escaped from the grasp of the triumvirate. I hear him speaking in the highest terms of one of these Insinuators, who had for a long time endeavoured to entice him into the order.
He was much astonished at hearing me speak of these men as consummate in all the artifices of the most villanous hypocrisy. He maintained that his Illuminee was mild, modest, and moderate; full of respect for the Gospel, in a word, one of the most virtuous men he had ever known. In reply, I enumerated all the proceedings of the Insinuator, and the artifices he had played off before he quitted his prey.
To all that Mr. Camille answered, “It is true; such was his behaviour; but it was his zeal for the sect which blinded him, and made him have recourse to such expedients in order to work what he called my conversion; yet, with all that, it was impossible for any body to speak of virtue and religion in so impressive a manner as he did without being at least an honest man.
“Well,” said I, “I will venture to assert, that the last attempt of your Insinuator was as follows. He proposed to you to give your thoughts in writing on certain questions; you did so; your opinions proved directly opposite to his; he never saw you after, became your implacable enemy, and has never since ceased calumniating you.” “All that again,” answered Mr. Camille, “is very true; nor was it his fault that I did not lose both friends and fortune. Before that affair he used to praise me; afterwards, however, he represented me as a most dangerous man. You cannot conceive what lies he invented about me, and I was unfortunate enough to observe that they had made impression.”
Is it possible to be believed? Mr. Camille could not yet be persuaded but that his Insinuator was a virtuous man; so profound are the arts of hypocrisy which are to be imbibed from Weishaupt’s laws! I was acquainted with two bishops, who had as completely mistaken the characters of their Insinuators as Mr. Camille de Jourdan.
But I will cite the example of Mr. Stark. I never could conceive what this Mr. Stark was whom I saw perpetually abused by the Illuminees. Nicolai and Mirabeau spared no pains to render him odious to the Protestants in Germany; they said he had received the Catholic orders of priesthood privately, though every thing seemed to denote that he was a Protestant.
I took some pains to inform myself who this Mr. Stark was, and I found him one of the most learned Protestant ministers in Germany; that his zeal for his religion had acquired him the degree of Doctor, and had preferred him to be Grand Almoner and Counsellor to the Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt; but that in common with several other learned men, such as Hoffman and Zimmerman, he had had the misfortune of being sought after by the Illuminees; that he would not hearken to them; that the Illuminees had expressed a wish to have an Adept near the person of the prince, and that he had been bold enough to answer his Insinuator, “If you seek support, I am too little and my prince too great to protect you.”
And every candidate who will make the same resolute stand against the agents of the order must expect to be repaid with similar calumnies. The law of the order is invariable and precise, particularly with respect to those whose talents may be obnoxious to Illuminism. They must be gained over, or ruined in the public opinion. Such is the text, so soll man den schrift steller zu gewinnen suchen, oder verschreyen.
But it is now time to follow the candidate who has shown himself more docile through the various preparatory degrees.

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