By the great importance which the Sect places in the last mysteries of Illuminism, and the many precautions it has taken to conceal them from the public view, I am compelled to begin this chapter with candidly declaring, that every attempt to discover the original text of this part of the Code has been fruitless. Such an avowal, however, should not disconcert the reader.
Though the real text may be wanting, we have abundant matter to supply its place. We have Weishaupt’s familiar correspondence; we are in possession of the letters of many of the adepts who enthusiastically admired them; and the avowals are still extant of other adepts, who indignantly beheld such abominations.
Our judgement will be guided by laws laid down by Weishaupt himself; and the famous apology of this monstrous legislator will teach us how to appreciate them. Such materials are more than sufficient to supply the deficiency of the literal text. It is true, that the crafty cant and affected enthusiasm of the Hierophant will be wanting; but the substance of his declamation, the extent and monstrosity of his ultimate plots will lose nothing of their evidence.
Let us begin then by attending to their author, and from him receive our first impressions.
Weishaupt, when writing to Zwack, his incomparable man, and speaking of the degree of Epopt, wherein impiety and rebellion seem to have strained every nerve to disseminate their venemous principles against church and state, says, “One might be tempted to think that this degree was the last and the most sublime: I have, nevertheless, three more of infinitely greater importance, which I reserve for our Grand Mysteries. But these I keep at home, and only show them to the Areopagites, or to a few other brethren the most distinguished for their merit and their services.
Were you here, I would admit you to my degree, for you are worthy of it—But I never suffer it to go out of my hands. It is of too serious an import; it is the key of the ancient and modern, the religious and political history of the universe.
That I may keep our provinces in due subordination, I will take care to have only three copies of this degree in all Germany; that is to say, one in each Inspection.” He soon after writes again to the same adept:
I have composed four more degrees above that of Regent; and with respect to these four, even the lowest of them, our degree of Priest will be but child’s play Wogegen den schlechesten der priester grad kinder spiel seyn soll.
Before we draw any conclusion toward forming our judgment, let me recall to the mind of the reader those letters wherein Weishaupt declares, that every degree shall be an apprenticeship for the next, a sort of Noviciate for the higher degrees.
That these degrees were always to be in crescendo; in fine, that in the last class of the mysteries a perfect statement of the maxims and polity of Illuminism was to be given. Und am ende folgt die totale einsicht in die politic and maximen des ordens.
After such letters, the text of these mysteries is scarcely necessary. I know that these degrees were reduced to two for the last class of the mysteries; I know, from the agreement made by the founder and his intimate adepts, that the first was the Mage, or Philosopher; the other, the Man King.
I will start from these data, and shall not hesitate to say, that this monster of impiety and of wickedness imposes on himself when he speaks of degrees infinitely more important for the higher mysteries, or when he pretends that those of Epopt and Regent are but puerile in comparison with those which he reserves for his intimate adepts.
His execrable pride may flatter him with surpassing even the devils themselves, in his wicked inventions for sending forth the pestiferous blast; but their combined efforts could not suggest more hideous plots than those in which Weishaupt glories when calling them his lesser mysteries.
What! the vow of annihilating every idea of religion, even to the very name of a God; the plan for overthrowing every government, even to the obliteration of every vestige of laws, authority, or civil society; the wish of destroying our arts and sciences, our towns, and even villages, that they may realize their systems of Equality and Liberty; the desire of exterminating the greater part of human nature, to work the triumph of their vagabond clans, over the remaining part of mankind.
These vows and wishes, these plots and plans, have already appeared in the lesser mysteries, and his adepts must have been as stupid as he wishes them to be impious and wicked, if they have not seen through the web that veils from their sight the baleful abyss.
And, after all, it is not the object or the substance of their plots which is thus slightly veiled; the terms alone are concealed.
There only remains to say, that all religion shall be destroyed for the adoption of Atheism; every constitution, whether Monarchical or Republican, shall be overthrown in favour of absolute Independence; property shall be annihilated; science and arts shall be suppressed; towns, houses, and fixed habitations, reduced to ashes, for the reestablishment of the roaming and savage life, which the hypocrite, in his cant, calls the patriarchal life.
Such are the terms; and the scroll of this hideous pantomime needed only to be unrolled, to tell the names of those who were to appear on the gloomy stage of the last mysteries.
The adept had long since inhaled the deleterious air with which Weishaupt had spared no pains to surround him; and could he nauseate this, or turn away from these disastrous machinations, the gates of the mysterious pit were shut against him.
At such a sight nature shudders
The reader will cry out, None but monsters could have conceived or abetted such plots. Be it so; I will not contradict him; I only wish to name these monsters.
Behold Weishaupt and his profound adepts! The reader will find the proofs of this exclamation in their own writings.
Weishaupt, who divided his mysteries into two classes, also distributed his last secrets under two heads. First, Religion; which was the object of the Mages:
The other comprehended what he called his Polity; and he reserved it for the Man King. Let us separately investigate each of these degrees, commencing with that principle which he himself lays down, and from which he never deviates, that each degree shall be a preparatory concatenation of principles and doctrines, the ultimate tendency of which was to form the object of the last mysteries.
Such a principle is more than sufficient to demonstrate that the secret to be imparted to his Mages can be no other than the most absolute Atheism, and the total subversion of every Religion.
The adept, however, has already imbibed such horrid principles; and the secret consists in telling him, in plain terms, that it was toward that point the Sect had long since been leading him, and that in future all his thoughts, words, and actions, must tend to second the views of the Sect in their monstrous undertaking; that in the preceding degrees the name of Religion had only been preserved the better to destroy the thing; but that in future the very name would only be the expression of chimeras, of superstition, of fanaticism, supported by despotism and ambition, as a tool for enslaving mankind.
This explication is no vain fancy of mine. See Weishaupt confidentially writing to his intimate and incomparable Cato-Zwack:
I firmly believe, that the secret doctrine of Christ had no other object in view than the re-establishment of Jewish Liberty, which is the explanation I give of it. I even believe, that Freemasonry is nothing but a Christianity of this sort; at least, my explanation of their Hieroglyphics perfectly coincides with such an explanation. In this sense, nobody could blush at being a Christian; for I preserve the name, and substitute reason, denn ich lasse den namen, and substituiere ihm die vernunft.
He continues: It is no trivial matter to have discovered a new Religion and a new Polity in these tenebrous Hieroglyphics;” and he goes on to say, One might be induced to think that this was my highest degree; I have, nevertheless, three of infinitely more importance, for our grand mysteries.
Here then is Weishaupt’s decision on the degree of Epopt or Illuminized Priest.
It is Christianity preserving the name of Religion, with the Gospel converted into a Code by means of which Christ taught the Jacobinical Equality and Liberty.
Here Weishaupt is transcendent in his wickedness and his impiety; it is under the sacred name of Religion that he teaches his disorganizing principles of Equality and Liberty. After having led his Epopts to the pinnacle of Impiety, to what farther lengths can he possibly lead his Mage?
He may erase the names of Religion and God? And this he will do in his higher mysteries; for who can expect to find them when he says,
You know that the Unity of God was one of the secrets revealed in the mysteries of Eleusis; as for that, there is no fear of any such thing being found in mine.
After this, can the name of God be expected ever to be found in the mysteries of the Illuminated Mage for any other purpose than to be blasphemed?
We see this same Weishaupt reserving all the Atheistical productions for this degree; he writes again to his incomparable man:
With our beginners let us act prudently with respect to books on Religion and Polity. In my plan, I reserve them for the grand mysteries.
At first we must put only books of history or of metaphysics into their hands. Let Morality be our pursuit. Robinet, Mirabeau (that is to say, the System of Nature written by Diderot, though attributed to Mirabeau), the Social System, Natural Polity, the Philosophy of Nature, and such works, are reserved for my higher degrees.
At present they must not even be mentioned to our adepts, and particularly Helvetius on Man.
The reader here sees a list of the most Anti-religious and the most Atheistical works, and that they are reserved for these last mysteries.
As a preparation for them (horribile dictu!) the very idea of a God must be eradicated from the mind of the adept.
Can we doubt this, when we see Weishaupt thus write: Do put Brother Numenius in correspondence with me; I must try to cure him of his Theosophical ideas, and properly prepare him for our views.Ich will ihn suchen von der Theosophie zu curieren, and zu unseren absichten zu bestimmen.
The Theosopher, or the man still believing in a God, is not fit for these mysteries; Religion then must, of course, be irreconcilable with them. Were the consequences less evident, and should we reject these secret correspondences, or condemn the last oracles of the Hierophant to remain within the hundred bolts which keeps them hidden from the adepts; I say, even then, to ascertain what the tenets of the Sect are as to any worship or religion, we should not be necessitated to enter that den of mysteries.
Though Weishaupt had not mentioned Religion in his intimate correspondence, the Atheistical Conspiracy of his mysteries would be evident, and why seek private documents when he has given us irrefragable proofs of guilt in that which he publishes as his apology?
Two years after his flight, Weishaupt most daringly asserts, that the Systems of his Illuminism (as published by the civil powers) are but a mere sketch, a plan as yet too ill-digested for the public to form any judgment either on him or his adepts, from the Original Writings or his Confidential Correspondence.
He publishes a new Code, and calls it The corrected System of Illuminism, with its Degrees and Constitutions, by Adam Weishaupt, Counsellor to the Duke of Saxe Gotha. Here at least we have a right to judge him and his mysteries, both in his apology and his corrected degrees. But the reader will now view him in a new light.
He is not only the conspiring infidel, but the insolent Sophister, insulting the Public with all the haughtiness of the most daring Atheist, shrugging his shoulders in disdain at the rest of mankind, and with impertinent pity saying to us all, as he did of the adepts whom he had duped, poor creatures! what could one not make you believe!
I deign to cast my eyes on this apology, or the Illuminism corrected. He begins by telling us, that to have supposed him capable of composing so extensive a work in two years was doing him the honour of supposing him gifted with most extraordinary talents; and it is in such terms that the Sophister informs the public that he takes them for great fools.
Let the contempt with which he treats his readers be retorted upon himself; let neither him nor his accomplices expect to descend to posterity with any other distinction than as the phenomena of vice and infamy. Are we to crouch in token of homage before the men who insolently scoff at their God and at the public weal?
I know not whether Weishaupt needed extraordinary talents or not, though I grant him all the art and cunning of the Sophister; but most certainly he must have presumed much on the force of impudence when he flattered himself that the public would inevitably find that his corrected Code contained no principles but such as would elevate the mind and tend to form great men.
What I find is, that it is nothing more than a medley of all the arts of his original Code for the education or rather deprivation of his Adepts.
Did I wish to form a stupid atheist, this would be the work I should chuse to put into his hands. As early as the third degree, in place of a God reigning as freely as he does powerfully over this universe, I find the universe transformed into a vast machine, in which every thing is held together or put in motion by I know not what fatality, decorated sometimes by the appellation of God, at other of nature.
Again: did I wish to decorate with the name of providence a destiny which cannot annihilate a single atom without depriving the stars of their support and involving the whole universe in ruin, this would be the work I should recommend: I would give it to the narrow-minded adept, who, in a world where everything is said to be necessary, should still pretend to talk of virtue or vices, or who could comfort himself for all the harm which the wicked could do him, by learning that the wicked like the virtuous man only followed the course which nature had traced for him; and that they would both arrive at the same point as himself In fine, I would put it into the hands of the imbecile, who would call the art of making merry the art of being always happy (ars semper gaudendi); the art of persuading oneself that one’s misfortunes are incurable, or that they are all necessary.
But what reader will brook the impudence of that conspiring infidel, who, dedicating his mysteries as an apology to the whole world and all mankind der welt and den menschlichen geschlecht and pretending to prove that his original mysteries are not a conspiracy against Religion, puts a discourse in the mouth of his new Hierophants, whose very title characterizes the most determined one both against God and Religion; he calls it, An Instruction for the adepts who are inclined to the fancy of believing in or of adoring a God!
I know it may be also translated, An instruction for the Brethren inclining toward Theosophical or Religious enthusiasm.
But if both these translations be not synonymous in the language of the Sophisters, let the reader judge, from the exordium of the discourse, which is the most accurate.
He who wishes to labour for the happiness of mankind, to add to the content and rest of the human species, to decrease their dissatisfaction (these are literally the words of our Anti Theosophical Sophister), must scrutinize and weaken those principles which trouble their rest, contentment, and happiness.
Of this species are all those systems which are hostile to the ennobling and perfecting of human nature; which unnecessarily multiply evil in the world, or represent it as greater than it really is: all those systems which depreciate the merit and the dignity of man, which diminish his confidence in his own natural powers, and thereby render him lazy, pusillanimous, mean, and cringing: all those also which beget enthusiasm, which bring human reason into discredit, and thus open a free course for imposture: All the Theosophical and Mystical Systems; all those which have a direct or indirect tendency to such Systems; in short, all the principles derived from Theosophy, which, concealed in our hearts, often finish by leading men back to it, belong to this class.
In the course of his instructions, the reader is not to expect that Weishaupt will make any exception in favour of the revealed Religion, not even a hint at such an exception is to be seen.
The Religion of Christ is represented as a medley of the reveries of Pythagoras, of Plato, and of Judaism. It is in vain for the Israelites to believe in the Unity of God, in the coming of a Messiah; it is in vain to assert that such was the faith of their forefathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, long before they entered Egypt or Babylon; it is in vain to prove, that the adoration of the golden Calf, or of the god Apis, was punished by the Almighty as a prevarication of their Religion: Nothing will serve the Sophister; he will declare in his corrected Code, that the Religion of the Jews was but a modification of the reveries of the Egyptians, of Zoroaster, or of the Babylonians. To correct his adepts, he teaches them to cast aside the Creation as a chimera unknown to antiquity, and to reduce all Religion to two Systems.
The one, that of matter co-eternal with God, a part of God, proceeding from God, cast forth and separated from God, in order to become the world.
The other, matter co-eternal with God, without being God, but worked by God, for the formation of the universe. On these foundations he builds a general history of all Religions, and makes all appear equally absurd.
The reader might be tempted to think that these lessons had been composed before the hegira or rather proscription of the author of Illuminism.
They may have been compiled for one of those discourses which he declares to be of more importance than that of the Hierophant in the degree of Epopt.
He precisely follows the course which Knigge represents as the grand object of the last mysteries. He makes, after his fashion, a general compilation of all the schools of Philosophic and of its Systems; and hence he deduces Christianity and all Religions.
The result of the whole is, that all Religions are founded on imposture and chimera, all end in rendering man cowardly, lazy, cringing, and superstitious; all degrade him, and trouble his repose.
And it is thus that this Sophister, under pretence of his justification, daringly acts that part in public which before he had only ventured to act under the cover of his mysteries.
He sallies forth from his baleful abyss but to proclaim to the world what heretofore he had only hinted to his adepts in private, that the time was at length come for the overthrow of every Altar, and the annihilation of every Religion.
Are any further proofs necessary to demonstrate the object of the grand mysteries? The testimony of Knigge cannot be objected to, nor can Knigge pretend or wish to mislead Zwack when confidentially corresponding with him.
Both had signed the agreement of the Areopagites respecting the compilation of the degrees of Illuminism.
Let us then attend to these two adepts Philo-Knigge has been exhibiting all that he has done, according to Weishaupt’s instructions, in the degree of Epopt, to demonstrate that Christ had no other view than the establishment of natural Religion, or, in the language of Illuminism, the rights of Equality and Liberty. Knigge then continues: “After having thus shown to our people that we are the real Christians, we have only a word to add against Priests and Princes.
I have made use of such precaution in the degrees of Epopt and of Regent, that I should not be afraid of conferring them on Kings or Popes, provided they had undergone the proper previous trials. In our last mysteries we have to acknowledge this pious fraud; to prove, upon the testimony of authors, the origin of all the religious impostures, and to expose the whole with their connections and dependencies.
Such, reader, is that word to add, which was to be spoken only in the last mysteries of Illuminism!
That word against Priests and the Ministers of every worship! That word on the pious fraud, or rather labyrinth of impiety, in which the Sect had involved the Candidate on his first entrance into the Order, only to extricate him when he was judged worthy of their last mysteries!
The adept must certainly be of weak intellects, and his credulity must border on stupidity, if he has not in the degree of Epopt, and long before, observed whither they were leading him. But should he really be still in the dark, or could he view with indignation the artifices which had been used with him; if all reflection have not abandoned him; what will not the very term of pious fraud discover to him?
Will it not recall to his mind, “that on the first invitations of the Sect, to entice him into their Order, they began by telling him, that nothing contrary to Religion would ever enter the projects of the Order?
Does he not remember, that this declaration was repeated on his admission into the novitiate, and reiterated when he was received into the minerval academy?
Has he forgotten how strongly the sect enforced the study of morality and of virtue in the first degrees, and how carefully it isolated both from religion?
When pouring forth its encomium on religion, did not the Sect insinuate, that true Religion widely differed from those mysteries and worship which had degenerated in the hands of the priesthood?
Does he remember with what art and affected respect it spoke of Christ and his Gospel in the degrees of Major Illuminee, of Scotch Knight, and of Epopt; how the Gospel was insensibly metamorphosed into illuminized reason, its morality into that of Nature; and from a moral, reasonable, and natural religion, how a religion and a morality of the rights of man, of Equality and Liberty, were deduced?
Does he reflect how all the different parts of this system and opinions of the Sect were insinuated to him, how naturally they occurred and appeared to have been fostered in his own breast?
Could not the Sect say to him, ’tis true, we put you on the way, but you were much more earnest in solving our questions than we in answering yours.
When, for example, we asked whether the religions which nations had adopted fulfilled the objects for which they were intended; whether the pure and simple religion of Christ was really that which different Sects professed at this present day, we knew what to believe, but we wished to know how far you had inhaled our principles.
We had a multitude of prejudices to conquer in you, before we could succeed in persuading you that the pretended Religion of Christ was but an invention of Priestcraft, imposture, and tyranny. If such be the case with the much-admired and loudly proclaimed Gospel, what are we to think of all other religions? Learn, then, that they are all founded on fiction, all originate in imposition, error, imposture, and chimera.
Such is our secret. All the windings we made; the hypotheses we assumed; the promises set forth; the panegyric pronounced on Christ and his secret schools; the fable, of Masonry being for a long time in possession of his true doctrines, and our Order being at present sole depositary of his mysteries, can no longer be subjects of surprise. If, to overturn Christianity and every Religion, we pretended solely to possess true Christianity, the true Religion, remember that the end sanctifies the means, that the sage must make use of all those means for good purposes, which the wicked do for evil.
The means we have employed to rid you, and which we continue in order to rid mankind of all Religion, are but a pious fraud, which we always meant to reveal to you when admitted to the degree of Mage, or of Illuminized Philosopher!
To these reflections on the word to be added in the last mysteries (sufficiently demonstrated by the ascension of the degrees, by Weishaupt’s apology, by his intimate correspondence, and that of his most perfect adepts) let us subjoin the avowal of a man little calculated indeed for a Member of such an abominable tribe, but who has better than any person known how to tear the mask from their hideous countenances, and expose their wickedness.
I am acquainted with his real name; I am aware that it would greatly add to the confidence of the public; but I also know that could Illuminism discover his asylum, it would follow him to drink his blood, though it were to the southern pole. He is then entitled to secrecy; till now it has been observed, nor will I be the first to infringe his right.
The Germans have paid him homage, and, ignorant of his name, they have surnamed him Biederman, or Man of Honour; at least, it is under that denomination that his works are generally cited.
All that I can say in addition to what the public is already in possession of respecting this gentleman is that nothing could have induced him to continue so disgusting a course, but a zeal for the public welfare, and a just opinion, that the only means of preventing the effects of the conspiracy of the Sect was to make their machinations public.
Having passed through all the degrees, he was at length admitted to the last mysteries. He published those of Epopt or Priest, and of Regent, under the title of Last Works of Philo and Spartacus.
He subjoined the instructions belonging to those degrees, with a Critical History of all the Degrees of Illuminism.
Had I no other guarantee of the veracity of his assertions, than their glaring coincidence with the original writings, which is beyond all doubt with the attentive investigator, I should not hesitate in declaring him to be the man that has given the truest account, and was best acquainted with the Sect.
The certificate at the head of the degree of Epopt and Regent, for a more perfect knowledge of which the public is indebted to him, I look upon as undoubtedly genuine.
I know a person who has seen and read this certificate in the original, in Philo-Knigge’s own handwriting, and who has seen the seal of the Order attached to this certificate.
I thus particularize because the public is entitled, in discussions of this importance, to know how far I have extended my researches, and how far the grounds I work upon deserve to be credited.
The passage I am about to quote is looked upon as fundamental by all German authors; it is from Biederman, and occurs near the end of his Critical History: With respect to the two degrees of Mage and of Man King, there is no reception, that is to say, there are no ceremonies of initiation.
Even the Elect are not permitted to transcribe these degrees, they only hear them read; and that is the reason why I do not publish them with this work.
The first is that of Mage, also called Philosopher. It contains the fundamental principles of Spinosism. Here everything is material; God and the world are but one and the same thing; all religions are inconsistent, chimerical, and the invention of ambitious men.
Divers principles, continues the author, thrown out in the preceding degrees might in some measure point out the object the Sect had in view.
Certainly nothing could be better grounded than such a surmise Nature, so often united with God, represented active like God, following with the same immensity of power, the same wisdom as God, the course which it had traced; a hundred such expressions in the mouth of the Hierophant evidently indicated, that the God of Weishaupt was that of Spinosa or Lucretius, no other than matter and the universe; in fine, the God of Atheism. Let the Sieur D’Alembert assert, that nothing can be more opposite to Atheism than Spinosism; or let Spinosa say, that, so far from being an Atheist, he converts every thing into God; will such an excuse raise pity or indignation in the reader?
To deny that there is any other God than the world, is evidently denying the only being that can justly be called God.
It is laughing at men, to wish to make them believe, that the person is preserved because they do not dare destroy the name, at the very time that the name of God is only used as an agent for the annihilation of every idea of a Deity.
I think I have sufficiently demonstrated, that the first object of these grand mysteries of Illuminism, prepared with so much art and cunning, is no other than to plunge the adepts into a monstrous Atheism, to persuade all nations that religion is but an invention of ambitious impostors, and that to deliver nations from this despotism of imposture, and recover the famous rights of man, Equality and Liberty, they must begin by annihilating every religion, every worship, every altar, and cease to believe in a God.
Let us continue the declaration of Biederman, and the object of the last part of the mysteries (or the degree of the Man king) will be equally clear.
The second degree of the grand mysteries,” he says, “called the Man King, teaches that every inhabitant of the country or town, every father of family, is sovereign, as men formerly were in the times of the patriarchal life, to which mankind is once more to be carried back; that, in consequence, all authority and all magistracy must be destroyed.
I have read these two degrees, and have passed through all those of the Order.
How well authenticated soever this testimony may be, still one is loth to think that there could have existed men at once so absurd and so wicked as to take such exquisite pains to educate their adepts merely to address them in the end to the following purpose:
All that we have done for you hitherto was only to prepare you to co-operate with us in the annihilation of all Magistracy, all Governments, all Laws, and all Civil Society; of every Republic and even Democracy, as well as of every Aristocracy or Monarchy It all tended to infuse into you and make you insensibly imbibe that which we plainly tell you at present.
All men are equal and free, this is their imprescriptible right; but it is not only under the dominion of Kings that you are deprived of the exercise of these rights.
They are annulled wherever man recognises any other law than his own will. We have frequently spoken of Despotism and of Tyranny; but they are not confined to an Aristocracy or a Monarchy: Despotism and Tyranny as essentially reside in the Democratic sovereignty of the people, or in the legislative people, as in the legislative King.
What right has that people to subject me and the minority to the decrees of its majority?
Are such the rights of nature?
Did the sovereign or legislative people exist any more than Kings or Aristocratic Legislators at that period when man enjoyed his natural Equality and Liberty?
Here then are our Mysteries All that we have said to you of Tyrants and Despots, was only designed insensibly to lead you to what we had to impart concerning the despotism and tyranny of the people themselves.
Democratic governments are not more consonant with nature than any others. If you ask, How it will be possible for men assembled in towns to live in future without laws, magistrates, or constituted authorities, the answer is clear, Desert your towns and villages, and fire your houses. Did men build houses, villages, or towns in the days of the Patriarchs?
They were all equal and free; the earth belonged to them all, each had an equal right, and lived where he chose.
Their country was the world, and they were not confined to England or Spain, to France or Germany; their country was the whole earth, and not a Monarchy or petty Republic in some corner of it. Be equal and free, and you will be cosmopolites or citizens of the world.
Could you but appreciate Equality and Liberty as you ought, you would view with indifference Rome, Vienna, Paris, London, or Constantinople in flames, or any of those towns, boroughs, or villages which you call your country.
Friend and Brother, such is the grand secret which we reserved for our Mysteries!
It is painful indeed to believe, that stupidity, pride, and wickedness, should have thus combined to prepare adepts, who, attending Weishaupt’s Mysteries, could mistake them for the Oracles of true wisdom and transcendent Philosophy.
How many Jacobins and those pretended patriots of Democracy blush, when they learn the real object of the Sect which directs their actions; when they learn that they have only been the tools of a Sect whose ultimate object is to overturn even their Democratic Constitutions!
But in attributing such language to the Hierophant of the last Mysteries, what more have I said than the Illuminizing Legislator has already declared? What other can be the meaning of his Patriarchal or of his Nomade or roaming life, of those vagabond clans, or of man still in the savage state?
What Democracy even could consist with the Patriarchal life or the vagabond clan?
Where is the necessity for attending the last Mysteries, to learn from the Sect itself the extent of their conspiracies?
We have seen Weishaupt cursing that day as one of the most disastrous for mankind, when, uniting themselves in civil society, they instituted Laws and Governments, and first formed nations and people.
We have seen him depreciate nations and the national spirit as the grand source of Egoism; call down vengeance on the laws and the rights of nations as incompatible with the laws and rights of nature. What else can the Sect mean by saying, that nations shall disappear from the face of the earth, but the annihilation of all civil or national society?
Why those blasphemies against the love of one’s country, if not to persuade the adepts to acknowledge none?
Have we not heard the Hierophant teaching that true morality consisted in the art of casting Princes and Governors aside and of governing oneself, that the real original sin in mankind was their uniting under the laws of civil society; that their redemption could be accomplished only by the abolition of this civil state?
And when his frantic hatred against all government exalts his imagination, does he not enthusiastically exclaim, Let the laughers laugh, the scoffers scoff; still the day will come, when Princes and Nations shall disappear from the face of the earth; a time when each man shall recognize no other law but that of his reason?
Nor does he hesitate to say, that this shall be the grand work of Secret Societies.
They are to reinstate man in his rights of Equality and Liberty, in an independence of every law but that of his reason. Such he formally declares to be one of the grand mysteries of his Illuminism; and can the reader quietly sit down and think that all these declarations of the author of Illuminism, who must be superior to his Mysteries, have not the absolute ruin of every law, government, and civil society, in view?
Has he not seen the Sect anticipating those objections which evidence might have suggested against systems still more wicked than stupid; forewarning the adepts, that independence once more restored among men, it was not to meet the same fate it formerly had, and was never to be lost again; teaching that mankind, having acquired wisdom by its disasters, will resemble a man corrected of his errors by long experience, and who carefully avoids those faults which were the cause of his past misfortunes? Has not the reader heard him proclaim to his elect, that this independence once recovered, the empire of the laws and all civil society would cease; and will he still continue to disbelieve the existence of the most deliberate and most dangerous Conspiracy that ever was formed against society!
Should any of my readers be weak enough to be seduced by the imaginary sweets of a patriarchal life, so artfully promised by Weishaupt, let them receive the explanation of that life from these pretended Apostles of Nature.
At my outset I did not only declare, that the destruction of civil society was the object of their views; I did not confine myself to saying, that should Jacobinism triumph every Religion and every Government would be overthrown; but I added, that to whatever rank in society you may belong, your riches and your fields, your houses and your cottages, even your very wives and children would be torn from you.
I also rejected fanaticism and enthusiasm in my own and my reader’s name. I have said it, and adopting the simplest construction, do not proofs of the most extensive plots croud upon us from the very lessons of the Sect? Can common sense, nay can the strongest prejudice, refuse to admit such powerful evidence?
Let him who may wish to preserve his field, his house, or the smallest part of his property, under this patriarchal life, go back to the lesser Mysteries; there let him hear the Hierophant teaching the adept, that it would have been happy for man, “Had he know how to preserve himself in the primitive state in which nature had placed him!
But soon the unhappy germ developed itself in his heart, and rest and happiness disappeared. As families multiplied, the necessary means of subsistence began to fail.
The Nomade or roaming life ceased; Property began; Men chose fixed habitations; Agriculture brought them together.” What were in the eyes of the Sect the dreadful consequences of this deviation from the Nomade or Patriarchal life?
Why the Hierophant hastens to tell us, Liberty was ruined in its foundations, and Equality disappeared.
This Patriarchal or Nomade life is then no other than that which preceded property, the building of fixed habitations, of houses, cottages, or the cultivation of your fields.
It was this beginning of property therefore, the building of habitations, the cultivation of lands, which struck the first mortal blow at Equality and Liberty.
Should any one wish to return to the Patriarchal or Nomade life with such wretches as these apostles of Equality and Liberty, let him begin by renouncing his property; let him abandon his house and his field; let him, in unison with the Sect, declare, that the first blasphemy which was uttered against Equality and Liberty was by the man who first said my field, my house, my property.
It must be voluntary blindness, indeed, in the man who will not see the hatred conceived and the Conspiracies entered into by the Sect against titles or pretensions to, nay against the very existence of property.
It will acknowledge none, nor can it in any shape be compatible with their explanations of Equality and Liberty, or with that primitive state of nature which no more entitles you or me to the possession of this gold or silver, or that field, than it does a third person.
Here it is not simply the question of establishing the Agrarian Laws, where lands, riches, and other properties are to be equally distributed among all; it is not simply to abolish the distinction of rich and poor; no, every property is to be destroyed, that of the poor like that of the rich.
The first man who was weary of the Nomade, roaming, vagabond, and savage life, built a cot and not a palace. The first who furrowed the earth was in quest of bread and not of gold; but he nevertheless, according to the principles of the Sect, was the man who struck the first deadly blow at Equality and Liberty.
Poor or rich man then, according to the doctrine of the Sect, the field you have recovered from the waste, and that you have cultivated, belongs to me equally as to you, or else to nobody; I, though idle, and inactive, am entitled to the fruit of your labours; I have a right to share those fruits which you have raised on the land which I left uncultured.
Does not Equality disappear, whether it be a poor or rich man who shall pretend to be entitled to or say this field is mind, I have that property?
If the poor man has a title to his property, has not the rich man also one? Treasures and palaces are no more property than the cot or cottage.
Here an Illuminee spies want, there abundance; Equality and Liberty are every where banished; Despotism or Slavery is universal. Nevertheless, Equality and Liberty in his eyes are the rights of Nature, and he beholds them mortally wounded on the first appearance of property, when man became stationary.
Poor or rich, you all imbrued your hands in this foul assassination of Equality and Liberty when you pretended to property; from that instant you are both involved in the curse pronounced in the mysteries; you are both objects of the Conspiracies of the Sect from the first instant that you dared assert your right to your habitations whether cots or palaces, to your properties whether fields or domains.
But these cannot be the whole of the secrets; they are only those of the lesser mysteries. Weishaupt has revealed them to his Epopts; he reserves the grander secrets for his Mage and Man-King; then let any man rich or poor harbour, if he can, a hope of seeing the Sect respect his property.
Or rather, let him behold the Sect at present pillaging the rich in favour of the poor.
The last mysteries or ultimate conspiracy will take place; and then the poor man will learn, that if Illuminism begins by pillaging the rich, it is only to teach him that he is no better entitled to his property than the rich man was, and that the time is near when he will also be pillaged and fall a victim to the curse which has been pronounced against every proprietor.
The progress of this Sophism is worthy of remark. If we judge by its present growth, what a gigantic form will it assume for posterity!
The Genevese Sophister of Equality and Liberty, anticipating the modern Spartacus, had already dogmatically asserted,
That the man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, first took upon himself to say this is mine, and found beings simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society.” He then continues: What crimes, what wars, what murders, what miseries, what horrors would that man have spared mankind, who, tearing down the fences or filling up the ditches of this new enclosure, had called out to his equals, beware of hearkening to this impostor, you are ruined if ever you forget that the fruits belong to all, though the land belongs to none.
How many crimes and spoliations would Rousseau have spared the French Revolution, if, contemning so disastrous a paradox, he had said with more judgement and veracity,
The first man who enclosed a piece of land and took upon himself to say, this belongs to nobody, I will cultivate it, and from sterile it shall become fertile; I will follow the course which nature shall point out to me, to raise sustenance for me, my wife and children, and this land will become my property.
The God of nature, who as yet has given it to nobody, offers and will give it to him who shall first cultivate it in reward for his labour.
The first man who held such language, seconding the views of nature, and meeting with beings wise enough to imitate him, was the true benefactor of mankind.
He taught his children and his equals, that they were not made to dispute the wild fruits of the earth one with another, nor with the savage beasts of the forest; no, he taught them, that there existed social and domestic virtues far preferable to the roaming and often ferocious life of the Nomades.
His posterity was blessed, his generations were multiplied. If it was not in his power to avert all the evils, he at least destroyed the first of them, that sterility which stinted the very growth of life and drove the scanty population of the earth into the forests like wild beasts, and too often assimilated them to the lion or the tyger, to whom they frequently fell a prey.
Had the Sophister of Geneva held this language, he would not have exposed himself to the ignominy of being the precursor of Weishaupt.
But human imbecility has lavished its praises on this paradox, and have decorated it with the name of Philosophy!
The Bavarian Sophister adopts the doctrine of Rousseau, and the delirium of pride has only refined on the phrenzy of wickedness.
That which in the mouth of the master had been but a paradox in support of the wildest independence, becomes in the scholar (without divesting itself of its folly) the blackest of conspiracies.
It is now too late to say, that those were the wild chimeras of the Sophisters; at present we are compelled to say, such are the plots contriving against all and each one’s property, plots which have been awfully illustrated by the spoliation of the Church, of the Nobility, of the Merchants, and of all rich proprietors Let them be called chimeras if you are so determined; but remember, that they are the chimeras of Weishaupt, of the genius of conspiring brigands, of a genius the most fertile in sophisms and artifice for the execution of those plans supposed to be chimerical. What Jean Jacques teaches his Sophisters, the modern Spartacus infuses into his Illuminized legions, The fruits belong to all, the land to none. He farther states in his dark recesses, When property began, Equality and Liberty disappeared; and it is in the name of this Equality and of this Liberty that he conspires, that he invites his conspirators to restore mankind to the Patriarchal or wandering life.
Let not the reader be imposed upon by the term Patriarchal life. The illuminizing Hierophant speaks of Abraham and of the Patriarchs, of the father priest and king, sole sovereign over his family. He is not to expect to see the father surrounded by his children, exercising the sweetest of all dominions, and each child, docile to the dictates of nature, revering the orders and anticipating the will of a beloved father. No; this empire is as imaginary as his priesthood. We have seen in the degree of Mage, that the illuminized Patriarch can no more pretend to the acknowledgement of a God than can an Atheist.
We must then begin by withdrawing from the Patriarchal life that interesting sight of the father offering up to heaven the prayers of his children, sacrificing in their name, and exercising in the midst of them the functions of the priest of the living God.
In the next degree of the mysteries all his dominion over his children is to disappear, as his priesthood has already done. Nor was I afraid to assert in the beginning of this work, If Jacobinism triumphs your very children shall be torn from you. I now repeat it; all this pretended sovereignty of the father is but a conspiracy against the paternal authority. The proofs are extant in the codes of the Sect.
Here again is Weishaupt deprived of the glory of the invention. Rousseau and the Encyclopedists had long since told us, that the authority of the father ceased with the wants of the son; this was one of their principles of rebellion.
The man who invented his Illuminism only to convert it into the common sewer of every antichristian and antisocial error, could not leave your children in the dark as to these lessons of independence, though under the sanctuary of the paternal roof; nor with respect to the pretended right of governing themselves, and of acknowledging no other law than that of their reason, as soon as they were strong enough to disobey, or no longer needed your assistance.
Tell the illuminizing Hierophant, that your children belong to you; it will be useless, for he has already answered, “The paternal authority ceases with the wants of the children; the father would wrong his children, should he pretend to any authority over them after that period.
This is but a principle laid down in the lesser mysteries. Follow up the consequences, or rather leave it to the revolution to develop such a principle.
The reader will soon see to what this authority of the father is reduced. Scarcely can the child lisp the words Equality and Liberty, or that of Reason, when the commands of his parents become the most horrid despotism, oppression, and tyranny.
Nor is the Patriarchal sovereign to expect any more affection than obedience from his subjects or his children. In imparting the doctrines of Equality and Liberty, the Hierophant had taught them to blaspheme the love of one’s family even still more than the national love, or the love of one’s country, as being the more direct and immediate principle of the most disastrous Egoism.
Let the father then enquire by what bonds his children still remain united to him, or how they are subjected to him, when, without fear, they may openly resist his Patriarchal power as soon as their feeble arms have acquired sufficient strength to gather the fruits which were to serve them as food.
No, this hellish Sect acknowledges no ties. All those of nature, as well as those of government or religion, were to be dissolved in Weishaupt’s last mysteries.
The child, like the savage tyger of the forest, was to abandon his parents when strong enough to go alone in quest of his prey. And this is what the Sect calls restoring man to his primitive state of nature, to the Patriarchal life, to those days when filial piety compensated for all the necessary laws of civil society. Yes, it is by the most abandoned depravation of all morals, by the extinction of the purest and justest sentiments of nature, that these conspirators consummate their last mysteries. In the name of Equality and Liberty, they abjure the love and authority of their country; in that name they curse the authority and love of their own family.
As I proceed in revealing these plots, I know not whether the reader does not frequently ask himself, What then can these men want?
Have they not fortunes to preserve in our state of society? Have they not children in their families? Can they be conspiring against themselves?
Or, are they ignorant that their conspiracies will fall back upon themselves?
Those who can propose such questions are little acquainted with the enthusiasm of error when inflated by the spirit of independence and pride, of impiety and jealousy.
They have not, like us, heard the cant of the heroes, demi-heroes, and sans-culottes of the revolution.
They will be equal and free; they will it above all things.
It must cost them many sacrifices, but they are ready to make them.
They will lose their fortunes in the pursuit, but you will not preserve yours.
He that served will become the equal, nor will he recognize either God or man above him.
Have we not seen the prince of the fallen angels exclaiming in his pride, Here at least We shall be free.
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice.
To reign is worth ambition, tho’ in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.
It is not to one of Weishaupt’s adepts that the ties of nature are to be objects.
He must be as heedless of the duty he owes to his parents as of the affection due to his children, or the baleful consequences of the mysteries cannot affect him. Can the reader have forgotten the precept laid down for the Insinuators or Recruiters?
The principles; look always to the principles, never to the consequences. Or, in other words, strenuously support and insist upon these great principles of Equality and Liberty; never be frightened or stopped by their consequences, however disastrous they may appear.
These wretches, blinded by their pride, do not know, then, that one single consequence proved to be false, contrary to nature, or hurtful to mankind, is a sufficient demonstration that both nature and truth hold the principle in detestation as the prime mover of these disasters.
These madmen, with all the confidence of an atheistical Condorcet, when once become the adepts of Weishaupt, will exclaim even in the very tribune of the National Assembly, Perish the universe, but may the principle remain! They will not see, that this principle of Equality and Liberty, devastating human nature, cannot be an Equality and Liberty congenial to mankind.
These unhappy men fall victims, perishing under the axe of these disorganizing principles, and spend their last breath in crying, Equality and liberty for ever.
No; they are all ignorant of the power of error stimulated by pride, who could think of counteracting the plots of the Sect by the cries of nature, or even by the self-interest of the illuminized adept.
They have not sufficiently comprehended the artifice with which the Hierophant insinuates, vivifies, and inflames the enthusiastic zeal of his adepts.
The reader may rest assured, that villany never slumbers; it watches incessantly the opportunity for the completion of its views.
It will persuade the imbecile adept, that all his wants are to disappear on the establishment of the reign of Equality and Liberty; that he will be as free from wants as the savage; that Nature shall provide for them; and this heedless adept thirsts after such an Equality. If the adept ruffian be taught that the fruits belong to all, though the land to none, he will easily find means of obtaining his share.
But am I really thinking of reconciling the adepts with their plots? What is it to them whether you see any agreement between them or not?
Villany, we all know, is replete with contradictions; but is it the less wicked on that account, or are its crimes less real? In vain would the reader object and say, What can these men want with their monstrous Equality, with their plots against our civil laws, our title to even the very name of property?
Must we then, to please them, abandon our habitations; must we renounce all arts and sciences, and end with burning our cities, towns, and villages, to follow them in herds like the savage and Nomade clans?
Are half the inhabitants of the globe to be slaughtered, the better to scatter these roaming herds?
What can be the object of those arts and sciences, and particularly of those Minerval academies of Illuminism?
Can it be for the propagation of science, or the involving mankind again in the disasters of barbarism, that all this parade of science is made?
Can these Illuminees resemble the Goths, Huns, or Vandals? And is Europe once more threatened with an inundation of barbarians like those which formerly sallied from the North?
In answering such questions, the reader may expect that I would put certain restrictions on the views of the Sect. Nothing like a restriction or qualification.
No; you must renounce all the arts, all the sciences; you must begin by firing your habitations, not only your cities, towns, and villages, in short all your fixed habitations, unless you stop the disorganizing career of the Sect.
Yes, wherever its legions shall be at liberty to act and accomplish the grand object of the Sect, there you may expect to see those scenes of plunder, rapine, and devastation, which heretofore traced the awful progress of the Huns, Goths, or Vandals; and this inference is fairly drawn from the very Code of the Sect.
Has not the reader heard the Hierophant insinuating the designs of the Sect upon the arts and sciences? Has he not taught the adept to answer, when asked what misfortunes reduced human nature to slavery, that it was civil society, the state, governments, and sciences?
Has he not heard him exclaim, When shall the day come when, the clod of useless sciences banished from the earth, man shall recognize no other but the savage or nomade state, and which the Sect styles patriarchal, primitive, natural?
Has he not declared, that the happiness and glory of the Sect would be at its zenith when, beholding those happy days, it could say, This is our work?
Are we to be duped by the name of Minerval Academies, with which the Sect decorates its schools?
Can we observe there any other study than that of applying the sciences to the subversion of science, as well as to the total annihilation of all religion or society, when we remark the anxiety with which the Sect puts the following questions to the adept on his coming out of these academies, wishing to know what progress he has made in its principles before he is admitted to the illuminized priesthood:
Do the general and common sciences to which men apply infuse real light?
Do they lead to true happiness?
Are they not rather the offspring of variegated wants, or of the anti-natural state in which men exist?
Are they not the invention of crazy brains laboriously subtle?
The reader has heard these questions, he has heard the Sect blaspheme science, and will he still believe that Illuminism recognizes any other sciences but those of the man-savage equal and free, roaming in the forests?
Have not the revolutionary devastations, the multitude of monuments fallen beneath the hatchet of the Jacobin brigand, already demonstrated the frantic hatred of the modern Vandals? But the mysteries elucidate this enigma in a clearer manner.
Reader, give vent to your indignation. Ask again, What can this Weishaupt be?
What are these adepts of Illuminism?
Treat them as barbarians, as Huns, as Ostrogoths; but see him smiling at your contempt, and teaching his adepts to honour themselves by imitating, and glory in the hope of hereafter surpassing, the disastrous devastations of those barbarians.
Do you know in what light the illuminizing legislator views these northern clans sallying from their forests and desolating the most flourishing countries of Europe, firing its towns, beating down its empires, and strewing the earth with ruins?
He complacently beholds the precious remains of the patriarchal race, the true offspring of Nature; it is with their hatchets that he means to regenerate mankind, and shape them out to the views of the Sect.
I did not note the lessons of the Hierophant on this subject, when lecturing the future Epopt.
Hear the account which Weishaupt gives of these clans, when he pretends to historify human nature, at that epoch marked in the annals of Europe as a scourge, and called the inundation of the barbarians.
Here is his description:
At that period when all Europe had fallen prey to corruption, “Nature, which had preserved the true race of men in its original vigour and purity, came to the assistance of mankind. From distant, but poor and sterile countries, she calls those savage nations and sends them into the regions of luxury and voluptuousness to infuse new life into the enervated species of the south; and with new laws and morals to restore that vigour to human nature which flourished until an ill-extinguished germ of corruption infected even that portion of mankind which originally arrived in so pure a state,” or those barbarians the pretended regenerators of Europe sent by Nature.
Such are the encomiums lavished by the Sect on the Goths and Vandals.
You thought it would be offending this illuminized tribe to compare them to barbarians; whereas they glory in the comparison.
History has described these northern clans as carrying every where fire and sword, as ravaging countries, firing towns, destroying the monuments of the arts, depopulating empires; their course is to be traced by ruins and wastes, and in their train appear ignorance and the iron age. But in the eyes of the adept this is not the exceptionable part of their conduct; on the contrary, it was by such means that they were to regenerate mankind, and second the grand object of nature. These barbarians leave the regeneration in an imperfect state; in time they adopt our usages and manners; they are civilized; the plains rise once more in fertile crops; society is re-established; science returns; the arts flourish under the protection of the laws; towns are re-peopled; the savage and primitive race, confounded among the citizens, is subjected to the same laws, and governments acquire their pristine lustre.
Here, in the eyes of the adept, is the grand crime of these barbarians; the Hierophant, deploring their fall, exclaims, Oh had there remained any sages among them, happy enough to have preserved themselves from the contagion, how would they sigh after, and ardently wish to return to the former abodes of their ancestors, there again to enjoy their former pleasures on the banks of a rivulet, under the shade of a tree laden with fruit, by the side of the object of their affections!
It was then that they conceived the high value of Liberty, and the greatness of the fault they had committed in placing too much power in the hands of one man It was then that the want of Liberty made them sensible of their fall, and seek means of softening the rigour of Slavery;but even then their efforts were only aimed against the tyrant, and not against tyranny.”
It is thus that the insidious and declaiming Sophister, but able Conspirator, leads the adept through the labyrinth of his lesser mysteries, not barely to imitate these barbarians, but to surpass their devouring rage, by constancy, perseverance, and the perpetuation of their devastations.
Thus are to be explained all those questions on the danger of reconquering Equality and Liberty only to lose them again. Hence those exhortations “to unite and support each other; to increase their numbers; and to begin by becoming powerful and terrible.
You have already done it, for the multitude sides with you,
The wicked, who fear you, seek protection beneath your banners.
Henceforward your strength will be sufficient to bind the remainder of mankind, subjugate them, and stifle vice in its origin.
Such will be the explanation of the revolutionary rage and madness which has levelled beneath its blows such a multitude of majestic and invaluable monuments of the arts and sciences.
The cry of indignation rising from every class suspends for a moment the sanguinary crimes of the Jacobin Vandal, and he even pretends to weep.
Wait, and the last mysteries shall be accomplished; wait, and you shall see the awful bodings of the Hierophant fulfilled, and with fire and sword shall he annihilate your laws, your sciences and arts, and erase your towns and habitations.
Here in particular is to be found the origin of that revolutionary ferocity, that thirst of blood, those insatiable proscriptions, those incessant executions, and finally those banishments more artfully cruel than the relentless guillotine.
Yes, the time draws near when they shall bind the hands, subjugate, and crush in their origin, what the Sect calls the wicked, or, in other words, all who are proof against their vile efforts; the time for subjugating and destroying every citizen zealous in the cause of Religion, or wishing to support the laws, civil society, or property.
Like Huns and Vandals, the Sect has begun its career; but it will carefully avoid terminating it like them; the devastations of its follower shall be perpetuated, and they will be Vandals to the last, until Religion, property, and the laws shall be irrecoverably lost.
Such atrocious plots are only the consequences of the lesser mysteries; but trust the author of the Sect, the modern Spartacus, for the further developement of them.
Has he not told you, that his last mysteries were but the consequences, a clearer and more absolute exposition of the foregoing secrets of the Order?
He informed you, that nations, together with their laws and social institutions, shall vanish, and that they shall disappear before the all-powerful arm of his adepts, or his modern Vandals.
What new secret then remains to be discovered, unless it be that no time shall blunt the sword or slack the unrelenting fury of his proselytes; that they shall persevere until the end of time in their Vandalism, lest Religion, society, science, arts, the love of their country, and respect for property, should shoot forth again, and overshadow the enormous growth of his Illuminized Equality and Liberty?
But Spartacus is not to be contented with these last secrets of the Conspiracy; his pride cannot endure that others should usurp the glory of the invention.
Hitherto we have seen him play upon the credulity of his adepts, inflame their zeal, and acquire their respect by the pretended antiquity of his Order; and successively attribute the honour of instituting his mysteries to the children of the Patriarchs, the Sages, even to the god of Christianity, and to the founders of the Masonic Lodges.
But now the time is come when the adept, initiated in the higher mysteries, is supposed to be sufficiently enthusiastic in his admiration of the Order for the chiefs no longer to fear to disclose the real history of Illuminism.
Here they inform him, that this secret society, which so artfully led him from mystery to mystery, which has with such persevering industry rooted from his heart every principle of Religion, all false ideas of love of the country or affection for his family, all pretensions to property, to the exclusive right to riches, or to the fruits of the earth; this society, which took such pains to demonstrate the tyranny and despotism of all that he calls the laws of empires; this society, which has declared him free, and teaches him that he has no sovereign but himself, no rights to respect in others, but those of perfect Equality, of absolute Liberty, and of the most entire independence; this society is not the offspring of an ignorant and superstitious antiquity, it is that of modem philosophy; in a word, it is of our own invention.
The true father of Illuminism is no other than Spartacus Weishaupt.
We must also perceive by many of Weishaupt’s letters, that this latter part of the secret, which attributed to him the whole honour of the invention, always remained a mystery to the greater part of his Mages and Men-Kings.
Those alone who, under the title of Areopagites, formed the grand council of the Order, were to be made acquainted with the real chief and founder, except in certain cases where an adept was judged worthy of so distinguished a mark of confidence.
Whatever merit the adept might boast, Weishaupt knew no higher recompense than to tell them in the end, “This general overthrow of the Altar, of the Throne, and of all Society, is a conception of my own; to me and to me alone is due the whole glory.
I have revealed the disastrous secrets of Illuminism; I have laid open the gradation and progressive degrees, the long chain of artifice, by which the Sect prepares its adepts for the last mysteries, to behold them stript of their veil without shuddering, and to embrace them with enthusiastic ardour.
We must either commit the Code of the Sect to the flames, and deny the truth of its annals; even refuse the evidence of the familiar correspondence of Spartacus Weishaupt the founder, and of Philo-Knigge the principal compiler; we must dispute all the agreements of its most arduous co-operators, or else must we wait, as the only possible demonstration, the entire and fatal execution of these disastrous plots, before we positively pronounce, that the sole object of their infernal plans and of their frantic wishes is no other than the total overthrow of every Altar, of every Throne or Magistracy; the annihilation of all authority and of all civil or religious society; the destruction of property whether in the hands of the rich or of the poor; and the very arts and sciences which can only be cultivated in civil society are to be banished from the face of the earth. Equality and Liberty, together with the most absolute independence, are to be the substitutes for all rights and all property: Our morals and social intercourse are to make place for the savage, vagabond, roaming life, which the Sect alternately decorates with the name of Nomade and of Patriarchal.
The means to be employed in operating this change will be found in the artifice, deceit, illusion and wickedness which the Sophisters are masters of, until the force of numbers shall have declared for the Sect; but when at length, powerful in numbers, the Sect shall have acquired strength, it shall not only bind hands, subjugate, murder, ravage, and renew all the horrors and atrocities of the barbarians of the North, but also surpass those Vandals in the arts of destruction, and without pity or distinction butcher all that part of mankind that shall dare to oppose the progress of the Sect, presume to heave a sigh over the ruins of religion, society, or property, or attempt to raise them from their ashes.
If I have not proved that such are the wishes, the secret machinations of the Sect and of its flagitious principles, let me be informed what is to be understood by proof, or what is to be the operation of evidence on the human mind.
Were it possible that any of my readers still consoled themselves with the idea that the frantic extravagance of these plots surpassed their wickedness, let them remember that I have still something more to say.
I have still to investigate the laws and interior government of the Sect, laws adopted for the destruction of every other law or government, and that it might hereafter prove, that however monstrous the object of the plots of the Sect may be, it was far from being chimerical.