It is not enough for the founder of a Sect of Conspirators to have fixed the precise object of his plots, the trials and degrees through which his adepts are to rise insensibly to the acquisition of his profoundest mysteries.
His accomplices must form but one body animated by one spirit; its members must be moved by the same laws, under the inspection and government of the same chiefs, and all must tend toward the same object.
Such a genius as Weishaupt’s could not be suspected of having overlooked in his Code so important a means of success.
From what I have already said, the reader will have observed what connection and subordination subsisted in the gradation of his mysteries; how all the adepts of a given town formed, notwithstanding the inequality of their degrees, but one and the same academy of Conspirators, while each one labored separately at the overthrow of religion and the laws in the state in which he lived.
In this academy the Candidate and the Novice are under the direction of the Insinuator, who introduces them into the Minerval Lodges; these Lodges are governed by the Minor Illumines, who in their turn are inspected by the Major Illumines.
Next to these preparatory degrees follow the intermediary or Masonic degree, called the Scotch Knight; and his power extends on the one side over the Major Illumines, and on the other over the Illuminated Masons; or, in general, over all that part of the Order stiled in the Code the lower part of the edifice.
After these we meet the Epopts and Regents or Princes of the lesser mysteries, and lastly, in the higher mysteries, the Mage and Man-King.
The aggregate of all these degrees forms a complete academy of Conspirators, and impenitent ruin threatens the country where such a one exists.
The Magistrate and the Citizen may expect to see their property and their religion annihilated.
The Sect recognizes no country but the universe, or rather acknowledges none; the very term country is a blasphemy against the rights of man, against Equality and Liberty. What each member in his particular academy performs by himself, is performed throughout all of them by the Sect in general, and the combined efforts of the whole are regularly directed toward the concerted plan of devastation.
The Miners have received their instructions, that each may bore his subterraneous galleries, and lodge the chamber of his mines in such a manner that partial explosions may forward the views of the Sect, without endamaging the grand chamber, which shall involve the whole world in the premeditated explosion of universal destruction.
To produce this effect, general laws and mutual communications, common chiefs and directors are requisite. Each Conspirator, wherever his field of action may lie, must be certain that he acts in concert with his Brethren, that he will not be crossed in his plans, but on the contrary meet every where with support and corresponding agents.
Weishaupt was aware, that the farther the sphere of disorganization was to extend the more perfect should be the organization of his power.
The more eager he was to call down universal anarchy, and make it take place of all laws, the more did he wish to establish subordination, and concentrate the forces of the Order, the better to direct its motions.
To accomplish this, the oath of implicit obedience to Superiors was not enough.
It was not sufficient for the adept to have blindly submitted his life and fortune to the despotic power of unknown chiefs, should they ever suspect him of treachery or rebellion.
The Superiors themselves were to be bound by laws and principles common to all, that they might proceed in all points by a regular and uniform impulse.
It cost Weishaupt much meditation before he could perfect his plan of government as he wished. Five years after the establishment of the Sect, he writes “This machine of ours must be so perfectly simple that a child could direct it;” and still later he writes, “allow me time to digest my speculations, that I may properly marshal our forces.”
So preoccupied was Weishaupt with his speculations on the government of the Sect, that all his letters written to his principal adepts are replete with his maxims and political councils.
One must have heard or read them one’s self to credit the deep-laid villainy of his means and his infernal policy. Here is an example:
In the same letter which I have just quoted of the 15 Asphandar 1151 he gives two rules to be inserted among the instructions of the Areopagites
The one, to be on the reserve with Candidates from among the class of the rich, because that sort of men, proud, ignorant, averse to labor, and impatient of subordination, only seek admission to our mysteries in order to make them an object of ridicule and mockery; the other, not to take the smallest pains to prove, that Illuminism is in the sole possession of the true Masonry, because the best possible demonstration is to give none.
Let Weishaupt himself explain a third law, which is to make a part of his political collection.
“That we may be uncontrolled in our discourse, let our pupils remark, that the Superiors enjoy a great latitude in that respect; that we sometimes speak in one way, sometimes in another; that we often question with great assurance only to sound the opinions of our pupils, and to give them an opportunity of showing it by their answers.
This subterfuge repairs many errors. Let us always say, that the end will discover which of our observations conveys our true sentiments.
Thus we may speak sometimes in one way, at others in a quite different one, that we may never be embarrassed, and that our real sentiments
may always be impenetrable to our inferiors. Let this be also inserted in the instructions, etiam hoc inseratur instructioni. It would still have a better effect, if you gave in charge to our Major Illuminees to vary their conversation with their inferiors, for the above reasons, ex rationibus supra dictis.” These insertions of Latin are from Weishaupt, who frequently makes use of that language in his letters.
It is immediately after having given these principles of government to the Areopagites, the chief superiors of his Illuminism, that Weishaupt adds, “I entreat that the maxims which are so often to be found in my letters may not be lost. Collect them for the use of our Areopagites, as they are not always present in my mind. With time they might form an excellent political degree.
Philo has long since been employed about it. Communicate also your private instructions to each other, which may in time grow into an uniform Code.
Read them attentively, that they may become familiar to you. Though I know them well and practise them (und auch darnach handle) they would take me too much time to digest them systematically.
These maxims once engraved in your mind, you will enter better into my plans, and you will proceed more conformable to my mode of operation.”
Let the reader also profit of these instructions. They must bear evidence in my behalf while revealing all the monstrous artifices of the remaining part of the Illuminized Code. From these long meditated combinations, sprang forth that chain of laws which was to direct each Illuminée in all his proceedings.
We first remark in this government, as a means of subordination, a general division of command, as well as of locality. Each department has a particular Lodge for its adepts; each Minerval Lodge has a Superior from among the preparatory class, under the inspection of the intermediary class. In the second place, we find the division into districts which contain several Lodges, all which as well as the Prefect are under the direction of the superior of the district whom the Order calls Dean.
He is also subjected to the Provincial, who has the inspection and command over all the lodges and deanries of the province. Next in rank comes the National Superior, who has full powers over all within his nation, Provincials, Deans, Lodges, &c. &c. Then comes the supreme council of the Order, or the Areopagites, presided by the real General of Illuminism.
The same hierarchy is preserved in their communications. The simple Illuminee corresponds with his immediate superior, the latter with his Dean, and thus gradually ascending to the National Superiors.
These latter are in direct correspondence with the Areopagites; and they alone are acquainted with their residence. In this council there is always a member whose particular office is to receive and answer their letters, and to transmit orders, which gradually descend to the person or persons who are the objects of them.
The Areopagites alone are entrusted with the name and residence of the General, excepting in cases which I have already noticed, where particular confidence or remarkable services have gained for an adept the signal honour of knowing and approaching the modern Spartacus.
It is easy to perceive, from the very regulations of the first degrees, how voluminous this correspondence must be. Each brother, in the first place, as the natural Scrutator of his co-adepts and of the prophane, is bound to transmit at least one letter each month, with a statement of all the observations he has made, whether favourable or detrimental to the Order.
He is also to give an account of the progress which himself and his brethren have made; of the orders he has received, and of their execution; and he is each month to inform his higher superiors whether he is pleased with the conduct of his immediate superior.
Each brother Insinuator is to report the progress of his Candidates, and the prospect he has of adding to their number. Next, to swell the volume, come all the portraits of the adepts, the extracts of tablets or daily observations made on the friends or enemies of the Order: also the minutes of initiations, the characters and lives of the initiated, the returns made by the Lodges, those by the superiors, and an infinity of other articles which the Illumine is bound to make known to his chiefs. All this occurs without noticing the numberless orders and instructions which are perpetually transmitting to the inferiors.
Beside the secret language already explained, and of which the grand object was to render this correspondence unintelligible to the prophane, the Sect had secret means of transmitting their letters, lest they might be intercepted.
The Order styles these letters relative to their illuminism Quibus Licet’s (or to those who have a right). The origin of this appellation is the direction of these letters which consists of the two words Quibus Licet or simply the initials Q. L. When, therefore, we find in the Original Writings, that such an adept has been fined in such a month for having neglected his Q. L., it must be understood that he let such a month pass without writing to his superiors.
When the letter contains secrets or complaints which the adept chooses to keep from the knowledge of his immediate superior, he adds to the direction Soli or Primo (to him alone, to the first); this letter will then be opened by the Provincial, the National Superior, or will reach the Areopagites, or General, according to the rank of the person from whom it comes.
Next to these general means of graduated correspondence, come the meetings proper to each degree, and their respective powers. We have already seen, that those of the Minerval academy are regularly held twice a month. The Minor Illuminees, who are the magistrates of this degree, and the Major Illuminee, or the Scotch Knight, who presides in them, have no direct share in the government, farther than to inspect the studies and watch over the conduct of the young Minervals, and report to the lodges of the Major Illuminees.
It is in that degree that the authority begins to extend beyond the limits of the assembly. It is to the Major Illuminees that all the tablets or instructions relative to the brethren of Minerva are sent. Here these statements are digested, and receive additions and notes, before they are forwarded to the assembly of the next superior degree.
Here are judged and determined the promotions of the Novices, Minervals, and Minor Illumines; and also all differences and contests which may arise in the inferior degrees, unless the importance of the debate be such as to require the interference of a higher tribunal. They are the guardians of the first tablets and reversal letters of the
brethren.—As to what knowledge a Major Illumine may have acquired either relative to other secret societies, or to employments or dignities which might be obtained for adepts, he is bound to report it to his lodge, which will note it, and inform the assembly of the Directing Illumines or Scotch Knights.
When treating of the intermediary degree of Scotch Knight, I gave an account of their particular functions, and especially their charge of superintending the Masonic Lodges. The part they act in the general government of the Order chiefly consists in hearing all the Quibus Licets of the preparatory classes read in their chapters, even those of the Novices which had already been opened by the officers of the Minerval school: the latter having only the power of deciding provisionally on these letters.
The authority which the Scotch Knights exercise over this correspondence seems to give still more propriety to their denomination of intermediary degree.
Their Quibus Licets are directly sent to the Provincial Lodge, which is composed entirely of adepts initiated in the mysteries of the Order. But the Knights read all letters coining from the preparatory class which have not the distinction of Primo or Soli.
They classify and make extracts from all the Quibus Licets of lesser importance coming from the inferior degrees, and send the general extract to the Provincial.
To these extracts they subjoin a circumstantial account of every thing that is going forward in the lodges of the preparatory class, to which they transmit all the orders coming from the adepts initiated in the mysteries, even from those of the highest degrees with the very names of which they are unacquainted, and thus constitute a link between the two extremities.
Both the intermediary and preparatory classes, however, form but the lower part of the edifice.
The Prefects of the Chapters of the Scotch Knights are rather tools than superiors; they receive their impulse from the higher mysteries. It is there that the grand polity of the Order is to be sought for in the instructions laid down for the Epopt and the Regent, and these are the instructions which, beginning with those of the Epopt, demand our utmost attention.
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