by Douglas Reed
The publication of the Weishaupt documents came about by a chance as curious as that of the preservation of Mr. Whittaker Chambers's documents in 1948. They were only a residue, remaining after the bulk had been destroyed, for something of the IIluminati's doings and designs had become known before 1786, partly through the boastings of its members, partly through the disclosures of some who (like Mr. Chambers 160 years later) revolted against the company in which they found themselves when they comprehended its true nature. Thus the Dowager Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria in 1783 received information from former Illuminates that the order was teaching that religion should be regarded as nonsense (Lenin's “opiate for the people”) and patriotism as puerility, that suicide was justifiable, that life should be ruled by passion rather than reason, that one might poison one's enemies, and the like. As a result of this and other information the Duke of Bavaria in 1785 issued an edict against the IIluminati; the order was indicted as a branch of Freemasonry, and government officials, members of the armed services, professors, teachers and students were forbidden to join it. A general ban was laid on the formation of secret societies (that is, bodies which banded together without making registration, as the law required).
This interdict (which obviously could not be made effective; secret organizations cannot be suppressed by decree) put the conspirators on guard, so that (as the two historians of the Illuminati relate, Messrs. C.F. Forestier and Leopold Engel) “a considerable amount of the most valuable papers of the order where either carefully concealed or burned” and “few documents survive, for most of them were destroyed and external relationships were broken off, in order to avert suspicion”; in other words, the order went deep underground. Thus the documents which were found, in 1786, represent only a minimum. M.Forestier says that in 1784 (the last year in which it tended rather to vaunt its power than to conceal it) the order stretched from its Bavarian base “over all Central Europe, from the Rhine to the Vistula and from the Alps to the Baltic; its members included young people who were later to apply the principles instilled into them, officials of all kinds who put their influence at its service, members of the clergy whom it inspired to be ‘tolerant' and princes whose protection it was able to claim and whom it hoped to control.” The reader will see that this is a picture of Communism today, save for the allusion to “princes”; the number of these has diminished almost to nothing since 1784.
However, the papers which were found and published, if they did not show the full range of the Illuminati's membership and connections, especially in
None can believe today that this grandiose plan of destruction originated in the brain of one Bavarian professor, or resist the conclusion that (as Mrs. Nesta Webster suggests) Weishaupt and his allies did not create, but only loosed upon the world a live and terrible force that had lain dormant for many centuries.
When he founded his Illuminati, on May 1, 1776, Weishaupt was dean of the faculty of law at
The idea is presented with ardent fondness and the many ways of realizing it
are of high ingenuity. The accumulated experience of ages, in conspiracy, must have been drawn on and Mrs. Nesta Webster, in her search for the source of this morbid and perverse doctrine, found herself led back to the start of the Christian era and further. For instance, M. Silvestre de Sacy says that the method used by the Ismailis (a subversive sect within Islam in the 8th Century) was to enlist “partisans in all places and in all classes of society” in the attempt to destroy their professed faith and government; the Ismaili leader, Abdullah ibn Maymun, set out “to unite in the form of a vast secret society with many degrees of initiation freethinkers, who regarded religion only as a curb for the people, and bigots of all sects.” The achievement of Abdulla ibn Maymun, according to another authority, M. Reinhart Dozy, was that “by means such as these the extraordinary result was brought about that a multitude of men of divers beliefs were all working together for an object known only to a few of them.” These quotations exactly describe both the aims, methods and achievement of Adam Weishaupt and of Communism and they could be multiplied by extracts from the literature of the Cabalists, the Gnostics and the Manicheans.
The Weishaupt documents are incontestably authentic; the Bavarian Government unwittingly forestalled any attempt to cry “Forgery” (in the manner made familiar in our century) by inviting any who were interested to inspect the original documents in the Archives at
They revealed three main things: first, the aims of the society; second, the method of organization; and third, the membership, at least in a relatively restricted area (chiefly, the South German States). These three matters will be separately discussed here.
The basic idea, made abundantly clear in the correspondence between “Spartacus” and his pseudonymous fellow-conspirators, was to destroy all established authority, nationhood and religion, and thus to clear the way for the rise of a new ruling class, that of the Illuminates. The society's aims, as summed up by Henri Martin, were “the abolition of property, social authority and nationality, and the return of the human race to the happy state in which it formed only a single family without artificial needs, without useless sciences, every father being priest and magistrate; priest of we know not what religion, for in spite of their frequent invocations of the God of Nature, many indications lead us to conclude that Weishaupt had no other God than Nature herself.”
This is confirmed by Weishaupt; “Princes and nations will disappear … Reason will be the only code of man.” In all his writings he completely eliminated any idea of divine power outside
The attack on “kings and princes” was merely “cover” for the true attack, on all nationhood (as time has shown; now that the supply of kings and princes has given out Communism impartially destroys proletarian prime ministers and politicians); and that on “priests” was a disguise for the real attack, on all religion. The true aim, in both cases, is revealed in Weishaupt's own
correspondence with his intimates; the false one was professed to inferior agents of the society, or to the public if it ever got wind of Illuminist doings. Weishaupt's great skill in enlisting important people, who joined him in the belief that they were thus proving themselves “progressive” or “liberal,” is shown by the number of princes and priests who were found in his secret membership-lists.
The best example of his success, and of his quick adaptability of method, is given by the case of religion. His attack on religion was a much more daring and startling thing in his day than in ours, when we have lived long enough with open Communism to become familiar with a proposition which in Weishaupt's day must have seemed scarcely credible: that man, having once found his way to the idea of God, should of his own will retrace his footsteps!
Weishaupt's original idea was to make Fire Worship the religion of Illuminism. This was unlikely ever to bring recruits from the rank s of the clergy, and he hit on a better idea, which brought them in numbers. He averred that Jesus had had “a secret doctrine,” never openly revealed, which could be found by the diligent between the lines of the Gospels. This secret doctrine was to abolish religion and establish reason in its place: “when at last Reason becomes the religion of man so will the problem be solved.” The idea of joining a secret society of which Jesus had been the true founder, and of following an example set by Jesus in using words to disguise meaning, proved irresistible to the many clerics who then passed through the door thus opened to them. They were figures of a new kind in their day; in ours the Communist cleric has become familiar.
The Illuminist leaders privately mocked them. “Spartacus's” chief collaborator “Philo” (the Hanoverian Baron von Knigge) wrote, “We say then, Jesus wished to introduce no new religion, but only to restore natural religion and reason to their old rights … There are many passages in the Bible which can be made use of and explained, and so all quarrelling between the sects ceases if one can find a reasonable meaning in the teaching of Jesus, be it true or not … Now therefore that people see that we are the only real and true Christians, we can say a word more against priests and princes, but I have so managed that after previous tests I can receive pontiffs and kings in this degree. In the higher Mysteries we must then (a) disclose the pious fraud and (b) reveal from all writings the origin of all religious lies and their connexion …”
“Spartacus” happily commented, “You cannot imagine what sensation our Priest's degree is arousing. The most wonderful thing is that great Protestant and reformed theologians who belong to Illuminism still believe that the religious teaching imparted in it contains the true and genuine spirit of the Christian religion. Oh, man, of what cannot you be persuaded! I never thought that I should become the founder of a new religion.”
Through this success in persuading clerics that irreligion was the true faith and antichrist the true Christianity Weishaupt made great strides in
Weishaupt's attack on religion was the most distinctive feature of his doctrine. His ideas about “the god of Reason” and “the god of Nature” bring his thought very close to Judaic thought, in its relation to the Gentiles, and as Illuminism became Communism, and Communism came under Jewish leadership, this might be significant. The Judaic Law also lays down that the Gentiles (who as such are excluded from the world to come) are entitled only to the religion of nature and of reason which Weishaupt taught. Moses Mendelssohn,  as quoted in his Memoirs, says:
“Our rabbis unanimously teach that the written and oral laws which form conjointly our revealed religion are obligatory on our nation only: ‘Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob'. We believe that all other nations of the earth have been directed by God to adhere to the laws of nature … Those who regulate their lives according to the precepts of this religion of nature and of reason are called virtuous men of other nations …”
In this authoritative view, then, God himself excluded the Gentiles from his congregation and commanded them to live merely according to the laws of nature and of reason. Thus Weishaupt was directing them to do just what the Jewish god directed them to do. If the Talmudic rabbis had no part in inspiring Illuminism (and research cannot discover any) the reason why they later took a
directing part in Communism seems here to become plain.
So much for the aims of the Illuminati. They are those of Communism today, unchanged. As for the method, every baseness of which human beings are capable was listed for exploitation in the cause of recruitment. Among the papers were found two packets which particularly horrified public opinion at the time. They contained documents laying down the order's right to exercise the law of life and death over its members, a eulogy of atheism, the description of a machine for the automatic destruction of secret papers, and prescriptions for procuring abortion, counterfeiting seals, making poisonous perfumes and secret ink, and the like. Today, again, the contents of a Communist laboratory are familiar to any who follow such matters, but in 1787 the effect of this disclosure, in Catholic Bavaria, was like a glimpse of the antechamber of Hades.
Weishaupt's papers included a diagram illustrating the way in which he exercised control over his organization. It shows what might be a section of chain-mail, or of honeycomb, and is identical with the celebrated “cell” system on which Communism is built today. It is the product of an intelligence of the highest kind (and, obviously, of centuries of experience; methods of this sort cannot be devised without a long process of trial and error). The secret is that damage to such a structure cannot be more than local, the main fabric remaining always unimpaired and capable of repair. If a few links, or cells, are destroyed these can be made good in due time, and meanwhile the organization continues, substantially unharmed.
At the centre of this web sat Weishaupt, and held all threads in his hands. “One must show how easy it would be for one clever head to direct hundreds and thousands of men,” he wrote above the diagram, and below it he added, “I have two immediately below me into whom I breathe my whole spirit, and each of these two has again two others, and so on. In this way I can set a thousand men in motion and on fire in the simplest manner, and in this way one must impart orders and operate on politics.”
When the Illuminist papers were published most of its members first learned that Weishaupt was its head, for he was known only to his close associates. The mass knew only that, somewhere above them, was a “beloved leader” or “big brother,” a Being all-wise, kindly but stern, who through them would reshape the world. Weishaupt had in fact achieved the “extraordinary result” ascribed to Abdulla ibn Maymun in Islam: under him “a multitude of men of divers beliefs were all working together for an object known only to a few of them.”
The fact that each dupe only knew his two neighbour dupes would not alone have been enough to bring about that result. How were the Illuminates kept together? The answer is that Weishaupt discovered, or received from some higher intelligence the secret on which the cohesive strength of the world-revolution rests today, under Communism: terror!
All Illuminates took “illuminated” names, which they used in their dealings
with each other, and in all correspondence. This practice of the alias, or “cover name,” has been continued to the present-day. The members of the Communist governments which usurped power in
Weishaupt organized his society in grades, or circles, the outer rings of which contained the new recruits and lesser dupes. Advancement through the grades was supposed to bring initiation into further chapters of the central mystery. Weishaupt preferred the enrolment of young men at their most impressionable ages, between 15 and 30. (This practice also was continued into our day; Messrs. Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Whittaker Chambers, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess and others were all “netted” at their American or English universities). Other grades or degrees were added as the circle of recruitment widened, or especial obstacles to it were discovered; the example of religion has already been given, and in this case also Communism, by making use of the suggestion that Jesus was the first Communist, has followed Weishaupt's precedent, merely changing “Illuminist” to “Communist.” In this approach to prospective members the manner of the invitation, “Will you walk into my parlour?,” was varied to meet individual cases.
The young men who were recruited for the conspiracy were sworn in with much intimidating ceremonial, including a significant mockery of the Christian sacrament. They were required to supply a dossier about their parents, listing their “dominant passions,” and to spy on each other. Both these ideas are basic in Communism and one possibly original source of them is the “Mosaic Law,” where the obligation to denounce kinsfolk who incur suspicion of heresy, and to place “a guard upon my guard,” is included in the “statutes and judgments.”
The young Illuminate was made to feel that he would never know how many eyes of unknown superiors might be on him (he only knew his immediate superiors); he was taught to inform on those around him and inferred that they informed on him. This is the basic principle of terror, which can never be completely established merely by killing, torture or imprisonment; only the knowledge that he can trust no man, not his own son or father or friend, reduces the human victim to utter submission. Since Weishaupt's day this secret terror has been resident in the West. Those who have no personal experience of it may gain understanding of the power it wields in our day, even many thousands of miles from its central headquarters, by reading Mr. Whittaker Chambers's description of his flight into concealment after he resolved to break with his Communist masters.
As to the membership of the Illuminati, the papers discovered showed that, after ten years of existence, it had several thousand members, many of them in
important civil positions where they could exert influence on the acts of rulers and governments. They even included rulers: the contemporary Marquis de Luchet relates that some thirty reigning and non-reigning princes had gutlessly joined an order, the masters of which were sworn to destroy them! It included the Dukes of Brunswick,
Above all others, it included the man who, twenty years later, was to write the world's most famous masterpiece on the theme of the youth who sold his soul to the devil. The inference that Faust was in truth the story of Goethe and Illuminism is hard to resist; its theme is essentially the same as that of Witness and other works which, in our day, have been written by men who escaped from Communism.
These lists were obviously not even complete, for the reason previously given, that precautions had already been taken before the Bavarian authorities raided the dwellings of Weishaupt's chief associates in 1786. For the same reason, the documents discovered only show a part of the area over which the Illuminati had spread; Weishaupt's own diagram showed that the secret order was constructed in such a way that detection should never uncover or damage more than a segment. It is possible, for the same reason again, that Weishaupt was but a group or area leader, and that the high directorate of what demonstrably was a world-revolutionary organization was never unmasked.
What is certain is that, although the Illuminist documents contained no names or other indications to show its power in France, the French revolution, when it began three years later, developed into an attack on all civil authority and all religion, exactly of the kind planned by Weishaupt and his associates. From that day to this writers in the service of the world-revolution (their name is legion, in all countries) have never ceased to deny all connexion whatsoever between Illuminism and the French Revolution; they artlessly argue that, as the secret society was forbidden in 1786, it cannot have had anything to do with an event in 1789.
The truth is that Illuminism, though forbidden, was no more extirpated than Communism would be by a legal ban today, and that its agents gave the French revolution those brandmarks which identify it as the work of the world revolutionaries, not of discontented French people. The acts of the Reign of Terror were of a nature unimaginable before they were committed, but they had long been familiar, in imagination, to the Illuminati. In what other minds could the idea have taken shape that the vessels of the sacramental supper should be borne by an ass in public procession through the streets of
have found birth?
“For the purpose of infernal evocation … it is requisite … to profane the ceremonies of the religion to which one belongs and to trample its holiest symbols underfoot”; this is Mr. A.E. Waite's description of the formula of black magic, and black magic and satanism were two of the ingredients in the Illuminist brew.
Weishaupt and his intimates, or perhaps his masters, proposed to enter into
The plan to acquire control of Freemasonry through Illuminist agents, and the success achieved, is plainly stated in Weishaupt's papers. First he records that, “I have succeeded in obtaining a profound glimpse into the secrets of the Freemasons; I know their whole aim and shall impart it all at the right time in one of the higher degrees.” At a later stage he gave a general order for his “Areopagites” to enter Freemasonry: “Then we shall have a masonic lodge of our own … we shall regard this as our nursery garden … at every opportunity we shall cover ourselves with this …” (i.e., Freemasonry).
This device of advancing “under cover” (which is still basic in Communism today) was the guiding principle: “If only the aim is achieved, it does not matter under what cover it takes place; and a cover is always necessary. For in concealment lies a great part of our strength. For this reason we must always cover ourselves with the name of another society. The lodges that are under Freemasonry are in the meantime the most suitable cloak for our high purpose … a society concealed in this manner cannot be worked against … In case of a prosecution or of treason the superiors cannot be discovered … We shall be shrouded in impenetrable darkness from spies and emissaries of other societies.”
Today's Communist method, once again, may be clearly recognized in these words; they could be applied to the “capture” of parties, associations and societies in our day without change of a syllable. The extent of Weishaupt's success is best shown by quotation from the lament uttered, five years after the outbreak of the French revolution, by the Duke of Brunswick, Grand Master of German Freemasonry, who had also been an Illuminate. In 1794 he dissolved the order with words of pained surprise:
“… We see our edifice” (i.e., Freemasonry) “crumbling and covering the ground with ruins; we see destruction that our hands no longer arrest … A great sect arose, which taking for its motto the good and the happiness of man, worked in the darkness of the conspiracy to make the happiness of humanity a prey fo
r itself. This sect is known to everyone; its brothers are known no less than its name. It is they who have undermined the foundations of the Order to the point of complete overthrow; it is by them that all humanity has been poisoned and led astray for several generations … They began by casting odium on religion … the plan they had formed for breaking all social ties and destroying all order was revealed in all their speeches and acts … they recruited apprentices of every rank and in every position; they deluded the most perspicacious men by falsely alleging different intentions … Their masters had nothing less in view than the thrones of the earth, and the government of the nations was to be directed by their nocturnal clubs. This is what has been done and is still being done. But we notice that princes and people are unaware how and by what means this is being accomplished. That is why we say to them in all frankness: the misuse of our Order … has produced all the political and moral troubles with which the world is filled today. You who have been initiated, you must join yourselves with us in raising your voices, so as to teach peoples and princes that the sectarians, the apostates of our Order, have alone been and will be the authors of present and future revolutions … So as to cut out to the roots the abuse and error, we must from this moment dissolve the whole Order …”
In this quotation the present narrative has jumped five years ahead of events, in order to show that one of the leading Freemasons of that generation, himself a penitent, identified the Illuminati as the authors of the French revolution and of future revolutions. Weishaupt's success in his declared intention of capturing Freemasonry from within, and the part then played by Illuminist agents inside Freemasonry in directing the revolution, could not be attested by a better authority than the Grand Master of German Freemasonry himself.
Under this injected influence Freemasonry, which was very strong in
Adam Weishaupt himself became a Freemason in 1777, the year after he founded the Illuminati, being received into a
“The Lodge Theodore de Bon Conseil at
with brains and hearts, was tired of being tossed about by the vain promises and quarrels of Masonry. The heads resolved to graft on to their branch another secret association to which they gave the name of the Order of the Illuminés. They modelled it on the Society of Jesus, whilst proposing to themselves views diametrically opposed.”
This is the exact intention and method described by Weishaupt in his own correspondence, and this is the proof that Mirabeau, the later revolutionary leader, knew of it at the time, that is in 1776. Moreover, his words suggest that the secret society of the Illuminati was founded with the express intention of gaining control of Freemasonry and of instigating and directing revolution through it. That Mirabeau was party to the whole undertaking from the start is suggested by the fact that the memoir of 1776 (the year in which the Illuminati were founded) ascribes to him the Illuminist “cover-name” of Arcesilas, so that he must have been a founder member, with Adam Weishaupt, and a leading Illuminate thereafter. Mirabeau, as the link between Weishaupt and the French Revolution, cannot be ignored. The editor of his Memoirs, M. Barthou, remarks that the “plan of reform” of 1776, found among Mirabeau's papers, “resembles very much in certain parts the work accomplished later by the Constituent Assembly” (the revolutionary parliament of 1789). That is another way of saying that the work of the Constituent Assembly very much resembled Adam Weishaupt's plan of 1776, when he and Mirabeau together were founding the Illuminati and planning together to gain control of Freemasonry.
The other stages in Weishaupt's underground capture of Freemasonry are also clear in the record. At the general congress of 1782 (seven years before the revolution) at Wilhelmsbad the Illuminati gained so many recruits that the Order of the Strict Observance, previously the most powerful body in Freemasonry, ceased to exist. The way to complete victory in the Masonic world was opened when the Illuminati enlisted the two most important personages in German Freemasonry, Duke Ferdinand of
In 1785 Illuminst emissaries attended another general congress, in
Even before the revolution had really developed, the fact that it was instigated and directed by Illuminism was known and published. The indictment and the warning uttered by the Marquis de Luchet stands out today as an astonishingly accurate prediction, not only of the course which the revolution would take in
early as 1789 he wrote:
“Learn that there exists a conspiracy in favour of despotism against liberty, of in capacity against talent; of vice against virtue, of ignorance against enlightenment … This society aims at governing the world … Its object is universal domination … No such calamity has ever yet afflicted the world …”
De Luchet precisely depicted the role which the monarch was to be forced to play during the Girondist phase (“see him condemned to serve the passions of all that surround him … to raise degraded men to power, to prostitute his judgment by choices that dishonour his prudence”), and the plight in which the revolution would leave France (“We do not mean to say that the country where the Illuminés reign will cease to exist, but it will fall into such a degree of humiliation that it will no longer count in politics, that the population will diminish …”). If his warning went unheeded, cried de Luchet, there would be “a series of calamities of which the end is lost in the darkness of time … a subterranean fire smouldering eternally and breaking forth periodically in violent and devastating explosions.”
The events of the last 165 years have not been better described than in these words of de Luchet, which foretold them. He also foresaw the “liberal and progressive” patron of the revolution who was to help greatly in bringing about the “violent and devastating explosions” of these 165 years: “there are too many passion s interested in supporting the system of the Illumines, too many deluded rulers, imagining themselves enlightened, ready to precipitate their people into the abyss.” He foresaw the continuing strength and clutch of the conspiracy: “the heads of the Order will never relinquish the authority they have acquired nor the treasure at their disposal.” De Luchet called on Freemasonry to cleanse its stable while time remained: “would it not be possible to direct the Freemasons themselves against the Illumines by showing them that, whilst they are working to maintain harmony in society, those others are everywhere sowing seeds of discord and preparing the ultimate destruction of their order?” 165 years later, in Britain and America, men were calling on their governments in just such words, and just as vainly, to cleanse the public offices and services of the Illumines, by then called Communists.
The measure of de Luchet's foresight is given by the fact that he wrote in 1789, when the French revolution was hardly a revolution; it was universally held to be merely a mild, health-giving reform which would leave the monarch a wise meed of power, amend obvious evils, and establish justice and freedom for ever in a happy, regenerated
Edmund Burke, an Irishman, was one of the greatest orators the British House of Commons ever saw. Time is the test of such a man's quality, and as the years pass the phrases of his attack on the French revolution ring ever more nobly; as in
de Luchet's case, the remarkable thing is that it was published in 1790, when the names of Robespierre and Danton were hardly known, before the word “republic” had been heard, when the king looked forward to long years of constitutional reign, when all France was joyfully celebrating the peaceful improvement that had been effected. Across this happy scene fell suddenly the shadow of Burke's outstretched arm, pointing “like an inspired prophet” to the doom to come. His biographer says, “It is no wonder that when the cloud burst and the doom was fulfilled men turned to Burke as they turned of old to Ahitopheth, whose counsel was as if men enquired of the oracle of God.”
Unhappily that is not a true picture of what occurred when Burke's warning was fulfilled. Very many men turned against Burke, not to him, precisely because he had spoken the truth; indeed, the power which the conspiracy even at that time wielded over the press and public debate is most clearly shown by the way flattery of him was suddenly turned into attack and defamation after he published his Reflections on the revolution. The Illumines, and the “liberal and progressive” organs and speakers controlled by them, had greatly counted on Edmund Burke, because he had upheld the cause of the American colonists a decade earlier. How could he support one revolution and attack another, they asked angrily, and Burke came under the kind of general attack which the united press, in our generation, keeps in its locker for any man who publicly demands the investigation of Communism-in-government.
Had Burke followed the “progressive” line, and pretended that the French revolution would help “the common man,” the flattery of him would have continued, but in that case nothing he said would have been of enduring value, or have been remembered today. As it is, the inspired words of his attack on the revolution have the imperishable gleam of gold: “It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound … The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of
If these words, too, were inspired prophecy (and in 1955 they look truer than they were even in 1790) Christendom and the West at least found an eloquent and noble mourner in Edmund Burke. For he knew the difference between “revolutions” as clearly as he saw the true shape of the event in
The Jacobin leaders directed the Reign of Terror and, as good Illuminates, used classic pseudonyms in the manner initiated by “Spartacus” Weishaupt himself: Chaumette was Anaxagoras, Clootz (described as a Prussian baron) was Anarcharsis, Danton Horace, Lacroix Publicola and Ronsin Scaevola. These terrorists, when they succeeded the Kerensky-phase, faithfully carried out the plan of the Illuminati, and by the killing of a king and the desecration of churches gave expression to its two chief ideas: the destruction of all legitimate government and of all religion. Yet even they were apparently only tools, for a contemporary, Lombard de Langres, wrote of that “most secret convention which directed everything after May 31, an occult and terrible power of which the other Convention became the slave and which was composed of the prime initiates of Illuminism. This power was above Robespierre and the committees of the government … it was this occult power which appropriated to itself the treasures of the nation and distributed them to the brothers and friends who had helped on the great work.”
It is this picture of men in high places doing the will of some hidden, but palpably directing, supreme sect that gives the revolution the aspect of a demoniac puppet-show, played against flickering red flames amid the odour of brimstone. The revolution, not the French revolution; whatever the true nature of the English one, since 1789 there has only been one, continuous revolution. There have not been episodic, disconnected outbreaks, in 1848 and 1905 and so on, but those recurrent eruptions of “a subterranean fire smouldering eternally” which de Luchet and Burke foresaw before the event. What is historically of great value in the annals of the French revolution, however, is the proof, which they afford, of the use of men for a purpose uncomprehended by them. This gives the revolution, then and now, its peculiar and satanic imprint; it is, as Lombard de Langres wrote, “the code of hell.”
When the revolution was ebbing, three men arose, in France, England and America, who saw three things plainly: that its course had followed the chart revealed by the Illuminati papers in 1787; that this secret society had been able, through Freemasonry, to instigate and direct it; and that the secret league of conspirators, with its continuing plan for world revolution, had survived and was preparing the further “violent and devastating explosions” foretold by
de Luchet. These three men were the Abbé Baruel, a Jesuit and eyewitness of the revolution; Professor John Robison a Scottish scientist who for over twenty years was general secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and the Rev. Jedediah Morse, a New England clergyman and geographer. They were all distinguished men. The Abbé Baruel's and Professor Robison's books and Mr. Morse's published sermons (all 1797-8) went into many editions and are still indispensable to students of the time. Their works and words gained much public attention and they were supported from Philadelphia, in his Porcupine ‘s Gazette, by William Cobbett, who seems to have been driven into exile by the same occult power which set out to destroy Messrs. Baruel, Robison and Morse.
The Abbé Baruel's' verdict on what had occurred was identical with de Luchet's earlier prophecy and Lord Acton's much later analysis:
“… We shall demonstrate that, even to the most horrid deeds perpetrated during the French revolution, everything was foreseen and resolved on, combined and premeditated; that they were the offspring of deep thought villainy, since they had been prepared and were produced by men, who alone held the clue of these plots and conspiracies, lurking in the secret meetings where they had been conceived … Though the events of each day may not appear to have been combined, there nevertheless existed a secret agent and a secret cause, giving rise to each event and turning each circumstance to the long-sought-for end … The grand cause of the revolution, its leading features, its atrocious crimes, will still remain one continued chain of deep laid and premeditated villainy.”
The three men came to the same conclusion: “An anti-Christian conspiracy … not only against kings, but against every government, against all civil society, even against all property whatsoever” (the Abbé Baruel); “An association has been formed for the express purpose of rooting out all the religious establishments, and overturning all the existing governments of Europe” (Prof. Robison); “The express aim is ‘to root out and abolish Christianity and overthrow all civil governments'.” (Mr. Morse). They agreed that what had happened was, not merely an episode in
The words and writings of these three men were supported by the leading public men of their day, and have been so fully borne out by events, particularly in our century, that historically they simply serve to show that the world-revolution was recognized by some, and its future course foretold, at the moment of its second appearance in the West. The efforts of these three men were as vain in averting the havoc which the conspiracy later wreaked, and for that reason the
case of Messrs. Barruel, Robison and Morse is of especial interest.
What befell them proves more conclusively than any of their own words the very thing they strove to establish: the continued existence and strength of a secret society working, in all countries, for the destructive purpose which they described. Messrs. Barruel, Robison and Morse were smothered with vituperation. In their day newspapers were in their infancy, and were usually owned by one man, who also edited them. It must therefore have been much more difficult than it is today to gain control of a large proportion of them. The concentrated attack which was delivered against the three men from the moment when they said that Illuminism had brought about the French revolution and still existed shows that even in 1797 the Illuminés were in effective control of the press in America and England.
This was one of the most surprising discoveries yielded by the research which produced this book. In my own day I have been forced to realize that this control exists, and that a writer who writes about the world revolution in the vein of Edmund Burke will find all avenues of publication closing against him. Mrs. Nesta Webster relates the same experience. When she first began to write on revolution, in the early 1920's, a well-known
That was another curious thing about the attack on those three writers who took “an anti-revolutionary line.” Soon after they gained the public eye the attacks in the newspapers began; nearly always anonymous. They made use of exactly the same language (Doublespeak) as that which is employed in similar assaults today. The three men were accused of starting a “witch-hunt,” of being bigots and alarmists, of persecuting “freedom of opinion” and “academic freedom,” of misrepresenting “liberal” and “progressive” thought, and the like. From that, the attack continued to slander and scurrilous innuendo, and I often found phrases which recurred in the campaign waged against an American Cabinet member, Mr. James Forrestal, in 1947-9; their private lives were said to be immoral and their financial habits shady; and at the last came the familiar suggestion that they were “mad.” This suggestion is often made today, in the culminant stages of a campaign against any anti-revolutionary figure; it is evidently held to be especially strong medicine in defamation. This particular
form of attack might have its original source in the Talmud, which uses it against Jesus (the Jewish Encyclopaedia, in its article on Jesus, refers its readers to the work of a Jewish writer who “agrees that there must have been abnormal mental processes involved in the utterances and behaviour of Jesus”).
In short, these attacks on Messrs. Barruel, Robison and Morse made use of a limited political vocabulary which today is plainly recognizable as that of the revolution and its agents, and is now so hackneyed that it must be imparted to all initiates from some central place in the organization. The campaign against them was effective, so that their warnings, like those of Burke, were forgotten by the masses. However, the secret band (which must have the same horror of truth as the devil might have of the cross) continued to fear them, so that the defamation continued long after all three were dead! As recently as 1918 the Columbia University of New York allotted funds for a costly piece of research designed to show that the Illuminati truly died when they were proscribed in 1786 and thus could not have caused or survived the French revolution, and in this publication all the stock-in-trade epithets were brought out and used again, as if the three dead men were live “witch-hunters”!
In 1918 the Russian revolution was but a year old and the moment was evidently held apt for another attempt to show that the French revolution had been a self-contained affair, leaving no roots which might have erupted in
The first two presidents of the
Indeed, this was beyond doubt, for secret societies had appeared in the
French Minister, Genet, towards them; he showed the open sympathy which Soviet Ambassadors, in our generation, display for Communist organizations, or perhaps more accurately, for those which serve as “cover” for Communism (the relationship between the Soviet embassies and the revolutionary party in the country of accreditation was established by massive documentary proof in the Canadian and Australian investigations of 1945-46 and 1954-55 respectively). George Washington, as president in 1794, charged these “self-created societies” with instigating the insurrectionary outbreak in
The part admittedly played by Grand Orient Freemasonry, under Illuminist permeation, in the French Revolution caused American Freemasonry also to fall under suspicion, but frank discussion of this question was hindered by the fact that the great
“… the society of Masons have discovered a science of government, or art of ruling society, peculiar to themselves, and unknown to all the other legislators and philosophers of the world; I mean not only the skill to know each other by marks or signs that no other persons can divine but the wonderful power of enabling and compelling all men, and I suppose all women, at all hours, to keep a secret. If this art can be applied, to set aside the ordinary maxims of society, and introduce politics and disobedience to government, and still keep the secret, it must be obvious that such science and such societies may be perverted to all the ill purposes which have been suspected …”
After this public rebuke nothing but the death of
the party of investigation, for the next State convention, in Vermont in 1830, recorded the sequel with which our century has been made familiar: “… the spirit of enquiry … was soon and unaccountably quelled; the press was mute as if the voice of the strangled sentinel and the mass of the people kept in ignorance that an alarm on the subject of Masonry had ever been sounded.”
In other words, the cry for investigation had been drowned, as in our generation, by the counter-cry of “witch-hunt” and the like. From that moment until today the American people have never succeeded in moving any government to a full investigation and the secret infestation of government and the public departments continued, with results only partially revealed by the exposures of 1948 and after. The situation in
In the last few paragraphs this narrative has jumped a few years to follow the course of American public uneasiness about Freemasonry to its end in 1830 (the Anti-masonic Party actually died in 1840). Now it returns to the immediate aftermath of the French revolution, and its effect on the world.
President Adams, as his Works show, was fully informed and persuaded about the existence of a universal and continuing conspiracy against all legitimate government and religion. He made the mistake, natural in his day, of thinking the plan a French one, just as people today, with no excuse, speak and think of Russian Communism, although the international nature of the revolution has long been made plain, beyond all doubt.
By his Sedition Act of 1798 President Adams tried to safeguard the future of the Republic, but time has since shown that laws against secret societies and conspiracies (although they should be enacted, to establish the illegality of the undertaking) are ineffective in checking them, especially as the secret organization has centuries of experience in eluding such laws. The one effective measure against secret conspiracy is investigation, public exposure and remedy, and this has never been fully used.
The American public man who most plainly perceived the entire shape of the future was
“… the present era is among the most extraordinary which have occurred in the history of human affairs. Opinions, for a long time, have been gradually gaining ground, which threaten the foundations of religion, morality and society. An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation, for which natural religion was offered as a substitute … The very existence of a Deity has been questioned and in some instances denied. The duty of piety has been ridiculed, the perishable nature of man asserted, and his hopes bounded to the short span of his earthly state. Death has been proclaimed an eternal sleep, the dogma of the immortality of the soul a cheat, invented to torment the living for the benefit of the dead … A league has at length been cemented between the apostles and disciples of irreligion and anarchy. Religion and government have both been
stigmatized as abuses … The practical development of this pernicious system has been seen in
We of the 1950's are so familiar with the results here foreseen that we can scarcely realize what skill was needed, in the 1790's, so clearly to foresee them! From de Luchet before the Reign of Terror (“a series of calamities of which the end is lost in the darkness of time … a subterranean fire smouldering eternally and breaking forth periodically in violent and devastating explosions”) to Alexander Hamilton after it (“the elements remain, concocting for new eruptions as occasion shall permit … mankind is not near the end of the misfortunes which it is calculated to produce … a long train of convulsion, revolution, carnage, devastation and misery”) the shape of our century was most plainly and accurately foretold.
The net result of all this prescience, in terms of precaution, was nothing.
Needlessly but massively, all came about as these men, and the Burkes and Barruels, Robisons and Morses foresaw; like a man sleepwalking, the West trod on all the charted landmines. The anti-revolutionary prophets were cried down; the revolutionary orators and writers took over the debate and were applauded.
Napoleon's wars helped to divert public attention from the plot and the organization that had been discovered. Ten years after the French revolution the documents of the Illuminati and the French revolution were being forgotten; the public masses either began to believe that the secret society truly was dead, or had never had part in the revolution, or did not care. Twenty years after the French revolution the Illuminati were as busy as ever. Nothing had changed, save that the sect's followers in
This later knowledge about the Illuminati is recent; Mrs. Nesta Webster's research discovered it. It comes from the boxes of Napoleon's police, which have now yielded their contents to the student and historian. These show that, two decades after the revolution and on the eve of Napoleon's own downfall, the Illuminati were very much alive, and pursued their undeviating aim.
Francois Charles de Berckheim was a special commissioner of police at Mayence under the Empire, and a Freemason. He reported in 1810 that the Illuminati had initiates all over
“The oldest and most dangerous association that which is generally known under the denomination of the Illuminés and of which the foundation goes back towards the middle of the last century … the doctrine of Illuminism is subversive of every kind of monarchy; unlimited liberty, absolute levelling down, such is the fundamental dogma of the sect; to break the ties that bind the sovereign to the citizen of a state, that is the object of all its efforts.”
Twenty years after the act of penance publicly performed by the Duke of Brunswick, Berckheim recorded that “among the principal chiefs … are numbered men distinguished for their fortune, their birth, and the dignities with which they are invested.” He believed that some of these were “not the dupes of these demagogic dreams” but “hope to find in the popular emotions they stir up the means of seizing the reins of power, or at any rate of increasing their wealth and credit; but the crowd of adepts believe in it religiously.…”
The picture given in these words (which recall de Luchet's, of twenty-five years before) is, or should be, familiar today, for our generation has shown again that avarice for power still leads wealthy or well-known people to associate themselves with movements, apparently hostile to their wealth or renown, in the belief that through them they may become even richer or more notorious.
Berckheim then gives a description of the organization and methods of the Illuminati which reproduces the picture given by Weishaupt's correspondence of
1786, and could equally be a photograph of Communism at work in our century. The following extract shows a group of recognizable 20th Century characters, to which any attentive student of our times could fit names, yet it was written in 1813:
“As the principal force of the Illuminés lies in the power of opinions, they have set themselves out from the beginning to make proselytes amongst the men who through their profession exercise a direct influence on minds, such as literateurs, savants and above all professors. The latter in their chairs, the former in their writings, propagate the principles of the sect by disguising the poison that they circulate under a thousand different forms. These germs, often imperceptible to the eyes of the vulgar, are afterwards developed by the adepts of the Societies they frequent, and the most obscure wording is thus brought to the understanding of the least discerning. It is above all in the universities that Illuminism has always found and always will find numerous recruits; Those professors who belong to the Association set out from the first to study the character of their pupils. If a student gives evidence of a vigorous mind, an ardent imagination, the sectaries at once get hold of him; they sound in his ears the words Despotism, Tyranny, Rights of the People, etc., etc. Before he can even attach any meaning to these words, as he advances in age, reading works chosen for him, conversations skilfully arranged, develop the germ deposited in his youthful brain. Soon, his imagination ferments … At last, when he has been completely captivated, when several years of testing guarantee to the society inviolable secrecy and absolute devotion, it is made known to him that millions of individuals distributed in all the States of Europe share his sentiments and his hopes, that a secret link binds firmly all the scattered members of this immense family, and that the reforms he desires so ardently must sooner or later come about. This propaganda is rendered the easier by the existing associations of students, who meet together for the study of literature, for fencing, gaming or even mere debauchery. The Illuminés insinuate themselves into all these circles and turn them into hotbeds for the propagation of their principles. Such then is the Association's continual mode of progression from its origins until the present moment; it is by convening from childhood the germ of poison into the highest classes of society, in feeding the minds of students on ideas diametrically opposed to that order of things under which they have to live, in breaking the ties that bind them to sovereigns, that Illuminism has recruited the largest number of adepts.…”
Thus Illuminism survived and flourished in darkness after its “adepts” in the editorial offices, university chairs and pulpits had beaten down the public clamour for its extirpation. For some five generations since then the thing has continued: a proportion of notable men and a proportion of young men at the universities have in each succeeding generation been enticed into this net. The only counter-measure which would give the seniors pause and open the eyes of the unwary younger ones would be full public information about the world
revolution and its methods, and that has been denied from generation to generation, so that the secret sect has maintained its power and hold. There can be only one explanation for this refusal of governments, from generation to generation, to investigate and expose: namely, that in this day as in Weishaupt's the sect has its “adepts” in the governments themselves; of that our century has given sufficient evidence.
What of Weishaupt himself, twenty years and more after his exposure and the proscription of his order? In 1808 he was enquiring about a point of masonic ritual and his enquiry reached the notice of an eminent member of the Grand Orient, the Marquis de Chefdebien, who then wrote in a letter to a friend that Illuminism had supplied the men who “stirred up revolt, devastation, assassination”: When Weishaupt died, in 1830, his order was probably stronger than it had ever been, but was about to change its name; the same organization, with the same aims, was in the 1840's to emerge as Communism. That further story belongs to later chapters, and at this point the present narrative takes leave of Adam Weishaupt, the man whose name is forever identified with the emergence of world-revolution as a permanent idea and ambition, propagated by a permanent organization of secret conspirators in all lands, and having nothing whatever to do with remedying oppression or injustice; these evils it desired to aggravate and perpetuate.
Whoever his prompters, whatever the original source of his great knowledge of human weakness, Weishaupt, as Mrs. Nesta Webster says, “gathered into his hands the threads of all the conspiracies, was able to weave them together into a gigantic scheme for the destruction of
If there were manifold currents of discontent before, Weishaupt fused them into one. With him and Illuminism, “vague subversive theory became active revolution”; the general staff was formed, the battle-operation laid down, the objective clarified. Today, nearly two hundred years later, the consequence of that is also clear: the all-destructive world-revolution must either prevail over Christendom and the West, reducing them both to ruins, or itself be crushed and broken up. There is now no third solution or middle course or different end to the conflict which was revealed in 1786. Leading public men and the sect's devotees both saw that from the start. By 1875 Mgr. Dillon tersely stated the unalterable fact:
“Had Weishaupt not lived, Masonry might have ceased to be a power after the reaction consequent on the French revolution. He gave it a form and character which caused it to outlive that reaction, to energise it to the present day, and which will cause it to advance until its final conflict with Christianity must determine
whether Christ or Satan shall reign on this earth in the end.”
This book is a study of “the Jewish question” as the most important question in world affairs at the present time; yet the present chapter (the longest yet) on the world-revolution has made no mention of the Jewish question or of Jews. There is a reason for this. Fifty years after the French revolution the world-revolution was under Judaist direction, but original Judaist instigation of the world-revolution in its French phase cannot be shown. Therefore the possibility is open that the world-revolution was not at the start a Judaist undertaking, but one in which the ruling sect of Judaism later became the majority stockholder. Nothing definite can be established either way; the covering-up of tracks is the first principle of revolutionary tactics.
Apparently Jews played little or no part in the master-conspiracy (that of Weishaupt and his Illuminati) and simply a proportionate part, with all others, in the French revolution. As to the first, the leading authority on this subject, Mrs. Nesta Webster, says “Jews appear to have been only in rare cases admitted to the Order.” Leopold Engel, a mysterious character who reorganized the order in 1880, goes further, stating that the recruitment of the Jews was forbidden. On the other hand, Mirabeau, a leading Illuminate and revolutionary, identified himself with Judaist demands and pretensions, so that any restriction on the actual appearance of Jews in the Order may have been a “cover” device of the kind which Weishaupt held to be supremely important.
The best authorities at the time agreed that the Illuminati were the instigators of the revolution and that they were men of all countries. The Chevalier de Malet says, “The authors of the revolution are not more French than German, Italian, English, etc. They form a particular nation which took birth and has grown in darkness, in the midst of all civilized nations, with the object of subjecting them to its domination.” This is the picture which today's student also gains from study of the literature of the French revolution; it is entirely different from the picture of the Russian revolution of 1917, to which the words could not be applied.
In the French revolution itself (as distinct from the foregoing conspiracy) the part played by Jews is fairly clear, but seems to have been that of “abetting disorder” ascribed to them by the Koran, rather than that of control or direction. Indeed, it is often difficult to distinguish Jews, as such, in the records of the time, because writers of the day did not so separate them. Moreover, the revolution in its French phase appeared to be against all religion and all nationhood (in the Russian phase, again, this was no longer the case). Thus, the mob which brought crosses and chalices to the revolutionary assembly, while the churches of
degrading to man.” Alexandre Lambert fils then gave voice to this protest against the bondage of the Talmud:
“The bad faith, citizens, of which the Jewish nation is accused does not come from themselves but from their priests. Their religion, which would allow them only to lend to those of their nation at 5 percent, tells them to take all they can from Catholics; it is even hallowed as a custom in our morning prayers to solicit God's help in catching out a Christian. There is more, citizens, and it is the climax of abomination; if any mistake is made in commerce between Jews, they are ordered to make reparation: but if on 100 louis a Christian should have paid 25 too much, one is not bound to return them to him. What an abomination! What a horror! And where does that all come from but from the Rabbis? Who have excited proscriptions against us? Our priests! Ah, citizens, more than anything in the world we must abjure a religion which … by subjecting us to irksome and servile practices, makes it impossible for us to be good citizens.” 
If the Jews are anywhere identified as Jews (not simply as participants) in the worst deeds of the revolution, this is in Jewish vaunt, not Gentile accusation. For instance, such a writer as M. Leon Kahn goes far out of his way to associate Jews, by name, with the attack on the king and on religion, and that a hundred years after the events. This is an example of the laboured effort, which may be traced in much Judaist literature, to show that nothing of this kind can happen in the world save by the hand of Jehovah, that is to say, of Jews. M. Leon Kahn apparently could not picture the French revolution in any other terms than those of Daniel and Belshazzar. But for the Russian revolution, M. Leon Kahn might be forgotten; once again, it is our present-day that gives these depictments of old events their look of truth.
In the aftermath of the French revolution, the Jews, through their leaders, seem simply to have turned a situation to good account, as they were entitled to do. However, in the light of what followed later it is significant that the Jews who profited were the “Eastern Jews,” and that these non-Semitic converts to Judaism at that point in time made their first breach in the walls of the West.
Most of the Jews in
community of Ashkenazim, the Slavic Jews, had appeared and these visitors from
The Sephardic Jews also protested: “We dare to believe that our condition in France would not today be open to discussion if certain demands of the Jews of Alsace, Lorraine and the Three Bishoprics had not caused a confusion of ideas which appears to reflect on us … To judge by the public papers they appear to be rather extraordinary, since these Jews aspire to live in France under a special regime, to have laws peculiar to themselves, and to constitute a class of citizens separated from all the others.”
This Jewish protest (a recurrent one through the ages down to our present day, and one always ignored by Gentile rulers) was as vain as that of the merchants of
“The French merchant carries on his commerce alone; each commercial house is in a way isolated; whilst the Jews are particles of quicksilver, which at the least slant run together into a block.”
Despite all opposition the decree emancipating the Jews of Alsace was passed in 1791. By the time Napoleon succeeded to power a Jewish problem of the first order had thus been created for him and (after his failure to solve it) for the world.
From this time on the ruling sect of Jewry bent all its efforts on reducing the authority of the original, Sephardic Jews and increasing that of their compact Ashkenazi in the East; from this moment on the Ashkenazi began to move into Europe (and later into America), to assume the leadership of the world-revolution and to carry with them everywhere the assault on all legitimate government, religion and nationhood.
That development followed the French revolution, or first phase of the world-revolution, which was like the opening of a door or the breaking of a dyke. At the time all that could fairly be said of the Jews in relation to the revolution was that they had been involved in it like other men, and had benefited from it rather more than other men. The sequel turned a different light on all this, and began to show Judaist direction, not mere involvement.
For in the half-century following the revelation of the blueprint for world-
revolution and the outbreak in France, the historical processes of Jewry and of the world-revolution no longer remained separate or distinct; they converged. The continuing conspiracy and “the Jews” (in the sense of the dominant sect) then became identical and could no longer be considered apart. From the middle of the 19th Century the world-revolution was under Jewish leadership; whatever the fact had been before, it then passed into these hands.
The authoritative witness, whose words (like the earlier ones of de Luchet, Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Burke) were fully borne out by events, was one Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England.