Manual Proofs of a Conspiracy: Against All The Religions And Governments Of Europe

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Brother Truth is asked, What is the hour? He informs Father Adam, that among men it is the hour of darkness, but that it is mid-day in the Lodge. The candidate is asked, Why he has knocked at the door, and what is become of his eight companions he is one of [32] the Elus? He says, that the world is in darkness, and his companions and he have lost each other; that Hesperus , the star of Europe, is obscured by clouds of incense, offered up by superstition to despots, who have made themselves gods, and have retired into the inmost recesses of their palaces, that they may not be recognised to be men, while their priests are deceiving the people, and causing them to worship these divinities.

This and many similar sentiments are evident allusions to the pernicious doctrine of the book called Origine du Despotisme Oriental , where the religion of all countries is considered as a mere engine of state; where it is declared that reason is the only light which nature has given to man: that our anxiety about futurity has made us imagine endless torments in a future world; and that princes, taking advantage of our weakness, have taken the management of our hopes and fears, and directed them so as to suit their own purposes; and emancipation from the fear of death is declared to be the greatest of all deliverances.

Questions are put to the candidate, tending to discover whether and how far he may be trusted, and what sacrifices he is willing to make in search after truth. This shape given to the plastic mysteries of Masonry was much relished, and in a very short time this new path was completely explored, and a new series of degrees was added to the list, viz. In the progress through these degrees, the Brethren must forget that they have formerly been Chevaliers de l'Orient , Chevaliers de l'Aigle , when the symbols were all explained as typical of the life and immortality brought to light by the gospel.

Indeed they are taught to class this among the other clouds which have been dispelled by the sun of reason. Even in the Chevalerie de l'Aigle there is a twofold explanation given of the symbols, by [33] which a lively imagination may conceive the whole history and peculiar doctrines of the New Testament, as being typical of the final triumph of reason and philosophy over error. And perhaps this degree is the very first step in the plan of Illumination. We are not to suppose that this was carried to extremity at once.

But it is certain, that before , it had become universal, and that the Lodges of Free Masons had become the places for making proselytes to every strange and obnoxious doctrine. Theurgy , Cosmogony , Cabala , and many whimsical and mystical doctrines which have been grafted on the distinguishing tenets and the pure morality of the Jews and Christians, were subjects of frequent discussion in the Lodges.

The celebrated Chevalier Ramsay had a great share in all this business.

Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe

Affectionately attached to the family of Stuart, and to his native country, he had co-operated heartily with those who endeavoured to employ Masonry in the service of the Pretender, and, availing himself of the pre-eminence given at first perhaps as a courtly compliment to Scotch Masonry, he laboured to shew that it existed, and indeed arose, during the Crusades, and that there really was either an order of chivalry whose business it was to rebuild the Christian churches destroyed by the Saracens, or that a fraternity of Scotch Masons were thus employed in the east, under the protection of the Knights of St.

John of Jerusalem. He found some facts which were thought sufficient grounds for such an opinion, such as the building of the college of these Knights in London, called the Temple, which was actually done by the public Fraternity of Masons who had been in the holy wars. It is chiefly to him that we are indebted for that rage of Masonic chivalry which distinguishes the French Free Masonry.

Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All The Religions and Governments Of Europe Carried On In The Secret

Ramsay was as eminent for his piety as he was for his enthusiasm, but his opinions [34] were singular. His eminent learning, his elegant talents, his amiable character, and particularly his estimation at court, gave great influence to every thing he said on a subject which was merely a matter of fashion and amusement. Whoever has attended much to human affairs, knows the eagerness with which men propagate all singular opinions, and the delight which attends their favourable reception.

None are more zealous than the apostles of infidelity and atheism. It is in human nature to catch with greediness any opportunity of doing what lies under general restraint. And if our apprehensions are not completely quieted, in a case where our wishes lead us strongly to some favourite but hazardous object, we are conscious of a kind of self bullying. This naturally gets into our discourse, and in our eagerness to get the encouragement of joint adventurers, we enforce our tenets with an energy, and even a violence, that is very inconsistent with the subject in hand.

If I am an Atheist, and my neighbour a Theist, there is surely nothing that should make me violent in my endeavours to rid him of his error. Yet how violent were the people of this party in France. These facts and observations fully account for the zeal with which all this patch-work addition to the simple Free Masonry of England was prosecuted in France. It surprises us Britons, who are accustomed to consider the whole as a matter of amusement for young men, who are glad of any pretext for indulging in conviviality.

John Robison (physicist)

We generally consider a man advanced in life with less respect, if he shows any serious attachment to such things. But in France, the civil and religious restraints in conversation made these secret assemblies very precious; and they were much frequented by men of letters, who there found an opportunity of expressing in safety their dissatisfaction [35] with those restraints, and with that inferiority of rank and condition to which they were subjected, and which appeared to themselves so inadequate to their own talents and merits.

Specimens of this occupation appeared from time to time in Collections of Discourses delivered by the Frere Orateur. I once had in my possession two volumes of these discourses, which I now regret that I left in a Lodge on the continent, when my relish for Free Masonry had forsaken me. In this discourse we have the germ and substance of his noted work, La Nature, ou l'Homme moral et physique.


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The first is considered as an account, historical and dogmatical, of the procedure and system of the Loge des Chevaliers Bienfaisants [36] at Lyons. This was the most zealous and systematical of all the cosmopolitical Lodges in France. It sent out many affiliated Lodges, which were erected in various parts of the French dominions. There arose some schisms, as may be expected, in an Association where every man is encouraged to broach and to propagate any the most singular opinion.

One of this denomination at Paris became very eminent. The mother Lodge at Lyons extended its correspondence into Germany, and other foreign countries, and sent constitutions or systems, by which the Lodges conducted their operations. I have not been able to trace the steps by which this Lodge acquired such an ascendancy; but I see, that in and , all the refined or philosophical Lodges in Alsace and Lorraine united, and in a convention at Lyons, formally put themselves under the patronage of this Lodge, cultivated a continual correspondence, and considered themselves as professing one Masonic Faith, sufficiently distinguishable from that of other Lodges.

What this was we do not very distinctly know. We can only infer it from some historical circumstances. One of its favourite daughters, the Lodge Theodor von der guten Rath , at Munich, became so remarkable for discourses dangerous to church and state, that the Elector of Bavaria, after repeated admonitions during a course of five or six years, was obliged to suppress it in Another of its suffragan Lodges at Regensburgh became exceedingly obnoxious to the [37] state, and occasioned several commotions and insurrections. Another, at Paris, gradually refined into the Jacobin club—And in the year , the Lodges in Alsace and Lorraine, with those of Spire and Worms, invited Custine into Germany, and delivered Mentz into his hands.

When we reflect on these historical facts, we get some key to the better understanding of the two performances which I mentioned as descriptive of the opinions and occupations of this Sect of Free-Masons. The Archives Mystico-Hermetiques exhibit a very strange mixture of Mysticism, Theosophy, Cabalistic whim, real Science, Fanaticism, and Freethinking, both in religion and politics.

They must not be considered as an account of any settled system, but rather as annals of the proceedings of the Lodge, and abstracts of the strange doctrines which made their sucessive appearance in it. But if an intelligent and cautious reader examine them attentively, he will see, that the book is the work of one hand, and that all the wonders and oddities are caricatured, so as to engross the general attention, while they also are twisted a little, so that in one way or another they accord with a general spirit of licentiousness in morals, religion, and politics.

Although every thing is expressed decently, and with some caution and moderation, atheism, materialism, and discontent with civil subordination, pervade the whole.

It is a work of great art. By keeping the ridicule and the danger of superstition and ignorance continually in view, the mind is captivated by the relief which free enquiry and communication of sentiment seems to secure, and we are put off our guard against the risk of delusion, to which we are exposed when our judgment is warped by our passions. It is intended only for the initiated, and is indeed a mystery to any other reader.

But as the object of it was to spread the favourite opinions of some enthusiastic Brethren, every thing is said that does not directly betray the secrets of the Order. It contains a system of Theosophy that has often appeared in the writings of philosophers, both in ancient and modern times.

This intelligence has an inscrutable connection with the material part of the universe, perhaps resembling the connection, equally unsearchable, that subsists between the mind and body of man; and it may be considered as the Soul of the World. It is this substance, the natural object of wonder and respect, that men have called God, and have made the object of religious worship. In doing so they have fallen into gross mistakes, and have created for themselves numberless unfounded hopes and fears, which have been the source of superstition and fanaticism, the most destructive plagues that have ever afflicted the human race.

The Soul of Man is separated from the general mass of intelligence by some of the operations of nature, which we shall never understand, just as water is raised from the ground by evaporation, or taken up by the root of a plant. For he has now got to his asylum. This deity of his may be the object of wonder, like every thing great and incomprehensible, but not of worship, as the moral Governor of the universe.

The hopes are at end, which rest on our notions of the immortality and individuality of the human soul, and on the encouragement which religion holds forth to believe, that improvement of the mind in the course of this life, by the exercise of wisdom and of virtuous dispositions, is but the beginning of an endless progress in all that can give delight to the rational and well-disposed mind. No relation now subsists between man and Deity that can warm the heart. But, as this is contrary to some natural propensity in the human mind, which in all ages and nations has panted after some connection with Deity, the author strives to avail himself of some cold principles of symmetry in the works of nature, some ill-supported notions of propriety, and other such considerations, to make this anima mundi an object of love and respect.

This is done in greater detail in another work, Tableau, des rapports entre l'Homme, Dieu, et l'Univers , which is undoubtedly by the same hand. But the intelligent reader will readily see, that such incongruous things cannot be reconciled, and that we can expect nothing here but sophistry.

ADVERTISEMENT

The author [40] proceeds, in the next place, to consider man as related to man, and to trace out the path to happiness in this life. Here we have the same overstrained morality as in the other work, the same universal benevolence, the same lamentations over the miserable state of mankind, resulting from the oppression of the powerful, the great ones of the earth, who have combined against the happiness of mankind, and have succeeded, by debasing their minds, so that they have become willing slaves.

This could not have been brought about without the assistance of superstition. But the princes of this world enlisted into their service the priests, who exerted themselves in darkening the understandings of men, and filled their minds with religious terrors. The altar became the chief pillar of the throne, and men were held in complete subjection.

Nothing can recover them from this abject state but knowledge. While this dispels their fears, it will also show them their rights, and the way to attain them. It deserves particularly to be remarked, that this system of opinions if such an inconsistent mass of assertions can be called a system bears a great resemblance to a performance of Toland's, published in , called Pantheisticon, seu Celebratio Sodalitii Socratici. Reason is the Sun that illuminates the whole, and Liberty and Equality are the objects of their occupations. We shall see afterwards that this book was fondly pushed into Germany, translated, commented upon, and so misrepresented, as to call off the attention from [41] the real spirit of the book, which is intentionally wrapped up in cabala and enigma.

Mirabeau was at much pains to procure it notice; and it must therefore be considered as a treasure of the cosmo-political opinions of the Association of Chevaliers Bienfaisants , Philalethes , and Amis Reunis , who were called the improved Lodges, working under the D. This will be found a very important remark. Let it also be recollected afterwards, that this Lodge of Lyons sent a deputy to a grand Convention in Germany in , viz. Willermooz, and that the business was thought of such importance, that he remained there two years. We know that it originated in the Loge des Chev.

Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe

Bienfaisants at Lyons. We know that this Lodge stood as it were at the head of French Free Masonry, and that the fictitious Order of Masonic Knights Templars was formed in this Lodge, and was considered as the model of all the rest of this mimic chivalry. They proceeded so far in this mummery, as even to have the clerical tonsure.

The Duke of Orleans, his son, the Elector of Bavaria, and some other German Princes, did not scruple at this mummery in their own persons. In all the Lodges of reception, the Brother Orator never failed to exclaim on the topics of superstition, blind to the exhibition he was then making, or indifferent as to the vile hypocrisy of it. We have, in the lists of Orators and Office-bearers, many names of persons, who have had an opportunity at last of proclaiming their sentiments in public.

Lequinio, author of the most profligate book that ever disgraced a press, the Prejuges vaincus par la Raison , was Warden in the Lodge Compacte Sociale. They were called Martinists, from a St. Martin, who formed a schism in the system of the Chevaliers Bienfaisants , of which we have not any very precise account. The breach alarmed the Brethren, and occasioned great heats.

INTRODUCTION.

But it was healed, and the Fraternity took the name of Misa du Renis , which is an anagram of des Amis Reunis. The Bishop of Autun, the man so bepraised as the benevolent Citizen of the World, the friend of mankind and of good order, was Senior Warden of another Lodge at Paris, established in , I think chiefly by Orleans and himself, which afterwards became the Jacobin Club. In short, we may assert with confidence, that the Mason Lodges in France were the hot-beds, where the seeds were sown, and tenderly reared, of all the pernicious doctrines which soon after choaked every moral or religious cultivation, and have made the Society worse than a waste, have made it a noisome marsh of human corruption, filled with every rank and poisonous weed.

These Lodges were frequented by persons of all ranks, and of every profession. The idle and the frivolous found amusement, and glittering things to tickle their satiated fancies. Mutual encouragement in the indulgence of hazardous thoughts and opinions which flatter our wishes or propensities is a lure which few minds can resist. I believe that most men have felt this in some period of their lives.