The candidate is presented for reception in the character of a slave; and it is demanded of him what has brought him into this most miserable of all conditions. He answers - Society - the State Submissiveness - False Religion. A skeleton is pointed out to him, at the feet of which are laid a Crown and a Sword. He is asked, whether that is the skeleton of a King, a Nobleman, or a Beggar? As he cannot decide, the President of the meeting says to him, “the character of being a Man is the only one that is of importance.”


In a long declamation on the hackneyed topics, we have here and there some thoughts which have not yet come before us.

“We must allow the underlings to imagine (but without telling them the truth) that we direct all the Free Mason Lodges, and even all other Orders, and that the greatest monarchs are under our guidance, which indeed is here and there the case.

“There is no way of influencing men so powerfully as by means of the women. These should therefore be our chief study; we should insinuate ourselves into their good opinion, give them hints of emancipation from the tyranny of public opinion, and of standing up for themselves; it will be an immense relief to their enslaved minds to be freed from any one bond of restraint, and it will fire them the more, and cause them to work for us with zeal, without knowing that they do so; for they will only be indulging their own desire of personal admiration.

“We must win the common people in every corner. This will be obtained chiefly by means of the schools, and by open, hearty behaviour, show, condescension, popularity, and toleration of their prejudices, which we shall at leisure root out and dispel.

“If a writer publishes any thing that attracts notice, and is in itself just, but does not accord with our plan, we must endeavour to win him over, or decry him.

“A chief object of our care must be to keep down that slavish veneration for princes which so much disgraces all nations. Even in the soi-disant free England, the silly Monarch says, We are graciously pleased, and the more simple people say, Amen. These men, commonly very weak heads, are only the farther corrupted by this servile flattery. But let us at once give an example of our spirit by our behaviour with Princes; we must avoid all familiarity - never entrust ourselves to them - behave with precision, but with civility, as to other men - speak of them on an equal footing - this will in time teach them that they are by nature men, if they have sense and spirit, and that only by convention they are Lords. We must assiduously collect anecdotes, and the honorable and mean actions, both of the least and the greatest, and when their names occur in any records which are read in our meetings, let them ever be accompanied by these marks of their real worth.

”The great strength of our Order lies in its concealment; let it never appear in any place in its own name, but always covered by another name, and another occupation. None is better than the three lower degrees of Free Masonry; the public is accustomed to it, expects little from it, and therefore takes little notice of it. Next to this, the form of a learned or literary society is best suited to our purpose, and had Free Masonry not existed, this cover would have been employed; and it may be much more than a cover, it may be a powerful engine in our hands. By establishing reading societies, and subscription libraries, and taking these under our direction, and supplying them through our labours, we may turn the public mind which way we will.


In like manner we must try to obtain an influence in the military academies (this may be of mighty consequence) the printing-houses, booksellers shops, chapters, and in short in all offices which have any effect, either in forming, or in managing, or even in directing the mind of man: painting and engraving are highly worth our care. (5)

“Could our Prefect (observe it is to the llluminati Regentes he is speaking, whose officers are Prefecti) fill the judicatories of a state with our worthy members, he does all that man can do for the Order. It is better than to gain the prince himself. Princes should never get beyond the Scotch knighthood. They either never prosecute any thing, or they twist every thing to their own advantage.

“A Literary Society is the most proper form for the introduction of our Order into any state where we are yet strangers.” (Mark this!)

“The power of the Order must surely be turned to the advantage of its Members. All must be assisted. They must be preferred to all persons otherwise of equal merit. Money, services, honour, goods, and blood, must be expended for the fully proved Brethren, and the unfortunate must be relieved by the funds of the Society.”

As evidence that this was not only their instructions, but also their assiduous practice, take the following report from the overseer of Greece (Bavaria.)

In Cato’s hand-writing.

“The number (about 600) of Members relates to Bavaria alone.

“In Munich there is a well-constituted meeting of llluminati Mejores, a meeting of excellent llluminati Minores, a respectable Grand Lodge, and two Minerval Assemblies. There is a Minerval Assembly at Freyssing, at Lands berg, at Burghausen, at Strasburg, at Ingolstadt, and at last at Regensburg.(6)

“At Munich we have bought a house, and by clever measures have brought things so far, that the citizens take no notice of it, and even speak of us with esteem. We can openly go to the house every day, and carry on the business of the Lodge. This is a great deal for this city. In the house is a good museum of natural history, and apparatus for experiments; also a library which daily increases. The garden is well occupied by botanic specimens, and the whole has the appearance of a society of zealous naturalists.

”We get all the literary journals. We take care, by well-timed pieces, to make the citizens and the Princes a little more noticed for certain little slips. We oppose the monks with all our might, and with great success.

“The Lodge is constituted entirely according to our system, and has broken off entirely from Berlin, and we have nearly finished our transactions with the Lodges of Poland, and shall have them under our direction.

“By the activity of our Brethren, the Jesuits have been kept out of all the professorial chairs at Ingolstadt, and our friends prevail.”

“The Widow Duchess has set up her academy entirely according to our plan, and we have all the Professors in the Order. Five of them are excellent, and the pupils will be prepared for us.

“We have got Pylades put at the head of the Fisc, and he has the church-money at his disposal. By properly using this money, we have been enabled to put our Brother—“s household in good order; which he had destroyed by going to the Jews. We have supported more Brethren under similar misfortunes.

“Our Ghostly Brethren have been very fortunate this last year, for we have procured for them several good benefices, parishes, tutorships, &c.

“Through our means Arminius and Cortez have gotten Professorships, and many of our younger Brethren have obtained Bursaries by our help.

“We have been very successful against the Jesuits, and brought things to such a bearing, that their revenues, such as the Mission, the Golden Alms, the Exercises, and the Conversion Box, are now under the management of our friends. So are also their concerns in the university and the German school foundations. The application of all will be determined presently, and we have six members and four friends in the Court. This has cost our senate some nights want of sleep.

“Two of our best youths have got journies from the Court, and they will go to Vienna, where they will do us great service.

“All the German Schools, and the Benevolent Society, are at last under our direction.

“We have got several zealous members in the courts of justice, and we are able to afford them pay, and other good additions.

“Lately, we have got possession of the Bartholomew Institution for young clergymen, having secured all its supporters. Through this we shall be able to supply Bavaria with fit priests.

“By a letter from Philo we learn, that one of the highest dignities in the church was obtained for a zealous llluminatus, in opposition even to the authority and right of the Bishop of Spire, who is represented as a bigotted and tyrannical priest.”

Such were the lesser mysteries of the llluminati. But there remain the higher mysteries. The system of these has not been printed, and the degrees were conferred only by Spartacus himself, from papers which he never entrusted to any person. They were only read to the candidate, but no copy was taken. The publisher of the Neueste Arbeitung says that he has read them (so says Grollman.)


He says,

“that in the first degree of MAGUS or PHILOSOPHUS, the doctrines are the same with those of Spinoza, where all is material, God and the world are the same thing, and all religion whatever is without foundation, and the contrivance of ambitious men.”

The second degree, or REX, teaches,

“that every peasant, citizen, and householder is a sovereign, as in the Patriarchal state, and that nations must be brought back to that state, by whatever means are conducible - peaceably, if it can be done; but, if not, then by force - for all subordination must vanish from the face of the earth.”

The author says further, that the German Union was, to his certain knowledge, the work of the llluminati.

The private correspondence that has been published is by no means the whole of what was discovered at Landshut and Bassus Hoff, and government got a great deal of useful information, which was concealed; both out of regard to the families of the persons concerned, and also that the rest might not know the utmost extent of the discovery, and be less on their guard. A third collection was found under the foundation of the house in which the Lodge Theodor von guten Rath had been held. But none of this has appeared. Enough surely has been discovered to give the public a very just idea of the designs of the Society and its connections.

Lodges were discovered, and are mentioned in the private papers already published, in the following places.

  • Aix-la-Chappelle (2)

  • Alsace (many)

  • America (several). N. B. This was before 1786

  • Ancona

  • Anspach

  • Austria (14)

  • Bartschied

  • Bonn (4)

  • Brunswick

  • Buchenwerter

  • Calbe

  • Carlsruhe

  • Cassel

  • Cologne

  • Courland (many)

  • Cousel

  • Deuxponts

  • Dresden (4)

  • Dusseldorff

  • Echstadt

  • England (8)

  • Florence

  • France

  • Frankendahl

  • Frankfort

  • Hahrenberg

  • Halland (many)

  • Hannibal

  • Hanover

  • Heidelberg

  • Hesse (many)

  • Ingolstadt

  • Livorno (many)

  • Magdenburgh

  • Mannheim

  • Mentz (2)

  • Monpeliard

  • Munich

  • Naples

  • Neuwied (2)

  • Osnabruck

  • Poland (many)

  • Rome

  • Scotland (2)

  • Spire

  • Strasburgh (5)

  • Stutgard (3)

  • Switzerland (many)

  • Treves (2)

  • Turin

  • Upper Saxony (several)

  • Vienna (4)

  • Warsaw (2)

  • Weimar

  • Westphalia (several)

  • Worms

I have picked up the names of the following members.

Spartacus = Weishaupt, Professor
Philo = Knigge, Freyherr, i .e.Gentleman.
Amelius = Bode, F. H,
Bayard = Busche, F. H
Diomedes = Constanza, Marq.
Cato = Zwack, Lawyer.
        = Torring, Count
        = Kreitmaier, Prince
        = Utschneider, Professor
        = Cossandey, Professor
        = Renner, Professor
        = Grunberger, Professor
        = Balderbusch, F. H.

        = Lippert, Counsellor.
        = Kundl, ditto.
        = Bart, ditto.
        = Leiberhauer, Priest.
        = Kundler, Professor.
        = Lowling, Professor.
        = Vachency, Councellor.
        = Morausky, Count.
        = Hoffstetter, Surveyor of Roads.
        = Strobl, Bookseller.
Pythagoras = Westenrieder, Professor.

                 = Drexl, Librarian.
                 = Babo, Professor.
                 = Baader, Professor.
                 = Burzes, Priest.
                 = Pfruntz, Priest.
Hannibal = Bassus, Baron.
Brutus = Savioli, Count.
Lucian = Nicholai, Bookseller.
          = Bahrdt, Clergyman.
Zoroaster, Confuscius = Baierhamer.
Hermes, Trismegistus = Socher, School Inspector.
                                 = Dillis, Abbe.
Sulla = Meggenhoff, Paymaster.
        = Danzer, Canon.
        = Braun, ditto.
        = Fischer, Magistrate.
        = Frauenberger, Baron.
        = Kaltner, Lieutenant.
Marius = Hertel, Canon.
           = Dachsel.
           = Dilling, Counsellor.
           = Seefeld, Count.
           = Gunsheim, ditto.
           = Morgellan, ditto.
Saladin = Ecker, ditto.
            = Ow, Major.
            = Werner, Counsellor.
Cornelius Scipio = Berger, ditto.
                         = Wortz, Apothecary.
                         = Mauvillon, Colonel.
                         = Mirabeau, Count.
                         = Orleans, Duke.
                         = Hochinaer.
Tycho Brahe = Gaspar, Merchant.
Thales = Kapfinger.
Attila = Sauer.
Ludovicus Bavarus = Losi.
Shaftesbury, = Steger.
Coriolanus = Tropponero, Zuschwartz.
Timon = Michel.
Tamerlane Livius = Lange, Badorffer.
Cicero = Pfelt.
Ajax = Massenhausen, Count.

I have not been able to find who personated Minos, Euriphon, Celsius, Mahomet, Hercules, Socrates, Philippo Strozzi, Euclides, and some others who have been uncommonly active in carrying forward the great cause.

The chief publications for giving us regular accounts of the whole (besides the original writings) are,

1. Grosse Absicht des llluminaten Ordens.
2. -- Nachtrages (3.) an denselben.
3. Weishaupt’s improved System.
4. System des Ilium. Ordens aus dem Original-Schriften gezogen.

I may now be permitted to make a few reflections on the accounts already given of this Order, which has so distinctly concentrated the casual and scattered efforts of its prompters, the Chevaliers Bienfaisants, the Philalethes, and Amis Reunis of France, and carried on the system of enlightening and reforming the world.

The great aim professed by the Order is to make men happy; and the means professed to be employed, as the only and surely effective, is making them good; and this is to be brought about by enlightening the mind, and freeing it from the dominion of superstition and prejudices. This purpose is effected by its producing a just and steady morality. This done, and becoming universal, there can be little doubt but that the peace of society will be the consequence - that government, subordination, and all the disagreeable coercions of civil governments will be unnecessary - and that society may go on peaceably in a state of perfect liberty and equality.

But surely it requires no angel from heaven to tell us that if every man is virtuous, there will be no vice; and that there will be peace on earth, and good will between man and man, whatever be the differences of rank and fortune; so that Liberty and Equality seem not to be the necessary consequences of this just Morality, nor necessary requisites for this national happiness. We may question, therefore, whether the Illumination which makes this a necessary condition is a clear and a pure light. It may be a false glare, showing the object only on one side, tinged with partial colours thrown on it by neighbouring objects.


We see so much wisdom in the general plans of nature, that we are apt to think that there is the same in what relates to the human mind, and that the God of nature accomplishes his plans in this as well as in other instances. We are even disposed to think that human nature would suffer by it. The rational nature of man is not contented with meat and drink, and raiment, and shelter, but is also pleased with exerting many powers and faculties, and with gratifying many tastes, which could hardly have any existence in a society where all are equal.


We say that there can be no doubt that the pleasure arising from the contemplation of the works of art - the pleasure of intellectual cultivation, the pleasure of mere ornament, are rational, distinguish man from a brute, and are so general, that there is hardly a mind so rude as not to feel them. Of all these, and of all the difficult sciences, all most rational, and in themselves most innocent, and most delightful to a cultivated mind, we should be deprived in a society where all are equal. No individual could give employment to the talents necessary for creating and improving these ornamental comforts of life. We are absolutely certain that, even in the most favorable situations on the face of the earth, the most untainted virtue in every breast could not raise man to that

degree of cultivation that is possessed by citizens very low in any of the states of Europe; and in the situation of most countries we are acquainted with, the state of man would be much lower: for, at our very setting out, we must grant that the liberty and equality here spoken of must be complete; for there must not be such a thing as a farmer and his cottager. This would be as unjust, as much the cause of discontent, as the gentleman and the farmer.

This scheme therefore seems contrary to the designs of our Creator, who has every where placed us in these situations of inequality that are here so much scouted, and has given us strong propensities by which we relish these enjoyments. We also find that they may be enjoyed in peace and innocence. And lastly, We imagine that the villain, who, in the station of a professor, would plunder a Prince, would also plunder the farmer if he were his cottager.


The illumination therefore that appears to have the best chance of making mankind happy, is that which will teach us the Morality which will respect the comforts of cultivated Society, and teach us to protect the possessors in the innocent enjoyment of them; that will enable us to perceive and admire the taste and elegance of Architecture and Gardening, without any wish to sweep the gardens and their owner from off the earth, merely because he is their owner.

We are therefore suspicious of this Illumination, and apt to ascribe this violent antipathy to Princes and subordination to the very cause that makes true Illumination, and just Morality proceeding from it, so necessary to public happiness, namely, the vice and injustice of those who cannot innocently have the command of those offensive elegancies of human life. Luxurious tastes, keen desires, and unbridled passions, would prompt to all this, and this Illumination is, as we see, equivalent to them in effect.


The aim of the Order is not to enlighten the mind of man, and show him his moral obligations, and by the practice of his duties to make society peaceable, possession secure, and coercion unnecessary, so that all may be at rest and happy, even though all were equal; but to get rid of the coercion which must be employed in place of Morality, that the innocent rich may be robbed with impunity by the idle and profligate poor.


But to do this, an unjust casuistry must be employed in place of a just Morality; and this must be defended or suggested, by misrepresenting the true state of man, and of his relation to the universe, and by removing the restrictions of religion, and giving a superlative, value to all those constituents of human enjoyment, which true Illumination shows us to be but very small concerns of a rational and virtuous mind. The more closely we examine the principles and practice of the llluminati, the more clearly do we perceive that this is the case.


Their first and immediate aim is to get the possession of riches, power, and influence, without industry; and, to accomplish this, they want to abolish Christianity; and then dissolute manners and universal profligacy will procure them the adherence of all the wicked, and enable them to overturn all the civil governments of Europe; after which they will think of farther conquests, and extend their operations to the other quarters of the globe, till they have reduced mankind to the state of one undistinguishable chaotic mass.

But this is too chimerical to be thought their real aim. Their Founder, I dare say, never entertained such hopes, nor troubled himself with the fate of distant lands. But it comes in his way when he puts on the mask of humanity and benevolence: it must embrace all mankind, only because it must be stronger than patriotism and loyalty, which stand in his way. Observe that Weishaupt took a name expressive of his principles. Spartacus was a gladiator, who headed an insurrection of Roman slaves, and for three years kept the city in terror. Weishaupt says in one of his letters “I never was fond of empty titles; but surely that man has a childish soul who would not as readily chuse the name of Spartacus as that of Octavius Augustus.”


The names which he gives to several of his gang express their differences of sentiments. Philo, Lucian, and others, are very significantly given to Knigge, Nicholai, &c. He was vain of the name Spartacus, because he considered himself as employed somewhat in the same way, leading slaves to freedom. Princes and Priests are mentioned by him on all occasions in terms of abhorrence.

Spartacus employs powerful means. In the style of the Jesuits (as he says) he considers every mean as consecrated by the end for which it is employed, and he says with great truth,

“Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.”

To save his reputation, he scruples not to murder his innocent child, and the woman whom he had held in his arms with emotions of fondness and affection. But lest this should appear too selfish a motive, he says,

“had I fallen, my precious Order would have fallen with me; the Order which is to bless mankind. I should not again have been able to speak of virtue so as to make any lasting impression. My example might have ruined many young men.”

This he thinks will excuse, nay sanctify any thing. “My letters are my greatest vindication.” He employs the Christian Religion, which he thinks a falsehood, and which he is afterwards to explode, as the mean for inviting Christians of every denomination, and gradually cajoling them, by clearing up their Christian doubts in succession, till he lands them in Deism; or. if he finds them unfit, and too religious, he gives them a Sta bene, and then laughs at the fears, or perhaps madness, in which he leaves them.


Having got them this length, they are declared to be fit, and he receives them into the higher mysteries. But lest they should still shrink back, dazzled by the Pandemonian glare of Illumination which will now burst upon them, he exacts from them, for the first time, a bond of perseverance. But, as Philo says, there is little chance of tergiversation. The life and honor of most of the candidates are by this time in his hand.


They have been long occupied in the vile and corrupting office of spies on all around them, and they are found fit for their present honors, because they have discharged this office to his satisfaction, by the reports which they have given in, containing stories of their neighbours, nay even of their own gang. They may be ruined in the world by disclosing these, either privately or publicly.


A man who had once brought himself into this perilous situation durst not go back. He might have been left indeed in any degree of Illumination; and, if Religion has not been quite eradicated from his mind, he must be in that condition of painful anxiety and doubt that makes him desperate, fit for the full operation of fanaticism, and he may be engaged in the cause of God, “to commit all kind of wickedness with greediness.”


In this state of mind, a man shuts his eyes, and rushes on. Had Spartacus supposed that he was dealing with good men, his conduct would have been the reverse of all this. There is no occasion for this bond from a person convinced of the excellency of the Order. But he knew them to be unprincipled, and that the higher mysteries were so daring, that .even some of such men would start at them. But they must not blab.

Having thus got rid of Religion, Spartacus could with more safety bring into view the great aim of all his efforts to rule the world by means of his Order. As the immediate mean for attaining this, he holds out the prospect of freedom from civil subordination. Perfect Liberty and Equality are interwoven with every thing; and the flattering thought is continually kept up, that “by the wise contrivance of this Order, the most complete knowledge is obtained of the real worth of every person; the Order will, for its own sake, and therefore certainly, place every man in that situation in which he can be most effective.


The pupils are convinced that the Order will rule the world. Every member therefore becomes a ruler.” We all think ourselves qualified to rule. The difficult task is to obey with propriety; but we are honestly generous in our prospects of future command. It is therefore an alluring thought, both to good and bad men.


By this lure the Order will spread. If they are active in insinuating their members into offices, and in keeping out others (which the private correspondence shows to have been the case) they may have had frequent experience of their success in gaining an influence on the world. This must whet their zeal. If Weishaupt was a sincere Cosmopolite, he had the pleasure of seeing “his work prospering in his hands.”

It surely needs little argument now to prove, that the Order of llluminati had for its immediate object the abolishing of Christianity (at least this was the intention of the Founder) with the sole view of overturning the civil government, by introducing universal dissoluteness and profligacy of manners, and then getting the assistance of the corrupted subjects to overset the throne.


The whole conduct in the preparation and instruction of the Presbyter and Regens is directed to this point. Philo says,

“I have been at unwearied pains to remove the fears of some who imagine that our Superiors want to abolish Christianity; but by and by their prejudices will wear off, and they will be more at their ease. Were I to let them know that our General holds all Religion to be a lie, and uses even Deism, only to lead men by the nose: - Were I to connect myself again with the Free Masons, and tell them our designs to ruin their Fraternity by this circular letter (a letter to the Lodge in Courland) - Were I but to give the least hint to any of the Princes of Greece (Bavaria) - No, my anger shall not carry me so far: An Order forsooth, which in this manner abuses human nature - which will subject men to a bondage more intolerable than Jesuitism: I could put it on a respectable footing, and the world would be ours. Should I mention our fundamental principles (even after all the pains I have been at to mitigate them) so unquestionably dangerous to the world, who would remain? What signifies the innocent ceremonies of the Priest’s degree, as I have composed it, in comparison with your maxim, that we may use for a good end those means which the wicked employ for a base purpose?”

Brutus writes,

“Numenius now acquiesces in the mortality of the soul; but, I fear we shall lose Ludovicus Bavarus. He told Spartacus, that he was mistaken when he thought that he had swallowed his stupid Masonry. No, he saw the trick, and did not admire the end that required it. I don’t know what to do; a Sta bene would make him mad, and he will blow us all up.

“The Order must possess the power of life and death in consequence of our Oath; and with propriety, for the same reason, and by the same right, that any government in the world possesses it: For the Order comes in their place, making them unnecessary. When things cannot be otherwise, and ruin would ensue if the Association did not employ this mean, the Order must, as well as public rulers, employ it for the good of mankind; therefore for its own preservation. (N. B. Observe here the casuistry.) Nor will the political constitutions suffer by this, for there are always thousands equally ready and able to supply the place.”

We need not wonder that Diomedes told the Professors, “that death, inevitable death, from which no potentate could protect them, awaited every traitor of the Order;” nor that the French Convention proposed to take off the German Princes
and Generals by sword or poison, &c.

Spartacus might tickle the fancy of his Order with the notion of ruling the world; but I imagine that his darling aim was ruling the Order. The happiness of mankind was, like Weishaupfs Christianity, a mere tool, a tool which the Regentes made a joke of. But Spartacus would rule the Regentes; this he could not so easily accomplish. His despotism was insupportable to most of them, and finally brought all to light.


When he could not persuade them by his own firmness, and indeed by his superior wisdom and disinterestedness in other respects, and his unwearied activity, he employed Jesuitical tricks, causing them to fall out with each other, setting them as spies on each other, and separating any two that he saw attached to each other, by making the one a Master of the other; and, in short, he left nothing undone that could secure his uncontrouled command.


This caused Philo to quit the Order, and made Bassus, Von Torring, Kreitmaier, and several other gentlemen, cease attending the meetings; and it was their mutual dissentions which made them speak too freely in public, and call on themselves so much notice. At the time of the discovery, the party of Weishaupt consisted chiefly of very mean people, devoted to him, and willing to execute his orders, that by being his servants, they might have the pleasure of commanding others.

The objects, the undoubted objects of this Association, are surely dangerous and detestable; viz. to overturn the present constitutions of the European States, in order to introduce a chimera which the history of mankind shows to be contrary to the nature of man.

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.

Suppose it possible, and done in peace, it could not stand, unless every principle of activity in the human mind be enthralled, all incitement to exertion and industry removed, and man brought into a condition incapable of improvement; and this at the expence of every thing that is valued by the best of men - by misery and devastation - by loosening all the bands of society. To talk of morality and virtue in conjunction with such schemes, is an insult to common sense; dissoluteness of manners alone can bring men to think of it.

Is it not astonishing therefore, to hear people in this country express any regard for this institution? Is it not grieving to the heart to think that there are Lodges of Illuminated among us? I think that nothing bids fairer for weaning our inconsiderate countrymen from having any connection with them, than the faithful account here given. I hope that there are few, very few of our countrymen, and none whom we call friend, who can think that an Order which practiced such things can be any thing else than a ruinous Association, a gang of profligates.


All their professions of the love of mankind are vain; nay, their Illumination must be a bewildering blaze, and totally ineffectual for its purpose, for it has had no such influence on the leaders of the band; yet it seems quite adequate to the effects it has produced; for such are the characters of those who forget God.

If we in the next place attend to their mode of education, and examine it by those rulers of common sense that we apply in other cases of conduct, we shall find it equally unpromising. The system of llluminatism is one of the explanations of Free Masonry; and it has gained many partisans. These explanations rest their credit and their preference on their own merits. There is something in themselves, or in one of them as distinguished from another, which procures it the preference for its own sake.


Therefore, to give this Order any dependence on Free Masonry, is to degrade the Order. To introduce a Masonic Ritual into a manly institution is to degrade it to a frivolous amusement for great children. Men really exerting themselves to reform the world, and qualified for the task, must have been disgusted with such occupations. They betray a frivolous conception of the talk in which they are really engaged.


To imagine that men engaged in the struggle and rivalship of life, under the influence of selfish, or mean, or impetuous passions, are to be wheedled into candid sentiments, or a generous conduct, as a froward child may sometimes be made gentle and tractable by a rattle or a humming-top, betrays a great ignorance of human nature, and an arrogant self-conceit in those who can imagine that all but themselves are babies. The further we proceed, the more do we see of this want of wisdom.


The whole procedure of their instruction supposes such a complete surrender of freedom of thought, of common sense, and of common caution, that it seems impossible that it should not have alarmed every sensible mind. This indeed happened before the Order was seven years old. It was wise indeed to keep their Areopagitce out of sight; but who can be so silly as to believe that their unknown superiors were all and always faultless men: But had they been the men they were represented to be - if I have any knowledge of my own heart, or any capacity of drawing just inferences from the conduct of others, I am persuaded that the knowing his superiors would have animated the pupil to exertion, that he might exhibit a pleasing spectacle to such intelligent and worthy judges.


Did not the Stoics profess themselves to be encouraged in the scheme of life, by the thought that the immortal Gods were looking on and passing their judgments on their manner of acting the part assigned them? But what abject spirit will be contented with working, zealously working, for years, after a plan of which he is never to learn the full meaning. In short, the only knowledge that he can perceive is knowledge in its worst form, Cunning.


This must appear in the contrivances by which he will soon find that he is kept in complete subjection. If he is a true and zealous Brother, he has put himself in the power of his Superiors by his rescripts, which they required of him on pretence of their learning his own character, and of his learning how to know the characters of other men. In these rescripts they have got his thoughts on many delicate points, and on the conduct of others.


His Directors may ruin him by betraying him: and this without being seen in it. I should think that wise men would know that none but weak or bad men would subject themselves to such a task. They exclude the good, the manly, the only fit persons for assisting them in their endeavours to inform and to rule the world. Indeed I may say that this exclusion is almost made already by connecting the Order with Free Masonry. Lodges are not the resorts of such men. They may sometimes be found there for an hour’s relaxation.


But these places are the haunts of the young, the thoughtless, the idle, the weak, the vain, or of designing Literati; and accordingly this is the condition of three-fourths of the llluminati whose names are known to the public. I own that the reasons given to the pupil for prescribing these tasks are clever, and well adapted to produce their effect. During the flurry of reception, and the glow of expectation, the danger may not be suspected; but I hardly imagine that it will remain unperceived when the pupil sits down to write his first lesson.


Mason Lodges, however, were the most likely places for finding and enlisting members. Young men, warmed by declamations teeming with the flimsy moral cant of Cosmo-politism, are in the proper frame of mind for this illumination. It now appears also, that the dissentions in Free Masonry must have had great influence in promoting this scheme of Weishaupfs, which was, in many particulars, so unpromising, because it presupposes such a degradation of the mind. But when the schismatics in Masonry disputed with warmth, trifles came to acquire unspeakable importance.


The hankering after wonder was not in the least abated by all the tricks which had been detected, and the impossibility of the wished-for discovery had never been demonstrated to persons prepossessed in its favor. They still chose to believe that the symbols contained some important secret; and happy will be the man who finds it out. The more frivolous the symbols, the more does the heart cling to the mystery; and, to a mind in this anxious state, Weishaupfs proffer was enticing.


He laid before them a scheme which was somewhat feasible, was magnificent, surpassing our conceptions, but at the same time such as permitted us to expatiate on the subject, and even to amplify it at pleasure in our imaginations without absurdity.

It does not appear to me wonderful, therefore, that so many were fascinated till they became at last regardless of the absurdity and inconsistency of the means by which this splendid object was to be attained. Hear what Spartacus himself says of hidden mysteries.

“Of all the means I know to lead men, the most effectual is a concealed mystery. The hankering of the mind is irresistible; and if once a man has taken it into his head that there is a mystery in a thing, it is impossible to get it out, either by argument or experience. And then, we can so change notions by merely changing a word. What more contemptible than fanaticism; but call it enthusiasm; then add the little word noble, and you may lead him over the world. Nor are we, in these bright days, a bit better than our fathers, who found the pardon of their sins mysteriously contained in a much greater sin, viz. leaving their family, and going barefooted to Rome.”

Such being the employment, and such the disciples, should we expect the fruits to be very precious? No. The doctrines which were gradually unfolded were such as suited those who continued in the Cursus Academicus. Those who did not, because they did not like them, got a Sta bene; they were not fit for advancements. The numbers however were great; Spartacus boasted of 600 in Bavaria alone in 1783. We don’t know many of them; few of those we know were in the upper ranks of life; and I can see that it required much wheedling, and many letters of long worded German compliments from the proud Spartacus, to win even a young Baron or a Graf just come of age.


Men in an easy situation in life could not brook the employment of a spy, which is base, cowardly, and corrupting, and has in all ages and countries degraded the person who engages in it. Can the person be called wise who thus enslaves himself? Such persons give up the right of private judgment, and rely on their unknown Superiors with the blindest and most abject confidence. For their sakes, and to rivet still faster their own fetters, they engage in the most corrupting of all employments - and for what? - To learn something more of an order, of which every degree explodes the doctrine of a former one. Would it have hurt the young llluminatus to have it explained to him all at once?


Would not this fire his mind - when he sees with the same glance the great object, and the fitness of the means for attaining it? Would not the exalted characters of the Superior, so much excelling himself in talents, and virtue, and happiness (otherwise the Order is good for nothing) warm his heart, and fill him with emulation, since he sees in them, that what is so strongly preached to him is an attainable thing? No, no - it is all a trick; he must be kept like a child, amused with rattles, and stars, and ribands - and all the satisfaction he obtains is, like the Masons, the fun of seeing others running the same gauntlet.

Weishaupt acknowledges that the great influence of the Order may be abused. Surely, in no way so easily or so fatally as by corrupting or seductive lessons in the beginning. The mistake or error of the pupil is undiscoverable by himself (according to the genuine principles of Illumination) for the pupil must believe his Mentor to be infallible - with him alone he is connected - his lessons only must he learn. Who can tell him that he has gone wrong - or who can set him right? yet he certainly may be misled.

Here, therefore, there is confusion and deficiency. There must be some standard to which appeal can be made; but this is inaccessible to all within the pale of the Order; it is therefore without this pale, and independent of the Order - and it is attainable only by abandoning the Order. The QUIBUS LICET, the PRIMO, the SOLI, can procure no light to the person who does not know that he has been led out of the right road to virtue and happiness. The Superiors indeed draw much useful information from these reports, though they affect to stand in no need of it, and they make a cruel return.

All this is so much out of the natural road of instruction, that, on this account alone, we may presume that it is wrong. We are generally safe when we follow nature’s plans. A child learns in his father’s house, by seeing, and by imitating, and in common domestic education, he gets much useful knowledge, and the chief habits which are afterwards to regulate his conduct. Example does almost every thing; and, with respect to what may be called living, as distinguishable from profession, speculation and argumentative instruction are seldom employed, or of any use.


The indispensableness of mutual forbearance and obedience, for domestic peace and happiness, forms most of these habits; and the child, under good parents, is kept in a situation that makes virtue easier than vice, and he becomes wise and good without any express study about the matter. But this Illumination plan is darkness over all - it is too artificial - and the topics, from which counsel is to be drawn, cannot be taken from the peculiar views of the Order - for these are yet a secret for the pupil - and must ever be a secret for him while under tuition.


They must therefore be drawn from common sources, and the Order is of no use; all that can naturally be effectuated by this Association is the forming, and assiduously fostering a narrow, Jewish, corporation spirit, totally opposite to the benevolent pretensions of the Order. The pupil can see nothing but this, that there is a set of men, whom he does not know, who may acquire incontroulable power, and may perhaps make use of him, but for what purpose, and in what way, he does not know; how can he know that his endeavours are to make man happier, any other way than as he might have known it without having put this collar round his own neck?

These reflections address themselves to all men who profess to conduct themselves by the principles and dictates of common sense and prudence, and who have the ordinary share of candour and good will to others. It requires no singular sensibility of heart, nor great generosity, to make such people think the doctrines and views of the llluminati false, absurd, foolish, and ruinous. But I hope that I address them to thousands of my countrymen and friends, who have much higher notions of human nature, and who cherish with care the affections and the hopes that are suited to a rational, a benevolent, and a high-minded being, capable of endless improvement.

To those who enjoy the cheering confidence in the superintendance and providence of God, who consider themselves as creatures whom he has made, and whom he cares for, as the subjects of his moral government, this Order must appear with every character of falsehood and absurdity on its countenance.


What CAN BE MORE IMPROBABLE than this, that He, whom we look up to as the contriver, the maker, and director, of this goodly frame of things, should have so far mistaken his own plans, that this world of rational creatures should have subsisted for thousands of years, before a way could be found out, by which his intention of making men good and happy could be accomplished; and that this method did not occur to the great Artist himself, nor even to the wisest; and happiest, and best men upon earth; but to a few persons at Munich in Bavaria, who had been trying to raise ghosts, to change lead into gold, to tell fortunes, or discover treasures, but had failed in all their attempts; men who had been engaged for years in every whim which characterises a weak, a greedy, or a gloomy mind. Finding all these beyond their reach, they combined their powers, and, at once, found out this infinitely more important SECRET - for secret it must still be, otherwise not only the Deity, but even those philosophers, will still be disappointed.

Yet this is the doctrine that must be swallowed by the Minervals and the llluminati Minores, to whom it is not yet safe to disclose the grand secret, that there is no such super in tendance of Deity. At last, however, when the pupil has conceived such exalted notions of the knowledge of his teachers, and such low notions of the blundering projector of this world, it may be no difficult matter to persuade him that all his former notions were only old wives tales.


By this time he must have heard much about superstition, and how mens minds have been dazzled by this splendid picture of a Providence and a moral government of the universe. It now appears incompatible with the great object of the Order, the principles of universal liberty and equality - it is therefore rejected without farther examination, for this reason alone. This was precisely the argument used in France for rejecting revealed religion. It was incompatible with their Rights of Man.

It is richly worth observing how this principle can warp the judgment, and give quite another appearance to the same object. The reader will not be displeased with a most remarkable instance of it, which I beg leave to give at length.

Our immortal Newton, whom the philosophers of Europe look up to as the honor of our species, whom even Mr. Bailly, the President of the National Assembly of France, and Mayor of Paris, cannot find words sufficiently energetic to praise; this patient, sagacious, and successful observer of nature, after having exhibited to the wondering world the characteristic property of that principle of material nature by which all the bodies of the solar system are made to form a connected and permanent universe; and after having shown that this law of action alone was adapted to this end, and that if gravity had deviated but one thousandth part from the inverse duplicate ratio of the distances, the system must, in the course of a very few revolutions, have gone into confusion and ruin - he sits down, and views the goodly scene - and then closes his Principles of Natural Philosophy with this reflection (his Scholium generate.)

“This most elegant frame of things could not have arisen, unless by the contrivance and the direction of a wise and powerful Being; and if the fixed stars are the centres of systems, these systems must be similar; and all these, constructed according to the same plan, are subject to the government of one Being.


All these he governs, not as the soul of the world, but as the Lord of all; therefore, on account of his government, he is called the Lord God - Pantokrator; for God is a relative term, and refers to subjects. Deity is God’s government, not of his own body, as those think who consider him as the soul of the world, but of his servants. The supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.


But a being, however perfect, without government, is not God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel. We cannot say my eternal, my infinite. We may have some notions indeed of his attributes, but can have none of his nature. With respect to bodies, we see only shapes and colour - hear only sounds - touch only surfaces. These are attributes of bodies; but of their essence we know nothing. As a blind man can form no notion of colours, we can form none of the manner in which God perceives, and understands, and influences every thing.

”Therefore we know God only by his attributes. What are these? The wise and excellent contrivance, structure, and final aim of all things. In these his perfections we admire him, and we wonder. In his direction or government, we venerate and worship him - we worship him as his servants; and God, without dominion, without providence, and final aims, is Fate - not the object either of reverence, of hope, of love, or of fear.”

But mark the emotions which affected the mind of another excellent observer of Nature, the admirer of Newton, and the person who has put the finishing stroke to the Newtonian philosophy, by showing that the acceleration of the moon’s mean motion, is the genuine result of a gravitation decreasing in the precise duplicate ratio of the distance inversely; I mean Mr. Delaplace, one of the most brilliant ornaments of the French academy of sciences. He has lately published the Systeme du Monde a most beautiful compend of astronomy and of the Newtonian philosophy. Having finished his work with the same observation,

“That a gravitation inversely proportional to the squares of the distances was the only principle which could unite material Nature into a permanent system;” he also sits down - surveys the scene - points out the parts which he had brought within our ken - and then makes this reflection:


“Beheld in its totality, astronomy is the noblest monument of the human mind, its chief title to intelligence. But, seduced by the illusions of sense, and by self conceit, we have long considered ourselves as the centre of these motions; and our pride has been punished by the groundless fears which we have created to ourselves. We imagine, forsooth, that all this is for us, and that the stars influence our destinies! But the labours of ages have convinced us of our error, and we find ourselves on an insignificant planet, almost imperceptible in the immensity of space.


But the sublime discoveries we have made richly repay this humble situation. Let us cherish these with care, as the delight of thinking beings -they have destroyed our mistakes as to our relation to the rest of the universe; errors which were the more fatal, because the social Order depends on justice and truth alone. Far be from us the dangerous maxim, that it is sometimes useful to depart from these, and to deceive men, in order to insure their happiness; but cruel experience has shewn us that these laws are never totally extinct.”

There can be no doubt as to the meaning of these last words - they cannot relate to astrology - this was entirely out of date.


The “attempts to deceive men, in order to insure their happiness,” can only be those by which we are made to think too highly of ourselves.

“Inhabitants of this pepper-corn, we think ourselves the peculiar favorites of Heaven, nay, the chief objects of care to a Being, the Maker of all; and then we imagine that, after this life, we are to be happy or miserable, according as we accede or not to this subjugation to opinions which enslave us. But truth and justice have broken these bonds.” -

But where is the force of the argument which entitles this perfecter of the Newtonian philosophy to exult so much? It all rests on this, That this earth is but as a grain of mustard-seed. Man would be more worth attention had he inhabited Jupiter or the Sun. Thus may a Frenchman look down on the noble creatures who inhabit Orolong or Pelew. But whence arises the absurdity of the intellectual inhabitants of this pepper-corn being a proper object of attention? it is because our shallow comprehensions cannot, at the same glance, see an extensive scene, and perceive its most minute detail.

David, a King, and a soldier had some notions of this kind. The heavens, it is true, pointed out to him a Maker and Ruler, which is more than they seem to have done to the Gallic philosopher; but David was afraid that he would be forgotten in the crowd, and cries out, “Lord! what is man, that thou art mindful of him?”


But David gets rid of his fears, not by becoming a philosopher, and discovering all this to be absurd - he would still be forgotten - he at once thinks of what he is - a noble creature - high in the scale of nature.

“But,” says he, “I had forgotten myself. Thou hast made man but a little lower than the angels - thou hast crowned him with glory and honor - thou hast put all things under his feet.”

Here are exalted sentiments, fit for the creature whose ken pierces through the immensity of the visible universe, and who sees his relation to the universe, being nearly allied to its Sovereign, and capable of rising continually in his rank, by cultivating those talents which distinguish and adorn it.

Thousands, I trust, there are, who think that this life is but a preparation for another, in which the mind of man will have the whole wonders of creation and of providence laid open to its enraptured view, where it will see and comprehend with one glance what Newton, the most patient and successful of all the observers of nature, took years of meditation to find out - where it will attain that pitch of wisdom, goodness, and enjoyment, of which our consciences tell us we are capable, tho” it far surpasses that of the wisest, the best, and the happiest of men.


Such persons will consider this Order as degrading and detestable, and as in direct opposition to their most confident expectations: For it pretends to what is impossible, to perfect peace and happiness in this life. They believe, and they feel, that man must be made perfect through sufferings, which shall call into action powers of mind that otherwise would never have unfolded themselves - powers which are frequently sources of the purest and most soothing pleasures, and naturally make us rest our eyes and hopes on that state where every tear shall be wiped away, and where the kind affections shall become the never-failing sources of pure and unfading delight.


Such persons see the palpable absurdity of a preparation which is equally necessary for all, and yet must be confined to the minds of a few, who have the low and indelicate appetite for frivolous play-things, and for gross sensual pleasures. Such minds will turn away from this boasted treat with loathing and abhorrence.

I am well aware that some of my readers may smile at this, and think it an enthusiastical working up of the imagination, similar to what I reprobate in the case of Utopian happiness in a state of universal Liberty and Equality. It is like, they will say, to the declamation in a sermon by persons of the trade, who are trained up to finesse, by which they allure and tickle weak minds.

I acknowledge, that in the present case, I do not address myself to the cold hearts, who contentedly

“Sink and slumber in their cells of clay;” - Peace to all such; - but to the felices animce, quibus hcec cognoscere cura;”

- to those who have enjoyed the pleasures of science, who have been successful - who have made discoveries - who have really illuminated the world - to the Bacons, the Newtons, the Lockes: Allow me to mention one, Daniel Bernoulli, the most elegant mathematician, the only philosopher, and the most worthy man, of that celebrated family.


He said to a gentleman (Dr. Staehling) who repeated it to me, that

“when reading some of those wonderful guesses of Sir Isaac Newton, the subsequent demonstration of which has been the chief source of fame to his most celebrated commentators - his mind has sometimes been so overpowered by thrilling emotions, that he has wished that moment to be his last; and that it was this which gave him the clearest conception of the happiness of heaven.”

If such delightful emotions could be excited by the perception of mere truth, what must they be when each of these truths is an instance of wisdom, and when we recollect, that what we call wisdom in the works of nature, is always the nice adaptation of means for producing beneficent ends; and that each of these affecting qualities is susceptible of degrees which are boundless, and exceed our highest conceptions.


What can this complex emotion or feeling be but rapture? But Bernoulli is a Doctor of Theology - and therefore a suspicious person, perhaps one of the combination hired by despots to enslave us. I will take another man, a gentleman of rank and family, a soldier, who often signalised himself as a naval commander - who at one time forced his way through a powerful fleet of the Venetians with a small squadron, and brought relief to a distressed garrison.


I would desire the reader to peruse the conclusion of Sir Ken helm Digby’s Treatises on Body and Mind; and after having reflected on the state of science at the time this author wrote, let him coolly weigh the incitements to manly conduct which this soldier finds in the differences observed between body and mind; and then let him say, on his conscience, whether they are more feeble than those which he can draw from the eternal sleep of death. If he thinks that they are - he is in the proper frame for initiation into Spartacus’s higher mysteries. He may be either MAGUS or REX.

Were this a proper place for considering the question as a question of science or truth, I would say, that every man who has been a successful student of nature, and who will rest his conclusions on the same maxims of probable reasoning that have procured him success in his past researches, will consider it as next to certain that there is another state of existence for rational man.


For he must own, that if this be not the case, there is a most singular exception to a proposition which the whole course of his experience has made him consider as a truth founded on universal induction, viz. that nature accomplishes all her plans, and that every class of beings attains all the improvement of which it is capable. Let him but turn his thoughts inward, he will feel that his intellect is capable of improvement, in comparison with which Newton is but a child. I could pursue this argument very far, and (I think) warm the heart of every man whom I should wish to call my friend.

What opinion will be formed of this Association by the modest, the lowly-minded, the candid, who acknowledge that they too often feel the superior force of present and sensible pleasures, by which their minds are drawn off from the contemplation of what their consciences tell them to be right - to be their dutiful and filial sentiments and emotions respecting their great and good Parent - to be their dutiful and neighborly affections, and their proper conduct to all around them -and which diminish their veneration for that purity of thought and moderation of appetite which becomes their noble natures. What must they think of this Order?


Conscious of frequent faults, which would offend themselves if committed by their dearest children, they look up to their Maker with anxiety - are sorry for having so far forgotten their duty, and fearful that they may again forget it. Their painful experience tells them that their reason is often too weak, their information too scanty, or its light is obstructed by passion and prejudices, which distort and discolour every thing; or it is unheeded during their attention to present objects.


Happy should they be, if it should please their kind Parent to remind them of their duty from time to time, or to influence their mind in any way that would compensate for their own ignorance, their own weakness, or even their indolence and neglect. They dare not expect such a favor, which their modesty tells them they do not deserve, and which they fear may be unfit to be granted; but when such a comfort is held out to them, with eager hearts they receive it - they bless the kindness that granted it, and the hand that brings it.- Such amiable characters have appeared in all ages, and in all situations of mankind.


They have not in all instances been wise - often have they been precipitate, and have too readily catched at any thing which pretended to give them the so much wished-for assistances; and, unfortunately, there have been enthusiasts, or villains, who have taken advantage of this universal wish of anxious man; and the world has been darkened by cheats, who have misrepresented God to mankind, have filled us with vain terrors, and have then quieted our fears by fines, and sacrifices, and mortifications, and services, which they said made more than amends for all our faults.


Thus was our duty to our neighbour, to our own dignity, and to our Maker and Parent, kept out of sight, and religion no longer came in aid to our sense of right and wrong; but, on the contrary, by these superstitions it opened the doors of heaven to the worthless and the wicked: But I wish not to speak of these men, but of the good, the candid, the MODEST, the HUMBLE who know their failings, who love their duties, but wish to know, to perceive, and to love them still more.


These are they who think and believe that “the Gospel has brought life and immortality to light,” that is, within their reach.


They think it worthy of the Father of mankind, and they receive it with thankful hearts, admiring above all things the simplicity of its morality, comprehended in one sentence, “Do to another what you can reasonably wish that another should do to you,” and THAT PURITY OF THOUGHT AND MANNERS WHICH DISTINGUISHES IT FROM ALL THE SYSTEMS OF MORAL INSTRUCTION THAT HAVE EVER BEEN OFFERED To MEN.


Here they find a ground of resignation under the troubles of life, and a support in the hour of death, quite suited to the diffidence of their character. Such men are ready to grant that the Stoics were persons of noble and exalted minds, and that they had worthy conceptions of the rank of man in the scale of God’s works; but they confess that they themselves do not feel all that support from Stoical principles which man too frequently needs; and they say that they are not singular in their opinions, but that the bulk of mankind are prevented, by their want of heroic fortitude, by their situation, or their want of the opportunities of cultivating their native strength of mind, from ever attaining this hearty submission to the will of Deity. - They maintain, that the Stoics were but a few, a very few, from among many millions -and therefore their being satisfied was but a trifle amidst the general discontent, and fretting, and despair.-


Such men will most certainly start back from this Illumination with horror and fright - from a Society which gives the lie to their fondest hopes, makes a sport of their grounds of hope, and of their deliverer; and which, after laughing at their credulity, bids them shake off all religion whatever, and denies the existence of that Supreme Mind, the pattern of all excellence, who till now had filled their thoughts with admiration and love - from an Order which pretends to free them from spiritual bondage, and then lays on their necks a load ten times more oppressive and intolerable, from which they have no power of ever escaping.


Men of sense and virtue will spurn at such a proposal; and even the profligate, who trade with Deity, must be sensible that they will be better off with their priests, whom they know, and among whom they may make a selection of such as will with patience and gentleness clear up their doubts, calm their fears, and encourage their hopes.

And all good men, all lovers of peace and of justice, will abhor and reject the thought of overturning the present constitution of things, faulty as it may be, merely in the endeavour to establish another, which the vices of mankind may subvert again in a twelvemonth. They must see, that in order to gain their point, the proposers have found it necessary to destroy the grounds of morality, by permitting the most wicked means for accomplishing any end that our fancy, warped by passion or interest, may represent to us as of great importance.


They see, that instead of morality, vice must prevail, and that therefore there is no security for the continuance of this Utopian felicity; and, in the mean time, desolation and misery must lay the world waste during the struggle, and half of those for whom we are striving will be swept from the face of the earth. We have but to look to France, where in eight years there have been more executions and spoilations and distresses of every kind by the pouvoir revolutionnaire, than can be found in the long records of that despotic monarchy.

There is nothing in the whole constitution of the lliuminati that strikes me with more horror than the proposals of Hercules and Minos to enlist the women in this shocking warfare with all that “is good, and pure, and lovely, and of good report.” They could not have fallen on any expedient that will be more effectual and fatal. If any of my countrywomen shall honor these pages with a reading, I would call on them, in the most earnest manner, to consider this as an affair of the utmost importance to themselves.


I would conjure them by the regard they have for their own dignity, and for their rank in society, to join against these enemies of human nature, and profligate degraders of the sex; and I would assure them that the present state of things almost puts it in their power to be the saviours of the world. But if they are remiss, and yield to the seduction, they will fall from that high state to which they have arisen in Christian Europe, and again sink into that insignificancy or slavery in which the sex is found in all ages and countries out of the hearing of Christianity.

I hope that my countrywomen will consider this solemn address to them as a proof of the high esteem in which I hold them. They will not be offended then if, in this season of alarm and anxiety, when I wish to impress their minds with a serious truth, I shall wave ceremony which is always designing, and speak of them in honest but decent plainness.

Man is immersed in luxury. Our accommodations are now so numerous that every thing is pleasure. Even in very sober situations in this highly cultivated Society, there is hardly a thing that remains in the form of a necessary of life, or even of a mere convenience - every thing is ornamented - it must not appear of use - it must appear as giving some sensible pleasure. I do not say this by way of blaming - it is nature - man is a refining creature, and our most boasted acquirements are but refinements on our necessary wants.


Our hut becomes a palace, our blanket a fine dress, and our arts become sciences. This discontent with the natural condition of things, and this disposition to refinement, is a characteristic of our species, and is the great employment of our lives. The direction which this propensity chances to take in any age or nation, marks its character in the most conspicuous and interesting manner. All have it in some degree, and it is very conceivable that, in some, it may constitute the chief object of attention. If this be the case in any nations, it is surely most likely to be so in those where the accommodations of life are the most numerous - therefore in a rich and luxurious nation.


I may surely, without exaggeration or reproach, give that appellation to our own nation at this moment: If you do not go to the very lowest class of people, who must labour all day, is it not the chief object of all to procure perceptible pleasure in one way or another? The sober and busy struggle in the thoughts and hopes of getting the means of enjoying the comforts of life without farther labour - and many have no other object than pleasure.

Then let us reflect that it is woman that is to grace the whole - It is in nature, it is the very constitution of man, that woman, and every thing connected with woman, must appear as the ornament of life. That this mixes with every other social sentiment, appears from the conduct of our species in all ages and in every situation. This I presume would be the case, even though there were no qualities or talents in the sex to justify it. This sentiment respecting the sex is necessary, in order to rear so helpless; so nice, and so improveable a creature as man; without it, the long abiding task could not be performed: - and I think that I may venture to say that it is performed in the different states of society nearly in proportion as this preparatory and indispensable sentiment is in force.

On the other hand, I think it no less evident that it is the desire of the women to be agreeable to the men, and that they will model themselves according to what they think will please. Without this adjustment of sentiments by nature, nothing would go on. We never observe any such want of symmetry in the works of God. If, therefore, those who take the lead, and give the fashion in society, were wise and virtuous, I have no doubt but that the women would set the brightest pattern of every thing that is excellent.


But if the men are nice and fastidious sensualists, the women will be refined and elegant voluptuaries.

There is no deficiency in the female mind, either in talents or in dispositions; nor can we say with certainty that there is any subject of intellectual or moral discussion in which women have not excelled. If the delicacy of their constitution, and other physical causes, allow the female sex a smaller share of some mental powers, they possess others in a superior degree, which are no less respectable in their own nature, and of as great importance to society.


Instead of descanting at large on their powers of mind, and supporting my assertions by the instances of a Hypatia, a Schurman, a Zenobia, an Elisabeth, &c. I may repeat the account given of the sex by a person of uncommon experience, who saw them without disguise, or any motive that could lead them to play a feigned part: Mr. Ledyard, who traversed the greatest part of the world, for the mere indulgence of his taste for observation of human nature; generally in want, and often in extreme misery.

“I have (says he) always remarked that women, in all countries, are civil, obliging, tender, and humane; that they are ever inclined to be gay and cheerful, timorous and modest; and that they do not hesitate, like man, to perform a kind or generous action: - Not haughty, not arrogant, not supercilious, they are full of courtesy, and fond of society - more liable in general to err than man, but in general, also, more virtuous, and performing more good actions than he. To a woman, whether civilized or savage, I never addressed myself in the language of decency and friendship, without receiving a decent and friendly answer - with man it has often been otherwise.

“In wandering over the barren plains of inhospitable Denmark, through honest Sweden, and frozen Lapland, rude and churlish Finland, unprincipled Russia, and the wide spread regions of the wandering Tartar - if hungry, dry, cold, wet, or sick, the women have ever been friendly to me, and uniformly so; and to add to this virtue (so worthy of the appellation of benevolence) these actions have been performed in so free and so kind a manner, that if I was thirsty, I drank the sweetest draught, and if hungry, I ate the coarse meal with a double relish.”

And these are they whom Weishaupt would corrupt! One of these, whom he had embraced with fondness, would he have murdered, to save his honor, and qualify himself to preach virtue! But let us not be too severe on Weishaupt - let us wash ourselves clear of all stain before we think of reprobating him. Are we not guilty in some degree, when we do not cultivate in the women those powers of mind, and those dispositions of heart, which would equally dignify them in every station as in those humble ranks in which Mr. Ledyard most frequently saw them? I cannot think that we do this.


They are not only to %roce the whole of cultivated society, but it is in their faithful and affectionate personal attachment that we are to find the sweetest pleasures that life can give. Yet in all the situations where the manner in which they are treated is not dictated by the stern laws of necessity, are they not trained up for mere amusement - are not serious occupations considered as a task which hurts their loveliness? What is this but selfishness, or as if they had no virtues worth cultivating?


Their business is supposed to be the ornamenting themselves, as if nature did not dictate this to them already, with at least as much force as is necessary. Every thing is prescribed to them because it makes them more lovely - even their moral lessons are enforced by this argument, and Miss Woolstoncroft is perfectly right when she says that the fine lessons given to young women by Fordyce or Rousseau are nothing but selfish and refined voluptuousness.


This advocate of her sex puts her sisters in the proper point of view, when she tells them that they are, like man, the subjects of God’s moral government like man, preparing themselves for boundless improvement in a better state of existence. Had she adhered to this view of the matter, and kept it constantly in sight, her book (which doubtless contains many excellent things, highly deserving of their serious consideration) would have been a most valuable work.


She justly observes, that the virtues of the sex are great and respectable, but that in our mad chase of pleasure, only pleasure, they are little thought of or attended to. Man trusts to his own uncontroutable power, or to the general goodness of the sex, that their virtues will appear when we have occasion for them; - “but we will send for these some other time;”- Many noble displays do they make of the most difficult attainments. Such is the patient bearing up under misfortunes, which has no brilliancy to support it in the effort.


This is more difficult than braving danger in an active and conspicuous situation. How often is a woman left with a family and the shattered remains of a fortune, lost perhaps by dissipation or by indolence - and how seldom, how very seldom, do we see woman shrink from the task, or discharge it with negligence? Is it not therefore folly next to madness, not to be careful of this our greatest blessing - of things which so nearly concern our peace - nor guard ourselves, and these our best companions and friends, from the effects of this fatal Illumination?


It has indeed brought to light what dreadful lengths men will go, when under the fanatical and dazzling glare of happiness in a state of liberty and equality, and spurred on by insatiable luxury, and not held in check by moral feelings and the restraints of religion - and mark, reader, that the women have here also taken the complexion of the men, and have even gone beyond them.


If we have seen a son present himself to the National Assembly of France, professing his satisfaction with the execution of his father three days before, and declaring himself a true citizen, who prefers the nation to all other considerations; we have also seen, on the same day, wives denouncing their husbands, and (0 shocking to human nature!) mothers denouncing their sons, as bad citizens and traitors. Mark too what return the women have met with for all their horrid services, where, to express their sentiments of civism and abhorrence of royalty, they threw away the character of their sex, and bit the amputated limbs of their murdered countrymen.(7)


Surely these patriotic women merited that the rights of their sex should be considered in full council, and they were well entitled to a seat; but there is not a single act of their government in which the sex is considered as having any rights whatever, or that they are things to be cared for.

Are not the accursed fruits of Illumination to be seen in the present humiliating condition of woman in France? pampered in every thing that can reduce them to the mere instrument of animal pleasure. In their present state of national moderation (as they call it) and security, see Madame Talien come into the public theatre, accompanied by other beautiful women (I was about to have misnamed them Ladies) laying aside all modesty, and presenting themselves to the public view, with bared limbs, a la Sauvage, as the alluring objects of desire.


I make no doubt but that this is a serious matter, encouraged, nay, prompted by government. To keep the minds of the Parisians in the present fever of dissolute gaiety, they are at more expence from the national treasury for the support of the sixty theatres, than all the pensions and honorary offices in Britain, three times told, amount to. Was not their abominable farce in the church of Notre Dame a bait of the same kind, in the true spirit of Weishaupfs Eroterion?


I was pleased to see among the priests of that solemnity Mr. Brigonzi, an old acquaintance, formerty Machiniste (and excellent in his profession) to the opera at the palace in St. Petersburg. He was a most zealous Mason, and Chevalier de I’Orient; and I know that he went to Paris in the same capacity of Machiniste de I’Opera; so that I am next to certain that this is the very man. But what will be the end of all this?


The fondlings of the wealthy will be pampered in all the indulgences which fastidious voluptuousness finds necessary for varying or enhancing its pleasures; but they will either be slighted as toys, or they will be immured; and the companions of the poor will be drudges and slaves.

I am fully persuaded that it was the enthusiastic admiration of Grecian democracy that recommended to the French nation the dress a la Grecque, which exhibits, not the elegant, ornamented beauty, but the beautiful female, fully as well as Madame Talien’s dress a la Sauvage. It was no doubt with the same adherence to serious principle, that Mademoiselle Therouanne was most beautifully dressed a I’Amazonne on the 5th of October 1789, when she turned the heads of so many young officers of the regiments at Versailles.


The Cytherea, the hominum divumque voluptas, at the cathedral of Notre Dame, was also dressed a la Grecque; and in this, and in much of the solemnities of that day, I recognized the taste and invention of my old acquaintance Brigonzi. I recollected the dresses of our premiere & seconde Surveillantes in the Loge de la Fidelite. There is a most evident and characteristic change in the whole system of female dress in France.


The Filles de I’Opera always gave the ton, and were surely withheld by no rigid principle. They sometimes produced very extravagant and fantastic forms, but these were almost always in the style of the highest ornament, and they trusted, for the rest of the impression which they wished to make, to the fascinating expression of elegant movements. This indeed was wonderful, and hardly conceivable by any who have not seen a grand ballet performed by good actors.


I have shed tears of the most sincere and tender sorrow during the exhibition of Antigone, set to music by Traetta, and performed by Madame Meilcour and Sre Torelli, and Zantini. I can easily conceive the impression to be still stronger, though perhaps of another kind, when the former superb dresses are changed for the expressive simplicity of the Grecian. I cannot help thinking that the female ornaments in the rest of Europe, and even among ourselves, have less elegance since we lost the imprimatur of the French court. But see how all this will terminate, when we shall have brought the sex so low, and will not even wait for a Mahometan paradise.


What can we expect but such a dissoluteness of manners, that the endearing ties of relation and family, and mutual confidence within doors, will be slighted, and will cease; and every man must stand up for himself, single and alone, in perfect equality, and full liberty to do whatever his own arm (but that alone) is able to accomplish.


This is not the suggestion of prudish fear, I think it is the natural course of things, and that France is at this moment giving to the world the fullest proof of Weishaupfs sagacity, and the judgment with which he has formed his plans.

  • Can it tend to the improvement of our morals or manners to have our ladies frequent the gymnastic theatres, and see them decide, like the Roman matrons, on the merits of a naked gladiator or wrestler?

  • Have we not enough of this already with our vaulters and posture-masters, and should we admire any lady who had a rage for such spectacles?

  • Will it improve our taste to have our rooms ornamented with such paintings and sculptures as filled the cenaculum, and the study of the refined and elegant moralist Horace, who had the art - ridendo dicere verum?

  • Shall we be improved when such indulgences are thought compatible with such lessons as he generally gives for the conduct of life?

The pure Morality of llluminatism is now employed in stripping Italy of all those precious remains of ancient art and voluptuousness; and Paris will ere long be the deposit and the resort of artists from all nations, there to study the works of ancient masters, and to return from thence pandars of public corruption. The plan is masterly, and the low-born Statesmen and Generals of France may in this respect be set on a level with a Colbert or a Conde. But the consequences of this Gallic dominion over the minds of fallen man will be as dreadful as their dominion over their lives and fortunes.

Recollect in what manner Spartacus proposed to corrupt his sisters (for we need not speak of the manner in which he expected that this would promote his plan -this is abundantly plain.) It was by destroying their moral sentiments, and their sentiments of religion. - Recollect what is the recommendation that the Atheist Minos gives of his step-daughters, when he speaks of them as proper persons for the Lodge of Sisters.

“They have got over all prejudices, and, in matters of religion, they think as I do.”

These profligates judged rightly that this affair required much caution, and that the utmost attention to decency, and even delicacy, must be observed their rituals and ceremonies, otherwise they would be disgusted. This was judging fairly of the feelings of a female mind. But they judged falsely, and only according to their own coarse experience, when they attributed their disgust and their fears to coyness. Coyness is indeed the instinctive attribute of the female. In woman it is very great, and it is perhaps the genuine source of the disgust of which the llluminati were suspicious.


But they have been dim-sighted indeed, or very unfortunate in their acquaintance, if they never observed any other source of repugnance in the mind of woman to what is immoral or immodest - if they did not see dislike - moral disapprobation. Do they mean to insinuate, that in that regard which modest women express in all their words and actions, for what every one understands by the terms decency, modesty, filthiness, obscenity, they only show female coyness?


Then are they very blind instructors. But they are not so blind. The account given of the initiation of a young Sister at Frankfort, under the feigned name Psycharion, shows the most scrupulous attention to the moral feelings of the sex; and the confusion and disturbance which it occasioned among the ladies; after all their care, shows, that when they thought all right and delicate, they had been but coarse judges. Minos damns the ladies there, because they are too free, too rich, too republican, and too wise, for being led about by the nose (this is his own expression).


But Philo certainly thought more correctly of the sex in general, when he says, Truth is a modest girl: She may be handed about like a lady, by good sense and good manners, but must not be bullied and driven about like a strumpet. I would give the discourses or addresses which were made on that occasion to the different classes of the assembly, girls, young ladies, wives, young men, and strangers, which are really well composed and pretty, were they not such as would offend my fair countrywomen:

The religious sentiments by which mortals are to be assisted, even in the discharge of their moral duties, and still more, the sentiments which are purely religious, and have no reference to any thing here, are precisely those which are most easily excited in the mind of woman. Affection, admiration, filial reverence, are, if I mistake not exceedingly, those in which the women far surpass the men; and it is on this account that we generally find them so much disposed to devotion, which is nothing but a sort of fond indulgence of these affections without limit to the imagination.


The enraptured devotee pours out her soul in expressions of these feelings, just as a fond mother mixes the caresses given to her child with the most extravagant expressions of love. The devotee even endeavours to excite higher degrees of these affections, by expatiating on such circumstances in the divine conduct with respect to man as naturally awaken them; and he does this without any fear of exceeding; because Infinite Wisdom and Goodness will always justify the sentiment, and free the expression of it from all charge of hyperbole or extravagance.

I am convinced, therefore, that the female mind is well adapted to cultivation by means of religion, and that their native softness and kindness of heart will always be sufficient for procuring it a favorable reception from them. It is therefore with double regret that I see any of them join in the arrogant pretensions of our Illuminated philosophers, who see no need of such assistances for the knowledge and discharge of their duties.


There is nothing so unlike that general modesty of thought, and that diffidence, which we are disposed to think the character of the female mind. I am inclined to think, that such deviations from the general conduct of the sex are marks of a harsher character, of a heart that has less sensibility, and is on the whole less amiable than that of others; yet it must be owned that there are some such among us.


Much, if not the whole of this perversion, has, I am persuaded, been owing to the contagion of bad example in the men. They are made familiar with such expressions - their first horror is gone, and (would to heaven that I were mistaken!) some of them have already wounded their consciences to such a degree, that they have some reason to wish that religion may be without foundation.

But I would call upon all; and these women in particular, to consider this matter in another light as it may affect themselves in this life; as it may affect their rank and treatment in ordinary society. I would say to them, that if the world shall once adopt the belief that this life is our all, then, the true maxim of rational conduct will be, to “eat and to drink, since to-morrow we are to die;” and that when they have nothing to trust to but the fondness of the men, they will soon find themselves reduced to slavery.


The crown which they now wear will fall from their heads, and they will no longer be the arbiters of what is lovely in human life. The empire of beauty is but short; and even in republican France, it will not be many years that Madame Tali en can fascinate the Parisian Theatre by the exhibition of her charms. Man is fastidious and changeable, and he is stronger than they, and can always take his own will with respect to woman.


At present he is with-held by respect for her moral worth - and many are with-held by religion - and many more are with-held by public laws, which laws were framed at a time when religious truths influenced the minds and the conduct of men. When the sentiments of men change, they will not be so foolish as to keep in force laws which cramp their strongest desires. Then will the rich have their Harems, and the poor their drudges.

Nay, it is not merely the circumstance of woman’s being considered as the moral companion of man that gives the sex its empire among us. There is something of this to be observed in all nations. Of all the distinctions which set our species above the other sentient inhabitants of this globe, making us as unlike to the best of them as they are to a piece of inanimate matter, there is none more remarkable than the differences observable in the appearances of those desires by which the race is continued. As I observed already, such a distinction is indispensably necessary.


There must be a moral connection, in order that the human species may be a race of rational creatures, improveable, not only by the increasing experience of the individual, but also by the heritable experience of the successive generations. It may be observed between the solitary pairs in Labrador, where human nature starves, like the stunted oak in the crevice of a baron rock; and it is seen in the cultivated societies of Europe, where our nature in a series of ages becomes a majestic tree. But, alas! with what differences of boughs and foliage!


Whatever may be the native powers of mind in the poor but gentle Esquimaux, she can do nothing for the species but nurse a young one, who cannot run his race of life without incessant and hard labour to keep soul and body together - here therefore her station in society can hardly have a name, because there can hardly be said that there is an association, except what is necessary for repelling the hostile attacks of Indians, who seem to hunt them without provocation as the dog does the hare.


In other parts of the world, we see that the consideration in which the sex is held; nearly follows the proportions of that aggregate of many different particulars, which we consider as constituting the cultivation of a society.


We may perhaps err, and we probably do err, in our estimation of these degrees, because we are not perfectly acquainted with what is the real excellence of man. But as far as we can judge of it, I believe that my assertion is acknowledged. On this authority, I might presume to say, that it is in Christian Europe that man has attained his highest degree of cultivation - and it is undoubtedly here that the women have attained the highest rank.


I may even add, that it is in that part of Europe where the essential and distinguishing doctrines of Christian morality are most generally acknowledged and attended to by the laws of the country, that woman acts the highest part in general society. But here we must be very careful how we form our notion, either of the society, or of the female rank - it is surely not from the two or three dozens who fill the highest ranks in the state.


Their number is too small, and their situation is too particular, to afford the proper average. Besides, the situation of the individuals of this class in all countries is very much the same - and in all it is very artificial - accordingly their character is fantastical. Nor are we to take it from that class that is the most numerous of all, the lowest class of society, for these are the labouring poor, whose conduct and occupations are so much dictated to them by the hard circumstances of their situation, that scarcely any thing is left to their choice.


The situation of women of this class must be nearly the same in all nations. But this class is still susceptible of some variety - and we see it and I think that even here there is a perceptible superiority of the female rank in those countries where the purest Christianity prevails. We must however take our measures or proportions from a numerous class, but also a class in somewhat of easy circumstances, where moral sentiments call some attention, and persons have some choice in their conduct.


And here, although I cannot pretend to have had many opportunities of observation, yet I have had some. I can venture to say that it is not in Russia, nor in Spain, that woman is, on the whole, the most important as a member of the community. I would say, that in Britain her important rights are more generally respected than any where else. No where is a man’s character so much hurt by infidelity - no where is it so difficult to rub off the stigma of bastardy, or to procure a decent reception or society for an improper connection; and I believe it will readily be granted, that their share in successions, their authority in all matters of domestic trust, and even their opinions in what concerns life and manners, are fully more respected here than in any country.

I have been of the opinion (and every observation that I have been able to make since I first formed it confirms me in it) that woman is indebted to Christianity alone for the high rank she holds in society. Look into the writings of antiquity -into the works of the Greek and Latin poets - into the numberless panegyrics of the sex, to be found both in prose and verse - I can find little, very little indeed, where woman is treated with respect - there is no want of love, that is, of fondness, of beauty, of charms, of graces.


But of woman as the equal of man, as a moral companion, travelling with him the road to felicity - as his adviser - his solace in misfortune - as a pattern from which he may sometimes copy with advantage; - of all this there is hardly a trace. Woman is always mentioned as an object of passion. Chastity, modesty, sober-mindedness, are all considered in relation to this single point; or sometimes as of importance in respect of ceconomy or domestic quiet.


Recollect the famous speech of Metellus Numidicus to the Roman people, when, as Censor, he was recommending marriage.

« Si fine uxore possemus Qui rites esse, omnes ea moles tia careremus. Sed quoniam ita natura tradidit, ut nee cum illis commode, nee fine illis ullo modo vivi posset, saluti perpetuas potius quam brevi voluptati consulendum. »

AuL Gell. Noct. Att. I. 6.

What does Ovid, the great panegyrist of the sex, say for his beloved daughter, whom he had praised for her attractions in various places of his Tristia and other compositions? He is writing her Epitaph - and the only thing he can say of her as a rational creature is, that she is - Domifida - not a Gadabout. - Search Apuleius, where you will find many female characters in abstracto - You will find that his little Photis was nearest to his heart, after all his philosophy.


Nay, in his pretty story of Cupid and Psyche, which the very wise will tell you is a fine lesson of moral philosophy, and a representation of the operations of the intellectual and moral faculties of the human soul, a story which gave him the finest opportunity, nay, almost made it necessary for him, to insert whatever can ornament the female character; what is his Psyche but a beautiful, fond, and silly girl; and what are the whole fruits of any acquaintance with the sex? - Pleasure.


But why take more pains in the search? - Look at their immortal goddesses - is there one among them whom a wise man would select for a wife or a friend? - I grant that a Lucretia is praised -a Portia, an Arria, a Zenobia - but these are individual characters - not representatives of the sex. The only Grecian ladies who made a figure by intellectual talents, were your Aspasias, Sapphos, Phrynes, and other nymphs of this cast, who had emerged from the general insignificance of the sex, by throwing away what we are accustomed to call its greatest ornament.

I think that the first piece in which woman is pictured as a respectable character, is the oldest novel that I am acquainted with, written by a Christian Bishop, Heliodorus - I mean the Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea. I think that the Heroine is a greater character than you will meet with in all the annals of antiquity. And it is worth while to observe what was the effect of this painting. The poor Bishop had been deposed, and even excommunicated, for doctrinal errors, and for drawing such a picture of a heathen.


The magistrates of Antioch, the most voluptuous and corrupted city of the East, wrote to the Emperor, telling him that this book had reformed the ladies of their city, where Jutian the Emperor and his Sophists had formerly preached in vain, and they therefore prayed that the good Bishop might not be deprived of his mitre: It is true, we read of Hypatia, daughter of Theon, the mathematician at Alexandria, who was a prodigy of excellence, and taught philosophy, i.e. the art of leading a good and happy life, with great applause in the famous Alexandrian school: But she also was in the times of Christianity, and was the intimate friend of Syncellus and other Christian Bishops.

It is undoubtedly Christianity that has set woman on her throne, making her in every respect the equal of man, bound to the same duties, and candidate for the same happiness. Mark how woman is described by a Christian poet,

• “Yet when I approach

Her loveliness, so absolute she seems, And in herself complete, so well to know Her own, that what she wills to do or say Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
Neither her outside, “form’d so fair, -So much delights me, as those graceful acts, Those thousand decencies that daily flow From all her words and actions, mix’d with love And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign’d Union of mind, or in us both one soul.
• And, to consummate all,
Greatness of mind; and nobleness, their feat Build in her loveliest, and create an awe About her, as a guard angelic plac’d.”

This is really moral painting, without any abatement of female charms.

This is the natural consequence of that purity of heart, which is so much insisted on in the Christian morality. In the instructions of the heathen philosophers, it is either not mentioned at all, or at most, it is recommended coldly, as a thing proper, and worthy of a mind attentive to great things.- But, in Christianity, it is insisted on as an indispensable duty, and enforced by many arguments peculiar to itself.

It is worthy of observation, that the most prominent superstitions which have dishonored the Christian churches, have been the excessive refinements which the enthusiastic admiration of heroic purity has allowed the holy trade to introduce into the manufacture of our spiritual fetters. Without this enthusiasm, cold expediency would not have been able to make the Monastic vow so general, nor have given us such numbers of convents.


These were generally founded by such enthusiasts - the rulers indeed of the church encouraged this to the utmost, as the best levy for the spiritual power - but they could not enjoin such foundations. From the same source we may derive the chief influence of auricular confession. When these were firmly established, and were venerated, almost all the other corruptions of Christianity followed of course.


I may almost add, that though it is here that Christianity has suffered the most violent attacks, it is here that the place is most tenable. - Nothing tends so much to knit all the ties of society as the endearing connections of family, and whatever tends to lessen our veneration for the marriage contract, weakens them in the most effectual manner: Purity of manners is its most effectual support, and pure thoughts are the only sources from which pure manners can flow. I readily grant that this veneration for personal purity was carried to an extravagant height, and that several very ridiculous fancies and customs arose from this.


Romantic love, and chivalry, are strong instances of the strange vagaries of our imagination, when carried along by this enthusiastic admiration of female purity; and so unnatural and forced, that they could only be temporary fashions. But I believe that, with all their ridicule, it would be a happy nation where this was the general creed and practice. Nor can I help thinking a nation on its decline, when the domestic connections cease to be venerated; and the illegitimate offspring of a nabob or a nobleman are received with ease into good company.


Nothing is more clear than that the design of the llluminati was to abolish Christianity - and we now see how effectual this would be for the corruption of the fair sex, a purpose which they eagerly wished to gain, that they might corrupt the men. But if the women would retain the rank they now hold, they will be careful to preserve in full force on their minds this religion so congenial to their dispositions, which nature has made affectionate and kind.

And with respect to the men, is it not egregious folly to encourage any thing that can tend to blast our sweetest enjoyments? Shall we not do this most effectually if we attempt to corrupt what nature will always make us consider as the highest elegance of life? The divinity of the Stoics was, “Mens sana in corpore sano”- but it is equally true,

“Gratior est pulchro veniens e corpore virtus.”

If therefore, instead of professedly tainting what is of itself beautiful, we could really work it up to

“That fair form, which, wove in fancy’s loom, “Floats in light visions round the poet’s head,”

and make woman a pattern of perfection, we should undoubtedly add more to the heartfelt happiness of life than by all the discoveries of the llluminati. See what was the effect of Theagenes and Chariclea.

And we should remember that with the fate of woman that of man is indissolubly knit. The voice of nature spoke through our immortal bard, when he made Adam say,

• “From thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.”
Should we suffer the contagion to touch our fair partner, all is gone, and too late shall we say,
“0 fairest of creation! last and best
Of all God’s works, creature in whom excell’d
Whatever can to fight or thought be form’d,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost - and now to death devote?
And me with thee hast ruin’d: for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die.”

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1 - This is evidently the Mystese du Mithsus mentioned by Barruel, in his History of Jacobinism, and had been carried into France by Bede and Busche.
2 - I observe, in other parts of his correspondence where he speaks of this, several singular phrases, which are to be found in two books; Antiquite devoilee par ses Usages, and Origine du Despotisme Oriental. These contain indeed much of the maxims inculcated in the reception discourse of the degree llluminatus Minor. Indeed I have found, that Weishaupt is much less an inventor than he is generally thought.
3 - It means an attempt made by David Williams, [American Classics editor’s footnote]
4 - Happy France! Cradle of Illumination, where the morning of Reason has
dawned, dispelling the clouds of Monarchy and Christianity, where the babe has
sucked the blood of the unenlightened, and Murder! Fire! Help! has been the
lullaby to sing it to sleep.
5 - (They were strongly suspected of having published some scandalous caricatures, and some very immoral prints.) They scrupled at no mean, however base, for corrupting the nation. Mirabeau had done the same thing at Berlin. By political caricatures and filthy prints, they corrupt even such as cannot read.
6 - In this small turbulent city there were eleven secret societies of Masons, Rosycrucians, Clair-voyants,” &c.
7 - I say this on the authority of a young gentleman, an emigrant, who saw it, and who said, that they were women, not of the dregs of the Palais Royal, not of infamous character, but well dressed: - I am sorry to add, that the relation, accompanied with looks of horror and disgust, only provoked a contemptuous smile from an illuminated British Fair one.

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