John Robison.

Proofs of a conspiracy against all the religions and governments of Europe : carried on in the secret meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and reading societies online

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Online LibraryJohn RobisonProofs of a conspiracy against all the religions and governments of Europe : carried on in the secret meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and reading societies → online text (page 1 of 31)
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By J O H N R O B I S O N, A. M.


Nam tua res agitur paries cu?n proximus ardet.
To which is added a Postscript.










It was with great fat is fa^ Ion that I learned from a
Friend that you coincided with me in the opinion ^ that the
information contained in this F^ erf or man ce would make a
ufeful imprejfiun on the minds of my Countrymen.

I have prefumed to infcribe it with your Name^ that I
may publicly exprefs the pleafure which I felt ^ when I found
that neither a feparation for thirty years , nor the prejjure of
the moft important hufinefs^ had effaced your kind remem-
brance of a College Acquaintance^ or abated that obliging
and polite attention with which you favoured me in thcfe
early days of life.

The friendjhip of the accomplifjed and the worthy is the
highefi honour ; and to him who is cut cff^ by want of healthy
from almcfi every other enjoyment ^ it is an ineftimable bltf-
ftng. Accept^ therefore^ I pray^ of ?ny grateful acknow-
ledgments, and of my earnefi wifhes for your Healthy Prof-
perity^ and increafing Honour,

IVithfentimcnts of the greatefl Efteem and Refpe^l^

I am, SIR^

Tour mcfl obedient^
and mcfl humble Servant,



Septemlier 5, 1797.

^UOD fi quis vera vilam ratione guhernet,

Diviti^ grandes hominijunt^ vivere pdirce

j^quo a'dimo : neque enim eft unquam penuria parvi.

At dares Je hor.mies voluerimt atque potentes^

Ut fundament ft ahili for tuna maneret^

Et placidam pcjjent opiilenti degere vitam :

Nequicquamy — quoniam ad Jummum Juccedere hojiorem

Certantes^ iter inf eft urn fe cere vidi,

Et tamen efummo quafi fulmen dejicit i^os

Invidia inter dum conte?nptm in Tartar a tetra,

Ergo^ Regihus cccifis, Juhverja jacehat
Priftina majeftas Juliorum, etjceptrajuperha ;
Et capitis Jummi prtsclar urn in figne, cruentumy
Sub pedibus volgi magnum lugebat honor um :
Nam cupide conculcatur nimis ante metutum.
Res itaqueadjummamfa:cem^ turbajqiie redibat,
Mperiumftbi cum ac Jummatum qui/que petebat,

Lucretius, V. 1116.


Being at a friend's houfc in the country during
Ibmc part of the fummer 1795, I there faw a volume
of a Gernian periodical work, c^Wcdi Religions Bcgehen-
heiten, i. e. Religious Occurrences : in which there
was an account of the various fchifms in the Fraternity
of Free Mafons, with frequent allufions to the origin
and hiftory of that celebrated affociation. This ac-
count interefted me a good deal, becaufe, in my
early life, I had taken fome part in the occupations
(jQiall I call them) of Free Mafonry; and, having
chiefly frequented the Lodges on the Continent, I had
learned many doctrines, and ittn many ceremonials
which have no place in the nmple f/frem of Free Ma-
fonry which obtains in this^ country. I had alfo re-
marked, that the whole was much more the obje6l of
reflediion and thou2;ht than I could remember it to
have been among my acquaintances at home. Ther*^,
I had feen a Mafon Lodge confidered merely as a pre-
text for paffing an hour or two in a fort of decent con-
viviality, not altogether void of fome rational occupa-
tion. I had fometimes heard of difierences of doc-
trines or of ceremonies, but in terms which miarked
them as mere frivolities. Bur, on the Continent, I
found them matters of ferious concern and debate.



Such too is the contagion of example, that I could not
hinder myfclf from thinking one opinion better found-
ed, or one Ritual more appofice and Hgnificant than
another J and I even feltromething like an anxiety for
its being adopted, and a zeal for making it a general
pradice. I had been initiated in a very fplendid Lodge
at Liege, of which the Prince BiHiop, his Trefonciers,
and the chief NoblefTe of the State were members. I
vifited the French Lodges at Valenciennes, at BrufTcls,
at Aix-la-Chapelle, at Berlin, and Koningiberg ; and
I picked up fome printed difcourfes delivered by the
Brother-orators of the Lodges. At St. Peterlburgh I
connedled myfeif with the Englifli Lodge, and occa-
fionally vifited the and Ruffian Lodges held
there. I found myfeif received with particular refpe6t
as a Scotch Mafon, and as an Eleve of ihtLodge de la
Parfait Intelligence at Liege. I was importuned by
perfons of the firlt rank to purfue my mafonic career
through many degrees unknown in this country. But
all the fplendor and elegance that 1 faw could not con-
ceal a frivolity in every part. It appeared a bafelefs
fabric, and I could not think of engaging in an occu-
pation which would confume much time, coft me a
good deal of money, and might perhaps excite in me
fome of that fanaticifm, or at leaP-, enthufiafm, that!
faw in others, and perceived to be void of any rational
fupport. I therefore remained in the Englilh Lodge,
contented with the rank of Scotch Mailer, Vv'hich was
in a manner forced on me in a private Lodge of French
Mafons, but is not given in the Englifli Lodge. My
jnafonic rank admitted me to a very elegant entertain-
ment in the female hogedela Fidelite, where every ce-
remonial was compofcd in the higheft degree of ele-
gance, and every thing conduced with the moft deli-
cate refpe6l for our fair fillers, and the old fong of bro-
therly love was chanted in the moft refined ftrain of




fentiment. I do not fuppofe that the Parifian Free Ma-
fonry of forty- five degrees could give me more enter-
tainment. I had profited fo much by it, that I had
the honour of being appointed the Brother-orator. In
this office I gave fuch fatisfi\6i:ion, that a worthy Bro-
ther fent me at midnight a box, which he committed
to my care, as a perfon far advanced in mafonic fcience,
zealoufly attached to the order, and therefore a fit de-
pofuory of important writings. I learned next day
that this gentleman had found it convenient to leave the
empire in a hurry, but taking with him the funds ofan
eftablifhment of which her Imperial Majefty had made
him the manager. I wasdefiredto keep thefe writings till
he fhould fee me again. I obeyed. About ten years
afterward I law the gentleman on the ftreet in Edin-
burgh, converfmg v/ith a foreigner. As I paffcd by
him, I faluted him foftly in the Ruffian language ; but
without flopping, or looking him diredlly in the face.
He coloured, but made no return. I endeavoured, in
vain, to m.eet with him, wiffiing to make a proper re-
turn for much civility and kindncfs which I had receiv-
ed from him in his own country.

I now confidered the box as acceffible to myfelf, and
opened it. I found it to contain all the degrees of the
Parfait Macron Ecvjjois^ with the Rituals, Catechifms,
and InftruAions, and alfo four other degrees of Free
Mafonry, as cultivated in the Parifian Lodges. I have
kept them with all care, and mean to give them tofome
refpedlable Lodge. But asl am bound by no engage-
ment of any kind, I hold myfelf at liberty to make
fuch ufe of them as may be ferviceable to the public,
without enabling any uninitiated perfon to enter the
Lodges of thefe degrees.

This acquifition might have roufed my former reliffi
for mafonry, had it been merely dormant; but, after fo
long feparation from the Lodge de la Fidelite, the mafo-


nic rpirit had evaporated. Some curiofity however re-
mained, and Ibme v/ilh to trace this plailic my fiery to
the pit from which the clay had been dug, which has
been moulded into fo rhany different Ihapes, ^^ fom.e to
*' honour, and fome to diflionour.'' But my opportu-
nities were now gone. 1 have given away (when in
Rufiia) my volumes of dirccurfes, and fome far-fetched
and gratuitous hiilories, and nothing remained but the
pitiful work of Andcrfon, and the Magonnerie Adonhi-
ramique devoilee^ which are in every one's hands.

My curiofity was ftrongly roufed by the accounts
given in the Religions Begehenheiten. There I faw quo-
tadons v.nthout number, fyftems and fchifms of which
I had never heard ; but what particularly flruck me
wa- a zeal and a fanaticifm about what I thought trifles,
which aftoniflied me. Men of rank and fortune, and
engaged in fericus and honourable public employments,
not only frequennng the Lodges of the cities where
they refided, but journeying from one end of Germany
or France to the other, to- vifit new Lodges, or to learn
new fecrets or new do6lrines. I faw conventions held
at WiQrnar, at WiPoad, at Kohlo, at Brunfvvick, and at
Wilk-mibad, confifting of fome hundreds of perfons of
refpe^table fcations. 1 faw adventurers coming to a
city, profefTing fome new fecret, and in a few days
forming new Lodges, and inifruding in a troublelbme
and expenfive manner hundreds of brethren.

German Mafonry appeared a very ferious concern,
and to be implicated with other fubje6ls with which I
had never fufpe6led it to have any connedlion. I faw
it much connected with many occurrences and fchifms
in the Chriftian church ; I faw that the Jefuits had
fcveral times interfered in it ; and that moft of the ex-
ceptionable innovations and difTcntions had arifen about
the time that the order of Loyola was fupprefTed j fo
that it fliould feem, that thefe intriguing brethren had



attempted to maintain their influence by the help of
Free Maibnry. I favv it much difturbed by the myftical
whims of J. Behmcn and Svvedenborg — by the fanatical
and knavifh do6lrines of the modern Rofycrucians^ — by-
Magicians — Magnet! fers — Exorcifts, &c. And I ob-
ferved that thele different ictls reprobated each other,
as notonlymaintainingerroneous opinions, but even in-
culcating opinions which were contrary to the cftablilli-
ed religions of Germany, and contrary to the princi-
ples of the civil cftablifriments. At the lame time
they charged each other vvirh miltakes and corruptions,
both in dodlrine and in practice ; and particularly Vv^ith
falfification of the firft principles of Free Mafonry,
and with ignorance of its origin and its hiRory ; and
they fupported thele charges by aiuhoritles from many
different books v;hich were unknown to me.

My curicfity was now greatly excited. I got from
a much rclpcd:ed friend many of the preceding vo-
lumes of the Religiofis BegebenheiteYiy in hopes of much
information from the patient induilry of German eru-
dition. This opened a new and very interefting
fcenc ; I was frequently fent back to England, from
whence all agreed that Free Mafonry had been im-
ported into Germany. I was frequently led into
France and into Italy. There, and more remarkably
in France, I found that the Lodges had become the
haunts of many projeftors and fanatics, both in fci-
ence, in religion, and in politic?, who had availed
themfclves of the fccrecy and the freedom ot fpeech
maintained in thefe meetings, to broach tlieir parti-
cular whims or fufpicicus doc'frines, which, if publiili-
ed to the world in the iifual manner, v/oiild have
expofed Xa\^ authors to ridicule or to cenfure. Thefe
projeftors liad contrived to tag their peculiar no-
(Irums to the mummery of Mafonry, and were even
allowed to twin the mafcnic emblenis and ceremonies

B to


to their purpofe ; fo that in their hands Free MaHjnrf
became a thing totally unlike, and ahnoft in direft
oppolition to the iyftem (if it may get fuch a name)
imported from England j and forae Lodges had be-
come fchools of irreligion and licentioulhefs.

No nation in modern times has lo particularly-
turned its attention to the cultivation of every thing
that is retined or ornamental as France, and it has
long been the refort of all who hunt after entertain-
ment in its moil refined form ; the French have come
to confider themfclves as the inftru6lors of the world
in every thing that ornaments life, and feeling them-
fclves received as fuch, they have formed their man-
ners accordingly — full of the moft condefcending com-
plaifance to rdl who acknowledge their fuperiority. De-
lighted, in a high degree, vviih this office, they have
become ze:dous millionarics of refinement in every de-
partment of human purfuit, and have reduced their
apoflolic employm.ent to a lyUem, which they profe-
cute with ardour and deiip-ht. This is not eroundlefs

CD vj

declamation, but fober hiftorical truth. It was the
profelled aim (and it was a magnificent and wife aim)
of the great Colbert, to make the court of Louis XIV.
the fountain of human refinement, and Paris the Athens
of Europe. We need only look, in the prefent day,
at the plunder of Italy by the French army, to be
convinced that their low-born generals and ftatefmen
have in this refpe(!:l: the fame notions with the Colberts
and the Richlicus.

I know no lubie61: in which this aim at univerfal in-
fluence on tfie opinions of men, by holding themfelves
forth as the models of excellence and elegance, is more
clearly fecn than in the care that they have been pleafed
to take of Free Mafonry. It feems indeed peculiarly
fuited to the talents and tafte of that vain and ardent
people. Bafclcfs and frivolous, it admits of every



form that Gallic refinement can invent, to recommend
it to the young, the gay, the luxurious ; that clafs of
fociety which alone defcrves theii; care, becaufe, in
one way or another, it leads all other dalles of fociety.

It has accordingly happened, that the homely Free
Mafonry imported from England has been totally
changed in every country of Europe either by the im-
poling afcendency of Frcn&h bretfiren, who are to be
found every where, ready to in(lru6l the world ; or by
the importation of the do6i:rines, and ceremonies, and
ornaments of the Parifian Lodges. Even England,
the birth-place of Mafonry, has exj-)erienced the French
innovations; and all the repeated injunctions, admo-
nitions, and reproofs of the old Lodges, cannot pre-
vent thofe in different parts of the kingdom from ad-
mitting the French novelties, full of tinfcl and glitter,
and high -founding titles.

Were this all, the harm would not be great. But
long before good opportunities had occurred for fpread-
ing the refinements on the fimple Free Mafonry of
England, the Lodges in France had become places of
very ferious difcufTion, where opinions in morals, in
religion, and in politics, had been promulgated and
maintained with a freedom and a keennefs, of which
we in this favoured land have no adequate notion, be-
caufe we are unacquainted with the reftraints which,
in other countries, are laid on ordinary converfation.
In confequence of this, the French innovations in
Free Mafonry were quickly follovv'ed in all parts of
Europe, by the admiffion of fimilar difcuffions, al-
though in diredt oppoficion to a (landing rule, and a
declaration made to every newly received Brother,
" that nothing touching the religion or government
'' fliall ever be fpoken of in the Lodge." But the
Lodges in other countries followed the example of
France, and have frequentlv become the rendezvo :s



of innovators in religion and politics, and otj;4er dif-
turbers of the public peace, in fhort, I have found
that the covert of a Mafon Lodge had been employed
in every country for venting and propagating fenti-
ments in religion and politics, that could not have cir-
culated in public v^^ithout expofing the author to great
danger. I found, that this impunity had gradually
encouraged men of licentious principles to become
more bold, and to teach do6lr;nes fubverfive of all
our notions of mordity — of all our confidence in the
moral government of the univerfe— of all our hopes
of improvement in a future ftate of exiflience — and of
all fatisfadlion and contentment v/\th our prefent life,
fo long as we live in a Hate of civil fubordination. I
have been able to trace thefe attempts, made, through
a courfe of fifty years, under the fpecious pretext of
enlightening the world by the torch of philofophy, and
of difpelling the clouds of civil and religious fuperfti-
tion which keep the nations of Europe in darknefs and
fiavery. I have obferved thefe do6lrines gradually
diffufmg and mixing with all the different fyllems of
Free Mafonry ; till, at lafV, an Association has
BEEN FORMED for the cxprcfs purpofe of rooting out


Europe. I have (cen this Afibciation exerting itfelf
^ealoufly and fyftematically, till it has become almoft
irrefiftible : And I have fcen that the moft adive lead-
ers in the French Revclurion v/ere members of this
Afibciation, and conduded their iiril" movements ac-
cording to its principles, and by means of its inftruc-
tions and alilitance, formally requefted and obtained:
And, laitly, I have (ten that this Affociation ilill ex-
ifls, fiill works in fecret, and that not only feveral
appearances among ourfclves fhow that its emifiaries
are endeavouring to propagate their drteilable doc-


trines among us, but that the Afibciation has Lodges
in Britain correfponding wich the mother Lodge at
Munich ever fmce 1784.

If all this were a matter of mere curiofity, and fuf-
ceptible of no good ufe, it would have been better to
have kept it to myfeif, than to difturb my neighbours
with the knowledge of a (late of things which they
cannot amend. But if it ihall appear that the minds
of my countrymen are mifltd in the very fame manner
as were thofe of our continental neighbours — if I can
fhow that the reafonings which make a very ftrong im-
prefTion on fome perfons in this country are the fame
which adtually produced the dangerous alTociation in
Germany i and that they had this unhappy influence
folely becaufe they were thought to be fmcere, and
the expreiTions of the fentiments of the fpeakers — if I
can fhow that this was all a cheat, and that the Lead-
ers of this AiTociation difoclieved every word th^t they
uttered, and every doclrine that they taught; and that
their real intention was to abolifb ^//religion, overturn
every government, and make the world a general
plunder and a wreck — if I can Hiow, that the princi-
ples which the Founder and Leaders of this AlTociation
held forth as the perfedion of human virtue, and the
moft powerful and efficacious for forming the minds of
men, and making th.em. good and happy, had no in-
fluence on the Founder and Leaders themfelves, and
that they were, almofl: without exception, the moft in-
figniiicant, worthiefs, and profligate of men; I cannot
but think, that fuch information will make my coun-
trymen hefitate a little, and receive with caution, and
even diflrufl:, addreiles and infcruftions which flatter
our felf-conceit, and which, by buoying us up with
the gay profpec^l of what feems attainable by a change,
may make us difcontented with our prefent condition,
and forget that there never was a government on earth



where the people of a great and luxurious nation en-
joyed ,fo much freedom and fecurity in the polTciTion
of every thing that is dear and valuable.

When we fee that thefe boafted principles had not
that efFcdt on the Leaders which they aficrt to be their
native, certain, and inevitable confcquences, we fhall
diftruft the fine defcriptions of the happincfs chat
ihould refult fpom fuch a change. And when we fee
that the methods which were pradifed by this AfToci-
ation for the exprefs purpofe of breaking all the bands
of fociety, were employed folely in order that the
Leaders might rule the world with uncontroulable
power, while all the reft, even of the aflbciated, fnould
be degraded in their own eflimation, corrupted in their
principles, and employed as mere tools of the ambition
of their imknoivn Jwperiors ; lurely a free-born Briton
will not hefitate to reject at once, and without any far-
ther examination, a plan fo big with mifchief, fo dif-
graceful to its underling adherents, and fo uncertain in
its ifiue.

Thefe hopes have induced m.e to lay before the
public a fhort abftraft of the information which I think'
I have received. It will be fhort, but I hope fufficient
for eftablifhing the fa6l, that this deteficihle AJfociation
exifts, and its emijfaries are hujy among ourjelves,

1 was not contented with the quotations which I
found in the Religions Begebenheiten, but procured
from abroad fome of the chief writings from which
they are taken. This both gave me confidence in the
quotations from books which I could not procure, and
furnidied me with more materials. Much, however,
remains untold, richly deferving the attention of all
thofe who/^^/ themfelves difpofed to liilen to the tales
of a pofTible happinefs that may be enjoyed in a ibciety
where all the magiflrates are wife and juft, and all the
people are honeft and kind.

I hope


I hope that I am honefl; and candid. I have been
at all pains to give the true fenle of the authors. My
knowledge of the German language is but fcanty, but
I have had the affiftance of friends whenever I was in
doubt. In comprefTing into one paragraph what I
have colleded from many, I have, as much as I was
able, fluck to the words of the author, and have been
anxious to give his precife meaning. I doubt not but
that I have fometimes failed, and will receive correc-
tion with deference. I entreat the reader not to exped:
a piece of good literary compofition. I am very fen-
fible that it is far from it — it is written during bad
health, when I am not at eafe — and I v;ifh to conceal
my name — but my motive is, without the fmalieft
mixture of another, to do fome good in the only way
I am able, and I think that what I fay will come with
better grace, and be received with more confidence,
than any anonymous publication. Of thefc I am now
moil heartily fick. I throw myfeif on my country with
a free heart, and I bow with deference to its decifion.

The alTociation of v;/hich Ihave been fpeaking is the
Order of Illuminati, founded, in 1775, by Dr.
Adam Weifhaupt, profe (Tor of Canon law in the uni-
vcrfity of Ingolftadt, and abolifned in 1786 by the
Eleftor of Bavaria, but revived immediately after, un-
der another name, and in a different form, all over
Germany. It was again detected, and feemingly bro-
ken up j but it had by this time taken fo deep root
that it ilill fubfifts without being dctedied, and has
fpread into ail the countries of Europe. It took its
firll rife among the Free Maibns, but is totally dif-
ferent from Free Mafonry. It was not, however, the
mere protection gained by the fecrecy of the Lodges
that gave occafion to it, but it arofe naturally from
the corruptions that had gradually crept into that fra-
ternity, the violence of the parry fpirit which pervaded



it, and from the total uncertainty and darknefs that
hangs over the whole of that myilerious Alfociation.
It is neceflary, therefore, to give fome account of the
innovations that have been introduced into Free Ma-
fonry from the time that it made its appearance on the
continent of Europe as a myftical fociety, polTcffing
fecrets different from thofe of the mechanical employ-
ment whofe name ic afiiimed, and thus affording en-
tertainment and occupation to perfons of all ranks and
profcffions. It is by no means intended to give a hif-
tory of Free Mafonry. This would lead to a very long
difculTion. The patient induilry of German eruiition
has been very ferioufly employed on this fubjed, and
many perform.ances have been publiihed, of which
fome account is given in the di(Terent volumes of the
Religions Begebenheiten, particularly in thofe for 1779,
1785, and 1786. It is evident, from the nature of che
thing, that they cannot be very inilruclive to the pub-
lic -y becaufe the obligation of fecrecy refpeding the
important matters which are the very fubje61:s of de-
bate, prevents the author from giving that full infor-
mation that is required from an hiftorian ; and the wri-
ters have not, in general, been perfons qualitied for

Online LibraryJohn RobisonProofs of a conspiracy against all the religions and governments of Europe : carried on in the secret meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and reading societies → online text (page 1 of 31)