Proofs of a Conspiracy, by John Robison 1798

I may add as a finishing touch, that the National Assembly of France was the only body of men that I have ever heard of who openly and systematically proposed to employ assassination, and to institute a band of patriots, who should exercise this profession either by sword, pistol, or poison;–and though the proposal was not completed, it might be considered as the sentiments of the meeting; for it was only delayed till it should be considered how far it might not be imprudent, because they might expect reprisals. The Abbe Dubois engaged to poison the Comte d’Artois; but was himself robbed and poisoned by his accomplices.–There were strong reasons for thinking that the Emperor of Germany was poisoned–and that Mirabeau was thus tricked by his pupil Orleans, also Madame de Favras and her son.–This was copying the Illuminati very carefully.

After all these particulars, can any person have a doubt that the Order of Illuminati formally interfered in the French Revolution, and contributed greatly to its progress? There is no denying the insolence and oppression of the Crown and the Nobles, nor the misery and slavery of the people, nor that there were sufficient provocation and cause for a total change of measures and of principles. But the rapidity with which one opinion was declared in every corner, and that opinion as quickly changed, and the change announced every where, and the perfect conformity of the principles, and sameness of the language, even in arbitrary trifles, can hardly be explained in any other way. It may indeed be said, “que les beaux genies se rencontrent–that wits jump. The principles are the same, and the conduct of the French has been such as the Illuminati would have exhibited; but this is all–the Illuminati no longer existed.” Enough has been said on this last point already.–The facts are as have been narrated. The Illuminati continued as an Order, and even held assemblies, though not so frequently nor so formally as before, and though their Areopagus was no longer at Munich. But let us hear what the French themselves thought of the matter.

In 1789, or the beginning of 1790, a manifest was sent from the GRAND NATIONAL LODGE of Free Masons (so it is entitled) at Paris, signed by the Duke of Orleans as Grand Master, addressed and sent to the Lodges in all the respectable cities of Europe, exhorting them to unite for the support of the French Revolution, to gain it friends, defenders, and dependents; and according to their opportunities, and the practicability of the thing, to kindle and propagate the spirit of revolution through all lands. This is a most important article, and deserves a very serious attention. I got it first of all in a work called, Hochste wichtige Erinnerungen zur rechten Zeit uber einige der allerernsthaftesten Angelegenheiten dieses Zeitalters, von L. A. Hoffmann, Vienna, 1795.

The author of this work says, “That every thing he advances in these memorandums is consistent with his own personal knowledge, and that he is ready to give convincing proofs of them to any respectable person who will apply to him personally. He has already given such convincing documents to the Emperor, and to several Princes, that many of the machinations occasioned by this manifesto have been detected and stopped; and he would have no scruple at laying the whole before the public, did it not unavoidably involve several worthy persons who had suffered themselves to be misled, and heartily repented of their errors.” He is naturally (being a Catholic) very severe on the Protestants (and indeed he has much reason) and by this has drawn on himself many bitter retorts. He has however defended himself against all that are of any consequence to his good name and veracity, in a manner that fully convinces any impartial reader, and turns to the confusion of the slanderers.

Hoffmann says, that “he saw some of those manifests; that they were not all of one tenor, some being addressed to friends, of whose support they were already assured.” One very important article of their contents is Earnest exhortations to establish in every quarter secret schools of political education, and schools for the public education of the children of the people, under the direction of well-principled masters; and offers of pecuniary assistance for this purpose, and for the encouragement of writers in favor of the Revolution, and for indemnifying the patriotic booksellers who suffer by their endeavours to suppress publications which have an opposite tendency. We know very well that the immense revenue of the Duke of Orleans was scattered among all the rabble of the Palais Royal. Can we doubt of its being employed in this manner? Our doubts must vanish, when we see that not long after this it was publicly said in the National Assembly “that this method was the most effectual for accomplishing their purpose of setting Europe in a flame.” “But much expence,” says the speaker, “will attend it, and much has already been employed, which cannot be named, because it is given in secret.” The Assembly had given the Illumination war-hoop–“Peace with cottages, but war with palaces.”–A pouvoir revolutionnaire is mentioned, which supersedes all narrow thoughts, all ties of morality. Lequinio publishes the most detestable book that ever issued from a printing press, Les Prejuges vaincus, containing all the principles, and expressed in the very words of Illuminatism.

Hoffmann says, that the French Propaganda had many emissaries in Vienna, and many Friends whom he could point out. Mirabeau in particular had many connections in Vienna, and to the certain knowledge of Hoffmann, carried on a great correspondence in cyphers. The progress of Illumination had been very great in the Austrian States, and a statesman gave him accounts of their proceedings (qui font redresser les cheveux) which make one’s hair stand on end. “I no longer wonder,” says he, “that the Neueste Arbutung des Spartacus and Philo was forbidden. O ye almighty Illuminati, what can you not accomplish by your serpent-like insinuation and cunning!” Your leaders say, “This book is dangerous, because it will teach wicked men the most refined methods of rebellion, and it must never get into the hands of the common people. They have said so with the most impudent face to some Princes, who did not perceive the deeper-laid reason for suppressing the book. The leaders of the Illuminati are, not without reason, in anxiety, lest the inferior classes of their own Society should make just reprisals for having been so basely tricked, by keeping them back, and in profound ignorance of their real designs; and for working on them, by the very goodness of their hearts, to their final ruin; and lest the Free Masons, whom they have also abused, should think of revenging themselves, when the matchless villany of their deceivers has been so clearly exposed. It is in vain for them to talk of the danger of instructing the people in the methods of fomenting rebellion by this book. The aims are too apparent, and even in the neighbourhood of Regensburg, where the strength of the Illuminati lay, every person said aloud, that the Illuminatism discovered by this book was High Treason, and the most unheard-of attempt to annihilate every religion and every civil government.” He goes on: “In 1790 I was as well acquainted with the spirit of the Illumination-system as at present, but only not so documented by their constitutional acts, as it is now by the Neuste Arbeitung des Spartacus and Philo. My masonic connections were formerly extensive, and my publication entitled Eighteen Paragraphs concerning Free Masonry, procured me more acquaintance with Free Masons of the greatest worth, and of Illuminati equally upright, persons of respectability and knowledge, who had discovered and repented the trick and inveigling conduct of the Order. All of us jointly swore opposition to the Illuminati, and my friends considered me as a proper instrument for this purpose. To whet my zeal, they put papers into my hands which made me shudder, and raised my dislike to the highest pitch. I received from them lists of the members, and among them saw names which I lamented exceedingly. Thus stood matters in 1790, when the French Revolution began to take a serious turn. The intelligent saw in the open system of the Jacobins the complete hidden system of the Illuminati. We knew that this system included the whole world in its aims, and France was only the place of its first explosion. The Propaganda works in every corner to this hour, and its emissaries run about in all the four quarters of the world, and are to be found in numbers in every city that is a seat of government.”

“He farther relates how they in Vienna wanted to enlist him, and, as this failed, how they have abused him even in the foreign newspapers.

“I have personal knowledge (continues he) that in Germany a second Mirabeau, Mauvillon, had proposed in detail a plan of revolution, entirely and precisely suited to the present state of Germany. This he circulated among several Free Mason Lodges, among all the Illuminated Lodges which still remained in Germany, and through the hands of all the emissaries of the Propaganda, who had been already dispatched to the frontiers (vorposten) of every district of the empire, with means for stirring up the people.” (N. B. in 1792 Mauvillon, finding abundant support and encouragement in the appearance of things round him, when the French arms had penetrated every where, and their invitations to revolt had met with so hearty a reception from the discontented in every state, came boldly forward, and, in the Brunswick Journal for March 1792, declared that “he heartily rejoiced in the French Revolution, wished it all success, and thought himself liable to no reproach when he declared his hopes that a similar revolution would speedily take place in Germany.”)

In the Hamburgh Political Journal, August, September, and October 1790, there are many proofs of the machinations of emissaries from the Mason Lodges of Paris among the German Free Masons–See pages 836, 963, 1087, &c. It appears that a club has taken the name of Propaganda, and meets once a-week at least, in the form of a Mason Lodge. It consists of persons of all nations, and is under the direction of the Grand Master, the Duke of Orleans. De Leutre is one of the Wardens. They have divided Europe into colonies, to which they give revolutionary names, such as the Cap, the Pike, the Lantern, &c. They have ministers in these colonies. (One is pointed out in Saxony, by marks which I presume are well understood.) A secret press was found in Saxe Gotha, furnished with German types, which printed a seditious work called the Journal of Humanity. This journal was found in the mornings lying in the streets and highways. The house belonged to an Illuminatus of the name of Duport, a poor schoolmaster–he was associated with another in Strasburg, who was also an Illuminatus.–His name was Meyer, the writer of the Strasburg Newspaper. He had been some time a teacher in Salzmann’s academy, who we see was also an Illuminatus, but displeased with their proceedings almost at the first. (Private Correspondence.)

“I have personal knowledge (continues Professor Hoffmann) that in 1791, during the temporary dearth at Vienna, several of these emissaries were busy in corrupting the minds of the poor, by telling them that in like manner the court had produced a famine in Paris in 1789. I detected some of them, and exposed them in my Patriotic Remarks on the present Dearth, and had the satisfaction of seeing my endeavours of considerable effect.”

Surely these facts show that the Anarchists of France knew of the German Illuminati, and confided in their support. They also knew to what particular Lodges they could address themselves with safety and confidence.–But what need is there of more argument, when we know the zeal of the Illuminati, and the unhoped for opportunity that the Revolution had given them of acting with immediate effect in carrying on their great and darling work? Can we doubt that they would eagerly put their hand to the plough? And, to complete the proof, do we not know from the lists found in the secret correspondence of the Order, that they already had Lodges in France, and that in 1790 and 1791, many Illuminated Lodges in Germany, viz. at Mentz, Worms, Spire, Frankfort, actually interfered, and produced great effects. In Switzerland too they were no less active. They had Lodges at Geneva and at Bern. At Bern two Jacobins were sentenced to several years imprisonment, and among their papers were found their patents of Illumination. I also see the fate of Geneva ascribed to the operations of Illuminati residing there by several writers–particularly by Girtanner, and by the Gottingen editor of the Revolution Almanac.

I conclude this article with an extract or two from the proceedings of the National Assembly and Convention, which make it evident that their principles and their practice are precisely those of the Illuminati, on a great scale.

When the assumption of the Duchy of Savoy as an 84th Department was debated, Danton said to the Convention,

“In the moment that we send freedom to a nation on our frontier, we must say to them, You must have no more Kings–for if we are surrounded by tyrants, their coalition puts our own freedom in danger.–When the French nation sent us hither, it created a great committee for the general insurrection of the people.”

On the 19th of November 1792, it was decreed, “That the Convention, in the name of the French nation, tenders help and fraternity to all people who would recover their liberty.”

On the 21st of November, the President of the Convention said to the pretended deputies of the Duchy of Savoy, “Representatives of an independent people, important to mankind was the day when the National Convention of France pronounced its sentence, Royal dignity is abolished.–From that day many nations will in future reckon the era of their political existence.–From the beginning of civil establishments Kings have been in opposition to their nations–but now they rise up to annihilate Kings.–Reason, when she darts her rays into every corner, lays open eternal truths–She alone enables us to pass sentence on despots, hitherto the scare-crow of other nations.”

But the most distinct exhibition of principle is to be seen in a report from the diplomatic committee, who were commissioned to deliberate on the conduct which France was to hold with other nations. On this report was founded the decree of the 15th of December 1793. The Reporter addresses the Convention as follows.

“The Committees of Finance and War ask in the beginning, What is the object of the war which we have taken in hand? Without all doubt the object is THE ANNIHILATION OF ALL PRIVILEGES, WAR WITH THE PALACES, PEACE WITH THE COTTAGES. These are the principles on which your declaration of war is founded. All tyranny, all privilege must be treated as an enemy in the countries where we set our foot. This is the genuine result of our principles.–But it is not with Kings alone that we are to wage war–were these our sole enemies, we should only have to bring down ten or twelve heads. We have to fight with all their accomplices, with the privileged orders, who devour and have oppressed the people during many centuries.

We must therefore declare ourselves for a revolutionary power in all the countries into which we enter (loud applauses from the Assembly)–Nor need we put on the cloak of humanity–we disdain such little arts.–We must clothe ourselves with all the brilliancy of reason, and all the force of the nation. We need not mask our principles–the despots know them already. The first thing we must do is to ring the alarum bell, for insurrection and uproar.–We must, in a solemn manner, let the people see the banishment of their tyrants and privileged casts–otherwise, the people, accustomed to their fetters, will not be able to break their bonds.–It will effect nothing, merely to excite a rising of the people–this would only be giving them words instead of standing by them.

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Methinks I am a conspiracy theorist. Art thou? Thou block, thou stone, thou worse than senseless thing, for whilst thou slept didst this become a badge of honor. Informed dissent shall always prevail, wherefore art thou worthy, or art thou this unwholesome fool in the group conformity experiment herein?

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