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The Comte de St. Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, [1912], at

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CURIEUX scrutateur de la nature entière,
J’ai connu du grand tout le principe et la fin.
J’ai vu l’or en puissance au fond de sa minière,
J’ai saisi sa matière et surpris son levain.

J’expliquai par quel art l’âme aux flancs d’une mère,
Fait sa maison, l’emporte, et comment un pépin
Mis contre un grain de blé, sous l’humide poussière,
L’un plante et l’autre cep, sont le pain et le vin. 1

Rien n’était, Dieu voulut, rien devint quelque chose,
J’en doutais, je cherchai sur quoi l’univers pose,
Rien gardait l’équilibre et servait de soutien.

Enfin, avec le poids de l’éloge et du blâme,
Je pesai l’éternel, il appela mon âme,
Je mourus, j’adorai, je ne savais plus rien. 2

ONLY a mystic could write, and none but mystics can gauge, words so potent in their meaning, treating as they do of those great mysteries that are unfolded, in their entirety, only to the Initiated. The "Veil of Isis" ever hides the earnest

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student of the Great Science from the vulgarly curious; hence in approaching the philosophic and mystic side of this mysterious life the difficulties of research become even more complicated by reason of that veil which hides this Initiate from the outer world. Glimpses of knowledge rare among men; indications of forces unknown to the "general"; a few earnest students, his pupils, striving their utmost to permeate the material world with their knowledge of the unseen spiritual life; such are the signs that surround the Comte de St. Germain, the evidences of his connection with that great Centre from which he came. No startling public movement springs up, nothing in which he courts the public gaze as leader, although in many societies his guiding hand may be found.

In modern Freemason literature the effort is made to eliminate his name, and even, in some instances, to assert that he had no real part in the Masonic movement of the last century, and was regarded only as a charlatan by leading Masons. Careful research, however, into the Masonic archives proves this to be untrue; indeed, the exact contrary can be shown, for M. de St. Germain was one of the selected representatives of the French Masons at their great convention at Paris in 1785. As one account says: "The Germans who distinguished themselves on

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this occasion were Bade, von Dalberg, Forster, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, Baron de Gleichen, Russworm, von Wöllner, Lavater, Ludwig Prince of Hesse, Ross-Kampf, Stork, Thaden von Wächter. . . . The French were honourably represented by St. Germain, St. Martin, Touzet-Duchanteau, Etteila, Mesmer, Dutrousset, d’Hérecourt, and Cagliostro." 1

The same category of names, but with more detail, is given by N. Deschamps. 2 We find Deschamps speaking of M. de St. Germain as one of the Templars. An account is also given of the initiation of Cagliostro by the Comte de St. Germain, and the ritual used on this occasion is said to have been that of the Knights Templar. It was in this year also that a group of Jesuits brought the wildest and most disgraceful accusations against M. de St. Germain, M. de St. Martin and many others, accusations of immorality, infidelity, anarchy, etc. The charges were levelled at the Philaletheans, or "Rite des Philalètes ou Chercheurs de la Vérité," founded 1773 in the Masonic Lodge of "Les Amis-Réunis." Prince Karl of Hesse, Savalette de Lange (the Royal Treasurer), the Vicomte de Tavanne, Count de

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[paragraph continues] Gebelin, and all the really mystic students of the time were in this Order. The Abbé Barruel 1 indicted the whole body, individually and collectively, in terms so violent and on charges so unfounded that even non-Masons and anti-Mystics protested. He accused M. de St. Germain and his followers of being Jacobins, of fomenting and inciting the Revolution, of atheism and immorality.

These charges were carefully investigated and rejected as worthless by J. J. Mounier, a writer who was neither Mystic nor Mason, but only a lover of honest dealing. Mounier says: "There are accusations so atrocious, that before adopting them a just man must seek the most authentic testimony; he who fears not to publish them, without being in the position to give decided proofs, should be severely punished by law and, where the law fails, by all right-minded people. Such is the procedure adopted by M. Barruel against a Society that used to meet at Ermenonville after the death of Jean Jacques Rousseau, under the direction of the Charlatan St. Germain." 2

This view appears to be well corroborated, and

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is upheld by various writers; in fact, the proof is conclusive that M. de St. Germain had nothing to do with the Jacobin party as the Abbé Barruel and the Abbé Migne have tried to insist.

Another writer says: "At this time Catholic Lodges were formed in Paris; their protectors were the Marquises de Girardin and de Bouillé. Several Lodges were held at Ermenonville, the property of the first-named. Their chief aim was 'd’établir une communication entre Dieu et l’homme par le moyen des êtres intermédiaires.'" 1

Now both the Marquis de Girardin and the Marquis de Bouillé were staunch Royalists and Catholics; it was the latter, moreover, who aided the unhappy Louis XVI. and his family in their attempted escape. Again, both of these Catholic nobles were personal friends of M. de St. Germain; hence it hardly appears possible that the assertions of the Abbés Barruel and Migne had any veracious foundation, since the establishing of "Catholic Lodges" certainly does not appear atheistical in tendency, nor the close friendship of true Royalists alarmingly revolutionary. According to the well-known writer Éliphas Lévi, 2 M. de St. Germain was a Catholic in outward religious observance. Although he was the founder of the Order of St. Joachim in Bohemia, he separated himself from

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this society as soon as revolutionary theories began to spread among its members.

Some of the assemblies in which the Comte de St. Germain taught his philosophy were held in the Rue Platrière; other meetings of the "Philalètes" were held in the Lodge "des Amis-Réunis" in the Rue de la Sourdière.

According to some writers, there was a strong Rosicrucian foundation--from the true Rosicrucian tradition--in this Lodge. It appears that the members were studying the conditions of life on higher planes, just as Theosophists of to-day are doing. Practical occultism and spiritual mysticism were the end and aim of the Philaletheans; but alas, the karma of France overwhelmed them, and scenes of bloodshed and violence swept them and their peaceful studies away.

A fact that disturbed the enemies of the Comte de St. Germain was the personal devotion of his friends, and that these friends treasured his portrait. In the d’Urfé collection, in 1783, was a picture of the mystic engraved on copper, with the inscription:--

"The Comte de St. Germain, celebrated Alchemist," followed by the words:

"Ainsi que Prométhée, il déroba le feu,
   Par qui le monde existe et par qui tout respire;
La nature à sa voix obéit et se meurt.
   S’il n’est pas Dieu lui-même, un Dieu puissant l’inspire."

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This copper-plate engraving was dedicated to the Comte de Milly, an intimate friend of M. de St. Germain, a well-known man of the period, and Chevalier de l’Ordre Royal et Militaire de St. Louis, et de l’Aigle Rouge de Braunschweig. This unlucky portrait, however, produced a furious attack from Dr. Biester, the editor of the Berlinische Monatschrift, in June, 1785. Amongst some amusing diatribes, the following is worthy of notice, if only to show how inaccurate an angry editor can be. As we have already seen, M. de St. Germain was in the year 1785 chosen representative at the Masonic Conference in Paris. Nevertheless, Herr Dr. Biester, in the same year, opens his remarks with the astonishing statement: "This adventurer, who died two years ago in Danish Holstein"!

Our editor then proceeds to clinch the argument as follows: "I even know that tho’ he is dead, many now believe that he is still living, and will soon come forth alive! Whereas he is dead as a door-nail, probably mouldering and rotting as any ordinary man who cannot work miracles, and whom no prince has ever greeted."

Ignorance alone must excuse our editor from the charge of being a literary Ananias; but indeed in our own days critics of matters occult are just as ignorant and equally positive as they were a

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century ago, no matter what their learning in other respects.

And indeed there was some justification for the statements of Herr Dr. Biester, for a more recent writer says:--

"The church register of Eckernförde shows St. Germain died on February 27th, 1784 in this town in whose church he was entombed quite privately on March 2nd. In the church register we read as follows: "Deceased on February 27th, buried on March 2nd, 1784 the so-called Comte de St. Germain and Weldon--further information not known--privately deposited in this church." In the church accounts it is said: "On March 1st, for the here deceased Comte de St. Germain a tomb in the Nicolai Church here in the burial-place sub N. 1, 30 years time of decay 10 Rthlr. and for opening of the same 2 Rthlr., in all 12 Rthlr." Tradition tells that the landgrave afterwards got St. Germain buried in Slesvig in the Friederiksberg churchyard there in order to consult his ghost in late hours of the night. On the third of April the mayor and the council of Eckernförde gave legal notice concerning his estate. In that it is said: "As the Comte de St. Germain, known abroad, as also here, under the name of Comte de St. Germain and Weldon, who during the last four years has been living in this country, died recently here in Eckernförde, his

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effects have been legally sealed, and it has been found necessary as well to his eventual intestate heirs, as until now nothing has been ascertained concerning a left will . . . . etc. . . . Therefore all creditors are called upon to come forward with their claims on October 14th." 1

This passage shows definitely that M. de St. Germain was well known under the name of Welldown (it is written in very many different ways).

But--as to the death--we have much evidence that he did not die: Madame d’Adhémar says speaking of M. de St. Germain:--

"He is believed to have deceased in 1784, at Schleswig, when with the Elector of Hesse-Cassel; the Count de Châlons, however, on returning from his Venetian embassy in 1788, told me of his having spoken to the Comte de Saint-Germain in the Place Saint Marc the day before he left Venice to go on an embassy to Portugal. I saw him again on one other occasion." 2

And again from a Masonic source we get the following statement:--

"Amongst the Freemasons invited to the great conference at Wilhelmsbad 15th Feb. 1785 we

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find St. Germain included with St. Martin and many others." 1

And again from a thoroughly Catholic source: the late Librarian of the Great Ambrosiana Library at Milan says:--

"And when, in order to bring about a conciliation between the various sects of the Rosicrucians, the Necromantists, the Cabalists, the Illuminati, the Humanitarians, there was held a great Congress at Wilhelmsbad, then in the Lodge of the "Amici riuniti" there also was Cagliostro, with St. Martin, Mesmer and Saint-Germain." 2

Evidence there is on both sides, and "Church records" are not always infallible; how many a cause célèbre has arisen from a fictitious death. If the Comte de St. Germain wished to disappear from public life, this was the best way to accomplish his wish.


128:1 Referring to occult embryology.

128:2 Poëmes Philosophiques sur l’Homme. Chez Mercier. Paris, 1795.

130:1 Magazin der Beweisführer für Verurtheilung des Freimaurer-Ordens, i., p. 137; von Dr. E. E. ECKERT, Leipzig, 1857.

130:2 Les Sociétés Secrètes et la Société, ou Philosophie de l’Histoire Contemporaine, ii., p. 121. Paris, 1881.

131:1 Mémoires sur l’Histoire du Jacobinisme, ii., p. 554. Paris, 1797.

131:2 De l’Influence attribuée aux Philosophes, aux Franc-maçons et aux Illuminés, sur la Révolution de France, p. 154. Tübingen, 1801.

132:1 Der Signatstern, v., art. 19. Berlin, 1809.

132:2 Histoire de la Haute Magie, pp. 419, 420. Paris, 1860.

136:1 BOBÉ (Louis), Johan Caspar Lavater's Rejse til Danmark i Sommeren 1793, viii., p. 156. Copenhagen, 1898.

136:2 ADHÉMAR, op. cit., 1., p. 229.

137:1 Freimaurer Brüderschaft in Frankreich, Latomia, Vol. ii., p. 9.

137:2 CANTÙ CESARE, Gli Eretici d’Italia. Turin, 1867, Vol. iii., Disc. lii., p. x, 402.

Next: Chapter VIII. Masonic Work and Austrian Traditions