Code of the Illuminati: Part III of Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by A Barruel, tr. Robert Edward Clifford , at sacred-texts.com
The prominent feature of all the instructions given by the Illuminizing Legislator to his Epopts is the consecration of their degree to the perversion of the public opinion, and to the attainment of the empire of sciences, that he may direct them all to the support of his disorganizing Equality and Liberty and to universal anarchy. This mission of perversion requires an assiduity to which not many men are equal; but adepts may be found, who, unable to distinguish themselves in such missions, may yet be endowed with a sufficient zeal and with the necessary talents for the superintendance and direction of the Brethren. There are others again whose disastrous successes are to be recompensed by the higher employments in the Order; and it is from these two classes of Epopts that the Order selects its Regents. It is also for their instruction that the Legislator descends into all the gubernatory minutiæ of his Illuminism.His instructions are comprised under four different heads. I. General System of Government for the Order.II. Instructions for the degree of Regent.III. Instructions for the Prefects or Local Superiors.IV. Instructions for the Provincial. 1
I have, it is true, been obliged to anticipate many parts of this Code when unfolding the artifices of the lower degrees; but as a confirmation of what has already been exposed, in order to bring the different objects within one point of view, and to show the dangers of his disastrous combinations, let us attend to the Legislator when treating of the whole collectively. What particularly endeared this degree of Regent to Weishaupt was, that part of his instruction which takes a general view, and which lays open the progressive plan to be observed in the government of the Brethren. The reader perusing the instructions in the same order in which Weishaupt has written them, will more easily conceive the cause of his predilection.
"I. The most high and excellent Superiors of the illustrious Order of true Freemasonry do not immediately attend to the minutiæ of the edifice.They
must not, however, on that account be considered as contributing less to our happiness, by their counsels, their lessons, their plans, and the many and powerful resources with which they furnish us.
"II. These excellent and most gracious Superiors have established a class of Masons to whom they have entrusted the whole plan of our Order. This class is that of the Regents. . . . .
"III. In this plan our Regents hold the first dignities. Until admitted to this degree, no person can hold the office of Prefect or of Local Superior.
"IV. Every country has its national Superior, who holds an immediate correspondence with our Fathers, at the head of whom is a General who holds the helm of the Order.
"V. Under the National and his Assistants are the Provincials, who each govern their Circle or their Province.
"VI. Every Provincial is surrounded by his Counsellors.
"VII. Each Provincial also commands a certain number of Prefects, who may in like manner have their coadjutors in their districts. All these, as well as the Dean, belong to the class of Regents.
"VIII. All these offices are for life, excepting in cases of deposition or ejectment.
"IX. The Provincial is to be chosen by the Regents of his province and the National Superiors, and approved by the National.[I do not understand how the Code distinguishes between the several National Superiors and the National in chief; unless it be, that it denotes in this place as Superiors those who are called a little higher up Assistants (Gehulfen) of this chief.]
"X. The whole success of Illuminism depending on the Regents, it is but just that their domestic wants should be provided for. They shall therefore be the first supplied from out of the funds of the Order.
"XI. The Regents of each Province form a particular body immediately under the Provincial, whom they are to obey. . . . . .
"XII. The offices of Illuminism not being considered in the light of dignities, nor of places of honour, but as mere employments freely accepted, the Regents must be always ready to labour for the good of the Order, each according to his situation and to his talents. Age is never to be set forth as a title. It may often happen, that the youngest is chosen Provincial, and the eldest only a Local Superior or Counsellor, should the one live in the center, while the other only inhabits the extremity of the Province; or, should the former, on account of his natural activity or his station in life, be more fitted for the place of Superior than the latter, though far more eloquent. In many cases, for example, a Regent is not to think it beneath his dignity to offer himself to discharge any of the lesser offices in the Minerval churches (lodges) in which he may be useful.
"XIII. That the Provincial may not be overburdened with too extensive a correspondence, all the Quibus Licets, and all the letters of the Regents, shall pass through the hands of the Prefect, unless the Provincial gives Orders to the contrary.
"XIV. But the Prefect shall not open the letters of the Regents. Those he must transmit to the Provincial, who will forward them to their proper destination.
"XV. The Provincial has the power of convoking the whole of his Regents, or merely those whom he may think proper, considering the exigencies of the Province. He who cannot attend according to his summons must give the proper notice at least four weeks prior to the meeting. Beside, he is always to be ready to give in an account of what he has done for the Order until that period, and show willingness to fulfil the intentions of his Provincial and of his high Superiors. The convocation of Regents must take place at least once a year.
"XVI. The following instruction (B) will point out more particularly to the Regents those objects to which they must chiefly attend.
"XVII. It has been already observed, that great attention is to be paid to the gradually procuring of funds for the Order. This may be accomplished by attending to the following rules:
"Each province is to be entrusted with the expenditure of its own monies, and only remit small contributions to the Superiors for the expences of postage. Each Lodge also is to enjoy the full propriety of its funds (eigenthümlich)when for any great enterprize the assembly of the Regents levy contributions on the funds of the different Lodges, they shall be considered but as loans, and shall be made good to the Lodges with full interest."
Has the Illuminizing Legislator then forgotten, that it was property which gave the first deadly blow to Equality and Liberty? Certainly not; but more than one great enterprize will be necessary to prepare the last, which is to annihilate all property whatsoever; meanwhile the Order is glad to enjoy its own, and to make the inferior Lodges believe that they are not to be pillaged of any thing that belongs to them.
"The Provincial has no fund allotted to him, but he has an exact return of all those of his province."
"The general receipts will consist1°. In the contributions paid on the receptions of Masons (freymaurer-receptions-gelder)2°. In the over-plus of the monthly contributions3°. In voluntary subscriptions4°. In fines5°. In legacies and donations6°. In our commerce and traffic (handel und gewerbe)."
"The expences are1°. The expences of the meetings, postage, decorations, and some few journeys2°. Pensions to the poor brethren who have no other means of subsistence3°. Sums paid for the promotion of the grand object of the Order4°. Sums paid for the encouraging of talents5°. The expences of experiments and trials6°. For widows and children7°. For foundations."
Thus terminates the first part of the instructions for the Regent. After the reading of this, which takes place on the day of his inauguration, his attention is called to the following:
The reader has seen (ut supra, art. xvi.) the Regent forewarned to pay a particular attention to this second part of the instructions. Let the reader also profit of the hint. He will see that many of the arcana of the Sect still remain to be revealed.
"I. The object of the Order being to render man more happy, virtue more attractive, and vice less powerful, it is necesssary that our brethren, the teachers and governors of mankind, should publicly assume an unimpeachable character. A Regent of Illuminism therefore will be the most perfect of men. He will be prudent, provident, ingenious, irreproachable, and of manners so urbane that his company shall be courted with avidity. He is to acquire the reputation of being enlightened, benevolent, honest, disinterested, and full of ardour for great and extraordinary enterprises, all contributing to the general good."
It would be useless to recall to the mind of my reader what is to be understood, in the language of Illuminism, by virtue, vice, or public good. He will therefore on reflection be the less surprised at perusing the following instructions framed for these virtuous teachers and governors of mankind.
"II. The Regents are to study the means of ruling and governing without betraying any such intention. 2 Under the mask of humility, but of a real and candid humility, grounded on the persuasion of their own weakness, and on the conviction that their whole strength rests on our union, they must exercise an absolute and boundless dominion, 3 and must direct every thing toward the attainment of the views of the Order."
"Let them avoid a pedantic reserve, at once disgusting and ridiculous in the eyes of the sage. Let them give the example of a respectful submission to the Superiors. Should they be possessed of the advantages of birth, it will be an additional reason for showing their obedience to a Superior born in a lower station of lifeLet their conduct vary according to the persons with whom they have to deal. Let the Regent be the confidant of one, the father of another, the scholar of a third; very seldom a severe and inexorable Superior, and even on such occasions let him show with how much unwillingness he exercises such severity. He will say, for example, that he sincerely wishes the Order had given so disagreeable a commission to some other person; and that he is weary of acting the part of schoolmaster with a man who should long since have known how to conduct himself.
"III. The grand object of our sacred legions spread throughout the universe being the triumph of virtue and of wisdom, every Regent must endeavour to establish a certain equality among men.Let him take the part of those who are too much debased, and humble the proud. Let him never suffer the fool to lord it too much over the man of wit, the wicked over the good, the ignorant over the learned, nor the weak over the strong, though the latter should in reality be in the wrong. 4
"IV. The means of acquiring an ascendancy over men are incalculable. Who could enumerate them all?. . . They must vary with the disposition of the dines. At one period it is a taste for the marvellous and extraordinary that is to be wrought upon. At another the lure of secret societies is to be held out. "For this reason it is very proper to make your inferiors believe, without telling them the real state of the case, that all other secret societies, particularly that of Freemasonry, are secretly directed by us. Or else, and it is really the fact in some states, that potent Monarchs are governed by our Order. When any thing remarkable or important comes to pass, hint that it originated with our Order.Should any person by his merit acquire a great reputation, let it be generally understood that he is one of us."
How smoothly flows this combination of artifice from the pen of the Illuminizing Legislator! But I hope that my reader will not expect to find a method in my translation, where the Legislator has disdained method. It is easy to perceive, that to heap artifice upon artifice is much more his object, than to give a studied connection to principles with which he supposes his adepts to be sufficiently impressed. Or may it not be said, that this disorder is the effect of studied art? But let us proceed and trace the steps of Weishaupt.
"With no other object than to give your orders the appearance of coming from a mysterious hand, you may, for example, put a letter under the plate of an adept when dining at an inn, though it might have been a much less trouble to forward it to him at his own lodgingsYou may attend large and commercial towns during the time of fairs in different characters, as a Merchant, an Officer, an Abbé. Every where you will personate an extraordinary man having important business on your hands.But all this must be done with a great deal of art and caution, lest you should have the appearance of an adventurer. It is to be well understood, that these characters are not to be assumed in towns where you are likely to be discovered either by the Police or the standers-by.At other times, you may write your orders with a chemical preparation of ink, which disappears after a certain time.
"V. A Regent is as much as possible to hide from his inferiors all his weaknesses, even his ill-health, or disgusts; at any rate, he is never to complain.
"VI. Here he repeats the instruction on the art of flattering and gaining over women to their cause, already transcribed, page 43.
"VII. You must also gain over to the Order the common people. The great plan for succeeding in this is to influence the Schools. You may also attempt it by liberalities, or by great show and splendour; at other times by making yourself popular, and even tolerating, with an air of patience, prejudices which may hereafter be gradually eradicated.
"VIII. When you have succeeded any where in making yourself master of the public authority and government, you will pretend not to have the least power, for fear of awakening the attention of those who may oppose us. But, on the contrary, when you find it impossible to succeed, you will assume the
character of a person who has every thing at his command. That will make us both feared and sought after, and of course will strengthen our party.
"IX. All the ill success or disgusts which may befall the Order are to be concealed with the utmost caution from the inferiors.
"X. It is the duty of the Regents to supply the wants of the Brethren, and to procure the best employments for them, after having given the proper intimation to the Superior.
"XI. The Regents shall be particularly cautious and discreet in their discourse;but shall carefully avoid any thing denoting the least perplexity of mindThere are even some occasions whereon an extensive genius is to be affected; on others, they may pretend that their friendship has made them say a word too much; by these means the secrecy of the inferior is put to the test. They may also spread certain reports among our people, which may prepare them to receive ideas which the Order wishes to infuse into their minds. On all doubtful occasions, the Regent will consult his Superiors by means of a Quibus Licet."
"XII. Whatever rank or station a Regent may hold in the Order, he will seldom answer the questions of the inferiors verbally, but generally in writing, that he may have time to reflect or even consult on the answers he should give."
"XIII. The Regents will unceasingly attend to every thing relating to the grand interests of the Order, to the operations of commerce, or such things as may in any way contribute to augment the power of the Order. They will transmit all plans of that nature to the Provincial. Should it be a case requiring expedition, he will give him advice of it by some other channel than the Quibus Licets, which the Provincial has not the power of opening.
"XIV. They will follow the same line of conduct with respect to every thing that tends to influence the Order in general; and find means of putting its united forces in motion at one and the same time.
"XV. When an author sets forth principles true in themselves, but which do not as yet suit our general plan of education for the world; or principles the publication of which is premature; every effort must be made to gain over the author; but should all our attempts fail, and we should be unable to entice him into the Order, let him be discredited by every possible means."
"XVI. If a Regent should conceive hopes of succeeding in suppressing any religious houses, and of applying their revenues to our object, for example, to the establishment of proper country schools; he may depend on it, that such a project would be particularly grateful to the Superiors.
"XVII. The Regents will also turn their attention toward a solid plan for establishing a fund to support the widows of the brethren.
"XVIII. One of our most important objects must be, to hinder the servile veneration of the people for Princes from being carried too far. All such abject flattery tends only to make those men worse who are already for the most part of very common and weak understandings. You will show an example of the proper conduct to be held in this respect. Shun all familiarity with them; behave to
them politely, but without constraint, that they may honour and fear you. Write and speak of them as you would of other men, that they may be made to recollect that they are but men like other people, and that their authority is a thing purely conventional. 5
"XIX. When there happens to be a man of merit among our adepts but little known by or entirely unknown to the public, no pains are to be spared to acquire celebrity for him. Let our disguised brethren every where sound the trumpet of his praises, and force envy and party spirit to be silent.
"XX. The essay of our principles and of our schools is most easily and most successfully made in small states. The inhabitants of capitals and commercial towns are too corrupt, too much a prey to their passions, and think themselves too much enlightened, to submit to our lessons.
"XXI. It is useful to send visitors from time to time, or to give a Regent that is travelling the commission to visit the meetings, to ask for the minutes, and to call on the brethren in order to examine their papers or journals, and receive their complaints.These Plenipotentiaries, presenting themselves in the name of the high Superiors, may correct many faults, and boldly suppress abuses which the Prefects had not the courage to reform, though ready to enforce the commands of the visitor.
"XXII. If our Order cannot establish itself in any particular place with all the forms and regular progress of our degrees, some other form may be assumed. Always have the object in view; that is the essential point. No matter what the cloak may be, provided you succeed; a cloak is however always necessary, for in secrecy our strength principally lies."
"XXIII. For this reason we should always conceal ourselves under the name of some other association. The inferior lodges of Freemasonry are the most convenient cloaks for our grand object, (das schickliche kleid für unsere höhere zwecke) because the world is already familiarized with the idea that nothing of importance, or worthy of their attention can spring from Masonry.The name of a literary society is also a proper mask for our first classes. Under such a mask, should our assemblies be discovered, we may confidently assert, that the reason of our holding secret assemblies was partly to give a greater interest and charm to our pursuits; partly to keep off the crowd, and not to expose ourselves to the bantering and jealousy of others; in short to hide the weakness of an association as yet but in its infancy."
"XXIV. It is of the utmost importance for us to study the constitutions of other secret societies and to govern them. The Regent is even bound, after having obtained leave of his superiors, to gain admittance into those societies, but he must not undertake too many engagements. This is an additional reason why our Order should remain secret.
"XXV. The higher degrees must always be hidden from the lower. A person more willingly receives orders from a stranger than from men in whom he gradually discovers a multitude of defects. By this precaution one may keep the inferiors in a more proper awe; for they naturally pay greater attention to their behaviour when they think themselves surrounded by persons who are
observing them; at first, their virtue may be the effect of constraint, but custom will soon make it habitual."
"XXVI. Never lose sight of the military schools, of the academies, printing presses, libraries, cathedral chapters, or any public establishments that can influence education or government. Let our Regents perpetually attend to the various means, and form plans for making us masters of all these establishments." 6
"XXVII. In general, and independent of their particular employment, the grand object of our Regents must be an habitual and constant application to every thing which can in any way add to the perfection and to the power of our Order, that it may become for future ages the most perfect model of government that can enter the mind of man;" or, in other words, that it may be hereafter said, such was the famous association which, by perpetually perfecting its laws and governments, at length taught mankind to cast off every law and every government. It would be useless for me to think of adducing farther proofs to demonstrate that such is the real object of the pretended perfection of Illuminism. The mysteries of the Sect have been too clearly laid open for us to harbour the smallest doubt of their intention. But to acquire this perfection and power for the Sect, Weishaupt has modelled still farther laws for his Regents, according to the different offices they hold in the Hierarchy of the Order. 7
548:1 Last works of Philo and Spartacus, degree of Regent.
548:2 Die Regenten sollen die kunst studieren zu herschen, ohne das ansehen davon zu haben.
548:3 Sollen sie unumschränkt regieren.
548:4 Er soll nicht leiden dass der dümmere über den klügernder Schwächere über den stärkern, auch wenn dieser unrecht haben sollte, zu sehr den meister spiele.
548:5 Eine unserer vornehmsten sorgen muss auch seyn, unter das volke sclavische fürsten verehrung nicht zu hoch steigen zu lassen, &c. &c.
548:6 Militair-schulen, academien, Buchdruckereyen, Buchläden, Dom-capitel, und alles was ein einfluss auf bildung und regierung hat, muss nie aus den augen gelassen werden; und die Regenten sollen unaufhörlich plane entwerfen, wie man es anfangen könne, über dieselben gewalt zu bekommen.
548:7 For the whole of the Second Part of this Chapter see the Instruction B for the Degree of Regent, of which it is nearly a literal translation.