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Code of the Illuminati: Part III of Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, by A Barruel, tr. Robert Edward Clifford [1798], at

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Code of the Illuminees.—General System, and division of the Code.

By the code of the sect of Illuminees I mean the principles and systems which it had formed to itself on Religion and Civil Society, or rather against all Religion and Civil Society whatever; I mean the government and the laws which it has adopted to realize its plans, and to guide the adepts in bringing the whole universe into its systems. This was not so much a code springing from an ardent mind, and an enthusiastic zeal for a great revolution, as the offspring of reflection on the means of rendering it infallible; for no sooner had Weishaupt conceived a plan, than he foresaw the obstacles which might thwart its success. Though he decorated the first pupils whom he had seduced with the title of his profound adepts, yet he did not dare unfold to them the vast extent of his plans. Pleased with having laid the foundation, he did not hurry the elevation of that edifice, which might have been exposed to fall for want of the proper precautions; no, he wished it to be as durable as time itself. For five whole years he meditated; and he foresaw that he should still have to pause for many a tedious day on the means of securing the success of his plans. His plodding head silently ruminated and slowly combined that code of laws or rather of cunning, of artifice, of snares and ambushees by which he was to regulate the preparation of candidates, the duties of the initiated, the functions, the rights, the conduct of the chiefs, and even his own. He watched every means of seduction, weighed and compared those means, tried them one after the other; and when he had adopted any of them would still reserve the power of changing them, in case he should happen to fall upon any that would be more disastrous.

Meanwhile his first disciples, now his apostles, gained him many partizans; he seduced many himself, and directed their conduct by letter. His advice was adapted to circumstances, and, artfully husbanding his promises, he kept the minds of his disciples perpetually in suspense as to the last mysteries. To his trusty adepts he promises systems of morality, of education, and of polity, all entirely new; and they might easily surmise that this future code would be no other than that of a morality without restraint, of a religion without a God, and of a polity without laws or any dependence whatsoever; 1 though he did not dare

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entirely to throw away the mask. But his laws appeared imperfect, his snares were not sufficiently concealed; and he was convinced that time and experience alone could perfect the work on which he had so long meditated. Such are the colours, at least, in which we see him representing himself when his adepts, impatient to be initiated in the last mysteries, reproach him with the slowness of the proceedings: "It is from time and experience," says he, "that we are to learn. I daily put to the test what I made last year, and I find that my performances of this year are far superior. Give me then time to reflect on what may forward and on what may delay the execution of our plans; to weigh what may be expected of our people left to themselves or led and conducted by us.—Remember that what is done in haste, speedily falls to ruin. Leave me then to myself, let me act alone; and believe me, time and I are worth any other two." 2

Let not the reader imagine that these meditations of Weishaupt alluded to the object of his views; that never varied; the destruction of Religion, the destruction of Society and the civil Laws, the destruction of property,—that was the point at which he always aimed; and this impious man too well knew his crime, not to be alarmed; we see him writing to his confident, "You know the situation in which I stand. I must direct the whole by means of five or six persons. It is absolutely necessary that I should during my life remain unknown to the greater part of the adepts themselves.—I am often overwhelmed with the idea that all my meditations, all my services and toils are perhaps only twisting a rope or planting a gallows for myself; that the indiscretion or imprudence of a single individual may overturn the most beautiful edifice that ever was reared." 3

At other times wishing to appear above such fears, but still reproaching the adepts with want of caution, he says, "If our affairs already go on so ill, the whole will soon be undone: the fault will be thrown upon me, and, as author of every thing, I shall be the first sacrificed. Yet that is not what frightens me; I know how to take every thing on my own score; but if the imprudence of the Brethren is to cost me my life, let me at least not have to blush before men of reflection, nor to reproach myself with an inconsiderate and rash conduct." 4 Thus does every motive stimulate this famous Conspirator to transfuse into his code every precaution that could at the same time skreen him from condign punishment, and secure the success of his plots. At length, after five years meditation on his side, and numerous consultations with his trusty adepts, particularly with Philo, or the Baron Knigge, who acts a very exalted part in Illuminism, Weishaupt had regulated the mode of his mysteries, and had digested the code of his Sect, that is to say, the principles, the laws, and government adopted by the Illuminees to accomplish the grand object of their Conspiracy. Before we lead our readers through the immense labyrinth of this code, let us give a general idea of the system which stimulated its author to the formation of those laws.

The more we meditate on that part of the code which we shall lay before our readers when we come to treat of the mysteries of Illuminism, the more

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clearly we observe Weishaupt adopting the principles of Equality and of Liberty, (propagated by modern Philosophism) in order to present them in a new light, and to lead his disciples to the ultimate consequences of the most absolute Impiety and Anarchy.

The modern Sophisters, some following Voltaire, others Rousseau, had begun by saying, that all men were equal and free; and they had concluded with respect to Religion, that nobody, though speaking in the name of a God who reveals himself, had the right of prescribing rules to their faith. The authority of revelation being cast aside, they left no other basis for Religion to rest upon, than the Sophistry of a reason the perpetual prey of our passions. They had annihilated Christianity in the minds of their adepts. With respect to Governments they had also asserted, that all men were equal and free, and they had concluded that every citizen had an equal right to form the laws, or to the title of Sovereign; this consequence abandoning all authority to the capricious fluctuations of the multitude, no government could be legitimate but that founded on Chaos, or the volcanic explosions of the democratic and sovereign populace.

Weishaupt, reasoning on the same principles, believed both the Sophisters and the Democratic Populace to be too timid in drawing their inferences, and the following may be said to be the essence of all his mysteries.

"Liberty and Equality are the essential rights that man in his original and primitive perfection received from nature. Property struck the first blow at Equality; political Society, or Governments, were the first oppressors of Liberty; the supporters of Governments and property are the religious and civil laws; therefore, to reinstate man in his primitive rights of Equality and Liberty, we must begin by destroying all Religion, all civil society, and finish by the destruction of all property."

Had true Philosophy but gained admittance to these lodges of Illuminism, how clearly would she have demonstrated the absurdity of each and all of these principles, and the extravagance and wickedness of such consequences, both to the master and his adepts! She would have shewn, that the rights and laws of primitive man alone upon earth, or parent of a scanty generation, neither were nor ought to be the rights and laws of man living on an inhabited globe. She would have proved, that Nature, when she ordained that man should increase and multiply on this earth, and that he should cultivate it, clearly announced that his posterity were hereafter to live under the empire of social laws. She would have observed, that without property this earth would have remained uncultivated and uninhabited; that without religious and civil laws the same earth would have only nurtured straggling hordes of vagabonds and savages. Then would our Bavarian Illuminee have concluded, that his Equality and Liberty, far from being the essential rights of man in the state of perfection, would only be the instruments of his degradation, and assimilate him to the beasts of the earth, if they were to be incompatible with Property, Religion, and Society. But true Philosophy was an alien to his school; and Weishaupt, with his detestable genius formed for error, applauds

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the sophism, makes it the basis of his system, and the ultimate secret of his mysteries.

I am not simply to prove that such is the grand object of the Conspiracy, and of the ultimate revolution which he is preparing with all his adepts. Were that my only task, I should cite the blessings which the hierophant of Illuminism pours out on those hordes that roam without laws or society, and the curses which he vents against those men who, fixing their abodes, name chiefs and constituted states. The very menaces of the teacher unfold the whole of the Conspiracy. "Yes, princes and nations shall disappear from off the face of the earth; yes, a time shall come when man shall acknowledge no other law but the great book of nature: This revolution shall be the work of the secret societies, and that is one of our grand mysteries5 This single passage of the code is sufficient to demonstrate both the object of the Conspiracy and the extent of the projects of the sect; but though the Conspiracy should be clearly proved, still that would be doing little for the public good. Instead of a terrible and formidable Sect, nations and chiefs of nations might mistake the Illuminees for a band of senseless madmen, plodding without means a chimerical Revolution; therefore little to be feared, and too despicable to deserve notice. Thus would wickedness find a cloak in its excesses; the Sect would prosecute its hellish plots more actively, more confidently, and more successfully, merely because their object was supposed impossible. Society would be dissolved; our laws, our religion, and our property, would be wrested from us, because we believed them proof against any attempt. Nations would tranquilly slumber on the brink of the precipice, and be plunged into destruction while they considered the fatal cause as the delusion of delirium, and smiled on the plots of Illuminism. And its founder foresaw this: for he says to his adepts, "Let the laughers laugh, let the scoffers scoff; he that compares the past with the present, will see that nature continues its course without the possibility of diverting it. Its progress is imperceptible to the man who is not formed to observe it; but it does not escape the attention of the Philosopher." 6

Society then calls upon me to develop more than the existence, or even the extent of the plots of the Sect—I say, it calls on me loudly to proclaim the dangers which threaten us; yes, the evils which threaten all society must be clearly shown. A manner of proceeding and an artful cunning big with crime, which will speedily plunge nations into those disasters which they may believe chimerical, is to be clearly ascertained. I have to unfold the whole of a system, an entire code, in which each institute, each maxim, each regulation, is a new step towards a universal revolution which shall strike society a mortal blow. I am not then about to inform each citizen that his religion, his country, his property, that every society, people, or nation, are menaced; unfortunately that would be a task too easily performed. But I am bound to say, "In this horrible plot, such are the dangers which threaten your country, and such the perils that hang over your persons." I must show extensive resources combined with consummate villainy, where you imagined that nothing existed but the delirium of modern Philosophism, destitute of means.

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Weishaupt, like yourselves, had foreseen numerous obstacles to his conspiracy; and it appears that he had even exaggerated them. That for which his most famous adepts seem to despise their countrymen, should be mentioned here as redounding to their honour. Weishaupt, surrounded by the faithful Bavarians, faithful to their God and to their country (rather speculating on the human heart from his books, than closely observing men in the common intercourse of life), was not aware of how very much Philosophism had forwarded his systems. 7 The generation which had attained the age of manhood appeared too much infected with the antiquated ideas on religion and government. But, unfortunately, facts soon undeceived him; and this error only served, by deferring his hopes, to turn his mind to farther precautions and meditations, which sooner or later were to render his success infallible. He would say to himself, he would say to his trusty brethren, "According to my views, I cannot employ men as they are; I must form them; each class of my Order must be a preparatory school for the next; and all this must necessarily be the work of time." 8 But to accelerate the time he cast his eyes on that class of young men, which, just entering the world, easily fall a prey to error, because at that age they are under the influence of their passions. I shall hereafter show what it was that both shortened the time, and abridged their education, in presenting him with whole legions of adepts ready formed to his mysteries. It is first necessary, however, that the reader should be acquainted with the profundity of his system; because, had the French Revolution not taken place, that system would alone have sufficed to render it certain and infallible; for, could the French Revolution be done away at the present moment, and the ancient regimen be restored, this code would furnish Illuminism with all the means of effectuating one that should be still more disastrous. Let us then study it, let us dissipate the cloud in which it is enveloped. Reader, your own interest requires that you should follow our steps; and observe all the snares that have been laid for you; see with what art its disciples are beguiled, with what precaution it chooses, calls, and disposes its adepts. Its proceedings appear indeed to be slow, but they are nevertheless sure. It seems to exhaust all its art to acquire a single proselyte, but the same allurements attract whole legions. Its springs are secret, but the reader must know their power and with what constancy they move toward and direct the common ruin. He has seen the people agitated, animated, and even misled to ferocity; but he must also be informed how those adepts were created who fanaticised the people and rendered them ferocious.

Weishaupt lays down as an invariable and infallible principle, that "the grand art of rendering any revolution whatsoever certain—is to enlighten the people;—and to enlighten them is, insensibly to turn the public opinion to the adoption of those changes which are the given object of the intended revolution.

"When that object cannot be promulgated without exposing him that has conceived it to public vengeance, he must know how to propagate his opinion in secret societies.

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"When the object is an universal Revolution, all the members of these societies, aiming at the same point, and aiding each other, must find means of governing invisibly, and without any appearance of violent measures, not only the higher and more distinguished class of any particular state, but men of all stations, of all nations, and of every religion—Insinuate the same spirit every where—In silence, but with the greatest activity possible, direct the scattered inhabitants of the earth toward the same point." This is what he calls the grand problem on the polity of states, on which he grounds the force of secret societies, and on which the empire of his Illuminism was to rest. 9

"This empire once established by means of the union and multitude of the adepts, let force succeed to the invisible power. Tie the hands of those who resist; subdue and stifle wickedness in the germ;" that is to say, crush those whom you have not been able to convince. 10 He that teaches such doctrines is not to be looked on as a weak enemy. When Weishaupt reserved them for his mysteries, as well as the revelation of his ultimate object, he knew too well that they were only fitted for men who had long been trained to view them as the lessons of nature and of Philosophy, and should he meet with any who had anticipated them, it would only abridge their novitiate. But he needed nothing less than a whole generation. It was therefore to multiply the number of adepts, to dispose them by insensible degrees to receive his doctrines; by an invisible hand to direct their ideas, their wishes, their actions, and their combined efforts, that the code of laws which he framed for Illuminism constantly tended.

According to these laws, the sect is divided into two grand classes, and each of these again subdivided into lesser degrees proportionate to the progress of the adepts.

The first class is that of preparation. It contains four degrees, those of Novice, of Minerval, of Minor Illuminee or Illuminatus Minor, and of Major Illuminee or Illuminatus Major.

Some intermediary degrees belong to the class of Preparation, which may be called of Intrusion; such are those which the sect have borrowed from Freemasonry as a means of propagation. Of these masonic degrees the code of Illuminees admit the three first without any alteration: it adapts more particularly to the views of the sect the degree of Scotch Knight as an ultimate preparation for its mysteries, and it is stiled the degree of Directing Illuminee or Illuminatus Dirigens.

The second class is that of the Mysteries, and this is subdivided into the lesser and greater mysteries. The lesser comprehend the priesthood and administration of the sect, or the degrees of Priests and of Regents or Princes.

In the greater mysteries are comprized the two degrees of Magi or Philosopher, and of the Man King. The Elect of the latter compose the council and the degree of Areopagites11

In all these classes, and in every degree, there is a part of the utmost consequence, and which is common to all the Brethren. It is that employment known in the code by the appellation of Brother Insinuator or Recruiter12 The

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whole strength of the Sect depends on this part; it is that which furnishes members to the different degrees; and Weishaupt, well knowing the importance of the task, turned all his genius toward it. Let us therefore begin by directing our attention to the discovery of it.


414:1 Original Writings, Vol. I. Let. to Marius and Cato.

414:2 Original Writings, Vol. I. Letters 3, 4, 47, 60 &c to Marius and Cato.

414:3 Original Writings, Vol. I. Lett. 11 and 25, to Cato.

414:4 Let. 22, to Cato.

414:5 See hereafter the Discourse on the Mysteries.

414:6 See hereafter the Discourse on the Mysteries.

414:7 See the Last Observations of Philo.

414:8 Original Writings, Vol. I. Let. to Cato.

414:9 See the Discourse on the Mysteries.

414:10 Ibid.

414:11 See the Original Writings, Chap., II. Part II. page 8. and the last Observations of Philo, page 89, &c. &c.

414:12 This is not a term of my invention; it really is to be found in the code. Insinuator or Anwerber (signifying Recruiter) are the two words generally made use of to express this character.

Next: Chapter III. Of the Brother Insinuator, or the Recruiter