It is not unlikely, that besides the amusement of a vacant hour, which was always agreeable to him, he had pleasure in the meeting with his loyal friends, and in the occupations of the Lodge, which recalled to his mind their attachment and services. I endeavoured in vain to meet with him, intending to make a proper return for much civility and kindness which I had received from him in his own country.
The political purposes of the association being once obtained, the conversation and occupations of the members must take some particular turn, in order to be generally acceptable. Thousands of literary men were excluded by their station from all hopes of advancement to the more respectable offices in the church.
This, however, did not hinder him from honouring his Imperial pupil with a visit. I doubt not but that I have sometimes failed, and will receive correction with deference. I saw conventions held at Wismar, at Wisbad, at Kohlo; at Brunswick, and at Willemsbad, consisting of some hundreds of persons of respectable stations.
I saw it much disturbed by the mystical whims of J. When the funds became considerable; the effects naturally took the public eye, and recommended the Society to notice and respect. I have seen this Association exerting itself zealously and systematically, till it has become almost irresistible: But this is surely the occupation of a rational nature, and deserves any name but stupidity.
Few, even of good men; have the candour, nay, I may call it the wisdom, to think on the activity and the labour which had procured these comforts to the rich, or to their ancestors; and to believe that they are idle only because they are wealthy, but would be active if they were needy.
And I have seen that the most active leaders in the French Revolution were members of this Association, and conducted their first movements according to its principles, and by means of its instructions and assistance, formerly requested and obtained: Of such instructions I can make no use, even if I were disposed to write a history of the Fraternity.
They arise naturally of themselves, as weeds in a rich soil; and, like weeds, they are pernicious, only because they are, where they should not be, in a cultivated field.
We cannot doubt, but that under this covert they indulged their factious dispositions; nay, we shall find the greatest part of the Lodges of France, converted, in the course of a very few weeks, into corresponding political societies.
The degrees afterwards superadded to this leave us in doubt which of these views the French entertained of our Masonry.
But when the Lodges consisted of many who were not Masons, and who had no particular claim to good offices from a stranger, and their number might be great, it is evident that stronger persuasions were now necessary, and that every topic of philanthropy must now be employed.
He informs Father Adam, that among men it is the hour of darkness, but that it is mid-day in the Lodge. I found, that this impunity had gradually encouraged men of licentious principles to become more bold, and to teach doctrines subversive of all our notions of morality - of all our confidence in the moral government of the universe - of all our hopes of improvement in a future state of existence - and of all satisfaction and contentment with our present life, so long as we live in a state of civil subordination.
It is in human nature to catch with greediness any opportunity of doing what lies under general restraint. They must not be considered as an account of any settled system, but rather as annals of the proceedings of the Lodge, and abstracts of the strange doctrines which made their successive appearance in the Lodge.
I was not contented with the quotations which I found in the Religions Begebenheiten, but procured from abroad some of the chief writings from which they are taken. Other incorporated trades had similar provisions for their poor. I found it to contain all the degrees of the Parfait Macon Ecossois, with the Rituals, Catechisms, and Instructions, and also four other degrees of Free Masonry, as cultivated in the Parisian Lodges.
It is intended only for the initiated, and is indeed a mystery to any other reader. The profane world cannot see the beneficence of concealing from public view a principle or a motive which so powerfully induces a Mason to be good and kind.
The true hospitality, that is no where more conspicuous than in the character of the Germans, made this institution a most agreeable and useful passport to these gentlemen; and as many of them were in military stations, and in garrison, they found it a very easy matter to set up Lodges in all parts of Germany.
The Archives Mystico-Hermetiques exhibit a very strange mixture of Mysticism, Theosophy, Cabalistic whim, real Science, Fanaticism, and Freethinking, both in religion and politics. The inquisitive are always prying and teasing, and this is the only point on which a Brother is at liberty to speak.
Princes and Rulers are but men; as such, they abuse many of their greatest blessings. But, on the Continent, I found them matters of serious concern and debate. I do not mean by all this to maintain, that the Mason Lodges were the sole corrupters of the public mind in France.
This society is well known to have put on every shape, and to have made use of every mean that could promote the power and influence of the order.
There, and more remarkably in France, I found that the Lodges had become the haunts of many projectors and fanatics, both in science, in religion, and in politics, who had availed themselves of the secrecy and the freedom of speech maintained in these meetings, to broach their particular whims, or suspicious doctrines, which, if published to the world in the usual manner, would have exposed the authors to ridicule, or to censure.
These vented their discontents as far as there was safety, and were encouraged by many of the upper classes, who joined them in their satires on the priesthood.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.
Collected from Good Authorities by John Robison, A.M.
Professor of Natural Philosophy, and Secretary to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.Download