Imágenes de página

Vollständige Geschichte der Verfolgung der Illuminaten in Bayern, Frankfurt, 1786. “Complete history of the Persecution of the

Frankinės in Bavarilhriften, wherawn, were ut, in justi

iciono one for aid ad furonola

The Original-Schriften, whence the main matter of the Abbé BARRUEL's denunciations is drawn, were not published by the court of Munich for nearly two years : but, in justification of some arbitrary violence, which had been ill-received by the public, they at length came to light. They are wholly an ex parte evidence. They contain papers found on an official search in the possession of Weishaupt, Zwack, Massenhausen, and other members of the Order, who were suspected of illicit practices ; and these documents are invidiously picked, inaccurately printed, and not chronologically arranged; which is probably the effect of design ; a dateless account of an as. semblage of the Order being inserted after the edict for its abolition, as if to suggest a suspicion of contumacy. Among these papers occur two recipes; the one for a poison, the other for a philtre, superscribed Aqua-tofana and ad furorem uterinum excitandum; both evidently prescriptions of an oldfashioned cut and dye. These recipes, found in the bureau of the chemist Massenhausen, were probably, like his empty boxes, his green carthen pots, and his stuffed aligators, a part of the stock in trade of the apothecary whose accoutrements he had acquired. Yet these recipes, --remarkable certainly, and so far literary curiosities,-are not only supposed by the denouncers to belong to the Order of Illuminés, (which is a bold inference,) but to have been in regular and systematic use among them for the accomplishment of their purposes of vengeance or of lust! We do not ask what should be thought of such practices of imputation, but what should be thought of the jour. nalists, who, from any motive, connive at the unquestioned circulation of calumnies so abominable. This aqua-tofana is every minute dashed in our eyes : it has indeed been venomously used, but by others than the Illuminés.

Of the personal, character of Weishaupt, we know nothing: in the preface to Dr. Willich's Elements of the Critical Philasophy of Immanuel Kant *, something is said of it by a neighbour. His literary character is certainly not contemptible. A disposition to estimate actions rather by their causes than by their effects, rather by their motives than by their results,-is very natural to a religious necessarian ; who easily transfers to concerns on this side of the grave those principles of decision, which would be exclusively applicable at a posto humous tribunal. This disposition prevails throughout the

* Of this work an account will be found in thc Review for January, published at the same time with this Appendix.


pleased to bets of the Newminism at brothers or min error re

writings of Weishaupt; who is far more solicitous for the epuration of motives, than for soundness of determination. To be caused by useful principles is but half the merit of action : it must also be attended by useful consequences.. Per. fect conduct consists in uniting benevolence of ends with prudence of means. They are not incompatible :-yet those who excel in benevolent purpose often want practical prudence ; and those who excel in practical prudence often want benevolent purpose. · To Zwack it is imputed by the Abbé as a crime (p. 42) that he was baptized by the club' with the name of Filippe Strozzi, ce fameux conjuré qui avait assassiné Alexandre Medicis. It is not the fact that the hero Filippo Strozzi killed his sovereign.

At p. 117 begins a long attack on those whom the Abbé is pleased to call theosophic Illuminés ; by which term he means the members of the New-Jerusalem church. This sect does not form a branch of illuminism at all; neither its members nor its elective priests are, as such, brothers or minervals of the open or occult lodges. A tendency to a similar error respecting Zinzendorff and the Mennonists may also be incidentally perceived. Some Swedenborgians (Knigge is said to have leaned at one time to their opinions) may have been initiated into the mysteries of Weishaupt; so have some Mennonists, some Calvinists, and some Papists :—but the religionists of the Swedenborgian denomination were neither patronized nor courted by the Illuminés. On the contrary, that credulity is perpetually satirized in the publications influenced by them; and the peculiar hue and cry with respect to all descriptions of fanatical sects, which pervades every writing of the Iluminés, is the charge of crypto-catholicism. They suppose, and not without much shew of evidence, that the Wesleys, the Latrobes, and the Romaines of Germany were in a secret league with the ex-jesuits, to attempt the re-annexation of the protestants to the church of Rome. They feel that there is a * natural alliance between popery and enthusiastic pietism. This war-whoop is quite as freely applied to the Swedenborgians as to any : yet the Abbé BARRUEL is resolved to suppose that they were in concert with the Illumines; and in order to account for a con. duct which is utterly absurd on his theory of illuminism, he assures us at p. 129, that the system of Swedenborg (which is a revival of the heresy of Praxeas) is a system of materialism and atheism. If the creed of Swedenborg be atheism, that of

* Consult Bemerkungen über die Besorgnisse welche der Katholicismus und die Schwärmerey erwecken konnte, by Garve, the translator of Adam Smith. Nn2


the Illuminés may be orthodox;-Swedenborg an atheist! Cart any assertion be delivered in human language more completely contradictory to the plainest evidence ? Yet on this the author dwells with perseverance and complacency, as if to astonish were the same as to convince, 4. There are in most countries, which allow any toleration, two diametrically opposite classes of sects. The one of these tends to more religiousness than is established by law; affects greater industry of observance, and greater scrupulosity of conscience, than fall to the average share of other men ; and willingly lengthens its creed by hyperbolical articles of belief, and willingly amuses its leisure by supererogatory rites of devotion : a class which, with respect to morals, is puritanic, with respect to rites, is superstitious,--and in regard to doctrines, is credulous. The other and freer class tends to less religion than is claimed by the magistrate ; it affects a negligence of observance which avoids the temple, and a robustness of conscience which despises peccadillos; it is continually nar: rowing its creed towards an almost hair's-breadth tenuity, and curtailing its worship of some (as they deem it) superannuated holiday : comparatively speaking, in morals it is libertine,-in titual, lax,--in doctrine, sceptical. To the former of these descriptions of sects, some have referred the Swedenborgians, and to the latter the Illuminés. Sects so different are naturally hostile, and ill-adapted to coalesce and to co-operate. When the puritans had rebelled against Charles I. of England, his cause was soon espoused by all the libertine sects; and of late, when the libertine sects had in general declared for the French revolution, they soon repelled and drove into the arms of government the faithful zeal of the Methodists, and of the vital Christians. The religious instinct operates in Germany as here. Go among the puritan sects, they are alarmed at the dissoluteness of the age and the growth of infidelity; they seem to expect that the world itself will shortly be consumed, with its present inheritors. Go among the libertine sects, they are alarmed at the prolific breed of fanatical extravagance : they quake at the threatened intolerance of sour asceticism; and they seem to expect the barbarous docility of new Attilag to the designing Leos of triumphant superstition. To confound these antagonistic forces is not the part of judgment; and to describe them as conspiring is to err against probability.

The Abbé BARRUEL attributes to private information from the very respectable and well-informed Mr. Böttiger, (whom he styles (p. 245) famous among the Illuminés of Germany, and whom he incorporates (p. 285) with the adept Wielond in the Minerval lodges of Wcimar,) the opinion of those English


journalists, who believe it to have been the intention of the German Illuminés to consolidate the multitudinous sovereign ties of their country under one-or at most * t'wo-representatively constituted governments. With us, this inference has been the immediate result of a perusal of their writings. Sub: jects carinot indeed say, even to petty sovereigns, “we wish to cashier you, and you, and you:” but they can write against local jurisdictions, topical Jaws, geographical parties, village.. patriotism, and invisible frontiers, which change the denominations of right and wrong. It is precisely among the preparatory phrases of this kind, that we should place the position des nounced at p. 247 : Fürsten und Vaterlands liebe wiedersprechen den weitaussehenden Gesichtspunkten des Ordens. « Love of prince and country withstands the far-sighted views of the Order.”—To this end again, in our opinion, were directed those literary essays of the aspirants, in which they were desired to answer the questions-How might an uniform constitution be introduced over all Europe ? Would Christianity be necessary for that purpose ?-Europe appears in the essay, for reasons of decorum and security : but Germany floats in the imagination of the essayist, where an union of the three Christ ían denominations was a serious project of the emperor.' By a like natural scale of analogy, Rome stands for Vienna, and Nation for a circle or province, in the dictionary of illuminism. The vague phrase "Nations must :disappear"-inc dicates at most a new division of Germany into convenient departments: not, as the Abbé affects to believe, a systematic annihilation of the human race. This can alone be accomplished by that most horrible of all extant and possible conspiracies,-a conspiracy to which, if report says true, the Abbé BARRUEL himself is bound by the most solemn of all oaths, a conspiracy imagined perhaps by some starveling anchoret in the untrodden deserts of Thebais; hatched and brooded into practical activity in the subterraneous crypts and chill catacombs of the early Christian worshippers; rearing after a while, with insolent misanthropy, its dispeopling monasteries and ina fanticidal cloisters in every corner of Europe ; and conferring on orbation a triple crown,-the conspiracy of the clergy of the church of Rome to assume, to execute, and to recommend to others, irrevocable vows of celibacy and virginity, tending towards the universal extinction of mankind.

We have already observed (Rev. vol. xxv. p. 505) that no satisfactory nor even presumptive evidence has been produced by the Abbé BARRUEL, of an attack on property, science, or * We have met with no evidence for this duplicity of intention. Nn3


by usrly exposed, Wanslations. In they are,

habitual order, being a part of the plan of the Illuminés. The symptoms of it,-equivocal, faint, and evanescent as they are, have chiefly resulted from his mistranslations. In addition to those which we formerly exposed, we ought to have noticed the passage extracted by us at p. 508, App. to Rev. vol. xxv. where, in answer to the question: Who has reduced man to this state of slavery ? the catechumen answers, Die geselschaft, der staat, die gelehrsamkeit die falsche religion: By geselschaft, society, the writer alludes to those distinctions of rank, such as nobility, with which in their opinion, and as it subsists in their country, the present forms of society are encumbered ; by staat, the state, is specified the actual constitution, in contradistinction to government in general; by gelehrsamkeit, erudition, theological literature is exclusively meant; by the epithet falsche religion, it is implied that there is a true religion. Yet in the version of the Abbé B. by employing the word governments for the state, and sciences for erudition, the doctrines of anarchy and of vandalism are hitched and foisted into a passage which contains no trace of either, and are afterward attributed to the Illuminés on the faith of such fabricated evidence. The Abbé often reminds us of those early "corrupters of Christianity, who first altered their gospels, and then proved their heresy out of them. It is, however, no corruption of his text, when, on the authority of the informer Cosandey, he ascribes great currency in the order to a maxim in French doggrel : :

« Tous les rois, et tous les prêtres,

Sont des fripons, et des traitres." There is so much solemn trifling (witpess the congress of Wilhelmsbad) among the Illuminés, that we rather suppose these ludicrous jacobinical rhimes to have been a by-word among the students, or the motto of some favourite essay, than that they were ever formally inrolled with the first principles of the Order.

At page 259, the Abbé observes that Frederic II. of Prussia was the first to denounce the Illuminés at Munich. That monarch probably suspected them of intending to favor the ex. tension of the Austrian sovereignty over Bavaria. The emperor Joseph II. was popular among the Illuminés. His ecclesiastical reforms were in a great degree concerted with members of their persuasion. Had he lived, and not been deterred by the experience of the French revolution, he would probably have thrown himseif wholly under their guidance ; have bestowed a mixed but representative constitution on his hereditary states; and have proceeded to incorporate all Germany under his single sceptre. A free constitution was the price at

« AnteriorContinuar »