Saturday, September 20th, 2008 | Original Writings, Primary Documents
NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while the parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson
Some Original Writings Of The Order of the Illuminati
WHICH WERE FOUND AT THE RESIDENCE OF ZWACK, FORMER COURT COUNCILLOR, DURING THE DOMICILIARY SEARCH EXECUTED AT LANDSHUT, ON THE 11TH AND 12TH OF OCTOBER 1786
Printed on the Supreme order of His Highness the Elector
Munich Printed by Antoine Franz Printer of the Court, And on sale at the three libraries
The letters, along with their responses, are deposited in the archives. — They are very instructive and contain together good rules and give a sufficient appreciation of the system.
Spartacus, in a letter to Cato (see p. 274)
[Folio 2, no pagination, I°]
The present collection has been published by the Supreme order of His Highness the Elector in order to convince the public of this and foreign countries of the undoubted falsity of the reasons given for the ceaseless outcry from the Illuminati against the injustice, violence, and prosecution to which they are subjected in Bavaria, and also at the same time to put them on their guard against this epidemic sect, and against all other such illegal and clandestine societies. For these merely set themselves to deceive credulous people and get money out of them, and in place of spreading the truth and morality, as they profess to do, absolutely ruin the latter and suppress or completely falsify the former.
If anyone doubts the authenticity of this collection, let them present themselves at the secret Archives of this town, where orders have been given to show the originals.
Munich, March 26, 1787.
Cypher of the Order of the Illuminati (already known)
Chronological System of the Order
Namely, that of Yazdegerd, or the Persian calendar
(The manuscript is by Cato-Zwack)
For the non-initiates
List of Members admitted in the years 1776, 77, 78 and 1779
|Date and year of admission|
|776 Spartacus (A) [Areopagite]1||1st||May||1776|
|777 Ajax (A)2||–||–||–|
|778 Tiberius (A)3||–||–||–|
|779 Cato (A)4||22||February||1778|
|780 Marius (A)5||12||March||–|
|781 Alcibiades (A)6||May||–|
|782 Solon (A)7||May||–|
|783 [Cornelius] Scipio (A)8||28||July||–|
|784 Celsus (A)9||13||December||–|
|785 Hannibal (A)10||–||–|
|786 Tamerlane (Ill) [Illuminati]11||16||December||1776|
|787 Claudianus (R) [Received]12||26||–||–|
|[Date and year of admission]|
|788 Agrippa (M) [Minerval]13|
|789 Tasso (M)14||31||March||1777|
|790 Odin (M)15||17||June||–|
|791 Lucullus (M)16||27||November||–|
|792 Osiris (R)17||17||December||1778|
|793 Coriolanus (M)18||22||February||–|
|794 Confucius (M)19||13||March||–|
|796 Euclid (M)21||10||June||–|
|797 Cicero (R)22||12||June||–|
|798 Sulla (M)23||17||June||–|
|799 Timoleon (R)24||17||July||–|
|800 Pericles (M)25||20||July||–|
|801 Democrit (R)26||4||August||–|
|802 Remus (Int.) [Initiate]27||27||August||–|
|803 Minos (R) Susp.28||29||August||–|
|804 Pen (R)29||4||September||–|
|806 Lud. Bav. (R) Susp.31||27||–||–|
|808 Hermes (R)33||1st||November||–|
|809 Attila (M)34||29||–||–|
|810 R. Lullus35||3||January||1779|
|811 Anacreon (R)36||7||–||–|
|812 Brutus (M)37||16||–||–|
|813 Thales milesius (M)38||18||–||–|
|814 Ennius (M)39||16||February||–|
|815 Saturn (M)40||27||March||–|
|816 Saladin (R)41||6||April||–|
|817 Arminius (R)42||28||–||–|
|[Date and year of admission]|
|818 Stilpo of Megara (R)43||29||–||–|
|819 Deucalion (R)44||30||–||–|
|820 Nestor (R)45||13||May||–|
|821 Musaeus (M)46||30||–||–|
|822 Diomedes (M)47||23||June||–|
|823 Menelaus (M)48||–||–||–|
|824 Hector (M)49||27||–||–|
|825 Numa Pompilius (R)50||27||July||–|
|826 Ganganelli (Int.)51||1st||Schahar.||–|
|830 Mohammed (A)55||2||Mehar.||–|
|833 Titus Quintus Flaminius58||5||–|
|834 Germanicus (A) 59|
Particular items found prior to the visit at the residence of Zwack
1. Proposition with a view toward the establishment of a female Order
(From the hand of Zwack)
Object and Purpose of this Order
The practicality of promoting the women
would be to procure a real Order of gold; that is to say, in an advantageous manner, we provide protection and wait for them to obtain new secrets, all the while providing voluptuous pleasure for the Freemasons.
2. Establishment of an Order for women
(From the hand of Zwack)
This Order must consist of two classes, each of which constituting a separate Society, considering its own obligations (nexus), and remaining unknown to the other: a class of the virtuous; the other of debauchery.
Both classes must be unaware that they are directed by the men, and the Superiors of each class must believe there is a higher Lodge from which they receive their orders; though in reality it will be the men who have given it to them.
The two classes should assist in the means of pedagogy as competently as the male Masters proposed to these ends—who happen to be members of the Order, but would remain ignorant of each other as well as to the women. Proper books would also be provided, and the second class would in secret give satisfaction to its passions.
(At the time of the search at Zwack’s residence, we found two sheets in 8vo (bearing):
Short character drafts
of 95 women in Mannheim
in the French language and with this description:
Portraits Des Demoiselles à Mannheim
a) the Brethren at Athens [Munich], in the system of the Order.
(From the hand of Zwack)
Here, for Greece [Bavaria] alone, its distribution:
In Athens, there is: an assembly of Major Illuminati, well organized; an assembly of Minor Illuminati answering perfectly to our goals; a large and beautiful Masonic Lodge, and two beautiful Minerval churches.
In Thebes [Freising], there is also a Minerval church.60
In Megara [Landsberg] as well.
Likewise in Burghausen.
In Straubing as well.
And soon in Corinth [Regensburg].
We bought a house [in Munich], and it goes so well, by judicious measure, that the people, not only do not make a commotion [p. 8] but speak of us with regard, because we go openly every day to the house, just as we infiltrate the [masonic] Lodges. It is certain that we have quickly gained a lot in this city.
In this house, there is a good collection of natural history and instruments of physics, as well as a library, which members add to all the time.
The garden is used for botanical research.
Our Order has procured for the Brethren all the learned journals. They draw the attention of the prince and the citizens on certain abuses, and with these printed materials, which obstructs all the monkish forces, we can obtain much success.
We have organized the whole Lodge according to our system and broke completely with [the Grand Lodge of] Berlin.
We have not only halted the action of the Rosicrucians, but have even rendered their name contemptible.
We are in negotiations for a close alliance with the Lodge —— at ——,61 and with the Grand Lodge of Poland.
b) of the Order in Greece, in the political domain, after a year.
(Likewise from the hand of Zwack)
As a result of the intervention of the Brethren, the Jesuits have been excluded from all professorships, and the University of Ingolstadt [p. 9] is completely cleansed of them.
The duchess [dowager] would like to organize the Institute of Cadets completely in the manner indicated by our Order; the Institute is under the surveillance of the Order, all the professors are members of the Order, five of them are very well-established, and all the pupils will soon become adepts in the Order.
On the recommendation of the Brethren, Pylades62 has been appointed treasurer of the Ecclesiastical Council and the Order has at its disposal church revenue.
And by lending this money to our —— and ——, we have reversed their domestic mismanagement and liberated them from the usurers.
In this way, we have come to the aide of our Brethren.
All the members who are priests, we have equipped them well with benefice [church property], parishioners and advisory positions.
By the grace of our intercession, Arminius and Cortez63 were instituted as professors in Ephesus.
All our young men have obtained, through our intermediaries, bursaries to attend this University.
Through the recommendation of some members of our Order who are employed at the Court [in Munich], two of our young men have departed on a voyage; they went to Rome.
The German schools are entirely under the direction of our Order, and have no other administrators than our Brethren.
The Society of Benevolence is also under our management.
A large number of members of the Order, who are found in the Dicasteries, have obtained, by the grace of the Order, salaries and compensations.
We have placed members of the Order in four ecclesiastical chairs.
Within a short time, we will draw all the young priests of the Bartholomew Institution to us; hence the establishment is affected [p. 11] and, in this way, we have a great opportunity to provide all of Bavaria with superficial [clever] priests.
We also intend and hope to go after another priestly institution.
Even at this time when the Jesuits desire to destroy the ecclesiastical council, we have, through intermediaries of the institutions of the Order, by our tireless effort, our ensnarement of diverse ——, by ——, succeeded; that not only has the ecclesiastical council been strengthened, but that all the revenue which the Jesuits had administered in Bavaria — such as the Mission Institute, the prosperous charities, the domicile of the Exercitium and the coffers of the converts — have been entrusted with this council, as well as the funds for school and university, which already provide employment and transportation. On this subject the leading Illuminati have convened six meetings, and some of them have gone a few nights without sleep. Among them, there is——, and——.
2 Franz Anton von Massenhausen (1758-1815), one of the original five members of the Illuminati, as is obvious by the date of initiation.
3 Maximilian Balthasar Ludwig Edler von Merz
4 Franz Xaver Carl Wolfgang Zwack [or Zwackh] zu Holzhausen (1756-1843) was Weishaupt’s closest confidant; his residence at Landshut was the source of the present first volume of the Original Writings of the Illuminati.
5 Jakob Anton Hertel (1747-1828)
6 Franz von Paula Hoheneicher (1753-1844)
7 Franz Benno Michl (1750-1828)
8 Franz Paul Edler von Berger
9 Ferdinand Maria Baader (1747-97)
10 Thomas Maria Baron De Bassus (1742-1815)
11 Franz Georg Lang (1742-90); the “Illuminati” attribute probably means that he was initiated immediately as either an Illuminatus minor or an Illuminatus major.
12 Friedrich Christian Müller; it is not clear what the precise meaning of “Received” is.
13 Anton Will (1756-1827); insinuated as a Minerval.
14 Michael Wendelin Ernst (b. 1751)
15 Joseph Maria Lucas Gerstner (1745-1828)
16 Thaddäus Klüg (1751-1831)
17 Joseph Barth (1760-1819)
18 Ernst Leopold Troppanegro
19 Alois Ignaz Baierhammer [or Bayrhammer]
20 Franz Ruedorfer (1748-1825)
21 Michael Adrian Riedel (d. 1819)
22 Thomas von Pfest
23 Ferdinand Maximilian Baron von Meggenhofen (1760-90)
24 His identity is unknown. A more famous initiate would later take the same alias (Duke Ernst II von Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg) when he was initiated in 1783, but the only clues we have as to the identity of this particular “Timoleon” is that he was a Cobenzl court valet in Eichstätt; see Hermann Schüttler, Die Mitglieder des Illuminatenordens 1776-1787/93 (Munich: Ars Una 1991), p. 104.
25 Ludwig Felix Johann Nepomuk Baron von Ecker (1757-1826)
26 Ferdinand Maria Bauer
27 Identity unknown; two other members with the alias “Remus” – Joseph Friedrich Baron von Retzer (1754-1824) and Count Emerich Stadion-Thannhausen (1766-1817) – are known, but both their date’s of initiation didn’t occur in August 1778.
28 Philipp Anton Baron von Redwitz (b. 1751); “Susp.” means suspended.
29 Unknown; there is no member in any lists (Schüttler’s included) with an alias corresponding to this – even in the section (Schüttler, op. cit., pp. 189-95) reserved for lone aliases that haven’t been matched to a name.
30 Schleitheim (Schlotheim?)
31 Ludovicus Bavarius=Michael Lori (1728-1808); and he was indeed “kicked out” of the Order.
32 Anton Drexel [or Drexl] (1753-1830)
33 Joseph Laurentius Erdmann Gebhart Mandatarius Socher (1755-1834)
34 Georg Conrad Sauer (1754-97)
35 Raimundus Lullus= Ludwig Fronhofer (1746-1800)
36 Christian von Groggen
37 Count Ludwig Alexander von Savioli-Corbelli (1742-1811)
38 Johann Georg von Kapfinger [or Karstinger]
39 Johann Linde
40 Felix Eisele
42 Johann Nepomuk von Krenner (1759-1812)
43 Identity unknown
44 Alois Duschl
45 Franz Seraph Strixner
46 Count Maximilian Joseph Baron von Montgelas (1759-1838)
47 Constantin Marchese di Costanzo (1738-1800)
48 Erasmus von Werner
49 Count Anton von Spaur (1742-99)
50 Count Maximilian Josef von Lodron (b. 1757)
51 Beda Mayr (1742-94)
52 Identity unknown. Schahar. is, of course, Schaharimeh (September) in the Yazdegerd calendar.
53 Franz de Paula Winterhalter
54 Nepomuk Schiessl
55 Friedrich Baron von Schröckenstein (1753-1808)
57 Franz Paul de Dufresne (b. 1748)
58 Franz Josef von Gaza (1739-1805)
59 Count Johann Martin zu Stolberg-Rossla (1728-95)
60 These “Minerval churches” were sometimes referred to as “Academies.” The backbone of the Order of the Illuminati itself, the insignia of this class prominently featured Minerva’s owl of wisdom; hymns to Athena/Minerva were even recited at each gathering. (A whole chapter is devoted to the Minervals, inPerfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati.)
61 The suppression of the Lodge name and location was in the original.
62 Joseph Karl von Pettenhofen (1754?–1784)
63 Franz Georg Xaver Semer
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 | Original Writings, Primary Documents
NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson
Statutes of the Illuminati
As the Society proposes not to abolish the reasonable bonds with which one is subject to the State, but to further strengthen it, our desire is that:
- Each [initiate] is treated with brotherly love, consideration, and accorded his standing.
- Also, everyone must at all times be held within the limits of the ritual — even more so when members are still among the profane — so that any gentleman of virtue (even while holding a lower rank in the Order) is shown the respect he’s due and which befits his standing. And as it is important that our members are honored by the profane, our brethren should be distinguished with high regard, so that others will similarly honor them.
- It is among the Brethren of the Order only, that the difference in the standing we have in civil society vanishes, and consequently it is only [an initiate’s] age and character that is considered in the Order. Then each one, even the humblest old man, and especially the superiors, are treated with the same respect, amongst the profane, people of high rank, [p. 13] and all the more so while in the presence of the young or an equal.
- It is with even greater civility that the superior shall be treated by his subordinates. Consequently, they should be careful not to let this civility degenerate into casualness. Subordinates should not therefore arbitrarily consider this [civility] as permission to become close friends, yet allowing themselves to be guided by their superiors while not being treated like a stranger.
- Although this has the appearance of a constraint, excluding friendship or any fraternal sympathy, our dear Brethren must understand that the Order requires us to not think we love each other only for a time, but for eternity, and that nothing would be better to sever the strongest and most intimate friendship, than if it degenerated into casualness.
- Do not deny foreigners hospitality and the rights of man.
- Fulfill your office [or job] in civil society with loyalty and zeal; for if you are found negligent, then shall ye also be with us. [p. 14]
- Spread the sciences, arts, industry, social inclinations, virtues, and hinder that which opposes it.
- It is in this regard, that the Order, through example, sees itself as a learned society, where its teachings lead one to reason and the improvement of the heart.
- Read the ancients, note carefully what you have learned, reflect upon it, but apply common sense instead of [perpetuating] the [typical] sentiments of others. Even if others have already considered it and had their say, ponder upon it and express your own opinion; accept no opinion without investigating the source, its origin, and foundation; occupy yourself with problems, and issues to be resolved; read that which animates the heart and elevates the soul, informs others, and consider its practical applications; and above all study man, not through books, but through yourself, and make conclusions through analogy and circumstance.
- This is why our particular study encompasses, also:
- the character of man, analyzing in detail his origin, his reason, and the consequences thereof;
- the system of human nature in general.
- researching the motives and reasons for human actions. [p. 15]
- Exploration of human characteristics and tendencies, how it arises, and the manner in which it can be directed or destroyed.1
- Instruction on the ancient and modern systems of morality and philosophy, such as Stoicism and Epicureanism, etc.
- Seeking examples in ancient and modern history.
- Investigating the reasons for what is agreeable and disagreeable in relationships, particularly from our own experience or that of others.
- To seek the origin and the method by which our judgments and opinions have been formed.
- On this point, the superiors supply books and precise instructions.
- Compare this with a family, where we are [at once] a good father, good husband, good son, good teacher and good servant.
- And foremost, the Order recommends to one and all gilded temperance: if we haven’t demonstrated our worth, the path to the higher grades will be blocked.
The Order prescribes for this end particular regulations; directions for moderation, for domestic economy, health and long life.
- Moreover, so that everyone becomes accustomed to saving, [p. 16] a moneybox [piggy bank] will be provided, and controlled by his superior. Into this moneybox, cast all [you have], so as to discourage unnecessary pleasure. At determined periods, like 21 March and 23 September,2 the superior and the candidate open the moneybox together, and any sum less than one carolin3remains with the Order, while the remainder is retained by each [initiate] for his future needs or to be given to his heirs after his death, unless he specifies otherwise. And if it is his desire, a certificate of surplus is issued; noting a claim to this or that, and the certificate is signed by two brothers of the Order. Together and separately, they undertake a benefit of division.
- With regard to the luxury of food, drink, and attire, the Order would not be cast in a good light if [the practice were] abandoned. Our maxim [however,] is: quo simplicius, eo melius.4
- To deny error, prejudice, malicious intent; it is our duty to strive for this high standard, not by reckless inclination, but through self-knowledge of our own weaknesses. [p. 17]
- To this end, at the end of each month, every member gives to their superior, a sealed folio, in which he states:
- that which appeared to be a prejudice;
- from whom [had] it originated;
- what prejudices he had discovered within himself;
- of his own dominant prejudices, how many have been found;
- and the number of them weakened or removed completely.5
- Discoveries, inventions and secret correspondences thus uncovered, will be imparted to us without hesitation, and the Order solemnly swears not to make misuse of it.
- Silence and secrecy are the soul of our Order. However, with respect to the Superiors, judicious sincerity is a virtue; regarding the other Brethren of the Order, a reasonable reserve [is recommended], for distrust is the principle and the fundamental condition so that we don’t become disgusted or bored with each other. Therefore, do not unnecessarily reveal even the smallest details, such as how long you have been in the Order, the names of your Brethren, what grade you have achieved, etc. [p. 18]
- The time during which you must remain in a class is undetermined; it depends mostly on the ability and zeal of the individual.
- If your promotion did not occur as quickly as you had liked, do not grumble, dear Brothers! Think, rather, that nothing is without cause, and that in the vast universe no new creature appears without an equal amount lost as was necessary to produce it.
- In addition, the Order has set itself the supreme duty to render to every man indispensible truths essential to his happiness, and pleasant to the senses, in such a way as to be agreeable with his condition, such that these ideas are easily transformed, by everyone, from desire into action.
- To this end, members are constantly occupied with essays; sometimes questions need to be resolved or developed, and the person with the best essay is promoted to a higher grade as a reward.
- And if each of us are left to our own [p. 19] affairs, our work or profession will flourish, and we’ll strive to achieve liberty and perfection.
- The grade to which each belong, at all times remains hidden, and remains so even among equals.
- So that it even takes a long while for one to discover that the person who received him is the Order, and so on.
- The Brethren of the current class keep a watchful eye on those in the lower grades, and they speak about their conduct to their superiors, or to the assembly as a whole, and that is why those in the lower grades must always be known by those of a higher grade. But do not go beyond this, and those who are above you, know that they are not your equal.
If he desires to leave the Society, the sum is returned to him, and likewise in the event of need.
Rights and Liberties
All the foregoing obligations are, from a certain point of view, to be considered beneficial, for, if the Order does not apply them in a strict manner, it would be unable to provide the benefits to be enumerated. It is only through closer union [p. 20] and observing regulations that we are able to fulfill the word that has been given to us:
- When sufficient reason has been presented, everyone is free to withdraw from this class at any time, on the condition of maintaining strict silence. This was done, for our part, with the least fear of blame or reprove.
- Be assured upon entering the society, we do not sacrifice our liberty without expecting some benefit. To this end, the order promises to all those who have distinguished themselves with zeal and real service:
- to facilitate and open the way to more than just secret knowledge;
- in cases where they may find themselves in extreme necessity despite good domestic economy, to the extent of our strength, we will provide fraternal assistance;
- to come to the aid [of the Brethren] through recommendations and interventions, and as much as possible, carry out our will, within reason, and if it is not against the interests of the community; [p. 21]
- to assist, through advice and action, against all insults and humiliations one may endure not through any fault or of their own negligence. We will help to prevent such offenses and we also hope that one does not take this relief for granted;
- We also promise, for the consolation and peace of mind to those who have little means yet have many children, who may be removed [from the situation] by their own premature death, that we fulfill the role of father to these children, provide for their sustenance, and counsel the widow though advice and actions;
- If one or another of the Brethren or of their children manifests capabilities that travel could further develop, or to be in a position to obtain useful information for the Order, or render service, rather than letting an opportunity go to waste, the Order [p. 22] would not rule out covering the costs for such a trip;
- In general, we are committed to respond in such a way as to assure our Brethren relief, as long as his debts are not because of imprudence or poor domestic management. We also order that no one provides for him to borrow money or otherwise, but that he meets with his superior, makes him aware of the situation, and awaits a solution.
- We also hope that after such unfortunate circumstances, once composure is regained, he would in turn do well for the Order.
To this end, any money or property made or given by members is considered an acquired asset, for which, generally speaking, it is claimed for the Order only, or as its needs necessitates.
As we also know that, in societies, on the part of the superiors, there is nothing more disagreeable, that causes more disorder and dissension, than to appear imperious and harsh, therefore in this matter [p. 23] the Order has enacted necessary measures; and as power and sovereignty are based only on elevated judgment and experience in the affairs of the Order, we approved the following provisions:
- Whether it is a matter of a scolding or to impose a reprimand, the supervisor carefully avoids embitterment, and prescribes penalties by using examples in a manner as general as possible; or better yet, we recount in front of one that which concerns him or another; and by such discourses and practices, each learns not to fall afoul. In this way, we reserve for the superior unpleasant and precise explications, and for the candidate inhibition and inconvenience.
- As words always present difficulties, and our direction must be founded as much as possible on love, the Order has therefore replaced admonishment and reproach with gentleness, and it commands:
- That the Superior remains silent when confronted with indiscreet inquiries, refrains from improper discourse and using ridicule or off-colored banter: [for] if this is the case, it leaves the inquiry unanswered and severs communication. [p. 24]
- With regard to liberty, if no foreigner or any profane are present, it is permitted to respond.
- When a foreigner is present — if he starts to play with his handkerchief, or reclines in his chair, or makes the mistake to demand tobacco from his spokesman, especially when [the latter] is not accustomed to using tobacco [!] — then liberty has gone too far, to the point of displeasing the superior.
- When the superior has not witnessed firsthand the faults of another, having been told of it only, so that the candidate understands his error, he gives him a sheet of white paper, inscribed with the word Confiteatur.6 In a short while the offender reports back after the ascribed fault has been registered; after proceeding in such a manner, he no longer receives a warning; but in the opposite case, a different ticket is received, with the reason indicated.
In this matter we encourage all superiors to leave no error unpunished, for it would be worse to be forced to act on this in the judiciary. As for the subordinates, they will not be frustrated, [p. 25] for we remind them of their fault with benevolence.
- But in order for the highest superior to know whether the intermediary superiors have complied with these requirements, each of them, at the end of March, June, September and December, will require subordinates to express their thoughts and grievances against the Order and their peers, in a well-sealed envelope, [and pass it] along with initiation fees: At Once, through the intermediary superiors, and without breaking the seal, they [the highest superiors] hand it over to our Superior General.
- These consultations must be submitted by all without exception, every quarter; and even if someone has no complaint to make, the envelope will be handed in without noting the absence of grievance.
- Along with objections raised, these envelopes may also include suggestions for change and improvement.
- At the end of each quarter, within a short time, the answers follow, and the decision on the objections are made. It is given to each plaintiff by his immediate superiors, written in their own hand: after being countersigned by the interested party, it is returned. If a superior [p. 26] dares act against his subordinates because of complaints made against him, or whether there’s the slightest discontent, then this behavior can and should be recorded in a new complaint for the next quarter.
To this end, we solicit the help of our members favored by fortune, who feel happy to be presented with the means and opportunity to make good use of their surplus.
2 March 21st, for instance, is the beginning of the year (Pharavardin) in the Illuminati calendar.
3 In 18th-century Bavaria the carolin was a gold coin equal to 11 gulden. It featured the head of the reigning Prince (e.g. Elector Karl Theodor), and on the reverse, a depiction of the Virgin and Child, with supporting arms of Bavaria.
4 quo simplicius, eo melius = “the simpler the better”
5 “Prejudice” (ger. vorurteil) hadn’t yet accrued the connotation that we are familiar with today — racist sentiment. Its definition was strictly literal: that which prevents objectivity.
6 Confiteatur = “Confess”
Monday, February 15th, 2010 | Original Writings, Primary Documents
NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson
Reform of the Statutes of the 1st class
All statutes, constitutions and previous privileges, whatever name they have received, are subject to change as circumstances warrant and, in so much as [p. 27] they fundamentally oppose these present ordinances, are hereby overruled.
Notwithstanding, as in the past, the goal that the Order proposes for the future remains the same: to render unto man the importance of the perfection of reason and his moral character; to develop social and humane sentiments, to oppose the wicked designs in the world, to assist against the injustice suffered by the unfortunate and the oppressed, to encourage men of merit, and in general to facilitate the means of knowing and science. Assurance is here given, in a sacred and faithful manner that this is the sole goal — not just supposed — of the Order (1).
On the contrary, the Order offers nothing more, therefore candidates will increase in due time; this will prove to be more beneficial, as they realize that, in opposition to the practice of other societies, we possess more than what we had promised.
A member who is thrust upon entering the Order with the hope of gaining greater power and wealth would not be welcomed.(1) Fistula dulce canit volucrem dum decipit Auceps [“The shepherd's pipe sings sweetly to the bird, while the fowler ensnares it”; or “The bird-catcher plays sweetly on the pipe when he beguiles the winged creature”]
[p. 28] To achieve such a goal of understanding and confidence between all members, and in accordance with these views, only accepting those external conditions for the betterment of the Order, all members must:
Have respect for the Order, refrain from hatred and jealousy toward other members; they must regard one another, for their own good, as beloved dear friends, like colleagues with the same grand objective that cannot be achieved otherwise.
The Order therefore demands sacrifice of liberty, not generally, but only in view of the grand objective. They have always known that the higher [order of the] superiors dedicate themselves toward this goal, because superiors see further and more profoundly into the system, and for no other reason than they are superior.
Each newly proposed member offers to those who have received him, a Revers de Silentio.1
The Order cannot use them as they are; they must first become such that they follow the necessary objective intended for them. Therefore, a review and proof of fidelity, silence, [p. 29] dedication, ingenuity, and instructional development.
Hence the time the candidates must pass in this grade: young people from 15 to 18 have three years of examination, those 18 to 24, two years, those 24 to 30 a year.
However, depending upon the diligence, maturity, zeal and industriousness of the candidate, his [examination] time is sometimes cut short.
During this time the candidate’s work is to examine himself and others, to make careful and methodical notes, and in general to think and observe more fully than just reading.
Extensive notes, comments, and character drawing; conversations with people who speak the language of the passions are collected: all of this, as well as submission to superiors, is the surest path to promotion.
Upon initiation, the candidate changes his name to something foreign which he makes his own, under which he reads and writes everything that occurs.2
[p. 30] Between observation and physiognomic remarks, the rules established for judging the character of man offer a great benefit.
Also, for the members with whom we have strong relationships, we maintain a special register, where, under the heading of each person, we record on one side the good that has been done, and on the other the wrong.
We recommend above all, without detachment, the observation of objects.3
Among the first demonstrations of ability is the duty that every candidate must address and resolve – to submit until the end of his probationary period.
The security of the Order, the lure of all that is secret, and the examination of candidates requires that during the time of probation nothing unnecessary is revealed to lower members; for if the Order is unfortunate enough to harbor a chatterbox, he alone cannot betray us.
Encourage the prudent candidate not to speak anything of the Order, even to a presumed member. [p. 31]
Whoever receives a candidate is also his superior. Everyone is entitled to receive [insinuate or initiate]. But those wishing to reach a higher class, shall, under the direction of his immediate superiors, have received at least one, and in certain circumstances, two candidates. It may even come to pass that during the years of his novitiate, a man can establish a small empire, which could be large and powerful in its pettiness.
Therefore, all steps must be reported to the superior, and no one can do anything without first having applied for and received authorization.
For each potential initiate, the superior keeps a special register in which he records the words and deeds relevant to the character of the candidate; and the smallest of them in particular, which [for the candidate] will be assumed hadn’t even been noticed.
Like all the judgments that we utter, as well as all actions, we have discovered that taking notes does not fail.
These notes are the foundation of further information and should therefore be made with great care; they will simply be descriptive, not interpretative. We will draw upon all relations, reports, letters, etc., and when someone [p. 32] should be [further] initiated, it is from the notes that the recipient’s character must be presented to the immediate supervisor.
For the security of the superiors, it was resolved that no subordinate would have in his hand a single line about his superiors if it is a question of the affairs of the Order. The letters of the superiors must also be returned with a response.
However, everyone can excerpt from letters which he has received.
Those who are absent write to their superiors every 15 days, postage paid. Those present visit with their supervisor at least once a week, and if the superior has time, he can spend the days amongst his men, read with them, take notes or engage in enlightening conversation.
To ensure that all members are animated with the same spirit with one reason and one will, certain books are prescribed for them to read, through which they can be molded.
In the present, for Germany, we recommend:
The philosopher Seneca [the Younger]; [p. 33]
The Mediations of Marcus Aurelius;
The biographies of Plutarch;
His works on morals as well as his other writings;
The following works of Wieland: Agathon, the Golden Mirror, and the Secret Contributions;4
Hirschfeld: On the Great of Man and Heroic Virtues;6
[Alexander] Pope: Essay on Man;
The Moral theory of [Adam] Smith;7
[Johann Bernhard] Basedow: Practical philosophy for all conditions;8
The philosophic writings of [Christoph] Meiners;
Abbt’s Of Merits;9
The Essays of Montaigne;
Helvetius’ On Mind;10
The Characters of La Bruyère;11
All the writings of [Jean Baptiste Morvan de] Bellegarde, as well;
Le Noble’s World Training;12
We appeal to the good heart of all, to the arts and sciences and to those who possess them; the most agreeable to the Order, outside of morality, are chemistry and trading. The languages, especially French and Greek, are highly valued, at least for comprehension of books; Italian and English also have their value. Besides, those who want to travel must comprehend at least one language.
That which concerns the Arcane, as we have said before, it is for all classes.
The superiors are our guides; they lead us through error, darkness, and impassable roads. Hence the duty, even gratitude, of submission and obedience: in addition, no one will refuse to obey those that work toward his perfection.
Not always acting like fathers, the superiors should measure their own power. Therefore, the Order intends to protect its members against all oppressors, and aspirants, etc., by the following [p. 35] prescriptions: at the end of each month, the subordinate returns to his superiors one or more sealed folios, with the inscription: Quibuslicet, or: Soli,13 in which he mentions:
How his superior behaves with him, if he’s harsh or kind, is a good administrator or negligent;
What are his grievances against the Order;
What directives the superior has given during the month, and if he has remunerated the Order;
Even if there are no complaints, the envelope must be submitted, and, so that the subordinate can prepare it more easily at the beginning of each month, he properly arranges his pages, and as soon as something happens, writes it down, and closes the fold at the end of the month. This requirement applies to all classes, and no one is exempt. If one is negligent, the subordinate as well as the superior who failed to forward the envelope in time, is liable to a fine proportionate to his means. If envelopes are presented [p. 36] the last day of the month, the candidate is exonerated, as it is each superior who is liable.
Each candidate must declare, at the time of his reception, whether he has the means, or not, to provide the Order with a cash contribution. In the latter case, we assume there is no one poorer than himself, especially since intelligence reports were previously gathered on his position [in life]. In the first case, each superior, before reception, charge his candidate a proportionate contribution which, for the candidates of modest means, will remain at their convenience; for those of a middle class a ducat; and for those who live in comfort a carolin. This is the proposal that is made, before a copy of the statutes with the reverse exposed, to include the handwritten signature of the candidate who has paid the sum heard the same day; he will contribute an amount equal the second year, likewise for those who are engaged for three years. The contribution is presented by superiors to those above them; and if it is not presented within a specified time, we confront the immediate supervisor at his home. [p. 37]
To this end, the Order directs all superiors to return their debts the 31st of January up until the next year, 1779, but not to put pressure on anyone [below them] except that they should provide a written explanation that is satisfactory. Nevertheless, it is the disregard of members, who expect real help from the Order, which has provoked the above-said ordinance. We find this requirement even more moderate than other Orders: it is 100 gulden they must pay, irrespective of advantage, at the beginning of each year.
If someone withdraws from the Society during his probationary period, all that he has paid-in will be returned; this is why the superiors keep precise records.
Until the final hour, it is possible for candidates to withdraw, always however on condition of silence.
The present statutes shall be communicated orally to the person who has not yet received anyone [into the Order], and in writing to others. Exception is made for absentees. All new ordinances will soon be included in the copy you have in your hands. [p. 38]
[p. 34] In general no book is excluded that can be used for training the heart, but we particularly recommend fables and those that are rich in portraits or in moral and political maxims.
N.B. This must be copied before anything else, and a copy of the first copy will be sent to me so that it can be communicated to my Commandos; and everything in the future will be received in the same manner. I think everyone should make a copy in his own handwriting, in order to save printing costs. And then I swap their copy in exchange for those at Erzerum, so that these copies are in Erzerum and those of Erzerum are in Athens. Should I only have but one copy, I would still send it along.
The purpose of the Society is to interest man in the endeavor for the improvement and perfection of his moral character, to develop human and social feelings, to oppose the evil designs in the world, and to provide assistance against the injustice of the oppressors of virtue, to consider encouraging men of merit,  and finally, above all, to reward with special consideration, honor and glory, both outside the Society and in its midst, men of merit, who, either by talent or by their wealth or their credit, are useful to the Order.
The Society therefore ensures each and everyone, to whom the present statutes shall be communicated, that this is indeed the only – not just assumed – goal of the Order. On the contrary, the Society proposes nothing more. Hence it is all the better that candidates become still more numerous, and they can conclude from this that, unlike other societies, we possess and fulfill more than had been promised.
A member who is enticed to enter the Order with the expectation of attaining greater power and wealth would not be welcomed.
But as for achieving the goal of helping one another, consisting of good moral or natural philosophy, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the unbreakable trust among all members, and more or less accepting external conditions for the betterment of the Society and pursuant to its views, all members must therefore: [p. 40]
Respect the Society, refrain from hatred and jealousy toward colleagues, regard them as your dearest and best friends, protect their hearts from indignant selfishness, and consider in common the good of all.
Their imagination and their constant effort should cultivate so as to win for the greater good, not only the heart of the Brethren, but even that of their enemies.
They should not be less vigilant to provide evidence intended to be useful to their Order.
They must become accustomed to absolute caution and discretion with respect to everyone.
Regarding the affairs of the Order, total submission is required.
All members must work toward the greatest perfection, both internally and externally.
They must become accustomed to manners, kindest and friendliness.
They must learn the art of concealment, and to observe and to probe others. [p. 41]
Each member must also choose, as a principal occupation, a science and a particular art. However, as we cannot demand this of everyone, because some haven’t the inclination, the time, or the opportunity, in this case the Order has commanded that everyone, within a fortnight, declare to his insinuator how he might be useful to the Order, either through the sciences or pecuniary tribute. In the first case, he must write a dissertation. In the second, a financial statement; and in place of the person making the cash contribution, another [candidate] must promptly write a memoir dedicated to the latter.
If the insinuation [or reception] of a candidate does not occur, his possessions and contributions are returned, and all the rest.
Should a member become an adept in Arcana, [the knowledge gained thereof] must be imparted to the Order, and cannot be made use of without the permission of the informant before he dies; but, in the latter case, it should be noted that the profit from said secret will be donated to his children or to his friends if they are poor. [p. 42]
If a candidate in this grade [Novice] has close to nothing - unaware that he has been subjected to observation by other members - the payment before the degree is only one ducat. A special bond is formed with those who want to give more. But in every case, the contribution should be given in a sealed envelope to the person who has insinuated the candidate.
If payment is not made, no higher degree is conferred.
Silence is the highest rule. Therefore it is not permitted to talk about one’s initiation even among supposed Brothers of the Order; for:
if he is not a Brother, then the Society is betrayed;
and if he’s really a Brother, it will be unclear if he’s a superior, a subordinate, or an equal.
That the Society should remain secret to every extent possible, for the following reasons:
It will not be hampered in its plans, or have its operations opposed by those who are not motivated by noble sentiments, or those who are not content, etc.
So the whole Society cannot be betrayed all at once; [p. 43]
The allure of the Society would disappear;
Conspiracies and coups [could be] conjured by those with the ambition to dominate;
The superiors who remain hidden can better observe the subordinates.
If a candidate wants to leave this grade, he is free at any moment, under the condition of silence [imposito tamen silentio].
In this degree, it is prohibited to insinuate another, but we can submit to him those that have received suitable members.
(The last two words were in the handwriting of Spartacus: Weishaupt)
2 Referring of course to the initiate’s pseudonym or nom de guerre; and, by implication, this seems to suggest that the aliases were for the most part chosen rather than being assigned.
3 This is a kind of sensualist pedagogy that gained acceptance during the Enlightenment; a “metaphysic of the eye,” as Jean Paul Richter had described it: “knowledge appertaining to the nearly imperceptible border line between experiencing and abstracting” (Dieter Jedan, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and the Pestalozzian method of language teaching, Peter Lang Publishing, 1981, p. 48); Pestalozzi called it Anschauung: “an intuitive assimilation and manipulation of impressions received from the external world, that orbis sensualium of Comenius” (William J. Glover, “Objects, Models, and Exemplary Works: Educating Sentiment in Colonial India,” in The Journal of Asian Studies, v. 64, no. 3, August 2005, p. 65; see also, Perfectibilists, op.cit., p. 380).
4 That is, Geschichte des Agathon [History of Agathon] (1766–67; 2 vol.), Der goldene Spiegel oder die Könige von Scheschian, eine wahre Geschichte [The Golden Mirror and The Kings of Scheschian, A True Story] (1772) and Beiträge zur geheimen Geschichte des menschlichen Verstandes und Herzens [Contributions to the Secret History of the Human Mind and Heart] (1770).
5 Johann Karl Wezel (1747-1819): Lebensgeschichte Tobias Knauts, des Weisen, sonst der Stammler genannt[Life Story of Tobias Knaut the Wise, also known as the Stutterer] (1773-6).
6 Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld (1742-1792): Versuch über den grossen Mann? [Essay on what constitutes the Great Man] (1768-9), and Betrachtungen über die heroischen Tugenden [Reflections on the Heroic Virtues] (1770).
7 The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759); in later correspondences, as we’ll see, Smith’s The Wealth of Nations(1776) would be recommended.
8 Practische Philosophie für alle Stände [Practical Philosophy for all Ranks] (1758).
9 Thomas Abbt (1738-1766): Vom Verdienste [Of Merits] (1765).
10 Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771): De l’esprit (1758).
11 Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696): Les “Caractères” de Thèophraste, traduits du grec, avec les caractères ou les mœurs de ce siècle [The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus] (1688). Generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of French literature, Petri Liukkonen describes the book as “misanthropic,” with “the same disillusioned view of human nature [as] Baltasar Gracián … [It] aimed to reveal what people really are behind their social masks” (Jean de La Bruyère:http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/bruyere.htm). Gracián, as we’ll see later, would be recommended to Illuminati initiates as well. Peggy Pawlowski goes so far as to write that it was La Bruyère who provided the impetus for Weishaupt’s interest in studying the knowledge of man (Der Beitrag Johann Adam Weishaupts zur Pädagogik des Illuminatismus, doctoral dissertation, p. 122).
12 Eustache LeNoble (1643-1711): L’école du monde ou instruction d’un père à un fils, touchant la manière dont il faut vivre dans le monde [World Training or Instruction of a Father to a Son, Concerning the Way in Which We Must Live In the World] (1762).
13 A Quibus licet letter could be opened by the candidate’s immediate superior, while those marked Soli were for the eyes of the Provincials in the Order; an even higher designation was a Primo letter, addressed to the Areopagites of the Order or the General (Weishaupt) himself.
Sunday, October 31st, 2010 | Original Writings, Primary Documents
NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson
Instruction for Cato, Marius and Scipio
Therefore, properly speaking, they are not recruiters; rather they are in charge of instructing capable men, and rekindling the zeal of new candidates.
Lately they have focused their attention on Coriolanus, so that he acts according to his received instructions, and in this area, they do not let pass the smallest thing.
In particular, they have to generally govern in a uniform manner.
Their first concern is Athens itself. It has a system that reports only to Spartacus or those close to him. As for the other Coscios,1 they send and receive each month a sort of journal or gazette. – N.B. This journal has since become a daily affair.
These three only, in addition to the participation of Tiberius, Alcibiades, Ajax and Solon, constitute the Supreme College, for whom there is a special instruction, and there they work on projects, improvements, etc., and through circulars they must communicate with Consciis. This is why the Tribunal received the name of Areopagus, and those who compose it are surnamed Areopagites; this will be discussed elsewhere. [p. 45]
If the Areopagites assemble and Coriolanus attends and assists the meeting, they work in the grade of Illuminatus and do not address anything beyond that which is provided in the Statutes.
If the assembled Areopagites, however, involve others in addition to Coriolanus, they work exclusively in the second grade outlined elsewhere. Therefore, in the following remarks, we observe:
When Areopagites are working with Coriolanus in the grade of Illuminatus.
They must then appoint Coriolanus as superior of the assembly of the second degree, proceed with his solemn installation and, as described, encircled with the ribbon of the Order. In this degree, all must wear this ribbon and [owl] insignia. But Cato, as Illuminatus superior, bears, instead of the owl, a half-moon suspended by a ponceau red ribbon.2 If Ajax is present, however, due to his seniority, it is to him that the chairmanship is yielded.
All instructions are communicated to Coriolanus, we [in turn] receive from him all communications, and in general Coriolanus proceeds according to the recommendations of the three Areopagites. Their assemblies, according to the Calendar [p. 46] of the Illuminati, are regarded as feasts [or holidays] of the Order. Urgent matters must be carefully extracted from the instructions of Coriolanus. In general, Coriolanus is concerned about everything that interests the first and second degree, as they must receive their direction from the third.
Each month the letters of complaints must be presented in a sealed envelope, though in the case of Coriolanus against the three Areopagites of Athens, or against other members by their closest subordinates, [the letters] should not be opened by them, but be sent to Spartacus, so that it is assured that the Areopagites are privy to neither more nor less than is permitted.
If the Areopagites work with Coriolanus according to the guideline of the second degree, which will come soon, they act according to the instructions mentioned therein and undertake nothing more.
Here, it is Coriolanus who presides, and a vacant seat next to him can be occupied.
For a time, under the direction of Coriolanus, all Areopagites will assemble. And as an example of submission, among other things, [p. 47] they are required to grant him sincere respect.
Coriolanus does not undertake anything, outside of what is permitted by the Statutes or what he is instructed to do by the Areopagites during sessions of the Illuminati.
When Cato, Marius, Scipio, as well as Coriolanus, assemble, it is expedient to make use of a copyist, so that when a matter has been resolved, everyone can take notes from a single sheet of paper placed before them. As to the minutes [of the Order], one is handed to me (Spartacus), another is deposited in the archives, and the third is circulated. Thus, two, or even one may suffice. The other Areopagites can have them forwarded, after having made extracts.
They must also divide up their correspondences. Cato in Eleusis and Erzerum, Scipio Sparta, and Marius Thebes.
In general, they now work systematically, not exceeding the ordinances, and do not engage in unnecessary deliberations. –– All this is indeed for the interim, and in due time will be ordered in another manner.
[p. 48] We have but one instruction here from the Areopagites at Athens that does not need to circulate among the others. Only Cato, Marius and Scipio record their observations and memories; they then send them to me.
I will also reform the statutes of the first degree (1). That is why communications must be ceased for a time; whether only to ensure that everything is shipped promptly and to discern accurately triple or quadruple membership.
Instructio pro Recipientibus [Instruction for those Conducting Receptions]
Has anyone found a suitable subject, has he proposed [him] to the Order and obtained permission to get to work; we should not be content with initial contact, but look to awaken in him love, trust and consideration.
(1) See p. 26
[p. 49] He directs his conduct in such a way that the recruit thinks he possesses hidden qualities; that something extraordinary lies behind it.
He must be lead in such a way that the desire to enter the Society does not appear suddenly, but gradually, so that the initiator is eventually requested by the applicant [himself] to be received.
- The easiest way to achieve this goal, may be the following:
A contribution might be made by reading good books which elevate the soul, for example:
Seneca [the Younger];
Abbt’s On Merits;3
The various philosophical writings of Meiners;4
The Golden Mirror [or the Kings of Scheschian];5
Contributions to the secret history of the human heart and mind;6
The moral writings of Plutarch;
The Mediations of Marcus Aurelius; [p. 50]
Still, discourse must be utilized to facilitate the Society’s assembly.
To this end, we must have on hand books that deal with the unity, strength, etc. of the Society.
For example, like the shouting or powerlessness of a small child, we start by talking about the weakness of man, how little he can do it alone; to be strong and powerful with the help of others.
All human greatness and princely Highness is derived from goodwill.
We demonstrate the superiority of the social state over the natural state.
We proceed to the art of knowing and controlling man.
We show how easy it would be for a sensible and calculating mind to lead a hundred or a thousand men.
We point out what the princes and their military are capable of doing, thanks to the unity of their subordinates. [p. 51]
We demonstrate the benefits of our Society in general and the inadequacy of a bourgeois life, and how much we enable him to count on help from his friends and others.
We’ll pronounce that today it is quite necessary to join forces with each other, that men could fortify the sky if they were united, while their disunity provides an opportunity for subjugation.
Develop this subject through the aid of examples and fables, e.g. such as that of the two dogs charged with guarding the sheep who unite and protect the flock. Each will choose a series of examples.
We finally address the question of whether secret societies could do more still, and the methods thereof.
Utilizing the examples of the Jesuit Order, the Order of Freemasons, and the secret societies of the ancients – that all events in the world came about from a hundred causes and secret motives, including the fact that secret societies have played the leading role – we emphasize the joy which accompanies a silent and hidden power along with those who have penetrated the most hidden secrets. [p. 52]
With this we begin to demonstrate that we are informed and, little by little, dispense with ambiguous discourse.
When the candidate begins to get excited, we reason with him personally until eventually it is noticed that he arrives at the following conclusion or judgment: If I had the opportunity to enter into such an association today, I would do so immediately.
This discourse is repeated often.
We have the opportunity to cultivate confidence in someone, etc., by offering counsel to the candidate and having him state his opinions, on condition that they reflect the most solid foundations; we anticipate difficulties from those exhibiting influence over the others, but at once, through constant examination, it may be resolved and put to an end.
N.B. In order for more rapid methods to be put to use from the beginning, initiate those who have long known and have trust for one another.
At other times, it is arranged so that, at the moment when the candidate has been sufficiently convinced, he is paid a visit [p. 53] and receives a letter in cipher. We open it and read it in his presence, acting as if we want to conceal it, but in such a way that the candidate can still see the cipher.
Or better yet, we leave a letter like this open a while on a table, and when the candidate notices it, it is removed in a manner of someone who does not want others to be privy to such things, and we hide it, or move it away further than is necessary.
At other times, we simply return to the original task.
We’ll try to penetrate his dominant feelings and primary reasoning, and we will organize it in such a way that the candidate understands what can be achieved through such associations and that it wouldn’t be likely through anything else.
Through these discourses and activities, it is necessary that the candidate demonstrate his willingness or otherwise. And accordingly, in either case, the desire to take the first Oath may or may not occur. [p. 54]
We will not, without special permission, present a person, that isn’t:
of the Christian religion;
younger or of the same age as the person who has received him;
those who do not have a big heart full of love for humanity and benevolence;
He must also possess judgment (it is better here, however, to be beholden to the Aufklärung [Enlightenment] of the Order) or skill in the arts; he must be diligent, scrupulous, a good house master and have a good reputation.
Babblers, the debauched, the dissolute, the disobedient, the proud, bullies and the unsociable, boasters, the fickle, liars and the selfish, are usually eliminated, unless there is hope of immediate improvement.
Similarly excluded are Jews, pagans, women, monks and members of other secret Orders.
Those who are public employees, or who are old enough to eventually hold such a position, are only admissible if the person receiving them is his employer and his senior, or if the recruit is altogether submissive. [p. 55]
Above all, we prefer young men aged 18 to 30, rich, eager to learn, good hearted, docile, strong-willed and a persevering spirit.
If we notice the candidate demonstrating a desire and willingness to be initiated, we could impress upon him that it is likewise for the Order, and that the cost of entry would be worth his while.
When disclosing secrets, the one who receives or has presented a candidate must not reveal everything at once, but ensure that something or other is always held back, and he becomes more forthright only when the candidate has begun to express sensibility.
No documents are left in his hands, and he is asked at once if he has read it.
He’s required to send detailed reports to his superiors about everything that happens to him and asks for further instructions, and is held to the strictest secrecy with respect to his recruiters, intermediaries or otherwise. [p. 56]
In particular, he must often surprise his candidate, to observe if he’s following the regulations of the Order.
He must also have frequent conversations with him about the Order, and, in his written or oral report to the superiors, remarking whether the candidate speaks with zeal, with seriousness, or indifference.
He must also constantly guard against tedium, assigning easy tasks, mostly to get accustomed to orderliness and punctuality, fulfilling the requirements in particular, and practicing with him the topics of his various tests.
He must be continuously stimulated to propose other men for initiation.
Also, he must read good books with him, and give the candidate instructions for his notes and extracts.
From time to time he shall write, in a precise fashion, in the table, everything asked of him.8
He should also seek to gain his trust, spy on him through secret reports, which will portray the character of various people, etc. [p. 57]
Generally, the recipient will ensure scrupulous implementation of the Statutes, and will report to his immediate superior; in any case, reprimands, however slight, won’t be meted out. We [instead] remind him of the regulations and ordinances that are already in his possession.
The present instruction must not be assigned, but only read and oral explanations provided.
Instruction for those who obtain the right to insinuate a candidate
In the handwriting and signature of Cato (Zwack)
Once the Order has given its approval that one of the proposed candidates will be insinuated, the insinuator will look for a favorable occasion to speak slowly with his new candidate in such a manner as to win him over. When the principal goal of the Order has been explained, he is asked to take the Oath; then, after he has read the fundamental regulations, the Oath is given back to the Order, through the aforementioned [p. 58] insinuator, and the candidate waits for permission to take the written exam. His orders having been transmitted as required, the Statutes and the Instructions for Insinuators are then successively collected and he records every action and notifies the Order about everything that occurs thereafter.
Here we should remember:
To follow in the most precise way the Statutes which concern insinuators.
To include everything exactly in the table established pursuant to the annex for the proposal of candidates.
To establish an intimate relationship with his subordinates, and everything that concerns them, particularly the candidate he has insinuated, in writing, so that it may be communicated to the Order immediately.
To surprise the candidate often with improvisation, to see if he has carefully preserved and retained the writings that he has received from the Order.
To have frequent conversations with him about the Order and noting whether the candidate speaks with zeal, with seriousness, or with indifference, and above all about what he’s looking for in the Order, etc. [p. 59]
To establish careful dispatching, in the name of the Society, of everything concerning the newly insinuated; a receipt is required in matters of importance.
To constantly encourage them to propose decent men, while rendering them worthy to diligently obtain authority.
When the new candidate has obtained this ability from the Order, the insinuator will learn nothing more of his candidate who will be regarded as the insinuator’s progeny until a time to be determined by the Society. This is strict Observance.9
When one has obtained from the Order the permission to insinuate proposed candidates, having risen to a grade higher than his insinuator, the Society ensures that he has been signaled out for complete trust. It was therefore decided that in this grade, in addition to the half-sheet destined to be sent along with the instructions for insinuators, another is enclosed that, in particular and as fully as possible, recounts all secret intrigues, love and intimacies of various people, to be sent and [p. 60] addressed: au Premier [to the First]. On this occasion, it is permitted to write No. 1.
A catalog of all books belonging to the Society shall be registered.
This is disclosed for private instruction only, to habituate the young people in our Order, so that everyone does their part, according to their standing.
I hereby pledge under my honor and my good reputation, and by waiving any restriction with respect to the secrets entrusted to me by … (named here is the person who received the candidate), on the subject of my admission into a secret society, never to reveal anything to anyone, even to my closest friend and to my parents, in any way, either through words, signs or mannerisms, etc. My admission may be granted or not; furthermore, the one who has received me has assured me that, in this Society, there is nothing contrary to nor against the State, religion [p. 61] and morals. I also promise to guard the writings communicated to me or the letters that I will receive, after making the necessary extracts only intelligible to us. And all this is as true as I am an honorable man and will remain so thereafter.
2 In René Le Forestier’s Les Illuminés de Bavière et la Franc-Maçonnerie Allemande [Paris: 1915] (Archè reprint, 2001), p. 71, however, additional details are gleaned from consulting an archived letter from Illuminati Jakob Anton Hertel to Franz von Paula Hoheneicher, namely: “The medallion, less broad and less thick than that of the Minervals, was adorned with a crown, a crescent moon and seven Pleiades amidst the clouds. The moon, stars and the crown were enamelled, while the clouds were matt” (see Perfectibilists, pp. 213-14, and notes).
3 Thomas Abbt (1738–1766): Vom Verdienste (1765).
4 Illuminatus Christoph Meiners (1747–1810): Vermischte Philosophische Schriften (3 volumes, 1775-6).
5 Christoph Martin Wieland (1733–1813): Der goldene Spiegel oder Die Konige von Scheschian (1772).
6 Wieland’s Beiträge zur geheimen Geschichte des menschlichen Verstandes und Herzens (1770).
7 Johann Karl Wezel (1747-1819): Lebensgeschichte Tobias Knauts, des Weisen, sonst der Stammler genannt[Life Story of Tobias Knaut the Wise, also known as the Stutterer] (1773-6).
8 We will see examples of these tables later, which include detailed questions and answers. The candidate was required to disclose as much as possible about himself, his associates, protectors, patrons, affiliations and family.
9 This is a direct reference to the Masonic-templar Rite of Strict Observance, founded in the 1750s by Baron von Hund, whom the Illuminati were competing with for initiates. Potential candidates would be enticed to join based on the claim that the Illuminati system was similar yet superior. “Strict Observance” denotes obedience to Superiors and the ritual system as well as the notion that neophytes are under constant surveillance (everywhere and at all times). They developed the dogma of unquestionable adherence to Unknown Superiors (a kind secret society within a secret society, of adepts: the Masters and string-pullers of the entire enterprise).
After Adam Weishaupt had fled in 1785, the center of activity for the Illuminati shifted from Bavaria to the Duchies of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Weimar. And while the founder of the Illuminati was content to safely settle down for the long haul at the court of Duke Ernst II of Saxe Gotha, Johann Joachim Christoph Bode (1730-1793) took the reins and assumed the role previously held by Weishaupt.
Through the efforts of Bode and an expanding network of recruits – and under the protection of the Illuminati Dukes Karl August of Saxe-Weimar and Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha – new colonies were established in places like France, Russia and Italy. Bode kept the Weimar and Gotha Lodges Amalia and Ernst Zum Kompass informed of his activities, but the bulk of the evidence of continued Illuminati activity remained in his possession.
Ensuring that whatever they contained would remain secret, upon Bode’s death in December 1793 his literary executor, Illuminatus Christian Gottlieb von Voigt (1743–1819), transferred his deceased friend’s possessions to Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha who had already bought the voluminous papers before Bode died.
Bode’s legacy was too damaging, and after a brief inspection the Duke had the papers sealed (merging them with his own), and changed his will to stipulate that his Masonic legacy should be sent to the Grand Lodge in Sweden after his death – protected and secure from publication.
The Duke died in April 1804, whereupon the transfer of these documents was duly carried out, confidentially, under the auspices of surviving members of the Illuminati.
With the supervision of the Swedish royal family, the Grand Lodge of Sweden protected the legacy of the Illuminatus for over 70 years. In 1883, however, following a request from the Duke’s great-grandchild – Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1818-1893), a Mason himself – they were returned, and again became the property the Gotha Lodge Ernst Zum Kompass. (The documents of the Ernst/Bode estate were transported via rail, in a large wooden box. This is where the term “Schwedenkiste” or “Swedish Box” originates.)
It was organized in 1919 into 20 volumes along with registries and lists of its contents.
The Nazis confiscated it 1935/6 under a general suppression of Freemasonry; it was moved to Silesia during the war, and was subsequently stolen by the Russians and transferred to the Soviet Union. Most of it was returned to (East) Germany in 1950s – volumes 1-9 and 11-20 – but the tenth-volume remained in Moscow.
Monika Neugebauer-Wölk writes:
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the partial opening of the Russian archives to international research, the tenth volume of the Swedish Box was rediscovered by the Merseburg archivist Renate Endler in the Moscow special archive. As a consequence of German reunification, the Freemasonry archives were transferred in 1994 from Merseburg to the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin. Here the estate of Bode is available for scholarly use with permission of the Grand National Mother-Lodge “Zur den drei Weltkugeln”.
- Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, “Illuminaten” entry, in Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, ed. Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Brill Academic Publishers, 2005, p. 596.
Faithfully adhering to Ernst’s order not to publish any of this material, safely in Sweden during most of the 19th- and then Gotha into the 20th-century, the papers of Bode were kept under lock and key. Only a few pre WWI and WWII scholars were even allowed to examine them; Leopold Engel and René Le Forestier, for instance, but they weren’t given full access, and what they intended to publish was closely scrutinized.
With the entire comprehensive collection restored and accessible to research, much has been learned about the Illuminati’s makeup and activities in the latter half of the 1780s: Quibus licet reports from the initiates themselves, minutes of meetings, protocols for provincials and prefects, and lists of members and their aliases.
One of the first researchers to make full use of the material was Hermann Schüttler. While utilizing hisDie Mitglieder des Illuminatenordens 1776-1787/93 [The Members of the Order of the Illuminati 1776-1787/93] (Munich: Ars Una 1991) as a source for my own book, for instance, I was struck by how many times references to the Schwedenkiste were cited as proof of membership for a number of initiates. That was in 1991, however, when Volume X of the Swedish Box was still missing in Moscow. In 1997 he subsequently published “Zwei freimaurerische Geheimgesellschaften des 18. Jahrhunderts im Vergleich: Strikte Observanz und Illuminatenorden” [A Comparison of Two 18th-Century Masonic Secret Societies: Strict Observance and Illuminatenorden]. Whereas in 1991 the number of confirmed Illuminati members was 1255, Schüttler, largely by utilizing Volume X, managed to increase the number to 1394.
One thing that became clear from the new evidence found in the Swedish Box was the fundamental importance of pedagogy to the Illuminati. So much so, that Peggy Pawlowski’s 2004 doctoral thesis is dedicated to the subject: Der Beitrag Johann Adam Weishaupts zur Pädagogik des Illuminatismus[Johann Adam Weishaupt's Contribution to the Pedagogy of Illuminatism] (2004). To Pawlowski, the Illuminati can be thought of as the executive arm of the Aufklärung [the German Enlightenment].
The educational theories of Rousseau and Basedow were just that – theories. In order to effectively change society, the Illuminati reasoned, the new pedagogy had to be implemented by either taking control of existing institutions (which they did) or by founding some of their own. An instance of the latter is the Schnepfenthal Educational Institute in Gotha. As the material found in the Swedish Box confirms, at all stages of its financing, establishment and staffing, the hand of the Illuminati is clearly discerned. (See Christine Schaubs’ “Salzmanns Schulgründung im Lichte der Illuminaten” [Salzmann's School was Clearly Founded by the Illuminati] and “Die Erziehungsanstalt in Schnepfenthal im Umfeld geheimer Sozietäten” [Secret Societies and the Educational Institute in Schnepfenthal]; andPerfectibilists, pp. 403-5.)