Secret Societies of All Ages: Vol 2 - Charles Heckethorn

XV. The Chapter of Clermont and the Strict Observance

434. Jesuitical Influence.—Catholic ceremonies, unknown in ancient Freemasonry, were introduced from 1735 to 1740, in the Chapter of Clermont, so called in honour of Louis of Bourbon, Prince of Clermont, at the time grand master of the Order in France. From that time, the influence of the Jesuits on the fraternity made itself more and more felt. The candidate was no longer received in a lodge, but in the city of Jerusalem; not the ideal Jerusalem, but a clerical Jerusalem, typifying Rome. The meetings were called Capitula Canonicurum, and a monkish language and asceticism prevailed therein. In the statutes is seen the hand, of James Lainez, the second general of the Jesuits, and the aim at universal empire betrays itself, for at the reception of the sublime knights the last two chapters of the Apocalypse are read to the candidate a glowing picture of that universal monarchy which the Jesuits hoped to establish. The sect spread very rapidly, for when Baron Hund came to Paris in 1742, and was received into the highest Jesuit degrees he found on his return to Germany that those degrees were already established in Saxony and Thuringia, under the government of Marshall, whose labours he undertook to promote.

435. The Strict Observance.—From the exertions of these two men arose the "Rite of Strict Observance," so called, because Baron Hund introduced into it a perfectly monkish subordination, and which seemed also for a time intended to favour the tragic hopes of the house of Stuart; for Marshall, having visited Paris in 1741, there entered into close connection with Ramsay and the other adherents of the exiled family. To further this object, Hund mixed up with the rites of Clermont what was known or supposed to be known of the statutes of the Templars, and acting in concert with Marshall, overran Germany with a sect of new Templars, not to be confounded with the Templars that afterwards joined the masonic fraternity. But Hund seems after all to have rendered no real services to the Stuarts; though when Charles Edward visited Germany, the sectaries received him in the most gallant manner, promising him the most extensive support, and asking of him titles and estates in a kingdom which he had yet to conquer. Thus he was brought to that state of mental intoxication which afterwards led him to make an absurd entry into Rome, preceded by heralds, who proclaimed him king. Hund seems, in the sad story of the Stuarts, to have acted the part of a speculator; and the rite of the Strict Observance, permeated by the Jesuitical leaven, had probably an aim very different from the re-establishment of the proscribed dynasty. It is certain that at one time the power of the New Templars was very great, and prepared the way for the Illuminati.