Freemasonry and Judaism - Leon de Poncins

Freemasonry and the French Revolution

None of the great classical histories of the Revolution mentions the part played in it by Freemasonry. It is indeed incomprehensible: Here is the greatest event of history for 1800 years, an event which has changed the face of the world; a hidden power plays in it an immense part and this power remains unknown for more than a century! A few persons have known the truth and either from fear or from interest have kept silent. Others, still fewer in number, have spoken and have been treated as visionaries. Many sincere people have felt that the revolutionary manifestations of 1789 were not entirely spontaneous. They had a presentiment of a secret impulsion without being able to discover its source.

But to-day Freemasonry openly acknowledges the French revolution as its work.

In the chamber of Deputies during the sitting of 1 July 1904 the Marquis de Rosanbo pronounced the following words: (Quoted in the Conjuration anli-chretienne by Mgr. Henri Delassus.)

Mr. de Rosanbo. — Freemasonry has worked in a hidden but constant manner to prepare the revolution.

Mr. Jumel. — That is indeed what we boast of.

Mr. Alexandre Zevaes. — That is the greatest praise you can give it.

Mr. Henri Michel. — That is the reason why you and your friends hate it.

Mr. de Rosanbo. — We are then in complete agreement on the point that Freemasonry was the only author of the revolution, and the applause which I receive from the Left, and to which I am little accustomed proves, gentlemen, that you acknowledge with me that it was masonry which made the French revolution.

Mr. Jumel. — We do more than acknowledge it, we proclaim it."

The following is from a report read at an assembly of the lodges Paix et union and la libre conscience. Orient of Nantes, 23 April 1883.

It was from 1772 to 1789 that masonry elaborated the great revolution which was to change the face of the the world. It was then that the masons gave to the people the ideas which they had adopted in their lodges."

From a circular sent to, all lodges by the grand council of the masonic order to prepare the centenary of 1789:

Masonry which prepared the revolution of 1789 is in duty bound to continue its work; the present state of opinion invites it to do so."

From 1789 Freemasonry wished to found a new civilization radically opposed to the old order. It was necessary to overthrow that which constituted the strength of the latter: The monarchy and Catholicism.

Those two bases destroyed, social order is without defense, and the former discipline and hierarchy can be abolished at leisure. As they cannot enter into open warfare against the church, the masons attack its natural supports, monarchy and aristocracy. The inner meaning of this warfare is not only political, but essentially social and religious, for western civilization is founded upon Christian ideas and discipline.

The abolition of monarchy by Divine Right was the condition sine qua non of the entire scheme. It was impossible to attempt anything against society under this form of government. The Revolution, which, we are told, was made for the people, was in reality made against the people. The monarchy and aristocracy were not destroyed because they were oppressing France but because, on the contrary, they protected it too well.

Such a plan may seem too improbable. And yet it has been exposed in detail and in writing by the hand of Weishaupt, head of the masonic sect of the "Illuminati", long before 1789. These irrefutable documents which were seized in the very headquarters of "Illuminism" by the Bavarian government could be seen in the Munich archives.

The practical application of that plan which was made between 1789 and 1793 is moreover a guarantee of its authenticity.

Ideas as Weapons of Destruction

The extraordinary skillfulness of the hidden masonic power consisted in making France work for its own destruction and in using the people to overthrow everything which really protected them. Lying and hypocrisy have been the characteristics of all revolutionary movements in the world since 1789 up to our time. One thing is said whilst the contrary is being deliberately done.

One must lie like the devil," said Voltaire. "not timidly, not for a time only, but boldly and always" (Letter to Theriot).

The general principle according to Collot d'Herbois is that: Everything is permitted for the triumph of the Revolution.

This secret power directing the attack knew that certain ideas, lofty and beautiful in appearance, could prove a terrible weapon of destruction. It had, moreover, at its service the real genius of the formula; provided that the telling phrase, full of high sounding words and fine promises, is spoken to the masses, that is the principal thing; the contrary of what has been stated can be done afterwards, that is of no importance. Such are the three words of masonic origin: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

We may sum up by saying that the Revolution of 1789 was not a movement of revolt against the "Tyranny" of the old system of government, nor, as we are asked to believe, a spontaneous, sincere, and enthusiastic soaring towards new ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Freemasonry was the hidden inspiration, and to some extent the directing influence of the movement. It did not create from the beginning the new social gospel, whose earlier origin dates from the Reformation, but it elaborated the principles of 1789, spread them among the masses and contributed actively towards their realization. Let us study the details.

The Revolutionary part of Freemasonry from 1789 to 1792

Every one knows the revolutionary preparation of the "Encyclopedistes". What is not known is the preponderant part played by masonry during the revolution. The following is the evidence of the mason Bonnet, orator of the Convent du Grand Orient de France in 1904.

During the 18th century the glorious line of the "Encyclopedistes" found in our temples a fervent audience, which, alone at that period, invoked the radiant motto, still unknown to the people, of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity". The revolutionary seed germinated rapidly in that select company. Our illustrious brother masons d'Alembert, Diderot, Helvetius, d'Holbach, Voltaire and Condorcet, completed the evolution of people's minds and prepared the way for a new age. And when the Bastille fell, Freemasonry had the supreme honour to present to humanity the charter which it had friendly elaborated.

It was our brother mason Lafayette, who was the first to bring forward the proposal for a "declaration of the natural rights of man and of the citizen living in society", in order to make it the first chapter of the constitution.

On August 25th 1789, the Constituent Assembly, of which more than 300 members were masons, finally adopted, almost word for word, such as it had been for long elaborated in the lodges, the text of the immortal declaration of the Rights of Man.

At that decisive hour for civilization, French masonry was the universal conscience, and in the various projects improvised and initiated by the members of the Constituent Assembly, it never ceased to apply the considered results of the slow elaborations of its workshops."

The above assertion is so clear and explicit that it needs no further commentary.

Amongst the documents which demonstrate the masonic revolutionary preparation those of the "IIluminati" are the most complete.

We have noted the circumstances in which the Bavarian government seized in Munich on 11th October 1780 the archives of the Illuminati. The leader Weishaupt succeeded in escaping. A plan of world revolution was found. [All the documents were put together under the title: Ecrits originaux dc l'ordre el de la secte des Illumines, and published by A. Francois, court printer, Munich 1787].

The soul of the association was its chief Weishaupt. Louis Blanc who was a sufficiently pure revolutionary for his words not to be doubted, has in his Histoire de la Revolution, thus characterized his work:

"To bring under one will and to animate with a single spirit thousands of men in every country of the world, but first of all in Germany and in France, by the attraction of mystery alone, the only power of the association; to make these men entirely new beings by means of a slow and gradual education; to render them obedient to the point of madness, even to death itself, to their invisible and unknown chiefs; with such a legion to exercise secretly pressure on the minds of men, to surround sovereigns, to direct governments all unknown by them, and to guide Europe to the point that all superstition [read: religion] should be abolished, all monarchies overthrown, all privileges of birth declared unjust, even the right of properly done away with: such was the gigantic plan of Illuminism."

To pass from preparation to action required a work of organization and concentration. A masonic European congress was held for this purpose at Wilhelmsbad, near Frankfurt, in 1784. The illuminati played a preponderant part. The lines to be followed were decided upon and among other things, the deaths of Louis XVI and Gustavus III of Sweden were discussed.

We have private evidence of this from the count von Haugwitz, the comte de Virieu. the Reverend Father Abel, etc. Count von Haugwitz who was Prussian minister at the congress of Verona in 1822, read a memorandum there, in which he admitted having been a mason and intrusted with arrangements of masonic meetings in various countries:

"In 1777 I undertook the direction of lodges in Prussia, Poland and Russia. From what I learnt while carrying out these functions, I have since acquired the firm conviction that all which has happened in France since 1788, the French revolution and the assassination of the king with all the attendant horrors, was not only decided upon at the time, but that it had all been prepared by meetings, instructions, oaths and signs which left no doubt as to the "identity of the brains which arranged and directed everything."

The comte de Virieu had been a delegate at Wilhelmsbad representing the masonic lodge "Los chevaliers bienfaisants" of Lyon. Upon his return to Paris, dismayed by what he has learnt, he declared:

"I shall not tell you the secrets which I have brought back, but what I believe, I may tell you is that a plot is being hatched, so well contrived and so deep that it will be difficult for religion and for the government not to succumb."

The Reverend Father Abel, son of the Minister of Bavaria, gave an address in Vienna in 1898, in the course of which he made the following statement:

"In 1784 there was an extraordinary meeting at Frankfurt of the "Grande Loge Eclectique". One of the members put to the vote the condemnation to death of Louis XVI, king of France, and of Gustavus III king of Sweden. That man was called Abel, he was my grandfather."

A Jewish newspaper, Die neue freie Presse, having reproached the speaker with casting a slur on his family, Father Abel said in his following address:

"My father's dying wish was that I should devote myself to repair the harm which he and our relatives had done. If I had not to carry out this injunction of my father's will, dated 31 July 1870 I should not speak as I am doing."

Having elaborated its plan of action, Freemasonry actively began to carry it out, by directing by invisible means the electoral campaign of 1789. M.M. Cochin and Charpentier in a work called: La campagne electorate de 1789 en Bourgogne, give as their conclusion that in view of the state of disorganization of the old independent bodies — provinces, orders and corporations it was an easy matter for an organized party to seize upon public opinion and direct it. M.M. Copin-Albancelli in his book: Le pouvoir occulte contre la France, analyses the writings of M.M. Cochin and Charpentier. This is what he says:

"These two writers have examined the documents of municipal and national archives for 1788-1789. For example they specially applied themselves to a study of the electoral campaign of 1789 in the province of Burgundy.

"They verified that the principal demands contained in the cahiers of this province were composed not by the States, nor by the provincial corporations, but by a very small minority, a little group of a dozen members, mainly doctors and lawyers. Not only did this group compose the proposals, but it manoeuvred to get them accepted by each of the corporations; it used tricks and subterfuges to gain its ends, and, if it did not succeed, falsified the text of adopted resolutions. This is not all. They verified also that in the documents emanating from this group which was working in Burgundy, a jargon is employed which we now know well as that of masonry. And finally so that their demonstration should be complete, the two authors, extending their work, found the same procedure used in other provinces, the same very small minorities everywhere composed of similar elements, acting everywhere at the same time and in the same way, and consequently obeying the same order and password, and speaking the same jargon which is so easily recognized, thus proving that this password was transmitted by Freemasonry. So true is this, write M.M. Cochin and Charpentier that there was not a single movement termed popular from 1787 to 1795 — except that in La Vendee - which really was so; that all of them were decided, organized and planned in all their details by the chiefs of a secret organization, acting everywhere at the same time and in the same manner, and causing the same order to be executed everywhere."

On the role of Freemasonry in the preparation of the Revolution the recent and remarkably documented work of the mason G. Martin provides a clear and abundant proof. G. Martin accuses all the adversaries of Freemasonry of bad faith, and that cuts short all argument, He says:

"Freemasonry is not subversive. It respects king, religion and law . . . but its obedience is not passiveness. The laws are worthy of respect but are not intangible (p. 43)."

In fact the masons with their enlightened minds await an opportunity to change the laws and propagate principles which destroy them. This is then a dispute over words. The fact upon which everyone is agreed remains:

Freemasonry proclaims and spreads a system of new political, social and religious ideas; they constitute a different civilization radically opposed to the old one. Freemasonry defines it as superior, therefore masonry is constructive. We, on the contrary, consider it to be bad and dangerous, and, since in order to establish this new civilization it is first of all necessary to destroy the old one, we are therefore justified in saying that Freemasonry is destructive.

G. Martin studies the part played by French Freemasonry in the preparation of the revolution. This preparation required three phases:

  1. The elaboration of the revolutionary doctrine.
  2. The propagation oj the doctrine.
  3. The active participation of masonry.

I. — The elaboration of the revolutionary doctrine.

The intimate connection between the Encyclopedists and the Freemasons is now well known. Did masonry inspire the philosophers or did it borrow its doctrines from them?

The Freemason Amiable (quoted by G. Martin) opts for the first theory and Martin for the second. The point is therefore not clearly elucidated.

The philosophers had elaborated an abstract doctrine. Freemasonry from 1773 to 1788 brought the doctrine to the point of practical application, a work which Martin thus summarizes:

"In this manner the doctrine which was to he that of the States General emerged, little by little. The masons of St. Brieue were right in saying that it was wholly from the philosophers, while those of Rennes were not wrong in affirming that it was masonry, nevertheless, which made it the instrument of political and social emancipation that it was in process of becoming (p.97)."

In order that this doctrine should have a political import, two conditions were necessary.

  1. The adhesion of the majority of the nation to its postulates.
  2. Sufficient strength to surmount the obstacles, which those whose interests it would injure, would not fail to place in its way. Masonry was usefully employed in assisting those conditions.

"In order to bring about the adhesion of the majority of the nation it organized propaganda; to insure sufficient strength it took a very intimate part in the elections. At the same time it tried to disarm the ill-wills of rivals (p. 98)."

The propaganda was first of all carried out in the masonic circles with the following result:

"The fundamental principles of masonry ended by becoming an integral part of the mentality of all masons, not only an acquired philosophic idea, but a way of feeling, and often also a way of being (p. 120)."

The foundation in 1773 of the Grand Orient and the reorganisation of the Loge des neuf soeurs (to which Voltaire belonged) mark the beginning of a new phase; propaganda outside the lodges.

"One may divide into three categories the methods of propaganda employed by Freemasonry in order to spread in the profane world the reforming truths with which it desired to imbue it: The press, oral propaganda, the didactic spirit of the club (p. 126)."

The balance-sheet of masonry in the domain of ideas properly so called may be thus established:

  1. Masonry has been the best instrument of propaganda and diffusion of philosophic ideas.
  2. If it did not create the doctrines of reform, it nevertheless elaborated them.
  3. Masonry in the transformation of society through ideas, did not content itself with adopting principles from individuals; it very soon came to see practical means of realizing its ideas . . . It has been on this account the real creator not of the principles, but of the practice of revolution.
  4. Finally, apart from this rule, masonry also proves itself the great propagandist of the modern gospel.


"Masonry indeed bore, almost in spite of itself, the weight of this constituent revolution. It had, in fact, not only preached its doctrines but also prepared the leaders, and, imprudently perhaps, propped up certain practices derived from the old system, whose application soon got beyond its control and gave warning of the days of August and September 1792. (p. 145)."

II. — The Propagation of the Doctrine

Freemasonry directed the elections of March-April 1789.

They were, in many points, its work, which it is of interest to examine in detail.

Freemasonry was a primordial influence in the composition of the cahiers of 1789. [Cahiers were the lists of grievances drawn up by each representative in advance of the Estates General.]

The identity of editorship strikes even the least critical mind . . . people consequently wished to discover whether the cahiers had not some models which were circulated from baillage to baillage.

This research soon led to the discovery that instructions or general models of the cahiers, had been everywhere distributed, and

We cannot fail to he struck by the fact that all these instructions were of masonic origin. The result was that the half of the deputies elected to the States General in 1789 were Freemasons.

G. Martin summarizes their influence as follows:

"In the tiers-Etat a group was formed which masonry supported, how and by what means we shall presently see. This group had in its favour its cohesion, a very clear understanding of its plan, the practice of parliamentary debates, and, at the beginning, an almost perfect discipline.

"It represented nearly half the assembly and the great majority of the order. But it would have been fated to importance if it had kept to the old manner of voting by order. It acted then upon the deputies of the other orders, who were impressed by its cohesion and its will, and, thanks to the masonic elements among them, was able to detach them between the 5th May and the 22nd June. It thus assured the surrender of the king and the triumph of the reforms.

"It is difficult in these circumstances, to overestimate the services rendered by Freemasonry to the beginning of the revolution."

The elected deputies were indeed strictly supervised, thanks to an organization called "Bureau de correspondance" of which G. Martin gives details:

"The Freemasons did not cease in fact to direct parliamentary opinion, and the Bureau de correspondance was the point where the connection was made between the masonic lodges, the public, and the elected deputies."

And elsewhere:

"Not less important was the financial support brought by masonry to the work of reform. The setting in motion of such an upheaval was bound to cost a great deal, but masonry did not spare its money any more than its time or its intellectual activity."

The masons, indeed, possessed very large capital resources.

The two ways in which it made use of this capital seem, above all, to have been the printing and distribution of pamphlets which served as models for the cahiers, and the equipment of groups of young men who helped towards the triumph of the new ideas.

Freemasonry also gave a great deal in charities, of which a part had a clearly political aim, or, as we should say to day a demagogic one.

"The point achieved is that, in case of trouble, the mob, which will have backed the political demands of the reform party by force, is certain to be supported financially by the masonic lodges (p. 198)."


"By subsidizing newspapers, by composing public notices, by helping victims of civil war, by financing opposition, masonry brought prudent but effective help to the electoral campaign which led to the convocation of the States General.

"And at Versailles also, while the States General was in process of organization, the part played by masonry was again preponderant."

It achieved mastery thanks to the closely organized connection between the mason deputies.

"As early as the month of May this plan of a masonic society of representatives became a reality. But it would not do, nevertheless, for it to remain a closed association like a temple, for there would be too great a risk that non-mason deputies would then be tempted to constitute, in opposition to it, a political group which might easily be hostile. It would be enough if the leaders were masons and if the spirit of the club was masonic, so that the principle would be safe and the necessary concentration established (p. 208)."

III. — The active revolutionary part of Freemasonry

This is a dangerous subject and as G. Marlin knows that better than any one, he treats it in a much vaguer fashion. He tells us that Freemasonry initiated popular leaders whom it thought it could usefully employ, and, inversely, that it sent masons to harangue the people.

"That they were masons was unknown to those whom they harangued. They often cleverly allowed their audience to believe that the initiatives decided upon had come from itself. They directed but did not force their opinion."

Freemasonry did not content itself with speeches, but organized the proletariat with the aim of maintaining the Order as well as sustaining its principles.

In another sphere the masons, little by little, and thanks to masonic mutual help, invaded the royal government in which they brought about the ascendency of the ideas of reform. Finally they penetrated into the army.

"Freemasonry would have had, perhaps, much more difficulty in securing the triumph of its doctrines in practice, if it had not had, during the last years of the century, the support of a great portion of the army. Historians who have reported this fact seem to have grasped imperfectly the root cause, which was the spread of lodges in military circles.

"The old system of government collapsed partly because the French army and its lower cadres did not attempt to come to its aid. Here again masonic propaganda had consequences which surpassed the expectations of its military promoters (p. 274)."

" . . . By the help given to the beginning of the Revolution, military masonry was an essential element in the triumph of the new ideas; it may even be supposed that without it, the great work would have been seriously compromised (p. 276)."

G. Martin who stops at the Revolution properly so called, thus concludes his book.

"The importance of masonry in the revolution must not be underestimated. Doubtless the great majority of romantic legends — daggers, traitors and mantles of operatic repertory — have neither foundation nor appearance of truth, and masonry has been right to point out the bad faith of those accusers who collect such childish absurdities. But, these poor and interested falsehoods apart, the fact remains that masonry has been the recognized or hidden soul of all the popular and social movements the sum total of which formed the constituent revolution. Masonry has been the yeast which transformed into creative action the potentialities of emancipation which, without it, would have remained latent or would have miscarried in the lack of coordination and the impotency of spasmodic and divergent efforts (p. 284)."

IV. — Freemasonry and the Terror

Masons, apostles of the great revolution, have succeeded in separating, in public opinion, the immortal principles of 1789 from the excesses of the Terror. Thus they explain the massacres of 1792 as a regrettable fact only due to an over-zealous enthusiasm in the application of the said principles.

Yet Freemasonry, a philanthropic and humanitarian association, had a part in the organization of the Terror. We have proofs of its responsibility: those of Bertrand de Molleville, minister of Louis XVI, of the Freemason Marmontel and of Duport, author of the revolutionary plan of the Terror, the crimes of which were prepared mainly by the propaganda committee of the lodge: Les amis reunis (Friends reunited).

Let us quote the mason Marmontel:

"Money, above all, and the hope of pillage are all powerful among this people. We have just experienced it in the faubourg St Antoine, and one could scarcely believe how little it cost the Duc d'Orleans to have the factory of that honest man Reveillon plundered, he who amongst this very people assures the livelihood of a hundred families. Mirabeau jokingly maintains that with a thousand louis (gold coins) one can make a very good occasion for sedition.

"Have we got to fear the opposition of the greater part of the nation which does not know our plans and which would not be disposed to lend us support? Without doubt, in their houses, shops, offices and workshops, the greater part of these home-loving citizens will perhaps think our plans, which may disturb their rest and their pleasures, too daring. But if they disapprove of them it will only be timidly and without noise. Moreover, does the nation know what it wants? It will be made to wish and to say what it has never thought. If it suspects anything it will receive the same reply as Crispin made to the legatee: That is your lethargy. The nation is a great flock which thinks only of pasture, and which, with the help of good sheepdogs, the shepherds can guide as they will. After all it is their good which we desire, though they knew it not. Neither their old system of government, their religion, their morals, nor all their antiquated prejudices are worth preserving. All that is a shame and reproach to an age like ours; and in order to trace a new plan a blank sheet is necessary.

"To overawe the bourgeoisie, we shall have, if necessary, that class which is resolved and which sees nothing to lose and everything to gain by the change. There are powerful motives to stir it to revolt: scarcity, hunger, money, alarming and terrifying rumours, and the madness of terror and fury which will strike into people's minds.

"The bourgeoisie produces only elegant speakers; all these orators of the tribune are nothing in comparison with our Demostheneses hired at an ecu apiece, who, in the wine-shops, in public places, in the gardens and on the quays, proclaim havoc, fires, villages sacked and running with blood, plots to besiege and starve out Paris.

"The social movement requires this. What could one do with all these people by muzzling them with the principles of goodness and justice? Good people are feeble and timid and only the worthless are determined. It is an advantage for the people in a revolution to have no morality. How could they resist men to whom all means are good? There is not one of our old virtues which could help us; the people need not have any, or else they should be of another kind. All that is necessary for the revolution, all that is useful to it is just; that is the great principle."

Let us now turn to the part played by Freemasonry in France from 1793 to our own days (1920's).

[Footnote: 1. From the beginning of the revolution Freemasonry closed all its lodges. But this apparent suppression was probably only a precautionary measure, for the secret lodges still existed as in the past and all the others were replaced by clubs. Let us not forget moreover that the role of Freemasonry is to create the revolutionary state of mind rather than to light openly at the head of the movement. Freemasonry had created the state of mind and sent forward its men to the attack. These were impregnated with the masonic principles and applied them during the revolution without necessarily being directed by Freemasonry.

2. Let us note in passing that Adrien Duport obtained the adoption by the constituent assembly of the emancipation of the Jews. He had attempted to carry this on fourteen occasions before being successful, and it was only on the eve of the close of the assembly that the law was voted after Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angely had said: "I demand that all those who speak against this proposal shall be called to order for it is the very constitution which they are opposing." ]