World Revolution: Plot Against Civilization - Nesta Webster

IV. The Growth of Socialism

Revival of Illuminism—The Tugendbund—The Alta Vendita—The Industrial Revolution—Role of the Jews

After the fall of Napoleon the smouldering flames of Illuminism broke out afresh all over Europe. The "German Union," inaugurated immediately on the suppression of the Illuminati in Bavaria, was in reality Weishaupt's Order reorganized under a different name, and in the early years of the following century other societies such as the Tugendbund and the Burschenshaft were started on much the same lines. The Tugendbund, inaugurated in about 1812 and composed of all the most violent elements amongst the Illuminati, whose doctrines were those of Clootz and Marat, developed into a further Order known as the German Association and aiming at a United Germany.

It is here that for the first time we can clearly detect the connection between Prussianism and the secret forces of World Revolution, though, no doubt, it could be traced back to a much earlier date. As we have already seen, Frederick the Great, through his ambassador, von der Goltz, had worked indefatigably for the rupture of the Franco-Austrian alliance, but at the same time his intrigues were conducted through a more obscure channel, for Frederick was a Freemason, as also were his friends the philosophers of France, and it was thus largely through his influence that the disintegrating doctrines of Voltaire were propagated which paved the way for the an ti-Christian campaign of Weishaupt. In 1807 Joseph de Maistre, who had the rare perspicacity to perceive the fearful danger of Frederick's policy to the peace and stability of Europe, wrote these remarkable words:

"I have always had a particular aversion for Frederick II., whom a frenzied century hastened to proclaim a great man, but who was an fond only a great Prussian. History will note this prince as one of the greatest enemies of the human race who has ever existed."

But de Maistre reckoned without that conspiracy of history which, controlled principally by German hands, was through the instrumentality of such agents as Carlyle, to maintain the prestige of Frederick in order to smooth the path for his successors.

After the death of Frederick the Great his policy was followed not only by his nephew Frederick William II. , but by the disciples of Weishaupt. It was thus that the Illuminatus Diomedes (the Marquis de Constanza) wrote:

"In Germany there must be only one or two princes at the most, and these princes must be iiiuminized and so led by our adepts and surrounded by them that no profane man may approach their persons."

May not the Prussian Clootz's ambiguous reference to "the immutable Empire of the Great Germany—the Universal Republic" be traced to the same source of inspiration? It is possible, indeed, that Clootz may have been not only the adept of Weishaupt, but, as both Robespierre and Brissot suspected, the agent of the King of Prussia. Certain contemporaries have in fact declared that Frederick William II. was actually an Illuminatus. Thus the Comte de Vaudreuil, writing to the Comte d'Artois from Venice in October 1790, remarked:

"What strikes me most is that the sect of the Illumines is the cause and instigator of all our troubles; that one finds these sectaries everywhere, that even the King of Prussia is imbued with this pernicious system; that the man who possesses his chief confidence (Bischoffswerder) is one of its chief heads."

And Robison states that his interest in the Illuminati was first aroused by an invitation to enter that Society from "a very honourable and worthy gentleman" who informed him "that the King of Prussia was the patron of the Order and that its object was most honourable and praiseworthy."

Robison, however, declined the invitation because "there was something in the character and conduct of the King of Prussia which gave me a dislike to everything which he professed to patronize," and he was not surprised when later the same "honourable and worthy gentleman" confirmed his suspicions of the Order and said, shaking his head very emphatically, "Have nothing to do with it, we have been deceived, it is a dangerous thing."

A connection between Prussianism and Illuminism can therefore be detected from the beginning but with the Tugendbund appears in the clear light of day. According to Eckert the ultimate ends of the two intrigues were not identical, but each used the other for its own plan of world power.

"This national sentiment latent in all (German) hearts, these efforts towards union of the different German States, masonry attempted to appropriate in order to direct them towards the overthrow of all thrones and of all nationalities. . . . The Unity of Germany became then the exclusive theme of the press; from the Tugendbund there issued, under high masonic direction, the German Association which absorbed it entirely."

The object of this association (according to "the authentic Report of the Secret Associations of Germany" by Mannsdorf, one of the members of the upper lodges) was to dethrone all the German princes with the exception of the King of Prussia, to bestow on this last the Imperial Crown of Germany, and to give to the State a democratic constitution. The final goal of masonry was then to bring about "the real or Universal Republic and the destruction of all nationalities."

It is easy to see that the Hohenzollerns might well make use of this intrigue in order to accomplish the first part of the programme—Prussian domination.

But Illuminism had not confined itself to Germany, and before the fall of Napoleon a further secret society was organized, under the name of the Carbonari, which soon fell under the control of the Illuminati. Though masonic in their origin, the Carbonari had not begun as a revolutionary body. Their founders were avowedly Royalists and Catholics who, possibly deluded as to the real aims of Illuminism, followed the precedent laid down by Weishaupt of taking Christ for their Grand Master. But before long the adepts of revolutionary masonry penetrated into their ranks and, taking the lead, acquired control over the whole association. Says Monsignor Dillon:

"Italian genius soon outstripped the Germans in astuteness, and as soon as, perhaps sooner than, Weishaupt had passed away, the supreme government of all the Secret Societies of the world was exercised by the Alta Vendita or highest lodge of the Italian Carbonari."

It was this formidable society, the "Haute Vente Romaine," which from 1814 to 1848 directed the activities of all the Secret Societies. Far more subtle, and therefore more formidable, than the Carbonari, the leaders of the Haute Vente conducted their campaign precisely on the lines of the Illuminati, of which they were indeed the direct continuation. Thus, according to the custom of the earlier Order, followed by Anarcharsis Clootz and Gracchus Babeuf, the members of the Haute Vente all adopted classical pseudonyms, that of the leader, a corrupt Italian nobleman, being Nubius. This young man, rich, handsome, eloquent, and absolutely reckless, was "a visionary with an idee fixe of elevating a pedestal for his own vanity."

But it was not in the band of dissolute young Italians he gathered around him, but in his, Jewish allies, that Nubius found his principal support. Throughout the early years of the nineteenth century Jews in increasing numbers had penetrated into the masonic lodges and also into certain Secret Societies. The Egyptian rite of Memphis had been founded before the French Revolution by the Jewish Illuminatus Cagliostro, and

"In 1815 the Rite of Mizraim, consisting of ninety Jewish degrees, was established by the Jews in Paris. Ragon, the French Masonic authority, calls it Jewish masonry."

Joseph de Maistre declared the Jews now to be playing an active part in Illuminism—a system which he had studied deeply and believed to be "the root of all the evil then afflicting Europe."

"There are certainly, according to all appearances," he wrote in 1816, "societies organized for the destruction of all the bodies of nobility, of all noble institutions, of all the thrones and of all the altars of Europe. The sect which makes use of everything seems at this moment to turn the Jews to great account and we must very much beware of them."

In the Haute Vente for the first time we find them taking the lead. Rich members of the Ashkenazim contributed to the funds of the society, lesser Jews acted as their cleverest agents. Amongst the latter class, one who had assumed the pseudonym of Piccolo Tigre displayed the greatest energy. Masquerading as an itinerant jeweller and moneylender, Piccolo Tigre travelled about Europe carrying the instructions of the Haute Vente to the Carbonari and returning laden with gold for the money-boxes of Nubius. On these journeys Piccolo Tigre received the protection of the masonic lodges everywhere, although the greater number of the men who composed them were held by the Haute Vente in supreme contempt.

"Beyond the Masons and unknown to them," writes Monsignor Dillon, "though formed generally from them, lay the deadly secret conclave, which nevertheless used and directed them for the ruin of the world and of their own selves."

So important had the role of Piccolo Tigre become, that in 1822 we find him writing a letter of instruction to the Haute Vente Piedmontaise of which the following extract will serve to indicate the methods that he advocated and incidentally their similarity with those of the Illuminati:

"In the impossibility in which our brothers and friends find themselves, to say, as yet their last word, it has been judged good and useful to propagate the light everywhere, and to set in motion all that which aspires to move. For this reason we do not cease to recommend you to affiliate persons of every class to every manner of association no matter of what kind, only provided that mystery and secrecy shall be the dominant characteristics.

"All Italy is covered with religious confraternities and with penitents of diverse colours. Do not fear to slip in some of your people into the very midst of these flocks, led, as they are, by a stupid devotion. Let our agents study with care the personnel of these confraternity men, and they will see that little by little they will not be wanting in a harvest. Under a pretext the most futile but never political or religious, create by yourselves, or better yet, cause to be created by others, associations having commerce, industry, music, the fine arts, etc., for objects. Reunite in one place or another—in the sacristies or chapels even—these tribes of yours as yet ignorant; put them under the pastoral staff of some virtuous priest, well known but credulous, and easy to be deceived. Then infiltrate the poison into those chosen hearts; infiltrate it in little doses and as if by chance. Afterwards, upon reflection, you will yourselves be astonished at your success.

"The essential thing is to isolate a man from his family, to cause him to lose his morals. He is sufficiently disposed by the bent of his character to flee from household cares and to run after easy pleasures and forbidden joys. He loves the long conversations of the cafes, and the idleness of shows. Lead him along, sustain him, give him an importance of some kind, teach him discreetly to grow weary of his daily labours, and by this manoeuvre, after having separated him from his wife and children and after having shown him how painful are all his duties, you will then excite in him the desire of another existence. Man is a born rebel. Stir up the desire of rebellion until it becomes a conflagration, but in such a manner that the conflagration does not break out. This is a preparation for the great work that you have to begin.

"When you shall have insinuated into a few souls disgust for family and for religion (the one nearly always follows in the wake of the other), let fall some words which will provoke the desire of being affiliated to the nearest lodge. This vanity of the citizen or of the bourgeois for being enrolled in Freemasonry is something so banal and so universal that I am always full of admiration for human stupidity. I am not surprised to see the whole world knocking at the door of all the Venerables and asking these gentlemen for the honour of being one of the workmen chosen for the reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon. To find oneself a member of a lodge, to feel oneself apart from one's wife and children, called upon to guard a secret which is never confided to one, is for certain natures a delight and an ambition.

"The Alta Vendita desires that under one pretence or another, as many princes and wealthy persons as possible should be introduced into the Masonic Lodges. Princes of a sovereign house and those who have not the legitimate hope of being kings by the grace of God, all wish to be kings by the grace of a Revolution. The Duke of Orleans is a Freemason. . . . The prince who has not a kingdom to expect is a good fortune for us. There are many of them in that plight. Make Freemasons of them; these poor princes will serve our ends, while thinking to labour only for their own. They form a magnificent signboard.

"It is upon the lodges that we count to double our ranks. They form, without knowing it, our preparatory novitiate. They discourse without end upon the dangers of fanaticism, upon the happiness of social equality and upon the grand principles of religious liberty. They launch amidst their feastings thundering anathemas against intolerance and persecution. This is positively more than we require to make adepts. A man imbued with these fine things is not very far from us* There is nothing more required than to enlist him. "

It was thus by systematic demoralization that the leaders of the Haute Vente, like the Illuminati, hoped to establish their ascendancy over the " peoples " of Europe. But in order to understand the manner in which they set out to accomplish this purpose we must now examine the ground on which they had to work.

The Industrial Revolution

It is of the utmost importance to realize that the people at this period were suffering from very real grievances. These grievances weighed less, however, on the agricultural than on the industrial workers, whose conditions of life were often terrible. This fact no one has ever attempted to deny, and we need not have recourse to the writings of Socialists to gain an idea of the slavery endured by men, women, and children in the mines and factories of Europe during the years following on the Napoleonic wars, for we shall find the whole case stated with more accuracy and far greater eloquence in the letters of Lord Shaftesbury, whose whole life was devoted to the cause of the poor and oppressed.

What was the reason for this aggravation of the workers' lot? Partly the speeding up of industry brought about by the introduction of machinery; partly, in England, the rapidly increasing population, but in France to a large extent the situation must be directly attributed to the Revolution. We have already seen how the destruction of trade unions and increase in the days of labour by the abolition of national holidays had added to the workers' burden, but a further effect of the great upheaval had been the transference of power from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie with disastrous consequences to the people. In a word the destruction of feudalism had inaugurated the reign of Commercialism. This is admitted by no less an authority than Marx himself.

"The bourgeoisie has played in history a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, whenever it has conquered power, has destroyed all feudal, patriarchal, and idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder all the many-coloured feudal bonds which united men to their "natural superiors," and has left no tie twixt man and man but naked self-interest and callous cash payment. It has drowned religious ecstasy, chivalrous enthusiasm, and middle-class sentimentality in the ice-cold water of egotistical calculation. It has transformed personal worth into mere exchange value, and substituted for countless dearly bought chartered freedoms the one and only unconscionable freedom of Free Trade. It has, in one word, replaced an exploitation veiled by religious and political illusions by exploitation open, unashamed, direct, and brutal."

Thus in the opinion of the leading prophet of modern Socialist thought, it was the destruction of feudalism that led to the enslavement of the proletariat. Exaggerated as this indictment of the bourgeoisie may be, there is a certain degree of truth in Marx's theory. The class that lives on inherited wealth is always the barrier to the exploitation of the workers. To the noble who paid 500 louis for his carrosse, or the duchess who never asked the price of her brocaded gown, where was the advantage of underpaying the workman or the dressmaker? "Sweating" results largely from the attempt to bring commodities within the reach of a class that cannot or will not pay a price allowing a fair rate of remuneration to the worker. After the revolution, when aristocracy with its careless expenditure and its traditional instincts of benevolence had taken refuge in garrets, these were the classes that supported industry, and it is thus against "the newly rich" that we find the bitterest complaints of the people directed.

At the same time, amongst the bourgeoisie had arisen a new influence that Marx is careful not to indicate, but about which the Socialist Malon is more explicit:

"Feudalism signifies privilege granted in return for certain duties agreed upon; judaized plutocracy recognizes no duty, it has only one object, to appropriate the largest possible part of the work of others, and of the social accumulation in order to use and abuse it selfishly. That is its great moral indignity, and the signal for its approaching fall in the name of public welfare and of the interests of Humanity."

We shall find the same opinion expressed later by the Anarchist Bakunin.

The Jew was of course not alone in exploiting the workers; but the spirit of the Jew, permeating commerce in every country—in France, in Germany, above all in America—undoubtedly contributed to the industrial oppression against which Marx inveighs. Under the monarchy the Jews had been held in check by laws limiting their activities, but the edicts passed at the beginning of the Revolution, decreeing their complete emancipation, had removed all restraints to their rapacity.

By the Jewish race 1789 is therefore hailed as the year of deliverance. Without going so far as M. Drumont in saying that the Revolution delivered the people from the aristocrats in order to hand them over to the Jews, it cannot be denied that the power of the Jews over the people was immensely increased by the overthrow of the monarchy and aristocracy. Whether they deliberately contributed to this end it is impossible to say, but their influence was suspected by contemporaries, as may be seen by the following passage from Prudhomme, an ardent democrat and in no way to be accused of anti-Semitism:

"The French Revolution did a great deal of good to the Jews; it entirely proscribed that antiquated prejudice which caused the remains of this ancient people to be regarded as a race of degraded men below all others. The Jews in France for a long while paid no longer at the barriers, as under the reign of Saint Louis, the same dues that were exacted from the cloven-footed. But every year each Jewish family was taxed 40 livres for the right of habitation, or protection and tolerance. This due was suppressed on the 20th of July, 1790.

"The Jews were, so to speak, naturalized French and took the rank of citizens. What did they do to show their gratitude? What they did before; they have not changed, they have not mended their ways, they contributed not a little to the fall of assignats. The disorder of our finances was a Peruvian mine for them; they have not abated their infamous traffic; on the contrary, civil liberty has only availed them to extend their stock-jobbing speculations. Public misery became a rich patrimony to them. . . . The Jews took impetus. The Government had need of them, and God knows how dearly they have made the Republic pay the resources that it demanded of them. What mysteries of iniquity would be revealed if the Jews, like the mole, did not make a point of working in the dark! In a word and to say all, the Jews have never been more Jews than since we tried to make of them men and citizens."

But it was the peasants who became the chief sufferers from the domination of the Jews. Under the Old Regime, the feudal dues had proved oppressive, but in many instances the seigneurs were the benefactors and protectors of their vassals. The Jewish usurers on whom the peasant proprietors now depended to carry on if crops failed or weather proved unpropitious, showed no indulgence.

"As soon as he" (the peasant), writes Daniel Stern, " has entered into commercial relations with this ruse race, as soon as he has put his name at the foot of a paper which he has read and re-read without perceiving the hidden clause that does for him, the peasant, in spite of all his finesse, will never succeed in recovering his liberty. Henceforth his activity, his intelligence, the benefits of Providence who sends him rich harvests will profit him nothing, but only his new master. The exorbitant interest on a very small capital will absorb his time and his labours. Every day he will see the comfort of his family diminish and his difficulties increase. As the fatal day approaches when the debt falls due the sombre face of his creditor warns him that he can expect no respite. He must make up his mind, he must go further along the road of perdition, borrow again, always borrow until ruin has been brought about, and fields, meadows, and woods, house, flocks, and home all have passed from his industrious hands into the rapacious ones of the usurer."

In a word, the peasant inherited from the aristocrat; he was disinherited by the usurer. Here is the true history of the disinherited, not in France alone, but in Russia, in Austria, in Poland; everywhere that the worker lives by tilling his own soil the abolition of feudalism has led to the domination of the money-lender, and the money-lender is in most cases a Jew. If, exasperated by this tyranny, the peasants from time to time have given way to violence and turned on their oppressors, is it altogether surprising?

When in the fourteenth century the peasants rose against the noblesse, the blame, we are told, must rest solely with the nobles. Yet why is peasant fury when it took the form of a "jacquerie" to be condoned, and when it takes the form of a "pogrom" to be remorselessly condemned? Surely in one case as much as the other the plea of uncontrollable exasperation may be with justice put forward.

The industrial worker as well as the peasant found the Jew an exacting taskmaster. It was not only the introduction of machinery that at the beginning of the nineteenth century brought about the speeding up of industry, but the spirit of the new commercialism, which succeeded to the leisurely methods of the Old Regime. As M. Drumont has expressed it, if the workers paused for breath the cry went up from the statisticians:

"What are we coming to? England manufactured 375 million trouser buttons last year and we have only produced 374 millions!"

This driving force behind the worker, this spirit of cutthroat competition, was largely attributable to the Jew.

At any rate, whether we regard the "Capitalistic system" as an evil or not, we cannot deny that the Jews were mainly responsible for it.

In order to appreciate thoroughly the insincerity of Marx with regard to this question, it is only necessary to glance through his book Das Capital and then the work of Werner Sombart on The Jews and Modern Capitalism.

"The Jew," as Sombart remarks, "embodied modern Capitalism," and he goes on to describe, step by step, the building up by Jewish hands of the system which superseded the Old Regime of amicable trading and peaceful industry; he shows the Jew as the inventor of advertisement, as the employer of cheap labour, as the principal participant in the stock-jobbing or agiotage that prevailed at the end of the first French Revolution. But it is above all as the usurer that the Jew achieved power.

"Modern Capitalism," says Sombart, "is the child of money-lending," and the Jew, as we have seen, is the money-lender par excellence. The great fortune of the Rothschilds was built up on this basis. The principal "loan-floaters" of the world, they were later the first railway kings. The period of 1820 onwards became, as Sombart calls it, "the age of the Rothschilds," so that by the middle of the century it was a common dictum, "There is only one power in Europe, and that is Rothschild."

Now how is it conceivable that a man (Marx) who set out honestly to denounce Capitalism should have avoided all reference to its principal authors???

Yet even in the section of his book dealing with the origins of Industrial Capitalism, where Marx refers to the great financiers, the stock-jobbing and speculation in shares, and what he describes as "the modern sovereignty of finance," he never once indicates the Jews as the leading financiers, or the Rothschilds as the super-capitalists of the world. As well might one sit down to recount the history of wireless telegraphy without any reference to Signor Marconi! How are we to explain this astounding omission? Only by recognizing that Marx was not sincere in his denunciations of the Capitalistic system, and that he had other ends in view. I shall return to this point later in connection with the career of Marx.

Such, then, was the condition of things at the beginning of the period known as the industrial revolution. The grievances of the workers were very real; the need for social reconstruction urgent, the gulf between poverty and riches greater than ever before, and the Government of France had no schemes of reform to offer. If only a great man had then arisen to lead the people back into paths of sanity and progress, to show them in that fatal year of 1789 new-born democracy had taken the wrong turning and wandered into a pathless jungle whence it could only emerge by retracing its footsteps, and starting afresh led by the light of its own day, not by the will o' the wisp of illuminized freemasonry!

Unhappily at this new crisis in the history of the working classes there was no one to point the way, no one who had the insight and the courage to rise and declare:

"The great experiment of 1789 to 1794 has proved a failure, the principles on which it was founded have been weighed in the balance and found wanting, the goals it set before us have turned out to be mirages towards which we have marched too long with bleeding feet, the methods it employed were atrocious and must never be repeated, the men who led it were the enemies of the people and such as they shall never deceive us again. There is no hope for suffering humanity but to repudiate the Revolution and all its works, and to strike out a fresh path with new hopes, new aims founded not on the dreams of visionaries or the schemes of demagogues but on the true desires of the people."

Instead of rallying the people by such a trumpet-call as this, the men who now arose had nothing better to offer than the worn-out creed of their revolutionary predecessors. The doctrines that had proved fallacious, the visions that had turned out to be delusions, the battle-cries that had led the people to disaster were all to be again revived with the same assurance as if in the past they had been attended with triumphant success.