posted on Oct, 2 2003 @ 02:31 AM
Article on the Illuminati, from Robert Macoy's Dictionary of Freemasonry c. 19th. c.
ILLUMINATI, or THE ENLIGHTENED. During the second halF of the eighteenth century, among the numerous secret societies which were more or less
connected with Freemasonry there was not one that attracted so much attention, received the support of so many distinguished men, and created so rich
a literature, as this It was founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, professor of law, at Ingolstadt, a man of great originality and depth of thought, and
remarkable for the earnestness of his character. The objects which he sought to effect by this association were the highest and noblest ever
entertained by the human mind. He desired to assert the individuality of man as a fundamental principle--and hence was an apostle of civil and
religious liberty--to discover the means of advancing human nature to a state of higher perfection-- to bind in one brotherhood men of all countries,
ranks, and religions, and to surround the persons of princes with trustworthy counselors. Apostles, styled Areopagites, were sent into various parts
of Europe to make converts, and in a short time the Order was flourishing in Germany, Holland, and Milan. Protestants, rather than Catholics, were
preferred as members. The degrees were eight in number: 1. Novice; 2. Minerval; 3. Illuminatus Minor; 4. Illuminatus Major; 5. Knight; 6. Priest; 7.
Regent; 8. King. Attracted by the liberality of its doctrines, and the grandeur of its objects, large numbers of illustrious Masons, and among them
the celebrated author Knigge, became active members of it. In 1784 the society was dissolved by order of the Bavarian government. No association of
men was ever more calumniated and misrepresented than the Order of Illuminati. It is common to dismiss them with the remark that they were "a body of
men united together for the purpose of destroying society and religion," whereas, they were men of the profoundest religious convictions, and only
desired such a reform in politics as would give man a greater degree of freedom, and afford him larger opportunities and facilities for the
development of his faculties. It is humiliating to see that some Masonic writers have repeated the infamous calumnies of those high-priests of the
lying fraternity, Robison and Baruel, in regard to them. If they were infidels and anarchists, then the whole American people are; for they were only
inspired with, and sought to propagate, the ideas which we hold in the highest reverence, and have embodied in our institutions. This name has been
borne by other orders, as the religious society of the Alombrados, in Spain, founded in the sixteenth century; the Order of Guerinets, in France, in
the seventeenth; and many others before and since.