«THE QUESTION OF LUCIFER A RECORD OF THINGS SEEN AND HEARD IN THE SECRET SOCIETIES ACCORDING TO THE EVIDENCE OF INITIATES BY A R T H U R E D WA R D WA ...»
BY the year 1891 Masonic revelations in Paris had become too numerous for one more or less to fix the volatile quality of public interest unless a new horror were attached to it. Passwords and signs and catechisms, all the purposes and the better half of the secrets—everyone outside the Fraternity who concerned themselves with Masonry and cared for theoretical initiation knew these, or was satisfied by the belief that he did. The literature of Anti-Masonry became a drug in the market, failing some novelty in revelation. The last work of Leo Taxil was eminently a contribution towards this missing quantity. He was already in a certain sense the discoverer of "Female Freemasonry," that is to say, he was the only equipped person who seriously maintained that the exploded androgyne system was worked in modern France, and when he added the development of the Palladium as the climax to the mystery of iniquity, it is small wonder that his book achieved notoriety to the extent of five thousand copies: He was assailed as a venal pamphleteer and his past achievements in literature were freely disinterred for his own benefit and for public instruction, but he was more than compensated by the approbation of Mgr. Fava, bishop of Grenoble, with whose opinions upon Satanism in Masonry we have previously made acquaintance.
To those who disbelieve in the existence of Female Freemasonry, Leo Taxil had offered two pieces of wise advice: Go to the Bibliothéque Nationale, search the files of the Masonic organ La Chaine d’Union, and you will find proof positive of your mistake. Next proceed to the Maison T------, there is no need to reproduce the address, but it is given by Leo Taxil in full, and obtain their current price-list of lodge furniture, insignia, and other accessories, and you will find particulars of aprons for sisters, diplomas for sisters, garters for sisters, jewels for sisters. Except upon the signs of initiation, the catalogue is not surrendered, but in view of the literature of revelation the signs are no longer secret, etc.
All this is clearly outside the subject of Satanism, but it leads up, notwithstanding, to the discovery of M. Ricoux. As to this gentleman himself there are no particulars forthcoming; he has promised an account of his adventures during four years as an emigrant in Chili; and he has promised a patriotic epic in twelve cantos, but so far as my information goes they remain in the womb of time. But he has a claim on our consideration because it occurred to him that he would put in practice the advice of Leo Taxil, which he did accordingly in. the autumn of 1891, and demonstrated to his own satisfaction that "Are there Women in Freemasonry?" is a book of true disclosure, and a question that must be answered in the affirmative. He performed thereupon a very creditable action; he wrote a pamphlet entitled "The Existence of Lodges for Women: Researches on this subject," etc., in which he stated the result of his investigation, collected the controversy on the subject which had been scattered through the press of the period, and defended Leo Taxil with the warmth of an alter Ego. But he had not limited his researches to the directions indicated in his author.
Encouraged by the success which had attended his initial efforts, he determined upon an independent experiment in bribery, and after the same manner that Leo Taxil procured the "Ritual of the New and Reformed Palladium," so he succeeded in obtaining the "Collection of Secret Instructions to Supreme Councils, Grand Lodges, and Grand Orients," printed at Charleston in the year 1891. "This collection," he tells us, "is certainly a document of the first order; for it emanates from General Albert Pike, that is to say, from the 'Pope of the Freemasons.'" On this document he bases the following statements:—(a) Universal Freemasonry possesses a Supreme Directory as the apex of its international organisation, and it is located at Berlin. (b) Four subsidiary Central Directories exist at Naples, Calcutta, Washington, and Monte Video. (c) Furthermore, a Chief of Political Action resides at Rome, commissioned to watch over the Vatican and to precipitate events against the Papacy. (d) A Grand Depositary of Sacred Traditions, under the title of Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, is located at Charleston, and at the time of the discovery was Albert Pike.
Some of these statements, it will be observed, require rectification, in the light of fuller disclosures made by Palladian initiates, from whom the material of my second chapter has been chiefly derived, but it will be seen that it is substantially correct. M.
Ricoux further states that "Albert Pike reformed the ancient Palladian Rite, and imparted thereto the Luciferian character in all its brutality. Palladism, for him, is a selection; he surrenders to the ordinary lodges the adepts who confine themselves to materialism, or invoke the Grand Architect without daring to apply to him his true name, and under the title of Knights Templars and Mistress Templars, he groups the fanatics who do not shrink from the direct patronage of Lucifer."
The most serious mistake which has been made in the use of' the material is an unconscious attempt to read into the "encyclicals" of Albert Pike a proportion of Leo Taxil's material, for which the long citations given by M. Ricoux do not afford a warrant. What he really appears to have obtained is the instructions of Pike as Supreme Commander Grand Master of the Supreme Council of the Mother-Lodge of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite of Charleston to the Twenty-three Supreme Confederated Councils of the Globe. And the Scotch Rite is, by the hypothesis, apart from the Palladium. In other respects, the information comes to much the same thing. The long document which the pamphlet prints in extenso exhibits Albert Pike preaching Palladism in the full foulness of its doctrine and practice—the "resolution of the problem of the flesh" by indiscriminate satisfaction of the passions; the multiplication of androgyne lodges for this purpose; the dual nature of the Divine Principle; and the cultus of Lucifer as the good God. The most curious feature of the performance is that here again it is from end to end a travesty of Éliphas Lévi, slice after slice from his chief writings, combined with interlineal additions, which give them a sense diametrically opposed to that of the great magus. Now, it is impossible that two persons, working independently for the production of bogus documents, should both borrow from the same source; hence Leo Taxil and M. Ricoux, if they have been guilty of imposition, must certainly have collaborated. It is unreasonable, however, to advance such an accusation in the absence of any evidence, and if we accept the contribution of M. Ricoux as made in perfect good faith, we must acknowledge that it exonerates Leo Taxil from the possible suspicion of himself adapting Lévi; and then the existence of a theurgic society, based on Manichæan principles, instituted by Albert Pike, and possessing a magical ritual taken in part from Lévi, wears a more serious aspect than when it rested on the unsupported assurance of one witness. The discovery of M. Ricoux is obviously of the first importance, and it is certainly to be regretted that he has not substantiated it by depositing the "Collection of Instructions" in the National Library, supposing it to be in his possession, or by photographing instead of transcribing, supposing he was pledged to its return.
CHAPTER 6. ART SACERDOTAL
SOME few months after the first testimonies to Palladism appeared, under the signatures of the witnesses whom we have already examined, a fresh contribution was made to the literature of Diabolism in its connection with Masonry, by a work entitled "Freemasonry, the Synagogue of Satan." The exalted ecclesiastical position of the author, Mgr. Léon Meurin, S.J., Archbishop of Port Louis in Mauritius, gave new impetus and an aspect of increased importance to accusations preferred at the beginning, as we have seen, by comparatively obscure or directly suspected writers.
The performance, moreover, was apparently so learned, in some respects so unlooked for, and withal so methodical, that it became subsequently a source of universal reference in anti-Masonic literature.
To this day M. Huysman remains dazzled, and to those in search of reliable information on the subject, he says:—"If you would be saved from the excesses of unseated reason, and from narratives of Dunciad dulness, try Mgr. Meurin; read the Archbishop on Palladism." Within certain limits the advice is well-grounded; the art sacerdotal in its application to Anti-Masonry may leave much to be desired, but as a specimen of the superior criticism obtaining upon this subject in higher circles, it offers a strong contrast to the general tone and touch among the rank and file of the accusers. We are, in fact, warranted upon every consideration, in expecting a valuable contribution to our knowledge; but, I may say at once, that this expectation is unfortunately not realised. With a keen philosophical anticipation one turns the pages of "Freemasonry, the Synagogue of Satan," admires their beautiful typography, lingers with delight over the elaborate appendix of allegorical engravings, and experiences a brief sense of intellectual inferiority in the presence of such formidable sections, and so portentous a table of contents. It should be impossible to speak of the Archbishop without a mental genuflexion, but it remains true that our expectation is not realised. It will become us, at the same time, to speak as tenderly as possible of a pious and learned prelate who has now passed where Masons cease from Satanising and the thirty-three degrees are at rest. But it must be said plainly that the contents of his very large volume offer little to our purpose.
By the nature of his episcopal charge Mgr. Meurin had special facilities for ascertaining how men diabolise; the island of Mauritius has enjoyed many privileges of Infernus. There we lose sight of the Rosicrucians on the road to India; there the Comte de Chazal initiated Dr Bacstrom, and all this, of course, is diabolical from the standpoint of Anti-Masonry. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that Mgr. Meurin, in a series of wonderful conferences, has exhibited the superstitions of Mauritius, and, accepting the test of M. Huysman, the existence of Black Magic in this French colony is proved to hilt and handle by wholesale Eucharistic depreciations, the sacrifice of cats at midnight upon the altars of rifled churches, and the discovery of the blood of the victims in the chalices used for the elements. The Church does not stir in the matter; it deplores and prays, which seems, in some respects, an ineffectual method of protecting the latens Deitas. If the Eucharist be liable to profanation, why reserve the Eucharist? Surely the negligence which makes such profanations possible is the offer of opportunity to Deicide, and great carelessness is cousin to condonation.
However this may be, Mgr. Meurin seems to have been quite the authority to whom one would naturally refer for specific information upon devil-worship as it obtains within his own diocese, even if apart from Masonry. But he is too erudite to concern himself with individual facts, and he so far transcends diocesan limitations as to forget Mauritius completely. Another witness, who perhaps never visited Port Louis, affirms that the Central Directory of the Palladium for Africa is established in that place, but the prelate of Port Louis, from whom the information would have been precious, seems acquainted with nothing of the kind. The weapon of the mitred warrior is, at the same time, a sufficiently portentous thesis, as follows:—that Freemasonry is connected with Satanism, by the fact that it has the Jews for its true authors, and the Jewish Kabbalah for the key of its mysteries; that the Kabbalah is magical, idolatrous, and essentially diabolical; that Freemasonry, considered as a religion, is therefore a judaized devil-worship, and considered as a political institution, it is an engine designed for the attainment of universal empire, which has been the dream of the Jews for centuries.
My readers will be inclined to consider that such a hypothesis, though it may square with the Satanism of Adriano Lemmi, who, as we shall see, is accused of circumcision, can hardly be brought into harmony with the universal Masonry of Albert Pike, as the latter was neither Jew nor Judaiser. But common hatred of the Catholic Church is, in the opinion of Mgr. Meurin, a sufficient bond to identify the interests of both parties. Let us start, therefore, with the archbishop's own hypothesis, which he compresses into a single sentence: "To encircle the brow of the Jew with the royal diadem, and to place the kingdom of the world at his feet—such is the true end of Freemasonry." And again: "The Jewish Kabbalah is the philosophical basis and Key of Freemasonry." Once more: "The end of Freemasonry is universal dominion, and Freemasonry is a Jewish institution."