I know perfectly well, that this will not make Illuminism less disastrous; nevertheless I am obliged to differ from Mr. Robison when treating on that subject, as well as on some other articles.—So much for objections; here is my reply.
In the first place Mr. Robison and I always agree as to the essential facts and the Conspiracy of the Illuminized Lodges; we also agree on their maxims and degrees; and this must be sufficient to convince the reader.
In the next place, in his general view of the Sect he has observed its detestable and most dangerous principles. Like a traveller he has seen the
But he has not described its forms, its manners, and its habits. Nor would it be very prudent to reject his narrative because some few circumstances are not perfectly authenticated, or because here and there some want of order may be observable.
In short, if we except one or two letters, which may be said to be translations, all the other quotations (though in the form of letters) cannot be called so, for they are not to be found in the letters of the Illuminees. They are Extracts from different parts, all brought together under one head; Mr. Robison has given them to the public in his own stile, and sometimes makes the Illuminees speak in clearer terms than is done in the Originals. His addition in the Translation of the famous letter from Spartacus to Marius, page 165-6, 9 has given rise to numberless questions, how the—even d—was expressed in the German text. A parenthesis follows (can this mean death?). I was obliged to answer that the even d—, as well as the parenthesis, were additions; but at the same time that they were not additions contrary to the
sense of the letter. I could willingly have attributed these deviations to a difference in the editions of the Original Writings; but a new work must be supposed, as well as new letters, to justify the quotations, and all Germany must have noticed such changes. In the first place, the Court of Bavaria would have protested against such a supposition; as the Original Writings could not have coincided with an edition so dissimilar; next, the Illuminees who have not spoken in such clear language, though clear enough in their letters; in fine, the authors who have combated Illuminism, and whose quotations all exactly agree with the Edition of Munich. The Pages may change in different Editions; but whole Letters and Discourses cannot, especially when the public may, as we have seen above, have access to the Originals.
As for myself, whose name cannot be expected to have such authority as Mr. Robison’s, I have taken all the precautions of which I felt myself to stand in need. 10 I never make a quotation but with the Original before me; and when I translate any passage which may stagger the reader, I subjoin the original, that each may explain and verify the text. I follow the same line of conduct when I compare the different testimonies. I never mention a single law in the code without having the original before me, or the practice of it to vouch for my assertion. Hence it will be perceived, that we are not to be put in competition with each other; Mr. Robison taking a general view while I have attempted to descend into particulars: as to the substance we agree. I heartily congratulate him on his zeal in combating the monster; and though we do not agree in certain particularities, we both evince the monstrous nature of the Sect, and the certainty of its horrible Conspiracies.
398:1 The Translator thinks it proper to inform the Reader, that, considering how much the abuse of terms, such as of Philosophy, Reason, &c. &c. has contributed to diffuse the new-fangled doctrines, he has adopted in the present volume (which may be said to be the first methodical work published on the subject of which it treats) the words Illumine, Illuminize, and Illuminization, though Illuminate and Illumination might perhaps be more correct expressions. Every reader will feel, that the illumination of the world, and to illuminate mankind, are objects worthy of the true philosopher. But may the man be ever accurst who shall attempt to illuminize his countrymen, or aim at the illuminization of the world! T.
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