Excerpts from “Philo’s Reply”

The spirit of spying out and anecdote-collecting becomes more commonplace every day; under the protection of press-freedom and the public’s right to know, one has taken the liberty of casting a probing light on every step a man may take within his own four walls, on every private letter, and every word he may speak within a circle of close friends, so one may publicly chastise every little indiscretion of which he may be guilty and hold him responsible for all these things.

An honest confession does not lessen the penitent in the eyes of noble and honest persons, and as a matter of principle, he must be indifferent to the judgment of the others. But he, who is ashamed to make such a confession, deserves to be rapped across the knuckles, and he also deserves the distrust of those who may believe this was not his last act of foolishness.

I … recruited a large number of noble, well-bred, learned, and important … men, whose names I only need to mention to prove it could not have been my intention to work a piece of knavery, men of whom could be expected that they would not allow themselves to be misused, nor led astray, and whom I most certainly would not have dared to entangle in a dangerous plan, even if Spartacus (Weishaupt) or I had harbored such dishonorable intentions.

Now I also took it upon myself to influence Freemasonry. The circular I sent to the lodges  at that time will show whether my intentions in so doing were noble or not.

The Minervals were to be pupils and students; the Freemasons, educated, worldly men and businessmen; the priests, scholars and teachers; the regents, leaders and directors; and finally, the members of the Higher Mysteries degrees, speculative seers, who had withdrawn into a philosophical retirement after they had been active in the world long enough.

I can attest in good conscience, that since July 1. 1784, I have not had the least, remotest interest in anything concerning the Order of Illuminati, be it good or ill: whether it has continued, or still does, in this or another form, whether new degrees have been adopted and what their nature may be, whether Spartacus and the other Areopagites have remained at the head, whether or not the Bavarian brothers gave cause for the government’s speedy and strict proceedings against them; who dreamed up all these intrigues to begin with—Indeed, I know nothing at all about any of these things, and I have purposely avoided discussing them even with my closest friends.

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