The renowned British mathematician and physicist John Robison (1739 – 1805) was just one of many contemporaries who wrote about the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati and its influence on the French Revolution, but with “Proofs of a Conspiracy” he landed a bestseller that was not only internationally heard, but also laid the foundation for modern conspiracy literature.
Due to his membership of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Order of Freemasonry, he was considered a whistleblower, insider and special expert on the subject by subsequent generations of conspiracy writers. But his work of revelation is rather a work of misdirection. He did not present any information that was not already circulating in Europe anyway. The Bavarian police had been able to capture secret documents of Weishaupts order and made the material public. Certain French freemason lodges propagated similar inflammatory ideas. Educated circles from all over Europe and in the US talked about subversive lodges and speculated about conspiracies.
The British crown had had a clear motive to attack the French monarchy through secret methods and to promote a revolution in France. But instead of investigating this lead, John Robison and other authors drew attention only to the Bavarian Illuminati and some French freemason lodges. Robison shamelessly praised the British crown, the British system of government and the British Freemason system, while accusing France of interfering in Britain’s colonial affairs (America). He does not explicitly mention that France had provided a major part of the financing for the American Revolution and he does not ask the obvious question whether the British Crown may have avenged this by promoting the French Revolution as a payback coup. Even more devastating for Robison’s credibility is the fact that for “Proofs of a Conspiracy” he had himself supplied with all kinds of material by the secret agent and diplomat Alexander Horn, who worked closely with the Thurn und Taxis family in Germany, which was close to the British crown. Karl Alexander von Thurn und Taxis (1770-1827) married the daughter of Hereditary Prince Duke Karl zu Meck-lenburg and Friederike von Hessen-Darmstadt. The hereditary prince was the brother-in-law of the English King George III. (House of Hanover) and served in the Hanoverian army. In 1776 he even became governor of Hanover. Friederike was a daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstadt, whose principality had a noble connection with Hessen-Kassel. Hessen-Kassel was closely associated with the House of Hanover of the British Royal House and, in addition, Hessen-Kassel supported the career of Baron Knigge, the second most important member of the Order of the Illuminati. Weishaupt himself fled Bavaria to Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg, which was connected to the British throne. In 1771 Landgrave Friedrich II of Hesse-Kassel made the young etiquette court squire and assessor of the war and domain chamber at Kassel. The second wife of the landgrave is said to have even arranged a wife for Knigge. Even after his Illuminati period, jobs were entrusted to him, such as the position of chief of the British-Hannoverian government. These players were all part of intelligence activities.
Karl Alexander von Thurn und Taxis was the second Grand Master of the Freemason Grand Lodge “The Growing to the Three Keys” and in 1806 the English Grand Master made him Provincial Grand Master of Bavaria. Against this background, Robison’s book “Proofs of a Conspiracy” seems highly suspect, for such an intelligent scientist should have been able at the time to trace the Bavarian Order of Illuminati back to Britain’s crown.
In the foreword he explains that in his English homeland he had gained many harmless (and rather boring) experiences in Freemasonry lodges, but in lodges on the European mainland he experienced things which in his opinion did not belong at all in the system of Freemasonry. Here he makes an unfair separation, because also on the British Isles there were all kinds of lodges, which went far beyond the standard three degrees of apprentice, fellow and master. He paints a simple black and white image with the “good” British Freemasonry on the one hand, and the dark lodges in Germany and France on the other.
According to Robison, a “friend” later gave him several German publications from the series “Religionsbegebenheiten,” which addressed the divisions among the Freemasons. Robison visited lodges in the French city of Liege, in Berlin and Königsberg, where he was met with enthusiasm and where he was promised great progress in his Freemasonry career. However, the contents offered and promised new degrees were too irrational, too frivolous, too fanatical, too expensive and too time-consuming for him. So he claims.
Throughout Europe, according to Robison, Freemasons were increasingly indulging in weird and fanatical ideas.
Of course there were also plans for revolutions to overthrow the French monarchy, disguised with enlightened ideals, and it would have been easy for British secret services to infiltrate the milieu and become active there. Being a Freemason did not automatically mean belonging to a conspiracy, so it cannot simply be said that “the Freemasons” instigated the French Revolution. Freemasonry was simply a vehicle, an upper class milieu used by intelligence agents.
Robison favored the bland, basic Freemason system with three degrees in Britain. For ordinary British Freemasons, the rule was not to hold critical discussions about the government and the Church in the Lodge. On the European continent, however, these restrictions did not apply. On the pretext of enlightenment and liberation of the masses of Europe, shady people spread wild ideas of Revolution. Interestingly, the Freemasons in Britain behaved and did not conspire against the monarchy or the British Church.
The main suspect behind the French Revolution was the British Empire, with the motive to eliminate the French monarchy. Did Robison really think naively that the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati and the French Masonic Lodges were acting on their own?
We can therefore state that one of the most important and foundational works of conspiracy literature is based on an obscure series of texts, shadowy sources, untraceable books, the whispers of a British spy and the vague observations of Robison in various European lodges, which he also deliberately censored in order not to reveal any secrets of the Freemasons to the profane readers.
According to Robison, the Illuminati Order of Adam Weishaupt wanted to take over the entire world out of greed, destroy faith and monarchies, and was therefore also a threat to Great Britain. But it was absurd to think that a university professor like Weishaupt could have built an enormous organization without a powerful secret service or state behind him. The British king at that time was George III. and he came from the British-German House of Hanover. The first two Hanoverian regents on the English throne, George I and George II, were even born in the German city of Hanover. Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Order of the Illuminati and possible co-conspirator of the French Revolution, probably served together with Knigge as agents of the British crown. Weishaupt finally fled from the Bavarian government to Saxe-Gotha Altenburg, which later became Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Monarchs from the Hanover line ruled over the British Empire until Queen Victoria died in 1901, and the throne then passed seamlessly over to her eldest son Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Weishaupt was taken up after his escape by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha Altenburg, who was also a member of the Order of the Illuminati, and provided him with a job. There Weishaupt then wrote a series of works that played down the meaning of his order.
Robison speaks enthusiastically about classic organized British Freemasonry which really got off the ground at the start of the reign of King George I. and we recognize the usual slogans according to which the brothers had some special tools to educate their members morally and to make them better than the unenlightened ordinary citizens and that this special power would fizzle out if the masons made their secrets accessible to the public.
For a world empire and a world revolution, however, it takes more than just an abstruse Bavarian university professor who found freemasonry too boring and opened up the hundredth new progressive club. A subversive group like the Illuminati needed many resources and experience in covert operations and counter intelligence to become significant. Weishaupt’s order spread to some extent, but also suffered many setbacks. A search of the Illuminati Zwack’s house uncovered important papers, Baron Knigge left discouraged and finally even the most sensitive texts, such as lists of members or the places with Illuminati lodges, fell into the hands of the Bavarian police and were made public.
Robison was not impressed at all by Weishaupt’s commitment to world revolution, but accuses him and his comrades-in-arms of collecting as much money as possible without ever dreaming of actually conquering the world. Weishaupt’s realistic goal was to rule his order and not, as he boastful told his subordinates, to rule the world. So all this was just a little occult sectarianism to accumulate a few riches? Weishaupt, of course, had the abilities of a guru and knew that men could be led with the help of secretive hoo-ha. At the same time, however, it is very likely that he had built his Illuminati group as a front for the British secret service in order to recruit useful people and use them for revolutionary purposes. Robison was a King-loving faithful Freemason from Britain and his book directed all the attention towards Weishaupt’s busted order and some French lodges. He never suspects the British authorities.
From an intelligence point of view, however, it takes far more than a spark and favourable circumstances for a Revolution, but rather long-prepared subversive operations, the establishment of spy rings and the recruitment of enough important people that are needed for a coup. The whole repertoire of blackmail, bribery and deception and front organisations was necessary for the Shadow War.
Instead of soberly analyzing what had happened, Robison feeds us a selectively prepared story of the Illuminati. Robison’s dubious book was disseminated in all directions and was also heard by George Washington and Senator Seth Payson in America, who published the text “Proof of the Illuminati”, based on Robison’s work, in 1802.
Until well into the 20th century, other conspiracy authors explicitly referred to Robison without really taking a critical look and without investigating the role of British intelligence. Later conspiracy authors added the myth of jewish world conspiracy. Weishaupt was subsequently turned into a jew and an agent of the Rothschild clan. People were led to believe the fairy tale that five Rothschild brothers had stolen the entire British colonial empire with some simple banking activities. In reality, the tiny Rothschild clan had been slowly built up as a front for British crown money by none other than the Landgraf of Hessen Kassel who was closely related to the British king and involved in the Illuminati of Bavaria. The reason was simple: Other European powers were less suspicious when loans seemed to be organized by jewish bankers. According to the cliché jews had no roots, no country and no interest except interest. Britain’s secret services loved to spread the myth of jewish world conspiracy. They spread the phony “Protocols of Zion” in a big way too. Even Winston Churchill publicly referred to conspiratorial jews and Weishaupt and recommended the conspiracy theories of Nesta Webster, who was literally born into the British establishment.
By the way: The famous quote attributed to Nathan Rothschild about controlling the money supply and therefore not caring who sits on the British throne, is completely fake.