The 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad: The Illuminati Takeover

by Eric A. Samuelson, J.D., (November, 2006)


"The study of secret organizations in their political application is worthy of most serious consideration and of grave discussion and is absolutely essential to the intelligent understanding of the events of the eighteenth century" (Edinburgh Review, Illuminism and the French Revolution, (July 1906), p. 53).

"In 1782 [the Duke of] Brunswick decided to solve his doubts by holding a final Conference or Convent of the Order at Wilhelmsbad, near Hanau in Hessen. True to its aristocratic origins, the last gathering of the Strict Observance was a blue-blooded affair" (Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians).

In August 1781 Dohm, under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, published Upon the Civil Amelioration of the Condition of the Jews, which produced a great wave of pro-Semitism (Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution, (1921), p. 32). The historian Graetz wrote that C.W. Dohm's book painted the Christians "as cruel barbarians and the Jews as illustrious martyrs" (ibid). It is a fact of history that the convention triumph of Weishaupt's Illuminati in 1782 occurred simultaneously with the admission of the Jews to Masonic lodges.

Masonry had existed decades at least before the Illuminati (Nimrod was the first to teach the arts of masonry. William Josiah Sutton, The Illuminati 666, (1983), p. 103. Estill wrote: "Undoubtably Masons were employed at the creation of the Tower of Babel, where, as we are informed in some of our rituals, language was confounded and masonry lost." John Holbrook Estill, The Old Lodge, (December 17, 1885), p. 3. An old rhyme says: "If history be no ancient Fable - Freemasons came from the Tower of Babel." Esther Forbes, Paul Revere & the World He Lived In, (1942), p. 58. The ruling motives for building the Tower of Babel were pride, selfishness and vain glory. Rev. M.F. Carey, Freemasonry in All Ages, (1896), p. 25. "The attempt at universal empire was completely put an end to by this extraordinary interference of God." Rev. M.F. Carey, Freemasonry in All Ages, (1896), p.26). But after the 1782 Congress, European Masonry was "dominated by the super-secret Illuminati" (Cushman Cunningham, Part II, The Secret Empire, (2005), p. 67-68). Albert Mackey called the Congress "the most important Masonic Congress of the eighteenth century" (A. Ralph Epperson. Masonry: Conspiracy Against Christianity, (1997), p. 319). Nesta H. Webster said "(its) importance to the subsequent history of the world has never been appreciated by historians . . ." (Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution, (1921), p. 31). It was held "at Meyer Amschel Rothschild's castle in Wilhelmsbad" (Juri Lina, Under the Sign of the Scorpion, (2002), p. 38). The Congress included representatives "of all the Secret Societies - Martinistes as well as Freemasons and Illuminati - which now numbered no less than three million members all over the world" (Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution, (1921), p. 31). The history is clouded due to oaths: "What passed at this terrible Congress will never be known to the outside world, for even these men who had been drawn unwittingly into the movement, and now heard for the first time the real designs of the leaders, were under oath to reveal nothing" (Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution, (1921), p. 31).

Jean Willermoz (BI/M) presided at two of the Great Mason Conventions - that of Les Gaules in 1768 and that of Wilhelmsbad "at which was voted the death of the King of France" (Lady Queenborough, Occult Theocracy, (1933), p. 353. A decision was also made to murder Emperor Leopold of Austria. He was poisoned on March 1, 1792 by the Jewish Freemason Martinowitz. Gustavus III of Sweden was murdered the same month (Juri Lina, Under the Sign of the Scorpion, (2002), p. 38; Architects of Deception (2004), p. 96, 486). Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, a Mason since 1753 and a wealthy silk manufacturer from Lyons, undoubtedly moved in the same circles as Mayer Rothschild. Willermoz, who also claimed to receive instruction from "unknown superiors," stayed for a time with the Prince of Hesse-Kassal. A member of the Masonic "Rite of Elect Cohen," Willermoz was a moving force during the 1782 Wilhelmsbad Conference and is considered by many to be a founder of modern spiritualism. Willermoz was also an intimate friend of Louis Claude de Saint Martin (January 18, 1743-1803) (John Daniel, Vol. I, Scarlet and the Beast, (1994), p. 173).

The first question of the Grand Master of the Templars was: "What is the real objective of the Order and its true origin?" At the Wilhemsbad Convent, the main Illuminati representative was Dietrich von Dittfurth who recruited Bode who, soon after, recruited Prince Charles of Hess, who had succeeded the Duke of Sudermania in the direction of the Strict Observance (John Morris Roberts, The Mythology of the Secret Societies, (1972), p. 124). The Illuminists carried the day by saying that the Strict Observance Lodges were not in fact descended from the Knights-Templars and by arguing that the Observance Lodges were secretly controlled by "unknown superiors" who were in fact Jesuits in disguise. Christian Bode was a friend of Lessing and was Weishaupt's "leading associate in the final political stage of Illuminism" (James H. Billington, Fire In The Minds of Men, (1980), p. 96-97). Mackey wrote of Bode "(A)t the Congress of Wilhelmsbad he advocated the opinions of Weishaupt. No man of his day was better versed than he in the history of Freemasonry, or possessed a more valuable and extensive library; no one was more diligent in increasing his stock of Masonic knowledge, or more anxious to avail himself of the rarest sources of learning." Weishaupt did not personally attend but gave his coadjudicator Knigge full authority: "Vanquished by the powerful rival, the Strict Observance ceased temporarily to exist and Illuminism was left in possession of the field."

Gary Allen wrote: "The power and influence of the Illuminati achieved a great leap forward through a formal alliance with continental Freemasonry that was sealed during the Congress of Wilhelmsbad which began July 16, 1782, when representatives of some three million members of Europe's secret societies met and adopted organizational plans formulated by the Illuminati" (Gary Allen. "Illumunism, The Great Conspiracy," American Opinion, (June, 1976), p. 47-49). On July 16, 1782 the Illuminati merged with the Order of Freemasons: "Illuminism was injected into Freemasonry by indoctrinating the Masonic leaders. . ." The alliance between the Illuminati and Freemasonry "was finally sealed" (Nesta Webster. World Revolution, (1921), p. 31). The wedding between Continental Masonry and the Illuminati took place in July 1782 (William T. Still, New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies, (1990), p. 82). At Wilhelmsbad Weishaupt and von Knigge presented quite an enticing promise of the secrets which the Illuminati had to offer. The response of many of the Italian, French, and German delegates was to join. They then took the doctrines of the Order, its degrees and discipline back to their respective lodges. The two leaders of German freemasonry, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and Prince Karl of Hess, joined the order, thus bringing the whole of German freemasonry, the German Grand Orient, in particular, under the control of the Illuminati (William H. McIlhany II, Evidence of a Master Conspiracy (Individualist Research Foundation: 1992). The events have been summarized: "At the grand convention of Masonry held at Wilhelmsbad in 1782 the Order of the Strict Observance was suspended, and Von Knigge disclosed the scheme of Weishaupt to the assembled representatives of the masonic and mystical fraternities. Then and there disciples of Saint-Martin and of Willermooz, as well as the statesmen, scientists, magicians, and magistrates of all countries, were converted to Illuminism" (Edinburgh Review, Illuminism and the French Revolution, (July 1906), p. 57). The name "Strict Observance" was changed to "Beneficient Knights of the Holy City."

The congress, attended by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) and a company of other Jews, also passed a resolution by which henceforth Jews would no longer be excluded from the lodges. For the first time "Jews were admitted into the Order. Previously, Jews had only been admitted to a division of the Order called 'The Small and Constant Sanhedrin of Europe'." Lessing was a poet, critic, dramatist and philosopher. He was also a leading figure of German Enlightenment who believed that Christianity "was a superior development of Judaism but thought it too would be replaced one day by rationalist enlightenment" (Joan Comay, Who's Who in Jewish History, (1995), p. 230). Lessing lent his powerful support to the anti-Christian league (Lady Queenborough, Occult Theocracy, (1933), p. 372).

At the conclusion of the Congress the members of the Illuminati were "completely satisfied." Knigge reported to Weishaupt afterwards: "All of them," he said, "were enchanted with our degrees of Epopt and of Regent (The Cause of World Unrest, (1920), p. 17). The Comte de Virieu, however, returned from the Congress and refused to say what had been decided: "I can only tell you that all this is very much more serious than you think. The conspiracy which is being woven is so well thought out that it will be, so to speak, impossible for the Monarchy and the Church to escape from it" (Gary Kahl, En Route to Global Occupation, (1991), p. 25-26). The Comte de Virieu thereafter "could only speak of Freemasonry with horror," according to his biographer M. Costa de Beauregard (William T. Still, New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies, (1990), p. 82). The Wilhelmsbad Congress "made it possible for the revolutionary tool of the Asiatic financiers to control the continental set-up." After the Wilhelmsbad Congress, the headquarters for illuminized Freemasonry was moved to Frankfort (Fritz Springmeir, The Top 13 Illuminati Bloodlines, (1995), p. 173). wilhelms.htm


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