Knigge replied to Weishaupt outlining his plans for the reform of Freemasonry as the Strict Observance began to question its own origins. Mea culpa My apology; my error. Many other masons found Knigge's description of the new masonic order attractive, and were enrolled in the Minerval grade of the Illuminati.
This direct attack had the opposite effect to that intended by Weishaupt, it offended many of its readers. In this the candidate was given secret signs and a password. All Berlin masons were now warned against the order, which was now accused of Socinianism , and of using the liberal writings of Voltaire and others, alongside the tolerance of Freemasonry, to undermine all religion. Some say that Latin is a dead language, but in truth it lives on--especially in the shorter phrases and concepts we often use in modern speech. In February, Weishaupt had offered to split the lodge, with the Illuminati going their own way and the chapter taking any remaining traditionalists into their own continuation of Theodore. Many other masons found Knigge's description of the new masonic order attractive, and were enrolled in the Minerval grade of the Illuminati. Among those believed to have been associated with the order were German alchemist Michael Maier, British physician Robert Fludd , and British philosopher and statesman Sir Francis Bacon. Shortly after his admission it was made known to his superiors that he was one of the Illuminati, and he was informed that he could not be a member of both organisations. Some members were imprisoned, while others were driven from their homes. Of a different class were the Rosicrucians , who claimed to have originated in but achieved public notice in This fell on deaf ears. There were Illuminati in many civic and state governing bodies. In Bavaria, the succession of Charles Theodore initially led to a liberalisation of attitudes and laws, but the clergy and courtiers, guarding their own power and privilege, persuaded the weak-willed monarch to reverse his reforms, and Bavaria's repression of liberal thought returned. Aside from strengthening relations between their three lodges, the Illuminati seem to have gained no advantage from this manoeuvre. The lesser mysteries were the grades of Priest and Prince, followed by the greater mysteries in the grades of Mage and King. In spite of their small number, there were claims that success in a legal dispute depended on the litigant's standing with the order. Interestingly, the portrait was begun in but was never finished. Knigge, still in his twenties, had already reached the highest initiatory grades of his order, and had arrived with his own grand plans for its reform. Some novices were permitted to recruit, becoming Insinuants. He proposed a new federation where all of the German lodges would practise an agreed, unified system in the essential three degrees of Freemasonry, and be left to their own devices as to which, if any, system of higher degrees they wished to pursue. To Weishaupt and Knigge, the proposed federation was also a vehicle to propagate Illuminism throughout German Freemasonry. A system of mutual espionage kept Weishaupt informed of the activities and character of all his members, his favourites becoming members of the ruling council, or Areopagus. While Lodge Theodore was now in their control, a chapter of "Elect Masters" attached to it only had one member from the order, and still had a constitutional superiority to the craft lodge controlled by the Illuminati. The teaching material for the grade was "liberal" literature which was banned in Bavaria, but common knowledge in the Protestant German states. Such notables were claimed as members although it is questionable if they were actually so.
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