The Count of
A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE IN the intrigues of 18th-century Europe was a
secretive and colorful individual known as the Count of St.
Germain.* St. Germain’s life has been the subject of many articles
and at least one book. Ever since his reported death in 1784, there
has been a tendency to either deify him or to dismiss him as an
unimportant charlatan. Neither characterization seems to accurately
reflect what he truly was.
*Not to be confused with the French general of the same name, nor
Claude Louis de St. Germain, an 18th-century mystic.
St. Germain’s activities are important because his movements
provide a fascinating link between the wars going on in Europe, the
deeper levels of the Brotherhood, and the clique of German
princes—particularly the House of Hesse.
The first of many mysteries concerning St. Germain is the
circumstance of his birth. Many researchers believe him
to have been the offspring of Francis II, ruler of the once powerful
principality of Transylvania. Transylvania, famous in cinema as the
home of the mythical human vampire, Dracula, and other assorted
literary ne’er-do-wells, had ties to the dynasty in Hesse. Francis II
of Transylvania had married sixteen-year-old Charlotte Amalie of
Hessen-Reinfels on September 25, 1694 at the cathedral of Cologne in
Out of this union came two known children. However, when the will of
Francis II was published in 1737, a third unnamed son was mentioned
as a beneficiary. This third child proved to be Leopold-George,
eldest son and heir to the Transylvanian throne. Leopold-George was
born in either 1691 or 1696, depending upon which theory of his birth
one accepts. Because of the uncertainty of his birth date, it is not
known if he was the son of Charlotte of Hesse or of Francis II’s
prior wife. What does appear certain is that Leopold-George’s early
“death” in 1700 had been staged to save him from the deadly
intrigues which were about to destroy the Transylvanian dynasty and
end the independence of Transylvania.
Leopold-George is believed to have been the Count of St. Germain.
St. Germain first appeared in European society in 1743 when he would
have been a man in his forties. Little is known about his life
before that year. A dossier on the mysterious Count had been created
by order of French Emperor Napoleon III (r. 1852-1870) but,
unfortunately, all of the documents were destroyed in a fire that
engulfed the house in which the dossier was stored. This resulted in
the loss of irreplaceable information about St. Germain. St.
Germain’s own secretiveness only deepens the mystery about his life.
The surviving information indicates that St. Germain was raised to
become one of the most active, colorful, and successful secret
political agents of the Brotherhood in the 18th century.
Of St. Germain’s early life, Strict Observance leader
Prince Karl of Hesse wrote that St. Germain had been raised
in childhood by the last of the powerful Medici family of
Italy. The Duke of Medici, like some earlier Medicis, was
engrossed in the mystical philosophies prevalent in Italy at the
time, which may account for St. Germain’s deep involvement in the
Brotherhood network as an adult. While under Medici care, St.
Germain is believed to have studied at the university in Siena.
St. Germain’s first documented appearance in
occurred in England in 1743. At that time, the Jacobite cause was
very strong and the 1745 invasion of Scotland was only two years
away. During those two crucial years prior to the invasion, St.
Germain resided in London. Only glimpses of his activities during
that time are available. St. Germain was a gifted musician and
several of his musical compositions were publicly performed in the
Little Haymarket Theatre in early February 1745. St. Germain also
had several of his trios published by the Walsh company of London.
British authorities did not believe that St. Germain was in London
to pursue a musical career, however. In December 1745, with the
Jacobite invasion underway, St. Germain was arrested by the British
on suspicion of being a Jacobite agent. He was released when rumored
letters from Charles Edward, leader of the Stuart invasion, were not
found on his person.
Horace Walpole wrote of the arrest afterwards:
. .. t’other day they seized an odd man, who goes by the name of
Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, will not tell
who he is or whence, but professes two very wonderful things, the
first that he does not go by his right name, and the second, that he
never had any dealings, or desire to have any dealings, with
any woman—nay, nor with an succedaneum [substitute]. He sings, plays
on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad, and not very sensible.1
After his release, St. Germain departed England and
spent one year as
the guest of Prince Ferdinand von Lobkowitz, first minister to the
Austrian emperor. The War of Austrian Succession was still raging at
the time, in which Austria and England were allied against France
and Prussia. During this visit to Austria, St. Germain was introduced
to the French
Minister of War, the Marshal de Belle-Isle, who, in turn, introduced
St. Germain to the French court.
This is an intriguing sequence of events. Here we have a man
arrested as a suspected enemy of England during a time of war, who
then immediately went to stay with a top minister of a nation
(Austria) which was allied to England. During that stay, this same
man befriended the Minister of War of a nation (France) which was an
enemy of Austria! St. Germain’s political contacts on all sides of a
raging war were remarkable.
What St. Germain did for the next three years after leaving Austria
is not certain.
St. Germain reappeared in European society again in 1749, this time
as a guest of King Louis XV of France. France, a Catholic nation,
actively supported the Jacobite cause against the Hanoverians of
England. France was also involved in many other foreign intrigues.
According to a lady of the French court who later wrote of St.
Germain in her memoirs:
From 1749, the King [Louis XV] employed him [St.
Germain] on diplomatic missions and he acquitted
himself honorably in them.2
King Louis had gained fame as an architect of 18th century secret
diplomacy. The acceptance of St. Germain into the French Court and
his work for the French king as a political agent is significant for
First, it points to the important role that Brotherhood members have
played in the creation and operation of national and international
intelligence networks throughout history; a matter we will consider
in more detail in later chapters.
Secondly, as a Catholic, King Louis XV adhered to Papal
decrees. The papacy was hostile to Freemasonry. Indeed,
Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry are both factions with
origins in the Brotherhood which have long opposed one
another. In 1737, Louis XV issued an edict forbidding all
French subjects to have anything to do with Freemasonry.
During the ensuing decades, the French government actively
repressed the French Freemasons with police raids and imprisonment.
Louis XV’s edict of 1737 was followed a year later by Pope Clement’s
Papal Bull which forbade Catholics everywhere from participating in
or supporting Freemasonry under penalty of excommunication; yet here
was the Count of St. Germain, who would later reveal a life-long
involvement in the Brotherhood, residing as a guest of the King. The
likely explanation, based upon the known facts of St. Germain’s life,
is that he was not so much a Freemason as he was an agent of the
It is also unlikely that the French King
understood St. Germain’s role in the Brotherhood network.
St. Germain’s exact activities from 1749 through 1755 are largely
unknown. In 1755, he made a second trip to India. He went with
English Commander Robert Clive who was on his way there to fight the
French! India was a major theatre of war in which a great deal was
at stake. Commander Clive was an important leader on the British
This trip highlighted once again St. Germain’s remarkable
political contacts and his ability to travel back and forth
between important leaders of warring camps. One biographer has
suggested that the Count may have been acting as a secret agent of
King Louis XV of France when he went to India with Clive, for when
St. Germain returned, he was awarded in 1758 with an apartment in
the French royal palace at Chambord. He was also given laboratory
facilities for his chemical and alchemical experiments, in which
Louis XV sometimes participated.
St. Germain was clearly a flamboyant and multifaceted character. One
of the talents for which he achieved fame was his considerable
knowledge of alchemy. (Alchemy mixes mysticism with chemistry and
was a staple of Rosicrucian practice.) St. Germain became a topic of
gossip in the French court because he claimed to possess the
alchemical Elixir of Life. The Elixir was said to be a secret
formula which made people physically immortal. This was the same
Elixir many European Rosicrucians claimed to possess. St. Germain may
have had tongue slightly in cheek when he made the claim,
however. He is quoted as saying to King Louis XV,
“Sire, I sometimes
amuse myself not by making it believed, but by allowing it to be
believed, that I have lived in ancient times.”3
In 1760, St. Germain left France for the Hague in Holland. This trip
was made during the height of the Seven Years War. Holland was a
neutral country during that conflict. Exactly what St. Germain was
trying to accomplish in Holland remains debated even today. After
declaring himself to be a secret agent of King Louis XV, St. Germain
tried to gain an audience with the English representative at the
Hague. St. Germain claimed that he was there to negotiate a
peace between England and France.
However, the French Foreign
Minister, the Duke of Choiseul, and the French ambassador to
Holland, Count D’Affry, had not been notified by their king about
St. Germain’s purported mission. The Duke of Choiseul therefore
branded St. German a charlatan and ordered his arrest. To avoid
imprisonment by Dutch authorities, St. Germain fled to London in the
same year. St. Germain’s escape was aided by his influential friend,
Count Bentinck, the President of the Dutch Council of Deputy
As a result of this debacle and the unwillingness of Louis
XV to publicly acknowledge St. Germain as his agent, St.
Germain was unable to openly return to French royal society until 1770—the year in which his enemy, the Duke of
Choiseul, was disgraced and removed from power.
St. Germain had a second, and perhaps even more compelling, reason for making that ill-fated trip to Holland. A
letter written on March 25, 1760 by Prince de Galitzin,
Russian Minister to England, offered this insight into St.Germain’s aborted activities in Holland:
I know the Count de St. Germain well by reputation. This singular
man has been staying for some time in this country, and I do not
know whether he likes it. There is someone here with whom he appears
to be in correspondence, and this person declares that the object of
the Count’s journey to Holland is merely some financial business.4
The financial business mentioned by de Galitzen was very secret. It
appeared to be the true purpose of St. Germain’s visit. St. Germain
was in Holland to exploit the marriage of a Princess Caroline to the
German prince of Nassau-Dillenburg for the purposes of establishing a
“Fund” for France. St. Germain wanted to negotiate the formation of
the Fund with Dutch bankers. According to French ambassador
“his objective in general was to secure the credit of the
principal bankers there for us.”5
In another letter, D’Affry stated
that St. Germain,
“had come to Holland solely to complete the
formation of a Company adequate to the responsibility of this Fund.
. . .”6
The formation of the Fund was probably the true reason for St. Germain’s (and perhaps King Louis’s) extreme secrecy. France already
had important financiers to the royal Court: the wealthy
Paris-Duverney Brothers. The Paris Brothers had salvaged France’s
financial standing after the disastrous Bank of France episode
involving the inflated money of John Law. St. Germain was quite
hostile to the Paris Brothers and he did not want them to gain
control of the Fund. St. Germain is quoted by Monsieur de Kauderbach, a minister of the Saxon court in the Hague:
. . . he [King Louis XV of France] is surrounded
only by creatures
placed by the Brothers Paris, who alone cause all the trouble of
France. It is they who corrupt everything, and thwarted the plans of
the best citizen in France, the Marshal de Belle-Isle. Hence the
disunion and jealousy amongst the Ministers. All is corrupted by the
Brothers Paris; perish France, provided they may attain their object
of gaining eight hundred millions.7
St. Germain may well have had legitimate grounds
for objecting to the
undue influence of the Paris Brothers. St. Germain’s mission in the
Hague, however, was only an attempt to covertly wrest financial
control from the Paris Brothers and put it back into the hands of
the same clique of financiers whose predecessors had
institutionalized the inflatable paper money system to begin
with—the very system which had brought financial ruin to France and
the consequent intervention of the Paris Brothers. Because of St.
Germain’s sudden forced departure from Holland, he was never able to
complete his financial mission.
Upon arriving in London after fleeing Holland, St. Germain was once
again arrested and released. During this short stay in England, St.
Germain published seven violin solos.
St. Germain continued his covert political activities after leaving
London. In 1760, he returned secretly to Paris. There St. Germain is
believed to have stayed with his friend, the Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst. Anhalt-Zerbst was another German state which rented
mercenaries to England, although it never accumulated the same
wealth as some of its German neighbors.
The Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst had a daughter, Catherine
II. On August 21, 1744, Catherine II had married Peter III of
Russia. This marriage had been arranged by Frederick the Great of
Prussia, who was a friend of the Anhalt-Zerbst family and, at least
for a time, of St. Germain.
In 1762, two years after St. Germain’s quiet return to Paris, Peter
III assumed the Russian throne. St. Germain traveled immediately to
the Russian capital of St. Petersburg where he helped Catherine
overthrow Peter and establish her as the Empress of Russia.
Assisting in the coup d’etat was the Russian Orloff family. The Orloffs are believed to have murdered Peter by strangling him in a
phony brawl. For his assistance in the coup, St. Germain was made a
general of the Russian army and he remained a close friend of
the Orloff family for many years. Catherine, who later became known as
“Catherine the Great,” went on to rule Russia for twenty-nine years.
With this bold coup, St. Germain had helped put Russia under the
rule of the same small clique of German royal families under which
other European countries had fallen. The same modus operandi was
used: the marriage of a royal German into the victim dynasty followed
by a revolution or
coup. Here we find evidence of direct Brotherhood involvement in
the person of St. Germain.
What St. Germain did between 1763 and 1769 after leaving Russia is a
mystery. He is known to have spent approximately one year in Berlin
and was a short-term guest of Friedrich August of Brunswick. From
Brunswick, St. Germain continued his travels around Europe. He
returned to France in 1770. In 1772, St. Germain again acted as an
agent for Louis XV, this time during negotiations in Vienna over the
partition of Poland.
Unfortunately for St. Germain, Louis XV died on
May 10, 1774 and Louis’s nineteen-year-old grandson, Louis XVI, took
the throne. The new king brought Choiseul back to power and took a
personal dislike to St. Germain. The Count was forced to leave French
society for the last time.
St. Germain immediately departed for Germany where, only eleven days
after the death of Louis XV, he was a guest of William IX of
Hesse—the prince who was to inherit the vast Hesse-Kassel fortune.
According to J. J. Bjornstahl, writing in his book of travels:
We were guests at the court of the Prince-Hereditary
Wilhelm von Hessen-Cassel (brother of Karl von
Hessen) at Hanau, near Frankfort.
As we returned on the 21st of May 1774 to the
Castle of Hanau, we found there Lord Cavendish
and the Comte de St. Germain; they had come
from Lausanne, and were travelling to Cassel and
After his visit to the home of the Hessian prince,
traveled about Europe some more. He was welcomed as a guest of the
Margrave of Brandenburg and by others. Finally, in 1779, St. Germain
was taken in by Prince Karl of Hesse, who was a top leader of the
Strict Observance. St. Germain spent the last five years of his known
life with Karl.
In 1784, St. Germain reportedly died. The church register of
Eckenforde contained the entry:
Deceased on February 27, buried on March 2, 1784, the so-called
Compte de St. Germain and Weldon*— further information not
known—privately deposited in this Church.9
* St. Germain used many aliases.
Weldon was one of them.
It was after his reported death that St. Germain’s true status within
the Brotherhood emerged. Not only was St. Germain portrayed as one
of the highest representatives of the Brotherhood, he was also
deified as a physically immortal being who did not age or die. A
number of his contemporary admirers claimed that they saw St.
Germain at times when it should have been impossible for them to do
so because of St. Germain’s age.
For example, Baron
E. H. Gleichen, writing in his memoirs published in 1868, stated:
I have heard Rameau and an old relative of a French ambassador at
Venice testify to having known St. Germain in 1710, when he had the
appearance of a man of fifty years of age.10
If St. Germain was fifty years old in 1710, then he would have been
124 years old when he reportedly died. There are, however, those who
claim that St. Germain did not die in 1784. A German mystical
magazine published in 1857, Magazin der Beweisfuhrer fur
Verurtheilung des Freimaurer-Ordens, stated that St. Germain was one
of the French representatives to the 1785 Masonic convention in
Paris, one year after his reported death. Another writer, Cantu Cesare, in his work,
Gli Eretici d’Italia, stated that St. Germain
was present at the famous Wilhelmsbad Masonic conference which was
also held in 1785.
These reports are viewed by some people as evidence that
St. Germain’s death had been staged (perhaps for the second
time in his life) to enable him to escape the controversy which
surrounded him so that he could live out the rest of his life in
St. Germain’s alleged appearances after death did not end in 1785,
however. Countess D’Adhemar, a member of the French court who wrote
her memoirs shortly before her death in 1822, alleged seeing St.
Germain many times after his reported death, usually during times of
upheaval. She claimed that St. Germain had sent warnings to the King
and Queen of France (his enemy Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette) just
prior to the outbreak of the French Revolution which occurred in
1789. She also claimed that she saw him in 1793, 1804, 1813, and
A Rosicrucian writer, Franz Graeffer, stated that St. Germain
had made appearances in Austria after his reported death, and was
honored there as an advanced Adept of the Brotherhood. In the late
1800’s, Madame Helena Blavatsky, one of the cofounders of the
Theosophical Society, declared that St. Germain was one of the
Hidden Masters of Tibet who secretly controlled the destiny of the
world. In 1919, a man claiming to be St. Germain appeared in Hungary
at a time when a successful communist-led revolution was underway in
that country. Finally, in 1930, a man named Guy Ballard claimed that
he met St. Germain on Mount Shasta in California, and that St.
Germain had helped him establish
a new Brotherhood branch known as
the “I AM.” We will look at the “I AM” in a later chapter.
Were all of these witnesses lying? Probably not. The Brotherhood
occasionally sponsored “resurrections” as a way to deify select
members. That is what had been done with Jesus. In fact, those
Brotherhood branches which deify St. Germain (which is certainly not
all of them) often give St. Germain the same spiritual status as
Jesus. Why St. Germain was chosen for deification may never be fully
understood. Perhaps his successes on behalf of the Brotherhood were
far more numerous than we know. Whatever the reason might have been,
it is clear that St. Germain was mortal. He did die, if not on the
reported date of his demise, then surely within a decade of it.
During his lifetime, and still today, many people have labeled St.
Germain a fraud and charlatan. Some critics contend that St. Germain
was nothing more than a glib con-artist of common birth whose entry
into royal society came about solely through his wiles and colorful
personality. The evidence we have looked at clearly does not support
this argument. It was not easy for an outsider to enter so many
circles and remain there.
St. Germain’s involvement in the overthrow
of Peter of Russia was not a petty scam; it was a major coup which
altered the political landscape of Europe. Yes, St. Germain was a
charlatan on a number of matters, but that made his political
activities and connections no less significant. St. Germain’s color
and flamboyance obscured a deadly serious side to his life. His
travels and activities tied the Brotherhood to the Hessian princes,
the intrigues of France, the wars of Europe, and the paper money
The personality of St. Germain reveals that when we
discuss “behind-the-scenes” influences, we are not necessarily
talking about eerie characters who skulk about in shadows doing
incomprehensible things. We are usually discussing people who are as
lively and colorful as the rest of us. They succeed and they fail.
They have their charms and their quirks like everyone else. They
exercise influence over people, but not puppet like control. They are
affected by the same things that everyone else is affected by.
These observations lead to an important point:
When some writers describe the influence of the Brotherhood network in history, and when some readers
it, they envision strange subterranean “occult” forces at
work. This is an illusion generated by the mysticism and
secrecy of the Brotherhood itself. Changes in society, whether
for good or bad, are caused by people doing things. The
Brotherhood network has simply been an effective channel
to get people to act, and to keep much of what they do secret.
The influence of the Brotherhood network only appears
mysterious and “occult” because so many actions have
gone unrecorded and unknown to outsiders. The corrupted
Brotherhood network does not have today, nor has it ever
had, effective “occult” powers. The world can therefore be
remade for the better by people simply acting and doing.
No magic wand is needed. Just some elbow grease.
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Here a Knight,
There a Knight...
EVEN AFTER THE collapse of the Stuart cause, the Knight degrees
remained popular and spread rapidly. The pro-Stuart slant vanished in
favor of an antimonarchical philosophy in some Templar organizations,
and a pro-monarchial sentiment in others. Freemasons practicing the
Templar degrees played important political roles on both sides of
monarchy vs. antimonarchy battles going on in the 18thcentury,
thereby helping to keep that issue alive in such a way that people
would find it something to continuously fight over.
For example, King Gustavus III of Sweden and his brother, Karl, the Duke of Sodermanland, had been initiated into the Strict Observance in 1770.
In the following year, one of Gustavus’s first acts upon assuming the
Swedish throne was to mount a coupd’etat against the Swedish Riksdag
[parliament] and reestablish greater powers in the Crown. According
to Samuel Harrison Baynard, writing in his book, History of the
Supreme Council, Gustavus was assisted largely by fellow Freemasons.
The Knight degrees also found a home in Ireland where they attached
themselves to the Order of Orange. As we recall, the Orange Order was
a militant organization patterned after Freemasonry. It was founded
to ensure that Protestantism remained England’s dominant
religion. Members of the Orange Order vowed to support the
Hanoverians as long as the Hanoverians continued their support of
Protestantism. The Knight degrees were grafted onto the Order of
Orange in the early 1790’s, by which time the Stuart cause was nearly
The Orange Order’s Templar degrees were, and still are today,
called the “Black Preceptory.” Although the Orange Order and the
Black Preceptory are supposed to be equal in status and rank, entry
into the Black Preceptory is accomplished only after a person has
first passed through the degrees of the Orange Order. According to
Tony Gray, writing in his fascinating book,
The Orange Order, the
Black Preceptory today has eleven degrees and “a great deal of
secrecy still shrouds the inner workings of this curious
Approximately 50% to 60% of all Orange members become
members of the Preceptory. The Orange Order itself continues to be
strongly Protestant and anti-Catholic, and in this way it
contributes to some of the conflicts between Catholics and
Protestants in Ireland today.
Another interesting chapter in the history of the Templar Degrees
concerns the creation of a bogus “Illuminati.” “Illuminati,” as we
recall, was the Latin name given to the Brotherhood. In 1779, a
second “Illuminati” was started in the Strict Observance Lodge of
Munich. This second bogus ”Illuminati” was led by an ex-Jesuit priest
Adam Weishaupt and was structured as a semiautonomous
Openly political and antimonarchical, Weishaupt’s
“Illuminati” formed another channel of “higher degrees” for
Freemasons to graduate into after completing the Blue Degrees. Weishaupt’s “Illuminati” had its own “hidden master” known as the
“Ancient Scot Superior.” The Strict Observance members who were
initiated into this “Illuminati” apparently believed that they were
being initiated into the highest echelons of the real Illuminati, or
Brotherhood. Once initiated under strict vows of secrecy, members
“revealed” a great deal of political and antimonarchical
Weishaupt’s “Illuminati” was soon attacked, however. Its
headquarters in German Bavaria were raided by the Elector
of Bavaria in 1786. Many radical political aims of the Illuminati were discovered in documents seized during the raid.
The Duke of Brunswick, acting as Grand Master of German
Freemasonry, finally issued a manifesto eight years later,
in 1794, to counteract Weishaupt’s bogus “Illuminati” after
the public scandal could no longer be contained. Joining in
the suppression of Weishaupt’s Bavarian “Illuminati” were
many Rosicrucians. Despite the repression, this “Illuminati”
survived and still exists today.
Many people have mistakenly believed that Weishaupt’s “Illuminati”
was the true Illuminati and that it took over all of Freemasonry.
This error is caused by Weishaupt’s express desire to have his
degrees become the only “higher degrees” of Freemasonry. One can
still find books today which theorize that Weishaupt’s “Illuminati”
was, and still is, the source of nearly all of mankind’s social ills.
A careful study of the evidence indicates that
“Illuminati” is actually a red herring in this respect. Although Weishaupt’s “Illuminati” did contribute to some of the
revolutionary agitation going on in Europe, its impact on history
does not appear to have been as great as some people believe,
despite the enormous publicity it received. The social ills which
have sometimes been blamed on Weishaupt’s “Illuminati” existed long
before the birth of Adam Weishaupt. What did takeover nearly all of
Freemasonry in the eighteenth century were the Templar degrees,
which were not the same thing as Weishaupt’s “Illuminati.”
significance of the Bavarian Illuminati is that is was an
antimonarchy faction allowed to operate out of Strict Observance
lodges; meanwhile, the Strict Observance was generally considered
pro-monarchy and it supported pro-monarchy causes, as in the Swedish Ricksdag overthrow, mentioned earlier. This made the Strict
Observance a source of secret agitation on both sides of the
monarchy-versus-antimonarchy conflicts for a number of years—another
example of Brotherhood Machiavellianism.
The worldwide transformation of human society announced in
Rosicrucian Fama Fraternitis gained momentum as Freemasons and other
mystical network members led numerous revolutions around the world.
The uprisings were not confined to Europe; they spilled across the
Atlantic Ocean and took root in the European colonies in North
There they gave birth to the single most influential nation
on Earth today: the United States of America.
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