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Barruel, Abbe

Augustin Barruel, generally known as the Abb Barruel, who was born, October 2, 1741, at Villeneuve de Berg in France, and who died October 5, 1820, was an implacable enemy of Freemasonry. He was a prolific writer, but owes his reputation principally to the work entitled Mmoires pour servir l'Histoire du Jacobinisme, or Recollections to serve for a History of Jacobinism, in four volumes, octavo, published in London in 1797. In this work he charges the Freemasons with revolutionary principles in politics and with infidelity in religion. He seeks to trace the origin of the Institution first to those ancient heretics, the Manicheans, and through them to the Templars, against whom he revives the old accusations of Philip the Fair and Clement V. His theory of the Templar origin of Freemasonry is thus expressed (11, 382):

"Your whole school and all your Lodges are derived from the Templars. After the extinction of their Order, a certain number of guilty knights, having escaped the prosecution, united for the preservation of their horrid mysteries. To their impious code they added the vow of vengeance against the kings and priests who destroyed their Order, and against all religion which anathematized their dogmas.

They made adepts, who should transmit from generation to generation the same mysteries of iniquity, the same oaths, and the same hatred of the God of the Christians, and of kings, and of priests. These mysteries have descended to you, and you continue to perpetuate their impiety, their vows, and their oaths. Such is your origin. The lapse of time and the change of manners have varied a part of your symbols and your frightful systems; but the essence of them remains, the vows, the oaths, the hatred, and the conspiracies are the same.''

It is not astonishing that Lawrie (History of Freemasonry, page 50) should have said of the writer of such statements, that:

"That charity and forbearance which distinguish the Christian character are never exemplified in the work of Barruel, and the hypocrisy of his pretensions is often betrayed by the fury of his zeal. The tattered veil behind which he attempts to cloak his inclinations often discloses to the reader the motives of the man and the wishes of his party."

Although the attractions of his style and the boldness of his declamation gave Barruel at one time a prominent place among anti-masonic writers, his work is now seldom read and never cited in Masonic controversies, for the progress of truth has assigned their just value to its extravagant assertions.

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