June 11, 2012
HE GREAT ILLUMINIST, Rosicrucian and Freemason who termed himself the Comte de St.-Germain is without question the most baffling personality of modern history. His name was so nearly a synonym of mystery that the enigma of his true identity was as insolvable to his contemporaries as it has been to later investigators. No one questioned the Comte’s noble birth or illustrious estate. His whole personality bore the indelible stamp of gentle breeding.
The grace and dignity that characterized his conduct, together with his perfect composure in every situation, attested the innate refinement and culture of one accustomed to high station.
A London publication makes the following brief analysis of his ancestry: "Did he in his old age tell the truth to his protector and enthusiastic admirer, Prince Charles of Hesse Cassel? According to the story told by his last friend, he was the son of Prince Rakoczy, of Transylvania, and his first wife, a Takely. He was placed, when an infant, under the protection of the last of the Medici (Gian Gastone). When he grew up and heard that his two brothers, sons of the Princess Hesse Rheinfels, of Rothenburg, had received the names of St. Charles and St. Elizabeth, he determined to take the name of their holy brother, St. Germanus. What was the truth? One thing alone is certain, that he was the protege of the last Medici." Caesare Cantu, librarian at Milan, also substantiates the
[paragraph continues] Ragoczy hypothesis, adding that St.-Germain was educated in the University at Sienna.
In her excellent monograph, The Comte de St.-Germain, the Secret of Kings, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley lists the more important names under which this amazing person masqueraded between the years 1710 and 1822. "During this time," she writes, "we have M. de St.-Germain as the Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre or Aymar at Venice, Chevalier Schoening at Pisa, Chevalier Weldon at Milan and Leipzig, Comte Soltikoff at Genoa and Leghorn, Graf Tzarogy at Schwalback and Triesdorf, Prinz Ragoczy at Dresden, and Comte de St.-Germain at Paris, The Hague, London, and St. Petersburg." To this list it may be added that there has been a tendency among mystical writers to connect him with the mysterious Comte de Gabalais who appeared to the Abbe Villiers and delivered several discourses on sub-mundane spirits. Nor is it impossible that he is the same as the remarkable Signor Gualdi whose exploits Hargreave Jennings recounts in his book The Rosicrucians, Their Rites and Mysteries. He is also suspected of being identical with Count Hompesch the last Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.
In personal appearance, the Comte de St.-Germain has been described as of medium height, well proportioned in body and of regular and pleasing features. His complexion was somewhat swarthy and his hair dark, though often powdered. He dressed simply,' usually in black, but his clothes were well fitting and of the best quality. His eyes possessed a great fascination and those who looked into them were profoundly influenced. According to Madame de Pompadour, he claimed to possess the secret of eternal youth, and upon a certain occasion claimed having been personally acquainted with Cleopatra, and at another time of having "chatted familiarly with the Queen of Sheba"! Had it not been for his striking personality and apparently supernatural powers, the Comte would undoubtedly have been considered insane, but his transcending genius was so evident that he was merely termed eccentric.
From Souvenirs de Marie Antoinette, by Madame la Comtesse d’Adhemar, we have an excellent description of the Comte, whom Frederick the Great referred to as "the man who does not die": "It was in 1743 the rumour spread that a foreigner, enormously rich, judging by the magnificence of his jewelry, had just arrived at Versailles. Where he came from, no one has ever been able to find out. His figure was well-knit and graceful, his hands delicate, his feet small, and the shapely legs enhanced by well-fitting silk stockings. His nether garments, which fitted very closely, suggested a rare perfection of form. His smile showed magnificent teeth, a pretty
dimple marked his chin, his hair was black, and his glance soft and penetrating. And, oh, what eyes! Never have I seen their like. He looked about forty or forty-five years old. He was often to be met within the royal private apartments, where he had unrestricted admission at the beginning of 1768."
The Comte de St.-Germain was recognized as an outstanding scholar and linguist of his day. His linguistic proficiency verged on the supernatural. He spoke German, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French with a Piedmontese accent, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Arabic and Chinese with such fluency that in every land in which he visited he was accepted as a native. "Learned," writes one author, "speaking every civilized language admirably, a great musician, an excellent chemist, he played the part of a prodigy and played it to perfection." Even his most relentless detractors admitted that the Comte was possessed of almost incredible attainments in every department of learning.
Madame de Pompadour extols the genius of St.-Germain in the following words: "A thorough knowledge of all languages, ancient and modern; a prodigious memory; erudition, of which glimpses could be caught between the caprices of his conversation, which was always amusing and occasionally very engaging; an inexhaustible skill in varying the tone and subjects of his converse; in being always fresh and in infusing the unexpected into the most trivial discourses made him a superb talker. Sometimes he recounted anecdotes of the court of the Valois or of princes still more remote, with such precise accuracy in every detail as almost to create the illusion that he had been an eyewitness to what he narrated. He had traveled the whole world over and the king lent a willing ear to the narratives of his voyages over Asia and Africa, and to his tales about the courts of Russia, Turkey and Austria. He appeared to be more imtimately acquainted with the secrets of each court than the charge d’affaires of the king."
The Comte was ambidextrous to such a degree that he could write the same article with both hands simultaneously. When the two pieces of paper were afterwards placed one upon the other with the light behind them the writing on one sheet exactly covered the writing on the other. He could repeat pages of print after one reading. To prove that the two lobes of his brain could work independently he wrote a love letter with his right hand and a set of mystical verses with his left, both at the same time. He also sang beautifully.
By something akin to telepathy this remarkable person was able to feel when his presence was needed in some distant city or state
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and it has even been recorded of him that he had the disconcerting habit of appearing in his own apartments and those of his friends without resorting to the conventionality of the door.
He was, by some curious circumstances, a patron of railroads and steamboats. Franz Graeffer, in his Recollections of Vienna, recounts the following incident in the life of the astonishing Comte: "St.-Germain then gradually passed into a solemn mood. For a few seconds he became rigid as a statue; his eyes, which were always expressive beyond words, became dull and colourless.
Presently, however, his whole being became reanimated. He made a movement with his hand as if in signal of departure, then said 'I am leaving (ich scheide) do not visit me. Once again will you see me. Tomorrow night I am off; I am much needed in Constantinople, then in England, there to prepare two inventions which you will have in the next century—trains and steamboats'."
As an historian the Comte possessed an uncanny knowledge of every occurrence of the preceding two thousand years and in his reminiscences he described in intimate detail events of the previous centuries in which he had played important roles. "He spoke of scenes at the court of Francis I as if he had seen them, describing exactly the appearance of the king, imitating his voice, manner and language—affecting throughout the character of an eyewitness. In like style he edified his audience with pleasant stories of Louis XIVth, and regaled them with vivid descriptions of places and persons." (See All the Year Round).
Most of St.-Germain’s biographers have noted his peculiar habits with regard to eating. It was diet, he declared, combined with his marvellous elixir, which constituted the true secret of longevity, and although invited to the most sumptuous repasts he resolutely refused to eat any food but such as had been specially prepared for him and according to his recipes. His food consisted mostly of oatmeal, groats and the white meat of chicken. He is known on rare occasions to have taken a little wine and he always took the most elaborate precautions against the possibility of contracting cold. Frequently invited to dinner, he devoted the time during which he naturally should have eaten to regaling the other guests with tales of magic and sorcery, unbelievable adventures in remote places and intimate episodes from the lives of the great.
In one of his tales concerning vampires, St.-Germain mentioned in an offhand way that he possessed the wand or staff with which Moses brought water from the rock, adding that it had been presented to him at Babylon during the reign of Cyrus the Great. The memoir writers admit themselves at a loss as to how many of the
[paragraph continues] Comte’s statements could be believed. Common sense, as then defined, assured them that most of the accounts must be fashioned out of whole cloth. On the other hand, his information was of such precise nature and his learning so transcendent in every respect that his words carried the weight of conviction. Once while relating an anecdote regarding his own experiences at some remote time and suddenly failing to recollect clearly what he considered a relevant detail, he turned to his valet and said, "Am I not mistaken, Roger?" The good man instantly replied: "Monsieur le Comte forgets that I have only been with him for five hundred years. I could not, therefore, have been present at that occasion. It must have been my predecessor."
The smallest doings of so unusual a person as St.-Germain would, of course, be meticulously noted. Several interesting and amusing bits of information are available relative to the establishment which he maintained in Paris. He had two valets de chambre. The first, Roger, already mentioned, and the second a Parisien engaged for his knowledge of the city and other useful local information. "Besides this, his household consisted of four lackeys in snuff-colored livery and gold braiding. He hired a carriage at five hundred francs a month. As he often changed his coats and waistcoats, he had a rich and expensive collection of them but nothing approached the mangificence of his buttons, studs, watches, rings, chains, diamonds, and other precious stones. Of these he possessed a very large value and varied them every week."
Meeting St.-Germain one day at dinner Baron Gleichen chanced to focus the conversation upon Italy and had the good fortune to please St.-Germain, who, turning to him remarked: "I have taken a great fancy to you, and will show you a dozen pictures, the like of which you have not seen in Italy." In the words of Gleichen: "Actually, he almost kept his word, for the pictures he showed me were all stamped either with singularity or perfection, which rendered them more interesting than many first-class works. Above all was a Holy Family by Murillo, equal in beauty to that by Rafaelle at Versailles. But he showed me other wonders—a large quantity of jewels and colored diamonds of extraordinary size and perfection. I thought I beheld the treasures of the Wonderful Lamp.
Among other gems were an opal of monstrous size, and a white sapphire (?) as large as an egg, which, by its brilliancy, dimmed all the stones compared with it. I flatter myself that I am a connoisseur in gems, but I can declare that it was impossible to perceive any reason for doubting the genuineness of these jewels, the more so that they were not mounted."
As an art critic St.-Germain could instantly detect the most
cleverly perpetrated forgeries. He did considerable painting himself, achieving an incredible brilliance of color. He was so successful that Vanloo the French artist begged him to divulge the secret of his pigments but he refused. He is accredited with having secured astonishing results in the painting of jewelry by mixing powdered mother-of-pearl with his colors. What occurred to his priceless collection of paintings and jewels after his death or disappearance is unknown. It is possible that the Comte’s chemical knowledge comprehended the manufacture of luminous paint such as is now used on watch dials. His skill as a chemist was so profound that he could remove flaws from diamonds and emeralds, which feat he actually performed at the request of Louis XV in 1757. Stones of comparatively little value were thus transformed into gems of the first water after remaining for a short time in his possession. He frequently performed this last experiment, if the statements of his friends can be relied upon. There is also a popular story to the effect that he placed gems worth thousands of dollars on the place cards at the banquets he gave.
It was in the court at Versailles that the Comte de St.-Germain was brought face to face with the elderly Comtesse de Gergy. Upon beholding the celebrated magician, the aged lady stepped back in amazement and the following well-authenticated conversation took place between the two:
"Fifty years ago," the Comtesse said, "I was ambassadress at Venice and I remember seeing you there looking just as you do now, only somewhat riper in age perhaps, for you have grown younger since then."
Bowing low, the Comte answered with dignity: "I have always thought myself happy in being able to make myself agreeable to the ladies."
Madame de Gergy then continued: "You then called yourself the Marquis Balletti."
The Comte bowed again and replied: "And Comtesse Gergy’s memory is still as good as it was fifty years ago."
The Comtesse smiled. "That I owe to an elixir you gave me at our first meeting. You are really an extraordinary man."
St.-Germain assumed a grave expression. "Did this Marquis Balletti have a bad reputation?" he asked.
"On the contrary," replied the Comtesse, "he was in very good society."
The Comte shrugged his shoulders expressively saying: "Well,
as no one complains of him, I adopt him willingly as my grandfather."
The Comtesse d’Adhemar was present during the entire conversation and vouches for its accuracy in every detail.
Madame du Hausset, femme de chambre to Madame de Pompadour, writes at some length of the astonishing man who often called upon her mistress. She records a conversation which took place between la Pompadour and St.-Germain:
"It is true, Madame, that I knew Madame de Gergy long ago," the Comte affirmed quietly.
"But, according to that," replied the Marquise, "you must now be more than a hundred years old."
"That is not impossible," enigmatically returned the Comte with a slight smile, "but I admit that it is more possible that this lady, for whom I have infinite respect, talks nonsense."
It was answers such as this which led Gustave Bord to write of St.-Germain that, "he allows a certain mystery to hover about him, a mystery which awakens curiosity and sympathy. Being a virtuoso in the art of misleading he says nothing that is untrue. * * * He has the rare gift of remaining silent and profiting by it." (See La Franc-Macennerie en France, etc.)
But to return to Madame du Hausset’s story. "You gave Madame de Gergy," pressed la Pompadour, "an elixir surprising in its effects; she pretends that tor a long while she appeared to be no older than twenty-four. Why should you not give some to the king?"
St.-Germain allowed an expression feigning terror to spread over his face, "Ah! Madame, I should be mad indeed to take it into my head to give the king an unknown drug!"
The Comte was on very friendly terms with Louis XV with whom he had long discussions on the subject of precious stones, their manufacture and purification. Louis was amused and thrilled by turns. Never before had so extraordinary a person trod the sacred precincts of Versailles. The whole court was topsy-turvy and miracles were the order of the day. Courtiers of depleted fortunes envisioned the magical multiplication of their gold and grandames of uncertain age had dreams of youth and favor restored by the mystery man’s fabled elixirs. It is easy to understand how so fascinating a character could relieve the boredom of a king who had spent his life a martyr to royal fashions and was deprived by his position of the pleasure of honest work. Then, again, rulers become victims to the fads of the moment and Louis himself was
dabbling in alchemy and other occult arts. True, the king was only a dilletante whose will was not strong enough to bind him to any lasting purpose, but St.-Germain appealed to several qualities in the royal nature. The Comte’s fund of knowledge, the skill with. which he assembled his facts to the amusement and edification of his audiences, the mystery which surrounded his appearances and disappearances, his consummate skill both as a critic and technician in the arts and sciences, to say nothing of his jewels and wealth, endeared him to the king. Had Louis but profited by the wisdom and prophetic warnings of the mysterious Comte, the Reign of Terror might have been averted. St.-Germain was ever the patron, never the patronized. Louis had found the diplomat in whom there was no guile.
De Pompadour writes, "He enriched the cabinet of the king by his pictures by Valasquez and Murillo, and he presented to the Marquise the most precious and priceless gems. For this singular man passed for being fabulously rich and he distributed diamonds and jewels with astonishing liberality."
Not the least admirable evidence of the Comte’s genius was his penetrating grasp of the political situation of Europe and the consummate skill with which he parried the thrusts of his diplomatic adversaries. At all times he bore credentials which gave him entry to the most exclusive circles of European nobility. During the reign of Peter the Great M. de St.-Germain was in Russia, and between the years 1737 and 1742 in the court of the Shah of Persia as an honored guest. On the subject of his wanderings, Una Birch writes: "The travels of the Comte de Saint-Germain covered a long period of years and a great range of countries. From Persia to France and from Calcutta to Rome he was known and respected. Horace Walpole spoke with him in London in 1745; Clive knew him in India in 1756; Madame d’Adhemar alleges that she met him in Paris in 1789, five years after his supposed death; while other persons pretend to have held conversations with him in the early nineteenth century. He was on familiar and intimate terms with the crowned heads of Europe and the honoured friend of many distinguished persons of all nationalities. He is even mentioned in the memoirs and letters of the day, and always as a man of mystery. Frederick the Great, Voltaire, Madame de Pompadour, Rousseau, Chatham, and Walpole, all of whom knew him personally, rivalled each other in curiosity as to his origin. During the many decades in which he was before the world, however, no one succeeded in discovering why he appeared as a Jacobite agent in London, as a conspirator in Petersburg, as an alchemist and connoisseur of pictures in Paris, or as a Russian general at Naples. * * * Now and again the curtain
which shrouds his actions is drawn aside, and we are permitted to see him fiddling in the music room at Versailles, gossiping with Horace Walpole in London, sitting in Frederick the Great’s library at Berlin, or conducting illuminist meetings in caverns by the Rhine." (See The Nineteenth Century, January, 1908.)
In the realm of music St.-Germain was equally a master. While at Versailles he gave concerts on the violin and on at least one occasion during an eventful life he conducted a symphony orchestra without a score. In Paris St.-Germain was the diplomat and the alchemist, in London he was the musician. "He left a musical record behind him to remind English people of his sojourn in this country. Many of his compositions were published by Walsh, in Catherine Street, Strand, and his earliest English song, Oh, wouldst thou, know what sacred charms, came out while he was still on his first visit to London; but on quitting this city he entrusted certain other settings of words to Walsh, such as Jove, when he saw, and the arias out of his little opera L’Inconstanza Delusa, both of which compositions were published during his absence from England. When he returned, in 1760, he gave the world a great many new songs, followed in 1780 by a set of solos for the violin. He was an industrious and capable artist, and attracted a great deal of fashionable attention to himself both as composer and executant."
An old English newspaper, The London Chronicle, for June, 1760, contains the following anecdote: "With regard to music, he not only played but composed; and both in high taste. Nay, his very ideas were accommodated to the art; and in those occurrences which had no relation to music he found means to express himself in figurative terms deduced from this science. There could not be a more artful way of showing his attention to the subject. I remember an incident which impressed it strongly upon my memory. I had the honour to be at an assembly of Lady , who to many other good and great accomplishments added a taste for music so delicate that she was made a judge in the dispute of masters. This stranger was to be of the party; and towards evening he came in his usual free and polite manner, but with more hurry than was customary, and with his fingers stopped in his ears. I can conceive easily that in most men this would have been a very ungraceful attitude, and I am afraid it would have been construed into an ungenteel entrance; but he had a manner that made everything agreeable. They had been emptying a cartload of stones just at the door, to mend the pavement; he threw himself into a chair and, when the lady asked what was the matter, he pointed to the place and said, 'I am stunned with a whole cart-load of discords'."
In his memoirs the Italian adventurer Jacques de Casanova de Seingalt makes numerous references to his acquaintance with St.-Germain. Casanova grudgingly admits that the Comte was an adept at magical arts, a skilled linguist, musician and chemist who won the favor of the ladies of the French court not only by the general air of mystery surrounding him but by his surpassing skill in preparing pigments and cosmetics by which he preserved for them at least a shadow of swift departing youth.
Casanova describes a meeting with St.-Germain which occurred "in Belgium under most unusual circumstances. Having arrived at Tournay, Casanova was surprised to see some grooms walking spirited horses up and down. He asked to whom the fine animals belonged and was told: "To the Comte de St.-Germain, the adept, who has been here a month and never goes out. Everybody who passes through the place wants to see him, but he makes himself visible to no one." This was sufficient to excite the curiosity of Casanova, who wrote requesting an appointment. He received the following answer: "The gravity of my occupation compels me to exclude everyone, but in your case I will make an exception. Come whenever you like and you will be shown in. You need not mention my name nor your own. I do not ask you to share my repast, for my food is not suitable to others, to you least of all, if your appetite is what it used to be." At nine o’clock Casanova called and found that the Comte had grown a beard two inches long. In discussion with Casanova, the Comte explained his presence in Belgium by stating that Count Cobenzl, the Austrian ambassador at Brussels, desired to establish a hat factory and that he was taking care of the details. Upon his telling St.-Germain that he was suffering from an acute disease, the Comte invited Casanova to remain for treatment, saying that he would prepare fifteen pills which in three days would restore the Italian to perfect health.
Casanova writes: "Then he showed me his magistrum, which he called athoeter. It was a white liquid contained in a well stopped phial. He told me that this liquid was the universal spirit of Nature and that if the wax of the stopper was pricked even so slightly, the whole of the contents would disappear. I begged him to make the experiment. He thereupon gave me the phial and the pin and I myself pricked the wax, when, lo, the phial was empty." Casanova, being somewhat of a rogue himself, doubted all other men. Therefore, he refused to permit St.-Germain to treat his malady. He could not deny, however, that St.-Germain was a chemist of extraordinary skill, whose accomplishments were astonishing if not practical. The adept refused to disclose the purpose for which these chemical experiments
were intended, maintaining that such information could not be communicated.
Casanova further records an incident in which St.-Germain changed a twelve-sols piece into a pure gold coin. Being a doubting Thomas, Casanova declared that he felt sure that St.-Germain had substituted one coin for another. He intimated so to the Comte who replied: "Those who are capable of entertaining doubts of my work are not worthy to speak to me," and bowed the Italian out. This was the last time Casanova ever saw St.-Germain.
There is other evidence that the celebrated Comte possessed the alchemical powder by which it is possible to transmute base metals into gold. He actually performed this feat on at least two occasions, as attested by the writings of contemporaries. The Marquis de Valbelle, visiting St.-Germain in his laboratory, found the alchemist busy with his furnaces. He asked the Marquis for a silver six-franc piece and, covering it with a black substance, exposed it to the heat of a small flame or furnace. M. de Valbelle saw the coin change color until it turned a bright red. Some minutes after, when it had cooled a little, the adept took it out of the cooling vessel and returned it to the Marquis. The piece was no longer of silver but of the purest gold. Transmutation had been complete. The Comtesse d’Adhemar had possession of this coin until 1786 when it was stolen from her secretary.
One author tells us that, "Saint-Germain always attributed his knowledge of occult chemistry to his sojourn in Asia. In 1755 he went to the East again for the second time, and writing to Count von Lamberg he said, 'I am indebted for my knowledge of melting jewels to my second journey to India'."
There are too many authentic cases of metallic transmutations to condemn St.-Germain as a charlatan for such a feat. The Leopold-Hoffman medal, still in the possession of that family, is the most outstanding example of the transmutation of metals ever recorded. Two-thirds of this medal was transformed into gold by the monk Wenzel Seiler, leaving the balance silver which was its original state. In this case fraud was impossible as there was but one copy of the medal extant. The ease with which we condemn as fraudulent and unreal anything which transcends our understanding has brought unjustified calumny upon the names and memories of many illustrious persons.
The popular belief that Comte de St.-Germain was merely an adventurer is not supported by even a shred of evidence. He was never detected in any subterfuge nor did he betray, even to the
slightest degree, the confidence entrusted to him. His great wealth—for he was always amply supplied with this world’s goods—was not extracted from those with whom he came in contact. Every effort to determine the source and size of his fortune was fruitless. He made use of neither bank nor banker yet moved in a sphere of unlimited credit, which was neither questioned by others nor abused by himself.
Referring to the attacks upon his character, H. P. Blavatsky wrote in The Theosophist of March, 1881: "Do charlatans enjoy the confidence and admiration of the cleverest statesmen and nobles of Europe, for long years, and not even at their deaths show in one thing that they were undeserving? Some encyclopaedists (see New American Cyclopedia, xiv. 266) say: 'He is supposed to have been employed during the greater part of his life as a spy at the courts at which he resided.' But upon what evidence is this supposition based? Has anyone found it in any of the state papers in the secret archives of either of those courts? Not one word, not one shred of fact to build this base calumny upon, has ever been found. It is simply a malicious lie. The treatment this great man, this pupil of Indian and Egyptian hierophants, this proficient in the secret wisdom of the East, has had from Western writers, is a stigma upon human nature."
Nothing is known concerning the source of the Comte de St.Germain’s occult knowledge. Most certainly he not only intimated his possession of a vast amount of wisdom but he also gave many examples in support of his claims. When asked once about himself, he replied that his father was the Secret Doctrine and his mother the Mysteries. St.-Germain was thoroughly conversant with the principles of Oriental esotericism. He practiced the Eastern system of meditation and concentration, upon several occasions having been seen seated with his feet crossed and hands folded in the posture of a Hindu Buddha. He had a retreat in the heart of the Himalayas to which he retired periodically from the world. On one occasion he declared that he would remain in India for eighty-five years and then return to the scene of his European labors. At various times he admitted that he was obeying the orders of a power higher and greater than himself. What he did not say was that this superior power was the Mystery School which had sent him into the world to accomplish a definite mission. The Comte de St.-Germain and Sir Francis Bacon are the two greatest emissaries sent into the world by the Secret Brotherhood in the last thousand years.
The principles disseminated by the Comte de St.-Germain were undoubtedly Rosicrucian in origin and permeated with the doctrines
of the Gnostics. The Comte was the moving spirit of Rosicrucianism during the eighteenth century—possibly the actual head of that order—and is suspected of being the great power behind the French Revolution. There is also reason to believe that Lord Bulwer-Lytton’s famous novel, Zanoni, is actually concerned with the life and activities of St.-Germain. He is generally regarded as an important figure in the early activities of the Freemasons. Repeated efforts, however, probably with an ulterior motive, have been made to discredit his Masonic affiliations. Maags of London are offering for sale a Masonic minute book in which the signatures of both Comte de St.-Germain and the Marquis de Lafayette appear. It will yet be established beyond all doubt that the Comte was both a Mason and a Templar; in fact, the memoirs of Cagliostro contain a direct statement of his own initiation into the order of the Knights Ternplars at the hands of St.-Germain. Many of the illustrious personages with whom the Comte associated were high Masons, and sufficient memoranda have been preserved concerning the discussions which they held to prove that he was a Chaster of Freemasonic lore.
Madame d’Adhemar, who has preserved so many anecdotes of the life of the "wonder man", copied from one of St.-Germain’s letters the following prophetic verses pertaining to the downfall of the French Empire:
"The time is fast approaching when imprudent France,
Surrounded by misfortune she might have spared herself,
Will call to mind such hell as Dante painted.
Falling shall we see sceptre, censer, scales,
Towers and escutcheons, even the white flag.
Great streams of blood are flowing in each town;
Sobs only do I hear, and exiles see.
On all sides civil discord loudly roars
And uttering cries, on all sides virtue flees
As from the Assembly votes of death arise.
Great God, who can reply to murderous judges?
And on what brows august I see the swords descend!
Marie Antoinette was much disturbed by the direful nature of the prophecies and questioned Madame d’Adhemar as to her opinion of their significance. Madame replied, "They are dismaying but certainly they cannot affect Your Majesty."
Madame d’Adhemar also recounts a dramatic incident. St.-Germain offered to meet the good lady at the Church of the Recollets about the hour of the eight o’clock mass. Madame went to the
appointed place in her sedan chair and recorded the following conversation between herself and the mysterious adept:
St.-Germain: I am Cassandra, prophet of evil . . . Madame, he who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind . . . I can do nothing; my hands are tied by a stronger than myself.
Madame: Will you see the Queen?
St.-Germain: No; she is doomed.
Madame: Doomed to what?
Madame: And you—you too?
St.-Germain: Yes—like Cazotte—Return to the Palace; tell the Queen to take heed of herself, that this day will be fatal to her . . .
Madame: But M. de Lafayette . . .
St.-Germain: A balloon inflated with wind. Even now, they are settling what to do with him, whether he shall be instrument or victim; by noon all will be decided . . . The hour of repose is past, and the decrees of Providence must be fulfilled.
Madame: What do they want?
St.-Germain: The complete ruin of the Bourbons. They will expel them from all the thrones they occupy and in less than a century they will return in all their different branches to the rank of simple private individuals. France as Kingdom, Republic, Empire, and mixed Government will be tormented, agitated, torn. From the hands of class tyrants she will pass to those who are ambitious and without merit.
Comte de St.-Germain disappeared from the stage of French mysticism as suddenly and inexplicably as he had appeared. Nothing is known with positive certainty after that disappearance. It is claimed by transcendentalists that he retired into the secret order which had sent him into the world for a particular and peculiar purpose. Having accomplished this mission, he vanished. From the Memoirs de Mon Temps of Charles, Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, we gain several particulars concerning the last years before the death or disappearance of the Hungarian adept. Charles was deeply interested in occult and Masonic mysteries, and a secret society, of which he was the moving spirit, held occasional meetings upon his estate. The purposes of this organization were similar to, if not identical with, Cagliostro’s Egyptian Rite. In fact, after studying the fragments left by the Landgrave, Cagliostro’s contention that he was initiated into Egyptian Masonry by St.-Germain is proved beyond
a reasonable doubt. The "Wonder Man" attended at least some of these secret meetings and of all whom he met and knew during life, he confided more in Prince Charles than in any other man. The last years of St.-Germain’s known life were therefore divided between his experimental research work in alchemy with Charles of Hesse and the Mystery School at Louisenlund, in Schleswig, where philosophic and political problems were under discussion.
According to popular tradition, it was on the estate of Prince Charles that St.-Germain finally died at a date given out as 1784. The strange circumstances connected with his passing lead us to suspect that is was a mock funeral similar to that given the English adept, Lord Bacon. It has been noted that, "Great uncertainty and vagueness surround his latter days, for no confidence can be reposed in the announcement of the death of one illuminate by another, for, as is well known, all means to secure the end were in their code justifiable, and it may have been to the interest of the society that St.-Germain should have been thought dead."
H. P. Blavatsky remarks: "Is it not absurd to suppose that if he really died at the time and place mentioned, he would have been laid in the ground without the pomp and ceremony, the official supervision, the police registration which attend the funerals of men of his rank and notoriety? Where are these data? He passed out of public sight more than a century ago, yet no memoirs contain them. A man who so lived in the full blaze of publicity could not have vanished, if he really died then and there, and left no trace behind. Moreover, to this negative we have the alleged positive proof that he was living several years after 1784. He is said to have had a most important private conference with the Empress of Russia in 1785 or 1786 and to have appeared to the Princess de Lambelle when she stood before the tribunal, a few minutes before she was struck down with a billet, and a butcher-boy cut off her head; and to Jeanne Dubarry, the mistress of Louis XV as she waited on her scaffold at Paris the stroke of the guillotine in the Days of Terror of 1793."
It should be added that the Comte de Chalons, on his return from an embassy to Venice in 1788, said that he had conversed with the Comte de St.-Germain in the square at St. Mark’s the evening before his departure. The Comtesse d’Adhemar also saw and talked with him after his presumed decease, and the Encyclopedia Britannica notes that he is said to have attended a Masonic conference several years after his death had been reported. In concluding an article on the identity of the inscrutable Comte, Andrew Lang writes: "Did Saint-Germain really die in the palace of Prince Charles of Hesse about 1780-85? Did he, on the other hand, escape from the French
prison where Grosley thought he saw him, during the Revolution? Was he known to Lord Lytton about 1860? * * * Is he the mysterious Muscovite adviser of the Dalai Lama? Who knows? He is a will-o’-the-wisp of the memoir-writers of the eighteenth century." (See Historical Mysteries.)
The true purpose for which St.-Germain labored must remain obscure until the dawn of a new era. Homer refers to the Golden Chain by which the gods conspired to bind the earth to the pinnacle of Olympus. In each age there appears some few persons whose words and actions demonstrate clearly that they are of an order different from the rest of society. Humanity is guided over critical periods in the development of civilization by mysterious forces such as were personified in the eccentric Comte de St.-Germain. Until we recognize the reality of the occult forces at work in every-day life, we cannot grasp the significance of either the man or his work.
To the wise, St.-Germain is no wonder—to those who are limited by belief in the inevitability of the commonplace, he is indeed a magician, defying the laws of nature and violating the smugness of the pseudo-learned.
Next: Part Two: The Rarest of Occult Manuscripts
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