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Secret Societies and Subversive Movements

Secret Societies and Subversive Movements

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Published by Hal Shurtleff

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Published by: Hal Shurtleff on Feb 18, 2011
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SECRET SOCIETIES
 AND
 SUBVERSIVE MOVEMENTS
 by 
NESTA H. WEBSTER 
CHRISTIAN BOOK CLUB OF AMERICA 
BY THE SAME AUTHOR 
The Chevalier de Boufflers
 
The French Revolution
 
World Revolution
 
The Socialist Network
 
The Surrender of an Empire
 
 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette: Before the Revolution
 
 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette: During the Revolution
 
 Spacious Days
 "There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in thisHouse ... I mean the secret societies.... It is useless to deny, because it is impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe—the whole of Italy and France and a great portion of 
 
Germany, to say nothing of other countries—is covered witha network of these secret societies, just as the superficies of the earth is now being covered with railroads. And what aretheir objects? They do not attempt to conceal them. They donot want constitutional government; they do not wantameliorated institutions ... they want to change the tenure of land, to drive out the present owners of the soil and to putan end to ecclesiastical establishments. Some of them may go further...." (DISRAELI in the House of Commons, July 14, 1856.)
PREFACE
It is a matter of some regret to me that I have been so far unable tocontinue the series of studies on the French Revolution of which
TheChevalier de Boufflers
and
The French Revolution, a Study in Democracy
formed the first two volumes. But the state of the world atthe end of the Great War seemed to demand an enquiry into thepresent phase of the revolutionary movement, hence my attempt tofollow its course up to modern times in
World Revolution
. And now  before returning to that first cataclysm I have felt impelled to devoteone more book to the Revolution as a whole by going this time further back into the past and attempting to trace its origins from the firstcentury of the Christian era. For it is only by taking a general survey of the movement that it is possible to understand the causes of any particular phase of its existence. The French Revolution did not arisemerely out of conditions or ideas peculiar to the eighteenth century,nor the Bolshevist Revolution out of political and social conditions inRussia or the teaching of Karl Marx. Both these explosions wereproduced by forces which, making use of popular suffering anddiscontent, had long been gathering strength for an onslaught not only on Christianity, but on all social and moral order.It is of immense significance to notice with what resentment this pointof view is met in certain quarters. When I first began to write onrevolution a well-known London publisher said to me, "Rememberthat if you take an anti-revolutionary line you will have the whole
 
literary world against you." This appeared to me extraordinary. Why should the literary world sympathize with a movement which from theFrench Revolution onwards has always been directed againstliterature, art, and science, and has openly proclaimed its aim to exaltthe manual workers over the intelligentsia? "Writers must beproscribed as the most dangerous enemies of the people," saidRobespierre; his colleague Dumas said all clever men should beguillotined. "The system of persecution against men of talents wasorganized.... They cried out in the sections of Paris, 'Beware of thatman for he has written a book!'"
1
Precisely the same policy has beenfollowed in Russia. Under Moderate Socialism in Germany theprofessors, not the "people," are starving in garrets. Yet the wholepress of our country is permeated with subversive influences. Notmerely in partisan works, but in manuals of history or literature foruse in Schools, Burke is reproached for warning us against the FrenchRevolution and Carlyle's panegyric is applauded. And whilst every slipon the part of an anti-revolutionary writer is seized on by the criticsand held up as an example of the whole, the most glaring errors notonly of conclusions but of facts pass unchallenged if they happen to becommitted by a partisan of the movement. The principle laid down by Collot d'Herbois still holds good: "Tout est permis pour quiconqueagit dans le sens de la révolution." All this was unknown to me when I first embarked on my work. Iknew that French writers of the past had distorted facts to suit theirown political views, that a conspiracy of history is still directed by certain influences in the masonic lodges and the Sorbonne; I did notknow that this conspiracy was being carried on in this country.Therefore the publisher's warning did not daunt me. If I was wrongeither in my conclusions or facts I was prepared to be challenged.Should not years of laborious historical research meet either withrecognition or with reasoned and scholarly refutation? But althoughmy book received a great many generous and appreciative reviews inthe press, criticisms which were hostile took a form which I had neveranticipated. Not a single honest attempt was made to refute either my 
 French Revolution
or
World Revolution
by the usual methods of controversy; statements founded on documentary evidence were met with flat contradiction unsupported by a shred of counter evidence. Ingeneral the plan adopted was not to disprove, but to discredit by means of flagrant misquotations, by attributing to me views I hadnever expressed, or even by means of offensive personalities. It will

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