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Rosslyn and “The
In the 16th
century, the Sinclairs of Rosslyn were close advisors to the Scottish
kings, and thus to Marie de Guise, the French Regent. In 1546, Marie
de Guise wrote one of her letters to William St Clair. The letter included
this remarkable passage:
that we shall be Leal and trew Maistres to him, his Counsill and Secret
shewn to us we sall keep secret.”
that we shall be loyal and a true Mistress to him, his Council and the
Secret shown to us, which we shall keep secret.”
she sent William St Clair to France, to find more support for her daughter,
Mary, Queen of Scots. It underlines the close relationship Marie de
Guise and the Sinclairs had in the defence of the Scottish monarchy,
a cause which was always close to the heart of the Sinclairs.
is what “The Secret” might be. There is some speculation
that this included jewellery, which had gone missing and of which the
Sinclairs were suspected for being involved in. However, it seems that
such a secret would not be referred to as “The Secret”,
nor would it require a letter from the Queen Regent, pledging her cause
to Sinclair. Rather than Sinclair pledging his loyalty to the Queen
Regent, it is the Queen Regent saying she will obey the Sinclairs and
not betray him.
it be? Abbé Augustin Barruel (February 10, 1741 - May 10, 1820)
was a Jesuit priest mostly known for creating a conspiracy theory involving
the Knights Templars, the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobinians in
his book Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (original title:
Mémoires pour servir l’Histoire du Jacobinisme) published
in 1797. He wrote the book while living in London. Among other things
he called Adam Weishaupt, the leader of the Illuminati, “a human
devil”. His basic idea was that a conspiracy dating back through
time existed, with the aim of overthrowing Christianity.
is Barruel’s reference to a Scottish-Templar and Masonic connection.
Barruel wrote in 1797, when all these subjects were popular –
and as such not too much credence should be given to coming up with
such a suggestion; it was not novel. But what is interesting is that
he wrote that the Templars had discovered three stones in Temple of
Solomon, one of which carried the Name of God. He argued that the three
stones were secretly moved to Scotland after the Templar’s dissolution
in 1312. “The Knights of the Temple made them the foundation for
their Lodge. Their successors, heirs of the Secret, are currently the
perfect Masters of Freemasonry, the High Priests of Jehova.”
stones were a slab carrying the name of God, a cover stone which gave
access to a hidden room and which displayed a four-headed cherub. The
third stone was a square, white stone on which the Ark of the Covenant
had originally been placed.
book is believed to have been a reaction against the French Revolution.
Originally, he felt the freemasons were behind this. Barruel had returned
to Paris in 1802, where he now had a great reputation as a witch-hunter.
In 1806, Barruel circulated a forged letter, probably sent to him by
members of the state police opposed to Napoleon Bonaparte’s liberal
policy toward the Jews, calling attention to the alleged part of the
Jews in the conspiracy he had earlier attributed to the freemasons.
It opened the way for books such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
another conspiracy tome from the early 20th century, detailing the Jews
were involved in a massive conspiracy.
It was coincidental
that another book, John Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy against
all the Religions and Government of Europe carried on in the Secret
Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati and Reading Societies, was published
at about the same time as Barruel’s book. Professor John Robison
was a secretary of the Royal Society and academic at the University
of Edinburgh. The two men were not acquainted and their respective works
were written independently.
By contemporary standards Barruel’s Memoires and Robison’s
Proofs of a Conspiracy were best-sellers. Robison’s book was soon
forgotten, but Barruel’s became known all over Europe and was
still available more than a century after its original publication in
E. Perrenet’s abridged edition (Paris, 1912). Barruel and Robison
influenced public opinion because, then as now, there was a ready market
for “sensational disclosures”.
In his old
age, shortly before his death in October 1821, Barruel was obsessed
with the idea that Europe was covered by a network of Masonic Lodges
which was controlled by a supreme council of twenty-one members which
included no less than nine Jews. This supreme council, in its turn,
was supposed to be governed by an inner council of three. The latter
appointed a Grand Master who was supposed to be the secret head of a
vast conspiratorial organisation whose hidden aim was to produce revolutions.
Professor Norman Cohn remarked that “clearly the supreme council,
even although partly Jewish, already possessed that superhuman capacity
for organising vast and invisible manoeuvres that later generations
were to attribute to the Elders of Zion”.
It is clear
that Barruel made a lot of noise, and a lot of unfounded allegations.
Like David Icke in the late 20th century, his message of a conspiracy
became more and more wild, reaching a point of ridicule, whereupon the
original promise and cry of a conspiracy were completely lost amidst
the stupendous and ridiculous allegations that would follow afterwards
– in Icke’s case that the Queen of Britain, as well as many
members of the British royalty, were reptilian aliens in disguise.
What to think
therefore of his allegation of a connection linking the Templars with
Scotland, and it being linked with “The Secret”?
A century after William St Clair’s display of “The Secret”
to Marie de Guise, French royal circles would be alive with rumours
of another secret. This was a secret held by the Compagnie du Saint
Sacrement, a French secret society that included the entourage of the
French King Louis XIV, including his mother, Anne of Austria, and some
of his ministers, including Nicolas Fouquet. In 1656, Fouquet had received
a letter from his brother Louis, in Rome, in which he referred to an
important secret which Nicolas Fouquet would be informed of next time
they met. Louis Fouquet added that he had attained the secret from the
French artist Nicolas Poussin, and that the secret itself was something
that would move royals. It seems that in the previous decades, the French
king himself had asked Poussin to confide in him – unsuccessfully,
We are thus
left with three references to “The Secret” – capitals.
The first reference is in Rosslyn, involving Marie de Guise, in 1546.
The next reference is in a letter between the Fouquet family, in 1656.
The next references are in the documents of the Compagnie de Saint-Sacrement,
whose purpose was the “protection of the Secret”. The vital
question is whether or not “The Secret” is of course the
it is clear that there is an intriguing parallel within these references:
all involve a great Secret, affecting specifically French royalty. The
approaches of William St Clair to Marie de Guise might indeed mean that
it was of specific interest to the French throne. If we were to believe
Barruel, then it is clear that treasures of the Knights Templar taken
from the Temple of Solomon at the time of the Crusades, specifically
involving the First Temple of Solomon and including stones connected
with the Ark of the Covenant do warrant a classification of a secret
with a capital S.
or not this is the case, it definitely inspired Umberto Eco to
incorporate Barruel and the Secret – transformed into “The
Plan” – in his novel, Foucault’s Pendulum.