George Washington on the illuminate

Starting on September 25, 1798, George Washington wrote a series of correspondence with a German-born American citizen named G.W. Snyder.

All of this is archived on the official U.S. government website

Snyder had sent Washington a book on the illuminate and shared his concerns that the freemasonic lodges in the U.S. were part of this illuminate conspiracy.

Here are a few excerpts of Washington’s replies to the long-winded Snyder. The interesting thing to me is that Washington not once denies that there is such a conspiracy.

9/25/1798: “Sir, Many apologies are due to you, for my not acknowledging the receipt of your obliging favour of the 22d Ulto, and for not thanking you, at an earlier period, for the Book you had the goodness to send me.

“I have heard much of the nefarious, & dangerous plan, & doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the Book until you were pleased to send it to me. The same causes which have prevented my acknowledging the receipt of your letter, have prevented my reading the Book, hitherto; namely—the multiplicity of matters which pressed upon me before, & the debilitated state in which I was left after, a severe fever had been removed. And which allows me to add little more now, than thanks for your kind wishes and favourable sentiments, except to correct an error you have run into, of my Presiding over the English lodges in this Country. The fact is, I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice, within the last thirty years. I believe notwithstandings, that none of the Lodges in this Country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the Society of the Illuminati. With respect I am Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt Go: Washington”


GW responded on 10 Oct.: “Sir: It is more than a fortnight since I acknowledged the receipt of your first letter, on the subject of the Illuminati and thanked you for Robinson’s account of that society. It went to the post office as usual addressed to the Rev’d Mr Snyder, at Frederick Town Maryland. If it had not been received before this mishap must have attended it, of which I pray you to advise me, as it could not have been received, at the date of your last, not being mentioned. I am, &c. G. Washington”


GW’s response from Mount Vernon on 24 Oct. brought the exchange to a close: “Revd Sir I have your favor of the 17th instant before me; and my only motive to trouble you with the receipt of this letter, is to explain, and correct a mistake which I perceive the hurry in which I am obliged, often, to write letters, have led you into.

“It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Iluminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more fully satisfied of this fact than I am.

“The idea I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or the pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation). That Individuals of them may have done it, and that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects—and actually had a seperation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.

“My occupations are such, that but little leisure is allowed me to read News Papers, or Books of any kind; the reading of letters, and preparing answers, absorb much of my time. With respect—I remain Revd Sir Your Most Obedt Hble Ser. Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GWLB DLC:GW).

One thought on “George Washington on the illuminate

  1. So, was he innocent or complicit? Lying, or telling the truth? Maybe when he started out he did not know the extent of corruption but as time passed he became more entwined. Who knows what persuasions or threats were before him? But all signs point to eventually getting on-board with the big guys, leaving behind the brave of Lexington/Concord. Here he is dressed for the part:

    Mammon wins again.


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