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VIII. Johann Valentin Andreas

ARMS OF ANDREAS
ARMS OF ANDREAS

CHAPTER VIII.

THE CASE OF JOHANN VALENTIN ANDREAS.

MOST existing theories upon the authorship of the Rosicrucian
manifestoes are founded upon plausible assumptions
or ingenious conclusions drawn from the doubtful materials
of merely alleged facts. Each investigator has approached
the subject with an ambitious determination to solve the
problem connected with the mysterious Order, but, in the
absence of adequate materials, has evolved a new hypothesis,
where the supposititious has transfigured what is certain for
the satisfaction of individual bias. As a simple historian
working in the cause of truth, it is neither my inclination
nor my duty to contrive a fresh theory, but rather to state
the facts which are in conflict with all theories, and to draw
no conclusion unwarranted by the direct evidence in hand.
The Rosicrucian theorists may be broadly divided into
three bands—I. Those who believe that the history of
Christian Rosencreutz is true in fact, and that the society
originated in the manner recounted in the “Fama Fraternitatis.”
II. Those who regard both the society and its
founder as purely mythical, and consider with Liebnitz,
“que tout ce que l’on a dit des Frères de la Croix de la Rose,
est une pure invention de quelque personnne ingenieuse.” III.
Those who, without accepting the historical truth of the story

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of Rosencreutz, believe in the existence of the Rosicrucians
as a secret society, which drew attention to the fact of its
existence by a singular and attractive fiction.
In the first division are gathered the men of large imagination
and abundant faith, who, unawed by historical difficulties,
unaffected by discrepancies of fact, and despising
the terra damnata of frigid critical methods, are bewitched
by romantic associations and the glamour of impenetrable
mystery. They love to contemplate the adepts of the Rose-
Cross moving silently among the ignorant and vulgar multitude,
diffusing light and healing, masters of terrific secrets,
having nothing in appearance and yet possessing all things,
ever inscrutable, ever intangible, ever vanishing suddenly.
The sublime dreams produced by their mystical hachish are
undisturbed by the essential shallowness and commonplace
of Rosicrucian manifestoes, for they reject authoritative
documents, or interpret objectionable passages in an inverted
sense.
Insuperable difficulties prevent us from supposing that
the “Fama” and “Confessio Fraternitatis” emanated from
a secret society whose literal history is contained in them.
These difficulties are, for the most part, inherent in the
nature of the alleged history, which I undertook in the introduction
to prove mythical. It will be unnecessary for
this purpose to consider the scientific foundation of Rosicrucian
claims. The purse of Fortunatus—that is, the Stone
of the Philosophers—the power of transmutation, the existence
of elementary spirits, the doctrine of signatures, everburning
lamps, and vision at a distance, may be possibilities,
however remote on the horizon of natural science. There
are many things in heaven and on earth which are undreamed
of in the philosophy of Horatio, and occultism

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is venerable by its antiquity, interesting from its romantic
associations, and replete with visionary splendours; but for
all this, the fiction of the “Fama” is “monstrous, and betrays
itself in every circumstance.”1
Suspicion is immediately raised by the suppression of all
names, and the concealment of the headquarters and an all
“local habitations” of the supposed Society. C. R. C., the
hero of the history, journeys to a fabulous Oriental city,
called Damcar, which is not Damascus, though the German
originals continually confuse it therewith. A great part of
this journey is performed alone by a boy of sixteen, who is
described as possessing such “skill in physic” that he “obtained
much favour of the Turks,” and who, after five years’
travelling, returns at the age of twenty-one years to Europe,
fired with an inextinguishable ambition to correct the errors
of all the arts and to reform the whole philosophia moralis.
In Germany he erects a mysterious House of the Holy Spirit,
situated apparently in space of three dimensions, besieged
by the “unspeakable concourse of the sick,” and yet, for the
space of nearly two hundred years, completely unknown and
unseen by the “wicked world.” When the Society was incorporated,
and its members despatched on their wanderings,
two brethren always remained with the founder, and
eight of them were present at his death, yet the secret of
his burial-place was completely unknown to the third generation,
till its discovery by a newly-initiated member when
he was repairing his house, which, nevertheless, does not
appear to be the House of the Holy Spirit. The sepulchre
has been closed for one hundred and twenty years, and it
is found to contain the Vocabularium, Itinerarium, and Life
of Paracelsus. Taking 1614 as the year when the “Fama”

1 De Quincy, “Rosicrucians and Freemasons,” c. iii.

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was published, and supposing the discovery of the burialplace
to have ante-dated the manifesto by the shortest possible
period, we are brought back to the year 1494, one
year after the birth of Paracelsus, whose books it is supposed
to contain. This point is, of course, conclusive, and
it is unnecessary to comment on the mystery which surrounds
the ultimate fate of the corpse of that “godly and
high-illuminated Father, Brother C. R. C.”
Thus it is obvious that the history of Christian Rosencreutz
is not historically true, and that the Society did not
originate in the manner which is described by the “Fama.”
The theorists of the second and third divisions are in
agreement upon several important points, and may, therefore,
be considered together. Most of them unite in seeking
the author of the Rosicrucian manifestoes among the
literati of the period. On the one side they consider him a
satirist, or the perpetrator of an imposture or elaborate
jest; on the other, they hold him to be the founder of a
secret society, or the mouthpiece of one which was already
in existence, and to which they ascribe a various antiquity
in accordance with their predilections and their knowledge
of the true state of the case. The question of this antiquity
has been discussed in the last chapter.
Several authors have been suggested, for the most part on
very slender evidence. Some maintain that the manifestoes
were written by Taulerus, the author of the German Theologia,
an obscure writer not to be identified with the author of the
Spiritual Letters, “Institutions Divinæ,” others by
Luther, others again by Wiegel. Joachim Junge,1 the cele-

1 This writer is not to be confused with Jung Stilling, whose real
name was Johannes Heinrich Jung, and who is, perhaps, more celebrated
in England for his works on Pneumatology than is the rector
of Hamburg for his contributions to mathematical science.

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brated philosopher of the seventeenth century, has secured
several partisans. He was born at Lubeck in 1587, and
became an M.A. of Giessen in 1609. At the very period
when the “Fama Fraternitatis” first appeared, about 1614,
he was holding numerous conferences with his friends on
the methods of hastening the progress of philosophy, but
his plans are supposed to have been without any immediate
result. Subsequently, he sought to establish at Rostock an
academy for the advancement of natural sciences; “but the
rumour spread that this project concealed some evil design,
and people went so far as to accuse him of being one of the
chiefs of the famous order of the Brothers of the Red-Cross,
and he was forced to renounce a plan whose execution could
only have had good results for his adopted country”1 He
became rector of the University of Hamburg, and died of
apoplexy, September 23, 1657. He was the author of “Geometria
Empirica,” “Harmonia Theoretica,” &c., and appears
to have been wholly unconnected with the alchemical
pursuits of the period. A secretary of the Court of Heidelberg
(according to Heidegger, the biographer of Johannes
Ludovicus Fabricius) being, it is supposed, in the secret, is
said to have confirmed in conversation the current report
that Junge was the founder of the Fraternity and the writer
of the “Fama Fraternitatis.”2 No reference is made to this
matter in the “Historia Vitæ et Mortis Joachimi Jungii
Mathematici summi ceteraque Incomparabilis Philosophi,”

1 “Biographie Universelle,” s.v. Joachim Junge.
2 In the “Acta Eruditorum Lipsiæ,” 1698, 4to, p. 172, there is
the following passage:—“Natus est Jo. Ludovicus Fabricus Scaphulsi,
Helvetiorum Pago primario, die 29 Julii anni seculi hujus trigesimi
secundi, patre Jo. Fabricio anno 1630 vi externa e Palatinatu
in exilium eject, et a Scaphusanis promtissime recepto. Fuit vir
ille sic satis excultus, quique ut Fabricus noster familiari in ser-
mone retulit, adversus Roseæ Crucis Fratres calami quoque telum
strinxit, cujus quidem Sectæ authoris fuisse Jungium, Mathematicum
Hamburgi professum, eumque librum, cui titulus est Fama Frabium
Roseæ Crucis cudisse, pariter ex ore Secretarii, rei illius conscii, confirmavit.

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which was written by Martinus Fogelius in 1658. It contains,
however, some account of his attempt to found a philosophical
society, but the Leges Societatis Ereuneticæ which are
to be found at the end of the pamphlet, sufficiently distinguish
it from the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. The theosophist,
Ægidius Gutmann, is claimed as the true author of
the anonymous manifestoes by others—on what grounds I
have not been able to ascertain; but, according to Buhle,
this opinion is “supported by no other argument than that
he was a distinguished mystic in that age of mysticism.”
All these views have manifestly little to recommend them,
but that which attributes the composition of the Rosicrucian
manifestoes to Johnnn Valentin Andreas is supported by an
extraordinary mass of evidence, which calls for very careful
and impartial consideration. This interesting and singular
personage, who is described by Brucker1 as very learned
and of a very elegant genius, whom the “Bibliothèque Universelle”
2 considers one of the most useful men which Germany
produced in the seventeenth century, and whom all
authorities unite in admiring for his talents and virtues,
was a renowned theologian of Wirtemberg, and a multifarious
littérateur not uncelebrated, even at this day, in
his own country, as a poet and a satirist. He was born at
Herrenberg, a town in the duchy of Wirtemberg, on the
17th of August 1586. He was the grandson of Jacob
Andreas, also a celebrated theologian. His father was the

1 “Brukeri Historia Crit. Philosophiæ,” tome ii., p. 740.
2 Tome ii., p. 126.

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pastor of Herrenberg, his mother, Mary Moseria. The
delicacy of his early years characterised his maturer life,
but he was of a shrewd and cheerful disposition. He received
the rudiments of his education from Michael Beumler.1
Subsequently he pursued his studies at Tubingen.
Buhle informs us that, “besides Greek and Latin (in which
languages he was distinguished for the elegance of his style),
he made himself master of the French, Italian, and Spanish;
was well versed in Mathematics, Natural and Civil History,
Geography, and Historical Genealogy, without at all neglecting
his professional study of divinity.”2 “I so divided my
time,” he tells us, “that during the day I devoted myself
to instruction in the arts; thereto I added long nocturnal
studies, passed in the reading of various authors, and carried
to such an extravagant extent that not only my eyesight
suffered, but I made myself subject to the horrors of sleeplessness,
and weakened the strength of memory.”
He travelled much within the limits of his own country,
visited France, Switzerland, Italy, including Venice, and
twice journeyed into Austria. He was married on the
second of August 1614, to Agnes Elizabeth, daughter of
Josua Grüminger.3 He passed through various grades of
ecclesiastical dignity, and became chaplain to the court at
Stuttgart. “Here,” says Buhle, “he met with so much
thwarting and persecution, that, with his infirm constitution
of body and dejection of mind from witnessing the

1 “Primam infantiam afflictissimam habui, ardeo est non nisi
bimus in pedes primus erigere, quam etiam valetudinis tenuitatem
omni vita tolerari, ingenio interim sagaci et festivo, ut propinquis
et amicis voluptati essem . . . . Literarum rudimenta a Michaele
Beumlero accessi viro optimo.”—“Vita ab ipso Conscripta,” lib. i.
2 De Quincey, “Rosicrucians and Freemasons,” c. iii.
3 See additional notes, No. 5.

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desolation of Germany,” the redress of the abused and evils
in which had been the main object of his life—“it is not
to be wondered that he . . . sank into deep despondency
and misanthropy.” At his own earnest importunity he was
permitted to resign his post, and died abbot of Adelberg and
Lutheran almoner to the Duke of Wirtemberg in the year
1654, “after a long and painful illness.”
All authorities are agreed upon one important point in
the character of Andreas, and that is his predilection in
favour of secret societies as instruments in the reformation
of his age and country. According to Buhle, he had a profound
and painful sense of the gross evils and innumerable
abuses which afflicted the German fatherland, and which
were revealed, not eradicated, by the lurid fire-brand of
Luther’s reformation. These abuses he sought to redress
by means of “secret societies.” The ambition of his boyhood
appears to have been the labour of his after days.
“The writings of Andreas, issued during his life-time, are
full of arguments on the necessity of forming a society solely
devoted to the reformation of sciences and manners. . . .
Three of his works, namely, ‘Reipublicæ Christianopolitanæ
Descriptio’; ‘Turris Babel, sive Judiciorum de
Fraternitate Rosaceæ Crucis Chaos’; ‘Christianæ Societatis
Idea,’ all published at Strasbourg in the years 1619
and 1620, offer the clearest indications of his project to
form a secret society. It is impossible not to perceive that
he is always aiming at something of the kind. Some also
appeal to his frequent travels as having no other object.”1
A writer in the “Dictionnaire des Sciences Occultes”
speaks with even great emphasis. “The works of
Andreas, to the number of one hundred, preach promiscu-

1 “Bibliothèque Universelle,” tome ii., pp. 126-128.

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ously the necessity of secret societies,”1 and Louis Figuier,
whose work, entitled “Alchemy and the Alchemists,”
though it does not betray much original research, represents
in a French vestment the opinions and arguments of
some high German authorities, calls Andreas “a fanatical
partisan” of the doctrines of Paracelsus,2 declares him to
have been fired with the ambition to fulfil certain predictions
of his master which have been before referred to, and
that he took upon himself to decide that the “Elias
Artista,” the robust child, to whom the magician refers,
must be understood not of an individual, but of a collective
body or association.
It seems clear from those authorities, and from the facts
of the case, that the mature, long-planned purpose of Andreas
was the foundation of a society for the reformation
of the age, and we find him cherishing this hope and apparently
elaborating his designs at the very period when
the first rumours of the Rosicrucian Fraternity began to be
heard in Europe. It is, therefore, obviously and incontestably
clear that if he had any hand in the foundation of
this society, or in the authorship of the documents connected
with it, that both were undertaken in all earnestness,
and that the “Fama” and “Confessio Fraternitatis”
are not pieces of frolicsome imposture, and satires on the
credulity of the period. Such a supposition is wholly incompatible
with Andreas’ zeal and enthusiasm.
This point being definitely settled, I proceed to lay before

1 “Dictionnaire des Sciences Occultes” in the Abbé Migne’s
“Troisième Encyclopédie Théologique,” t. i., p. 90.
2 With the chracteristic carelessness of a French reasoner,
Figuler stultifies himself on this point by stating a few pages subsequently
that Andreas was devoid of any doctrinal fanaticism.
“L’Alchimie et les Alchimistes,” pp. 293-29.

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my readers an abstract of those considerations which have
induced several erudite investigators to accept Andreas as
the author of the Rosicrucian documents.
I. I have said in the fifth chapter that the whole controveversy
to some extent centres in the “Chymical Marriage of
Christian Rosencreutz,” and since the publication of Seybold’s
“Autobiographies of Celebrated Men” in 1796, and
which printed for the first time, albeit in a German version,
the posthumous autobiography of Johann Valentin Andreas,1
there has been no room for doubt as to its authorship.
There he includes it among his earliest productions,
states that it was written at the age of fifteen, and that it
was one of a series of similar juvenalia which, for the most
part, had perished.2 Now the “Chymical Marriage,” having
remained several years in manuscript, was printed at
Strasbourg in 1616. The C. R. C. of the preceding manifestoes
was immediately identified with the Christian Rosencreutz
of the allegorical romance, and albeit the first

1 The original Latin text was not printed till 1849, when it appeared
in octavo at Berlin under the editorship of F. H. Rheinwald.
2 For the information of students of the Rosicrucian mystery I
append the whole passage which refers to the juvenile productions
of Andreas. “Jam a secundo et tertio post millesimum sexcenesimum
coeperam aliquid exercendi ingenii ergo pangere, cujus facile
prima fuere Esther et Hyacinthus comoediae ad aemulationem
Anglicorum histrionum juvenili ansu factae, e quibus postior, quae
mihi relique est, pro aetate non displicet. Secuta sunt Veneris detestatio
et Lechrymae tribus dialogis satis prolixis, ob infelicem, de
quo postea, casum meum expressae, quae invita me perierunt.
Superfuerunt e contra Nuptiae Chymicae, cum monstrorum foecundo
foetu, ludibriu, quod mireris a nonullis aestimatum et subtili indagine
explicatum, plane futile et quod inanitatem curiosorum prodat.
Invenio etiam in chartis meis titules Julii Sive Politiae libros
tres, Judicium astrologicum contra astrologiam, Iter, sed quod
dudum interierunt, quid iis consignarim, non memini.”—Vita Lib.,
i. p. 10, Ed. Rheinwald, 1849.

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edition of the “Confessio Fraternitatis,” and seemingly
also of the “Fama,”1 do not describe the society as that of
the Rosie Cross, the edition of 1615, printed at Francfurt,
calls it the Bruderschafft des Rosen-Creutzes and it is,
therefore, argues that the three works must have originated
from a single source.
II. The “Chymical Marriage” contains the following
passage:—“Hereupon I prepared myself for the way, put
on my white linnen coat, girded my loyns, with a blood-red
ribbon bound cross-ways over my shoulder: In my hat I
stuck four roses.” Elsewhere he describes himself as a
“brother of the Red-Rosie Cross,” and a “Knight of the
Golden Stone”—eques aurei lapidis.
Now, the armorial bearings of the family of Andreas
contain a St. Andrew’s Cross with four roses, one in each of
its angles, which interesting piece of internal evidence indicates
the authorship of this romance independently of the
autobiographical statement, and points irresistibly, it is said,
to the conclusion that the founder of the Rosy-Cross Society
was the man whose heraldic device was also the Rose and
Cross.
III. The identity of the principles contained in the acknowledged
work of Andreas, and in the pamphlets which
it is sought to attribute to him, are considered too obvious
to need enumeration, and it is sufficient to point out that
all are equally directed against the charlatanic professors of
the magnum opus, thriving in countless numbers upon the
credulity and infatuation of the age.
IV. Arnold, in his “History of the Church and of

1 The title of one of the earliest editions is quoted by Arnold as
follows:—“Fama Fraternitatis, or Discovery of the Brotherhood of
the Worshipful Order of the R.C.”

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Heretics,” states that a comparison between Andreas’ undoubtedly
authentic writings and those of the Rosicrucian
manifestoes do not allow any doubt that he is their author.
V. The earliest edition of Boccalini’s “Ragguagli di
Parnasso” was published at Venice in 1612. Andreas is
known to have been an Italian scholar; he was also an omnivorous
reader; he is said to have admired Boccalini, and to have
imitated his style; and thence it is argued that he it was
who translated Advertisement 77 of the first centuria,
under the title of the “Universal Reformation of the Whole
Wide World.”
VI. An intimate friend of Andreas, Professor Besoldt,
positively declares that the character of the Rosicrucian
manifesto is plain enough, and considers it a marvellous
and unexplainable circumstance that so many persons had
mistaken that object. From this it is concluded that he
was a repository of the secret concerning their authorship,
and as he was in the confidence of Andreas, that Andreas
was the author.
In this case, the question discussed in the introduction
is, of course, definitely set at rest. The symbolism of the
Rose-Cross is of no high significance as a badge of the
secret society. It does not give expression to the arcana of
the alchemical and celestial Dew of the Wise, nor contain
the secret of the menstruum of the Red Dragon. It is
simply the hereditary device of the founder, and its meaning
is to be sought in German heraldry, and not in
mysticism.
Those who accredit Andreas with the authorship of the
Rosicrucian manifestoes interpret his reasons very variously.
According to Arnold, he had already written many satirical
pamphlets upon the corruptions and hypocrisy of the period

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and he considers that the “Fama” and “Confessio” were
penned with the same purpose, namely to lay bare the follies
of men’s lives, and to set before them patterns of good and
pious living. He quotes an unmentioned writer as stating
that it was necessary that the brethren should be men of
unblemished lives, and zealous preachers, who, under the
appearance of a society, would try to lead the people to God.
According to Figuier, as we have seen, Andreas established
the order to fulfil certain prophecies of Paracelsus, and
to pursue scientific researches on purely Paracelsian principles.
But Buhle, with all his shortcomings, and weighted
as he is by an extravagant Masonic hypothesis, is the best
exponent of these views, and it will be necessary to cite his
arguments at considerable length.
“From a close review of his life and opinions, I am not
only satisfied that Andreä wrote the three works which laid
the foundation of Rosicrucianism, but I see clearly why he
wrote them. The evils of Germany were then enormous,
and the necessity of some great reform was universally
admitted. As a young man without experience, Andreä
imagined that this reform would be easily accomplished.
He had the example of Luther before him, the heroic reformer
of the preceding century, whose memory was yet
fresh in Germany, and whose labours seemed on the point
of perishing unless supported by corresponding efforts in
the existing generation. To organise these efforts and
direct them to proper objects, he projected a society composed
of the noble, the enlightened, and the learned—
which he hoped to see moving, as under the influence of
one soul, towards the redressing of public evils. Under
this hope it was that he travailed so much: seeking everywhere,
no doubt, for the coadjutors and instruments of his

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designs. These designs he presented originally in the shape
of a Rosicrucian society; and in this particular project he
intermingled some features that were at variance with its
gravity and really elevated purposes. Young as he was at
that time, Andreä knew that men of various tempers and
characters could not be brought to co-operate steadily for
any object so purely disinterested as the elevation of human
nature: he therefore addressed them through the common
foible of their age, by holding out promises of occult knowledge
which should invest its possessor with authority over
the powers of Nature, should lengthen his life, or raise him
from the dust of poverty to wealth and high station. In
an age of Theosophy, Cabbalism, and Alchemy, he knew
that the popular ear would be caught by an account, issuing
nobody knew whence, of a great society that professed to
be the depository of Oriental mysteries, and to have lasted
two centuries. Many would seek to connect themselves
with such a society: from these candidates he might gradually
select the members of the real society which he projected.
The pretensions of the ostensible society were indeed
illusions; but before they could be detected as such
by the new proselytes, those proselytes would become connected
with himself, and (as he hoped) moulded to nobler
aspirations. On this view of Andreä’s real intentions, we
understand at once the ground of the contradictory language
which he held about astrology and the transmutation
of metals: his satirical works show that he looked through
the follies of his age with a penetrating eye. He speaks
with toleration then of these follies—as an exoteric concession
to the age; he condemns them in his own esoteric
character as a religious philosopher. Wishing to conciliate
prejudices, he does not forbear to bait his scheme with these

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delusions; but he is careful to let us know that they are
with his society mere παρεργα or collateral pursuits, the
direct and main one being true philosophy and religion.”
I fully concede the almost overwhelming force of some of
the arguments I have enumerated, but as a partisan of no
particular theory, it is my duty to set before my readers a
plain statement of certain grave difficulties
I. The “Chymical Marriage” is called a ludibrium by its
author, and Professor Buhle describes it as a comic romance,
but those of my readers who are acquainted with alchemical
allegories will discern in this singular narrative by a prepared
student or artist who was supernaturally and magically
elected to participate in the accomplishment of the
magnum opus, may matters of grave and occult significance.
They will recognise that the comic episodes are
part of a serious design, and that the work as a whole is in
strict accordance with the general traditions of alchemy.
They will question the good faith of the author in the application
of a manifestly incongruous epithet. Perhaps they
will appear to be wise above what is written, but the position
is not really unreasonable, for the passage in which
reference is made by Andreas to the “Nuptiæ Chymicæ” is
calculated to raise suspicion. He was a shrewd and keen
observer; he had gauged the passions and the crazes of his
period; he was fully aware that the rage for alchemy
blinded the eyes and drained the purses of thousands of
credulous individuals, who were at the mercy of the most
wretched impostors, and that no pretence was too shallow
and no recipe too worthless to find believers. He could
not be ignorant that a work like the “Chymical Marriage
of Christian Rosencreutz” was eminently liable to impose
upon every class of theosophists. When, therefore, he sup-

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poses, and by implication, expresses, astonishment that his
so-called ludibrium became the object of earnest investigation
and of high esteem, I freely confess that I, for one, cannot
interpret him seriously; in other words, that I reject
the statement. This, however, is only the initial difficulty.
The same passage of the “Vita ab ipso Conscripta” contains
another piece of incredible information, namely that
Andreas wrote the “Nuptiæ Chymicæ” before he was
sixteen. This story gives evidence of an acquaintance
with the practice and purposes of alchemy which was
absolutely impossible to the most precocious lad. Moreover,
the boldness of its conception and the power which
is displayed in its execution, setting aside the debateable
question of its occult philosophical character, are things
utterly transcending the cacoethes scribendi of a youngster
barely attained to the age of puberty. I appeal to the discrimination
of my readers whether the curious and ingenious
perplexities propounded at the supper on the third
day are in any way suggestive of “the light fire in the
veins of a boy.” The romance supposed to have been
written in 1602-3 did not see the light till 1616, when it
appeared in the full tide of the Rosicrucian controversy.
Why did it remain in manuscript for the space of thirteen
years at a period when everything treating of alchemy was
devoured with unexampled avidity? The “Chymical Marriage,”
in its original draft, may have been penned at the
age of fifteen, but it must have been subjected to a searching
revision, though I confess that it betrays no trace of subsequent
manipulation. These grave difficulties are enhanced
by a fact which is wholly unknown to most Rosicrucian critics,
and which was certainly not to be expected in the jest of a
schoolboy, namely, that the barbarous enigmatical writings

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which are to be found in several places of “The Hermetick
Wedding” are not an unmeaning hoax, but contain a decipherable
and deciphered sense. The secretary of an
English Rosicrucian Society says that the Supreme Magus
of the Metropolitan College can read all three of the
enigmas, and that he himself has deciphered two. Their
meaning is not a tradition, but the meaning dawns upon the
student after certain researches. The last point is curious,
and, outside the faculty of clairvoyance, the suggested
method does not seem probable, but I give it to be taken
at its worth, and have no reason to doubt the statement.
From these facts and considerations, the conclusion does
not seem unreasonable, and may certainly be tolerated by
an impartial mind, that in spite of the statement of
Andreas, and partly because of that statement, the
“Chymical Marriage” is not a ludibrium, that it betrays a
serious purpose, and conceals a recondite meaning.
II. With this criticism the whole theory practically
breaks down. We know that the “Fama Fraternitatis”
was published in 1615 as a manifesto of the Bruderschafft
des löblichen Ordens des Rosen Creutzes. We have good
reason to suppose that the original draft of the “Chymical
Marriage” was tampered with; we do not know that
previous to the year 1615 such a work was in existence as
the “Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosencreutz.” What
we know to have existed was simply the “Nupitæ Chymicæ.”
Now, supposing the “Fama Fraternitatis” to have emanated
from a source independent of Andreas, he would be naturally
struck by the resemblance of the mysterious Rosicrucian
device to his own armorial bearings; and when in the
year 1616 he published his so-called comic romance, this
analogy may, not inconceivably, have led him to re-christen

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his hero, and to introduce those passages which refer to the
Rose Cross. This, of course, is conjectural, but it is to be
remarked, that so far as can be possibly ascertained, the
acknowledged symbol of the Fraternity never was a St.
Andrew’s Cross with four Roses, but was a Cross of the
ordinary shape, with a Red Rose in the centre, or a Cross
rising out of a Rose. There is therefore little real warrant
for the identification of the mystical and the heraldic
badge. It is on this identification, however, that the
Andrean claim is greatly based.
III. We find the “Chymical Marriage, like the “Fama”
and “Confessio Fraternitatis,” crusading against the
“vagabond cheaters,” “runagates and roguish people,” who
debased alchemical experiments in the interest of dishonest
speculation; yet the one, under a thin veil of fiction, describes
the proceedings in the accomplishment of the
magnum opus, while the other terms transmutation a great
gift of God. These points of resemblance, however, do not
necessarily indicate a common authorship, for a general belief
in the facts of alchemy was held at that period by many
intelligent men, who were well aware, and loud in their
condemnation, of the innumerable frauds which disgraced
the science. On the other hand, it is plain that the history
of C. R. C., as it is contained in the “Fama,” is not the history,
equally fabulous, of that Knight of the Golden Stone,
who is the hero of the “Chymical Marriage.”
IV. It is obviously easy to exaggerate the philological
argument, or rather the argument from the identity of
literary style, in the documents under consideration. This
point indeed can only be adequately treated by a German.
At present it rests on a single assertion of Arnold, which
is uncorroborated by any illustrative facts. I think it will

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also be plain, even to the casual reader, that the “Chymical
Marriage” is a work of “extraordinary talent,” as Buhle
justly observes, but that the “Fama Fraternitatis” is a
work of no particular talent, either inventive or otherwise,
while the subsequent “Confession,” both in matter and
manner, is simply beneath contempt. Yet we are required
to believe that the first was produced at the age of fifteen,
while the worthless pamphlets are the work of the same
writer from seven to thirteen years subsequently.
V. The connection of the “Universal Reformation”
with the other Rosicrucian manifestoes is so uncertain, that
if Andreas could be proved its translator, his connection
with the society would still be doubtful. The appearance
of the “Fama Fraternitatis” and the “Universal Reformation”
in one pamphlet no more proves them to have
emanated from a single source, than the publication of the
“Confessio” in the same volume, as the “Secretioris Philosophiæ
Consideratio” proves Philippus à Gabella to have
been the author of that document. The practice of issuing
unconnected works within the covers of a single book was
common at the period. But the argument which ascribes the
“Universal Reformation” to Andreas is entirely conjectural.
VI. There is nothing conclusive in the statement of Professor
Besoldt; it may have been simply an expression of
personal opinion; those who interpret it otherwise in support
of the claim of Andreas, to some extent base their interpretation
on the very point which is in question, for unless
Andreas were the author of the manifestoes, it is clear that
Professor Besoldt is a person of no authority.
These difficulties are of themselves sufficient to cast grave
doubt upon the Andrean theory, but when we pass to the
consideration of the motives which are attributed to the

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reputed author by the chief supporter of his claim, we
find them indefinitely multiplied. Buhle represents him
as a young man without experience who imagined that the
evils of his country, enormous as they confessedly were,
could be eradicated easily. But if, by courtesy, we allow
that the “Fama Fraternitatis” was published so early as
1612, then Andreas was twenty-six years of age, when a
man of education and travel would be neither inexperienced
nor Utopian.
What, however, is by implication assumed in this hypothesis
is that the Rosicrucian manifestoes were written at
the same age as the “Nuptiæ Chymicæ,” for which there is
not a particle of evidence, and that the object of Andreas’
travels was to find “coadjutors and instruments for his
designs,” which is also wholly unsupported. The scheme
which is fathered upon Andreas is a monstrous and incredible
absurdity; it involves, moreover, a pious fraud
which is wholly at variance with the known character of the
supposed author. No sane person, much less a man who
“looked through the follies of his age with a penetrating
eye,” could expect anything but failure to result from a
gross imposition practised on the members of a projected
association, who being assured of the possession of the
Philosophical Stone, the life-elixir, and initiation into the
secret mysteries of nature, were destined to receive instead
of these prizes, a barren and impossible commission to reform
the age. What moral reformation could result from
any scheme at once so odious and impracticable?
Let us accept however, for a moment, the repulsive hypothesis
of Buhle. Suppose the Rosicrucian manifestoes to have
been written in 1602. Suppose Andreas to have scoured Germany
and also to have visited other countries in search of ap-

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propriate members for his society. It would then be naturally
concluded that the publication of the “Fama Fraternitatis”
signified that his designs were matured. The subsequent
conduct of Andreas is, nevertheless, so completely in the face
of this conclusion, that Buhle is obliged to assume that the
manifestoes were printed without the author’s consent, than
which nothing could be more gratuitous, and that the uproar
of hostility which followed their publication made it
necessary for Andreas to disavow them if he would succeed
in his ultimate designs. The hostility provoked by the
manifestoes bears no comparison with the welcome they
received among all those classes to whom they were indirectly
addressed, namely, the alchemists, theosophists, etc.
Had Andreas projected a society upon the lines laid down
by Buhle, nothing remained but to communicate with the
innumerable pamphleteers who wrote in defence of the
order during the years immediately succeeding the publication
of the “Fama Fraternitatis,” as well as with those other
persons who in various printed letters offered themselves
for admission therein, after which he could have proceeded
in the accomplishment of his heartless design. That he did
not do so when the circumstances were so favourable is
proof positive that he had no such intention. In fact, at
this very period, namely, in the year 1614, we find Andreas
immersed in no dark and mysterious designs for the reformation
of the age by means of a planned imposture, but
simply celebrating his nuptials, and settling down into
a tranquil domestic life.
One more gross and ineradicable blemish upon this hypothesis
remains to be noticed. Not only is Andreas represented
relinquishing his design at the very moment when it
was possible to put it in force, but diverted at the uni-

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versal delusion he had succeeded in creating, he is represented
as endeavouring to foster it, “to gratify his satirical
propensities,” and when even in after life he becomes
“shocked to find that the delusion had taken firm root in
the public mind,” he adopts no adequate measures to dispel it.
Thus not only does Andreas wilfully turn this long-planned
purpose of his life into a wretched fiasco, but to complete
the libel on the character of a great and good man, he is
supposed to delude his fellow creatures no longer for a lofty
purpose, but from the lowest motive which it is possible to
attribute to anyone,—a motive infinitely meaner than
any of personal gain.
The facts of the case untortured by any theory are these.
The “Fama Fraternitatis” was published, say, in 1612.
In 1613 a brief Latin epistle addressed to the venerable
Fraternity R. C. is supposed to have appeared at Francfurt,
supplemented the following year by an “Assertio Fraternitatis
R. C. à quodam Fraterni ejus Socio carmine expressa.”
These two publications I have been unable to trace, though
both are mentioned by Buhle, and are included by Langlet
du Fresnoy in the Rosicrucian bibliography which is to be
found in the third volume of his “Histoire de la Philosophie
Hermétique.” In 1615, the Latin original of the
“Confessio Fraternitatis” appeared, as we have seen, in
the alchemical quarto of Philip à Gabella. All these works
are attributed to Andreas, and the year 1616 saw the publication
of the “Chymical Nuptials of Christian Rosencreutz,”
which work is undoubtedly his. Taking this view,
and comparing these persistent and successive attempts to
draw attention to the secret society with the known
character and the known ambitions of Andreas, we are
evidently face to face with an earnest and determined pur-

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pose, not to be arrested by a little hostility and not likely
to degenerate into a matter for jest and satire. We must
therefore reject the Buhlean hypothesis, because it fails all
alone the line, “and betrays itself in every circumstance.”
We must reject also that view which attributes the manifestoes
to Andreas, but considers them an ingenious jest. It
is universally admitted that this jest had a seriously evil
effect, and Andreas, on this hypothesis, lived to see some of
the best and acutest minds of his time, to say nothing of an
incalculable number of honest and earnest seekers, misled
by the vicious and wanton joke which had been hatched by
the perverted talents of his youth. The wickedness and
cruelty of persisting in concealment of the true nature of
the case through all his maturer life, through all his
age, and not even making a posthumous explanation in the
“Vita ab ipso Conscripta,” is enough to raise indignation
in every breast, and is altogether, and too utterly, vile and
mean to ascribe to any right-minded and honourable person,
much less to a man of the known intellectual nobility of
Johann Valentin Andreas. Buhle says that to have avowed
the three books as his own composition would have defeated
his scheme, and that “afterwards he had still better reasons
for disavowing them.” He had no such reasons. The
bluntest sense of duty and the feeblest voice of manliness
must have provided him with urgent and unanswerable
reasons for acknowledging them—a course to which no
serious penalties could possibly attach.
To dispose of the Andrean claim, a third hypothesis must
be briefly considered. If Andreas was a follower of Paracelsus,
a believer in alchemy, an aspirant towards the
spiritual side of the magnum opus, or an adept therein, he
would naturally behold with sorrow and disgust the trickery

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and imposture with which alchemy was then surrounded,
and by which it has been indelibly disgraced, and it is not
unreasonable to suppose that he may have attempted to
reform the science by means of a secret society, whose
manifestoes are directed against those very abuses. But in
spite of the statement of Louis Figuier, I can find no
warrant in the life or writings of Andreas for supposing
that he was a profound student, much less a fanatical
partisan of Paracelsus, and it is clear from his “Turris
Babel,” “Mythologia Christiana,” and other works, that he
considered the Rosicrucian manifestoes a reprehensible hoax.
In the twenty-fifth chapter of the first of these books, the
author proposes to supply the place of the fabulous Rosicrucian
Society by his own Christian Fraternity. Indeed,
wherever he speaks of it in his known writings. it is either
with contempt or condemnation. Nihil cum hac Fraternitati
cummune habeo, says Truth in the “Mythologia Christiana.”
“Listen, ye mortals,” cries Fama in the “Turris Babel,”
“you need not wait any longer for any brotherhood; the
comedy is played out; Fama has put it up, and now
destroys it. Fama has said Yes, and now utters No.”
My readers are now in possession of the facts of the
case, and must draw their own conclusions. If in spite of
the difficulties which I have impartially stated, Andreas
has any claim upon the authorship of the Rosicrucian
manifestoes, it must be viewed in a different light. According
to Herder, his purpose was to make the secret societies
of his time reconsider their position, and to shew them
how much of their aims and movements was ridiculous, but
not to found any society himself. According to Figuier, he
really founded the Rosicrucian Society, but ended by entire
disapproval of its methods, and therefore started his

page 241
Christian Fraternity. But the facts of the case are against
this hypothesis, for the “Invitatio Fraternitatis Christi ad
Sacri amoris Candidatos” was published as early as 1617,
long before the Rosicrucian Order could have degenerated
from the principles of its master. It is impossible that
Andreas should have projected two associations at the same
time.
But in the face of the failure of all these hypotheses, one
fact in the life of their subject remains unexplained. If
Andreas did not write the “Fama” and “Confessio
Fraternitatis,” if he had no connection with the secret
society from which they may be supposed to have
emanated, if he did not study Paracelsus, and did not take
interest in alchemy, how are we to account for the existence
of the “Chymical Marriage,” for its publication in the
centre and heart of the Rosicrucian controversy, and for its
apparently earnest purpose when he describes it as a jest
or ludibrium? Without elaborating a new hypothesis, can
we suggest a possible reason for this misnomer? Supposing
Andreas to have been actually connected, in his younger
days with a certain secret society, which may have published
the more or less misleading Rosicrucian manifestoes, the oath
which all such societies impose upon their members, would
for ever prevent him from divulging anything concerning
it, though he may have withdrawn from its ranks at an
early period. This society may have been identical, or
affiliated, with the Militia Crucifera Evangelica, which, from
the known character of its founder was probably saturated
with alchemical ideas, in which case it offers at the end of
the sixteenth century a complete parallel in its opinions
with the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Both associations were
ultra-Protestant, both were “heated with Apocalyptic

page 242
dreams,” both sought the magnum opus in its transfigured
or spiritual sense, both abhorred the Pope, both called him
Antichrist, both coupled him with the detested name
of Mahomet, both expected the speedy consummation of
the age, both studied the secret characters of nature, both
believed in the significance of celestial sign, both adopted
as their characteristic symbols the mystic Rose and Cross,
and the reason which prompted this choice in the one
probably guided it in the other. This reason is not to be
sought in the typology of a remote period, nor even in the
alchemical enigmas of mediæval times. It is not to be
sought in the armorial bearings of Johann Valentin Andreas.
They bore the Rose and Cross as their badge, not
because they were Brethren of the Concocted and Exalted
Dew, not because they had studied the book called Zohar,
not because they were successors and initiates of the ancient
Wisdom-Religion and the sublime hierarchies of Eld, but
because they were a narrow sect of theosophical dissidents,
because the monk Martin Luther was their idol, prophet,
and master, because they were rabidly and extravagantly
Protestant, with an ultra-legitimate violence of abusive
Protestantism, because, in a single word, the device on the
seal of Martin Luther was a Cross-crowned heart, rising
from the centre of a Rose, thus—

Real History of the Rosicrucians

I am in a position to maintain that this was the true and
esoteric symbol of the Society, as the Crucified Rose was

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the avowed, exoteric emblem, because in a professedly
authoritative work on the secret figuren of the Order—
“Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer aus dem 16ten und
17ten Jahrhundert”—I find the following remarkable
elaboration of the Lutheran seal, which practically decides
the question.

HISTORY-OF-THE-ROSICRUCIANS_waite_Seite_243

Taking into consideration that the “Naometria” of Simon
Studion and the original draft of the “Nuptiæ Chymicæ”
both belong to nearly the same period, and that Andreas
was undoubtedly acquainted with the work of the mystical
teacher of Marbach, as a passage in the “Turris Babel”
makes evident, it is not an impossible supposition that the
young student of Tübingen came into personal communication
with Studion, who was only some fifty miles distant
in the cheapest days of travelling, and having a natural inclination
to secret societies, became associated with the
Militia Crucifero Evangelica. Out of this connection the
“Nuptiæ Chymicæ” might naturally spring, and the subsequent
Rosicrucian society was the Militia transfigured after
the death of Studion,1 and after the travels and experience

1 There is one fact which is too remarkable to be a mere coincidence,
and which seems to have been unnoticed by previous investigators,
namely, that Sigmund Richter, who claims to speak
authoritatively, declares in the year 1710 that one of the Rosicrucian
headquarters is at Nuremberg; that is, at the very place
where the Militia Crucifera Evengelica originally met in 1586.

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of Andreas had divested him of his boyish delusions.
Having proved the hollowness of their pretensions, but still
bound by his pledge, he speaks of them henceforth as a
deception and a mockery, and attempts to replace them by
a practical Christian association without mysticism and
symbols, making no pretension to occult knowledge, or to
transcendent powers.
This view is not altogether a new one, and undoubtedly
has its difficulties. It cannot account for the publication
of the “Nuptiæ Chymicæ” in 1616, nor for the revision
which it apparently underwent at the very period when
Andreas was projecting the unalchemical Christian Fraternity;
but so far as it extends, it does not torture the facts
with which it professes to deal. I present it not in my
character as a historian, but simply as a hypothesis which
may be tolerated. To my own mind it is far from satisfactory,
and, from a careful consideration of all the available
materials, I consider that no definite conclusion can be
arrived at. There is nothing in the internal character of
the “Fama,” and “Confessio Fraternitatis” to shew that
they are a jest. On the other hand, they embody a fabulous
story. There is no proof that they did or did not emanate
from a secret society.1 The popular argument that the
manifestos were addressed to “the learned of Europe,” but

1 For the sake of perspicuity, and to avoid forestalling arguments,
I have spoken throughout of the Rosicrucians as of a secrety society.
In the universal uncertainty, this view is as good as another, but it
does not necessarily represent my personal opinion. By the term
“Rosicrucian Fraternity” I simply mean to indicate the unknown
source of the “Fama” and “Confessio Fraternitatis.”

page 245
the earnest entreaties of the flower of theosophical literati
for admission into the ranks of the Fraternity remained
unanswered, is no proof that the Society itself did not exist,
for the statement is vicious in the extreme. We have
absolutely no means of ascertaining with whom it may have
come into communication, or what letters and applications
were answered, because inviolable secrecy would cover the
whole of the proceedings, and those who might have the
best reason to know that the Society existed would be most
obliged to hold their peace. Thus “the meritorious Order
of the R. C.” still remains shrouded in mystery, but this
mystery is destitute of romance and almost of interest. The
avowed opinions of the Fraternity for ever prevent us from
supposing that they were in possession of any secrets which
would be worth disentombing. To have accomplished the
magnum opus of the veritable adept, is to be master of the
Absolute and the heir of Eternity, is to be above all prejudices,
all fears, and all sectarian bitterness. By the aid
of an ultra-Horatian philosophy we may conceive that such
men have been, and still are, but they have passed above
“material forms” and the clouded atmosphere of terrestrial
ideas; they inhabit the ideal “city of intelligence and love.”
They have left the brawling gutter of religious squabbling,
the identification of Antichrist, the destruction of the Pope
by means of nails, and the number of the beast, to Baxter
and Guinness, Cumming and Brothers the prophet, who
may share its squalors and wretchedness with—the Rosicrucian
Fraternity.