The Alta Vendita: The Instructions of ‘Little Tiger’ to recruit Freemasons

Here is a letter from the Jew known as the ‘Little Tiger’, giving instructions to the members of the Piedmontese Sale that he had formed in Turin, on the means to be taken to recruit Freemasons. This letter bears the date of 18th January, 1822.

“better still, get others to found associations or companies of commerce, industry, music, fine arts. Gather your still ignorant tribes in this or that place, even in sacristies or chapels; put them under the direction of a virtuous priest, esteemed, but credulous and easy to be deceived; infiltrate the poison in chosen hearts, infiltrate it in small doses and as if by chance: then, reflecting on it, you yourself will be amazed at your success. 

This is but a preparation for the great work which you must begin. When you have succeeded in instilling in someone a loathing of family and religion (two things which always go hand in hand), let slip certain words which excite a desire to be affiliated with the nearest lodge. This vanity of the citizen or of the bourgeois to enfeoff himself to Freemasonry is such a trivial and universal thing, that I am always filled with admiration in the face of human stupidity. I am surprised not to see mankind in one piece knocking on the door of the Venerables, and asking these gentlemen for the honor of being one of the workers elected to rebuild the Temple of Solomon. The prestige of the unknown exerts such a power over men, that people prepare, trembling.

“Being a member of a lodge, feeling called, without your wife or children knowing anything about it, to keep a secret that you never confide, is a pleasure and an ambition for certain natures. Lodges are now capable of educating gluttons: but never of the citizens. One dines too much at T. . . C . . . and T . . R . . . F .. (dearest and most respectable Brothers) of all the East; but it is a kind of deposit, a herd, a center through which one must pass before reaching us. Lodges do nothing but a relative evil, an evil tempered by a false philanthropy and by even more false songs, as happens in France. This is too archaic and gastronomic, but it also has a purpose that must always be encouraged. By teaching a brother to carry a weapon with his glass, we thus take possession of his will, his intelligence and his freedom. He disposes of it, you turn it around and around, you study it. Its inclinations, affections and tendencies are discovered; when he is ripe for us, he directs him to the secret society of which Freemasonry can no longer be other than a dark antechamber.

There are many in this case. Make them Freemasons. The loggia will make them carbonari. Perhaps one day Alta Commercio will deign to affiliate them. Meanwhile they will serve as mistletoe for imbeciles, intriguers, the bourgeois and penniless. These poor princes will do our business, thinking they are doing their own. They will serve as a shop sign; there is never a shortage of fools willing to commit themselves to a conspiracy, of which any prince is believed to be the supporting arch.

“Once a man, even a prince, nay especially if a prince, begins to corrupt, persuade yourself that he will not stop on the slope. Little morality is to be found even in the most moral people, and one walks very fast on this road of progress. Not therefore be afraid if you see the flourishing lodges, while Carbonarism is recruited with difficulty.

as you pass, grab the first lamb that will be offered to you in the desired conditions. The bourgeois has some good, the prince even more. But let none of these lambs change into a fox, like the infamous Carignano. Betrayal of sworn secrecy is a death sentence, and all these princes, weak or cowardly, ambitious or repentant, betray us and denounce us. Fortunately, they knew little or nothing, and they cannot trace our true mysteries.

It is the revolution in permanence; it is the forced overthrow of thrones and dynasties. Now an ambitious man cannot want these things. We aim higher and farther: let us therefore try to look at ourselves and consolidate ourselves. We conspire only against Rome; therefore, let us make use of all the accidents, let us profit from all the eventualities; we mainly distrust exaggerated zeal. A good cold, calculated, deep hatred is better than all these fireworks and all these grandstand declamations. In Paris they don’t want to understand these things; but in London, I have known men who grasped our plan better, and associated with it with more fruit. Considerable offers were made to me. Soon we will have a printing house in Malta at our disposal. We can therefore, with impunity, without fail.”

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