Philalethes, Rite of The
Called also the Seekers of Truth, although the word literally means Friends of Truth. It was a Rite founded in 1773 at Paris, in the Lodge of Amis Reunis, by Savalette de Langes, Keeper of the Royal Treasury, with whom were associated the Vicomte de Tavannes, Court de Gebelin, M. de Sainte-Jamos, the President d'Hericourt, and the Prince of Hesse. The Rite, which was principally founded on the system of Martinism, did not confine itself to any particular mode of instruction, but in its reunions, called Contents, the members devoted themselves to the study of all kinds of knowledge that were connected with the occult sciences, and thus they welcomed to their association all who had made themselves remarkable by the singularity or the novelty of their opinions, such as Cagliostro, Mesmer, and Saint Martin. It was divided into twelve classes or chambers of instruction. The names of these classes or Degrees were as follows:
1. Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master 4. Elect 5. Scottish Master 6. Knight of the East 7. Rose Croix 8. Knight of the Temple 9. Unknown Philosopher 10. Sublime Philosopher 11. Initiate 12. Philalethes, or Searcher after Truth
The first six Degrees were called Petty Masonry, and the last six High Masonry. The Rite did not increase very rapidly; nine years after its institution, it counted only twenty Lodges in France and in foreign countries which were of its obedience. In 1785 it attempted a radical reform in Freemasonry, and for this purpose invited the most distinguished Freemasons of all countries to a Congress at Paris. But the project failed, and Savalette de Langes dying in 1788, the Rite. of which he alone was the soul, ceased to exist, and the Lodge of Amis Reunis was dissolved.
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