The secret societies of all ages and countries (1875) by William Heckethorn

The secret societies of all ages and countries 

Secret Societies in this book :

Ancient mysteries. Emanationists. The religion of love. Ishmaelites. Knights of templars. Free judges. Alchymists. Freemasons.--II. Mystics. Illuminati. Brigandage. Fellowcrafts. Carbonari. The inquisition Minor Italian sects. Youth. Miscellaneous societies

It may at first appear as if some societies nad improperly been inserted in this work as " secret societies; the Freemasons, for instance. Members of secret associations, it might be objected, are not in the habit of proclaiming their membership to the. world, but no Freemason is ashamed or, afraid of avowing himself zilch; nay, he is rather proud of the fact, and given to proclaim it somewhat obtrusively; yet the most rabid Celt, who wishes to have a hand in the regeneration of his native land by joining the Fenian brotherhood, has sense enough to keep his affiliation a profound secret from the uninitiated. But the rule I have followed in adopting societies as " secret," was to include in my collection all such as had or have "secret rites and ceremonies" kept from the outer world, though the existence of the society itself be no secret at all.

 In fact, no association of men can for any length of time remain a secret, since however anxious the members may 'be to shroud themselves in darkness, and remain personally unknown, the purpose for which they band together must always betray itself by some overt acts; and wherever there is an act, the world surmises an agent; and if none that is visible can be found, a secret one is suspected. The Thugs, for instance, had every desire to remain unknown; yet the fact of the existence of such a society was suspected long before any of its members were discovered. On the principle also of their being the propounders of secret doctrines or doctrines clothed in a language understood by the adepts alone,

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