“Much has been written and much has been dreamt about the Count of Saint-Germain, this mysterious character who astonished Europe during the second half of the 18th century,” wrote Paul Chacornac in the introduction to the biography, The Count of Saint-Germain.
One thing is certain, this extraordinary character did exist in the 18th century. He was in contact with the main leaders of the European court: Louis XV and his favourite, the King of Prussia, Frederick II, the Landgrave of Hesse, ambassadors, ministers, the best salons [high society cultural gatherings with piano, singing and tea and so on in the 18th century]. Numerous writings attest to his existence and influence.
The following quotes present the Count of Saint-Germain as he was perceived at the time.
Gazette of the Netherlands, dated 12 January 1761: “The so-called Count of Saint-Germain is an incomprehensible man of whom nothing is known: neither his name, nor his origin, nor his position; he has an income, no one knows from whence it is derived; acquaintances, no one knows where he made them; entry into the cabinet of princes. …”1
Voltaire wrote to Frederick the Great of Prussia: “This man who never dies, and knows everything.”2
HP Blavatsky said of him: “A living mystery”, “A gentleman of magnificent talents and education, and the possessor of ample means to honestly support his standing in society. He claimed to know how to fuse small diamonds into large ones, and to transmute metals, and backed his assertions by the possession of apparently unbounded wealth and a collection of jewels of rare size and beauty. Are adventurers like this ?. … The treatment that the memory of this great man, this pupil of Indian and Egyptian hierophants, this proficient in the secret wisdom of the east, has had from western writers is a stigma upon human nature.”3
“The Comte de Saint-Germain was certainly the Greatest Oriental adept Europe has seen during the last century.”4
Landgrave Charles of Hesse wrote: “He was perhaps one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. A friend of humanity, wanting money only to give it to the poor, a friend also of animals, his heart was concerned only with the happiness of others; he believed that he could make the world happy by providing it with new pleasures, more beautiful fabrics, more beautiful colours, at a much lower price. … I have never seen a man with such a clear mind as his, with such erudition, especially in ancient history, as I have rarely found. He had been in all the countries of Europe, and I know of almost none, where he had not made long stays. He knew them all thoroughly, and had been often in Constantinople and Turkey. France, however, seemed to be the country he loved most.”5
Landgrave Charles of Hesse
In 1779, at the age of 88, Saint-Germain insisted on meeting the Landgrave, Charles of Hesse. The reluctant Landgrave resisted, but eventually invited him to his home in Schleswig-Holstein. Saint-Germain “spoke to him of great things he wanted to achieve for mankind … of the embellishment of colours … of the improvement of metals. … There is almost nothing in nature that he did not know how to improve and use. He entrusted me with almost all the knowledge of nature. … I made myself his disciple.”5
Saint-Germain died on 27 February 1784 and was buried in Eckenförde, Germany. When his grave was opened later, it was empty.
1. Isabel Cooper Oakley, Comte de Saint-Germain.
2. Pierre Lhermier, Le Comte de Saint-Germain.
3. H.P. Blavatsky, Collected writings (H.P. Blavatsky was editor of The Theosophist magazine until October 1887).
4. H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophical glossary.
5. Landgrave Charles Prince de Hesse, Mémoires de mon temps.