Comte de Saint-Germain

Count Claude-Louis-Robert de Saint-Germain (1707?-78/84?): An older Saint-Germain, by Jean Joseph Taillasson, painted in 1777, when the Count was about 70 years old.
Count Claude-Louis-Robert de Saint-Germain (1707?-78/84?): An older Saint-Germain, by Jean Joseph Taillasson, painted in 1777, when the Count was about 70 years old.

Count Claude-Louis-Robert de Saint-Germain was possibly born before 1710 and may have continued to live for many decades past his reported date of death of February 27th, 1784. The span of years in which people who knew him claimed to have seen him (looking about age 45) was over 100 years.

The essence of the myth around the Count Saint-Germain is that he was very old, but looked young; that he was of unknown origin and parentage; that although he came without letters of introduction, he fit and moved freely in aristocratic circles; that he had impeccable manners, but was not known to eat or drink in company; that he could speak a large number of languages; that he could play the violin like a virtuoso; that he had extraordinary memory and knowledge; that he talked of historical times and people as if he had been there; and that he was a master alchemist who could create unique dyes and paints, remove flaws from diamonds, and increase the size of pearls.

Alessandro Cagliostro: A model for Goethe's Faust? Or perhaps his Mephistopheles?

Cagliostro and Faust

Read about Cagliostro….

He was not the charlatan that Cagliostro turned out to be. However, he was one of those (like Cagliostro) of whom it was assumed that he had discovered and attained the alchemical objects of long life and the ability to generate great wealth.

He was an alchemist and created elixirs for life and beauty, but unlike Cagliostro, no real taint of scandal surrounds him (saving the deliberate slander of the French diplomatic corps), and neither are his general accomplishments doubted, for they were witnessed and recorded by the most respectable and well-known people of the age, who kept close company with him.

Cagliostro was a poor imitation, who took the imposture as far as a normal man might, and was occasionally revealed to be a fraud and disgraced. Cagliostro used mystery to entrance his audience. Saint-Germain, similarly reticent and mysterious, gives more the impression of a unique specimen of a man wishing to avoid being dissected.

Count Saint-Germain as a young man, by an unknown artist. Scan from book "Struensee og det danske hof" by Reverdil
Count Saint-Germain as a young man, by an unknown artist. Scan from book “Struensee og det danske hof” by Reverdil

Saint-Germain was an true man-of-mystery who comes to us with good references. He was acquainted with Voltaire and Rousseau, and friendly with King Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour.

Perhaps the King knew Saint-Germain’s secret, for King Louis XV was fascinated by the frequent visitor to the King and Madame de Pompadour. They thoroughly enjoyed his company; finding him interesting, eloquent, and talented.1

For Louis XV he was also a secret diplomat: an unofficial and informal conduit between France and England, who was stymied by London’s distrust, French bureaucracy’s jealously (which caused them to purposely discredit him), and Louis’ subsequent and predictable disavowal of his secret agent.2

“The King ordered a diamond of middling size, which had a spot, to be brought. It was weighed; and the King said to the Count, “It is valued at two hundred and forty louis; but it would be worth four hundred if it had no spot. Will you try to put a hundred and sixty louis into my pocket?” He examined it carefully, and said, “It may be done; and I will bring it you again in a month.” At the time appointed, the Count brought back the diamond without a spot, and gave it to the King. It was wrapped in a cloth of amianthus, which he took off. The King had it weighed, and found it but very little diminished. The King sent it to his jeweller by M. de Gontaut, without telling him anything of what had passed. The jeweller gave three hundred and eighty louis for it. The King, however, sent for it back again, and kept it as a curiosity. He could not overcome his surprise, and said that M. de St. Germain must be worth millions, especially if he had also the secret of making large diamonds out of a number of small ones.”

Memoires of Louis XV./XVI. By Madame du Hausset (as told to the author by Madame de Pompadour).

Despite his reported death in 1784, he was said to be in Paris during the French Revolution, seeking to avert the catastrophe which he had predicted was to come. He was last reported seen by those who had known him into the early nineteenth century.

Count Saint-Germain around middle age, by an unknown artist.
Count Saint-Germain around middle age, by an unknown artist.

There have been–and are–people who chose to believe that Saint-Germain never died, and that he can be seen appearing and disappearing throughout history–even to today. Furthermore, there are people who believe that he plans and controls world events; and there are those who believe that he is one of the Ascended Masters, in company with Jesus, who continues on Earth to guide us in our own ascendancy.

The apparent facts are that much that has been ascribed to him is true–he was aristocratic, talented, and wealthy. It is less likely that he was preternaturally old, and it is worth noting that he had an appearance that age treats gently. Whether or not he is an Ascended Master will have to wait until someone can ask him–or maybe Jesus can vouch for him.

“I have seen him frequently: he appeared to be about fifty; he was neither fat nor thin; he had an acute, intelligent look, dressed very simply, but in good taste; he wore very fine diamonds in his rings, watch, and snuff-box. He came, one day, to visit Madame de Pompadour, at a time when the Court was in full splendour, with knee and shoe-buckles of diamonds so fine and brilliant that Madame said she did not believe the King had any equal to them. He went into the antechamber to take them off, and brought them to be examined; they were compared with others in the room, and the Duc de Gontaut, who was present, said they were worth at least eight thousand louis. He wore, at the same time, a snuff-box of inestimable value, and ruby sleeve-buttons, which were perfectly dazzling. Nobody could find out by what means this man became so rich and so remarkable; but the King would not suffer him to be spoken of with ridicule or contempt. He was said to be a bastard son of the King of Portugal.”

Memoires Of Louis XV./XVI., By Madame du Hausset.

“The Comtesse d’Adhemar quotes a letter she received from Saint-Germain in which he says, speaking of his journey to Paris in 1789, ‘I wished to see the work that that demon of hell, Cagliostro, has prepared.’ It seems that Cagliostro took part in the preparation of the revolutionary movement, which Saint-Germain tried to check by developing mystical ideas among the most advanced men of the period. He had foreseen the chaos of the last years of the eighteenth century and hoped to give it a turn in the direction of peace by spreading among its future promoters a philosophy that might change them. But he reckoned without the slowness with which the soul of man develops and without the aversion that man brings to the task. And he left out of his calculations the powerful reactions of hatred.”

Comte Saint-Germain: A Man Beyond His Time By Reginald Merton

“He was perhaps one of the greatest sages who has ever lived. He loved humanity; he desired money only in order to give to the poor. He even loved animals, and his heart was occupied only with the happiness of others. He believed he could make mankind happy by procuring for them new pleasures, lovelier cloths and colors; and glorious colors cost almost nothing. I have never known a man with a clearer mind, and at the same time he was possessed of a learning, especially in history, that I have rarely found. He had been in all the countries of Europe…but France seemed to be the land which he loved best.”

Great Secret Count St Germain.
From the memoires of the Prince of Hesse Cassel as given in Raymond Bernard’s “Great Secret Count St Germain”, (Health Research Books, 1993, ISBN 0787300950, 9780787300951.

Sources and Some Important Works

“One fact in this Parisian period must not be omitted; it appears from statements made by Madame du Hausset, Herr von Barthold and the Baron de Gleichen, that a young Englishman, at that time resident in Paris, Lord Gower by name, used to amuse himself and other idle people by passing himself off as M. de St. Germain, so that most of the silly and foolish tales about him, which ran riot in the gossiping “salons” of the period, originated in the sayings of this idle young fellow. Various details of his doings are to be found, but they are not worth further notice, beyond the fact that M. de St. Germain had to bear the blame for utterances which did not originate with him. Says Heer van Sypesteyn: “Many of the wild stories had probably nothing to do with M. de St. Germain and were invented with the object of injuring him and making him ridiculous. A certain Parisian wag, known as ‘Milord Gower,’ was a splendid mimic, and went into Paris salons to play the part of St. Germain–naturally it was very exaggerated, but very many people were taken in by this make-believe St. Germain.”

The Comte de St. Germain: The Secret of Kings Isabel Cooper-Oakley. Milano, 1912. Reprinted by P. 22. Also The Comte de St. Germain: The Secret of Kings (Forgotten Books).
  1. “Nobody could find out by what means this man became so rich and so remarkable; but the King would not suffer him to be spoken of with ridicule or contempt.” Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI., By Madame du Hausset. []
  2. The Comte de St. Germain: The Secret of Kings, By Isabel Cooper-Oakley. []