The Petersburg Freemasons all came to see him, tried to ingratiate themselves with him, and it seemed to them all that he was preparing something for them and concealing it.
It may be compared in some degree to such European societies as the Carbonara, Young Italy, the Tugendbund, the Confreries of France, the Freemasons in Catholic countries, and the Vehmgericht.
The Socialists and the Freemasons were largely responsible for the agitation, and they filled the country with stories of other priestly and coriventual immoralities, nearly all of which, except the original case at Greco, proved to be without foundation.
Anti-clericals and freemasons, divorce being regarded not as a social institution but as a weapon against Catholicism.
By his practical experiments and by his writings he gained a considerable reputation as an economist; but his ambition was not content with this, and he sought to extend his influence by joining first the Freemasons and afterwards (1779) the Rosicrucians.