The tub between the square and compass. Conflicts of masonic influence concerning animal magnetism and sociétés de l’harmonie
In the 1780s, significant changes took place within French Freemasonry. A Christian and mystic Freemasonry, which appropriated the reforms of the Templars and proposed another in its place within the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, was to emerge, centering on the Lyonnais reformer Jean-Baptiste Willermoz. This movement came up against another reforming project, that of the guard of the Royal Treasury Savalette de Langes, founder of the Parisian lodge of Amis Réunis and the regime of Philalèthes, whose project prefigured an academy uniting the most enlightened Freemasons in Europe. At the same time, the excitement over magnetism took hold in the French masonic lodges; many members united around Mesmer’s tub and joined the Sociétés de l’Harmonie. Committed to the magnetic movement, Willermoz and Savalette de Langes then engaged in a conflict for global influence extending from Freemasonary to the Sociétés de l’Harmonie.