From the Preface.
even though a lot has been written approximately Cagliostro, so much of it truly is limited to articles in encyclopedias and magazines, or to descriptive paragraphs in works facing magic, freemasonry and the interval during which he lived. This fabric can be defined as a footnote which has been raised to the honour of a web page of historical past. it really is in accordance with modern documents encouraged by way of envy, hatred and contempt in an age notoriously passionate, revengeful and unscrupulous. it truly is, in addition, tremendous superficial, being only a repetition of knowledge acquired second-hand by way of compilers it appears too ignorant or too lazy to make their very own investigations. Even M. Funck-Brentano, whose very good ancient monographs have earned him a deservedly excessive popularity, isn't really to be relied upon. within the sequel to his pleasing account of the affair of the Diamond Necklace, the short bankruptcy he devotes to Cagliostro includes such a lot of inaccuracies as to indicate that, just like the majority of his predecessors, he used to be content material to impart his info with no formerly taking the difficulty to envision the assets from which it used to be derived.
it's been stated that each e-book on Cagliostro has to be a e-book opposed to him. With this opinion I absolutely disagree. In selecting Cagliostro because the topic of an historic memoir i used to be guided before everything, I admit, by means of the idea that he was once the arch-impostor he's popularly alleged to be. together with his secret, magic, and hugely sensational profession he appeared simply one of these picturesque character i used to be looking for. the instant, even if, i started to make my researches i used to be astonished to discover how little origin there has been in truth for the preferred belief. The deeper I went into the subject—how deep this has been the reader could assemble from the Bibliography, which incorporates yet a element of the fabric i've got sifted—the extra confident I grew to become of the fallacy of this perception. lower than such conditions there appeared yet possible choices open to me: both to desert the topic altogether as unsuited for the aim I had in view, or to keep on with the road of least resistance and, dishonestly adhering to the previous approach, which from customized had virtually turn into de rigueur, aid to perpetuate an impact i thought to be unfounded and unjust.
looking back i've got followed neither path. inflammation because of the lack of expertise and carelessness of the so-called "authorities" aroused from sleep a clean and unforeseen curiosity of their sufferer ; and that i determined to stay to the topic I had selected and deal with it for the 1st time truthfully. As Baron de Gleichen says in his Souvenirs, "Enough unwell has been acknowledged of Cagliostro. I intend to talk good of him, simply because i feel this is often consistently most appropriate offering you'll be able to, and at the least I shall no longer bore the reader through repeating what he !has already heard." one of these assertion made in reference to one of these personality as Cagliostro is popularly speculated to be will, without doubt, divulge me to the cost of getting "whitewashed" him. This, although, I emphatically deny. "Whitewashing," as I comprehend this time period, is a believable try to painting base or detestable characters as necessary of esteem via palliating their vices and attributing noble reasons to their crimes. this way of treating old figures is definitely no longer one among which i will be able to be accused, as those that can have learn earlier biographical books of mine will admit. no matter what sympathy for Cagliostro my researches can have evoked it has consistently been handed through contempt of these who, combining an unreasoning prejudice with a slovenly procedure of compilation, have repeated the previous fees opposed to him with parrot-like stupidity. the article of this ebook isn't really rather a lot an try and vindicate Cagliostro as to right and revise, if attainable, what i think to be a fake judgment of background.