Johann Wilhelm Bernhard von Hymmen

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Johann Wilhelm Bernhard Hymmen, from 1786 von Hymmen (* 1725 in Schwelm, Westphalia; † 9 April 1787 probably in Berlin) was a Prussian jurist, author and poet from the Rhenish family Hymmen.


Johann Wilhelm Bernhard von Hymmen
(copper engraving by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801), original in the New York Public Library)

Hymmen studied law at the universities of Duisburg and Halle. In 1769 he joined the Berlin Court of Appeal as a trainee lawyer, where he also became a Kammergerichtsrat, later Geheimer Justizrat at the Oberappellationssenat of the Court of Appeal.

In his spare time, he was active as a poet and author of legal literature. Thus, with the publication of his “Beiträge zur juristischen Litteratur in den preußischen Staaten” (1775-1787) and the “Repertorium über die Beiträge der juristischen Literatur in den preußischen Staaten” (1790) he earned high merits in the Prussian judiciary.

On January 2, 1772, he joined the Strict Observance, but was soon dissatisfied with this “void temple,” “demanded realities,” and thereupon turned to the Order of the Gold and Rosicrucians[1]which, within the Masonic Lodges of the Great National Mother Lodge “On the Three Globes”, claimed to be the “Secret Superiors” and thus the official successor organization to the Strict Observance. These masonic lodges served as their financial and personnel basis, for half of these freemasons were also members of the Rosicrucians. In Berlin they formed six circles of about nine people, in which the orthodox opponents of the rationalist Enlightenment gathered from the 1770s onwards, and which were presided over by a circle director. Hymmen was one of them and presided over the Hilarius Circle, which, however, existed only briefly. For a long time he was also one of the advisors of Prince Friedrich August of Brunswick.[1]

In 1776 Hymmen was a deputy to the Convention in Wiesbaden and believed in Gottlieb Freiherr von Gugomos’ wisdom.

At least in the years 1772 to 1782 he corresponded several times with his poet colleague Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim (1719-1803) and shortly before his death with the young deceased poet Johann Benjamin Michaelis (1746-1772).

Hymmen was raised to the Prussian peerage on 2 October 1786 in Berlin as a Privy Councillor of Justice at the Higher Appellate Senate of the Berlin Court of Appeal. His grandson was the Prussian District Administrator Eberhard von Hymmen.

Works (selection)

  • Crata Repoa oder Einweihung in der alten geheimen Gesellschaft der Aegyptischen Priester. Published by Karl Friedrich Koeppen and Johann Wilhelm Bernhard Hymmen, 1770.
  • Seven new songs of the Freemasons. Published by Decker, Berlin 1776.
  • Neue Freymäurerlieder mit angehängten Freymäurergesundheiten. Published by Decker, Berlin 1772.
  • Freymäurer-Bibliothek. Editors: Johann Alexander Hemmann and Johann Wilhelm Bernhard von Hymmen, parts 1-6 in 2 volumes, published by Christian Gottfried Schöne, 1782-1793.
  • Vierzig Freymäurerlieder, in Musik gesetzt von Naumann, 2nd edition, Verlag Himburg, Berlin 1784.
  • Cinq chansons maçonniques. In: Collection of New Masonic Speeches. Publisher Decker, Berlin.

Individual references

  1. a b General Handbook of Freemasonry. Lenning’s Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry. Published by the Association of German Freemasons. Max Hesse’s Verlag, Leipzig 1900.


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