Southwestern Ilistorical Quarterly
EARLY MASONRY IN MEXICO (1806-1828)
For years Masonry was a powerful factor in shaping the des-
tinies of the young Mexican nation, but it is difficult to determine
whether the results were good or bad. On account of the intense
rivalry between the Scottish Rite and Yorkist Orders acts of
violence were frequently committed and the country was thrown
into disorder. Although the secret societies had some advanced
ideas and, no doubt, meant well, they did not have experience in
self-government. Their methods caused hostility and they could not
be the true guides of the nation to lead it into democracy.
When Masonry obtained a hold on Spain it was only a question
of time until it permeated the American colonies. Popes con-
demned it for denying the existence of God, for declaring that the
soul died with the body, and for spreading heresies. At first
they blamed the Jews for scattering its seeds abroad. Kings
feared it because Masons had a tendency to obey no authority
but their grand master. Lodges, nevertheless, existed from an
early date in Salamanca and in 1621 Dr. Domingo Zapata of
the University of Salamanca was suspected of being an adherent
of Masonry. Masonic writers maintained that by 1727 there were
more than two hundred lodges in Spain and that they all belonged
to the great lodge in London. It was not until 1780 that Masonry
in Spain became independent of England and after that it was
under French domination. For a time Aranda, the famous min-
ister of Charles II, was the director of the organizations in Spain.'
At the end of the eighteenth century popular Masonry made
war on aristocratic Masonry and the latter declined. The popular
variety was connected with the French lodges, which worked for
the French cause in Spain, and Napoleon made use of them for
his purposes. Even before he entered Spain he had a vanguard
of more than twenty thousand French sympathizers recruited from
all social classes. Many French Masons accompanied his invading
armies and established new lodges in the conquered towns, but
the few independent lodges, not under French influence, did all
they could to retard the arms of the invader.2
iMariano Tirado y Rojas, La masoneria en Espana (Madrid, 1892-
1893), I, 6-12, 210-218, 247-295.
2Ibid., I, 355, 363; II, 20-30.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/. Accessed August 2, 2015.