Nueva-York: Imprenta de Joseph Desnoues, 1822. v,-272pp. plus five plates, including frontispiece. Contemporary sheep, with paste paper boards. Twelfth and thirteenth gatherings bound out of order. Spine edges chipped and worn down. Occasionally trimmed close at top edge, affecting headlines and page numbers. Small chip to fore-edge of one leaf, with slight loss to three lines. Good. Item #1746
One of two rare Spanish translations of Thomas Webb's Masonic Monitor published in the United States during 1822. This edition appeared in New York in November; the other was issued in Philadelphia. Together, they are the first earliest guides to Freemasonry published in Spanish anywhere in the Americas. Masonry was a significant influence amongst the leaders of Mexican independence, much as it was in the United States, and the first two political parties in the new country were essentially competing groups of Masons. Uncoincidentally, Mexico declared its independence the year prior to the publication of this work in America.
While the Philadelphia issue is a straightforward translation of the 1818 edition of Webb's Monitor, the New York edition has been rewritten in order to introduce the ideas and tenets of masonry to a new audience, and contains a preface by the editors or anonymous translator that describes masonry as a universal order in which all men are brothers and asserts a world order of nations as families and citizens as sons, perhaps an attempt to situate masonry within the same philosophical bounds as contemporary independence and "Rights of Man" movements in Europe and the Americas. The New York edition also includes five plates with rather charming woodcuts of masonic emblems and insignia absent from the Carey & Lea version. Finally, the present issue is also much scarcer -- we locate only five copies, at the Library of Virginia, AAS, LSU, the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, and the Biblioteca Nacional de España.
Sabin 102244. Shoemaker 9519.