ISSUE 19, October 2006
Editorial
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Letters
Book reviews
Gardening

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page 



Sagasta (1827–1903) was one of the most distinguished figures of 19th-century Spanish history. He trained as an engineer and was responsible for building much of the railway network in the north of Spain. He was anxious to see Spain develop into a modern industrial state and developed strong liberal views. He served in the Spanish parliament at various times in the 1850s, but Spanish political life was marked by violent conflict and uprisings, and Sagasta was briefly forced into exile in France.
    Sagasta served as Prime Minister of Spain at various times between 1881 and 1902. He introduced many liberal reforms such as extensions of the right to vote and trial by jury. However, Spanish political life remained turbulent to the end of Sagasta’s life. In particular, the risings against Spanish colonial rule in Cuba proved difficult for Sagasta to handle, and many afterwards accused him of losing the remnants of the Spanish empire
    Like many Spanish liberal politicians, Sagasta was a committed Freemason, who from 1876 to 1881 was Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Spain. As Grand Master, he instigated substantial reforms of the organisation of Spanish Freemasonry, and sought recognition from Grand Lodges abroad, including the United Grand Lodge of England.
    The paper presented at the Logroño conference by Professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Sheffield discussed previously unknown correspondence in 1879 about recognition of the Spanish Grand Lodge between Sagasta and John Hervey, the Grand Secretary of United Grand Lodge. Sagasta was born in the small mountain town of Torrecilla de Cameros, close to Logroño, and the proceedings of the conference included a trip to Sagasta’s birthplace and a tour of the town by the mayor, which included a visit to a museum commemorating Sagasta’s life and achievements.
    The conference heard over 70 papers by academics from universities ranging from Cuba to Lisbon. The whole event triumphantly demonstrated how the history of Freemasonry can be a lively and vital field of academic enquiry.
    The conference was also supported by the regional government of La Rioja, and the formal opening of the conference was held in the beautiful headquarters of the provincial government, a converted 16th-century convent.
    The opening was attended by the head of the provincial government and attracted substantial press and TV interest.
    On the occasion of the opening, Professor Benimeli gave a masterly lecture on Sagasta and Freemasonry, which showed how, in Spain as in many other countries, research into Freemasonry can provide new and unexpected vistas into national history.



Professor Benimeli (right), with representatives of the Fondation Práxedes Mateo-Sagasta and the Parlamento of La Rioja, addresses the conference

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page