The Order of the Illuminati
The idea of a widespread freemason conspiracy originated in the late 1700's and flourished in the
Allegations of a freemason conspiracy trace back to British author John Robison who wrote the 1798 book Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the secret meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, collected from good authorities.
Robison influenced French author Abbé Augustin Barruel, whose first two volumes of his eventual four volume study, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, beat Robison's book to the printer. Both Robison and Barruel discuss the attempt by Bavarian intellectual Adam Weishaupt to spread the ideas of the Enlightenment through his secretive society, the Order of the Illuminati.
Weishaupt was appointed a professor at the University of Ingolstadt in Germany around 1772 and elevated to the post of professor of Canon Law in 1773 or 1775 (sources conflict), the first secularist to hold that position previously held by clergy.
Weishaupt began planning a group to challenge authoritarian Catholic actions in 1775, the group (under a different name) was announced on