From 1792 until 1810Hidalgo served as parish priest in a succession of curacies. While in San Felipe (1793-1803), he made his house a salon and promoted French theatrical works (which he translated), orchestral music,dances, and literary discussions. The Inquisition investigated his activities (1800-1801) but did not press charges. On his arrival in Dolores near Guanajuato in 1803, Hidalgo turned to moresocioeconomic interests. These he expressed through his development of local craft industries (ceramics, tanning, sericulture) for the benefit of the Indian and caste population.
Start of a Rebellion
With theNapoleonic invasion of Spain in 1808, Mexico's own crisis began. Hidalgo's search for intellectual companionship had brought him into contact with prominent Creoles throughout the Bajío, Michoacán, andadjacent areas. When the Creoles in Querétaro organized a plot to expel the dominant peninsular Spaniards and to substitute themselves in power, Hidalgo joined. Articulate, well informed, andcharismatic, he soon emerged as the uprising's leader, with Ignacio Allende, a militia captain, as second in command.
Exposed in early September 1810, the conspirators were forced to revolt prematurely....