The footnote shows that Burke is thinking of the secret society of the Illuminati, the discovery of which produced a panic out of all proportion to its importance. The society arose at Ingolstadt in Bavaria as a kind of political variety of freemasonry that aimed at combatting the obscurantism of the Jesuits. Certain malcontents betrayed the leaders, who were punished for infringing an electoral edict against secret societies.

Note by A.J.Grieve (MA) from The Rational For Persecutions in Part One of Reflections On The Revolution In France
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