Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 1137b The Fraternity of Free Masons Throughout the State of New York >> Page 343

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Page 343

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription Additional Letters and Documents, 1828—1868 343
[Columbia, S.C., October 1365]
The respectful and affectionate Memorial of your distressed brethren, of the city of Columbia, S.C., showed, that, by the events of war, they have been deprived of all their possessions, whether as individuals or Masons; that, as individuals, they are, many of them, without the means of comfortable subsistence for themselves and families; that their city has been mostly laid in ashes, to the total destruction of houses, furniture, and chattels of all descriptions, with the loss besides, in thousands of instances, of all their plate, jewels, money, and resources of every kind; that, as Masons, their Lodges have been destroyed entirely; their paraphernalia; the jewels of the several Orders, and every tool and insignia, which have been held so precious to the Brotherhood, and which are so essential to their rituals and ceremonies; that we have now no places, save by the favor of friends, where we can assemble for the usual working of the Lodges; that we have no ability to replace our sacred things, and maintain those solemn rites, which all true Masons so tenaciously insist upon, as necessary duties, in the promotion towards perfection of those sacred essentials of Fraternity, Charity, Truth, Light and Justice, which are held to be the vital objects of the Brotherhood.
Our objects of pride and interest, of sentiment and affection, approaching to worship, are lost to us; the books in which we were taught; the lights which burned at our altars; the consecrated banners with which we strove to adorn the triumphs of society, and with which we accompanied the form of the departed Brother to his last repose; all these are gone. Our lesser lights, though unextinguished, are dim; our altars bare; and when we now assemble, it is with maimed rites and mournful aspects—like those of a people in captivity or exile. Were the Grand Lodge of the State now to assemble for any purpose, it would not be possible to obtain, for the Most Worshipful Grand Master, an apron, such as would properly belong to, and represent, his office.
The destitution of our Masons is such, in brief, that our poor can no longer be succored by our alms; the widow and the orphan can