Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Simms, Freemasonry, and His ''Epistle to a Brother Mason in Affliction'' >> Page 117

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Page 117

Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 117 THE SIMMS REVIEW

forts and even luxuries; have obtained their temporary
release from prison that they might join with us in the
rites of Masonry, and, in so doing, have incurred the
severe censure of those, not of the Craft, who regarded
these prisoners only as enemies and invaders of the
country. The Masons of Columbia confidently appeal
to the testimony of hundreds of these captives, to speak
of no other guests, to show that they have been faithful
to their Brethren, and to all those principles and laws of
our sacred Order, which are paramount in the minds and
souls of all the Brotherhood.
Copies of the letter, bearing the signatures of Simms and the other com-
mittee members, along with the recommendation of the Grand Master of
Masons in New York, Robert D. Holmes, were distributed to the various
lodges throughout New York.
By all reports, they were warmly received. In New Jersey,
Edward Ellis, a member of Trenton Lodge No. 5, was present when
Simms visited and later wrote:
William Gilmore Simms, the distinguished novelist
of South Carolina, came north directly after the close
of the Civil War to ask for Masonic Help in rebuild-
ing the lodges that had been destroyed during General
Sherman's march to the sea. Funds were showered upon
him to that extent that the moisture filled his eyes and
his voice broke when he tried to express his thanks ....
(230-31)
According to the report submitted by Simms and Bruns to the Board of
Trustees of Masonic Funds in Columbia upon their return, this moving
scene was repeated in every lodge they visited:
In all, we have met, the most fraternal kindness, such
as becomes the sacred character of our brotherhood. We
have reported to them the sad mischances and misfor-
tunes of our fraternity at home, and, we believe, that so
far as their resources have allowed them, they have gen-
erously responded to our wishes and necessities .... Your
Commissioners beg to report that they were received
every where with the sympathetic & affectionate wel-