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Patriotic stand of the Virginia Knights Templar.

The following correspondence will fully explain itself, and will be read with pleasure by every patriotic member of the Masonic fraternity in Virginia and the entire South, as well as by our citizens generally:

Office of the Grand Master

of Knights Templar of the

United States of America.

Benjamin Brown French, Grand Master of Knights Templar of the United States of America:

To all True and Patriotic Templar:--Brotherly Love, Peace, Honor--An awful fratricidal conflict seems to be impending.--He alone who rules the destinies of Nations can prevent it. He works through human instruments. I implore every Templar Knight on the Continent of America, after humbly seeking strength and aid from on High, to exert all the means at his command to avert the dread calamity, which, to human vision, seems inevitable

Let each Templar to whom this may come remember how often we have stood at each other's side and raised our voices in prayer for the prosperity of a common country and a common cause. Let all call to mind how the Knights of Virginia, mingling in fraternal brotherhood with those of Massachusetts, pledged themselves to each other on Bunker Hill only a few brief years ago; and when another year had passed away, the same noble bands stood together in the city of Richmond, in the State of Virginia, the birthplace of Washington, and with mutual vows bound their souls in an everlasting covenant! Let them remember these things, and with hearts on fire with love for each other, and for their countrymen, go forth among those countrymen and implore the arbitrament of peace, instead of that of the sword.

I ask no one to surrender a principle that has become dear to his heart; but I ask every one to labor and to pray that such counsels may take place between the contending parties, who have for so many years acted with a common impulse, as to restore harmony and kind feeling, and to avoid the curse of having fraternal blood crying to Heaven from the ground, and bringing down its maledictions on our children's children through all future time! Labor and pray that hostilities may be suspended until the mild councils of peace can be appealed to, and that the appeal may not be in vain.

Casting aside every political feeling, every political aspiration, and asking every Templar to do the same, let us, as one man, unite in one grand effort to prevent the shedding of fraternal blood, and to inaugurate here that blessed result which our Lord and Master initiated: ‘"Peace on earth and good will to men."’

Templars! you count in this land by tens of thousands. Each one has his influence in the circle about him. Never, no never was there an opportunity to exert that influence in a more holy cause, or to a more sublime purpose. Forward, then, to the rescue of your country from fratricidal war!

But, if war must come — which dread calamity may God, in His infinite mercy, avert — then I call on every Knight Templar to perform that sacred duty which so well becomes our Order, of binding up the wounds of the afflicted, and comforting those who mourn.

Dated at the city of Washington. on this 18th day of April, in the year of our Lord, 1861 and in the year of our Order 743.

B. B. French, Grand Master.


Justice]
office of the Grand Master
of Knights Templer of Va.,

Lynchburg, Va., April 27, 1861.

Hon. B. B. French.
Grand Master Grand Encampment.
Knights Templar of the United States: M. E. Sir Knight:
Your Circular of the 18th inst., relative to the ‘"awful fratricidal conflict which seems to be impending"’ between the citizens of the North and the South, has been received; and as the people of the South are merely acting on the defensive in this conflict, those of the North, regardless of that ‘"Brotherly Love, Peace and Honor"’ alluded to in your Circular, having trampled upon their constitutional rights, and being now about to invade their soil, their homes and their firesides, and desecrate their altars, I am at a loss to understand why you should send such a Circular to the Knights Templar of Virginia.

Residing as you do at Washington, you cannot be ignorant of the fact that Virginia has exhausted every honorable means to avert this conflict. ‘"Casting aside every political feeling, every political aspiration,"’ she has plead to prevent the ‘"shedding of fraternal blood;"’ she has plead for ‘"Peace on earth and good will to men,"’ and she has plead that her constitutional rights and those of her sister States of the South should not be trampled upon. But her pleadings have been disregarded; and conscious of the justice of her cause, she now appeals to the ‘"God of Battles,"’ confident that Heaven will smile approvingly upon her efforts in resisting unto the death this Cain-like and marauding attack of the vandals of the North; and I thank God, that the valiant Knights Templar of Virginia unanimously participate in this feeling of resistance, and are prepared to welcome their invaders ‘"with blood stained hands to hospitable graves,"’ designated by no ‘"spring of evergreen."’

For the reasons stated, I now, as the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the State of Virginia, give you notice that that body is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Grand Encampment of the United States, and will no longer regard or obey any orders or edicts emanating from it or its officers.

E. H. Gd.L, Grand Master.

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