The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8
I. O. O. F. Office Grand Corresponding and Recording Secretary, R. W. G. L. of U. S., Baltimore, Md., February 7, 1878 John B. Harmon, R. W. Deputy Grand Sire:
February 7, 1878
John B. Harmon,R. W. Deputy Grand Sire:
My Worthy Brother,—I herewith transmit to you a copy of an official letter, this day received from the M. W. Grand Sire, having reference to his appointment to visit Australia, and of your like appointment in the alternative. You will perceive that the M. W. Grand Sire, in consequence of unavoidable impediments in his way, has devolved upon D. G. Sire, the high honor of being the Representative of the Grand Lodge of the United States to that important jurisdiction, and also of being the bearer of the fraternal greetings of a half million of brethren in America, to brethren in another great continent engaged in the same noble cause and having a common descent and education from the Anglo-Saxon race. May I not hope that this mission will meet from you with a prompt and cordial acceptance, not more on account of the high and well-deserved compliment which it confers, than for the reason of the magnitude of the interests to Odd Fellowship involved. You are aware of what constitutes the special interests referred to, and they need not here be recapitulated. Suffice it, that I now reiterate the fact that your personal presence in that jurisdiction would more than probably re-arrange satisfactorily our form of government in Australia, establish it upon a stable basis, and harmonize entirely our machinery of work, which although generally correct, jars slightly here and there.
I need not say to you that now is a most auspicious period for the execution of this commission. The state of feeling in the jurisdiction toward their American brethren is highly fraternal and kind; their appreciation of American Odd Fellowship is a source of pleasure to us and of pride to both jurisdictions. There are now two prosperous Grand Lodges with many Subordinates; also several other Grand Jurisdictions already advancing toward organization. But above all. our brotherhood there are expecting you, and are now preparing to welcome you in Dunedin (New Zealand), and in Melbourne, with open arms. The news of your advent has already preceded you, and the Revised Journal of the Grand Lodge of the U. S., of 1877, is already in their possession, advising them fully of our interest in their welfare, and of the sacrifice we make for our great cause.
Let there be no delay, my brother, in your acceptance, I pray you, except for deference to higher obligations, to which our laws demand a surrender. I have labored to this noble end for several years with great earnestness. Let not the cup be dashed from my lips in the moment of success, but I pray you let this fortunate opportunity be availed of to consummate a purpose long desired, to see the perfect American system of Odd Fellowship established throughout every civilized country on the globe. Such a consummation, in addition to the considerations which will occur to you of the page 29 great moral service you have rendered to humanity, will unite two mighty peoples in Odd Fellowship, heart and soul, in one form of government and one language, by whose harmonious co-operation the further ubiquity and identity of the Order will be greatly promoted. Besides, a paramount fitness for this great service places the Order under lasting obligations to you, which it cannot afford to overlook, and which strengthens our hope that you will realize the general expectation.
The voyage may be performed in the time to intervene before the next session, and your return will be joyfully hailed by your brethren.
I have already "officially" transmitted information of your appointment to our brethren in Australia, and have received their reply, testifying their extreme gratification, and extending to you the cordial and heartfelt welcome of brother Odd Fellows. From the tenor of the welcome uttered, and the warm hospitality tendered, I anticipate a general rejoicing and demonstration of gratulation among our brethren. May I again renew the expression of my earnest hope, that you may be free to accept this distinguished office.
Yours ever truly,
Jas. L. Ridgely, C. S.