Elder Lee Pembleton,
I wanted to take the time to write you a formal letter stating my intentions before (hopefully temporarily) leaving your service.
You have been a fair and generous employer, certainly a far cry from those who gained from my labors prior to my freedom. You have shown me godly compassion and Christian charity and extended these goods deeds to those of my brothers and sisters who found themselves in similar straits. Your words before the Assembly here in Provo has brought gainful employment to dozens of the non-Gifted negroes among whom we’ve hidden these years. I therefore wish to assert in no uncertain terms that my departure is no comment on your generosity or treatment.
I cannot but look upon these recent emissaries of the Order and wonder at the change in attitude. To be charitable, my previous experiences with the covenant of Savannah were viewed through the lens of slavery, and I never had much experience with those magi of the north, but such simple north-south divides do not entirely explain what has happened here in Provo this past month and a half. That the overtures came from a Virginian, who openly acknowledged that he and his had owned slaves until just recently, gave my head something of a spin.
It would seem that I have been the subject of a more concerted hunt than I had anticipated. I knew that my former master and his Hermetic heirs would seek vengeance upon me for my abrupt departure, especially as they could no longer reclaim me as their property. I expected mercenary wizards to come looking for me for crass payment or political advantage. I did not expect a Virginian to spent over a month ingratiating himself into the Community, come to Temple more than weekly, and spend a considerable sum on the morale and entertainment of the negro servant-class just to get a conversation with me. And once he had that conversation, I did not expect to be offered amnesty and membership in the Order. I rather expected the noose.
I commend your wisdom, as in all things, in procuring the services of Colonel Trombley to negotiate on my behalf. The Virginian, whose name I suspect is not Gideon, brought an Indian Quaesitor, a clever choice as it demonstrates that even those who are not of the White race can aspire to high office among the Order. Over the hours of our discussions I have become convinced that a path to amnesty lies before me that may well result in my ability to live freely without fear of retaliation from the Order. I know that you do not cleave to the Order yourself, but I do hope you can understand my position.
Should these emissaries treat me honorably, and should the Hermetic Court grant my amnesty and accept my Oath, I hope you might consider, if not continued service, at least continued correspondence and friendship. I know that your good piety will not permit you to swear allegiance to any earthly Order that does not cleave to God’s Revealed Word, but I hope you will think no less of me for doing so. Know that my faith in the Lord will always remain strong, and I will keep always in mind the words of Christ that we must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. My earthly loyalty and service to the Order will not compel me into sin, you may be sure of it.
I know that the Nauvoo Legion and the Divine Elders among them have come to blows with the Order of late. I most sincerely hope it does not escalate to full-blown warfare, but even should it do so, I swear to you that I will take no part in hostilities against you and yours, and will do my utmost to facilitate compromise and peace if at all possible.
When next we speak, I hope to stand before you as a member of House Ex Miscellanea within the Order of Hermes.
Yours in Faith,