Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST.; The President of the K.G.C. in Court

DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST.; The President of the K.G.C. in Court
A Writ of Habeas Corpus Served on Gen. Dix Returnable March 25
Sketch of President Bickley, K.G.C. His Statement Concerning the Order, its Rise and Progress
The K.G.C. Opposed to Horace Greeley and Jefferson Davis
Its Motto "America for Americans"
Interesting Historical Reminiscences Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan Gen.Santa Anna and the Policy of Louis Napoleon.
New York Times
March 21, 1865

Fort Lafayette was last week emptied of its prisoners of war and State, with four exceptions, the former being sent to Fort Delaware, the latter to Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor. Among the prisoners of State was a gentleman, who, for fourteen months, has been confined at the West and at Fort Lafayette. To many of our readers he is well known as an accomplished writer on political and medical subjects, but to the mass of the people of the South and Southwest he is best remembered as GEORGE W. LAMB BICKLEY, M.D., and President of the

President BICKLEY's health has been falling for a long time, and he is now reduced to a mere shadow. Various attempts have been made by his friends, including Ex-President FILLMORE, Bishop TIMON, of Buffalo, and other less distinguished people, to secure his trial or his liberation on bail. Failing in this, certain parties in this city, through their attorney, Mr. MCGREGOR, petitioned Judge BETTS, of the United States Court, for a writ of habeas corpus, which should compel the deliverance of President BICKLEY, or assign a reason for his detention. This petition is based on the provisions of the act of Congress, passed and approved March 3, 1863, in which it expressly directs that the Secretaries of State and War shall furnish to the Judges of the Circuit and District Courts lists of persons confined by their direction in any of the forts or arsenals of the United States. And further provides, "That in all cases where a grand jury, having attended any of the said courts having jurisdiction in the premises, after the passage of the act, and after the furnishing of said lists, as aforesaid, has terminated its session without finding an indictment or presentment, or other proceeding, against any such person, it shall be the duty of the Judge of the said court forthwith to make an order that any such prisoner desiring a discharge from said imprisonment be brought before him to be discharged." In the imperative discharge of duty, therefore, Judge BETTS issued a habeas corpus writ, which was served yesterday morning upon Gen. DIX, who commands the Department of the East, ordering him to produce the body of President BICKLEY in court on the 25th day of March. To this the General, through the Judge-Advocate of the Department, Major BOLLES, will make a return, stating the simple facts of the case, after which, in all probability, Judge BETTS will order his immediate release.

In view of these proceedings, a brief sketch of President BICKLEY, and a statement over his own signature, in relation to the Order of which he is the master spirit, will be found of interest.

Personally Dr. BICKLEY is of attractive appearance, courteous in manner, pronounced in opinion, and self-reliant. He is a son of Dr. BICKLEY, a Surgeon in the Virginia army of 1812-14, who resided in Prince George County, Va. The subject of this sketch was born at Temple Hill, Castle Woods, Russell County, Va., on the 18th of July, 1819. He was graduated from St. Mary's College, Baltimore, in 1838; studied medicine and surgery at University College and Guy's Hospital, London, whence he was graduated in 1842; served in the United States Typographical Corps, in Florida, until 1846, and in the army in Mexico until the close of the war; practiced medicine in Prince George County until 1850, at which time he commenced his political career.

In 1850 Dr. BICKLEY founded the Jefferson Historical Society, the object of which was to collect the historical material found in traditional form in great abundance in Southwest Virginia, and to encourage a more extended system of popular education in the mountain portions of the State. Under the auspices of this society he wrote and published in 1850 a history of the Indian wars and settlement of Southwest Virginia, the first volume of which is confined to Tazewell County, and is a complete specimen of special history, regarded by the London Quarterly Review as "an evidence of a determination on the part of Americans to preserve the history of the early settlement of their countrymen in detail, thus enabling the more general historian to produce what has not yet appeared -- a perfect history of the United States, and especially of the different States." In 1850 Dr. BICKLEY was tendered a Professorship in the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical College. In the Fall of 1851, while connected with the college, he edited the Cincinnati Nonpareil and the Weekly Sunday Mercury, and wrote much for the Holstein Christian Advocate and the Knoxville Whig. In the Spring of 1853 he published a large and splendidly illustrated treatise on Physiological Botany, now used as a text-book in the West, gave up his connection with the Nonpareil, and established the West American Review, which in 1854 was merged with the Parlor Magazine, and subsequently with the West American Monthly. In this year he published a volume on "Positive Medical Agents," and delivered at the New-York Broadway Tabernacle and Brooklyn Athenaeum a series of lectures on the "Doomed Cities of Antiquity;" he then purchased and edited the Daily Democratic Pennant, at Portsmouth, Ohio, with which he continued until the election of Mr. BUCHANAN in 1856, when he resumed his Professorship in the Cincinnati Medical College, occupying the chair of Physiology and Medical Jurisprudence.

Up to this time, although actively engaged in writing political essays, Dr. BICKLEY had not taken any marked personal interest in politics, although it was known that for several years he had been working with the Liberalists of Mexico, and that he was a correspondent of an extensive order in that country, known as "Los Caballeros del Circulo de Oro," and here popularly called the "K.G.C." To trace the Mexican history of this order in detail would take us back to the overthrow of ITURBIDE and the birth of those political convulsions which have culminated in the complete overthrow of Democracy in that State, and therewith the establishment of a Latin monarchy in the northern half of the New World, under the auspices of the French Emperor. Several revolutions have taken place in Mexico under the direct auspices of "Los Cabelleros del Circulo de Oro," the earliest of which, and the only one which has failed, was the movement under the lead of SAMANAS to detach the States of Yucatan, Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca from the Government by the action of the people, and to seek for them an admission to the United States. For this purpose a delegation, in 1848, visited President POLK, who was obliged, for want of authority, to decline the negotiation. Upon the return of the deputation to Mexico, the leaders were thrown into prison, and SAMANAS was beheaded by order of SANTA ANNA. This occasioned a popular revolt, the prisoners were released and SANTA ANNA driven from the country. From this time the Order continued to spread, until it was determined to introduce an American element, with a view to the suppression of the continued anarchy of the country, and an eventual union of the great Republics. Dr. BICKLEY's connection with the Order began in this wise: Through an agent, who was traveling in Mexico, he became familiar with its schemes, and in 1855 he was selected to preside at a meeting of the friends of the Order, held at Lexington, Ky., at which time the entire system was newly organized and remodeled, and Dr. BICKLEY elected its Chief Executive. From him we are in receipt of a letter written to a gentleman in this city, which speaks for his Order and himself, as follows:


SIR: -- I do not hold myself bound to answer idle questions which may be propounded to me in reference to the K.G.C., any more than I would be bound to answer questions relating to Masonry, Odd Fellowship or any other secret association to which I may belong. But as your question seems to be asked in good faith, and for arriving at a just estimate of the association to which I have devoted so much time, and which I have the honor to represent as Chief Executive Officer, I cheerfully comply. There has been manifested such a prejudice against the Order, and I have been so persistently calumniated, that I look for no correct or impartial verdict upon my public career for the last ten years until time and circumstances shall vindicate my opinions and develop the general justice of the great principles for which I have so long contended.

The modes of the K.G.C.'s work do not constitute a subject for public discussion, and hence I can only speak of the principles which are taught in the college of the Order. The popular belief that it is merely a political scheme or system of machinery is a great delusion; for in selecting its membership the most scrupulous care has been taken to assure every person that we interfere with no man's politics or his religion, and if, in the course of our instructions, the novitiate finds aught that does not meet his approbation, he is freely allowed to stop and withdraw, leaving him in the exact status which the world holds to the Order. This is true as regards the first and second divisions, but not as regards the third division, for he who enters that department, must live and die a working member of the K.G.C. The education received during the progress of the passage of the two first divisions, enables the novitiate to comprehend the last division, which he enters, with a full knowledge of its work and purposes and with the clear understanding, that he can neither cease his connection with the K.G.C. or to labor for the perpetuation of the same.

Each of the three divisions is composed of three sub-divisions or degrees, the third degree of each being governmental, and is so managed that the first and second degree members do not know who has the third, and these latter thus constitute not only the true governmental machinery of the division, but become the police by which every act of the membership is known at the seat of government of the Order, to which there is pouring in converging channels a continuous stream of information, which enables the Executive Cabinet to modify their policies to the exigency of public society, not only as it may exist in the United States, but in foreign countries. The agents maintained in foreign countries are paid regular salaries from the general fund of the Third Division, and hold their offices at the option of the President and his Cabinet Council.

The executive business is entrusted to a Division Council, presided over by a Vice-President, and in all matters of doubtful purport, its decisions are referred to the Superior Council for confirmation; and if the matter is of very vital importance, it is then referred to the Council of the 57, composed of the first Vice-President and the ministry of the general departments of each division. The President presides only at the sittings of the General Congress, which meets annually, and in the event of his absence, the first Vice-President fills his place. This Congress decides at each annual meeting when and where it will again convene, though for extraordinary purposes it may be convened at any time and place. The proceedings of these General Congresses are conducted in the K.G.C. language, and recorded in Oghams known only to the members of the Third Division. The lower divisions use a cypher writing, very simple and beautiful, but which has never yet been exposed, and if it were made public could do no earthly harm, since the Third Division would at once promulgate another.

The divisions are based on the grades of society and its subdivisions, and the greatest pains are taken not to entrust a superior part to an inferior subject. But to give you a more perfect idea of the machinery of the Order, it will be necessary to examine the divisions in detail through their sub-divisions or progress.

is military in its general aspect, but neither of the degrees is strictly so, since the first is designed to sift from every man his real natural ideas of justice and civilization, and to correct those abuses of education through which he may have been duped into the support of principles and opinions adverse to the onward march of Americanism -- to remove prejudices and leave the mind free to form judgments consonant with reason and justice. In this view the first degree, or that of the I.H., is educational and preparatory. A candidate is never urged to proceed beyond this, and when he makes application to proceed he is closely examined and may then be passed to the second degree, or that of the T.F., provided the vote in the Chamber of Finance is unanimous. If there be only one dissenting vote the person so voting must state fully his reasons. If the grounds of opposition seem warranted, and do not arise from personal dislike, the candidate is rejected, and the facts in his case are reported to the Division Council, and until these conditions and objections are removed, the party can proceed no further, but will hold his place in the Order, receiving all the advantages of the first degree, unless he chooses to resign, and the fact is communicated to the Division Council. There is but little danger of the party so being refused advancement imposing on the Order, for he is specially obligated against such a contingency, and even if he were to perjure himself and expose its secret ceremonial, it could only embarrass the Order for a few days until the ceremonial of the degree could be substituted by another; but strange to say, only one instance of this kind has as yet occurred, and it was remedied immediately. So far as any one can expose the principles of any degree of the Order is concerned, no earthly objection exists. The second degree of the first division is mainly financial, and furnishes all the moneys needed by the division. There are two sources of revenue, one from initiation fees, and the other from voluntary donations, both of which are placed at interest and the revenue from the investment is over sufficient for all the current expenses of the division for extraordinary purposes, as was the case in purchasing vessels for the American Colonization and Steamship Company of Yucatan, bonds are issued, and interest paid on them until the bond matures, and the debt is liquidated. The third degree of the first division of the K.G.C., or that of the C.S., is the governing department of the division, and exercises a perfect espionage over the interests of the Order. It is entrusted to but few. The relative proportions of the membership of the three degrees of the first division is 1,000, 250 and 50. The total membership of the Order on the 1st of July, 1862, was 486,398, of whom 42,000 were citizens of Mexico and other American countries.

It is sufficient to say that the other divisions of the Order are organized on a basis similar to the above, though, of course, the scope and character of their operations are different and far more important, though only an extension or development of the one grand idea of Americanism, or of Christian civilization as conveyed through that term. The K.G.C. sets out with the broad general declaration that the Old and New Testaments -- the Holy Bible -- is the revealed will of God, and a belief in the same is a condition to good society, a safeguard to liberty, the very keystone of human happiness and national greatness. That innovations on the written word of God ought to be discountenanced by all men who would discountenance the horrors of political and moral anarchy, and that when one is found who has not a good and fair understanding of God's word, it becomes every man's duty to assist in presenting it in its naked purity for his inspection, and if he then denies it as the great moral code bearing on all, he ought to be maranatha, and so we regard him.

The whole scheme of Christianity is Democratic -- that is cognizable of the best rights of man -- that monarchism and Christianity are inconsistent when applied for the purposes of human advancement. Recognizing this fact, our ancestors came to America where the dignity of man could be taught and recognized; that they were zealous Christians, and under their hands the career of peaceful civilization flourished in a wonderful degree, and so it continued and will continue to flourish as long as we stand by God's word and the great moral precepts therein enunciated. In the great plans of Providence Republicanism, founded on Christianity, first rose in the new world, and hence we claim this continent as the sacred home of Liberty, and we ever struggle against all doctrines, schemes and issues likely to imperil the same. We oppose all kingcraft, and the civil rule of Priestcraft. Our rulers must be of our own choosing, as decided by a majority at the ballot-box, where each man is allowed to express, without trammels, his choice, and every one is then morally bound to abide by and respect this decision of the majority; and if he is unwilling so to do, then he ought to leave the country and seek an asylum among other people, whose opinions are more suited to his own. If these remarks are true as regards the United States, they equally apply to the peoples of the whole continent, and hence the K.G.C. do and will oppose every scheme of kingcraft to plant its unhallowed foot on the domain of Christian civilization, presided over by the genius of Republicanism, and consecrated by the memories of the fact.

Americanism as represented by WASHINGTON and his successes for half a century and more, was hedged around by the Bible and a wise Constitution -- a strict adherence to both these is imperative on every member of society; and he who refuses assent to them ought to be ruled out of society, and thus guard the great body against attractive heresies under captivating forms, whose adoption could lead to anarchy, infidelity and public enslavement.

Unguarded liberty -- liberty freed from the trammels of the Bible and the Constitution -- leads only to political heresy, to civil commotion and discord, to irreverence, arrogance, and final misery; and all who have made deadly threats at Americanism, have denounced the Constitution of our fathers and the Bible of their faith. It is in denouncing parties and principles founded in opposition to these, that the K.G.C. has been forced to assume sometimes a political aspect. Yet it will be presently seen that it has in every instance stood by the old Constitution and the Bible; and when it has been overpowered, so the Bible and the Constitution will cease to guide and protect the rights of Americans.

So long as our people North and South stood by these two sure anchors of human liberty and human advancement, there was peace, harmony, rapid progress in the race of civilization and human development, and there was no need for the establishment of such an institution as the K.G.C. But it was apparent as early as 1850 that we were drifting on to sectional strife, and should eventually come to the dreadful horrors of the present day. There was but one way to avoid this. The remedy, it seems, was easily observable when we inquire into the causes of dissension. Those who set up visionary codes of human systems in opposition to the Eternal Word of the living God, took exceptions to the Constitution which permitted the Southern States to hold Africans and their descendants in perpetual bondage. The South respond by asserting that the Bible recognizes slavery, and they entered the Union with the clear and distinct understanding that the Constitution should recognize this right; and that the people, through their several State Governments, could alone interfere with the institution. Honest and consistent Abolitionist like Mr. GREELEY say, "Well, irrespective of the Bible warrant, if you will hold men in bondage, and it is admitted the Constitution does protect you in such practice, then we suggest, if you will not give up the institution, will not agree to alter the Constitution, that you leave the Union." While this is, perhaps, not just the worded sentiment of HORACE GREELEY, it is what I have always understood to be Mr. GREELEY's position, and so long as he stood to it his consistency commanded the respect of even Southern men.

The South responding to the above sentiment noted on Mr. GREELEY's suggestion, but a vast majority of the people, recognizing the value of the Union, said to Mr. DAVIS, "You shall not go out," and hence the present war.

The K.G.C. took issue with both Mr. GREELEY and Mr. DAVIS. We said, Republicanism in America has a far higher mission than the education of the three or four millions of negroes, whom everybody is sorry were ever brought from their own scorching sandhills. Obey the Bible and the Constitution and all the errors of Americanism will correct themselves like a fermenting liquid. From our political organization, and the greater population of the free States, you of the North, for the sake of power will continue to use the negro question until the South will in self-defence be compelled to quit your association, from which moment the disintegration of Americanism must begin. To prevent this we must acquire territory on our Southern border, which will no increase the political power of the South as to render it impossible for you to seriously threaten the constitutional rights of the Slave States, and since no such thing as disunion can then occur Americanism will purify itself. The neon system of Mexico is in sufficient sympathy with the interests of the South to harmonize them, and thus enable us to perpetuate our Government, and with the appliances of modern invention we can govern and control the empire of the people with more ease than Washington governed the original Union. The K.G.C. is, therefore, the only real Union measure likely to answer the purpose yet presented to the public.

The first step in this scheme was the overthrow of the corrupt military systems of Mexico, which, since 1824, had disgraced the country. Organize a Constitutional Government placed in the hands of agents chosen by the people. The Church Party feel and understand the auspices of this Order. The Constitution of 1857 was adopted, and BENITO JUAREZ was duly elected President of the Republic, which, after a struggle of nearly three years, was fully recognized by the United States Government. MIGUEL MIRAMON and his partisans, who were headed by LABISTIDA, Archbishop of Mexico, fled to Europe, and, as the success of their intrigues, a war with England, Spain and France was forced on JUAREZ, which finally devolved on the latter, and who, through mere brute force, and in defiance of the oft-repeated declarations of the United States Government to protect and foster the American Republics, has firmly planted a Latin Monarchy in Republican Mexico. And, though engaged in a great war, we have not had time to say to the poor patriots of Mexico, we will come to your aid as soon as we can, but we have had time to assure LOUIS NAPOLEON that he shall meet with no opposition to his Imperial projects in the New World. Let history judge between the K.G.C., which helped establish Constitutional Government in Mexico, and the United States, which encouraged the Emperor of the French to thus strangle Mexican freedom.

One year before the opening of the present war, a movement of K.G.C. emigrants took place toward Mexico. Quite a number assembled in Texas, and others entered the country where they still are, but the sudden opening of hostilities in the United States compelled a suspension of the movement, and since June, 1861, I have neither taken any action in public events, nor in my official capacity as President of the K.G.C., interfered with American politics. The supposition that I would do so has, no doubt, led the Government to have me arrested, but the only action I was likely to take, or that would be consistent with my official position, would have been to have carried a sufficient force to Mexico to maintain the Government of 1857, as represented by President JUAREZ, until our own troubles are settled. In doing such a work, I would not have acted without the knowledge of the United States Government, for neither the Administration of Mr. PIERCE or that of Mr. BUCHANAN ever objected to the K.G.C. rendering any service to Mexico, not inconsistent with treaty stipulations, and when under the sanction of the Mexican Government.

Hereafter when the name of MAXIMILIAN is mentioned in the pages of history, let it be done in this style: "The man, who by French bayonets, with the consent and knowledge of the United States, triumphed over JUAREZ and the K.G.C. -- over constitutional government and American liberty, whose imperial standards flaunt back derisively in the face of the United States Congress, the chimera of the Monroe doctrine." But let the friends of Americanism not despair, for our cause is based upon reason, truth and justice, and when the proper moment arrives, the flag that bears the emblems of the K.G.C. will be thrown to the breeze, and another contest must commence in Mexico between the sons of the country and their foreign oppressors.

But, sir, I am striving from the end I had in view when I commenced this note, which may only serve to fasten the shackles of the captive on my wrists, and yet for which I care much less than one would suppose since my liberty can in no way effect the great ends and objects, the actions or labors of the K.G.C. We have labored too long and earnestly to leave such interests dependent on the liberty of any one man.

If the United States Government had immediately on my arrest summoned me before the Departments of State and War, it would have been at once satisfied that it had acted under a misapprehension, and that so far from either myself or the Order having any connection with the Confederate Government, it had ever stood aloof from all connection with either of the contending sections, and have been since the beginning of the war up to the present moment most solicitous for a peace honorable alike to both sections. Our membership is in both armies and in both sections, for which reason, as an Order the K.G.C. could not take part with either of the contending Powers. The K.G.C. is only the military circle of Americanism, and the occurrence of the war rendered it absolutely necessary to suspend, until further orders, all those departments in any way affecting North or South. But, sir, let me again assure you that beyond and above all sectional and political considerations, there is something in the public heart, both North and South, which still binds together the lovers of Saxon democracy, of constitutional liberty, throughout North America; and it has been the constant effort of the Knights of the Golden Circle, North and South, since the war began, to reach the public ear through the press, by social teaching, and by books and periodicals, in a way to show Americans that we were tending to such a system of disintegration as to endanger it not utterly to destroy every hope of our fathers to plant here such a permanent system of constitutional democracy, as to afford at all times and to all peoples a refuge from tyranny in the old world. Let the public remember that our theory is that the real question of the world to-day, and for ten years past, has been one of Democracy vs. Monarchism -- Latinism vs. Saxonism, and that the K.G.C. has been proved to stand forth the great vanguard of Saxonism. The Order warned the American people as early as 1858 of the Franco-Spanish Alliance against Mexico. It showed that the monarchies of Europe were determined to disrupt us by dangerous sectional issues, and so weaken the power of the United States as to accomplish their ends with the smallest possible expenditure of European blood. The present civil war was to be encouraged, hopes were to be held out to the South of a speedy recognition, and if need be then, of material aid. This, while flattering to the South, was a mere pretext. No European Power has yet seriously contemplated such a step, but orders were issued by the Emperor NAPOLEON to keep these hopes buoyant in the South, until such time as when, heavily pressed by the superior power of the North, the South would listen favorably to propositions of a French protectorate and a gradual cession of sovereignty to His Imperial Majesty. When this point was reached, the Governors of several Southern States were gradually approached by the special agents of France and Spain. The trick was at once detected by the K.G.C., and reported to the Confederate Government, when Mr. DAVIS promptly dismissed the offending Consuls, showing that while engaged in a terrible struggle for Southern Independence, he was yet not willing to yield his country into the hands of His Imperial Majesty. Thus rudely rebuffed by Mr. DAVIS, the French Emperor at once determined to push his Mexican scheme with great vigor. Cardinal ANTONELLI could furnish some very curious developments on this subject, the key to which was furnished me by LABISTI[???]A, Archbishop of Puebla, in a conference held with me in the Spring of 1859, in the City of Baltimore.

Since the war has been in progress, both North and South have been most thoroughly permeated with French spies or agents, whose business it has been to further inflame the public mind and justify French intervention in Mexican affairs. All these schemes of the Latin monarchist have been exposed time and again by the K.G.C. We have even suggested, by various modes, our willingness to take a sufficient body of men, at our own expense, to Mexico, to assist President JUAREZ in maintaining Mexican nationality and freedom until our own troubles were settled. Twenty thousand men from North or South could have been had on my call for this purpose, and without in any way compromising either Government; and without any assistance whatever, and can now be had from the one State of New-York, or from nearly any one of the Northwestern States, and that, too, without taking a man from the army or who is likely to go into the army. The K.G.C. is so well understood in the South, and in portions of the North, that every American would at once give it a portion of that sympathy which so strongly expressed itself last Spring in the House of Representatives on adopting Mr. WINTER DAVIS resolutions on the Monroe doctrine. In the direction of public sentiment in this direction, the K.G.C. has manifested strength enough to lay the Mexican plank in each political platform which has thus far been presented to the American people.

The organization of the K.G.C. is as perfect now as it was before the war, and should it last ten years longer it will remain the same -- for it is only necessary to issue a single order to move its entire machinery. Though nothing will be done until the Government shall be satisfied that we have nothing to do whatever with any of the secret political societies, whether called by our name or any other, either North or South, and that we have not only tried, but are determined to remain neutral as between North and South; but belligerent as between Latanism and Saxonism -- as between monarchy and democracy -- and that we do now and ever will hold ourselves in duty bound to respond to the first call made for defenders of Saxon republicanism. Equally ready do we stand to oppose with all our might any party or scheme which shall attempt the overthrow of the great principles of constitutional government for which our fathers so long contended.

With an earnest desire, Sir, that our present national troubles may be speedily and honorably settled, I beg to subscribe myself.

Very truly your obedient servant,
President of the K.G.C.

We are not in possession of the facts connected with Mr. BICKLEY's arrest, but if we remember correctly, he was apprehended with a pass from Gen. ROSECRANS in his pocket, sent to the Ohio Penitentiary at the time of Gen. MORGAN's confinement there, and thence sent to Fort Lafayette. He seems to be almost a monomaniac, at times speaking of large armies and immense sums of money at his disposal, and again appearing despondent to the last degree. He is regarded by those who have been companioned with him as visionary, good-hearted, honorable and energetic. He is willing to take the oath of allegiance, settle down quietly, or leave the country as the Government may elect.