Junior Order of United American Mechanics
Second, or Degree of Liberty
Councils will always open and close and transact their regular business in the Third Degree.
The stated hour of meeting having arrived, the Councilor will give one rap, when the officers and members will be seated. He will then rise and say:
C.: Council No. … is about to open. The officers and members will be clothed in proper regalia and come to order.
C.: Bro. I. S., you will secure the inner door and allow no one to retire or enter till so directed from this station.
C.: Brother W., you will advance and give to me the password’ and its explanation.
C.: You will now satisfy yourself that all present are qualified to remain, report to me and resume your station.
After testing the members the Warden will report from the altar and resume his station.
C., giving two raps, the members rising: Sons of a common country, reared under the same flag and influenced by like tradition, we have come here that we may trim and brighten the sacred fires of fraternity and patriotism.
Withdrawn from the tumult, selfishness and striving of every-day life; safe from the inquisitive, the envious and the faultfinding, we find ourselves in a presence where we may deliberate and resolve with that perfect freedom possible only-when men come together intent upon high purpose and where a true regard for the opinion of others ever moves to speech and action.
With a just pride in our country’s past and a sublime faith in its future, let us so carry ourselves here as to fill full the measure of our own approval, and so demean ourselves abroad as to bear witness that we hold our citizenship a precious birthright and our exercise of it a privilege beyond price.
C.: Brother Chaplain, upon what is our Order founded?
Chaplain: Upon Virtue.
C.: Brother V. C., by what are we made secure in the practice of Virtue?
V. C.: By Liberty.
C.: Brother Jr. P. C., to what must we look for our inspiration?
Jr. P. C.: To Patriotism.
C.: Brother Chaplain!
The Chaplain will here read a selection from the Bible and then offer the following prayer:
Sublime Master of The Universe! Humbly we bow before Thee and beseech Thee to move us to loving kindness toward each other. Direct us that all our words and thoughts and deeds may ever make for a higher and broader citizenship. Help us, that being clean of heart and true to self, we can be false to none, God of Nations! We offer our thanks that our Country has come to its high place among the peoples of the Earth. Quicken, O Lord, the public conscience and steady the purpose of our people, that our institutions may grow with the Nation’s growth, and that our greater destiny shall continue as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, to struggling mankind everywhere. Protect, and grant of Thy wisdom to all, of high and low degree, who may be appointed to administer public business. Ever incline the hearts of the people to respect for and obedience to law. Prosper our Order and its purpose to make of us truer men and better citizens. Amen.
C.: Let us join in singing our opening ode.
Air, “America.” (Key of F.).
God bless our native land;
Firm may it ever stand
Through storm and night.
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do Thou our Order save
By Thy great might.
C.: Relying upon a spirit of true brotherhood and invoking a perfect loyalty to our institutions, I now declare this Council duly opened.
Brother I. S., you will retire and so inform the O. S., and admit such as may be qualified to enter.
The Council being at work in the Third Degree, the C. will say:
C.: Brother W., you will retire and report to me whether there are any candidates awaiting advancement.
Returning from the anteroom the W. will report:
W.: Brother Councilor, I find … (naming Candidate or Candidates) in the -anteroom awaiting advancement.
C.: Brother W., you will present the Candidate at the altar for examination.
The Candidate being at the altar, the Councilor will say:
C.: My friend, are you prepared for examination?
Candidate answers: I am.
C.: Then repeat the obligation of the First Degree.
C.: Brother W., you will reconduct our friend to the anteroom and prepare him for advancement.
C.: There being work to do, with the aid of the Council I will proceed to confer the Degree of Liberty upon …, he being a duly chosen candidate for membership in this Order and having already passed his initiation. I now declare the Council open in the Second Degree and will ask of all, proper assistance and careful attention.
The W., being in the anteroom, will carefully hoodwink the Candidate or Candidates. If there be more than one candidate, having selected the one appearing to be best fitted to the character, he will costume him as a Puritan. This done, addressing the Candidate or Candidates, he will say:
W.: Friend, having, upon a former occasion, been taught the lesson of Virtue as sought to be practiced by our Order, I am about to present you to our Conductor, who will guide you in your quest for Liberty. You will find your way dark, threatening and beset with difficulties. I am sure that, if you meet every obstacle with courage, you will find at your journey’s end both light and welcome. Follow me.
In the meanwhile the Council room will have been prepared for the ceremony. There should be provided some illusionary contrivance, preferably a mechanism representing the pitching and tossing of a boat at sea, or something that will thus impress the blindfolded subject; a machine upon which the Candidate shall stand, with a short mast in its center to which he must cling for support; something likely to produce more effect upon the mind than the body. On no account should anything making possible, physical danger, be permitted. The machine being upon wheels should be located immediately in front of the Chaplain’s station.
The Candidate being prepared, the W. will give two raps upon the inner door to which the I. S. will respond. in the same manner, and speaking through the wicket will say:
I. S.: Who comes there?
W.: Friends seeking Liberty and asking advancement in this Order.
I. S.: You will await the commands of the Councilor, to whom I will report your presence. Addressing the Councilor: Brother Councilor, there is without the W. with a friend asking advancement in this Order. What is your pleasure?
C.: If our W. will vouch for this friend he may be admitted.
I. S., opening the door: Brother W., will you vouch for this friend.
W.: I will.
I. S.: Then by direction of the Councilor, enter.
When all are within, the Conductor approaching the W. will say:
Conductor: Brother W., it is now my duty to take charge of this friend and accompany him upon a journey, that if it does not result in disaster, will end in his coming into the light and finding welcome. Addressing the Candidate: My friend, we will proceed.
The Conductor will then lead the procession formed of the Candidate, the W. and such other attending brothers as may be needed, to a position near by the Chaplain’s station, where he will halt, and facing the Candidate will say:
Conductor: We have arrived at the place of your departure upon a voyage, the beginning of which is known, but the end of which is wrapped in mystery. Should fortune favor you, upon the other side of the vast deeps, you will find a land where you may, within bounds, be as free as you have been oppressed. Be brave, be steadfast and have faith. Taking the Puritan Candidate by the hand the Conductor will continue. Enter then upon your voyage. Then leading the Candidate upon the machine he will place his hands about the mast and say: Hold fast. Whereupon the machine will be put in motion, the other Candidates, if any there be, and the attending brothers following and proceed once about the hall and again until the Councilor’s station has been reached, when the procession will come to a halt and the Candidate will be led from the machine and it will be quietly removed from sight. The Puritan Candidate will be left standing before the Councilor and the others, if there be any, will be seated immediately in the rear: The hoodwinks shall then be removed.
Here, if possible, such arrangements shall be had that just as the hoodwinks are removed a curtain shall be drawn disclosing the Councilor or someone selected by him for the part, costumed as an American Indian and standing in a blaze of light. The scene is to represent a Puritan just stepping ashore upon the American continent and being welcomed by a native of the soil. This scene and its setting may be made as realistic as the circumstances of the Council will permit.
C., in character and addressing the Candidate standing before him: Who are you? Whence came you?
Conductor, answering for the Candidate: One who, leaving the land of his birth, which has become a land of oppression, is seeking liberty.
C.: It is well. By the sign of the Great Spirit I know you. Long have I waited for this hour. The note of warning has come to my ears in the roar of the angry sea; in the song of the rippling lake; The north wind has called it aloud; the summer breeze has whispered it. Moreover, the spirits of my fathers, gone before, have told it to my soul when darkness has put out the light and sleep has stilled the weary body.
You have come from over the vast deeps, whence the bright God of day. Of a surety, these shores bound upon its hither side a land of liberty. Your quest has met with success, but before you and before those who are to come after you, lie many generations of toil and sacrifice. It has been given me to see, not to the end, but far into the future. I know that in receiving you, my people will invite your mastery, if not their destruction. But in doing so we yield to the inevitable; to a law as certain as that which governs the coming of the seasons. Therefore, speaking not for the past, not for the present, but for the future, I welcome you to a land where liberty may be first wooed, then won. No easy task, but the task is for you and for your children.
The liberty that has been ours has been the liberty to do as we willed, unless restrained by an arm stronger than our own.
The liberty to which you aspire is designed to protect the weak as well as the powerful.
Our government has been that of the strong, our law the law of might. Your government will be of and for all the people; your law will mean not the heavy hand of power, but the even hand of justice. May you fulfill the high destiny of your blood and race. You will now be conducted to the sacred altar upon which you will be obligated as a free man in your new land of liberty. Pass on.
Immediately with the last word of the Councilor the lights shall be extinguished and the hoodwinks replaced, whereupon the light shall be renewed and then in silence the procession shall proceed to the front of the altar behind which the Jr. P. C. shall have taken station. The Puritan Candidate shall be placed in the center, supported on right and left by the other Candidates, if any, with the Conductor upon the extreme right and the W. upon the extreme left. The hoodwinks shall then be removed.
Conductor: Bro. Jr. P. C., this friend having advanced thus far in his quest for Liberty, is now
Jr. P. C.: My friend
IptIwnrbwaodtaonktmtbamigsotO, apooapttc, o, 1, ocotd.
Jr.P. C.: Do you solemnly promise and swear?
Candidate: I promise and swear.
Jr. P. C.: Brother Conductor, you will now reconduct this friend, just obligated as a freeman to our Councilor, who will finally instruct him as to matters appertaining to this degree and his duties with respect thereto.
Conductor, addressing the Candidate: I will now conduct you to the Councilor’s station. When arrived before the Councilor, the Conductor will say:
Conductor: Brother Councilor, it is the pleasure of the Jr. P. C. that I present to you this friend as a freeman, duly obligated and ready for your instructions.
The Conductor will then seat the Candidate or Candidates in front of and facing the Councilor.
C.: You have just passed through an experience typifying a journey in quest of liberty. Your efforts met with success.
From your initiation as a friend you have now advanced to the dignity of a freeman. The dignity of it is that without free men, political liberty would be a delusion.
A wise man has wisely said: “There is no word that admits of more various significations and has made more varied impressions on the human mind, than that of liberty.” In order that we may measure the true value of political liberty, we must constantly bear in mind the difference between liberty and license. “Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid, he would be no longer possessed of liberty, because all of his fellow-citizens would have the same power.” Thus wrote a noted publicist before our republic was born.
The test by which the existence of political liberty is to be tried is the state of mind of the citizen-body. If the government is so constituted and administered that “one man need not be afraid of another,” the test will be complete. This condition, however, would be perfection. It is an ideal toward which we must strive.
By striving we will not only draw nearer and nearer to the goal, but we will honor our citizenship.
The lesson that we would now teach is that the liberty for which our forefathers broke the ties that bound them to home and native land, severing themselves from all the associations of life, is without value unless we keep it undefiled of license. And this, no matter in whatsoever guise license obtrudes itself.
Political liberty, such as we hold it to be, is constantly menaced from below as well as from above; from subject-citizen as well as from governing-citizen; from the tyranny of labor as well as from that of capital. Upon us and upon such as we are; upon all those who hold American citizenship to be a title that cannot be gilded to greater splendor by gold, but as one that can be soiled and degraded by such as would make it a secret instrument for narrow and selfish purposes, is laid an enduring responsibility.
Trite as it may be, no profounder truth was ever spoken or written than this, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Candidate rises.
C.: You are now a freeman. You have advanced one more stage toward full membership in our Order. I would admonish you that in accepting the title of freeman you should in no wise forget that of friend. In your initiation we sought to impress upon you that friendship was the foundation upon which our temple was built, and we would now have you fix it in your mind, beyond the possibility of forgetfulness, that to neglect that friendship will put in jeopardy the completed structure.
Bear this also in mind: The liberties that will be yours as a member of this Order are wholly dependent upon those that you are willing to accord your fellow members. You cannot possess more than you cheerfully allow to others, and such as are theirs are without
Until your perfection in the work of our Order you will be permitted to attend the Council when working in the First and Second Degrees.
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C.: Brother Conductor, you will conduct this our friend, now a freeman, to the anteroom and than return to your station.
C.: The Council will now resume its work in the Third Degree, and those who have not been perfected will retire.
C.: Brother F. S. will you kindly name the receipts of the evening.
F. S. states the amount.
Brother F. S., I will thank you to enter the amount upon the records.
Brothers, the business of the evening has been transacted and we are about to retire. Recalling to your minds the precepts that should at all times, whether in or out of Council, govern our conduct as members of this Order, I will ask you to join with me in repeating our three cardinal principles.
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TgtptaAierolataabotO, iin, wIedsijtmaf.
C.: We will now sing our closing ode.
Air, “Auld Lang Syne.” (Key of F.)
We meet in love, we part in peace,
Our Council labors o’er;
We’ll ask, ere life’s best days shall cease,
To meet in time once more.
‘Mid fairest scenes of mem’ry dear,
In change of joy and pain,
We’ll think of friends assembled here,
And hope to meet again.
C.: Brother W., you will return to me our secret work.
C.: I now declare the Council closed until our next regular meeting, when it will be opened at … o’clock of the evening. The Council is duly closed.