Patriotic Order Sons of America
When the time has arrived to open Camp, the President will call to order and say:
PRESIDENT: Brothers, this Camp is about to open for regular business. Officers and members will assume regalia, and take their stations. All present not members of this degree will please retire.
After allowing a reasonable time, the President continues.
PRESIDENT: The Guard will close the outer door. The Secretary will call the roll of officers and note the absentees.
If any officers are absent, the President fills the vacancies by appointment at this time.
PRESIDENT: The Conductor, after examination by the Master of Forms, as to his knowledge of the pass-word and duties, will see that the Inspector and Guard are at their stations and possess the pass-word. He will then return and report.
After examination of the Inspector and Guard, the inner door having been closed, the Conductor advances to the saluting ground, faces the President, and reports without saluting.
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, the doors are closed and guarded, and each post of duty
filled. The Camp is ready to open.
PRESIDENT : Brother Conductor, are you satisfied that all present are entitled to remain?
The Conductor remains on saluting ground, and carefully scrutinizes every person present. If any one is unknown to him as a member, or he doubts his right to remain, the Conductor shall direct him to the Master of Forms, whose decision in the matter shall be final; and when satisfied that all are entitled to remain, reports as follows:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, I am satisfied.
Conductor then resumes his station.
PRESIDENT, ***: Brothers, under Providential rule and guidance, we have met as patriots should, to labor for the land we love ─free America. Let each in his station strive to do honor to our noble cause, to advance its interests and be a credit to his country and himself. Studying to be faithful to our solemn pledges, let no envious shadow dim the light of love and patriotism, no discord rise nor discontent be known in our Camp. Let us proceed as men and patriots to perform the duty which is plain before us, that of perpetuating the liberties given us through our sires, a sacred heritage. Let us in peace, harmony, sincerity and truth, fulfill that work.. We will now sing the
O Columbia, the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot’s devotion,
A world offers homage to thee.
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty’s form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the Red, White and Blue.
When war waged its wide desolation,
And threatened the land to deform,
The ark then of Freedom’s foundation,
Columbia, rode safe through the storm;
With her garlands of victory around her,
Thus so proudly she bore her brave crew,
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the Red, White and Blue.
The Star Spangled Banner bring hither,
O’er Columbia’s true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor the stars cease to shine on the brave.
May America’s sons ne’er sever,
But they to their Union prove true,
The American cause forever─
Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue.
CHAPLAIN: Father, King of the Universe, to whom alone a freeman bends the knee, met here to serve the country which Thou hast blessed with freedom, we ask Thy light upon our labors and in our hearts. dive us strength to do good and power to resist all evil. Be pleased to bless our Order everywhere, and bind it together in peace, harmony and fidelity. May our work be so done, as to meet Thine approval; and when life’s duties are all over, call us up to Thee, we ask, in the Savior’s holy name. Amen.
Camp responds: Amen.
After which the Conductor lights the Blue Altar light. The President then says:
PRESIDENT, *: This Camp is now in business session.
PRESIDENT: We are ready to confer the Degrees of the Order upon candidates found worthy and elect. The Conductor will ascertain if any such are in waiting.
The Conductor retires to perform this duty, and makes a record of the names of the candidates, and the degree for which they present themselves. On his return, he advances to the saluting ground, salutes the President, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, in the anteroom I find in waiting, Bro. … for the White Degree.
PRESIDENT: Brother Recording Secretary, do you find that Bro. … has been elected to receive the White Degree.
RECORDING SECRETARY: I do.
Change to the White Degree
After a brief recess, the Camp is called to order.
If candidates are present for the White Degree, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Inspector, notify the Guard that we will change to the White Degree.
The Inspector notifies the Guard by giving two raps on door. Guard responds by two raps. Inspector then opens inner door and informs the Guard. He then reports.
INSPECTOR: Brother President, the Guard has been notified.
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, we are ready to open in the White Degree. Are you satisfied that all present are qualified to remain?
Conductor examines all members present as at opening of the Camp, and if all are correct, he reports.
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, I am.
Initiation to the White Degree
PRESIDENT: Brother Master of Forms, prepare the hall for conferring the White Degree.
When all is ready, Master of Forms says:
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother President, the hall is prepared.
PRESIDENT: Brother Inspector, notify the Guard, that we are working in the White Degree. Admit by the White Degree pass-word all brothers of that Degree.
PRESIDENT: Brother Recording Secretary, has brother been elected to receive the White Degree?
RECORDING SECRETARY: It is thus on record.
PRESIDENT: Is there any cause which should prevent the advancement of this brother?
If objections are made by any member, and sustained by a majority of those present, the application shall be again referred to the committee, for report at the next regular meeting. If no objections are made, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Financial Secretary, retire and collect the fee.
FINANCIAL SECRETARY on return from ante-room, salutes, and- reports at saluting ground: Brother President, the fee is paid.
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, introduce the candidate.
Conductor takes flag and retires to the ante-room. In the ante-room, the Conductor places a Red Degree regalia on the candidate, takes his arm, and hails the Inspector by three raps. Inspector opens the wicket, and says in a loud voice:
INSPECTOR: Who seeks entrance?
CONDUCTOR: The Conductor, with a brother desiring instruction.
INSPECTOR, closing wicket: Brother President, the Conductor with a brother desiring instruction.
PRESIDENT, ***: Let them be admitted.
While the first verse of the White Degree Ode is sung, the Conductor escorts the candidate around the hall, and halts at the saluting ground.
AIR: ”Blest be the Tie that Binds.”
For God and for the right,
Our country and its laws,
Our Order dares to wage the fight,
In this, our holy cause.
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, I present to you brother of the Red Degree, desiring instruction in the principles of our Order.
PRESIDENT: Brother, it gives me pleasure to welcome you, as you stand before the Altar of our Order for instruction in the principles of the work in which we are engaged. We feel that you are worthy to receive this Degree, hut it is necessary that you shall first give us a pledge of your fidelity. If you are willing, advance to the Altar.
Conductor advances with the candidate, and the President leaves his station and steps to the Altar.
PRESIDENT: You will hold up your right hand, and with your left hand grasp the folds of the flag.
Candidate grasps the Conductor’s flag. All being ready, the President says:
PRESIDENT: You do solemnly promise, upon your honor as a Son of America, and an accountable being, and by the sacred memory of this flag, that you will never reveal to any one not a member of this Degree, such secrets as we may entrust to you.
Candidate answers: I do.
You do also promise that this, and all other Obligations of this Order which you have previously taken, shall be kept through life, sacred and inviolate.
Candidate answers: I do.
The candidate, with Conductor and President, remain standing at the Altar during the singing of the second verse of the White Degree Ode.
To thee, our native land,
To thee we pledge our zeal;
In fellowship a kindred hand,
Devoted to thy weal.
At the conclusion of the singing, the President returns to his station.
PRESIDENT, *: Brother, satisfied with the assurance of your sincerity, we now desire to impress upon your mind that certain dangers menace our native land, and we trust that, as they are pointed out, you will be brought to feel that to meet and overcome them should be the earnest desire and aim of every true Son of America.
The Conductor then faces the candidate about, and escorts him direct to the Vice-President.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Vice-President, this brother comes to yon for instruction concerning the dangers arising from unrestricted immigration.
VICE-PRESIDENT: Brother, as Americans and as members of this Order, we contend for the widest liberty consistent with the integrity and perpetuity of American institutions; but it is our duty at the same time, to maintain the sacred rights bequeathed us by the founders of the Republic. That our liberties are endangered in many ways there can be no reasonable doubt, and prominent among the threatening evils, are those dangers arising from unrestricted immigration.
The number of immigrants landed on our shores reaches nearly half a million annually. While many of these are worthy and desirable persons, capable of development into good American citizens, the vast majority are not of this class, but are an ignorant, vicious, lawless, and decidedly undesirable class of beings, who have neither ability nor desire to attain to a pure type of American citizenship. Statistics prove that in character and quality, the immigrants who are now thronging to our land are very inferior to what they were in the early history of our country, or even a few years ago.
Paupers and criminals from foreign countries are coming to our shores in vast numbers, and, as a result, our prisons are crowded with convicts, our asylums are full of mendicants, and our hospitals are burdened with the sick from other lands. We do not object to the immigration of those who come to our shores in order to buy our lands, make permanent homes and become good citizens; but when other nations force upon us their paupers and criminals, we have the right to protest against their continued admission, and insist upon the enactment of such laws and measures as will protect our people from these classes, who lower the standard of national honor and advocate treason against the state.
It is a well established fact that many of those now coming from Europe have no intention to become loyal to our form of government. Some of them proclaim Anarchy and teach Communism and Socialism, and many others claim that their religious Pontiff is supreme, that Church and State should be united, and that all the laws governing our people
should emanate from their ecclesiastical authority.
It is in view of these matters that we include among the sacred principles of our Order, a demand for a modification of the laws bearing upon the question of immigration, and insist that restrictive measures must be adopted which shall prevent undesirable immigrants from coming to our shores, or becoming citizens until they are taught the true principles of Freedom and are imbued with the spirit of our liberal institutions.
Again, our naturalization laws granting the right of suffrage to the millions who come thronging to our, shores, investing them with the privileges which only those schooled in the affairs of our country should enjoy, conferring them upon the Anarchist, the Socialist, and political refugee, are defects which demand our serious attention. We should labor most zealously for the modification of these in congruities in our political system, so that those who come knocking at our doors for the boon of citizenship, shall prove their fitness before gaining admission.
Aliens must be Americanized, and the masses must be educated to revere our laws and to conform to the spirit of the Constitution. By these means the national character will be elevated, and we can convey to our children a free and pure government. You are expected to
At the conclusion of the lecture, the Conductor escorts the candidate to the Master of Forms, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother Master of Forms, this brother comes to you for instruction concerning the dangers arising from union of Church and State.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother, by virtue of your birth as an American citizen, and as an heir of those great champions of liberty, both civil and religions, who, in the years long gone by, laid broad and strong the foundations of our free institutions, you stand tonight as the citizen of no other country on the globe can boast the proud possessor of yourself.
Those noble men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors, established the doctrine of the divine right of man as against that of Kings. With sublime courage, they declared that all men were created equal, and that the right to govern came from the people, and not from Kings or Priests. The majesty of the common people was enthroned and crowned with supreme authority, and the humblest citizen put on the imperial purple.
It is a fault of men to lightly value the things they have, and to forget the sacrifices of the past whereby the present possession was obtained. Looking back we see, as tranquil sleepers in a dream, safe from the dangers of that time, the terrible struggle for independence; and among the men who rallied in its defence, we see the followers of every Creed. Sectarianism was obliterated, and with a deep sense of the infinite justice of their cause and a united faith in the God of nations, they dethroned civil and religious despotism, and secured for every American citizen the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. It was contention for this principle that gave to the world her hosts of martyrs and her mightiest heroes. It was desire for the high privilege of its enjoyment that brought to our shores the best people of other lands, and gave to this nation the foundation of her glorious citizenship. Patriots gave this nation to mankind, and unfurled to the heaven-kissing winds, the purest emblem of liberty that ever floated over land or sea.
When they had placed the stars and stripes among the banners of the world, they came back to their children ennobled. They met a gain as patriots; banished religions sectionalism from their councils, and formed a Constitution, which proclaimed for the first time in the history of the world, an absolute and eternal divorce between Church and State. That edict thundered down the ages; Monarchies and Monasteries trembled; Kings felt for their crowns, and crafty Priesthood cowered in the dungeon depths of superstitious awe. The Palace and the Cathedral lost their places, and the Home and School House became the Temples of man’s hopes.
In this government, where all are equally sovereigns, there must be no state religion. We must hand down to our posterity the sacred heritage left to us, sanctified by the blood of patriots. The decree of divorce between Spiritual and Temporal power must be confirmed from generation to generation. No designing church, ambitious for political power, must step between you and the rights of men as guaranteed by this nation, for to us has been assigned the duty of “blazing the way,” up which all the people of the earth must come in God’s appointed time.
Your immortal soul alone owes duty to your God, and to Him alone must it answer; but ~your duty as a citizen is to the state. They are divided duties, and so they must remain if you would be free. Religion must not interfere with the functions of the state, nor the state with the religious belief of the private citizen. Under the government of this people, liberty of conscience must be the only religion, Patriotism the only shrine, and the Constitution the only creed.
Go, my brother, in the integrity of your God-given manhood, and guard well the line of separation between Church and State established by our illustrious forefathers.
At the conclusion of the lecture, the Conductor escorts the candidate to the front of the President’s station, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, this brother comes to you for instruction concerning the dangers arising from Political Corruption.
PRESIDENT: Brother, you have been warned of the dangers arising from unrestricted immigration, and have been shown the necessity for preserving pure religious liberty.
Enemies to our form of government are ever at work, endeavoring to subvert and destroy our personal liberties, the proudest birthright of American citizenship, secured by the holy martyrdom of the Fathers of the Republic; transmitted through a century of marvelous progress, and crowning us with a glory unequalled in the annals of time. Though these dangers are largely from without, our National prosperity and happiness are threatened from within. Principles and forces distinctively American, misapplied and corrupted, endanger the public safety, and threaten with disruption the fair fabric, which to-day constitutes the pride and glory of popular government.
In the political corruption of the age, we discover one of the greatest sources of apprehension for the future, and at this time, I desire to call your attention to it, so that you may intelligently direct your efforts toward fostering a public sentiment antagonistic to it, and in that way to direct the American voter to use his ballot in such a manner as to subserve the best interests of his country, regardless of the success or failure of political parties. Ambitious politicians, animated by no higher impulse than that of personal aggrandizement, respecting nothing but partisan success or individual interest, substituting for heroic self-sacrifice an inordinate appetite for public office, are defiling the fountain sources of our liberties, and bartering away the precious heritages of American citizenship. Alien office-seekers throng the highways to political preferment, and demand in the name of the influences they represent a lion’s share of the “spoils.” Fitness for the positions to which they aspire is not a qualification, nor does it enter into the question as between the foreign aspirant and the native political trader. Patriotic devotion and adherence to principles, which are the constituent elements in the character of a liberty-loving people, are lost sight of in this mad race. Bribery and corruption are enthroned in high places, and even contaminate our municipal affairs.
Be it your duty, my brother, to raise the voice of warning against these dangers, rousing your fellow countrymen from the indifference with which they contemplate the dangers which threaten us with national disaster. May your example and influence from this hour tell for the weal of the Republic, proving that you are a Son of America from principle, and thoroughly alive to all which constitutes the ideal guardian of America’s best interests.
At the conclusion of the lecture, the Conductor escorts the candidate to the Past President, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother Past President, this brother, knowing the dangers which beset our country, earnestly desires to know how to meet and overcome them.
PAST PRESIDENT: Son of America, you have been forewarned of dangers which are rife in our midst, perilous elements in the body-politic, at variance with the fundamental principles of our form of government, and a constant menace to the perpetuity of the laws and institutions which belong to a free and self-governing people.
How to successfully combat these threatening perils must be the pressing care of every citizen. A prime requisite for the preservation of our distinctively American institutions, is the universal secular education of the people. The only true foundation of all just authority in a Republic, is the consent of the governed, an active, thoughtful, personal consent guided by reason and intelligent free-will. In order that the people may rise to that high plane, the means by which intelligence is fostered, reason exalted, and a calm, rational public opinion produced, must be universally secured and enjoyed.
The Public Free School is the fountain whose streams shall make glad all the lands of Liberty. We must then guard well this bulwark of our country. The instruction given to the youth, of our land must be such as will prepare them for an intelligent discharge of their duties as citizens, upon whose acts depend the rights and liberties of all the people. They must be taught to place principle above party, morality above money, religion above revenue, character above circumstances, for in such citizens a nation finds its chief glory, its strongest safeguards. - The history of our country, the principles which actuated and sustained our sires in their struggle for independence, the sacrifices which they made that we might have and possess the priceless heritage of freedom, must be taught the children and so instilled into their minds and interwoven in their characters, that future generations may receive and enjoy the same blessings of life; liberty and the pursuit of happiness which have been vouchsafed to us.
The sanctity of the ballot box must be jealously protected, and the elective franchise must be regarded as the highest, holiest, most precious gift of our free government. It must be restricted to those who by birth and education can rightfully appreciate its value, and measure its power for good or evil. The true citizen must believe that he who neglects to use this gift is guilty of injustice to himself, to his nation, to his God.
The dignity of labor must be recognized and honestly maintained, and the only distinction known, be that of merit. One law and one rule of action must be given for all to abide by; and the Goddess of Justice should mete out exact measure to every one who comes into her courts, regardless of the monetary or social position of the supplicant.
The cardinal doctrine of National Unity must be taught and practiced, for while we may rightly cherish a state pride, yet we must cultivate a nobler love of country, a patriotism which knows no dividing line, no local section, but lifts the aspiring heart to a continent redeemed from barbarism by common sacrifices, and hallowed by the shedding of kindred blood.
My brother, if the teachings given you this evening shall enkindle in you a deeper patriotic zeal; if it shall awaken in your mind and heart a truer knowledge of the debt you owe your country; if it shall impel you to a more thoughtful discharge of the duties which belong to you as a free-born American citizen; if it shall lead you to declare, “as for me, I will henceforth serve my country in faith and honor ;“ then shall we know that our labors have not been in vain, and we may rejoice in the truth that one more Son of America has enlisted under our glorious flag, and joined the patriot army from which there is no discharge until the Judge of all shall say, “Well done, true and noble citizen, enter thou into the reward bestowed only upon those who have been faithful to God, our Country and her Cause.
At the conclusion of the lecture of the Past President, the Conductor escorts the candidate about the hail while the following Ode is sung.
AIR: ”Tenting To-Night on the Old Camp Ground”
We are working to-night with a strong right arm,
Without a doubt or fear;
We will keep from the grasp of the traitor’s hand,
The land we love so dear.
Many are the hearts that are beating to-night,
Beating in our noble cause,
Many are the prayers for the triumph of the right,
Our country and its laws.
Waiting to-night, waiting to-night,
Ready at our country’s call.
At the conclusion of the singing, the Conductor halts the candidate before the Master of Forms, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother Master of Forms, this brother has received full instruction regarding the dangers which beset our native land, also how to meet and overcome them. He now asks
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother, this regalia which you are now entitled to wear, combining the red and white of our country’s flag, denotes that union of patriotic zeal and purity of purpose characteristic of the members of our brotherhood.
Substitutes White Degree for Red Degree regalia, and continues:
Wear it with a consciousness of pride and honor, ever remembering its emblematical significance. I will now instruct you in the secret work of this Degree.
PRESIDENT: I now declare a brief recess for the purpose of congratulations.
When a motion to adjourn has been made and seconded, or the Camp reaches that order of business, the President shall say:
PRESIDENT, *: Is this Camp ready to cease its labors?
This question is not debatable. If no objections are made, the President proceeds. If objection is made, the President puts the question, and acts in accordance with the will of the Camp.
PRESIDENT: Brother Financial Secretary, you will please report the receipts and expenditures.
This being done, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, you will please collect the Rituals and return them to the Master of Forms.
Conductor collects all Rituals except President’s. President then says:
PRESIDENT, ***: Brethren, we have concluded our labors this evening like Americans, who know the true value of freedom.
Beyond these walls let us ever be watchful that there may be no unguarded moment in which our secrets may be divulged, or our Order brought into disrepute. We will now sing the Closing Ode.
AIR: “Auld Lang Syne.”
Columbia, my native home,
If e’er my fate should be
In foreign lands, to toil or roam,
My heart will cling thee.
Columbia, O how I prize
Thee, native land of mine!
Italia’s blue and sunny skies
Are not more bright than thine!
Columbia, no other land
Is half so good: so free;
Though diadems may them command,
Thy laurel wreaths for me.
Columbia, where’er I go,
My healt will ever be;
Through joy or grief, through weal or woe,
My native land with thee.
At the conclusion of singing, the Chaplain steps to the Altar and closes the Bible. The President then says:
PRESIDENT: The Conductor will convey these forms to the Master of Forms.
After the President’s Ritual book has been handed to the Master of Forms, the President says:
PRESIDENT: This camp is closed.