United Brotherhood or Fenian Brotherhood
No date (1860s)
When the S.G. takes his place the S closes the door; officers assume their positions. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the S.G.
S.G., *: W., examine those present.
W. gives S.G. the Password then takes it from R.S., and proceeds from the right on his circuit of examination. As W. approaches a member, the latter will rise, extend the right hand to W. and whisper the Password. Those found without the Password will be directed by W. to retire to the ante-room. When the Camp is examined, and all inside are found correct, the W. proceeds to centre table and reports:
W.: S.G., all present are members of the United Brotherhood.
S.G., * *: This Camp of the United Brotherhood will come to order.
J.G., what are the duties of your position?
J.G.: To assist you in the duties of your office, take charge of the Camp in your absence, and observe that none enter this Camp except in the proper manner.
S.G.: S., what are your duties?
S.: To carefully guard the approaches of the Camp; to allow none but worthy members of the Order to enter, and to warn the Camp against intrusion and betrayal.
S.G.: Officers and Brothers: be mindful of the grave responsibilities and duties imposed on each and every one of us, and let not the cause of Ireland, or the interests of the United Brotherhood suffer through any want of attention on our part, and God will bless our work and make the Camp serviceable to the Cause and honorable to our race. *.
Religious and political discussions are strictly prohibited as being injurious to the interests of the U.B.
Perfect silence must prevail during Initiation. The Conductor having previously ascertained that candidates are awaiting, and having so advised the S.G., the latter shall say:
S.G.: Conductor, proceed to the ante-room and interrogate the candidates.
The Conductor then retires, and he will ask the candidates the following questions, in their proper order.
Conductor: What is your name, age, birthplace, residence and occupation?
Replies to these questions shall be noted down, and reported to D. and R.S.
Conductor: Do you believe in a Supreme Being?
Answer Yes of No.
Conductor: Understanding, as you do, that the objects of this organization is the freedom of Ireland, will you take our obligation without mental reservation?
Answer Yes of No.
If satisfactory answers are received, the Conductor shall return and report the names, etc., to the S.G., who shall say:
S.G.: Prepare the candidates and present them.
The Conductor shall then obtain his sword, retire to the ante-room, and blindfold the candidates. He will then give three knocks at the door, as a signal for his associates to retire, one assistant conductor being selected for each candidate, who shall take position on his right. The Conductor shall direct the march and station himself at the head of the escort. At the entrance-door he shall give three distinct knocks with the sword. The door having been opened, the escort shall pass inside, when the door shall be closed. When the escort has advanced three paces, the S. halts the Conductor abruptly, thus:
S.: Halt! Who comes here?
Conductor: Friends who desire to unite with us in the cause of Ireland!
S. to S.G.: Friends of Irish freedom! Shall I permit them to proceed?
S.G.: Advance, friends.
Conductor: Forward! March!
The Conductor will lead the escort and candidates to within three paces of the P.G. and shall command: Halt! The candidates shall be aligned by the assistants, facing the P.G.
Conductor: Sir, I present to you those friends for instruction.
The P.G. shall the address the candidates in these words: My friends! Animated by love, duty and patriotism, you have sought affiliation with us. We have deemed you worthy of our confidence and our friendship. You are now within these secret walls. The men who surround you have all taken the obligations of our Order, and are endeavouring to fulfil its duties. These duties must be cheerfully complied with, or not at all undertaken. We are Irishmen, banded together for the purpose of freeing Ireland and elevating the position of the Irish race. The lamp of the bitter past plainly points our path, and we believe that the first step on the road to freedom is Secrecy. Destitute of secrecy, defeat will again cloud our brightest hopes; and, believing this, we shall hesitate at no sacrifice to maintain it. Be prepared, then, to cast aside with us every thought that may impede the growth of this holy feeling among Irishmen; for, once a member of this Order, you must stand by its watchwords of Secrecy, Obedience and Love. With this explanation, I ask you are you willing to proceed?
If the answer is satisfactory, the P.G. will say: Conduct our friends to the S.G.
The Conductor, having placed the candidates before the S.G. shall say: Sir, I present these friends for further instruction.
S.G.: My friends, by your own voluntary act you are now before us. You have learned the nature of the cause in which we are engaged―a cause honorable to our manhood and imposed upon us by every consideration of duty and patriotism. We would not have an unwilling member amongst us, and we give you, even now, the opportunity of withdrawing, if you so desire. Every man has taken a solemn and binding oath to be faithful to the trust we repose in him. This oath, I assure you, is one which does not conflict with any duty which you owe to God, to your country, your neighbors or yourself. It must be taken before you can be admitted to light and fellowship in our Order. With this assurance, and understanding, as you do, that the object of this organization is the freedom of Ireland, will you submit yourself to our rules and regulations and take our obligation without mental reservation?
Are you bound by any oath, obligation or agreement to expose any person, persons or authority anything which you may know or learn relative to this Camp, to which you now seek admission?
If the answers are correct, the S.G. will say: Conduct our friends to the proper officer for obligation.
After marching to front of the J.G., the Conductor shall halt the escort and say: Sir, I present these friends for obligation.
I, …, do solemnly and sincerely swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will labor, while life is left me, to establish and defend a Republican form of government in Ireland. That I will never reveal the secrets of this organization to any person or persons not entitled to know them. That I will obey and comply with the Constitution and laws of the Universal Brotherhood, and promptly and faithfully execute all Constitutional orders coming to me from the proper authority, to the best of my ability. That I will foster a spirit of Unity, Nationality and Brotherly Love among the people of Ireland.
I furthermore swear that I do not now belong to any other Irish revolutionary society antagonistic to this organization, and that I will not become a member of such society while connected with the United Brotherhood; and, finally, I swear that I take this obligation without mental reservation, and that any violation hereof is infamous and merits the severest punishment. So help me, God.
Kiss the Book.
Admit the brothers to light and fraternity.
The assistants then retire, the Conductor faces candidates towards the S.G.
Brothers all raise their right hands and say: We are all witnesses to the obligation you have taken.
The J.G. shall then address the candidates as follows: Brothers, you have tonight, of your own free will, sworn to be true to Ireland, to the Camp, to your race; that oath must be kept in letter and in spirit. While you respect it, those around you will be your friends. Let your conduct then be such that we shall have no reason to regret admitting you this night to our Camp.
Conduct the brothers to the S.G.
The S.G. greets the new brothers by shaking hands, and will address them as follows: Brothers―for by that sacred name I now greet you―I welcome you to our ranks in the name of our beloved Ireland.
It is now my duty to call your attention to some of the regulations of this organization, and also to state that I shall be very happy to make known to you, from time to time, any other matters which may assist you to an intelligent appreciation of our common purpose.
The name of this Order is the United Brotherhood. Its local sub-divisions are styled Camps, and are known by numbers. This is Camp No. …. The leading object of the United Brotherhood is to co-operate with the Irish Republican Brotherhood is securing the independence of Ireland, and the special object is to secure the union of all Irish nationalists. As it is essential; for the safe and efficient working of our organization to preserve the strictest secrecy in reference to it, you will never mention the name of the United Brotherhood, or anything connected therewith, to anyone whom you do not know to be a member thereof in good standing. And, that we may be more effectually guarded from exposure, as well as to secure concentration of effort, you are prohibited by the supreme authority from contributing money to, or otherwise aiding, any other Irish revolutionary society.
Should you desire to secure some worthy person for membership, you will first have him proposed here, and, if elected, you may then, indirectly and carefully, ascertain his sentiments on the subject of secret Irish national organizations, and, should his views be favorable, you might then intimate that you believe there is a secret organization in existence working for Irish liberty; and, if he appears inclined to join it, you may admit that you are a member of it, or acquainted with a member of it, and that you think you can secure his admission therein; but no further information must you convey, nor use the name of any person connected with the Order.
Here the S.G. will describe the mode of recognition prescribed by the Executive and give such other information as, in his judgment, is desirable; such as the mode of entering a Camp when in session; how voting is performed; the use of the gavel; the use of a number instead of a name and further add:
The Pass Word you will receive tonight is never to be spoken above breath, nor given to anyone under any circumstances whatever, except to the S. at the door; and the W. at the opening of the Camp (the complete Pass to be given to W.). If a brother should forget the Pass, let him secure it from the S.G. alone.
Finally, my brothers, be careful that you do not make an improper use of the instructions, and let not the cause of Ireland, or the interest of the United Brotherhood, suffer through any want of prudence, perseverance and courage on your part, while traveling onward on the path of Freedom. Gives two raps.
Brothers, it affords me great pleasure to introduce to you our new brothers. Gives one rap.
When the order of business is passed through, the S.G. gives two raps and says: Brothers! Our work for this night is performed. We part as we met in a spirit of unity and brotherly love―principles that should actuate us continually as Irish revolutionists. We again separate to mingle with the outside world. Let us bear with us a vivid recollection of our mission―to heal the wounds of the past, and open the prospects of a glorious future, by counseling and practicing love and fraternity among the exiled children of our land. Until we meet again, secrecy, as silent as that of the tomb, must guard the knowledge we possess; and, amid the vicissitudes and toils of life, never forget that Ireland has entrusted her safety to us and expects a faithful fulfillment of our pledges. This Camp stand adjourned, to assemble again on next … evening.