Know Nothing Lodge
Ritual of the First Degree Council


The President takes his seat, calls the council to order, and requests all who are not members of the order to retire; the officers will take their stations, the members will be seated, and the Inside
Guardian will secure the door.
The Marshal will now examine all present in the password and grip of the first degree of the order.
The brethren will rise and repeat with me the obligation which binds us together as an association. Gives three raps. You will please raise the left hand, placing the right hand upon the left breast, and repeat after me, using your names when I use mine,


I, …, hereby solemnly swear eternal fidelity to the vows I have taken in this order. I also swear that I will advance the interests of every native-born American citizen, especially the members of this order, to the entire and absolute exclusion of all aliens and foreigners, and more especially those who belong to, or approve of the Roman Catholic faith. So help me God!
The secretary will call the roll of officers and read the proceedings of the last meeting.
President: If no objection is made by the members present, the minutes of our last meeting will stand recorded as read. Has any brother a friend to propose as a candidate for admission in this council? If so, he will please hand the name to our worthy Secretary in writing, giving name and residence.
The Secretary will read the names of all those who have been proposed one week, together with the names of their vouchers. As the names are read, those willing to admit them will raise the right hand. Those who object will please rise to their feet.
I will now declare this council ready to confer the first degree of the order. The Marshall will now retire and ask the necessary questions of all who are in waiting.
Candidates introduced and initiated.

First Degree Council
To be admitted to membership in this order, the applicant shall be:
1. Proposed and found acceptable,
2. Introduced and examined under the guarantee of secrecy.
3. Placed under the obligation which the order imposes.
4. Required to enrol his name and place of residence.
5. Instructed in the form, usages, and ceremonies of the order.
6. Solemnly charged as to the objects to be attained, and his duties.
A recommendation of a candidate to this order shall be received only from a Brother of approved integrity. It shall be accompanied by minute particulars as to name, age, calling and residence, and by an explicit voucher for his qualifications, and a personal pledge for his fidelity. These particulars shall be recorded by the Secretary in a book kept for the purpose.
The recommendation may be referred, and the ballot taken at such time and in such a manner as the State Council may prescribe; but no communication shall be made to the candidate until the ballot has been declared in his favor.
Candidates shall be received in the anteroom by the Marshal and the Secretary.

Do you believe in a Supreme Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe?
I do.
Before proceeding further, we require a solemn obligation of secrecy and truth. If you will take such an obligation, you will lay your right hand upon the Holy Bible and Cross.
upon the Holy Bible and Cross.
When it is known that the applicant is a Protestant, the Cross may be omitted, or affirmation may be allowed.

You do solemnly swear (or affirm), that you will never reveal anything said or done in this room, the names of any persons present, nor the existence of this society, whether found worthy to proceed or not, and that all your declarations shall be true, so help you God.
I do.
Where were you born?
Where is your permanent residence?
If born out of the jurisdiction of the United States, the answer shall be written; the candidate dismissed with an admonition of secrecy, and the Brother vouching for him suspended from all the privileges of the order, unless upon satisfactory proof that he has been misinformed.
Are you twenty-one years of age?
I am.
In religious belief are you a Roman Catholic?
Were you born of Protestant parents, or were you under Protestant influence?
If married, is your wife a Roman Catholic?
No or Yes—the answer to be valued as the Constitution of State Council shall provide.
Are you willing to your influence; and vote only for native-born American citizens for all offices of honor, trust or profit in the gift of the people, to the exclusion. Of all foreigners and aliens, and Roman Catholics in particular, and without regard to party predilections?
I am.
The Marshal shall then repair to the Council in session, and present the written list of names, vouchers, and answers, to the President, who shall cause them to be read aloud, and a vote of the Council to be taken on each name, in such manner as prescribed by its By-Laws. If doubts arise in the ante-room, they shall be referred to the Council. If a candidate be dismissed, he shall be admonished to secrecy. The candidates declared elected shall be conducted to seats within the Council, apart from the brethren. When all are present, the President, by one blow of the gavel shall call to order and say:—
Brother Marshal, introduce the candidates to the Vice President.
Worthy Vice President, I present to you these candidates, who have duly answered all questions.
Vice President, rising in his place:
Gentlemen, it is my office to welcome you as friends, When you have assumed the patriotic vow by which we are all bound, we will embrace you as brothers. I am authorized to declare that your obligations enjoin nothing which is inconsistent with the duty which every good man owes to his Creator, his country, his family, or himself. We do not compel you, against your convictions, to act with us in our good work; but should you at any time wish to withdraw, it will be our duty to grant you a dismissal in good faith. If satisfied with this assurance, you will each rise upon your feet, pausing till they do so, place the left hand upon the breast, and raise the right hand toward heaven.
The brethren to remain seated till called up.

In the presence of Almighty God and these witnesses, you do solemnly promise and swear that you will never betray any of the secrets of this society, nor communicate them even to proper candidates, except within a lawful Council of the Order; that you will never permit any of the secrets of this society to be written, or in any manner to be made legible, except for the purpose of official instruction; that you will not vote, nor give your influence for any man, for any office
in the gift of the people, unless he be an American born citizen, in favor of Americans ruling America, nor if he be a Roman Catholic; that you will in all political matters, so far as this Order is concerned, comply with the will of the majority, though it may conflict with your personal preference, so long as it does not conflict with the constitution of the United States of America, or that of the State in which you reside; that you will not, under any circumstances whatever, knowingly recommend an unworthy person for initiation, nor suffer it to be done if in your power to prevent it; that you will not, under any circumstances expose the name of any member of the Order, nor reveal the existence of such an association; that you will answer an imperative notice issued by the proper authority; obey the command of the State Council President, or his Deputy, while assembled by such notice, and respond to the claim of a sign or a cry of the Order, unless it be physically impossible; and that you will acknowledge the State Council of … as the legislative head, the ruling authority, and the supreme tribunal of the Order in the State of … under the jurisdiction of the National Council of the United States of North America. Binding yourself in the penalty of excommunication from the Order, the forfeiture of all intercourse with its members, and being denounced in all the Societies of the same, as a wilful traitor to your God and your Country.
The President shall call up every person present by three blows of the gavel, when the candidates shall all repeat after the Vice President in concert:
All this I voluntarily and sincerely promise, with a full understanding of the solemn sanctions and penalties.
Vice President: You have now taken solemn oaths, and made as sacred promises as man can make, that you will keep all our secrets inviolate; and we wish you distinctly to understand that he that takes these oaths, and makes these promises, and then violates them, leaves the foul, the deep and blighting stain of perjury resting on his soul.
President, having seated all by one blow of the gavel:
Brother Instructor, these new brothers having complied with the demands of the Order, are entitled to the secrets and privileges of the same. You will, therefore, invest them with everything appertaining to the First Degree.
Brothers, the practices and proceedings of the Order are as follows:
We have pass words necessary to be used to obtain admission to our Councils; forms for our conduct while there; means of recognizing each other when abroad; means of mutual protection; and methods for giving notices to members.
At the outer door you will …. When the wicket is opened you will pronounce the … in a whisper. The outside sentinel will reply …, when you will give the term-password, and be admitted to the ante-room. You will then proceed to the inner door, and give …. When the wicket is opened, give your name, the number and location of your Council, the explanation of the term pass, and the degree password.
If these be found correct, you will be admitted; if not, your name will be reported to the Vice President, and must be properly vouched for before you can gain admission to the Council.
You will then proceed to the centre of the room and address the … with the countersign, which is performed thus, …. When this salutation is recognized, you will quietly take your seat, This sign is peculiar to this degree, and is never to be used outside of the Council room, nor during the conferring of this degree.
When retiring, you will address the … in the same manner, and also give the degree password to the inside sentinel.
The term password is …. The password and explanation is to be established by each State Council for its respective Subordinates. The explanation of the term pass, to be used at the inner door is ….
The degree password is ….
The traveling password is …. This word is changed annually by the President of the National Council of the United States, and is to be given and used only when the brother is traveling beyond the jurisdiction of his own State, District, or Territory. It and all other pass words must be communicated in a whisper, and no brother is entitled to communicate them to another, without authority from the presiding offices.
The sign of recognition is ….
The answer is given by ….
The grip is given by ….
The person challenging shall …. The answer will be made by …, when the following conversation ensues, —the challenging party first saying …. The answer …, followed by the rejoinder ….
In cities, the … of the … where the meeting is to be held, will be written legibly upon the notice and upon election day said … will denote the … where your presence is needed. This notice will never be passed, but will be … or thrown upon the side-walk with a … in the centre. If information was wanted of the object of the gathering, or of the place, &c., the inquirer will ask of an undoubted brother …? The brother will give the information if possessed of it. If not it will be your and his duty to continue the inquiry, and thus disseminate the call throughout the brotherhood.
If the color of … be …, it will denote actual trouble, which requires that you come prepared to meet it.
The cry of distress, to be used only in time of danger, or where the American interest requires an immediate assemblage of the brethren, is …. The response is ….
The sign of recognition, to be given when a brother is speaking unguardedly before a stranger, is …, which signifies ‘keep dark.’
Brothers, you are now initiated into and made acquainted with, the work and organization of a Council of this degree of the Order; and the Marshal will present you to the Worthy President for admonition.
It has, no doubt, been long apparent to you, Brothers, that foreign influence and Roman Catholicism have been making steady and alarming progress in our country. You cannot have failed to observe the significant transition of the foreigner and Romanist from a character quiet, retiring, and even abject, to one bold, threatening, turbulent, and DESPOTIC in its appearance and assumptions. You must have become alarmed at the systematic and rapidly augmenting power of these dangerous and unnatural elements of our national condition. So is it, Brothers, with others besides yourselves, in every State of the Union. A sense of danger has struck the great heart of the nation. In every city, town and hamlet, the danger has been seen and the alarm sounded. And hence, true men have devised this Order as a means of disseminating patriotic principles, of keeping alive the fire of national virtue and of fostering the national intelligence; and of advancing America and American interest, on the one side; and on the other, of checking the stride of the foreigner or alien, of thwarting the machinations and subverting
The deadly plans of the Papist and Jesuit.
NOTE—The President shall impress upon the initiates the importance of secrecy, the manner of proceeding in recommending candidates for initiation, and the responsibility of the duties which they have assumed.