Know Nothing Lodge
Ritual of the Third Degree Council


Marshal: Worthy President; these Brothers having been duly elected to the Third Degree of this Order, I present them before you for obligation.
Brothers, you will place yourselves in a circle around me, each one crossing your arms upon your breasts, and grasping firmly each others’ hands, holding the right hand of the brother on the right, and the left hand of the brother on the left, so as to form a circle, symbolical of the links of an unbroken chain, and of a ring which has no end.
Note: This Degree is to be conferred with the National Flag elevated in the centre of the circle, by the side of the President, or Instructor; and not on less than five at any one time—in order to give it solemnity and also for the formation of the circle—except in the first instance of conferring it on the officers of the State and Subordinate Councils, that they may be empowered to progress with the work.
The Obligation and Charge in this Degree, may be given by the President or Instructor, as the President may prefer,

You, and each of you, of your own free will and accord, in the presence of Almighty God and these witnesses, with your hands joined in token of that fraternal affection which should ever bind together the States of this Union—forming a ring, in token of your determination that, so far as your efforts can avail, this Union shall have no end—do solemnly and sincerely swear (or affirm,) that you will not under any circumstances disclose in any manner, nor suffer it to be done by others if in your power to prevent it, the name, signs, passwords or other secrets of this Degree, except to those to whom you may prove on trial to be brothers of the same Degree, or in open Council for the purpose of instruction; that you do, hereby solemnly declare your devotion to the Union of these States; that in the discharge of your duties as American citizens, you will uphold, maintain and defend it; that you will discourage and discountenance any and every quarter, which you believe to the designed, or calculated to destroy, or subvert it, or to weaken its bonds; and that you will use your influence as far as in your power, in endeavouring to procure an amicable and equitable adjustment of all political discontents or differences, which may threaten its injury or overthrow.—
You do further promise and swear (or affirm,) that you will not vote for any one to fill any office of honor, profit, or trust of a political character, whom you know or believe to be in favour of a dissolution of the union of these States, or who is endeavoring to produce that result; that you will vote for, and support for all political offices Third or Union Degree members of this Order, in preference to all others: that if it may be done consistently with the Constitution and laws of the land you will, when elected or appointed to any official station, which may confer on you the power to do so, remove from office or place, all persons whom you know or believe to be in favor of a dissolution of the Union, or who are endeavoring to produce that result; and that you will in no case appoint such parsons to any political office or place whatever.—
All this you promise and swear (or affirm,) upon your honor as American citizens and friends of the American Union, to sustain and abide by without any hesitation or mental reservation whatever. You also promise and swear (or affirm,) that this, and all other obligations, have previously taken in this order, shall ever be kept sacred and inviolate.
To all this you pledge your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor. So help you God and keep you steadfast.
Each one shall answer:
I do.
Brother Marshal, you will now present the brothers to the Instructor for final instruction in this Third Degree of the order.
Instructor, by direction of our worthy President, I present these brothers before you, that you may instruct them in the secrets and mysteries of this the Third Degree of our Order.
Instructor: Brothers, in this Degree as in the Second, we have an entering pass-word, a degree password, and a token of salutation. At the outer door …. This will admit you to the inner door. At the inner door you will make … distinct …, then announce your name, with the number (or name) and location of the Council to which you belong, giving the explanation to the pass-word, which is …. If found correct you will then be admitted, when you will proceed to the centre of the room, and placing the … give the token of salutation which is …. You will then quietly take your seat.
The sign of recognition is made by …; and the response is made by ….
The Instructor will here give the grip of this Degree, with explanations and also the true password of this Degree, which is ….

To be given by the President:
Brothers: It is with great pleasure that I congratulate you upon your advancement to the Third Degree of our Order. The responsibilities you have now assumed, are more serious and weighty than those which preceded, and are committed to such only as have been tried and found worthy. Our obligations are intended as solemn avowals of our duty to the land that gave us birth: to the memories of our fathers; and to the happiness and welfare of our children. Consecrating to your country a spirit unselfish, and a fidelity like that which distinguished the patriots of the Revolution, you have pledged your aid in cementing the bonds of a Union which we trust will endure forever. Your deportment since your initiation, has attested your devotion to the principles we desire to establish; and has inspired a confidence in your patriotism, of which we can give no higher proof than your reception here.
The dangers which threaten American Liberty arise from foes without, and from enemies within. The First Degree pointed out the source and nature of our most imminent peril, and indicated the first measure of safety. The Second Degree defined the next means by which, in coming time such assaults may be rendered harmless.
The Third -Degree, which you have just received, not only reiterates the lessons of the other two, but it is intended to avoid and provide for a more remote but no less terrible danger from domestic enemies to our free institutions.
Our object is briefly this:—to perfect an Organization, modelled after that of the Constitution of the United States, and co-extensive with the Confederacy. Its object and principles, in all matters of National concern to be uniform and identical, whilst in all local matters, the component parts shall remain independent and sovereign within their respective limits.
The great result to be attained—the only one which can secure a perfect guaranty as to our future—is UNION: permanent, enduring, fraternal UNION! Allow me then to impress upon your minds and memories the touching sentiments of the Father of his country, in his farewell address:
"The UNITY of government which constitutes you one people," says Washington, "is justly dear to you, for it is the main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at, home, of your peace abroad, of your safety, your prosperity, even that Liberty you so justly prize.
… It is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your National Union, to your collective and individual happiness. You should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it, as the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now bind together the various parts."
Let these words of paternal advice and warning, from the greatest man that ever lived, sink deep into your hearts! Cherish them, and teach your children to reverence them, as you cherish and reverence the memory of Washington himself. The Union of these States is the great conservator of that liberty so dear to the American heart. Without it, our greatness, as a Nation, would disappear; and our boasted self-government prove a signal failure. The very name of Liberty, and the hopes of struggling Freedom throughout the world, must perish in the wreck of this Union! Devote yourselves then to its maintenance, as our fathers did to the cause of independence; consecrating to its support, as you have sworn to do, your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honors!
Brothers: Recalling to your minds the solemn obligations, which you have 'severally taken in this and the preceding Degrees, I now pronounce you entitled to all the privileges of membership in this Organization; and take pleasure in informing you that you are now members of the Order of ….