Order of American Farmers and Mechanics
Ritual of the Second Degree or the Degree of My Neighbor


1875


The degree can be conferred on one candidate only, at a time.
All business of the Castle, pertaining to the second degree, balloting, benefits &c., will be transacted in the Castle of Industry, and separate books of record will be kept for that degree. The funds of the Castles will be controlled by the members of the degree of My Neighbor.

 
 
Opening in Castle of Industry
 
C.M.A., *:
The officers will take their stations and the members come to order.
Order is observed.
C.M.A.:
Bro. J.S., where is your station in the Castle of Industry?
J.S.:
Within the Hall, and at the inner door of the entrance of the Castle.
C.M.A.:
What is your duty?
J.S.:
To see that the Sentinel is at his post, and that the Castle of Industry is duly guarded.
C.M.A.:
Where is the post of the Sentinel?
J.S.:
On and about the several ramparts of the castle.
C.M.A.:
What is his duty in this castle?
J.S.:
To watch. To guard the Castle against the intrusion of spies; to give notice of and to welcome, the coming of our neighbors, and to alarm the castle upon the approach of enemies.
C.M.A.:
Bro. J.S., you will see that the Sentinel is at his post; inform him that a Castle of Industry is now about to be opened and charge him to be in the active performance of all his duties.
The J.S. retires; repeats the order of the C.M.A. to the Sentinel; returns, closes the door and reports.
J.S.:
C.M.A., the Sentinel is at his post, and is in the active performance of his duties.
C.M.A.:
It is well, be seated.
Worthy Chief Farmer! Are all present, members of the degree of My Neighbor?
C.F.:
I will ascertain through the Senior and Junior Stewards and report. Bro. Stewards, you will ascertain if all present are members of the second degree of our Order.
The Stewards pass to each person, except the first four officers and their supporters, and collect the password of the degree. The Jun.S. whispers it to the S.S. and he to the C.F. who reports.
C.F.:
Chief Master Artizan, all present are in possession of the password of the degree of My Neighbor.
C.M.A.:
What is the password?
C.F. gives the pass.
C.M.A.:
Worthy Chief farmer, are you My Neighbor?
C.F.:
I am
C.M.A.:
What makes you My Neighbor?
C.F.:
The full exercise of my duty as a citizen, as foreshadowed in the obligations, and in the second degree of our Order.
C.M.A.:
Where did you become My Neighbor?
C.F.:
In a Castle of Industry, of this Order.
C.M.A.:
How did you become My Neighbor?
C.F.:
By taking upon myself the obligations of this degree as a citizen.
C.M.A.:
Why are Castles opened in the second degree called "Castles of Industry"?
C.F.:
Because all of its officers and members are supposed to be employed at some useful labor.
C.M.A.:
What does such employment of the officers denote?
C.F.:
That useful employment is honorable to all persons, whatever may be their stations in life; while an idle and useless life is disgraceful.
C.M.A., calls all up:
In order that our time be profitably employed, I now declare this Castle of Industry duly open. The members will give the sign of this Degree.
After opening, the C.M.A. (the candidate being present in the Castle) gives one rap and says:
C.M.A.:
The Castle will be at recess a short time, and the members may occupy it in conversation, and in such innocent amusements as they may choose.
C.F., rising:
But C.M.A., I thought the second degree was to be conferred to night upon Mr. Ö, who is now present in the Castle and expecting to receive it.
C.M.A.:
We will endeavor to confer that degree upon Mr. Ö this evening if we have time, but it must be postponed for the present, and I now declare this castle to be at recess.
All members leave their seats and mingle in conversation around the hall. The Chaperon (who for ladies always be the supporter of the S.S., and for men may be either the S.S. or his lady supporter) approaches the candidate and engages him or her in conversation, shows great interest in, and gradually draws the candidate into the ante-room. As soon as the Chaperon and candidate enter the ante-room the door is closed upon them, and other friends who may be with them, and the officers and their supporters in the hall, immediately assume their proper dress and places for conferring the degree, to wit: The C.M.A. at his place, as a grave man, reading, or engaged intently, in examining, or making drawings &c.
His supporter, engaged at any labor of her choice, as lacework, tatting, sewing, &c., with neat head dress, as she fancies for a crown.
M.M., in shirt sleeves, a short planed board laying on the stand in front of him, and going through the motions of planning
His supporter busy at sewing, mending his coat, etc., as she selects.
J.S. on a low platform or table, pretending to sew vigorously, on some woolen garment.
His supporter also at work.
C.F. with shovel in hand, as if ready for labor, but deeply interested in his supporter, who, in neat white apron and cap, is busy at any fancy labor of her choice, as mending socks, etc.
M., as shoemaker, between C.F. and F., busy repairing a boot or shoe, sewing, pegging etc.
His supporter, binding or working on pattern of shoe.
F. with hoe out of order, and calculating how to repair it.
His supporter with pan of vegetables in her lap, and case knife in hand, or the like.
S. and supporter, each weaving, or going through the motions of weaving.
T. as a blacksmith working; going through the motions of drawing out iron, or other work.
His supporter with a pitcher of water in one hand, and a glass goblet or tumbler in the other.
The Castles will not be confined to the trades mentioned above but any proper trade or labor may be represented.
Seeing the officers of the Castle at work teaches the candidate that useful labor is not degrading, but ennobling. Prussiaís Kings learn trades. In the ante-room, conversation is kept up until the preparations in the hall are completed, which is made known to the Chaperon, by two blows or kicks at the bottom of the ante-room door.
The Chaperon then says:
Well, I do think it is too bad they should pull off conferring that beautiful degree upon you to night. It is perfectly delightful; and then it is so funny, and instructive. I wish they would go ahead, and confer it on you. But some people donít seem to care, about the wishes, or the convenience of others. How ill natured that is. . . Iíll tell you what we will do! We will go into the Castle Hall, and I will go right up to the Chief Master Artizan and I will insist on having the degree conferred on you to-night. Come, let us go in.
They open the door, pass into the hall, and find the officers &c. busy as described.
Chaperon to candidate:
Well, I declare! This is a very sudden change. How busy these people all seem to be, but they are only common people I dare say. No degree for you to night, I am afraid, but we will go and ask the C.M.A. if he will confer it.
They advance to his station and Chaperon gives one rap.
C.M.A., kindly:
Well! What is wanted? Is any one in distress?
Chap.:
No sir. I hope not in real distress, but we do wish, very much, that you would confer the second degree of the Order of American Farmers and Mechanics on Mr. Ö to night.
C.M.A.:
I should be very glad to accommodate Mr. Ö, but I am just now very busy, in trying to perfect some new plans, and as I am engaged, I will ask you to call on my neighbors here, as they have all taken the degree, and understand it well, and ask them to confer it on you.
Chap. and candidate turn away.
Chap.:
Well! Who shall we go to? His Neighbors! I wonder who he means? I will ask that Carpenter. He looks as if he might know something, and perhaps he will take pity on us. But who would think of getting information from actual Mechanics and Farmers? But we will try it.
They advance to the Carpenter, who is going through the motions &c, and noise of planning.
Chap.:
Mr. Carpenter! Will you be so kind as to confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. on Mr. Ö? He has been waiting for it a long time.
Carp.:
Why donít you ask the C.M.A. to confer it? He understand that degree as well as I do.
Chap.:
We have asked him! but as he was very busy, he told us to call on his neighbors for it, and so we asked you.
Carp.:
Well, I am busy too, making homes for the people; but perhaps my best friend and neighbor here, will assist you.
Supporter:
Oh I am too busy to think of such a thing! Besides it seems to me, that none but drones would be idle in pressing times like these. But ask my neighbor, the tailor here.
Chap.:
Well! We will ask him, as you do not seem disposed to accommodate us. They advance to the tailor. Mr. Tailor, will you lay down your needle and your shears, and confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. upon Mr. Ö?
His Supporter answers:
We have too much work to do; but if you will ask my neighbor here The C.F., I presume you will receive the degree.
Chap:
Well! Let us go to him. He looks like a worthy farmer, and perhaps he will confer it. They advance to the C.F. Good Mr. Farmer, will you be so kind as to confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. on Mr. Ö to night?
C.F.:
Well he ought to have that degree, and if I had the time I would; but it takes time to do that. Besides all my people are busy as bees, and I just want to take this shovel off to the field. In fact, Iím too busy. Why donít you ask my neighbor, the Shoemaker there.
Chap.:
Well! Good bye. I am really almost discouraged; but we will ask these worthy looking people. Mr. Shoemaker! Will you confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. upon Mr. Ö?
Shoe.:
Yes. After a little, I will. But I have promised 40 people to have their work done t night, and I am ready for only one of them. I am afraid 39 will be disappointed.
Supporter:
Perhaps while you are waiting you had better call on mu neighbor there.
Chap.:
I think we had, if that is the way the Shoemaker keeps his promises. Thirty-nine disappointments! We will not be the fortieth. We will go to his neighbor, who by his looks is a farmer. Good Sir, will you confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. upon Mr. Ö?
His Supporter:
Now John, donít say a word. Iíll answer that question. We could not possibly do it, until after the wedding. Sally is going to be married day after tomorrow night, and we must get ready for it. But you can ask my neighbor here.
Chap. to candidate:
Well, is not this too bad? But I said you should have the degree and you shall. We will even ask these weavers here. Kind weaver, will you stop your work and confer the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. upon Mr. Ö?
Sec. as Weaver:
If we stop our work some little children must starve. They live only by our labor. Would you have them die?
Chap.:
Oh no, no! but we wish that degree so much.
Weav.:
Well, ask my neighbor, the Blacksmith over there.
Chap.:
Well, he is the last. Let us go and ask him.
They cross over.
Chap.:
Blacksmith! We have been to almost everybody to have the second degree of the Order of A.F.& M. conferred, and all say they are too busy. Will you confer it?
His Supporter to B.:
Here George is the water you asked for pouring out water, and I will set the pitcher here. B. drinks deliberately.
Blacksmith:
Well, if my neighbors are busy, what do you think of me? My neighbors, all, expect me to work for them, and the whole machinery of the neighborhood would stop if I were idle. Blacksmithing must be done. No! no! I am too busy to confer that degree just now. Ask my neighbor, the C.M.A. there.
Chap.:
We have asked him once.
B.ís Supporter:
Well, donít be afraid to ask him again. Importune him, ask him earnestly. Let him see that you desire it, and he may confer it. He is a good man and helps every one he can.
Chap. to candidate:
Oh! What shall we do? I have a great mind to take this ladyís advice, and ask the C.M.A. again. I will do it. Chief Master Artizan: we have asked all you sent us to, to confer the degree, but all say they are too busy, what shall we do? We wish that degree so much.
C.M.A.:
I know that all are busy now, for all must work to feed the cormorant monopolies, who steal away their childrenís bread. My own family might suffer, if I failed to labor night and day, to gain a little which the giant greed of those monopolies can spare. But the degree you ask is valuable, and in your case well deserved. You perseverance in well doing shall not go unrewarded. I will, myself, confer the degree upon Mr. Ö, if he will make a solemn promise, consistent with the highest honor, and with good conscience. Will you make me this promise, Mr. Ö?
Candidate:
I will.
C.M.A.:
You will then place your right hand over your heart, and repeat after me, first saying "I," and giving your full name.
 
 
Promise
 
I, Ö, in the presence of Him who searches all hearts, and in the presence of the members of this Castle of Industry, do solemnly, sincerely, and truthfully, promise and declare, that I will keep the secrets of the degree of My Neighbor, from all persons, whomsoever, who have not previously received the first degree of the Order of American farmers & Mechanics, and that I will communicate the same to no member of such order except in an open Castle of Industry, of such order, or upon the organization of a new Castle of the order about to be constituted by and under proper authority. I further promise and declare, that to the just and proper extent of my ability, I will render prompt aid, to any call on me therefor, by any afflicted and distressed, sick, or dying member or members of this order. I knowing, or believing them to be such, if I can render such aid, or the equivalent thereof, without material injury to myself or family.
I further promise I will use my best efforts to increase the membership of this order, to promote harmony, concord and kind feelings among the members at all times; and to elevate the standard of morality, intelligence, refinement, good taste, and virtue, among them, and among my neighbors. I further promise, that to the extent of my capacity, I will do all in my power, to make myself a useful member of society, an industrious person, and a good and valuable citizen, that I may, ever, be justly entitled to the Jewel which I wear, namely, "A Good Character." All this I do solemnly, sincerely, and truthfully promise and declare, Amen.
Response by all:
Amen.
C.M.A.:
You will now, Mr. Ö, please retire with your Chaperon to the ante-room, while preparations are being made for conferring the degree which you desire; but is occasion should require, you can return to the hall at any time.
They retire to the ante-room, and the door is closed. The Chaperon talks to the candidate.
Chap.:
Well, I was determined you should have that degree to-night, and now you will get it. The C.M.A. is a real good man, and then that lady who sits by him is such a dear woman, and she seems to have such a high opinion of you. I shouldnít wonder if she induced the C.M.A. to promise to confer the degree on you himself. Why! I wonder what makes me feel so baldly to-night.
Chaperon then converses on any matter of interest, but occasionally remarks about feeling baldly, as: "I do feel quite unwell to-night," until a double blow or knock, as if accidentally, by heels, is given at the bottom of the door. As soon as this is heard the Chaperon says:
Chap.:
I do feel very baldly indeed. I am getting worse. I am afraid I am really becoming sick. How faint I am. Do go in, Mr. Ö, and bring me out a little water. You know that Blacksmith had some.
In the hall, as soon as the Chaperon and candidate pass into the ante-room, and the door is closed, a feast of good things is set out on a table in that part of the hall near the Treasurerís position, so as to intercept the passage from the ante-room door, to the point where the pitcher was seen. The table is spread with a white cloth, and cakes, nuts, raisins, confectionery, cold meats etc., tastefully arranged upon it. Several members draw near the table, on the opposite side of it from the ante-room, to intercept the way of the candidate when he shall come for the water. If the candidate persist in going for the water, it must not be found, and must be sent for, for delay, until the Chaperon is prepared etc.
Lively and cheerful conversation prevails among the members. The Supporter of the C.M.A. keeps not far from, and facing the door of the ante-room, and as the candidate enters, she advances with a cheerful smile to meet him, shakes hands cordially and says:
Dear Mr. Ö, I was just going after you. I have the nicest of news for you; we are going to have a grand supper, in honor of your advent among us! Music, singing, and everything delightful. I am so glad.
Others skip to and cluster around the candidate, joyfully, and the M.M.ís Supporter says:
Oh, I am so glad Mr. Ö, that you are to have a supper given to you. You are no drone.
Chief Farmerís Supporter:
Yes! And we are to have some fine music, and perhaps a little dancing, too.
Farmerís Supporter:
I think itís too bad to get up such a grand supper, just before Sallieís wedding. It will keep mine in the shade.
C.M.A.ís Supporter:
Oh, thatís all right. On an occasion like this, we wish to do things handsomely, you know. But Mr. Ö, our supper is waiting. Let us gather at the table.
She leads the candidate to the table and if at any time, the candidate says anything about water for the supposed fainting and distressed Chaperon, the Supporter of the C.M.A. says: Oh, somebody else will attend to him; donít give yourself any trouble; we wish you with us now, &c.
And the candidate is detained until it is known that the Chaperon has been dressed in a sheet or shroud, by his assistants, and is laid out as if dead, and that all things are ready.
The ante-room is provided with camphor-gum and alcohol, and is given the scent of a sick room, and a dim light is set burning in the room.
These preparations being made, a shriek or groan is heard, and one of the Chaperonís assistants (in dressing) rushes into the hall inquiring for the candidate by name:
Where is Mr. Ö? Mr. Ö Chaperonís name wants Mr. Ö the candidate. She seems to be in dreadful agony. Do go Mr. Ö to candidate, he needs your aid so much. He looks as if he might have breathed his last.
The candidate hurries to the ante-room with water, which by this time has been placed near him and finds his friend laid out as if in death. The lady officers go with, and follow him, and standing about the body, give utterance to their sorrow in tones of woe. Examining the body, the C.M.A.ís Supporter, finds in the hand of the Chaperon a card with these words written on it: "Mr. Ö (name of candidate), Donít let me die; Save me, Water, Ö (name of Chaperon).
Looks at it and gives to candidate, saying:
Oh Mr. Ö, a sample glass of water, might have saved your friend. He was your friend; my friend, a friend to all who needed aid. But I am equally to blame with you; and let this be a striking lesson to us both, never to permit our own pleasure; or our convenience even, to hinder our prompt action in rendering aid, upon the call of any member of a Castle, of our lovely and beneficent Order, or of our other fellow human beings.
We will now return to the Castle Hall, and as a mark of our confidence that you will hereafter, promptly respond to the call of distress, you shall receive a place at the right hand of the Chief Master Artizan.
All take their positions, as in the opening of the Castle. As the candidate comes forward, the C.M.A. rises, and advancing, gives his right hand to the candidate and says:
C.M.A.:
You are now "My Neighbor;" and as such entitled to all the privileges of this Order. The ceremonies of this interesting degree, are fresh before you, and no words of mine could strengthen the good impressions made upon your mind by its various lessons. We are taught by it, that all men are neighbors, and that the call of pleasure should never hinder us from responding to the call of woe. We, in common with all human beings, are too apt to neglect the call of charity, and to find excuses for not relieving the distress of others, in our forgetfulness; in our selfishness; in our love of ease and pleasure; and often perhaps even our pride. How unlike we are, to that great Fountain of goodness, charity, and love, whose God-like heart, gave us the beautiful and touching parable on which this degree is founded. When the young man asked him, Who is my neighbor? He answered as only the Lover, and the Redeemer of man , could answer: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain Priest that way, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him; and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and set him on his own beast; and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.
Which now of these three thinkest thou, was neighbor, unto him who fell amongst the thieves? And he said, He that showeth mercy on him. Then Jesus said, Go! And do thou likewise.
How noble is the lesson of this parable! But another lesson is learned from this degree. You found your friend, already on the bier; dressed in the garments of death, But that friend still lives, and now is ready first to greet you here.
The Chaperon comes forward, neatly dressed, and grasps the hand of the candidate silently.

By this way we are reminded of our own immortality, and that although the winding sheet may enclose, and the grave may receive our bodies, yet we shall rise again; shall be greeted by our friends on the other side, and appear with them, in the Grand Castle of Heavens, where the Supreme Grand Artizan of the Universe presides.
C.M.A.:
With instruction in the sign and password of this degree giving sign and password, you are now entitled to any seat in the Castle of Industry, but in obedience to the wishes of my Supporter, you will for the remainder of this evening, be seated at my right hand.
They are seated; and other business is attended to.

 
 
Closing
 
C.M.A., *:
The officers will take their stations and the members come to order.
Order is observed.
C.M.A.:
Bro. J.S., where is your station in the Castle of Industry?
J.S.:
Within the Hall, and at the inner door of the entrance of the Castle.
C.M.A.:
What is your duty?
J.S.:
To see that the Sentinel is at his post, and that the Castle of Industry is duly guarded.
C.M.A.:
Where is the post of the Sentinel?
J.S.:
On and about the several ramparts of the castle.
C.M.A.:
What is his duty in this castle?
J.S.:
To watch. To guard the Castle against the intrusion of spies; to give notice of and to welcome, the coming of our neighbors, and to alarm the castle upon the approach of enemies.
C.M.A.:
Bro. J.S., you will see that the Sentinel is at his post; inform him that a Castle of Industry is now about to be closed and charge him to be in the active performance of all his duties.
The J.S. retires; repeats the order of the C.M.A. to the Sentinel; returns, closes the door and reports.
J.S.:
C.M.A., the Sentinel is at his post, and is in the active performance of his duties.
C.M.A.:
It is well, be seated.
Worthy Chief Farmer! Are all present, members of the degree of My Neighbor?
C.F.:
I will ascertain through the Senior and Junior Stewards and report. Bro. Stewards, you will ascertain if all present are members of the second degree of our Order.
The Stewards pass to each person, except the first four officers and their supporters, and collect the password of the degree. The Jun.S. whispers it to the S.S. and he to the C.F. who reports.
C.F.:
Chief Master Artizan, all present are in possession of the password of the degree of My Neighbor.
C.M.A.:
What is the password?
C.F. gives the pass.
C.M.A.:
Worthy Chief farmer, are you My Neighbor?
C.F.:
I am
C.M.A.:
What makes you My Neighbor?
C.F.:
The full exercise of my duty as a citizen, as foreshadowed in the obligations, and in the second degree of our Order.
C.M.A.:
Where did you become My Neighbor?
C.F.:
In a Castle of Industry, of this Order.
C.M.A.:
How did you become My Neighbor?
C.F.:
By taking upon myself the obligations of this degree as a citizen.
C.M.A.:
Why are Castles opened in the second degree called "Castles of Industry"?
C.F.:
Because all of its officers and members are supposed to be employed at some useful labor.
C.M.A.:
What does such employment of the officers denote?
C.F.:
That useful employment is honorable to all persons, whatever may be their stations in life; while an idle and useless life is disgraceful.
C.M.A., calls all up:
In order that we may find rest, and be refreshed for the active duties of the coming day, I now declare this Castle of Industry duly closed.


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