Uncle Sam's Eagles
Initiation Ritual

1905


Officers
U.S. - Uncle Sam
Col. - Columbia
Y.D. - Yankee Doodle
B.E. - Bald Eagle
C.I.S. - Chief Ink Slinger
C.C.B. - Chief Cash Bosser
G. of N. - Guide of Nest
Serg. - Sergeant
Ord. - Orderly
Capt. - Captain of Squad
I.S. - Inside Sentinel
O.S. - Outside Sentinel
P. - Page to Columbia
M.C. - Master of Ceremonies
 
Regalia or Costumes
U.S. to wear red and white striped trousers, a vest decorated with stars, long swallow-tail coat, old white high hat (a general make-up of Uncle Sam), or in place of the above, it will answer to wear an old high hat only. Columbia a liberty cap, red, white and blue robe made of good length and loose fitting. Y.D. to have blue robe trimmed in red and white, cocked hat with feather. B.E. to have plain grey or lead-colored gown trimmed with blue or black, with jockey cap of same color. C.I.S. and other officers, except page and M.C., to wear Khaki suits and military hats. C.I.S. to have quill pen over ear. C.C.B. wears a large key on left breast. G. of N. blue shoulder straps bound with white, and wears sword. Serg. wears shoulder straps of same design with one cross bar, and is provided with a stuffed club the size and shape of a base ball bat.
Ord. plain shoulder straps and is also provided with a stuffed club. Capt. the same shoulder straps as G. of N., except two cross-bars, and wears sword. Sentinels same shoulder straps as G. of N. I.S. wears crossed swords on left breast. O. S. wears one, and each wear swords at their sides. Page, blue uniform, bound with black, with blue military cap. Squad of six plain Khaki suits and military hats. The uniforms may be made from colored chintz or Khaki cloth, which is inexpensive. Swords may be made from wood and painted. Brown slouch hats will answer for military hats.
Ordinary members to wear their own hats as their regalia. In place of all the above, officers may act their parts with their ordinary dress.

 
General Instructions
See key for corresponding number in Ritual. Have a gavel or mallet on U.S. pedestal. The officers should have their Rituals concealed in large open bopks, Speak loud and distinct. If there is much laughter at any time, U.S. will rap for order and say, "No levity! no levity! brethren; this is a solemn affair." Carry out the details witH assumed dignity and avoid laughing. The M.C. is to coach and look after each officer while acting out their parts and keep everything tnoving so there will be no hitch. Music at intervals while the C. is on march will enliven the initiation. Serg. and Ord. are supposed to help preserve order, collect fines, etc. One rap calls the Nest to order, two raps seats it when standing, three raps calls up the entire Nest. When any member is seen by the Serg. or Ord. with his legs crossed or hat off during the session, he will be fined cents, as may be adopted by the Nest, and immediately collected and placed in the general fund. The member acting the part of Columbia should be a smooth-faced young man. Instead of having a captain and squad, G. of N. may cpnduct C. through all the ceremonies and may be provided with a pin. In all the ceremonials make it as ludicrous as possible, but never rough or dangerous. Officers always salute each other with present swords.
Squad and other members by touching the brim of hat.

 
 
Opening
 
One rap calls the Nest to order.
U.S.:
I am about to call the brood of this Nest together. If any present are not members, they will please vamoose.
Sergeant, you will see this order carried out instanter.
Serg., presents sword:
Your Excellency, the order shall be duly executed. Orderly, you will proceed to the outer post, see that the Sentinels are on duty, and all is secure.
Orderly salutes U.S. in front of altar and retires to ante-room and returns at once and salutes.
Ord.:
Your Excellency, the Sentinels are at their posts, and all is well.
U.S.:
It's well. Sergeant and Orderly, you will now proceed right and left and take up the password and report.
Serg. with Ord., saluting with present swords:
Your Excellency, your commands have been obeyed; all are qualified to remain.
U.S.:
I now declare this Nest of Eagles formally opened for such business as may be legally thrust upon it.
One rap.

 
 
Initiation
 
One rap.
U.S.:
Has an officer or Eagle any business matter to thrust before this exalted Nest?
Serg., saluting:
Your Excellency, I desire to inform you that there is a candidate in waiting for initiation.
U.S.:
Have all the inquirendoes been made; has he all the qualifications to make a good American Eagle?
Serg.:
Your Excellency, full examination has been made; the members here have so declared with their ballots, and I am also satisfied.
Have a fake candidate in ante-room, a member that is unknown to C. for initiation, if possible, or blindfold some member on the outer door as a candidate, and take him in first. Make much noise, as if he was being initiated, after which the regular C. is called for.
The fake C. is to represent a wounded man just as Y.D. has finished his obligation. The make-up should have a red stained bandage around his head, strips of piaster crossed on face, spots of burnt cork, arm in a sling, broken up old high hat, etc., and lying on a bench groaning.
U.S.:
Present the candidate at once to Columbia and this Nest for inspection, on double quick time.
Bring fake C. in now.
Serg.:
Your Excellency, your commands shall be obeyed.
Orderly, you will proceed to the outer post and so inform the Sentinel.
Ord. salutes at altar and retires (1) on door answered by same from within. Music, march "American Patrol" played soft on organ or piano. Capt. and squad open ranks, stand inside at door, Ord. conducts C. blindfolded through open ranks and turns C. over to Capt Capt. and C. march together. Close ranks, double file, march around room two or three times, quick pace, as each corner is turned. Capt. calls out, column left, column right, and present C. in front of Columbia, and all salute.
Capt.:
Columbia, by direction of Uncle Sam, I present to you this candidate, who has been duly and regularly elected to initiation and membership in this Nest.
Col.:
Is this an act of your own free will and accord?
C. ans.:
It is.
Col.:
Stranger, only brave subjects are admitted here, those who are willing to lay down or offer up their lives for the cause of American freedom. Do you profess to be such?
C. ans.:
I do.
Col.:
Do you promise to keep the secrets of this Nest inviolate within your breast?
C. ans.:
I do.
Have ready (2).

Before you can further advance it will be necessary for you to show your ability and inclination to do industrial work, and thereby earn a living for yourself and family without being a menace to the country of Uncle Sam.
The banner of success is furled.
Should you your duty shirk;
The man who gets up in the world
Must first get down to work.
One of the main pursuits of inclustry in this country is agriculture, therefore you will now give us a sample of your work by plowing up sorn.e of Uncle Sam's domain. Go!
C. presented to Col.
Col.:
Stranger, I congratulate you on this task. You are an adept. I now present to you you the Eagle's wing, (3)
It is typical of freedom as the eagle that flics over our great domain. Keep it; it will be a passport to higher honors.
You now have my permission to pass on.
Music. March around the room again in the same way and manner and face in front of B.E.
Capt.:
Bald Eagle, I have the honor to. present to you a stranger, a candidate who was found loafing around on the outer posts. He desires to be initiated and made a member of this brood of Eagles.
B.E.:
Is he a tramp eagle, a buzzard, or what vile scum have you here?
Capt.:
Bald Eagle, he has been duly and regularly elected to initiation and membership in this Nest; he has passed the favor of Columbia, and now prays to be passed for further light and instruction.
B.E.:
Have all the pin-feathers been removed from him?
Capt.:
I know not; btit he has the passport presented to him by Columbia.
Present (3) to B.E., who inspects and returns it.
B.E.:
By the high cliffs of the Rockies! From the appearance of this token he seems to be an old bird. Captain, do you promise that if on examination his pin-feathers are not all out you will see they are all plucked or singed off.
Capt.:
I promise! Your commands shall be obeyed.
B.E.:
Stranger, do you promise that if you are made a member of this Nest you will cavort around such public places as the Eagles are prone to attend in profusion, remain off your roost all hours of the night, get full, and assist your brothers in all such orgies: you will?
Should you succeed in running the gauntlet will you promise to make all the contention, discorcl and confusion, kick whenever possible, and do all in your power to make yourself obnoxious to the general proceedings of this exalted Nest: you will?
Do you promise that you will not murmur or complain of any of the ordeals, customs or ceremonies you are about to receivc, even though you are half crippled or killed?
C. ans.:
B.E.:
It is the inexorable law of this order that before you can 'further advance you must display some of your courage and ficlelity to the members of this Nest. You have a rough and rugged road to travel, beset with clangers upon either side, in which you may lose your life, but valor and an indomitable will are typical of American manhood and Uncle Sam's Eagles. Do you wish to proceed?
C. ans.:
I do.
Place a plank on a tressle or pedestal, lower end on floor, the other end projecting over into space, over canvass held by 8 members, or use a three or four foot step-ladder. When C. is led up and reaches end or top, at the word "fly" he is pushed off into canvas, which should be 8 x 10 ft. in size and provided with 8 stout rope handles, four on each side. C. is tossed up a few times in this. Great care must be taken that he is not tossed too high or in striking the floor. Remove C.'s shoes; if more than one C., remove all their shoes now, and place them all in a pile. Lead C. over a rough road made of brooms, cushions, wood, etc., leading from B. E. to incline. Squad carefully leads him up.

I will now teach you to fly. I am an old bird myself, and I know my business. Captain of the Squad, you will now conduct the novice along the crags and then guide him up to the mountain top to the highest cliff. Arriving. Sniff the pure air. How grand it is. Elevate your nose. You are now on the summit, Uncle Sam's Eagle Nest. Looking over the beautiful scene thousands of feet below, the angry waves of the sea, the precipice, the yawning caverns, how beautiful and awe-inspiring. But eagles must learn to soar over the great domain of Uncle Sam and you must show us your ability to "fly."
C. again presented to B.E.
B.E.:
You will now in token of your sincerity take your right hand and hold up your left leg and with your left hand grasp the lobe of your right ear. Stand erect and repeat af ter me:
Read slowly. Members steady C.

An Eagle when he leaves his Nest,
And it is very late,
May go straight home: ay, there's the test:
If he can go home straight.
It is hoped you will always go straight home to your roost after the session of the Nest, as all good Eagles should.
You now have my permission to pass on.
Music. March around the same way and manner and present C. in front of Y.D. If there .are other candidates which it is desired to make members without going through any of the initiation, obligate them all now.
Capt.:
Yankee Doodle, I have the honor to present to you this novice, who desires to become a member of this Nest.
Y.D.:
It's well. Stranger, you are aiming high! You ask for an honor that we confer only on men of courage. Do you profess to be such?
C. ans.:
I do.
Y.D.:
Have you the passport for such a favor?
C. ans.:
I have.
Y.D.:
Stranger, you will take two paces to the front and hold up your right hand and swear your loyalty to this Nest of Uncle Sam's Eagles: I, your name, and repeat after me, promise and agree that if I am successful in being admitted as a member of this Nest I will comply with all the requirements of the same. I will never reveal any of the secrets of this degree, nor will I explain or describe it to any one not a member any parts through which I have passed or am about to pass. I furthermore solemnly promise that I will not confer or assist in conferring any part of the work of this Nest except it be in the same way and manner I am about to receive it, and by the right and power of an organized Nest. I furthermore promise, that I will aid and assist a worthy member of this Nest when his circumstances warrant it. I will defend a brother from evil spoken in his absence, and I will never do anything that will bring reproach upon this Nest. To all of which I solemnly promise.
One rap.
Y.D.:
While there is much levity in the Nest of which you are about to become a member, yet there is a tie of honor in all things. You have made a pledge of honor, may you always respect it.
The fake C. groans. Blindfold removed for a few moments and replaced.

I desire to congratulate you for your submissive manner.
You are gaining the goal, step by step. You will notice the candidate who has just preceded you, who became obnoxious to the inexorable customs of this time-honored institution and has met with the fate he so justly deserved, the moral of which is to teach you, my friend, that obedience to the laws of this order must be observed. Before you can further advance it will be necessary for yoti to answer some important questions to further satisfy this brood of Eagles your ability to do other industrial work in the great domain of Uncle Sam.
Did you ever have any ancestors ?
Can. ans.:

Do you think you are really compos mentis?
Can. ans.:

Do you think you can lie, if necessary ?
Can. ans.:

Can you fight, if necessary?
Can. ans.:

Will you agree to wear a clothes-pin on your nose to prevent snoring?
Can. ans.:

Will you agree to keep your nose out of other people's business and attend strictly to your own?
C. ans.:

One of the requirements of this Nest is, that every member must be a proficient bareback rider. Do you profess to be such?
C. ans.:

Are all the members satisfied?
All members answer:
Yes.
Serg.:
I am not so satisfied!
All members:
Let's test him.
V.D.:
Are you wil!ing to niake the test? C. ans.:
Y.D.:
Chief Ink Slinger, Iet the victim's answer be recortled.
C.I.S.:
His answer is recorded.
Y.D.:
It's well; he shall be tested. Orderly, bring forth the swiftest steed and help the victim to mount. If you are successful in this feat, you can rest assured you can obtain a position in the cavalry service, or any circus in the world.
Ord.:
Yank, your commands shall be obeyed.
Y.D.:
Go.
Music: a galop. Have ready (4) and attendant, that no harm can resnlt from a fall. Have a member in one corner of the room with a block of wood 3 x 5 inches in each hand, clapping them on a piece of plank to imitate a horse on a gallop, and then coming to a radical stop just before C. is mounted. After ride, remove blindfold and replace it. If much laughter at any time, U.S. will rap gavel and say, "No levity! no levity! brethren; this is a solemn affair,"
Y.D., shaking hands with C. Have (3) ready:
I desire to congratulate you on your equestrian feat. I also return to you the passport, which will serve you for a higher purpose. Captain of the Squad, you will now conduct the candidate to his Excellency, Uncle Sam, for further light and instruction.
Music. March around the room again in the same way and manner and present C. in front of altar facing U.S.
Capt.:
Your Excellency, I have the honor to present to you a novice for initiation and membership.
U.S.:
By what right does he expect so great a favor?
Capt.:
He has passed the favor of Columbia. He seems industrious, for he can plow well; he has elevated ideas, and is a high fiyer; he has passed the favor of Yank, and he is a good rider, besides, he is in the possession of the passport.
Hands (3) to U.S. Capt. and squad now retire. G. of N., takes Capt.'s position.
U.S.:
Captain, these cardinal points are, indeed, in his favor. Stranger, before you can further advance it will be necessary for you to take upon yourself a more terrible and binding obligation. If there is any Eagle present who has any objection why the candidate should not proceed further, he will now speak, or forever hold his peace.
Any objection may now be made by any member for amusement.
Have ready (5).
U.S., one rap:
The ceremonies must proceed.
Stranger, there is nothing in the obligation that will reflect upon you, or binding upon your wife, your family, your hired girl, your neighbor, or yourself. With this assurance on my part, are you willing to take this solemn obligation and assume the danger in living half crippled or killed in the trying ordeals of the initiation, without murmur or complaint, which will forever bind you to us in brotherly love and affection? You will now kneel and place your hands on the emblem of our order.
Three raps; all rise. U.S. steps to altar.

I, your name, and repeat after me.
Being of simple mind and because I must, and in the presence of these brother Eagles, do promise and swear, that I will never impart the secrets of this degree to anybody not a member of this brood, except it be my wife [use best girl if a single man], and then not unless forced by her into a corner, where I must do so in order to save my scalp and my regular night's rest. I further promise and swear, that I will not violate the confidence of a brother Eagle, his father, grandfather, mother, mother-in-law, father or father-in-law, cousin, old maid, or aunt, or allow anybody to do so unless they are stronger than I am and have a pugilistic way of showing it. I further promise and swear, that I will prevent, if possible, any of my brood from mating with any foreign brood of vampires, vultures, counts, or no accounts whatsoever. I furthermore promise and swear, that I will never take anything from a brother Eagle that is nailed, screwed, riveted, or cemented down. I furthermore promise, that I will assist a henpecked brother of this Nest whenever the circumstances warrant it, and will go to his aid and use all the philosophy I possess to assure his spouse he has been held up in lodge work. Binding myself under no less a penalty than being thrown out of this Nest to the buzzards, or looked upon in all future time as a most miserable cuss, expelled from the order, or any other just punishment that might be inflicted upon such a miserable cuss as I would be.
So I swear by the bald-headed jack of clubs. In token of your sincerity you will now kiss the emblem of our order and place remove emblem and place quickly a flat piece of ice on altar, clasp, and hold C.'s palms down for a moment your hands thereon.
One rap. Remove blindfold and replace it.

Brother , you will now arise. We will now form the Eagle's Nest.
G. of N. and C. stand in centre of room. C. to be touched up in spots on face with burnt cork. If more than one C., they laugh at each other when the blindfolds are removed. Half dozen tin horns may be provided, and the one given to C. filled with flour, so that when he blows, it will fly in his face. All members march around on outer side of room, single file, while singing the song, and closing the circle until the C. is uncomfortably crowded. Members say don't crowd him; you'll smother him, etc. When U.S. says "throw him out of the Nest," remove blindfold. Members suddenly break away. G. of N. points him to the ante-room door; he is then clubbed out: using stuffed clubs.
G. of N., handing C. horn:
We will now give Uncle Sam the grand salute. "The Reveille of the Nest."
U.S.:
Throw him out of the Nest.
Song.: Uncle Sam's Eagles.

Now that everything around is quiet, low and still,
Start the good old chorus, boys, and sing it with a will,
Sing it till the echoes sound from here to Bunker Hill.
For we are Uncle Sam's Eagles.
 
Chorus.
Hurrah! Hurrah! just spread your wings and shout,
Hurrah! Hurrah! stretch all your feathers out;
Fly high and scream and shake your plumes and let nobody doubt
That we are Uncle Sam's Eagles.
 
Life is full of trouble, boys, in early days and late,
But all must do the best they can to bear up with their fate;
And since we've got him safely here, Lord help this candidate,
For we are Uncle Sam's Eagles.
 
Chorus.
 
Sound the chorus loud again and let him have no rest
While we march around and build the first walls of the Nest,
We must show him how to fly north, south, and east, and west,
For we are Uncle Sam's Eagles.
 
Chorus.
 
Now that all is ready here let all hands mind their eye;
The candidate from out the Nest has got to do or die,
So let him spread his tail and wings and do his best to fly.
For we are Uncle Sam's Eagles.
Stuff handkerchief in and around C.'s collar. Any of the following stunts may be omitted and others used as desired: Have C. saw wood with buck saw, drop water from oil can on saw while sawing; members make remarks about his ability as a sawyer, etc. Present C., blindfolded, in front of U.S., at altar.
G. of N.:
Your Excellency, the candidate who now awaits your further instruction.
U.S.:
It's well. As a further test of your ability to earn a livelihood for yourself, you will now attach yourself to this saw and do some artistic wood sawing.
Remove blindfold. Now use spiked stool, which is made of a few rubber spikes drawn through a piece of board and this tacked down on any ordinary stool. C. is requested to sit down; if he refuses, he is forced. Have an imitation of camera, or camera with lenses removed, attach a rubber hose and bulb filled with water, force through in C.'s face. Trick chair can also be used by taking a large old chair: make a wood seat: hinged to front cross-bar so seat will fall, trigger and cord attached. Use a little flash light powder, pull cord and douche C. at the same time. Photographer acts his part as a pantomime. After each stunt the C. is presented in front of U.S. in the same way and manner.
U.S.:
Guard of the Nest, you will now seat the candidate, for one should rest af ter such weary toil.
U.S.:
It will now be necessary for our official photographer to make a picture of you, to be preserved in the archives of this Nest. You will please be seated. Mr. Photographer, you will now proceed.
Blindfold C. U.S. steps to altar. Have (6) and a large goose egg or one turned out of wood, painted aud leaded to give the weight. Have a hen's egg, contents blown out and filled with water, and one glass or hen's egg.
U.S.:
Stranger, in your dark and benighted condition I desire to test your ability to discriminate as to the relative size and soundness of Eagles' eggs. It is near brooding time and it is necessary that all bircls of this nest shall be competent judges. You will now take this in your hand.
What is this?
C. ans.:
A hen's egg.
U.S.:
A hen's egg: correct!
U.S.:
I will now place this one in your hand. What is this?
C. ans.:
U.S.:
Well, this is an Eagle's egg.
U.S.:
Do you think it a sound egg?
C. ans.:
U.S. taking egg filled with water and mashes it on C.'s head, at the same instant pass (6) under his nose.
U.S.:
My friend, I regret that this egg was not a good one; but then this is a good way to find out.
Have (7) place C. 15 to 20 ft. from wall, blindfold, and remove after each trial.
U.S.:
My friend, before you can further advance you will be obliged to give us a specimen of your marksmanship not with gun or sword, but with unerring eye. Point the index finger of your right hand to strike within the center of that (8). You will have three trials. If you are not successful in three trials, we will have to defer conferring the balance of this degree for some future time. All of our Eagles must have well-trained eyes. Take good aim and proceed.
Remove blindfold. G. of N. presents C. in front of U.S. station.
Have ready an old broken high hat, sponge saturated with water.
At the word "Eagle," place sponge in hat and press down.
G. of N.:
Your Excellency, the candidate stands before you for further light and instruction.
U.S.:
It's well. You will now kneel and receive the reward you have so justly earned. And now by the right and title and the power-in me vested, I place this tile upon your head as your regalia and proclaim you to be a fullfledged American Eagle. You will now arise.
Members shout: "All hail!"
Brother: for now I am pleased to address you by this title l desire to congratulate you for the manner in which you have conducted yourself through the various ordeals. You have no doubt observed that it has been for the amusement of the members, vet I trust at the same time it has been enjoyable to you. I hope you will never ruin your health by wandering in the quicksands of sin. I am well aware that some Eagles are apt to be high flyers, wander too far from their virtuous Nest, and I here desire to caution you, for many are they who cal! upon a fair damsel [sotto voce] (to all external appearances) and even neglecting time and hetter opportunities; and while you may thus be engaged, with your arms entwined around her, and thinking yourself in a paradise of bliss, btit you ain't! [sotto voce] (for only a few days afterward nothing is left to remind you of the event but just a tender feeling). I trust you will always keep your passion within due bounds, especially toward the fair sex, and do nothing that will bring reproach upon this Nest.
You are now initiated, and have all the rights and privileges of this Nest. You will under no circumstances confer the degree for a less sum than . Legitimate expenses require it, to say nothing of charity, for which your Uncle Sam's Eagles are well known. I trust you will make a useful as well as an ornamental member of this Nest, and take an active part therein, attend the regular meetings, interest yourself in the sociability and mirth it affords and you will be rewarded at no distant day in seeing and helping some friend of yours to be initiated in the same way and manner as vou have been to-night, and enjoy a hilarious and wellspent evening. I will now instruct you in the signs and passwords and grip. Any usual alarm is given at the outside door; on the inner door give raps, which will be answered by a like number from within. You will then give the semi-annual pass, which is (9), you will then be admitted, and you will then advance to the altar and salute Uncle Sam by (10). If you wish to retire, or in rising to address the chair, you will give the same sign. You will be answered by Uncle Sam by (11). The recognition sign is made by (12). If you are recognized you will be answered by (13). The grip is given (14). The distress sign is made by (15) ; answer is made by (16). Your hat, or a military hat is your regalia, and is to be worn at all times in the Nest. After you have signed your name with the Chief Ink Slinger you will be a full-fledged member. We are here permitted to smoke and enjoy ourselves generally. If you have any spare cigars you can pass them around and we will smoke and listen to any speech you may make, of interest to the Nest, or we will enjoy a song or a dance.
Three raps and all members rise.

Brethren, I have the pleasure of introducing Brother , who is now entitled to all the privileges of this Nest of Eagles. You will now extend your congratulations.
All members, in single file, pass C., shaking his hand and all singing, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." Music and songs furnished with these rituals. One rap seats the Nest.

 
 
Closing
 
Three raps and all members rise.
U.S.:
It is now about time for all good Eagles to prepare for the roost, and I will close this session of the Nest.
While we meet here for social enjoyment and mirth, let me warn you that during the interval of our meetings you must not mingle with any tramp Eagles or buzzards and divulge or reveal any of its mysteries or its business transactions.
May prosperity and good cheer attend you all. The Nest is closed.


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