Junior Order of United American Mechanics
First, or Degree of Virtue
Councils will always open and close and transact their regular business in the Third Degree.
The stated hour of meeting having arrived, the Councilor will give one rap, when the officers and members will be seated. He will then rise and say:
C.: Council No. … is about to open. The officers and members will be clothed in proper regalia and come to order.
C.: Bro. I. S., you will secure the inner door and allow no one to retire or enter till so directed from this station.
C.: Brother W., you will advance and give to me the password’ and its explanation.
C.: You will now satisfy yourself that all present are qualified to remain, report to me and resume your station.
After testing the members the Warden will report from the altar and resume his station.
C., giving two raps, the members rising: Sons of a common country, reared under the same flag and influenced by like tradition, we have come here that we may trim and brighten the sacred fires of fraternity and patriotism.
Withdrawn from the tumult, selfishness and striving of every-day life; safe from the inquisitive, the envious and the faultfinding, we find ourselves in a presence where we may deliberate and resolve with that perfect freedom possible only when men come together intent upon high purpose and where a true regard for the opinion of others ever moves to speech and action.
With a just pride in our country’s past and a sublime faith in its future, let us so carry ourselves here as to fill full the measure of our own approval, and so demean ourselves abroad as to bear witness that we hold our citizenship a precious birthright and our exercise of it a privilege beyond price.
C.: Brother Chaplain, upon what is our Order founded?
Chaplain: Upon Virtue.
C.: Brother V. C., by what are we made secure in the practice of Virtue?
V. C.: By Liberty.
C.: Brother Jr. P. C., to what must we look for our inspiration?
Jr. P. C.: To Patriotism.
C.: Brother Chaplain!
The Chaplain will here read a selection from the Bible and then offer the following prayer:
Sublime Master of The Universe! Humbly we bow before Thee and beseech Thee to move us to loving kindness toward each other. Direct us that all our words and thoughts and deeds may ever make for a higher and broader citizenship. Help us, that being clean of heart and true to self, we can be false to none, God of Nations! We offer our thanks that our Country has come to its high place among the peoples of the Earth. Quicken, O Lord, the public conscience and steady the purpose of our people, that our institutions may grow with the Nation’s growth, and that our greater destiny shall continue as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, to struggling mankind everywhere. Protect, and grant of Thy wisdom to all, of high and low degree, who may be appointed to administer public business. Ever incline the hearts of the people to respect for and obedience to law. Prosper our Order and its purpose to make of us truer men and better citizens. Amen.
C.: Let us join in singing our opening ode.
Air, “America.” (Key of F.).
God bless our native land;
Firm may it ever stand
Through storm and night.
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do Thou our Order save
By Thy great might.
C.: Relying upon a spirit of true brotherhood and invoking a perfect loyalty to our institutions, I now declare this Council duly opened.
Brother I. S., you will retire and so inform the O. S., and admit such as may be qualified to enter.
C.: Brother W., you will retire and ascertain if there are any candidates in waiting to be initiated, and report to me.
W.: Brother Councilor, I find … naming the Candidate or Candidates in the anteroom awaiting initiation.
C.: Being informed that there is work to be done in the First Degree, with the aid of the Council I will now proceed to confer the Degree of Virtue upon …, he being a duly chosen candidate for membership in this Order. For this reason I now declare this Council open in the First Degree, and will expect from every officer a careful performance of-the duties of his station, and from every member his thoughtful attention.
C.: Brother W., you will conduct our Jr. P. C. and F. S. to the anteroom, where they will perform the duties of t-heir offices.
Arrived within the anteroom, the Jr. P. C., addressing the Candidate or Candidates, will say:
Jr. P. C.: Please arise, Sir.
You are here seeking membership in an organization composed only of those born within the territorial limits of the United States or under the protection of its flag, and who are banded together for the promotion of Virtue, preservation of Liberty and the exaltation of Patriotism. Before being admitted to our Council room; before undertaking the first stage of a progress that may end in your being received into full fellowship with us, you must needs give certain assurances of the sincerity of your purpose. You will raise your right hand.
Do you promise upon your word of honor that you will true answers make to such questions as I may put to you and that you will forever keep secret all that you have seen and heard or may see and hear during your initiation, advancement and perfection in this Order?
The Candidate having answered in the affirmative, the Jr. P. C. will put to him the following questions:
1.: Where were you born?
2.: What is your age?
3.: Do you believe in one Supreme Being, the maker and ruler of the universe?
4.: Are you suffering or have you ever suffered from any hereditary or constitutional disease?
5.: Are you. so far as you know, in sound health?
6.: Have you ever been a member of this Order? If the answer is in the affirmative, then the following question; if in the negative then omit No. 7.
7.: How did your connection with the Order cease?
8.: Have you ever been rejected by any Council of this Order?
10.: Wyptdatyctptluosoti, tpatcftOW?
These questions having been properly answered, the pledge book signed by the candidate and the proper fee collected by the F. S., the Jr. P. C. will say:
Jr. P. C.: Bro. W., we will now return to the Council and report. In the meanwhile you will prepare the Candidate for initiation.
Having returned to the Council room and presented themselves at the altar, the Jr. P. C. and the F. S. shall make report as follows:
Jr. P. C.: Bro. Councilor, I find … duly qualified and ready to proceed.
F. S.: Bro. Councilor, the Candidate has paid the initiation fee.
C.: Thank you, my brothers, you may resume your stations,
While the Jr. P. C. and F. S. are in the- anteroom, the Councilor will have designated one of the brothers as Accuser and another as Sponsor. In the appointment of Sponsor the Councilor should select a member coming the nearest filling the role of friend to the candidate. In the meanwhile the W., in the anteroom, will be making a somewhat ostentatious display of laying out and preparing paraphernalia as for initiation.
Accuser: Bro. Councilor, may I retire?
C.: You have my permission.
The Accuser retiring to the anteroom, indicates one of the Candidates and asks the W.: Is this Mr. …?
Upon being answered in the affirmative, he carefully scrutinizes the Candidate in question and then remarking as if to himself, “That is the man,” returns to the Council room.
Accuser: Bro. Councilor.
C.: Bro. …
Accuser: Bro. Councilor, hearing the name of … read by the Jr. P. C., I suspected that this Candidate was one whom I had known. In order to verify the fact, with your permission. I retired to the anteroom. There my suspicion was confirmed. I, therefore, feel called upon to protest against the initiation of this Candidate, and I now formally present against him the following charge:
Violation of the obligations of citizenship.
C.: This is a weighty charge, and the burden of proof falls upon him who makes it.
Are you, my brother, determined to proceed?
Accuser: I assume the burden and stand upon my rights as a member.
C., addressing the accusing brother: Brother …, since you insist we must proceed in the manner provided by our law. You may be seated.
C., addressing the Council: My brothers, this charge, coming as it does from a brother of the Order, requires immediate investigation and demands our most careful consideration. The Tribunal will assemble for judgment. All other brothers will retire below the altar.
The Tribunal shall consist of the C. presiding; the R. S., F. S., Jr. P. C. and Chaplain. The C., R. S. and F. S. shall occupy their stations. The Jr. P. C. and Chaplain shall take seats immediately in front of the R. S. and F. S., respectively, and shall face each other.
Each member of the Tribunal shall be clothed in a black gown with hood, and each shall be masked in black. All lights shall be extinguished, except that there shall be lighted candles upon the pedestal of the C. and upon the desks of the R. S. and F. S.
C.: Brother I. S., it is my wish that you direct the W., now in the anteroom, that he forthwith deliver to the Conductor, a candidate awaiting initiation. You will admit them without ceremony. And Brother Conductor, as they enter the Council room, you will relieve the W. of his charge and bring him before the Tribunal.
I. S., giving one rap upon the door, will say: Brother W., it is the wish of the Council that you forthwith deliver a candidate awaiting initiation to the Conductor. You will enter without ceremony.
The W. shall securely blindfold the Candidate in the anteroom. Upon entering the Council-room the W. and his charge will be met by the Conductor and the latter will say:
C.: Brother W., by direction of the Councilor I am to relieve you of your charge and conduct him before the Tribunal as one accused.
The Conductor will lead the candidate thrice about the room and then removing the hood-wink, leave him standing alone, before the Tribunal. The W. shall seat the other Candidates, if any there be, in the rear of the hall, these not blindfolded. During the progress of the Conductor and the accused, about the Council-room the utmost silence shall be maintained.
C.: Stranger, you came here this evening voluntarily seeking admission into this Order. You have been regularly elected to become one of us. We were about to proceed with your initiation when the work was interrupted by one of the brothers, who recognizing your name and afterwards yourself in person, solemnly protested against your further progress, until such time as you had been confronted with and had satisfactorily met a certain charge accompanying the protest. Embarrassing as this may be to you, it is none the less so to us, and yet there is but one thing to be done. I have summoned to my aid our Tribunal, that it may sit in judgment. Be assured that we are moved only by a spirit of exact justice and that no harm can be done you, not warranted by the facts. Let the accuser advance and confront the accused with his charge.
Accuser: Brother Councilor, I charge this man with having violated the obligations of citizenship.
C.: It falls upon him who accuses to- furnish the proof. Are- you prepared to do so?
Accuser: I am.
C.: If, then, it be the will of my associates, proceed.
The Tribunal, in unison: Proceed.
Just as the Accuser is about to begin the presentation of his proof, the brother, who has been designated as Sponsor, comes up from the rear of the hall, and taking station between the Accuser and the accused, faces the Tribunal and says:
Sponsor: Brothers of the Tribunal, this man can not be guilty, nor can there be any foundation for this charge. I have known him long and well. We have been friends. I have found him always a true man, faithful: in all things, loyal to every obligation of life.
For him I will stand sponsor. Let the initiation proceed. I make this demand within the law and as a brother: of the Order.
C. to the Sponsor: My brother, think of yourself. Give heed to caution. Weigh well the consequences: should this, your friend, fail you.
Sponsor. I care not for the charges. I know the man. I likewise know the law, and knowing it, I offer my good name—my honor, as surety for the truth and the loyalty of my friend. I ask that this distressing scene be brought to a close.
C.: Since being forewarned, you persist, that which you ask must be granted.
Addressing the Tribunal: Is it not so, my brothers?
The Tribunal, in unison: It is so.
Accuser: Brothers of the Tribunal, I resent this interruption. I am acting under a sacred obligation. If the proof that I offer does not bear out the charge I make, then I am in the wrong, but it is your duty to hear and consider the proof.
C.: Say no more, my brother. It was your duty to offer this proof and you are to be commended. This worthy brother indicating the Sponsor under a seldom used, but most solemn law, has pledged as surety for the character of this Candidate his own honor and standing in our society, and the Tribunal has decided.
You may be seated.
Accuser: With this; brothers of the Tribunal, I am not satisfied. I have rights and responsibilities that cannot be waived aside or thus discharged. I cannot submit—
C.: Submit! You must submit. The Tribunal has decided and I am its voice. Take your seat.
Accuser, not moving: I have rights.
C.: You can have no right that rises above the splendid devotion to friendship just interposed between this Candidate and further trial. I trust that you will do nothing more to mar this occasion. Will you take your seat, or must I enforce our commands?
The Accuser slowly and with reluctance retires to a seat.
C.: Mr: …, you are to be congratulated that at a time of peril to you, you found a friend, willing to put at risk his own good repute that you may be saved, surely annoyance, and, perhaps, disgrace. We rejoice with you.
C.: Brother Conductor, you will reconduct this stranger to the W., that, in due form, he may be returned here for initiation.
Conductor: Brother W., I return to you your charge. With him you will retire to the anteroom and make ready for initiation in due form. W., with his charge and the other Candidates, if any, retires and the officers will resume their stations.
The W. will give one rap upon the door, when the Conductor, having responded with a similar rap, will say:
Conductor: Who comes there?
W.: The W. with a Candidate seeking initiation into this Order.
Thereupon the W. will enter and deliver the Candidate to the Conductor, who, moving at right angles, will conduct his charge to a position immediately in front of the altar. The Chaplain will leave his station and face the Candidate from the other side of the altar. He will then administer to the Candidate the following obligation:
Chaplain, addressing the Candidate, will say: PyrhutHBywgcattfowIwnp.
IpastIwnrtswowImba dtmi, tapnktmtbam, igs, otO.
Ifpastaaibt J. O. U. A. M. Iwnh cnear, as, wapoaop, ctbamomotO, usmidrbtNC.
Kimtltitd; IsbmtabrfaactoemotO, ktmtbs, wiCoooi atasrfarottlotO, N, SaC.
Chaplain: Do you take upon yourself this obligation?
Candidate: I do.
Chaplain: Brother Conductor, you will now lead the Candidate to the V. C. for further instruction in this Degree.
The Conductor, having led the Candidate to a position in front of and facing the V. C. will say:
Conductor: Brother V. C., this Candidate having been duly obligated, I now present him to you for your further instruction. Seats Candidate.
V. C.: My friend, you have just witnessed a scene that at the time may have impressed you as an unhappy break in the orderly movement of our work. I must now tell you that it was planned as the lesson of this, the first stage of your progress into our Order.
This Order is founded upon Virtue, and the foundation is laid broad and deep. Yet it lies not within the scope of its purpose to teach or to seek to enforce a code of morals or religious ethics, except as these underlie political virtue—that virtue that must sustain the fabric if free government, else it fall, and which consists of love of the commonwealth. Whilst all will agree, that to be in the highest, a good citizen, a man must be temperate, chaste and honest; the presence of these virtues must, for our purposes, be in large measure taken for granted.
It is, however, with that virtue—love of country—that this Order is most concerned. This quality of the human heart may be resolved into three parts: fidelity, sacrifice and courage. That elemental part of civic virtue that we would especially mark in this Degree is fidelity. Fidelity—faithfulness, cannot be found in the larger relations of life—as that of man to country—unless there be fidelity—faithfulness, in the lesser relations, as that to friend or associations of friends. For this reason we would teach the lesson, that by example as well as precept, we are now trying to fix in your mind.
In all the relations of life there is none so free from a belittling selfishness, so essential to nobility of character, so useful and inspiring, as friendship. In its growth to its best there is none that in a higher degree calls for sublimity of sacrifice, purity of purpose and rightness of action. While its exercise serves our friends, it enriches ourselves.
In order that there may be true friendship as between man and man, there must be mutual respect, unwavering confidence and a certain range of ideas held in common. And, that friendship may broaden into brotherhood, there must ever be present, in a wider, if not in a higher degree, this same respect, confidence and community of interests.
Thus it follows that in an organization like ours, wherein the public welfare is the common purpose, and in order that it be cemented into true fellowship, there must be, as the cornerstone to its temple, friendship.
As there are no limitations upon true friendship, so it cannot be defined. We feel its presence; it warms us when we are cold, cheers us when we are sad and heartens us when we are discouraged. We feel it, but do not know it in the sense that we can submit it to critical analysis—describe it in terms.
Friendship is to the human soul as pure air to the human body—essential to a healthful existence. Says an ancient philosopher, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god; ” that is, such an one is either far above or much below an enlightened human nature. Bacon wisely tells us, “that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys and cutteth griefs in halfs; for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more, and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”
Akin to friendship is friendliness. The one is close, the other more remote, but without capacity for the former there can be none of the latter. Emerson sweetly says, “the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like fine ether.” This is friendliness. It is of this, as well as of friendship that we would make much. Friendship comes, from personal contact; flowers in association. Friendliness is as wide as humanity. It is not given to all men to be friends, one to another. Circumstances and temperament forbid. But there are no limits to friendliness, which is but another name for that human sympathy, in the exercise of which man finds himself nearest the divine. Where friendship be impossible, let friendliness have full sway.
Brother Conductor, you will conduct our friend to the Councilor for instructions.
C.: My friend, standing as you do, just across our threshold, I admonish you that an unquestioning faith in and a ready devotion to friendship and brotherhood is not only to be highly esteemed, but is vitally necessary.
I charge you that during the time that may pass between this, your initiation and your further advancement in the Order, you give serious thought to the lesson that we have sought to teach you. I am sure that you will find in it ample food for serious reflection.
C.: Mf, uya, ywbetatCwwitfd. IwobntypyttWita, gynatdoyiaishwstyaawc. Ywnbptvoctyhbp. Wweyeaffa, bbtt, wtaosbtbabm, ywctmtootd.
C.: Brother Conductor, you will retire with our friend to the anteroom and then return to your station.
C.: The Council will now resume its work in the Third Degree, and those who have not been perfected will retire.
C.: Brother F. S. will you kindly name the receipts of the evening.
F. S. states the amount.
Brother F. S., I will thank you to enter the amount upon the records.
Brothers, the business of the evening has been transacted and we are about to retire. Recalling to your minds the precepts that should at all times, whether in or out of Council, govern our conduct as members of this Order, I will ask you to join with me in repeating our three cardinal principles.
Tbtatog, ii, cal.
TgtptaAierolataabotO, iin, wIedsijtmaf.
C.: We will now sing our closing ode.
Air, “Auld Lang Syne.” (Key of F.)
We meet in love, we part in peace,
Our Council labors o’er;
We’ll ask, ere life’s best days shall cease,
To meet in time once more.
‘Mid fairest scenes of mem’ry dear,
In change of joy and pain,
We’ll think of friends assembled here,
And hope to meet again.
C.: Brother W., you will return to me our secret work.
C.: I now declare the Council closed until our next regular meeting, when it will be opened at … o’clock of the evening. The Council is duly closed.