Independent Order of Workingmen
Ritual of the Initiatory Degree
The President, upon taking the chair, will call the Lodge to order, and request the Inside Guardian to secure the door, and direct the Conductor to examine the brothers present to ascertain of all are correct in the password. Then he will proceed to open the Lodge as follows:
P.: Worthy Vice-President, what is your duty in this Lodge?
V.P.: To assist you in the performance of your duties, to officiate for you in your absence, to see that the brothers enter and retire in due form, and attend to such other duties as are enjoined on me by the regulations of the Order.
P.: Brother Secretary, what is your duty to this Lodge?
S.: To keep accurate minutes of the transactions of this Lodge, at all meetings, and make a record of the same; also, to read the same in Lodge when called upon by the President, call the roll of officers, and perform such other duties as the rules of the Order may require.
P.: Brother Financial Secretary, what is your duty to this Lodge?
F.S.: To keep accurate accounts between this Lodge and its members, receive all money due the Lodge, pay the same to the Treasurer, taking his receipt therefore, make a report sem-annually of the financial condition of this Lodge, and the standing of all members, assist the Recording Secretary to make his reports to the Grand Lodge, and perform such other duties as the rules of the Order may require.
P.: Brother Treasurer, what is your duty to this Lodge?
T.: To have temporary charge of the funds, to pay all orders legally drawn on me, to give a true account of all money received, and the disbursements of the same, and deliver to my successor all funds and other property in my possession belonging to this Lodge.
P.: Brother Conductor, what is your duty to this Lodge?
CON.: To examine all persons present before the Lodge is opened, to ascertain if all are correct in the pass-word, to take proper care of the regalia, to assist at initiation and obey your commands.
P.: Brother Vice-President, please examine the Guardians.
V.P.: Inside Guardian, what is your duty to this Lodge?
I.G.: To have charge of the inside door of the Lodge room, and to receive the pass-word from every brother before admitting him.
V.P.: Outside Guardian, what is your duty to this Lodge?
O.G.: To have charge of the ante-room, and secure the Lodge-room from intrusion, so that no one shall gain admittance who is not entitled to that privilege.
V.P.: The Guardians are correct, Worthy President.
P., raises the Lodge: Officers and Brothers, I trust that all will duly observe the requirements of our By-Laws and Regulations, and perform each duty required with fraternal fidelity. I hope that all will act with Prudence, Zeal and Integrity, as upon the exercise of these virtues depends our happiness and comfort. Always regarding the members of our Lodge as our family, we will cherish these sentiments of fraternal sympathy and love, calculated to make us social and humane. We will now sing our opening ode.
Chap.: Almighty God, our creator, Preserver and Bountiful Benefactor, we give thee our hearty thanks for all thy blessings so liberally bestowed upon us. We ask thy guidance in all our transactions pertaining to the interests of our Order, and especially in the business that may come before us this evening. May no "root of bitterness spring up" among us, to bring reproach upon the cause we advocate, but may fraternal harmony characterize all our doings. May our Order increase in number and strength, until its benign influences shall ameliorate the condition of the Workingman in every portion of our land. May our officers have wisdom to direct, and all our Brotherhood ever be an honor to the Order, and to our country. Help us to discharge all the duties of life in a manner to benefit our fellow-men, and to glorify our Father in heaven. Amen.
P.: I now declare this Lodge duly opened for the transaction of such business as may be lawfully brought before it, and the diffusion of those principles upon which our Order is founded.
When the President is informed that a candidate is in waiting he will instruct the Financial Secretary and Conductor to retire and prepare the candidate for initiation. The Financial secretary will receive the initiation fee, and ask the candidate the following questions:
F.S.: Are you a resident of the United States?
Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme, Intelligent Being, the creator and preserver of the universe?
Have you been informed of the principles and objects of our Order with which you now propose to unite?
Do you cordially approve them, and are you desirous to have them prevail among the working classes of our country?
You will wait here until I communicate your answers to the President of this Lodge and return with his instructions.
Worthy President, the candidate has answered the usual questions satisfactorily, has paid the initiation fee, and now awaits your commands.
P.: Brother Conductor, you will inform the candidate that it is the pleasure of this Lodge that he be now admitted, and receive the rites of this Order.
CON.: Worthy President, I have the pleasure of presenting this stranger, who has been duly elected, and is now desirous of receiving the rites of our honourable Order.
P.: Brother Conductor, you will present the candidate to our Worthy Vice-President for instruction and obligation.
CON.: Worthy Vice-President, by order of our Worthy President, I present you this candidate for instruction in the rites of our Order.
V.P.: My friend, you are now introduced into a Lodge of the Independent Order of Workingmen. Those who surround you are all in sympathy with the workingman, and desire to promote his interests in every respect. We are pledged by most solemn obligations to each other to render assistance when needed, in sickness or in health; and when one after another we shall be summoned by the grim messenger to "thath bourne from whence the traveller returns," it will become the solemn duty of the living, wearing the emblems of mourning, to bear the deceased brother to his last resting place, and there surround his open grave until the earth shall hide his remains forever from our view.
My friend, before you can receive instruction in the private work of our Order, you will be required to take a solemn obligation to perform these duties and keep inviolate all the secret workings of our Order. Are you ready to take such an obligation?
CAN.: I am.
V.P.: You will place your right hand upon your left breast, and repeat after me the obligation:
I, …, in the presence of God, and the members of the Independent Order of Workingmen here present, do most solemnly promise, declare, and say, that I will ever conceal and never reveal, any of the secret works, of what is now, or may be at any future time, communicated to me, unless it to be a brother, knowing him to be such, by due examination, or on the word of a brother, or until I shall be permitted to do so, by the constituted authorities of this Order. I further promise and declare, that I will not write, indite, print, cut, carve, or engrave, any part of it, or cause it to be done, lest any part thereof should be made known; I further promise, that I will do all I can, to alleviate the needs, and promote the welfare of the members of this Order. I will assist the to procure labor, when requested to do so. I further promise to be obedient, to the By-Laws and Regulations of this Lodge, and the General Laws of the Grand Lodge of the State of …, or any other Grand or Subordinate Lodge, to which I may belong. I furthermore promise, that I will not wrong a brother, or see him wronged, without apprising him of approaching danger, if in my power to do so. I will not wrong this Lodge, or any other of which I may be a member; I furthermore promise that, should I be expelled or voluntarily leave the Order, my obligation of secrecy shall be as binding out of it as while in it. For true and faithful performance of all which, I pledge my most sacred honor.
Brother Conductor, you will present this brother to our Worthy President for further instruction.
CON.: Worthy President, by direction of our Vice-President, I present this brother for further instruction.
P.: My brother, you have now taken upon yourself a solemn obligation, which in effect, is as binding and impressive as the legal oath administered in our courts of justice. It involves your honor and integrity, your manhood, and your reputation as a citizen and member of our Order. It should be regarded as the bond that connects us as a band of brothers, associated for mutual aid and protection. You should henceforth regard every member of our Order as a brother, a friend and confident; you should be to him an ally and present help in every time of need; you should aid, patronize, or employ a brother in preference to others; you should be as regular in attendance at the meeting of this Lodge as your business relations will allow. Be prompt in the payment of dues, and in the performance of all duties that may devolve upon you.
I will now instruct you in the secret signs and password peculiar to this Order. 1. Enter Sign; 2 Salutation Sign; 3. Password; 4. Grip; 5. Sign of Recognition; 6. Sign of Distress; 7. Voting Sign.
The Conductor will now invest the brother with the collar to be worn in the Lodge.
You will now be presented to our Chaplain, who has some words of admonition to give you.
CON.: Worthy Chaplain, by order of the President, I present you this brother for further instruction and explanation.
CHAP.: My brother, let me admonish you ever to keep in rememberance the lesson given you upon this occasion, for by these signs and passwords you may gain admittance into this or any other Lodge of the Independent Order of Workingmen. The ceremonies we observe in introducing you to this Order are to impress you with the pure and noble principles upon which our Order is founded. We do not fulfil all our fraternal obligations in receiving the forms of these ceremonies; there are high and noble sentiments inculcated, which should lead you to the practice of deeds of brotherly kindness and charity. The moral rather than the mental, the heart rather than the head, should guide and direct the thoughts and acts of all brothers of our Order. You have assumed the obligation of labouring to alleviate the distressed, to render assistance in every time of need, and to promote the general welfare of the members of this Order. I would admonish you to exercise discretion in proposing candidates for membership, lest we may incorporate with us persons who might disregard their obligations, and thereby bring reproach and dishonour upon our beloved Order. I would also exhort you to refrain from the expression of any political or sectarian opinions in discussions; suppress all personal hate or partisan prejudice which you may have entertained toward any brother. Let peace, harmony and concord mark our intercourse and prevail in all our deliberations; let brotherly love, charity, and sympathy be manifested in your daily walk; be ever ready and willing to extend the helping hand to an unfortunate brother. When the hand of disease falls heavily upon a brother, administer to his wants with tender sympathy and willing hands. When death invades our circle and strikes down one of our members, it will then become your duty to enshroud our fallen brother with the vestments of the tomb, spread the funeral pall over his bier, and bear the mortal remains of our departed brother to an honored grave. Let your aims in life be true, your conduct correct, so that your example as well as your precepts shall ever encourage honest industry, intelligence, sobriety, and virtue, the foundation principles of our Order.
The Conductor will now take the brother to the chair of the Secretary, where he shall register his name, and then retire with him to the ante-room and instruct him how to enter the Lodge in due form. When the Conductor with the new brother returns, the Conductor will introduce him to the Lodge. The President will then call up the Lodge, and declare a short reces to welcome the new brother by shaking hands &c.
P., raises the Lodge: We will now sing our closing ode.
Chap.: Our Father which art in heaven, having made use of all the material at our command, on the present occasion, we implore thy direction and blessing, upon all our efforts to promote the interests of those who labor and toil for a livelihood; we pray thee to own and bless the means employed. Give us wisdom for future action, so that our next meeting may prove still more potent for good to our Order, and for all who may be found worthy of thy favour. And now, as we retire from this convention to our homes, may we find Peace, Plenty and Safety, and we will ascribe to thee everlasting praise. Amen.
P.: Brothers, I thank you all for your attendance this evening, and I hope to see you and others also at our next meeting.
I now declare this Lodge closed until next … evening at … o’clock, when it will again be opened for the transaction of business, and for the diffusion of the principles upon which our Order is founded.