Independent Order of Workingmen
Ritual of the First, or Workman’s Degree
P.: Brother Conductor, you will please open this Lodge in the
CON.: By order of the President, I proclaim this Lodge opened in the Workman’s Degree, and all brothers will govern themselves accordingly.
P.: Brother Conductor, please examine all persons present, and ascertain if they are correct in the password of this Degree.
CON.: All correct, Worthy President.
P.: Brother Inside Guardian, you will ascertain if any brother is in waiting to be instructed in the Workman’s Degree. Brother Financial Secretary, you will please retire and collect the fee.
When the candidate is blindfolded and in readiness the Outside Guardian will give three loud raps.
I.G.: An alarm at the door, Worthy Vice-President.
The Inside Guardian gives three light raps and says: Who is there to disturb this peaceful band of workmen?
O.G.: A brother who is desirous of receiving more light and knowledge from this Lodge of experienced workmen.
I.G.: Is the brother worthy, and does he come well recommended?
O.G.: He is worthy and well recommended.
I.G.: Worthy Vice-President, there is a brother without desirous to receive the benefits of more light and knowledge from this Lodge of workmen.
V.P.: Worthy President, there is a brother in the ante-room asking for admission into this Lodge of workmen.
P.: For what object does he seek admission into this Lodge of workmen?
V.P.: That he may receive the benefits of more light and knowledge from this Lodge of more experienced workmen.
P.: Is the brother worthy and well recommended?
V.P.: He is worthy and well recommended.
P.: Let him be admitted and received in due form.
The Conductor takes the candidate in charge as he enters.
CON.: Worthy President, I present to you this brother who is desirous of improving his condition by receiving the benefits of more light and knowledge of the Workman’s Degree of our Order.
P.: My brother, the objects of your desire to obtain are good and of noble character, but can not be communicated to you by the ceremonies we observe and practice unless your mind is impressed with the importance of the work in which you now enlist. It is to improve the intellectual, moral, and social condition of all workingmen within the sphere of our influence. The reason for your present condition of darkness will be explained as you advance in the work of our Order. But before you can receive further light and instruction in the work, you will kneel at the altar upon which rests the Holy Bible, and take a solemn obligation, which all who have advanced before you have taken, and which will in no way conflict with your duty to your family, your country, or your God.
The Conductor instructs the candidate to kneel at the altar, after which the President proceeds with the following obligation:
I, …, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of God, and the brothers here present, do promise, declare, and say, that I will be true and faithful, to all worthy brothers of this Workman’s Degree, of the Independent Order of Workingmen; that I will not knowingly wrong a brother, or see him wronged, if in my power to prevent the same. I furthermore promise, ever to conceal and never reveal, what is now to be communicated to me, of this Workman’s Degree, unless it be to a brother, knowing him to be such, by due examination, or upon a brother of this Degree. I further promise, to do all I can to promote the welfare of all worthy brothers of this Order; that I will give them employment, when in need; that I will assist them to procure labor when they need, if requested by them to do so. All this I promise to do, upon my sacred honor, so help me God and keep me steadfast. Amen.
All respond: Amen.
Arise, my brother, and be conducted to our Worthy Chaplain, who will give you further light and instruction.
CON.: Worthy Chaplain, by order of our Worthy President, I present you this brother for further instruction.
CHAP.: Restore the brother to light.
God said, "Let there be light," and there was light throughout the world to bless the life of man and all created things. My brother, you were blinded to show you the advantage and blessing of light. Knowledge is said to be light, and by imparting knowledge we impart light to the mind; and we would, by this simple ceremony, teach you the importance of a knowledge of the grand principles upon which this Order is founded. We desire to teach this truth, that labor is honourable, and the first means ordained by God by which man should gain his substinence. We read that the first man, Adam, was placed in the Garden of Eden, where all things for his food were spread out before him in a rich variety and abundance, and he was directed by his Creator to dress and keep the premises thus fitted for his use; and from that time to the present man has subsisted upon the fruit of labor. Thereby the Grand Almighty Builder who fashioned the earth has stamped his seal of honor upon Labor from the beginning.
We are not to covet a life of indolence or the wealth of the rich. "Riches take to themselves wings and fly away." The hands, employed in honest industry, will ever furnish the capital upon which we gain our subsistence. As we increase in knowledge we increase our happiness, and this is the mission of our Order−to labor in promoting the welfare of the workingman wherever we may find him. We are not organized to operate in opposition to any other kindred society, but we propose to put ourselves in a position to reap the benefits of own Labor.
We must take care of ourselves, ever remembering our dependence upon "Him who careth for us."Throughout all ages and in all countries, whether civilized or savage, the right of self-protection and preservation has been universally acknowledged, and upon this principle of right has this Order been established, and which has aroused the Workingmen of this Order to a sense of the duty we owe not only to ourselves and families but to the working classes throughout the country. We are to "labor with our hands, that we may have to give to him that needeth."
Our brother Conductor will now take you to the chair of our Worthy President for further light and instruction.
CON.: Worthy President, I again present you this brother for further instruction.
P.: I will now instruct you in the secret work of this Degree. 1. Enter Sign; 2. Salutation; 3. Grip; 4. Password. You will now retire with the Conductor to the ante-room, where he will instruct you how to enter the Workman’s Lodge in due form.
When the brother re-enters the Lodge, the Workmen are engaged in various kinds of work, and the Conductor, after looking on with him for a time, shall instruct the newly-initiated brother to give the sign of recognition. When the sign is discovered the Workmen leave their work to greet the brother, and make his acquaintance, and the President declares a reces of a few minutes.
P.: Brother Conductor, you will please open this Lodge in the