PM, Solomon Lodge No. 271, AF &
AM, Springfield MO
Member, Webster Lodge No. 98,
The above photo is of the Royal
Highlanders drill team in Ida Grove, Iowa.
(Photo courtesy of Judith Bauer)
Organized in 1896 in Aurora, Nebraska, the Royal
Highlanders was originally a
fraternal insurance organization. The organizations’ headquarters building in
Aurora was reportedly modeled on Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The order’s
purpose was “to unite for mutual benefit and fraternal protection all white
persons who are in good health, of exemplary character, and between the ages
16 and 65.”
There were two classes of membership, benefit and social. The ritual of the
Royal Highlanders was based on the story of William Wallace and Robert the
in their struggle for Scottish independence, and was intended to teach
“Prudence, Fidelity and Valor”. Degree teams wearing kilts and glengarries and
carrying shields and swords initiated new members into the Order.
In 1930, the Order numbered some 17,000 members, both men and women, with
“extensive investments” in Nebraska farmland. Seven years later, the Order
reincorporated to become a mutual life insurance company, and renamed itself
Lincoln Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1946.
An article from the Ida County (Iowa) Pioneer Record from 1946 documents the
history of the local Royal Highlanders castle, which was formed in 1898 with a
charter membership of 35 businessmen and citizens. In 1902, the castle
a membership drive to “make the society one of the largest organizations in
Grove.” Within a short time, 70 new members were secured, and on July 31,
the “Bonnie Doon” drill team, along with Royal Highlanders President W.E.
and his wife, came from Lincoln Nebraska to participate in the initiation
The next year, the Ida Grove castle began to organize its own drill team,
was outfitted in “plaid kilties, bright shields and spears”. The drill team
helped institute new RH castles in nearby towns of Danbury, Odebolt and
Holstein. The Ida Grove drill team was “ranked among the best in the state”,
according to the article, and even attended the Royal Highlanders’ national
meeting in Denver, Colorado in September, 1909, it being the “only team from
A special "Thanks" to Barb Horak,
Conley Wolterman and the Ida County, of the Iowa Historical Society.
The Royal Highlanders
Ritual of Tower Building
Opening of the Castle
Promptly at the hour fixed or the assemblage of the Clansmen,
the officers will assume their respective Stations and the Illustrious
Protector will give one rap with the gavel.
Clansmen, let us assemble in secret session. The Sentinel will mount the
barbican and the Warder will drop the portcullis and raise the drawbridge,
that none may enter without our consent. Chief Archer and Chief Spearsman,
communicate to me the grip and passwords.
They rise, advance on right and left of the Castle, meeting
in front of the Illustrious Protector, where they stop, turn, facing him and
salute. When the salute is answered they both advance and communicate to him
the grip and passwords, returning to a position directly in front of him on
the walk, and there await his, instructions.
It is well. In a like manner make certain that all present are qualified to
They salute, and line going to the right, the other to the
left, take the grip and pass words from all the Clansmen assembled. Should
any be unable to qualify, if worthy, the Illustrious Protector shall
instruct them [except visiting clansmen, who shall retire to the inner court
and pass a satisfactory examination before a committee appointed by the
Illustrious Protector, after which he may re-enter the Castle] Chief Archer
and Chief Spearsman continue until they meet in front of C. C. station, when
they advance together directly behind the alter, facing the I. P., salute
him and say:
Illustrious Protector, all upon your right have communicated the grip and
Illustrious Protector, all upon your left have communicated the grip and
pass words correctly.
’Tis well, Valiant Clansmen; we are doubly secure and can proceed with our
Chief Archer and Chief Spearsman salute and
separate, one going to the right, the other to the left, passing the side
stations and returning to their stations. The Illustrious Protector gives …
raps with the gavel and all Clansmen rise, when he says:
Attention, Valiant Clansmen; the officers will advance with me to the center
of the Castle and assist in giving the secret work of our
All officers leave their stations and advance to the center
of the Castle, forming a hollow square about and facing the altar. The
secret work is given by all the officers as it is called for by the I.P.,
Valliant, Clansman, give the working sign; its answer; the Words of
distress; the sign of distress; the recognition sign, accompanied by the
words; its answer, accompanied by the words; the grand honors. Valiant
Clansmen, the secret work is correct. Worthy Evangel, lead the devotions of
The Worthy Evangel salutes, advances in the altar, opens the
bible and steps back two paces. All of the officers close in a circle and
kneel with bolted heads while he says:
Oh, Mighty and Supreme Protector of the Universe, wilt Thou assist us in the
upbuilding of this grand Fraternity, and guide our actions this night so
that the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fidelity, and Valor may rest even
more securely in the breasts of faithful Clansmen. Endow our officers with a
portion of Thy wisdom that they may direct the actions of this Castle with
Prudence and Fidelity. Make us mindful of our obligations one to another, we
humbly beseech Thee. Amen.
All Clansmen say:
All officers arise and return directly to their stations.
Clansmen, join heartily with me in singing the Opening Ode.
Within our Castle good and strong.
meet with Clansmen dear ,
joyous hearts we raise our song
hearty Highland cheer
Chief and Clansman in his place,
shields and banners bright.
We’re glad to see each welcome face,
Within our hall to-night.
Clansmen. Each will now deposit his number.
numbers are deposited the I. P. will give … raps with the gavel and all are
Valiant Warder, inform the Clansmen in the inner court that the Castle is
The Guide will repair to the outer court and ascertain if there are any
refugees desiring the protection of our Castle.
Guide retires, learns full names of refugees, returns,
approaches the altar, salutes the Illustrious Protector and reports as
I find … who desires the protection of this Castle.
The Secretary will in form the Castle if this refugee has complied with the
Edicts which govern this Fraternity, thereby rendering himself eligible to
our fellowship and protection.
Illustrious Protector, … has fully complied with all our requirements.
It is well. One who has safely passed so many tests is sure to add strength
to our strength, and become another tower of strength to … Castle. I
therefore direct the Guide to return to the outer court, propose to this
refugee the conditions of admission, and upon his assent to the same, bring
him within the walls of our Castle.
After saluting the Illustrious Protector, the
Guide returns to the outer court, brings the refugee just within the inner
door, with hoodwink down, and thus addresses him:
I am commissioned by the Illustrious Protector to inform you that you will
be received into our fellowship, provided you express at this time your
willingness to give as well as receive; that you will, in return for the
protection you seek, aid with your prudence, fidelity, and valor, in the
up-building and perpetuating the principles for which we have erected and
dedicated this Castle. Do you so state?
Guide then approaches the altar, leading refugee, where he
faces, salutes and addresses the Chief Counselor, as follows:
I have obeyed my instructions and bring hither the refugee that I found
seeking our protection. He has generously and heroically consented to
dedicate to our cause his prudence, fidelity, and valor.
Most heartily do I welcome you, for your arrival is opportune. In you we
recognize one in whose heart still remains all the firmness of the old
Scottish fidelity and patriotism. There are great and mighty questions at
issue, bearing upon the peace, happiness, and independence of Scotland.
These are, however, times of so much treason that our Clansmen desire an
obligation which they must see and hear you assume. Before proceeding
further it will be necessary for you to swear upon the cross that you will
keep inviolable all the secrets with which we are about to intrust you. Will
you be so obligated?
The guide will present you before the Evangel, who will administer the
The Guide conducts refugee to the alter, facing the Evangel,
placing suspended from his neck, over his heart, a small cross, over which
refugee rests his left hand. In his right hand the Guide gives him a sword
which the refugee holds uplifted. The Evangel advances to the altar, stops
Repeat your name in full and say after me:
…, upon my most sacred honor, and by the cross I hold against my heart, and
the good sword I hold in my right hand, do most solemnly and unreservedly
engage and swear, that I will forever hold a perfect silence upon the
secrets of The Royal Highlanders when in the presence of those who do not
belong to this fraternity, and should my membership, from any cause, ever
cease, I shall still regard this vow binding upon me so long as life shall
further, I will abide by the Edicts and Requirements of The Royal
Highlanders now in force or which may become adopted by them.
no event will I recommend for beneficial membership in this fraternity any
person whom I do not believe to be of sound physical health and worthy of
our fellowship and protection.
all this, as I hope for protection to those dependent upon me, I most
solemnly and candidly promise that I will sacredly keep and perform this
vow, binding myself under the penalty of being proclaimed, wherever
Highlanders meet, as unworthy the confidence of all true men, if I knowingly
violate this vow so sincerely entered into before God and these witnesses.
Lights are lowered, Guide relieves refugee of sword and turns
him about when he sees approaching him three Furies all aglow with
phosphorescent light. These hover near without touching him, fantastically
and noiselessly moving about. Guide says to refugee:
These three Furies from the realms of eternal mystery, have also, though
unseen by you, witnessed your important vow. The ancients believed that the
three Furies would pursue to the gates of Hades all who were recreant of
their vows. Let this reminder of their fears keep you true to your
obligations. Look upon these three and realize how little we know of the
beyond. Life is ours today; tomorrow we may mingle with those who have
passed into the dread hereafter.
The Furies slowly and noiselessly vanish. The Guide now faces
refugee and thus addresses him:
This shadowy reminder of earth’s mighty sepulcher is a mirror in which we
may behold our fate. The hour will surely come when the iron will shall bend
and the proud heart be humbled; the full purse can not then avail, nor can
the once strong arm always protect and provide for those we love; we must
provide for them while the strength and vigor of manhood endures, for “All
are ground to dust and trodden into clay. All men come into the world alone
and must heave it alone. Even a little child has a dread whispering
conscience that if summoned into God’s presence, no gentle nurse would lead
him by the hand or fond mother take him in her arms. King and priest,
warrior and maiden, philosopher and child—all must walk those mighty
galleries alone.” “So keep thy vow, that when thou shalt set
forth on that lone journey to mingle thy bones with kindred dust, thy loved
ones be not left in penury.” Look well to thy vow.
Guide closes hoodwink, leads refugee around the
Castle, relating to him historical facts, as follows:
The secret work of The Royal Highlanders has for its foundation some events
in Scottish history which occurred about the beginning of the fourteenth
it was that Edward I of England, after having betrayed his trust as arbiter
between the claimants to the throne of Scotland, made Baliol a prisoner and
reduced Scotland to his own rule. When the rapacious English governors and
soldiers committed outrages which inflamed all liberty-loving Scots,
William Wallace, maddened with grief at the foul murder of his wife and the
burning of his beautiful home, became the leader of the hardy patriots.
Wallace was a successful leader, and won many hard-fought battles. He
possessed the entire confidence of his countrymen and became so endeared to
them that they offered to crown him king of Scotland.
he steadfastly refused to permit, consenting only to remain at the head of
who climbs high endangers many a fall,” and Wallace having attained the
highest pinnacle of fame, incurred the enmity of his peers, and jealousies
accomplished what invading armies failed to do.
Regardless at the desertion of Scottish nobles, who, not only took whole
squadrons from his depleted ranks, but added their treacherous strength to
the already magnificent southern armies, Wallace, still undaunted, let those
Scots remaining loyal to the battle of Falkirk.
Sleeplessly passing the dark and gloomy night, he was stabbed in his tent by
one supposed to be his best friend, his armour alone saving his life.
Discouraged and disheartened, with a presentiment of chiming defeat, he
wandered out into the darkness to make a last personal inspection of his
outposts, and tradition relates that in a mountain-pass, from a rocky crag,
he viewed a strange appearance which warned him of his impending destiny.
Guide opens hoodwink and refugee sees Wallace confronted by a
Bard with harp in hand, who thus addresses him:
Art thou come, doomed of heaven, to hear thy sad cornach?
No choral hymns hallow thy bleeding course; wolves howl thy requiem; eagles
scream over thy deserted grave. Fly, Chieftain, fly.
Does not the venerable Father of the Harp mistake me for some other
chieftain? Who think you that I am?
Can the spirit of inspiration mistake its object? Can he, whose eyes have
been opened by the touch of fate, be blind to Sir William Wallace, to the
blood which clogs his mounting footsteps?
Who am I to understand that you are? Who is this saint whose holy charity
would anticipate the obsequies of’ a man who may yet be destined to a long
Who I am will be shown thee when thou hast passed you starry firmament. But
the Galaxies stream with blood; time bugle of death is alone heard, and thy
lacerated breast heaves in vain against the hoofs of opposing squadrons.
They charge! Scotland falls! Look not on me, thou champion of Scottish
liberties, sold by thy enemies, betrayed by thy friends. ‘Twas a woman’s
hand in mail that gave thee these wounds and drew from thee this blood. Ten
thousand armed warriors strike home the mortal steel. He sinks, he falls;
red is the blood of Eske; thy vital stream hath dyed it. Fly! Bravest of the
brave or perish.
Bard suddenly disappears, leaving Wallace alone, who now
Oh, Scotland! Scotland! if devoted, then our fates shall be the same; my
fall from thee will be into my grave. Scotland may have struck the breast
that shielded her, yet Father of Mercies, forgive her blindness, and grant
me permission still a little longer to oppose my heart between her and this
fearful doom. Tableau.
Guide closes hoodwink and leads refugee to inner court.
Guide leads refugee into the Castle, and stopping near the
door, with the hoodwink closed, says:
The next day the terrible battle of Falkirk was fought and Wallace defeated.
After this for some time the victorious English soldiers and the traitor
Scots spend their time in feasting and carousal, of which we will now see
and hear more.
Guide opens hoodwink and refugee sees a gay company of
soldiers and Scots banqueting. One soldier says:
The rose is up—
The thistle is down.
Here’s to the successful armies of His Royal Highness, that have this day
overthrown the traitor Scots.
All soldiers rise about the table and say together:
St. George and Merry England. Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
Following these cheers is loud laughing, clinking of glasses
Here’s to the King, the Royal Edward, King of England and Lord of Scotland.
Long live King Edward! Long hive His Gracious Majesty!
All soldiers, except Bruce, leave the table and go to foot of
Castle. One is heard to say:
By my life, Robert the Bruce must have a hearty stomach.
What causes you to compliment a Scot so highly!
Why that is he yonder—that Scot who is eating his own blood.
First Soldier starting out:
Ha, ha. It is well for King Edward and his loyal soldiers that there are
Scots, who for flattery or plunder, are willing to shed their own blood and
eat it, as Bruce is now doing.
Soldiers all go eat leaving Bruce alone, he meditating, says:
Methinks I do appear in rather awkward light before these same Englishmen.
It is small esteem they hold for such services as I have rendered upon this
day’s battlefield. What? Eating my own blood? By the Holy Rood, ‘tis true.
My blood; my God, how it burns my flesh and calls upon my very soul for
vengeance. Aye, Scotland, thou shalt be revenged until in the deepest ooze
of thy fens the life-blood of the English tyrant lies curdled, and Scotland
Hoodwink closed and refugee led from the room.
Church scene arranged. Priests and censors burning candles;
Guide brings refugee in, who sees Comyn kneeling at chancel. Bruce enters,
approaches altar and kneels when Priest retires to preparation room.
Ah, Sir John, to meet you thus alone is an opportunity I long have sought.
Many and grievous are the wrongs done to Scotland that call loudly for
redress. She, who was once a sovereign state, is now a despoiled and
miserable dependency. Her noble sons slaughtered or helping to reek a
conqueror’s vengeance upon her children who still dare to love their ancient
liberty. Come, Sir John, let, us bury all our past differences in the grave
of our coountry’s needs. Let us now decide which of us shall be king of
Scotland, and both devote our fortunes and our lives seeking to restore her
to her former grandeur. You take my estates and help me to the throne, or
give me your estates and I will never lay down my arms until you are
acknowledged by our oppressor the sovereign of Albion’s hills.
Ha! Darest even the Bruce attempt to corrupt the sworn loyalty of a Comyb to
his gracious sovereign! What is Scotland to me but a stepping-stone to
preferment in a greater realm. What has been the past history of Scotland
but a record of petty jealousies and strifes. Never, no never, call Scotland
be at peace until subdued by such a king as our gracious Edward, who will
destroy the last traitor, such as Robert the Bruce has just shown himself to
be, and of which his king shall know.
Darest thou betray the fidelity of a Scot?
Only the treason of a subject to his king.
Bruce stabs Comyn:
Die then, as becomes a Scot who lacks valor to defend his own.
Comyn falls, creeps slowly away as Bruce rushes out of the
church, where he confronts Killpatrick, who stops him and says:
Ha! brute, what is amiss with thee?
I fear I have slain the Red Comyn.
Dost thou not know in affairs so important? “I mak sikar.”
During this parley Comyn is heard to groan and Killpatrick
rushes into the church and finishes him by stabbing. Tableau.
Hoodwink closed and refugee is lead to inner court. Cabin
scene is prepared and Guide returns with refugee and says:
The murder of Comyn by Bruce had more to do with the fate of Scotland than
had the crossing of the Rubicon upon Rome. It irrevocably sealed Bruce’s
fate, for no matter how dark and gloomy the outlook, he was compelled to
raise the standard of revolt in Scotland. Defeat after defeat followed him
for some time after his sacrilege in the church; at times he was compelled
to flee for his life as a common refugee. On some of these occasions he was
pursued by men with fierce blood hounds, and often he became very
discouraged and disheartened. Come with me and see a representation of Bruce
at one of the lowest stages in his fortune.
Guide opens hoodwink and a knock is heard.
A traveler who is this night journeying through the country and is in need
Welcome then, for all strangers are welcome here for the sake of one.
And who is that one for whom you make all strangers welcome?
Sir, it is our rightful king Robert the Bruce, who is lawful lord of this
country, and although he is pursued with horns and hounds, I hope to see him
king over all Scotland.
Since you love him so well, my good dame, know that you see him before you.
I am Robert the Bruce.
You? And whyfore are you thins alone? Where are all your men?
I have none with me at this moment, and must travel alone.
But this shall not be. I have two sons, gallant and trusty men, who shall be
your servants for life and for death.
Dame goes to window and calls her two sons.
Come quickly my noble bairns.
Sons enter in haste.
Sons, behold our noble Bruce; honor our rightful king.
I have pledged you both to him and his service for life and for death.
Rise noble Scots; I accept the offer of your worthy dame, but first must
demand a solemn pledge of fealty.
We swear it.
Sons kneel and take the following obligation, which Bruce
administers with drawn sword.
I, …, upon my most sacred honor, pledge my support to the cause of The Royal
Highlanders, and promise to assist in every way not inconsistant with right
and honor in upbuilding and sustaining this institution, which has by
prudence, fidelity, and valor, agreed to protect me and mine.
Let us go into the cabin.
Guide knocks and refugee and Guide enters Sons
and Bruce draw for defense, Bruce recognizes Guide and says:
Hold, worthy Scots, this is a worthy clansman.
Guide advances and salutes Bruce cordially, using the grip,
leads refugee forward, presenting him and says:
My noble Chief, I bring you my friend who has sworn fealty to Scotland.
Well said, but will he take the same obligation these noble sons of our good
dame have taken?
Guide and Refugee (kneeling):
Bruce draws sword and says:
I, …, upon my most solemn honor, pledge my support to the cause of The Royal
Highlanders, and promise to assist in every way not inconsistent with right
and honor in upbuilding and sustaining this institution, which has by
prudence, fidelity, and valor, agreed to protect me and mine.
A tumult and clash of arms and voices distinguishable above
the noise are heard. Sons, Guide and refugee prepare to defend Bruce. A
party of Soldiers, Spearsmen, and Archers enter when Bruce says:
Hold, Clansmen! I recognize true friends and Clansmen. This is, indeed, our
good Lord Douglas and my beloved brother Edward, with their valiant
Bruce embraces his brother, and cordially welcomes Douglas,
and Clansmen with grip.
What of the foe?
They are in the village only a few miles away, and deeming themselves
secure, owing to the dispersion of The Royal Highlanders, have stationed
only an indifferent watch.
True, for I have just passed a village where two hundred of them were
quartered and no sentinels in sight.
Then let us be oft; for while the usurper remains within our borders the
battlefield is Scotland’s choicest banquet table.
All go out. Guide takes Refugee to outer court, removes
hoodwink, allows time for Castle to resume order, returns to C.C. station,
salutes, and addresses Refugee as follows:
Let us consult the Chief Counselor and see what lessons he has drawn for us
The Royal Highlanders have selected as one of their emblems the Spider’s
Web, because it so forcibly reminds us that by perseverence and industry we
may constantly spread our beneficent influences from one central point into
all the earth, ever firmly bound together by the cable of fraternity, whose
widening circles never cease. If a spider’s web be broken fifty times he
will mend it as often, so, also, the rewards of perseverence and industry
Scotland’s fate once hung upon the successful cast of spider’s web, so our
lives arc hanging by a brittle thread, which, if broken before we have
performed our duty as faithful Clansmen, may leave our loved ones
unprotected. Consider well these things, for they are important.
Let us go to the Worthy Evangel; he may tell us more about Robert the Bruce.
Guide and Refugee go to Evangel. Guide salutes, and says:
We would know even more about Scotland’s good king, Robert the Bruce.
My clansmen, I am gratified to hear you ask to learn more of the champion of
Scottish liberty. Bruce saw many dark days between the night at the English
Soldiers’ banquet table and the day he ascended the throne of Scotland. His
reign was a happy one, for his subjects loved and loyally sustained him.
the sacrilege Bruce committed in the church he was excommunicated by the
Pope, but sincerely repentant of the act, Bruce vowed to atone for this
offense by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but death prevented its
fulfillment; however, just before dying he resolved that in token of his
sincerity, his heart should be severed from his body and buried in holy
ground. After his death Bruce’s heart was encased in silver and entrusted to
his valiant friend Lord Douglas, whose duty it was to carry it to its final
resting place in Palestine.
Royal Highlanders have adopted “The Bruce heart” as another emblem, and it
reminds us that it is our duty during life to atone as much as possible for
all sins committed against God, or injuries done our fellow man.
Guide will now conduct you to the Illustrious Protector, who will instruct
you further in the secret work of the Fraternity.
Guide and Refugee go to Illustrious Protector’s station.
I have watched with pleasure the progress you have made in the mysteries of
Clansmen, and I deem you worthy of our entire confidence, as proof of which
I now invest you with our pass. It is … At some future time it will afford
me pleasure to fully explain to you the reasons for the adoption of this
pass. This password will aid you in obtaining admission through time inner
door to any Tributary Castle of The Royal Highlanders. Our semi-annual pass
is … This word changes semi-annually and is used at the outer door. The
working sign is …, and is used as a hailing sign and in voting in the Castle
meetings. The grip is given in this manner … The words of distress are …, …,
and are the words uttered by a Scottish Chieftian in the moment of his dire
distress. This should be used only in extreme cases, but hearing it, should
rally every true Highlander to the aid of a Clansman. In ordinary cases and
in day light, use this as a sign of distress. The recognition sign is given
thus …, and, if convenient, accompanied by the words …; the answer is given
in a like manner, but accompanied by the words … The Grand Honors of this
Fraternity are given thus … It is indicative of high resolve. This should be
the inspiration of all Royal Highlanders in the performance of their
fraternal duties. Our past Illustrious Protector will now confer upon you
the final charge; heed well all he may say, for I assure you he cares for
Guide conducts Refugee to Past station. The Past Illustrious
Protector rises and thus addresses the Refugee:
Past Illustrious Protector:
Life is indeed a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two vague
and vast eternities—the eternity of the past and the eternity of the future.
Cut in the everlasting mock upon the one hand is the word Youth, and under
it, is its symbol, a cradle. Upon the other hand are the words Old Age, and
their symbol, a coffin, illustrating the truth of the old adage, that “it is
but a step from the cradle to the grave.” Between those rugged rocks are
found the shades of love and peace, shadows of ambition, sands of
disappointment, mountains of difficulties, and rivers of tears. Well might
any man shrink from the vicissitudes of the journey across were it not for
the effulgent light from life’s two great beacons, Hope and Fraternity.
lures man on and on against adversity, through the rush of business life, or
through the shock of battle in the wish that some dear object of attainment
may be accomplished. Fraternity is brotherly love between man and man. It
enables us to rejoice in a Clansman’s good fortune, sympathize with him in
his sorrows, and render assistance in his extremity, ever remembering in
dispensing charity that:
us no true alms which the hand can hold;
gives nothing but worthless gold
gives from a sense of duty,
he who gives a slender mite,
gives to that which is out of sight,
thread of all-sustaining beauty
which runs through all and doth all unite—
hand cannot clasp the whole of his alms,
heart outstretches its eager palms
a God goes with it and makes it store
the soul that was starving in darkness before.
not what we give, but what we share,
gilt without the giver is hare,
gives himself with his alms feeds three,
himself, has hungry neighbor, and me”
that you have become a tower of strength to this Castle, possessed of its
secrets and entitled to its benefits, you will add strength to our strength
and become useful to this Fraternity only as you shall learn well this most
important lesson and shape your life accordingly, amid may you ever remember
there is much to gain by adhering to a life of Prudence, Fidelity, and
Valor. Then so live that when your days are numbered, and the last summons
comes to thee, to join the innumerable host which is steadily marching
toward that mysterious realm, you can approach thy last resting place and
lie down peacefully in the bosom of mother earth in sweet repose.
Clansmen, arise and salute our new Clansman with the honors so befitting a
Illustrious Protector gives three raps, all Clansmen rise and
give the honors after which he gives one rap and all are seated. The Past
Illustrious Protector then proceeds as follows:
Past Illustrious Protector:
Valiant Guide, conduct our last tower of strength to the seat of honor at
the right of the Illustrious Protector.
Guide resumes his station after conducting new Clansman to
Does any Clansman know of any duties omitted this night, or of any Clansman
sick or in need of our assistance?
All our duties have been performed, the lessons of Prudence, Fidelity, and
Valor have been received into our willing hearts, and we are now ready to go
forth into the world.
It is well. Gives … raps.
before we part let us heartily join in singing our Closing Ode.
bless our Highland band,
may we ever stand
Truth and flight
guide us to the end
foes assail, defend
Now by the authority vested in me I affirm that unless circumstances arise
requiring aim earlier assemblage of the Clansmen, this Castle is closed until
our next meeting. I fraternally bid you all good-night.
The Royal Highlanders
Ritual of Fraternal Degree
Most, if not all, societies similar to The Royal Highlanders,
make use of some side degree for the entertainment of the members. As a rue
they are provocative of more or less amusement, depending, of course,
largely upon the amount of interest and enthusiasm shown by the members, at
the same time, a lesson is taught which the candidate will never forget, and
if heeded, will prove of advantage to him in after life. Below will be found
a fraternal degree which can be worked in all Castles, without any extra
expense for paraphernalia or special preparation, and one in which all
members can and should take an active part. If the Castle decides to use the
degree. It should always be given after the tower building is completed, the
password and grips being omitted in the regular work, but given after
conferring the side degree.
The suggestion is offered that care should be exercised in
the selection of a refugee whose experience in secret societies is limited.
The best results are obtained with one who has never had any connection with
secret societies—this being his initial step in that direction. The
Illustrious Protector and Chief Counselor should have their respective parts
well in hand so that the ritual will not have to be referred to.
After the refugee has received the Worthy Evangel’s final
charge, the Guide will present him at the Past Illustrious Protector’s
station, who will address him as follows:
Past Illustrious Protector:
Valiant Guide, conduct the refugee to the inner court of this Castle, where
he will await the pleasure of the Illustrious Protector.
The Valiant Guide salutes and conducts the refugee to the
inner court, where they remain until notified by the Warder to enter. When
so notified, they enter the Castle and the refugee is
directly to the station of the Chief Counselor, and saluting, the Guide
Chief Counselor, I have brought hither the refugee for final instructions.
Chief Counselor, rising:
My friend, thus far in your progress in our order you have shown a
willingness to be led and taught by us. It is, however, just as essential
that every Clansman should be able to head and to teach. Before you can be
given all the secrets of The Royal Highlanders, it will be necessary for you
to demonstrate that you are possessed of those very important
Then turning to the Valiant Guide, addresses him as follows:
Valiant Guide, conduct the refugee to the Illustrious Protector, who will
invest him with the authority of a Royal Highlander.
Valiant Guide takes the refugee to the station of the
Illustrious Protector and says:
Illustrious Protector, by direction of our Chief Counselor, I present
refugee … for further and final instructions.
Illustrious Protector, rising:
My friend, as has already been intimated by our Chief Counselor, it will now
be your duty to preside over this Castle during the remainder of this
session, and I therefore take pleasure in relinquishing into your hands this
emblem of authority, the gavel.
Hands him the gavel and taking him by the arm conducts him to
his seat. He then continues:
The signals are as follows: one rap of the gavel seats the Clansmen, two
raps calls up the officers, and three raps calls all present to their feet.
You will call the Castle to its feet.
When the three raps are given all the Clansmen present rise
to their feet and salute, after which the Illustrious Protector suggests to
the refugee to seat the Clansmen by one rap.
As all authority is now given to you, I trust you will govern with firmness
and equal fairness to all, and thins, not only prove your ability as a
presiding officer, but win the esteem and friendship of all Clansmen.
The Illustrious Protector then takes a seat among the
Secretary, rising at his station, salutes the refugee, and
Illustrious Protector, if there is no objection I would like to present this
bill at this time and have it referred to the Committee on Claims with
instructions to report thereon at once.
No objection being offered the secretary reads a fictitious
bill for “rent due,” or it may be a “Proposed Amendment to the Edicts,” or a
charge against a fellow Clansman for violation of his obligation or the
rules of the order, or anything that will form a good basis for discussion.
When a subject has been selected and presented by the Secretary, it should
he properly brought before the Castle by a motion and second and the
discussions commences moderately
at first but warming up as it progresses, and by
the use of amendments and substitutes and other parliamentary tactics the
refugee will find himself so hopelessly involved that he finally gives up in
despair and begs to be relieved by the Illustrious Protector. At such time
the Illustrious Protector can relieve him by resuming the station and
sounding the gavel for order. He then turns to the refugee and says:
My friend, I am both surprised and chagrined at your inability to fill the
station which you have just vacated in a manner creditable to yourself and
pleasing to your friends. Without doubt you share with me this feeling, and
charity for the weaknesses and faults of our fellow men would dictate their
oversight, but having expected so much and received so little, it becomes
our duty not only to yourself, but the future welfare of this Castle, that
the matter receive the serious consideration of all the Clansmen here
Turning to the Clansmen the Illustrious Protector says:
Clansmen, what is your will and pleasure regarding the further advancement
of the refugee?
Some Clansmen should then charge him with being unfitted to
become a Clansman, as shown by his incapacity to govern the Castle, the
unfairness of his rulings, ignorance of simple parliamentary rules, and
other objections may be alleged that will suggest themselves. Some other
Clansmen can be a friend of the refugee, speak for and defend him. The
Clansmen should be about equally divided for and against the refugee. A vote
can be taken on a motion to suspend further work on the refugee for a period
of a year or more, and the vote should be against hum, but the Illustrious
Protector should refrain from announcing the result and order another vote
on the question, restating it for fear some may have voted under a
misunderstanding of the subject. At this point some Clansmen should make a
plea in behalf of the refugee along the line of sympathy, charity, and other
fraternity tenents of the Order, after which the second vote is taken and
results in his favor, and is so announced by the Illustrious Protector. The
Illustrious Protector then says:
Valiant Guide, present the refugee for further and final instructions.
The valiant Guide presents the refugee in front of the
station of the Illustrious Protector and says:
Illustrious Protector, the refugee awaits your pleasure.
This experience you have just passed through should teach you a valuable
lesson. It is always easier to create a disturbance than to quiet it, and
when once started it grows in ever widening circles until it is beyond
control. Be therefore ever watchful that no seeds of discord find lodgment
in our beloved order, and you will merit the esteem and confidence of all
The Illustrious Protector will now proceed to
give his final charge, and finish with the regular tower-building ceremonies