“I, Abram Hurd, calling heaven, earth and hell to witness, do most solemnly swear, in presence of these, my fellow-beings, and into the ears of the spirits of the invisible world, that I now take upon myself the obligation of a member of the Order of the League of Independents, as laid down in the rules ordained for the government of said Order, and explained to me this night; and I also obligate myself to obey the officers of the League who shall be appointed over me for the good government of the same, in the performance of all and singular the duties that shall be required at my hands; and I furthermore obligate myself to advance the interests of the Order to the utmost of my ability, in all things and in all ways, even to the taking of property and life, if need be; and in so doing will use all the means of aid in my reach, including fire, steel and powder. And I most solemnly swear, in the presence aforesaid, of the visible and invisible worlds, that I will faithfully keep the secrets of the Order, and of all the members of the same that shall be intrusted with me, and no torture of body or mind shall extort them from me. And I hereby bind myself, in the same solemn manner, and in the same presence, that I will defend the members of the Order in all circumstances and places, us far as in me lies, even to the giving up of my own life, if such a sacrifice shall be required—that I will stand by them one and all in every emergency, and, if occasion require, will not hesitate to give false testimony in courts of justice, to clear them in suits at law, or in criminal prosecutions, choosing rather to brave the penalties of perjury than violate this my most solemn oath. And as I faithfully perform this my oath to the Order, in whole and in part, may I prosper; but if I willfully fail in anywise, to fulfill all that I have herein obligated myself to perform, may the heavens become black above me, may the earth become thorns and thistles, and a curse to me in body and in soul; may my life be devoid of peace, and harassing care be my portion, with blight and mildew on all my hopes, and all that my hand shall touch; may my friends desert me, and my own blood rise up and curse me; may I become an outcast, among men, a wanderer and a vagabond on the face of the earth, a prey to fear, and to the lashings of conscience: and, finally, when death comes, may he send me from the tortures of this life, to those of endless perdition hereafter.”
After taking this horrible and blasphemous oath, the initiated was required to sign a compact with his own blood, when he was duly pronounced a member of the Order, which might truly be termed hellish. This done, the captain said:
“Brethren of the Order, remove your masks, and welcome your brother!”
In a minute the fifty masks were cast aside, and Hurd looked around him in amazement, for in that company were more than a dozen of his acquaintances and neighbors, who passed in society—most of them—for honest men; but most of all was he surprised to see Duffel there, in the character of first officer.