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Forrest refused to give the names of members. It is likely, from several bits of evidence, that he had much to do with consolidating the order, giving it a military organization, and making its work effective. Gordon, the most prominent military man, next to Forrest, who was connected with the Klan, gave a clear account of the conditions in Georgia that led to the organization of [31] the defensive societies of whites. In Tennessee the whites were somewhat divided among themselves and there were not so many blacks.

In Georgia, according to Gordon, the principal danger was from blacks, incited to hostility and violence by alien whites of low character. The latter organized the negroes into armed Union Leagues, taught them that the whites were hostile to all their rights, and that the lands of the whites were to be, or ought to be, divided among the blacks. Under such influences the negroes who had not made trouble began to show signs of restlessness; some of them banded together to plunder the whites, and serious crimes became frequent, especially that of rape, and men were afraid to leave their families in order to attend to their business.

The whites feared a general insurrection of the blacks, and as Gordon stated, "if the sort of teachings given [to the negroes] in Georgia had been carried out to its logical results the negroes would [32] have slaughtered whole neighborhoods. There was no great danger, as one can see today, of the negro uprisings, but the whites thought then that there was. The religious frenzy of the blacks during the year after the war also alarmed the whites. The black troops stationed in Georgia were frequently guilty of gross outrages against white citizens and were a constant incitement to violence on the part of their fellow blacks.

The carpetbag government pardoned and turned loose upon society the worst criminals.

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There was no law for several years. The whites were subject to arbitrary arrest and trials by drumhead courts-martial; military prisoners were badly mistreated. In general, society and government were in a condition of anarchy; the white race was disorganized, and the blacks organized, but not for good purposes. General Gordon spoke of another matter often mentioned by the best class of [33] ex-Confederate soldiers: the Southern soldier believed that the "Appomattox Program" had not been carried out. At Appomattox the magnanimity of General Grant and the victorious soldiers had impressed very favorably the defeated Confederates.

The latter believed that if Grant and the soldiers who had defeated them had been allowed to settle matters, there would have been no more trouble. Instead, the politicians had taken charge and had stirred up endless strife. No effort at conciliation had been made; and the magnanimity of Grant gave way to the vindictive policies of politicians.

Such were some of the influences, in General Gordon's opinion, that caused the spread of the Klan in Georgia. He says that he heartily approved the objects of the order, that it was purely for self-protection, an organization for police purposes, a peace police, which kept the peace, prevented riots, and restrained the passionate whites as well as the violent blacks. Its membership was, he said, of the best citizens, mostly ex-Confederates, led by the instinct of self-preservation to band together.

It was secret because the leaders were sure that the sympathy of the Federal Government would be against them and would consider a public organization a fresh rebellion. It took no part in politics and died out when the whites were able to obtain protection from the police and the courts.

These were the explanations of men who were high in the order but who never attended a meeting and were never in actual contact with its workings. Private [35] members—Ghouls they were called—could have told more thrilling stories. But deficient as the accounts of Gordon and Forrest are in detail they supplement the history of Lester and Wilson in explaining the causes that lay at the bottom of the secret revolution generally called the Ku Klux Movement. As to the success or failure of the movement, Lester and Wilson, condemning the violence that naturally resulted from the movement, cause the impression Ch.

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Such was not the case, nor was it the intention of the writers to create such an impression. The important work of the Klan was accomplished in regaining for the whites control over the social order and in putting them in a fair way to regain political control. In some States this occurred sooner than in others. When the order accomplished its work it passed away.

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It was formally disbanded before the evil results of carpet bag governments could be seen. When it went out of existence in , there had been few outrages, but its name and prestige lived after it and served to hide the evil deeds of all sorts and conditions of outlaws. But these could be [36] crushed by the government, State or Federal.

In a wider and truer sense the phrase "Ku Klux Movement" means the attitude of Southern whites toward the various measures of Reconstruction lasting from until , and, in some respects, almost to the present day. The ritual and initiatory ceremonies and obligations were never printed. The by-laws and the ritual of the Pulaski Circle or Den were elaborate but were in manuscript only.

They were quite absurd and were intended only to furnish amusement to the members at the expense of the candidates for initiation. No oaths were prescribed—only a pledge of secrecy. As the Klan spread among neighboring towns, the Pulaski by-laws and ritual were modified for the use of new Dens. After the Klan had changed character and become a body of regulators, and it was decided that the administration should be centralized, a convention of delegates from the Dens [37] met in Nashville, in April, , and adopted the original Prescript already referred to. Lester and Wilson are mistaken in saying Ch.

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Where and how this Prescript was printed no one now knows. A copy was sent, without notice or explanation, from Memphis to the Grand Cyclops of each Den. Many Dens used only this Prescript, and most of the members have never heard of more than one Prescript. In some respects this first Constitution was found defective and in the Revised and Amended Prescript was adopted. Who framed it we do not know, but it is known how it was printed.

Frank O. A relative of his who worked in the printing office of the Citizen , made the following statement some years ago in reference to a copy of the Revised and Amended Prescript. McCord, proprietor, in I was a printer boy, and with John H. Kirk, the father of the Rev. Harry Kirk, recently of Nashville, set the type. My brother, L. McCord, received a communication one day, delivered to him by means of a hole in the wall near the door, in which the Ku Klux deposited all their communications for the paper, asking for an estimate for printing this pamphlet, describing it. He delivered his reply in the same hole, and the following morning the copy in full, the money, and minute directions as to the disposition of the books when completed, were in the hole.


We did it all under seal of secrecy and concealment, hid the galleys of type as they were set up, stitched them with our own hands in a back room over Shapard's store, and trimmed them with a shoe knife on the floor. When finished they were tied into a bundle and deposited late at night just outside the office door, whence they were immediately taken by unseen hands.

I knew personally [39] all the originators of the Ku Klux Klan, and the history of its origin, its deeds, purposes and accomplishments. It will be noticed on comparing the two Prescripts that there are some considerable differences between the two.

The Revised and Amended Prescript is eight pages longer than the other; the name of the order is longer; the poetical selections that introduce the first are omitted from the second; the second has Latin quotations only at the top of the page; and the second Prescript throws much more light on the character and objects of the order; the register is changed, and important changes in the administration are provided for. The imperfect Prescript printed in Appendix III was used in the Carolinas and was evidently written out from memory by some person who had belonged to the genuine Klan.

The members were widely scattered and to many of them the entire contents of the Prescript were never known.

When the Klan was disbanded strict orders were issued that all documents [40] relating to the order should be destroyed and few Prescripts escaped. At present only one copy of the original copy is known to be in existence. That one was used by Ryland Randolph, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, formerly Grand Giant of a province of the order, and was given to me by him. It is a little brown pamphlet of sixteen pages, and is reprinted in Appendix I. Randolph stated that he never saw the Revised Prescript.

Pearcy, formerly of Nashville, now of Washington, D. From the latter copy the late Dr. The curious orders and warnings printed in Appendix IV had several purposes. They were meant to warn and frighten evil-doers, to mystify the public, and to give notice to members.

Parts of the orders were written in cypher which could be interpreted by the initiated. The rest [41] was gloomy sounding nonsense calculated to alarm some obnoxious person or persons. The cypher used is found in the Register of the Prescript. All orders that I have seen were written according to the Register of the first Prescript.

The Oaths, Signs, Ceremonies and Objects of the Ku-Klux-Klan. A Full Expose. By A Late Member

This may be accounted for by the fact that in it was generally forbidden by law or by military order to print or distribute notices from the Ku Klux Klan. About all that the cypher was used for, I have been told, was to fix dates, etc. There are thirty-one adjectives in the Register, one for each day of the month, the first twelve for the morning hours, the last twelve for the evening hours, and the seven in the middle for the days of the week.

The last word—"Cumberland"—is said to have been a general password. At first the orders were printed in the newspapers, and during the winter of and the spring of many of them appeared. As to the significance of the orders printed in Appendix IV, Ryland Randolph wrote: "I well remember those notices you saw in The Monitor for they were concocted and posted by my own hand, disguised, of course. Some of the illustrations used are of historical interest. The cartoon opposite p. The hanging carpetbagger was Rev. Lakin, of Ohio, a Northern Methodist missionary to the negroes, who had succeeded in getting himself elected President of the University of Alabama.

The other hanging figure represents Dr.