The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38
The American Rechabites
The American Rechabites.
Dear Sir and Brother,—I read with great interest "A letter from an American Rechabite" in your January number. The brother's expressed object is to bring about an interchange of ideas. Mine may not be wholly discarded when I say I, too, have had a little experience in Rechabitism on both sides of the Atlantic. As far as I know, I am at this present time a member in good standing of the National Order of Independent Rechabites of North America, and also the I.O.R. of England. My experience with the American Order was varied, and of several years' duration, and my love and desire for the advancement of the Order was unbounded, as many there can testify. I have been a member in England of the Salford Unity nearly two years—long enough, I think, to note the difference in the two Orders. Without argument on the General Laws of either, my opinion is decidedly this—the English Laws would not work well in America, for the stated sick-benefit system as applied in England is not in accordance with the American view of brotherly assistance. I have seen various cases of sickness and distress there, in which the afflicted brothers have been better cared for than if a full member in like circumstances in England. There is a difference in the nature of the two peoples, especially the Temperance element, and were it not for taking up too much space, I would attempt to better illustrate my assertion. I have seen the sick-benefit system work badly in other Orders in America. I do not wish page 54 to throw cold water on Bro. Spencer's suggestions, although that has been my life-long beverage, and I hope no one will so misconstrue my meaning, as I know there is no one would wish more than I do to see all the branches of Rechabites under one noble banner; and as far as I have learned (and I was present at the session when the Order changed its name) the brother has given a splendid account of the history of American Rechabitism from a period just previous to the Rebellion. The main difference in the two Orders as I have seen it is this, the majority of those who join in England do so with the idea of pecuniary benefit in time of sickness, which, of course, is a noble object, as it is instinctive of self-preservation; but the American brother joins, having been convinced that the Order is a genuine brotherly one, and is the sure road to reform himself and fellow-man by becoming a member and promoting the principles of the Order—Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice. It gives me joy to read that the Order is fast spreading in the West, and may it continue and be united, from the sable mines of Pennsylvania to the brighter mines of California—from one end of the earth to the other. Unity with the two Orders can be easily effected as far the American brethren are concerned, but it should be with the Ritual alone. The Initiatory and Degree work of the American Order is, to my mind, something sublime, when conducted as it should be, and would fill with joy and admiration the hearts of our great and grand Rechabites on this side. If we all worked under the same Ritual and Passwords, what more would be required to make us an united and mighty band of abstaining brothers, who could give and receive fraternal friendship's grip wherever the English language is spoken?
—Yours ever, in T.F.J.,
Reuben Kibbey.Benjamin Whitworth Tent, No. 285, London District.