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APPEAL TO CITIES:
THE SPECIAL CLAIMS OF PEACE UPON THEM.
The cause of peace aims solely at the abolition of war, and has nothing to do with any thing else—with capital punishment, the suppression of mobs, the treatment of robbers and pirates, or any other matters of civil, internal government. We are concerned only with the intercourse of nations, and seek merely to abolish the custom of settling their disputes by the sword.
An object this of vast importance; and for its accomplishment we would fain unite all the friends of God and man in the use of appropriate means.
These means are all included essentially in such an application of the gospel as shall Christianize public opinion on the subject, bring war under the ban of the civilized world, and thus lead its nations to discard forever their savage method of settling their disputes. We would train up a new and entire generation of peace-makers; and for this purpose we would enlist the pulpit and the press, the church and the school, the fire-side and the workshop, the parent and the teacher, old and young, male and female, the mass of every community professing a religion which promises, as one of its results, the permanent reign of peace over the whole earth.
We neither expect nor desire any violent or sudden change. We labor, by the diffusion of light and love, for such a change of public sentiment as shall effectually demand the peaceful adjustment of all difficulties between nations. We propose neither to sacrifice nor endanger their interest, but simply to introduce better means for the protection of their rights, the redress of their wrongs, and the settlement of their disputes. We would gradually supersede war by such substitutes as negotiation, arbitration and mediation, or some permanent system, like a congress of nations, which shall combine all these principles, and perform for states essentially the same services that our codes and courts of law now do for individuals. We would have rulers, like their subjects, adjust their difficulties without bloodshed. They could, if they would; they will whenever
public opinion shall demand it aright; that opinion, properly enlightened, would thus demand it; and hence we seek to form such an opinion by spreading light on this subject all over the civilized world.
Already is this work most auspiciously begun. A few philanthropists in both hemispheres united in this cause soon after the downfall of Napoleon; and with an average expenditure for all Christendom of only four or five thousand dollars a year for the first twenty-five years, have they made an impression on the civilized world, and materially modified its international policy. Public opinion on this subject is widely different from what it was fifty or even thirty years ago; and difficulties which would then have occasioned fierce, protracted wars, are now adjusted often with scarce a thought of appealing to arms. Peace is fast becoming the settled policy of Christendom; and, should this policy continue much longer, it may become almost impossible to involve its nations again in blood, and quite easy to introduce some permanent mode of adjusting their disputes without the sword. The general peace of Christendom since 1815, has resulted very much from the efforts and influences which together constitute the cause of peace; and we might mention instances in which they have, in the judgment of such men as the venerable John Quincy Adams, been the means of saving our own country from war.
Our encouragment is most ample; and, since the time has fully come for a more vigorous and hopeful prosecution of this enterprise, we would appeal to our friends for the aid which is just as necessary in this cause as in any other. We must enlighten the people; we must bring the subject before rulers; we must employ agents, and send forth lecturers; we must issue a variety of publications, and scatter tracts, periodicals and volumes through the land.
All this will require money as well as personal efforts ; and for both we appeal to the friends of peace especially in our cities. Every argument applicable to others, will apply with equal force to yourselves. Does war suspend or derange business, cripple every department of industry, and dry up all the great sources of wealth? Does it waste property by millions, butcher men by thousands, and sweep in fire and blood over whole empires ? Are its laurels steeped in the tears of countless widows and orphans? Is it a mass of abominations, a source of mischief and misery to nearly all concerned? Does it trample on the Sabbath, and withhold or neutralize the means of grace, and thwart almost every effort for the salvation of men in Christian or pagan lands? Is it a sink of pollution, a hot-bed of the most loathsome vices and the foulest crimes ? All these arguments against war will apply to you with peculiar force, since the largest share of its evils fall invariably on cities.
Look at the facts in the case. All must suffer from war, but the city far more than the country. Review its history, and say where have fallen the hottest and heaviest thunderbolts of its wrath? Ask of Tyre and Jerusalem, of Carthage, Rome and Moscow. What mean the war-ships anchored in your harbors, or the forts and batteries guarding the entrance to your wharves? The chief treasures of the land are deposited in your vaults, and the main-springs of its business lie in your ships, and stores, and work-shops. Where does war seek its plunder ? In the city. Where does it revel in unbridled debauchery? Where do you find its famine and pestilence, its carnage and conflagration ? In cities. They are the hinges of war, the first objects of its assaults, and the chief victims of its vengeance.
So it must be. Our cities, the store-houses of the world, and the main-springs of its enterprise and prosperity, must ever be exposed to the brunt of war, and draw down upon themselves the first and fiercest thunder-bolts of the storm. An immense amount of property, owned mostly in our cities, is constantly afloat on the ocean, and would be liable, on the approach of war, to instant capture. Our whale-ships, our merchant-men in the East Indies, all our most richly ladened vessels, some of them with cargoes worth each hundreds of thousands, would be too far from home to escape the tempest by a speedy return, and would thus fall an easy prey to the public and private cruisers that would at once be scouring the whole ocean.
In our last war of little more than two years' duration, (1812-4,) nearly three thousand English merchant vessels were said to have been captured by the Americans, probably not less than five thousand on both sides ; a loss perhaps of fifty millions a year, and nearly all from our cities.
Nor is this the worst of your case; for a blight would soon come upon nearly all your interests. Your stocks would fall; your banks would fail ; your vessels would rot at your wharves; your stores and workshops would be closed; the grass would ere-long grow in streets now worn with the ceaseless tread of business; nearly every species
of property would immediately sink in value from twenty to fifty per cent.; many of your merchants would become bankrupts, and most of your mechanics must either starve for want of employment, or flee into the country for bread. With so much at stake, will not the city come to the aid of a cause which aims to avert such evils ?
Look at the comparative ability of cities. They are the main depositories of wealth. The city of Boston, with less than a seventh part of the population, was estimated (1840) to contain a third of all the property in Massachusetts, or three times as much, in proportion to her numbers, as the country. Truly then the city is by far the most able to give. The surplus wealth of the world is chiefly in its cities; and to these should we therefore go for the means of sustaining every good cause, but especially one in which they have so deep an interest.
We must gain these hinges of the world. In them will be found the master-spirits of the age-our ablest lawyers, physicians and preachers; not a few of our most gifted and highly cultivated minds; our authors, and editors, and statesmen, who give law to public opinion; the chief offices of government, with the multitude of their dependencies, and the ever-teeming press with the vast amount of its weekly and daily issues all over the land. In the single city of New York, nearly a million of publications are supposed (1845) to issue from the press every week! What then must be the combined influence of all the great cities through Christendom? It must of course decide every question of peace or war. They pitch the tune, and all the rest follow. Let London and Paris, Rome and Vienna, Boston and New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans, go for peace, or for war; and not all the remaining millions in their respective countries, could turn the scale.
Already has the country taken hold of this cause in earnest ; and now we come to our cities, and ask them to share in this great and good work. The cause is peculiarly your own; and will you not give it your countenance, your advocacy, your money ? None of these do we ask you to withdraw from any other good cause; but does not this cause now deserve a much larger share of your aid than it has ever yet received? Are not its claims upon you fair, unquestionable and urgent ? Shall it plead in vain?
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
WAR INCONSISTENT WITH CHRISTIANITY.
BY REV. HOWARD MALCOM, D. D.,
PRESIDENT OF GEORGETOWN COLLEGE, KY.
The war spirit is so wrought into the texture of governments, and the habits of national thinking, and even into our very festivals and pomps, that its occasional recurrence is deemed a matter of unavoidable necessity. Even the friends of man's highest welfare seem to regard a general pacification of the world as a mere Utopian scheme, and choose to lend their energies and prayers to objects which seem of more probable attainment. This apathy and incredulity are to be overcome.
It is not intended here to enter upon the question, on which good men may differ in opinion, whether defensive war may in any case be justified, nor upon a regular discussion of the general subject; but merely to offer a few thoughts to show how utterly at variance the spirit of war is with truth and righteousness.
1. It contradicts the genius and intention of Christianity.
Christianity requires us to seek to amend the condition of man.
But war cannot do this. The world is no better for all the wars of five thousand years. Christianity, if it prevailed, would make the earth a paradise. War, where it prevails, makes it a slaughter-house, a den of thieves, a brothel, a hell. Christianity cancels the laws of retaliation. War is based upon that very principle. Christianity is the remedy for all human woes. War produces every wo known to man.
The causes of war, as well as war itself, are contrary to the gospel.
It originates in the worst passions and the worst aims. We may always trace it to the thirst of revenge, the acquisition of territory, the monopoly of commerce, the quarrels of kings, the intrigues of ministers, the coercion of religious opinion, the acquisition of disputed crowns, or some other source equally culpable. Never has any war, devised by man, been founded on holy tempers and Christian principles.
All the features, -all the concomitants,—all the results of war, are the opposite of the features, the concomitants,