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age countries, where a suitor estimates his claims upon the heart of his mistress by the number of human scalps or skulls he lays at her feet! And do we see nothing like this in our own country? Do not our women, instead of starting back from the warrior as from the hangman, treat him with special respect and favor? Does not beauty's lily hand embroider banners for the brave, and strew flowers in his path who comes in triumph through the blood of husbands and sons, fathers and brothers ?
Nor has woman been free from a passion even for the stern realities of war. “ Among the French dead on the field of Waterloo,” says an English traveller, “ were found the bodies of several Parisian girls who had gone forth with their paramours, and actually fought in their company. This, I understood, was no uncommon event in the French armies. One morning, when passing through the Palais Royal at Paris, I saw one of these women dressed in military style, with boots, spurs and sabre; nor did any Frenchman seem to consider the sight a strange one.” Bulwer, the chief modern eulogist of profligacy, whose rare but unenviable genius transforms prostitutes into heroines, goes so far as to say, that “ never have the French armies been engaged in the neighborhood of Paris, without there being found many of those delicate and fragile females whom one sees in the saloons of Paris, slain on the battle-field to which they had been led, not so much by a violent passion for their lovers, as by a passion for that action and adventure which they are willing to seek even in the camp. At the battle of Jemappes, Dumourier had for his aids-de-camp, two of the most delicate and accomplished young women in the city," whom, though probably the general's paramours, Bulwer has the effrontery to characterize as “ equally chaste and warlike (!!) Those modern Camillas felt a veneration for the profession of arms, and delighted in the smoke of cannon, and the sound of the trumpet.”
But bad women are not the only female abettors of war. How often do we find one of the first ladies in a village or a city selected to present, in the name of her sex, a military banner, wrought by their hands, to some company of volunteers, and seizing the occasion to eulogize war and warriors. During the progress of our petty but nefarious war in Florida, a.lady—so the papers called her-tendered a flag, with a speech full of fire and fury, to the “Muscogee Blues," on their return from the butchery of the poor Seminoles, lauding to the skies their deeds of blood, and charging them either to perish beneath the folds of their banner, or bring it back in triumph over their country's foes. During the war of Texas against Mexico, sustained chiefly by mercenary adventurers from the United States, a young fellow went from Tennessee to join the Texians; and his mother, a professed follower of the Prince of Peace, wrote a letter to encourage him in his bloody purpose, praying the Almighty to crown him with triumph, but promising hiin, if he fell
, his spirit would rise from the gory field to realms of celestial bliss, and receive, as a reward for his deeds of blood, a crown of glory from the God of Peace !! Yet was that
letter copied into religious newspapers all over the land, and the writer eulogized as a woman worthy of Sparta in its best days !
Such has been the agency of women in sustaining the custom of war; and the mischief we have thus done, demands of us a prompt and large reparation. We can repair it, if we will ; we have, in some respects, peculiar ability to serve the cause of peace; and hence I must infer its special claims on women.
Let us look at their character, and we shall find both nature and education peculiarly fitting them for such a service. They are rightly termed the gentler sex;' their sensibilities are quicker, deeper than those of men; they know better how sympathize in the joys and sorrows of others; they live on the sweet and hallowed reciprocities of affection ; and all their influence comes not from terror or violence, or even authority, but from goodness, from kind offices, from the resistless power of love. Theirs is the empire of the heart. They wield no sword; they threaten no violence; they claim little authority; they seldom insist even on their acknowledged rights; and yet do they exert their full share of influence in every department of society, and silently move unseen the hands that sway the world. They rule by obedience'; they conquer by retreat; they triumph by submission; they carry nearly all their points by insisting strenuously on none. Such a temper is the spirit of peace; such a character an embodiment of its principles, and the result a decisive illustration of their power. Women, if not disposed, are compelled to adopt the policy of peace; and their general success proves the superiority of moral over physical power, the efficacy of returning good for evil, and giving the other cheek to the smiter. Their nature, their training, their condition and relations in life, all conspire to render them peace-makers, and peculiarly fit them for co-operation in this cause.
Women may, if they will, perform for this cause services which no others can. They are the mothers of men, and leave on their children an indelible impress of themselves. The hand that rocks the cradle, will be found in the end to rule the world; and the voice which whispers in the infant and youthful ear lessons of truth or error, of goodness or guilt, will yet give tone to morals, law to society, and character to the whole human race. We must win the young to peace; and their character is necessarily moulded almost entirely by female hands. As mothers and teachers, they are the chief educators of mankind; they teach the first ideas how to shoot, the first feelings where to flow; they have access in childhood to every mind under circumstances peculiarly favorable; they cast the mould of society through the world ; they may under God make its character very much what they please; and would they stamp upon every young mind under their care a deep, indelible impress of peace, war must of necessity come to an end with the very next generation thus trained.
But, alas! look at the usual training of the young even under pious mothers. What are the first toys of children? Toys of war. What pictures do they most frequently see and admire ? Pictures of war and warriors. 'What songs did they once use most com
monly to hear? Songs of war. Whom are they still taught to hold in the highest admiration ? Heroes, men of blood. What books are now most generally, most eagerly read by the young ?
Tales, real or fictitious, of war and warriors. Do parents, even Christian parents, carefully guard their own children against the manifold delusions of this custom ? Alas! they talk before their little ones, ere the dawn of reason or conscience, about the glories of war, the trade of human butchery, and train them, with scarce a thought of what they are doing, to look upon it as the great theatre of man's noblest deeds! The surest means are taken to dazzle and delude their young minds in its favor. When a company of gaily dressed soldiers are passing through the street, the children who are old enough, go forth to gaze on the pageantry, and the mother takes even her babe to the window that he may inhale with his first breath a bewitching fondness for war. The glowing canvass, and the breathing marble, and the glittering sword, and the gilded epaulette, and the waving plume, and the prancing steed, and all the witchery of fife, and drum, and buglehorn, are suffered to beguile the young into a blind, wild admiration of what, if seen as it really is, they would regard with almost instinctive disgust or abhorrence.
The evil is well nigh universal. Even pious mothers and Christian ministers will purchase—once they certainly did-caps, and feathers, and tin swords, and wooden guns, for their own sons, and then encourage them in forming little companies of juvenile volunteers to prepare in beardless boyhood for the trade of human butchery! Thus have Christians themselves been, age after age, scattering broad-cast over Christendom the veriest seeds of war, and then started back aghast to see every where springing up such a harvest of death as lately waved in blood and fire all over Europe. But no wonder; for how came Napoleon, the destroyer of some six millions, or Alexander, the butcher of I know not how many millions, to be such blood-leeches of the world? Were they born monsters? No more than we ourselves. How then did they become such monsters of blood ? On the plat of green before his father's house in Corsica, Napoleon in his boyhood was permitted to go forth with the mock accoutrements of war, and there sport, day after day, with its mock manœuvres, until his boyish bosom began to swell, and kindle, and glow with the very same passions in embryo that afterwards sent him, like a comet of wrath, over a scathed and desolated continent.
I must avow it; for on every side do I see at work causes not designed, yet fatally calculated to nourish the war-spirit, to perpetuate the war-system, and thus pave the way for more military Molochs, for other deluges of blood. Go to many a toy shop, kept perhaps by Christians themselves; and what will you there find? À whole cart-load of war toys—drums, and guns, and swords, and rude busts of warriors, and entire platoons of mounted horsemen, or armed footmen, all painted and gilded to dazzle the minds of children into a premature, unnatural fondness for war. Go to the houses of Christians; and will you there find no statues or portraits
of ancient or modern warriors, no pictures of battles or other warscenes ? Almost the only pictures I ever saw in my childhood ; and, should you go through the land, you would, I fear, find a hundred or a thousand portraits of Napoleon to one of such a man as Brainard, Schwartz or Howard.
No wonder, then, that this custom still continues; and never can it cease so long as pious mothers persist in thus training their own children to a love of war. It is all wrong, utterly wrong ; and I would to God I could peal a note of warning and remonstrance in the ear of all the mothers in Christendom. I would say, guard your children against the manifold delusions of war, and let them sport with no more of its toys, and listen to no more of its songs, and gaze at no more of its pictures or glittering armor, and be present at none of its fascinating displays, and witness no more of its pomp, parade or splendor, but honestly teach them to regard every shred of this custom as reeking with pollution, blood and tears.
Such a training is possible, and would prove successful. I know the propensities of children; but these propensities may all be restrained from the love of war, and moulded into a settled preference of peace. “ A distinguished instructer of youth,” says the late William Ladd, “ told me his sons were so taken up with military notions, that he could not reason with them; and he asked me to talk to them. I took the oldest boy, aged about seven years, between my knees, and something like the following conversation ensued :— Do you love to see the soldiers?' 'Yes, I love to see the rub-a-dubs. Would you like to be one yourself?' yes ! Well, but do you know what these soldiers are for ? ' No.' Why, they are learning to kill people. Those bright guns are made to kill people with, and those bright bayonets to stab them with. The boy turned pale; such a ught never before entered his head. Do you know who killed the little babes in Bethlehem, because a wicked man told them to ?' * No. “They were soldiers. Do you know who crucified our Lord, and drove the spikes through his hands and feet?' The boy was silent. They were soldiers; and soldiers would burn your house, and cut down your fruit-trees, and kill your pa, if they were told to. Both the boys were astonished; tears stood in their eyes. “Do you want to be a soldier?' 'No.'•Do you want to see the rub-a-dubs ?' 'No.'" How easy for a mother or teacher to impress such artless, susceptible minds with the horrors of war, and cast their views and feelings in the mould of peace!
There is hardly a relation in life where a woman cannot serve the cause of peace. Are you a wife? You may, if you will, mould your husband's habits of thinking on this subject. Are you a mother? You can train your children to a love of peace, and a deep, habitual, undying abhorrence of war. Have you a father, brothers, or other near relatives? You can influence them all in favor of this blessed cause, and diffuse the principles of peace more or less through the whole circle of your acquaintances. Are you a teacher in a Sabbath or any other school ? You can impress
your own views of peace upon the minds of your pupils, and infuse your spirit into their hearts. Do you write for the press? You can there plead this cause with an eloquence all your own.
Do you ask for still further specifications of what you can and should do for peace ? First examine the subject until you have made it a part of your moral being. Catch its spirit, appreciate its importance, and familiarize ils main principles, arguments and facts. Thus have you done to every other cause in which you now take an active interest; and thus ought you to do for the cause of peace. Nor keep this information to yourself, but diffuse it as widely as possible. Write, if you can, for the press; converse with those around you; take a periodical on peace, and circulate it among your neighbors; have something of the kind occasionally read at your sewing and other circles ; get peace tracts into circulation through your village, your town or city; persuade your minister to preach on the subject, and prompt the brethren and sisters of your church to examine it for themselves. Do what you can also to raise funds for this cause. Give from your own purse, and solicit contributions from others. Purchase tracts for gratuitous distribution, and constitute your pastor and his wife ($20 each) life members of the Peace Society. Money is just as necessary for this cause as for any other; nor do I see why women should not help procure funds for peace as well as for temperance or missions. At all events, forget not to pray for this cause. Never can it triumph without the blessing of the Almighty; but that blessing he will bestow only in answer to the prayers of his people; and they are as truly bound to pray for the world's pacification as for its conversion to God. Both are alike promised in his word; and for both are all Christians equally required to use the means of his appointment, and then look to him in faith for the blessing requisite to full success.
I know that the chief responsibility for this cause, as for every other, rests on men; but I believe it is in the power of women, if we will, to prevent the recurrence of war, and undermine ere long the entire war-system. Let us as Christians, as members of society, as sisters and daughters, as wives, mothers and teachers, array against it our utmost influence; let us chant no more songs in its praise, nor lavish any more favors on its epauletted agents, but look
upon their trade of blood with disgust and horror; let us unite to bring it under the perpetual ban of our whole sex as a deadly foe to ourselves and the world; let us loathe and abhor it as we do robbery or murder, and regard its. instruments of death as we should a gallows or guillotine, and shun its myrmidons as we would so many executioners; let all women do this, and war would soon cease from every land.
There is no end to the motives which should constrain women especially to such efforts as these against war.
It has inflicted on them a world of evils. I know we are required to take no active part in its prosecution; yet are we still among its deepest sufferers. It seems to take little of our money; but its enormous taxes keep