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Capt. Thomas Thrush, of the navy, on the ground of the unlawfulness of war.
I cannot do better, than to insert extracts from his own letter to the king, accompanying his resignation, which are as follows:
“ With much zeal and sincerity, I entered into the Naval service of your Majesty's revered father, and swore allegiance to him. This allegiance is now, of course, due to your Majesty as his lawful successor. When I entered into this solemn contract, I entertained no apprehension that I was acting in opposition to the principles of the Christian religion; nor did any apprehension of this kind ever arise in my mind during the time I was actively employed in the service of my country: Ņay, so far from suspecting that I was departing from Christian rectitude, it appeared to me almost certain, if I should lose my life in the service of my king and country, that this would serve as a kind of passport to the favour and acceptance of God. This opinion, , which has been frequently inculcated by ministers of the Gospel of Peace, as well as by Pagan writers, is, I believe, generally entertained by those,
who think at all, when they enter the naval or military profession.
“ Those, Sire, who live much in the world, are imperceptibly led to think and act upon the principles of those with whom they associate. Though in the busy scenes of nam val service, I never entertained an idea of my profession being irreconcilable with the religion of Christ; yet, after passing several years in a retirement bordering on seclusion; and after more closely inspecting the Christian precepts, and reviewing my past life, it appears to me, that while I have been serving my king and my country, if not brilliantly, yet faithfully, I have been acting in open disobedience to the plain and positive commands of another and a superior Master--a Master whose claims upon my allegiance are prior, and paramount to those of your Majesty, or of any earthly sovereign.
“ When the first impressions, Sire, were formed in my mind concerning the unlawfulness of Christians' entering into or remain-ing in the military profession, I cannot exactly recollect. To my shame, I may, I believe, say, that I never thought seriously on
the subject, till within the last four years. Whenever I heard feelings of disapprobation expressed concerning war, I was led to regard them, as Bishop Horsely did, as a species of puritanical cant; so fully was I satisfied that war, and consequently my profession, were perfectly consonant with the precepts of Christianity. About the time I have mentioned, owing to circumstances which I need not state, I began to entertain doubts on this subject. These doubts gradually gain-, ed strength ; and early in the year 1822, I came to the resolution to investigate the subject more closely than I had hitherto done; and if, after such investigation, it should appear to me that my profession was irreconcilable with the precepts of Christ, I determined to resign my naval rank and half-pay, although I placed a high value upon the former, and the latter forms a large portion of a very limited income ; and I was thereby subjecting myself alone, to a very considerable change in my mode of living, and this at an advanced period of life, when its comforts and conveniences are most wanted.
“ To take a step so highly important to
me in many points of view, but particularly in a religious one, upon the first impression of my mind, would have been highly improper; for even the best informed persons frequently change their opinions, and see the same transaction in different points of view at different periods of time. From the very novel nature of the act I contemplated; I thought it possible that this might happen to myself; and that, in my ardour to do what I deemed an act of religious duty, I might hastily take a step, of which I might hereafter see just cause to repent, and when re-. pentance could not avail me. I was also aware, that what I proposed doing, being so much at variance with established custom, might be attributed to vanity, or an affectation of singularity-motives by which, as far as I know myself, I have never been greatly influenced. Added to these considerations, I felt much difficulty as to the manner in which I should withdraw myself from my profession. It appeared to me, though it may savour of vanity thus to express myself,) that the measure I contemplated was one of very great importance, both in a political and religious point of view.
"Under these perplexing circumstances, I came to the resolution to retain my halfpay three years longer, should my life be spared, and to dedicate that time to serious inquiry on a subject constantly pressing upon my mind. This delay I considered as likely to cure me of any false notions that either ignorance, fanaticism, or vanity might generate. It has, Sire, pleased the Divine Disposer of events, to grant me these years : and I hope they have not been passed unprofitably. After every inquiry and consideration on one of the most important subjects that can occupy the human mind, as far as my abilities and opportunities have enabled me, and after frequent and earnest prayer to that Being who alone has power over the minds of men, that I might do nothing dishonourable to Christianity or injurious to society, I have seen no reason to regret the resolution I then formed. Some may blame me, and with seeming justice, for taking so long a time for consideration, on what I now speak of as so very clear a point. I do not, however, regret this delay, as it bas effectually convinced me that I have acted