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congress of nations as the perfection of all expedients for the adjustment of national disputes without the sword. The London Society early said, that “a court of nations is the end of the operations of the peace societies.” The American Society from its origin took so deep an interest in the subject as to publish, soon after its organization, the first essay in modern times on a congress of nations, from the pen of the late William Ladd, and, in 1840, a large and splendid volume of Essays for which a premium of one thousand dollars had been offered, and more than forty competitors had contended for the prize. The First General Peace Convention (1843) in London recommended “A CONGRESS OF NATIONS to settle and perfect the code of international law, and a High Court or Nations to interpret and apply that law for the settlement of all national disputes."
Before the year 1830, a devoted friend of peace in Boston had circulated a document recommending “ the reference of all international disputes to a Court of Nations,” and readily obtained from individuals of every rank and profession, the signature of nine in ten of those to whom he presented it. The Legislature of Massachusetts, in the year 1837, recommended“ a Congress or Court of Nations as at present the best practical method by which disputes between nations can be adjusted, and an appeal to arms avoided ;" and requested “ the Executive of the United States to open a negotiation with other governments with a view to effect so important an arrangement.”. In 1838 the same legislature, with perfect unanimity in the House, and only two dissenting votes in the Senate, passed resolves still more explicit, in favor of “a Congress of Nations for the purpose of framing a code of international law, and establishing a high court of arbitration for the settlement of controversies between nations ;" and desired “the Governor to transmit a copy to the President of the United States, and to the Executive of each State, to be communicated to their respective Legislatures, inviting their co-operation.”
While the subject was thus pending in Massachusetts, friends of peace in several states petitioned Congress in 1837 to settle by mutual reference our difficulties with Mexico, and also to incorporate the same principle in a Congress of Nations as a permanent substitute for war. The subject was referred; and the committee in their report acknowledged, " that the union of all nations in a state of peace under the restraints and protection of law, is the ideal perfection of civil society; that they concurred fully in the benevolent object of the memorialists, and believed there is a visible tendency in the spirit and institutions of the age towards the practical accomplishment of it at some future period; that they heartily agree in recommending a reference to a third power of all such controversies as can safely be confided to any tribunal unknown to the constitution of our country; and that such a practice will be followed by other powers, and will soon grow up into the customary law of civilized nations."
Such a response might well encourage the friends of peace to continue their petitions. It is still before Congress; and, in 1844, the Legislature of Massachusetts, in reply to a single petitioner, took the noblest stand ever yet taken in favor of this scheme. After representing war as “among the chief destroyers of human happiness," and saying that, “if any method can be devised for the settlement of national controversies without the evils of war, the adoption of that method is la consummation devoutly to be wished,' they state, that “ the peace societies formed in this country and in Europe within the last twenty-eight years, and enrolling some of the purest and most gifted minds in either hemisphere, have, poured the light of reason and revelation upon the practice of war, until multitudes have come to the conclusion, that a custom so fraught with evil, and so hostile to the first principles of religion, cannot be necessary. It begins to be extensively acknowledged, that individuals and communities are subject to the same divine authority, and are bound to conduct their affairs, and regulate their mutual intercourse on the same principles; and therefore, that legal adjudication should take the place of physical force, for the maintenance of national rights and interests, as it has already with regard to those of a personal and domestic nature.”
In the spirit of these suggestions, the Legislature, with great unanimity, passed the following resolves :
1. That we regard arbitration as a practical and desirable substitute for war, in the adjustment of international differences.
2. That a system of adjudication, founded on a well-digested code of international laws, and administered by a standing court or board of mutual reference, is preferable to the occasional choice of umpires, who act without the aid or restriction of established principles and rules.
3. That it is our earnest desire that the government of the United States would, at the earliest opportunity, take measures for obtaining the consent of the powers of Christendom to the establishment of a General Convention or Congress of Nations, for the purpose of settling the principles of international law. and of organizing a high court of nations, to adjudge all cases of difficulty which may be brought before them by the mutual consent of two or more nations.
4. That His Excellency the Governor be requested to transmit a copy of these resolves, with the accompanying report, to the Senators and Representatives of Massachusetts in the Congress of the United States, with instructions to use their influence, as they may find occasion, in furtherance of this important object.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
EXTINCTION OF WAR.*
BY HON. JOSIAH QUINCY, L.L. D.
“ In all experience and stories,” says the great Bacon, “you' shall find but three things that prepare and dispose an estate for war—the ambition of the governors, a state of soldiery professed, and the hard means to live among many subjects, whereof the last is the most forcible and the most constant.”
In reference to these causes of war, it may be asserted that three facts exist in the nature of man, and the condition of society, which give rational ground for the opinion, that they will be gradually limited in their influence, and may be made ultimately to cease altogether. The first fact is, that man is a being capable of intellectual and moral improvement; the second, that the intellectual and moral improvement of our species has already advanced in this very direction and on this very subject, wars being in fact far less bloody than in former periods of society ; and the third, that the intellectual and moral influences which have arisen, and are extending themselves in the world, necessarily lead to a favorable change in all the enumerated causes on which the existence of war depends, repressing the ambition of rulers, diminishing the influence of the soldiery, and ameliorating the condition of the multitude.
At what previous time did the world exhibit the scenes we at this day witness ? When did science ever, until this period, present itself to the entire mass of the community as their inheritance and right? No more immured in cells, no more strutting with pedant air and forbidding looks, in secluded halls, it adapts itself to real life, to use, and to man. It is seen in the field, leaning on the plough ; at the work-bench, directing the plane and the saw; in the high places of the city, converting by their wealth and their liberality, merchants into princes; in the retirement of domestic life, refining the virtues of a sex in whose purity and elevation man attains at once the noblest earthly reward, and the highest earthly standard of his moral and intellectual nature. And can knowledge advance, and virtue be retrograde?
If such be the fact, why should not the species continue to advance? Is nature exhausted ? On the contrary, what half century can pretend to vie with the last in improvement in the arts, in advancement in the sciences, in the zeal and success of intellectual labors ? Time would fail to enumerate all; let one suffice. Scarcely ten years have elapsed, since the projects of Fulton were the common sneer of multitudes. He indeed has already joined the great congregation of departed men of genius ; but where are his
* From Pres. Quincy's Address before the Mass. Peace Society in 1820.
P. T. NO, XXXI.
inventions ? Penetrating the interior of this new world, smoking along our rivers, climbing without canvass the mountains of the deep, carrying commerce and comforts, unknown and unanticipated, to inland regions, and already establishing a new era in navigation, and new facilities for human intercourse, incalculable in benefits and in consequences.
So far from having any reason to believe that human improvement is stationary, or is henceforth to be retrograde, there is just reason to believe that it will advance with a rapidity and universality never before witnessed. There are two facts characteristic of the present age, which encourage this belief; the first is the universal diffusion of knowledge, and the second is the facility with which this diffusion is effected. At the present day, not the few only, but the many are every where rising gradually into influence and power. Moral and intellectual cultivation are no more restricted to a few favored individuals, but proffered to the whole species. The light and warmth of science are permitted to penetrate the lowest strata of society, reaching depths never before explowed. The press, also, by its magic power almost annihilates time and space, pervading every class and every climate, approximating the world to a state of general society, in which the bond of man to man is recognized, and humanity is becoming every day less and less the dupe of intrigue and artifice. Mind embraces mind, in spite of intervening seas, or wildernesses.
A people highly moral and highly intellectual, would not endure the existence of such a distinct class as Bacon's “ soldiery professed." They would realize that the principle of military life resulted in making moral agents machines, free citizens slaves; that a soldier can have no will but his officer's, and know no law but his commands; with him conscience has no force, Heaven no authority, and conduct but one rule,-implicit, military obedience.
If it be asked, how a nation destitute of a military class, can be safe from foreign violence and invasion, it may be answered, first, that the existence of such a class is ever a main inducement both to the one and the other. For either your military force is weaker than your neighbor's, in which case he is insolent; or it is stronger, in which case you are so; or it is equal, in which case the very uncertainty begets in both a spirit of rivalry, of jealousy and of war. Secondly, all experience has shown that a well appointed militia, defending their own altars and homes, are competent to every purpose of repelling foreign violence and invasion. Thirdly, a society which should engage in no intrigues, covet no foreign possessions, and exemplify in all its conduct a spirit of justice, moderation, and regard for the rights of others, would assume a position the most favorable to predispose its neighbors to adopt towards it a kind and peaceable demeanor.
The amelioration of the moral and intellectual condition of man, is not, however, at this day peculiar to any one nation. In a greater or less degree, it is incident to all. By commerce, by the press, by a very general acquaintance with each other's language, by idenity of pursuits, similarity in the objects of religious faith, and coincidence of interests, the various nations composing the civilized quarters of the globe, have mutually elevated and instructed, and are every day mutually elevating and instructing one another. Thought and invention, in any one nation, exist for the common benefit of all.
It is impossible not to perceive, that the extension of these influences among the mass of mankind must, even in Europe, tend to diminish the recurrence of war, not only from the reasons and consequences already urged, but also from the actual state of European soldiery; the necessary result of their education, their habits, and their relations to society. We can scarcely form an idea of the degraded moral and intellectual condition of the mere soldiery of Europe. Their own statesmen and historians seem at a loss to express their abhorrence of the whole class. “ War makes thieves,” says Machiavel, who was himself no enemy to the profession, “and peace hangs them. For those who know not how to get their bread in any other way, when they are disbanded and out of employ, disdaining poverty and obscurity, are forced to have recourse to such ways of supporting themselves, as generally bring them to the gallows." The experience of our own day is not very different. And what better can be expected from men sold like slaves from one despot to another, contracting to do the work of murder for hire, careless for whom, indifferent against whom, or for what?
It is impossible, without recurrence to feelings and sentiments of a higher and purer nature than those induced by common life, to do justice to the deep moral depravity, and the cruel, bloodstained scenes of ordinary warfare. Alas! how must they be viewed by higher intelligences! Imagine one of these celestial spirits bent on this great purpose, descending upon our globe, and led by chance to an European plain at the point of some great battle. On a sudden, the field of combat opens on his astonished vision. It is a field which men call glorious. A hundred thousand warriors stand in opposing ranks. Light gleams on their burnished steels. Their plumes and banners wave. Hill echoes to hill the noise of moving rank and squadron, the neigh and tramp of steeps, the trumpet, drum and bugle-call.
There is a momentary pause, a silence like that which precedes the fall of the thunderbolt, like that awful stillness which is precursor to the desolating rage of the whirlwind. In an instant, flash succeeding flash pours columns of smoke along the plain. The iron tempest sweeps, heaping man, horse and car in undistinguished ruin. In shouts of rushing hosts, in shock of breasting steeds, in peals of musketry, in the roar of artillery, in the clash of sabres, in thick and gathering clouds of smoke and dust, all human eye, and ear, and sense are lost. Man sees not, but the sign of onset. Man hears not, but the cry of onward !
Not so the celestial stranger. His spiritual eye unobscured by artificial night, his spiritual ear unaffected by mechanic noise, witness the real scene, naked in all its cruel horrors.