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grieve to think of tribe warring against tribe to procure victims for the slave-dealer, of village after village wrapt in flames, of wives torn from their husbands forever, parents from their children, brothers and sisters from each other, carried in all the horrors of the middle passage across the Atlantic, and there doomed, with their whole posterity, to hopeless bondage, still we have nothing to do with the matter-we are women !!! Did the women of England reason thus ? They would have blushed at the thought; yet nearly all the women of Christendom are now reasoning in the same way respecting a custom which has done a hundred-fold more evil than the slave-trade ever did.
Bring this logic nearer home. Women have nothing to do with the cause of temperance; it belongs to men as their business alone. Theirs are the laws which protect and encourage the traffic in ardent spirits ; they alone make and sell the “liquid fire;" they are the chief drunkards, as well as drunkard-makers; and, since the power to cure the evil rests with them, not in us, we leave the matter entirely in their hands. Have the women of our country reasoned thus on the subject of temperance? Yet is the argument just as applicable to intemperance as to war; and the logic that would excuse us from the cause of peace, would have kept our mothers from the cause of temperance. We all thank God that their hearts taught them a better sort of logic; and I trust that their daughters will yet apply this better logic to a cause not less important, and hereafter array themselves as resolutely against war as they have against intemperance.
So of other benevolent enterprises. Men are at the head of them all; but do women therefore withhold their co-operation ? Have they no interest, no responsibility in such movements ? Because men alone publicly preach the gospel, and hold the helm of whatever instrumentalities are employed for its spread over the earth, do the sisters in Christ excuse themselves from all share in the blessed work of reclaiming a world to God and heaven? Have they no money, no time, no talents, no learning, no zeal, no prayers to give? Woman no power to aid such enterprises! Can we do nothing to diffuse the right spirit; nothing to form the right sentiments and habits; nothing to rally " the sacramental host of God's elect” for the spiritual conquest of the world ; nothing to call down his blessing upon their efforts for the rescue of perishing souls froin sin and hell? How would the church blush to hear her daughters saying of such enterprises, they belong to men; women have little, if any thing, to do with them; we are Christians ourselves, and that is enough for us !' Yet very argument that binds women to the support of these causes, would rivet upon every one of them the claims of peace.
But let us look at the subject more in detail, and see if the main arguments for peace are not as applicable to women as to men. If war is inconsistent with Christianity, and the true interests of mankind; if it outrages every principle of our religion, and all the dictates of humanity; if it is a wholesale destroyer of human happiness for time and eternity ; if it wastes so vast an amount of property, and makes such fearful havoc of human life; if it cripples commerce, and interrupts agriculture, and sheds a blight over every department of gainful industry, and thus 'cuts off the chief sources of a nation's wealth and comforts; if it plunders and burns cities, and lays villages in ashes, and ravages whole provinces and empires; if it reverses for the time all the laws of morality, and proclaims in their stead the war-code of violence and revenge; if it tramples on the Sabbath, revels in the lowest vices, and instigates to the fou!est crimes; if it dishonors our religion before the whole world, neutralizes its efficacy at home, and obstructs its spread and triumph over the globe ; if it ripens its own agents for perdition, and then sends them, thousands after thousands, to their last account in guilt and blood; if it is from first to last a tissue of sin and misery, a mass of abominations and woes, the master-curse of our race from Nimrod to the present hour; has not woman as deep an interest as man, in removing such an evil from the earth ? Does not every one of these arguments come home to her bosom in all its force ?
So of the means requisite for the extinction of war; women can use most of these as well as men. The gospel is the grand remedy; and cannot woman aid in applying this remedy ? War has always resulted from a wrong public opinion; that opinion must be radically, universally changed; for the production of such a change, all the main-springs of influence upon the popular mind must be set and kept at work; and sure I am that woman's hand can touch a multitude of these springs, and reach the great mass of minds with a most effective influence. We can abolish war only by christianizing public sentiment on the subject; but never can this be done without the zealous, omnipresent co-operation of Christian women.
I wish I could regard my free from responsibility for this custom ; but I fear they have had their full share, if not in its origin, yet in its continuance and support. Their admiration of war-exploits, their presence at military parades and balls, their smiles upon the warrior in his harlequin dress, their strange yet well known preference of officers as companions for life, all conspire to throw a charm around this trade of blood. It is a fact Iblush to record, that a soldier's coat or cockade has hitherto been a passport to the favor of even delicate, accomplished women; and so notorious has this partiality been, that one of the British essayists relates the story of a suitor, rejected in the plain dress of a citizen, but afterwards successful in the gay, fantastic costume of a soldier, which he assumed solely for the purpose of winning his way to her heart. Strange fatuity! yet quite as common as strange. In this country, we see comparatively little of such partiality for warriors; but pass through the old world, and you will meet it at every turn. There a man with a feather in his cap, an epaulette on his shoulder, and a sword dangling at his side, is a favorite in the most splendid saloons, in the most courtly circles. Beauty, and fashion, and gentility, all caress the gilded man of blood. The same thing, only much more polished, that you find in those sav
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 hin, 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 to 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 embodia ment 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 i 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 poblest 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 ? A 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