Page images
PDF
EPUB

OF ACTION.

the inhabitants of Christendom, especially on the professed disciples of the Prince of Peace.

We differ, then, only on a single point of this great cause - the moral character of wars strictly defensive. Even this difference is mainly theoretical; for we unite in condemning most of the wars called defensive, and can find very few that any friend of peace would attempt to justify. We may disagree concerning the strict inviolability of human life, on the subject of capital punishments, respecting the right of the magistrate to use the sword in suppressing mobs and insurrections; but these points form no part of our cause, and it is no more responsible for the views of its friends concerning them, than the cause of temperance is for the religious or political creed of its supporters. We are concerned solely with the intercourse of one government with another; and these questions belong not to the cause of peace, but to the internal operations of government, to its treatment of its own subjects. IV. SPHERE AND MODE

- Christendom is our only field. Our efforts are restricted to countries blest with the light of revelation, and our hopes will be fully realized, when wars shall cease wherever Christianity prevails.

All our means for the accomplishment of this object are included in a right application of the gospel to the intercourse of nations. But communities are composed of individuals; and the pacific influences of the gospel must be brought to bear first upon individuals, in rectifying their views on this subject, and in forming such a public sentiment as shall discard the war-system,

and introduce pacific expedients for the adjustment of all international disputes. Public opinion is the grand instrument; it does more to control Christendom than all her bayonets; and, could it through the civilized world be arrayed against this custom as it is now in New England against the kindred practice of duelling, rulers would soon find means enough to settle their differences without the sword.

We ould take the best measures thus to change the war-sentiments of mankind; but we decline, for many reasons, the use of tests and pledges for this purpose. 1. The pulpit we would place in the van of our auxiliaries; for it is in the power of ministers alone to revolutionize on this subject the views of all Christendom. To this duty we urge them by the strongest motives; for the living the way

for

voice is needed to waken inquiry, and prepare all our other instrumentalities. — 2. The press, an engine of vast moral power, we would set and keep at work until, through books, and pamphlets, and tracts, and newspapers, and every class of periodicals, it shall speak in the ear of all reading communities on this subject. — 3. We would especially enlist churches of every name.

We regard them as societies appointed by God himself for the universal spread of peace; and they should all examine this subject till their views are settled, and then let the world know what they think concerning the incompatibility of war with their religion. They should also train up all under their care in the principles of peace, pray much for its universal prevalence, and hold forth before the whole world the light of their own consistent example. Let them do only these things, and war would soon cease from Christendom forever. — 4. We would also solicit the aid of pious parents, of teachers in Sabbath schools, and instructors in all Christian seminaries of learning. Here are the chief nurseries of peace; and in these must one day be trained up a generation of such peacemakers as shall spontaneously keep the peace of the world.-5. Still more do we rely on women. They mould the character of the young; and, if they will infuse the principles of peace into every mind under their care, wars must of necessity cease with the very next generation. — 6. The formation of peace societies we do not urge; but, wherever is found a degree of intelligence and interest sufficient to sustain them well, we would encourage a simple organization.

We insist on the necessity of means. God accomplishes no ends without them; and the means of his own appointment are just as necessary for the spread of peace as for the conversion of the world. Only such means we aim to use; and we would fain keep at work in this cause a system of operations very like those in the temperance reform. Agents, and tracts, and periodicals, and other instrumentalities, must be employed on a large scale; and these will require, not so much money as the leading enterprises of Christian benevolence, but far more than most persons suppose. It would cost some $5,000 to put a single tract, at one cent apiece, in every family of New England alone, and about $30,000 for the whole country, besides a still larger sum to sustain such other instrumentalities as the cause demands. These funds must

FOR WAR.

come, if at all, from the professed friends of peace; and the Christian community ought to form plans and habits of regularly contributing to this cause, as to kindred enterprises of benevolence and reform.

V. PossibilITY OF ABOLISHING WAR. Our argument here is short. No fault of individuals or communities is incorrigible under the means of God's appointment; customs very like war, such as knight-errantry and judicial combats, have already been done away; certain kinds of war have actually been abolished, and even international war has lost some of its worst features, and undergone changes greater than would now suffice for its entire abolition; a vast variety of causes are at work through the world, sufficient under God for its ultimate extinction; and God has settled the question by promising an era when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” VI. SUBSTITUTES

We would not leave nations without means of protection or redress; and, in recommending pacific expedients, we propose not the sacrifice, but the greater security of their rights, just as the substitution of law, with its courts and prisons, in place of private revenge, has every where increased the security both of person and property. There are better means for such ends than the sword. 1. Negotiation. Nations could, if they would, settle all their differences by amicable agreement among themselves; and, should public opinion require them to do so, war would seldom, if ever, occur. -2. Arbitration. When the parties become too much excited to adjust the matter themselves, they may refer it to an umpire mutually chosen ; and this expedient alone, if properly used, would prevent more than nine wars in ten.-3. Mediation. When rulers withdraw from official intercourse, and think they must fight their quarrel out, a third power, friendly to both, may offer its services as mediator; an expedient frequently tried of late, rarely without success, and sufficient, if employed in season, to prevent more than forty-nine wars out of fifty. Christendom is fast coming to adopt these substitutes as her settled policy, and would do so very soon, should the people universally demand it. — 4. But the perfection of expedients would be a congress of nations. Nor would such a tribunal be an entirely new experiment; for its principle has been in occasional, successful operation for ages. It was adopted, in the Amphictyonic Council of ancient Greece; it has been at work, with well-nigh complete success, in the Confederacy of Switzerland, for more than five hundred years; and, in less than two centuries, there have been fifty congresses in Europe, all more or less on the principle of such a tribunal as we propose. The thing can be done, and will be, whenever the voice of Christendom shall demand it.

VII. TESTIMONIES TO THE CAUSE OF PEACE. -A distinguished English missionary in India attributes to us “the honor of inventing two of the most valuable institutions that ever blessed mankind, — the Peace Society, and the Temperance Society; and, if every American viewed them as I do, he would join them both immediately.” Dr. Reed, the well-known messenger from the churches of England, describes the cause of peace as

a field of service worthy of the church, worthy of angels," and calls upon Christians to “glorify their religion by banding together as an army of pacificators." Ecclesiastical bodies, representing nearly every Christian denomination in our country, have borne their testimony to this cause, - Congregationalists, both Unitarian and Orthodox, Baptists, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, Methodists, Free-will Baptists, and Christians. They “commend this cause to the Christian community as worthy of a place among the benevolent enterprises of the age,” and regard “the American Peace Society as eminently entitled to the cordial coöperation and support of all the churches of Christ.” They deem it “the duty of ministers to preach in favor of the cause of peace, as a prominent part of the gospel, and of Christians to pray for the spread of peace through the world.” They think, also," that the subject of peace, being in its strictly evangelical principles and bearings a part of the gospel, ought to be discussed in the pulpit on the Sabbath, just like the other principles of the Bible ;" and that “ministers should continue to preach, Christians to pray, and all to contribute in favor of universal and permanent peace.” Disciple of Jesus! what will

you do? Will you correct your own views and feelings? Will you try to rectify those of all the persons under your care or influence ? Will you pray? Will you contribute ? Will you do all you can ? " Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."

AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.

А

SKETCH OF WAR:

WHAT IT IS, AND WHAT IT DOES.

Few among us know much about the evils of war. Have you ever visited its camps and fleets, or witnessed its sieges and battles? Have you followed the march of its armies, or looked in upon the anguish of its hospitals? Have you seen its nameless vices, its savage barbarities, its countless hardships, dangers, and sufferings? Did you ever behold it firing villages, and sacking cities, and desolating province after province, and butchering men, women, and children, by thousands? If not, you know little of war; and we wish to furnish you with a brief sketch of its NATURE AND EFFECTS.

I. Mark, then, the WASTE OF PROPERTY BY WAR. It not only demands for its support vast sums of money, but dries up the main sources of a nation's wealth. Its victims are mostly men in the vigor of life. It cripples almost every species of business. It cuts the sinews of enterprise in every department of yainful industry. Fields lie untilled; factories stand still; the shop and the counting-room are deserted; vessels rot at the wharves; every kind of trade is interrupted or deranged; immense masses of capital are withdrawn from use; the entire energies of a nation are turned into the channel of war, and its resources whelmed in this mighty vortex of ruin.

Look at the loss occasioned in the single department of commerce. This main source of wealth war dries up, and exposes to capture an incalculable amount of property on the ocean. Our exports and imports now (1836) exceed two hundred millions of dollars every year; and one half of all this, besides a great variety of products interchanged along our coast, would be liable in war to be seized by the enemy. The imports in the single city of New York amounted, during one quarter of 1835, to thirty-six millions of dollars; and a war suddenly occurring would probably have found afloat on the ocean more than twice that amount destined to the same port, and one or two hundred millions belonging to the whole nation. The commissioners appointed to adjust the demands of British merchants for property destroyed by Denmark alone during the late wars

« PreviousContinue »