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is proof from history of the proposition now considered; the instrument alleged to be for the prevention of war, is actually one of the causes of its production. And the report referred to, states, that of sixteen of these wars not settled by compromise, eleven terminated in favor of the powers provoked or alarmed, and the overthrow of the trusted preparations for defence.
These facts ought to surprise none who seriously reflect on the subject, for they are conformable to the known character of human governments. The spirit of chivalry, which always bent before confiding gentleness, and ever stood erect in resistance to attempted intimidation, is the universal characteristic of political rulers; and if defensive armaments do not now provoke all the assaults it is their nature and tendency to do, it is not because they inspire fear, but because, as every nation commits the same folly, a tacit understanding seems to exist that they will not take this distrustful precaution as an insult from each other.
5. Lastly, Military preparations for defence are always liable to be used for purposes of aggression. The considerations before offered have gone upon the ground that such preparations have been strictly confined to the object of defence; but has this been the case with any powerful nation? Can any government of Europe or America repel the charge of inflicting the aggressions of their “defensive” preparations on weaker communities? It is almost proverbially true that no man can be trusted with great power without an irresistible desire to abuse it. This is a solemn consideration for the Christian patriot who voluntarily contributes to the support of military defences. Let him beware that he does not thereby render himself accessory to the murderous aggression of offensive war. No form of government can check this tendency of military establishments to wrong; and no political combination can exempt the individual supporting them from the responsibility of participating in their crimes. At the bar of eternal justice every one must answer for the means and temptation he gives to the Imperial, the Royal or the Presidential robber to satiate his avarice or ambition in the blood of his fellow
If the preceding arguments are conclusive; if there is no ground for attributing hostile dispositions to other nations ; if the evils of military preparations to meet aggressions are greater than those which would be incurred by submission to them; if kindness would be a safer defence than intimidation; if a martial attitude is often a provocation to war; and if provisions for defence are generally liable to be used for offensive war; why should these burdensome and pernicious establishment be maintained? Let Christian nations abolish them, and adopt the gospel policy of forbearing benevolence, and they will be safe. The arm of Omnipotence will protect them; the crimson stream of blood, and the darker wrrent of vice will be stopped for ever.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS..
The cause of peace seeks, as its only object, the entire abolition of war. Nearly thirty years have elapsed (1844) since the origin of this movement; and here we may well pause awhile to review its progress, and see how much is already gained.
It is very difficult, however, to ascertain the exact degree of success in a cause like this. It lacks the usual criteria. It tells not of so many Bibles circulated, or so many heralds of the cross sent forth ; of so many churches gathered, or so many missionary stations established; of so many converts, or so many pledges. Such indices of progress belong not to this cause. Like leaven in bread, or sugar in fluids, it vanishes from our sight in the very act of accomplishing its purpose; and, if we would learn how much has been accomplished, we must trace, through a series of years, the gradual change of men's views, feelings, and habits on the subject of war. If they have clearer perceptions of its guilt or its evils ; if they are less inclined to abet or toleratè appeals to the sword; if they have actually abstained from such appeals longer than they had for centuries before; if there is a growing demand from the people for other means of adjusting difficulties between nations ; if the rulers of Christendom are beginning to adopt pacific expedients for the settlement of national disputes, as their permanent policy, then have we all the proofs of success which the nature of the case will admit.
Such proofs we have; and mark the change. Time was, nor long ago, when warriors received the adıniration of the world; when there was scarce an advocate of peace besides the Quakers, Moravians, and a very few others; when the idea of abolishing war was scouted as the wildest of Utopian dreams; when no press, and hardly a pulpit denounced this trade of blood as inconsistent with Christianity; when war, as an arbiter of disputes between nations, was considered as equally lawful with codes and courts of law for individuals; when ministers of the gospel, otherwise excellent, preached in favor of war, both defensive and offensive, as zealously as any one now can in support of civil government, and urged their hearers, in the language of the devout and eloquent Davies, 'to cherish a war-spirit as derived from God, as a sacred, heavenborn fire.
How altered now the tone of public sentiment. Pass through the land; traverse all Christendom; converse with every class of men; examine the various issues of the press; and at every step will you meet with views far more pacific than formerly. A change is
coming over the minds of men; and already has peace become the popular demand of the age. There is a diminished respect for men of blood, and national competition is passing from the field of battle to those departments of science, art, and industry which procure wealth, and promote refinement and happiness. Most of the standing armies of Europe are in a course of reduction, and our own States are gradually ceasing to require military drills. Every where is the art of war falling into disuse; even now is it barely tolerated as a necessary evil; and some of our legislatures are calling for measures to supersede its alleged necessity by the adoption of substitutes far better than the sword. Such substitutes popular opinion is beginning to demand ; and difficulties which would, fifty or even thirty years ago, have plunged nations instantly in blood, are now adjusted often with scarce a thought of appealing to arms. Negotiation, arbitration, and other pacific measures are actually taking the place of the sword in nine cases out of ten where it was formerly used. War has ceased to be regarded as the only arbiter of national disputes ; and the leading cabinets of Christendorn are beginning to adopt for this purpose pacific expedients as their permanent system. Already is the international policy of Christendom materially changed; and, should this policy continue much longer, it may yet suffice to keep the peace of the civilized world for ages to come.
Observe the moral machinery set at work to produce such results. In nearly every country where any enterprises of the kind can be sustained, good men are combining their efforts for the abolition of war; and these associations, embracing some of the purest and most gifted minds in Christendom, have put in operation a variety of simple yet effective means. They employ the living voice, and are sending forth lecturers. They wield the press, and are circulating pamphlets, periodicals and tracts, far and wide. They have also published volumes ; and some of these, written with singular ability, have gone to the libraries of the learned, to halls of legislation, and palaces of kings. Millions of pages on the subject of peace have, from year to year, been scattered over the best portions of Christendom, and sent occasionally into the four quarters of the globe.
Glance at the other agencies drawn into co-operation with us. We have waked the pulpit ; and thousands of ministers are now preaching peace as a part of the gospel. We have enlisted the press; and multitudes of periodicals, both religious and secular, are beginning to discuss this grand question of the world. We have also laid the claims of peace before the Christian community ; and not only individual churches, but ecclesiastical bodies representing almost every considerable denomination in our land, have passed resolves in its favor, and commended it to the sympathies, prayers and patronage of good men. We have likewise brought the subject before not a few of our higher seminaries; and in these it is attracting attention, calling forth discussion, and raising up youthful friends who may one day become its champions. In some of them, prizes have been annually given for the best essay on peace; and these essays, first delivered in public by their authors, and then sent forth to the world through some periodical, must contribute not a little to that change of popular sentiment which alone is requisite for the entire abolition of war.
Before rulers, also, have we brought the claims of this cause. On the alarm of war, we have remonstrated with them against a resort to arms, and have occasionally been successful in holding them back from bloodshed. We have shown them the possibility of superseding war by better means, and urged upon them the duty of adopting such substitutes in place of the cannon and the sword. We have petitioned them especially to obviate all necessity for war, either by incorporating in their treaties a pledge to settle their disputes in the last resort by reference to umpires mutually chosen, or by calling a congress of nations to frame a specific, authoritative code of international law, and establish an international tribunal to interpret that law, and adjust all difficulties which may arise among the great brotherhood of nations.
But popular opposition would be the surest safeguard against war; and already are the people rallying to prevent the return of this terrible scourge. Even now does their voice decide in fact the question of peace or war; nor is there a despot in Christendom that would hazard an appeal to arms without first feeling the popular pulse. There is no escape; the will of the people must be heeded; and just as fast as they are enlightened, will rulers find it difficult, if not impossible, to play any longer this game of blood at the expense of their subjects. And the people are fast getting the light requisite for this purpose. The question is before them; and already is it discussed more or less by high and low, by old and young; in the pulpit, the senate, and the forum; in literary societies, in popular lyceums, in nearly all our seminaries of learning; in volumes and pamphlets, in quarterlies and monthlies, in weekly and daily newspapers; by the farmer, the mechanic and the merchant, the citizen and the soldier.
Mark the result of these and kindred influences. After centuries of almost incessant conflict, the general peace of Europe has been preserved ever since the origin of efforts in this cause, now nearly thirty years; a longer period of rest from war than Christendom ever knew before.
These efforts have probably saved ourselves from several wars. It is impossible to tell how many dangers have been so far obviated as to keep them entirely from our knowledge; but during the last nine years, we have been in imminent exposure to war, first with France, next with Mexico, and finally with England herself. Had public opinion been what it was fisty years before, we could hardly have escaped a war in either case; but the change of sentiment through Christendom that prevented a calamity so dreadful, has resulted under God mainly from the efforts and the influences which together constitute the cause of peace. Provocations not half as great, have frequently occasioned fierce, protracted wars; and nothing but the altered views of the age, especially of the parties themselves, averted that deplorable catastrophe.
We have not room to review in detail all the cases just alluded to; but let us briefly revert to the danger of a war with Mexico. Nearly the whole South and West were calling aloud for it, and Congress was on the eve of taking measures which would have rendered it inevitable; but just at that crisis, the friends of peace petitioned our government to accept the proposal of Mexico for the settlement of their difficulties by reference to an umpire to be mutually chosen. The appeal was well-timed, and enabled the venerable John Quincy Adams, as he says himself, “ to declare to the House and the country not only my aversion to a war with Mexico, but the painful feelings with which I have seen it recommended. It will operate," he continues, " as a check on the committee to prevent their reporting any war-measure against Mexico, which they would infallibly have done, had not their disposition to it been met at the threshold. The proposal of a reference to arbitration was itself so reasonable, that no voice was heard in Congress against it; and very soon afterwards, it was conditionally accepted. This removed all immediate danger of a war; and if the petitioners of the peace societies had never rendered to their country any other service, they would have deserved the thanks of the whole nation for this."
Reflect on the importance of these results—three wars averted from our own land, and the general peace of Christendom preserved for nearly thirty years of almost incessant war that sacrificed no less than nine millions of lives, and some thirty or forty thousand millions of dollars! Is not here proof enough of the most triumphant success ? Had there been no drunkard, not a solitary case of intoxication, in our whole country for thirty years, would not such a fact alone prove the cause of temperance to have been gloriously successful ?
These results are undeniable ; but how many would fain account for them by quoting merely the general influences of civilization, and commerce, and Christianity, and popular education, and public opinion, and modern diplomacy, and recent experience of the evils inseparable from war! But if these influences are the cause of the world's peace for the last thirty years, why did they prove so utterly unsuccessful down to the very time, and become so successful ever since, and only since the time when the friends of peace began their united efforts ? Before the battle of Waterloo, was there in Christendom no civilization, no commerce, no Christianity, no pulpit or press, no popular education, no public opinion, no arts of diplomacy, no bitter experience of the evils inflicted by this master-scourge of the world? Yes; all these general influences were in existence and pretty full operation ages before. Why then did they fail to insure peace? For the same reason that the power of steam existed all over the earth thousands of years before it propelled a ship, or twirled a spindle—nobody