Page images
PDF
EPUB

• But are chaplains of no use in the army and navy ?'—They certainly may, if they will, do good by preaching other parts of the gospel ; we merely say they cannot, consistently with their office, enforce its pacific principles. If exempted from all responsibility for the war-system, and allowed freely to preach the whole truth of God, it would be perfectly proper for any minister to do this on board a man-of-war, in a camp, or on a field of battle. He might, if he would, carry the gospel to the very gates of pandemonium; but, when there, he should not shake hands with the devil, or any of his imps.

• Would you, then, have warriors without the means of grace ? Do they not need the gospel ?'—Most certainly; but it may be carried to them without encouraging any of their evil deeds. A gang of pirates need the gospel ; but would you send a minister to countenance their piracy, and pray for their success? The gospel is needed in the grog-shop and the brothel ; but would Paul have acted as a chaplain to either? If war is wrong, its chaplain, employed for its support, must countenance what the_gospel condemns; and hence his very office is unchristian. For the most part, too, it is a mere farce ; for the chaplain, sworn to obey his superior, and compelled to do so, or quit the service, is seldom allowed to pursue his own course. He can neither preach, nor pray, nor converse with the soldiers, except by permission from his commander, generally an irreligious man. One sermon fifteen minutes long on the Sabbath, a short burial service over the dead, now and then a prayer-how much good can this do? Yet such, for the most part, are war-chaplaincies, little better than mockeries, a stealing of heaven's mantle to cover or sanctify deeds of hell.

*How, then, shall we treat war?'—Just as you would the twin practice of duelling. Should two duellists meet to blow out each other's brains, would you appoint chaplains on each side to encourage them, and ask their common God to take part in the bloody affray ? Yet might you pray about it. Do you ask how ? Pray against the whole thing as utterly wrong, and beseech God to hold the combatants back from blood, and bring them to a fraternal adjustment, and the custom itself to a speedy end. Thus, and only thus, can we pray aright on the subject of war.

Far be it from us to sit in judgment on chaplains or soldiers. We doubt not there have been, and still are, real Christians among them. We judge not the men ; we merely condemn their business as unchristian. So the gospel itself does; so common sense is fast coming to do; and posterity will yet look back, and wonder how any ambassador or disciple of the Prince of Peace could ever have lent himself to such a libel of blood on his peaceful religion. Would

you

have war cease? It never can so long as Christians support it by their prayers.

AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.

CLAIMS OF PEACE ON WOMEN.

WOMEN are so much inclined to excuse themselves from the cause of peace, that I would fain expostulate with them on the subject. I know too well how they reason; for I once had the same views myself, and used to say, as most of my sex still do, • women have little or no concern with this matter. We are peaceable enough ourselves, we never go forth to battle; nor can we, by any personal share in the government, by our votes at the ballot-box, or our voice before the public, affect the question of peace or war in any case. It belongs entirely to men; and we leave it in their hands. They alone make war; it is theirs, if they will, to secure peace.'

This reasoning is quite plausible; but, having myself seen its fallacy, I must entreat my sisters to pause and reflect before they turn their backs upon a cause so important to the whole human race. Are your sympathies in their behalf less tender, less generous than those of the sterner sex? Care you not for their weal or their wo? War has ever been their direst scourge; and are you willing to fold your hands, and let it still roll its deluge of crime, and blood, and tears over myriads after myriads of future victims? Feel you no interest in the race to which you belong ; none in the country where you dwell; none in the friends endeared to your hearts, in your husbands and your children, your parents, brothers and sisters, all of whom are exposed to the evils of war? Tell me not you deplore the continuance of this custom, but can do nothing to restrain its ravages. Woman do nothing! Does she exert no influence with God or man? Have you no access by prayer to the mercy-seat of Him who hath the hearts of all entirely in his hand ? Have you no influence over the men around you; none over your father or your brothers, your husband or your sons? Have you no pen to write, no tongue to speak, no example to set, no spirit of your own to infuse into those around you? Have you not contributed, do you not still contribute, your full share of influence to form and continue the wrong public sentiment which alone sustains the anti-christian, barbarous custom of war even under the full blaze of the gospel? Can you not change this influence, and throw it into the scale of peace ?

But let us see how we reason on kindred topics. Men alone carried on the slave-trade; but did that fact hold the women of England back from efforts for the abolition of that accursed traffic in the bodies and souls of men? Did the wives, the mothers, the daughters of our father-land say, “men, not women, are engaged in this nefarious business, and they alone should put a stop to it? We have no control over it, no responsibility for it; and, though we

P. T.

NO, XXXVII.

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 the 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 ; is 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 sex as 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 I blush 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 savage 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, Lumourier 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 'j'ennessee 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 Alınighty to crown him with triumph, but promising him, 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

« PreviousContinue »