« PreviousContinue »
Little need be said by way of preface to the volume comprising my second series of Essays on Peace & War, especially as my first number was written for an introduction. The edition of the first series is nearly disposed of, and a very large second edition has just issued from the Press. The public continue to receive my effusions, at least, with indulgence, if not with approbation. The principles of Peace are rapidly spreading throughout all Christendom,--many new Peace Societies have been instituted during the last year, both in Europe and America ; and many individuals have come out boldly in qur cause, who give us their countenance and assistance, but, for reasons best known to themselves, do not join our Society, and though we have to bear the jests and sneers of those characters, who always ridicule great and benevolent undertakings, until they become popular, there is no serious opposition, nor any one found, who is willing to risk the imputation of idiocy or insanity, by seriously defending the custom of War and deprecating Peace. Still the books on the subject are few---very few ; and it is for the purpose
of increasing the number, that I have consented to have my poor, desultory Essays printed in a volume, and circulated until they shall be superseded by regular treatises on the great topic of Peace & War, written by abler hands. I know that these Essays, weak and inadequate as they are; have had the effect of changing the opinions of many, not only as to the folly and wickedness of the custom of War, but also, as to the probability of its final abolition, and thus have, themselves, been in a degree, instrumental in hastening “ a consummation so devoutly to be wished.” It is presumed that the effect will not be less, but greater, by uniting these fugitive pieces in a volume,--for, although the connection is not so intimate, but that they may read separately, yet they mutually support and strengthen each other.If my feeble exertions shall in any way adyance the great cause of“ peace on earth and good will to man,” which brought the Savior from Heaven, the small space I have filled in existence will not be left a blank, and my fellow creatures will be benefitted more than they could be in any other way by
July 4th, 1827. PHILANTHROPOS.
INTRODUCTION. MR. EDITOR,
Finding myself now at leisure, and that there has been but little in your paper on the subject of Peace and War since my last number, I consider it to be my duty to resume my labours. I am encouraged to do this, by information that a fulfilment of my promise has been called for, and from the favourable reception my essays have met with in the Northern and Middle States, where they have been frequently reprinted with marks of approbation; so that I have reason to think that my labours have not been in vain, and that I have not spent my strength for naught.
A further inducement for me to continue my lucubrations is the paucity of books and writings, on permanent and universal peace. It is difficult to write on self-evident propositions and generally acknowledged truths; and no truth has been more generally acknowledged, than that a spirit of war is in direct opposition to the spirit of the gospel. For this reason the greater part of the Christian world have thought it unnecessary to write or read on the subject. But though they acknowledge our principles, they deny our conclusions, and continue to practise in particular cases what they know to be wrong as a general rule. Much however has been written within a few years, and with great effect, in the cause of Peace. Yet the subject is far from being exhausted. I have not the vanity to suppose that my writings can bear a comparison with those works of genius which have been already published on this subject, and which are periodically ushered into public notice : yet my essays may meet the eye which never rested on any other productions of a similar nature, and may be the means of introducing better works to those who else would never have thought of them. It is an advantage to have truth presented in a variety of ways. What might please one would perhaps disgust another; and a short essay might arrest the attention of him who never thought of reading a treatise on the same subject. I do not know that any other friend of peace, has, in this country, undertaken to write a series of essays for a newspaper, though many excellent communications on that topic, have been, by means of periodical publications and addresses, laid before the public.
My first numbers were published in a regular series, for which the plan was arranged in my own mind, but never divulged for fear that I might not be borne along by the approbation of the public; and I thus left myself at liberty to drop the subject, when I should find it no longer useful to continue it.
My future communications will have no regular order, and will only appear at intervals, that I may not tire any class of readers. They will consist of such communications and hints as I may receive from respected friends-of thoughts, which came into my own mind when the time of their being placed in regular order with the series had elapsed—and such ideas as may yet be suggested by passing circumstances and events.