Page images
PDF
EPUB

other, but would have tendered to the hand of a surviving soldier, invo. each other their assistance if called king death as the only respite from for. But a red coat or a blue coat, a excruciating torments. But this is tri-colored or a two-colored cockade, is not all, for the tidings are at length their only introduction to each other, carried to their respective homes. and the signal that they must kill, or Then come the enduring wail of be killed ! If they think at all, they widows and orphans—the screams must feel that there is no personal and the anguish of mothers and sisalienation, or wrong, or variance be- ters deprived for ever of the consolatween them. But they are paid so tions and hopes that clustered round much for the job - and they go to the return of those so dear to them, work, as the day-laborer, to earn his that have perished in the conflict. shilling. Need I ask how could a But even these are not the most Christian man thus volunteer his ser- fearful desolations of war. Where vices, or hire himself out for so paltry now are the 200,000 lost by England a sum, or for any sum, to kill to order in our revolutionary war ? — the his own brother man who never of- 70,000 lost by her at Waterloo and fended him in word or deed ? What Quatre Bras ?-the 80,000 at Boroan infatuation! What consummate dino ?-the 300,000 at Arbela ?-or folly and wickedness! Well did Na- where the 15,000,000 Goths destroypoleon say— " War is the trade of ed by Justinian in twenty years ?Barbarians ;” and his conqueror, the 32,000,000 by Jenghiz Khan in Wellington " Men of nice scruples forty-one years ? — the 60,000,000 about religion have no business in the slain by the Turks ?-the 80,000,000 army or navy.” The horrors of war by the Tartars, hurried away to judgonly enhance the guilt of it; and ment in a paroxysm of wrath, amid these, alas ! no one can depict in all the fury of the passions ? What can their hideous forms.

we think of their eternal destiny !* By the “horrors of war,” I do not Besides all these, how many have mean the lightning and the thunder died in captivity! How many an of the battle-field—the blackness and unfortunate exile or captive might, darkness of those dismal clouds of with a French prisoner, sing of woes smoke, which, like death's own pall, like these, or even greater ! shroud the encounter ; it is not the

“ I dwelt upon the willowy banks of Loire: continual roar of its cannon, nor the

I married one who from my boyish days agonizing shrieks and groans of fallen Had been my playmate. One morn, I'll ue'er forget, battalions-of wounded and dying

While choosing out the fairest twigs

To warp a cradle for our child unborn, legions ; nor is it, at the close of the

We heard the tidings that the conscript lot day, the battle-field itself, covered Had fallen on me. It came like a death knell! with the gore and scattered limbs of The mother perished; but the babe survived; butchered myriads, with here and

And, ere my parting day, his rocking couch

I made complete; and saw him, sleeping, smile, there a pile, a mountain heap of slain

The smile that played erst on the cheek of her heroes in the fatal pass, mingled with Who lay clay-cold. Alas! the hour soon came the wreck of broken arms, lances,

That forced my fettered arms to quit my child;

And whether now he lives to deck with flowers helmets, swords, and shattered fire

The sod upon his mother's grave, or lies arms, amidst the pavement of fallen

Beneath it by her side, I ne'er could learn. balls that have completed the work I think he's gone: and now I only wish of destruction, numerous as hailstones

For liberty and home, that I may see,

And stretch myself and uie upon their grave !" after the fury of the storm ; nor, amidst these, the sight of the wound But these, multiplied by myriads, ed lying upon one another, weltering are but specimens of the countless in their blood, imploring assistance,

" War, a Destroyer of Souls,” a Tract of the importuning an end of their woes by

Peace Society.

millions slain, the solitary exiles, the the halo of false glory thrown around lonely captives. They tell the least these worshipped heroes! See them portion of the miseries of war. Yet gazing with admiration on the “ tineven these all say to the Christian, selled trappings,” the “ embroidered how can you become a soldier ?- ensigns” of him whose profession it is how countenance and aid this horri- to make widows and orphans by ble work of death ?

wholesale! Sometimes their hands For my own part, and I am not are withdrawn from works of charity alone in this opinion, I think that its to decorate the warrior's banners, moral desolations cap the climax of and to cater to these false notions of the horrors of war. And amongst human glory! Behold, too, the these, I do not assign the highest young mother arraying her proud boy place to the vulgar profanity, brutal- “ with cap and feather, toyed with ity, and debauchery of the mere sol- a drum and sword, training him for dier, the professional and licensed the admired profession of a manbutcher of mankind, who, for his killer !" eight dollars a month, or his ten sous This is not all. It is not only at per day, hires himself to lay waste a home, in the nursery and infant country, to pillage, burn, and destroy school, that this false spirit is inspired. the peaceful hamlet, the cheerful vil. Our schools, our academies, our collage, or the magnificent city ; and to leges echo and re-echo with the fame harrass, wound, and destroy his fellow- of an Alexander, a Cæsar, a Napoman, for no other consideration than leon, a Wellington. Forensic elohis paltry wages, his daily rations, and quence is also full of the fame of great the infernal pleasure of doing it, an- heroes, of military chieftains, of paticipating hereafter “ the stupid stares triotic deliverers, whose memory must and loud huzzas” of monsters as inhu- be kept for ever verdant in the affecman and heartless as himself. And tions of a grateful posterity, redeemed were it not for the infatuation of by their patriotism, or rescued from public opinion and popular applause, oppression by their valour. I would place not far from him, as no ! The pulpit, too, must lend its aid less to be condemned, though more in cherishing the delusion. There is admired, the 'vain and pompous vo- not unfrequently heard a eulogium on lunteer, who for his country, “ right some fallen hero—some church seror wrong," hastens to the theatre of vice for the mighty dead, thus desewar for the mere plaudits of admi- crating the religion of the Prince of ring multitudes, ready to cover him- Peace, by causing it to minister as self with glory, because he has aided the handmaid of war. Not only an aspirant to a throne, or paved the prayers are offered up by pensioned way to his own election to reign over chaplains on both sides of the field, an humbled and degraded people. even amid the din of arms; but,

I make great allowance for false Sabbath after Sabbath, for years and education, for bad taste, for the con- years, have the pulpits on one side of tagion of vicious example ; still I a sea or river, and those on the other cannot view those deluded by such side, resounded with prayers for the sophistry, however good their motives, success of rival armies, as if God as deserving anything from contem- could hear them both, and make each poraries or posterity, except their triumphant over the other, guiding compassion and forgiveness. Yet and commissioning swords and bullets behold its influence on mothers, sis to the heads and hearts of their reters, and relatives—note its contagion, pective enemies ! its corruption of public taste. See And not only this ; but even the the softer sex allured, fascinated with churches in the Old World, and some

times in the New, are ornamented with mies, turns the connsels and wishes of more military heroes than saints- kings as he turns the rivers ; but Generals, Admirals, and Captains, never condescends to legislate for the who “gallantly fought” and “glori- bodies of men, or their goods and ously expired” in the service of their chattels, who withhold from him their country. It is not only in Westmin-conscience and their hearts. He anster Abbey or in St. Paul's that we nounces the fact that it is by his perread their glory, and see their statues ; mission, not always with his approbabut even in some of our own cities we tion, that kings do reign and that find St. Paul driven out of the church princes decree justice, and commands to make room for Generals and Com- his people politically to obey their modores renowned in fight. And last rulers and to respect the ordinance of of all, in consummation of the moral kings, that " they may lead quiet and desolation of war, we sometimes have peaceable lives, in all godliness and an illumination-even a thanksgiving, honesty." And where the Christian rejoicing that God has caused ten or gospel comes to kings and rulers, it twenty thousand of our enemies to be addresses them as men in common sent down to Tartarus—and has made with other men, commanding them to myriads of widows and orphans at the repent of their sins, to submit to his bidding of some chieftain, or of some government, and to discharge their aspirant to a throne.

relative duties according to the moBut it would be long to tell the in- rality and piety inculcated in his own consistencies of the present Christian code. If they do, they are a blessing world on this single subject of war, or to his people, as well as an honor to to trace to their proper fountains the themselves. If they do not, he will general misconceptions of the people hold them to a reckoning as other on their political duties, and that of men, from which there is neither governments. This would be the escape nor appeal. What Cowper work of volumes-not of a single ad- says is as true of kings as of their dress. The most enlightened of our subjectsecclesiastic leaders seem to think that “War is a game that, were their subjects wise, Jesus Christ governs the nations as Kings would not play at.” God governed the Jews. They can- For, were both kings and people wise, not separate, even in this land, the wars would cease, and nations would Church and State. For yet they ask learn war no more. for a Christian national code.

But how are all national disputes If the world were under a politico- to be settled ? Philosophy, history, the ecclesiastic King or President, it Bible teach that all disputes, miswould, indeed, be hard to find a model understandings, alienations, are to be for him in the New Testament. Suf- settled, heard, tried, adjudicated by fice it to remark, that the church, and impartial, that is, by disinterested the church only, is under the special umpires. No man is admitted to be a government and guardianship of our proper judge in his own case. Wars Christian King. The nation, or those never make amicable settlements, and not in the church, not owning Jesus seldom, if ever, just decisions of points Christ, he owns not them; he leaves at issue. We are obliged to offer them to themselves to make their own preliminaries of peace at last. Nations institutions, as God anciently did all must meet by their representatives, nations but the Jews. He holds them stipulate and re-stipulate, hear and anin abeyance; and, as in Providence, swer, compare and decide. so in government, he makes all things In modern times we terminate hoswork together for the good of his peo- tilities by a treaty of peace. We do ple, restrains the wrath of their ene- not make peace with powder and lead. It is done by reason, reflection, tenuation of the wars of Christendom. and negociation. Why not employ Th ociation Why not emnlar The Jews had a divine precept and author

ity: no existing nation can produce such these first?

Du 1 s anegeu mal a warrant.

But it is alleged that war has long been, and must always III. The prophecies clearly indicate that be, the uliima ratio regium—the last the Messiah himself would be "The Prince resort of those in power. hose in never for ages of Prace," and that under his reign“ wars

For ages!

should cease," and “nations study it no a Father Inquisitor was the strong

more.” argument for orthodoxy; but light has IV. The gospel, as first announced by gone abroad, and he has lost his power. the angels, is a message which results in Illuminate the human mind on this producing “peace on earth and good will

among men.” subject also, create a more rational

y. The precepts of Christianity posiand humane public opinion ; and tively inhibit war-by showing that“ wars wars, too, will cease.

and fightings come from men's lusts” and But it is alleged all will not yield' evil passions, and by commanding Chris

tians to “ follow peace with all men.to reason or justice. There must be

VI. The beatitudes of Christ are not compulsion. Is war the only com pronounced on patriots, heroes, and conpulsory measure? Is there no legal querors; but on "peace makers," on whom compulsion ? Must all personal mis

is conferred the highest rank and title in

the universe—" Blessed are the PEACEunderstandings be settled by the

MAKERS, for they shall be called the sons sword ?

of God." Why not have a by-law-established VII. The folly of war is manifest in the Umpire ? Could not a united Na

following particulars :

1st. It never can be the criterion of justional Court be made as feasible and

tice or a proof of right. practicable as á United States Court? 2nd. It can never be a satisfactory end of Why not, as often proposed, and as the controversy. eloquently, ably, and humanely argued

3rd. Peace is always the result of nego

ciation, and treaties are its guarantee and by the advocates of peace, have a

pledge. Congress of Nations and a High VIII. The wickedness of war is demonCourt of Nations, for adjudicating strated in the following particulars :and terminating all international mis

Ist. Those who are engaged in killing

their brethren, for the most part, have no understandings and complaints, re

personal cause of provocation whatever. dressing and remedying all wrongs 2nd. They seldom, or ever, comprehend and grievances ?

the right or the wrong of the war. They, There is not, as it appears to me, a

therefore, act without the approbation of

conscience. physical or a rational difficulty in the

3rd. In all wars, the innocent are puway. But I do not now argue the nished with the guilty. case ; I merely suggest this expe 4th. They constrain the soldier to do dient, and will always vote corre

for the state that, which, were he to do in

his own case, the state would condemn spondingly, for reasons as good and him to death. as relevant, as I conceive them to be 5th. They are the pioneers of all other humane and beneficial.

evils of society, both moral and physical. To sum up the whole, we argue

In the language of Lord Brougham

“Peace, peace, PEACH! I abominate war I. The right to take away the life of the as unchristian. I hold it the greatest of murderer does not of itself warrant war, human curses. I deem it to include all inasmuch as in that case none but the others — violence, blood, rapine, fraud, guilty suffer; whereas in war the innocent everything that can deform the character, suffer not only with, but often without the alter the nature, and debase the name of guilty. The guilty generally make war man.” Or, with Joseph Bonaparte and the innocent suffer the consequences. | “ War is but organized barbarism-an in

II. The right given to the Jews to wage heritance of the savage state.” With war is not vouchsafed to any other nation; Franklin I, therefore, conclude, “ There for they were, under a theocracy, and were never was a good war, or a bad peace." God's sheriff to punish nations : consequently no Christian can argue from the

No wonder, then, that for two or wars of the Jews in justification or in ex- | three centuries after Christ, all Chris

tians refused to bear arms. So de- with the comparatively few facts that pose Justin Martyr, Tatian, Clemens I have collected, I must confess that of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, &c. I both wonder at myself, and am

In addition to all these considera- ashamed to think that I have not tions, I farther say, were I not a spoken out my views, nor ever before Christian, as a political economist I written an essay on this subject. True, would plead this cause. Apart from I had. indeed, no apprehension of the mere claims of humanity, I would ever again seeing, or even hearing of urge it on the ground of political a war in the United States. It came economy..

upon me so suddenly, and it so soon Give me the money, I would say, became a party question, that, prethat has been spent in wars, and I serving as I do, a strict neutrality bewill clear up every acre of land in the tween party politics, both in my oral world that ought to be cleared-drain and written addresses on all subjects, every marsh-subdue every desert– I could not for a time decide whether fertilize every mountain and hill — to speak out or be silent. I finally and convert the whole earth into a determined not to touch the subject continuous series of fruitful fields, until the war was over. Presuming verdant meadows, beautiful villas, that time to have arrived, and rehamlets, towns, cities, standing along solving that my first essay from my smooth and comfortable highways and regular course, at any foreign point, canals, in the midst of luxuriant and | should be on this subject; and no fruitful orchards, vineyards, and gar- other reason whatever, has been the dens, full of all fruits and flowers, occasion of my now calling your atredolent, and rich, and beautiful, with tention, ladies and gentlemen, to the all that pleases the eye and regales subject. I am sorry to think-very the senses of man. I would found, sorry, indeed, to be only of the opinion, furnish, and endow as many schools, | that probably even this much pubacademies, and colleges, as would lished by me some three years, or even educate the whole human race-build | two years ago, might have saved some meeting-houses, public halls, lyceums, lives that have been thrown away in and furnish them with libraries ade- | the desert-some hot-brained youths, quate to the wants of a thousand " Whose limbs, unburied on the shore. millions of human beings.

Devouring dogs or hungry vultures tore.” Beat your swords into plough- We have all much interest in the shares, your spears into pruning- question—we can all do something in hooks — convert your war-ships into | it, and it is every one's duty to do all missionary packets — your arsenals the good he can. We must create a and munitions of war into Bibles, public opinion on this subject. We school-books, teachers, and professors should inspire a pacific spirit, and of literature, science, and art; and show off on all proper occasions the then ask-- What would be wanting on chief objections to war. In the lanthe part of man to “ make the wilder- | guage of the eloquent Grimke, we ness and solitarý place glad ”—to must show that “ the great objection cause “ the desert to rejoice and to war is not so much the number of blossom as the rose ”— to make our lives and the amount of property it hills “ like Carmel and Sharon," and destroys, as its moral influence on our valleys as the “garden of God ?" | nations and individuals. It creates All this being done, I would doubtless and perpetuates national jealousy, have a surplus for some new enter- fear, hatred, and envy. It arrogates prise.

to itself the prerogative of the Creator On reviewing the subject, only in alone, to involve the innocent multithe few points that I have made, and 'tude in the punishment of the guilty

HH

« PreviousContinue »