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It will be refreshing to the minds of those engaged in the asperities of political contention, occasionally to turn their thoughts to the movements which have for their object the pacification of the embattled world. Though, to them, the day when “the sword shall be beaten into the ploughshare” may appear far distant, they will rejoice to have presented to them the possibility of a higher and holier state than the world has ever yet exhibited ; they will rejoice to turn from “the wrong and outrage with which earth is filled,” to bring home the time when men shall learn war no more for ever.

The Peace Movement, at the worst, is looked upon as a harmless abstraction. It has to encounter the indifference rather than the enmity of the world. Unlike other reforms, it does not array our selfishness against it. No one would if he could restrain the tongue or pen of its advocates. Fighting is not loved for fighting's sake. War, by reflecting men, is looked upon but as a choice of evils; as a sad necessity; as the scourge of God upon the guilty nations. It is not now pretended that it brings any blessing in its train ; if it ward off some greater evil, it has accomplished the only good result claimed for it even by the most belligerent. The day has gone by when it was classed with the natural evils, with the earthquake and the storm. It is felt to be a moral evil, the consequence of bitter selfishness, the product of the lusts and passions of men. In itself, for itself, war has now no friends; peace and the peacemakers no enemies. Every one is therefore prepared, not only to listen attentively to the advocates of peace, but to reverence those who have fully imbued their own

hearts with the mild, and forgiving, and self-sacrificing principles which they advocate ; especially if they manifest a trustful confidence in man, and a firm faith in the ultimate spread of the truth. The enthusiasm and the high moral aims of such men endear them to us. We love them for their faith, their hope, their zeal, and bid them ‘God speed in their attempts to lessen the miseries of the world, and to take from off the neck of the people every yoke, save that yoke which is light and easy to be borne. We cannot help admitting, that if unsuccessful in the one great ultimate object, they labor not in vain ; that if they fail to show us the sun of righteousness already risen, they point us to the purple sky of the east, which betokens a brighter light beneath the horizon, and which is already dissipating the mists and darkness of the night.

To this subject we have long desired to invite the attention of the readers of the Democratic Review. Let us in the first place fix it on the extent of the evil against which the advocates of the Peace Movement contend; let us endeavor to estimate the mag. nitude of their object, by tracing out some of the consequences of the martial spirit, which in former times reigned in every heart, and which even now, though weakened, retains its dominion. Look to England; the supposed prosperity of this nation is believed to be the result of her military spirit. She has been almost continually, from the Norman conquest down to the present time, in conflict with some other nation. Her military posts raise themselves up in defiance all over the broad surface of the earth; her floating batteries trouble the waters of the whole world. Her military spirit has gone north and south, and east and west, for conquest. The blood of her sons has moistened every soil, the bones of her children have whitened every land.

that she may protect her trade, her warlike energy is employed in the slaughter of the peaceful Chinese! Has not the same spirit which fired the blood of the northern savage, when he overran the island now the “mistress of the ocean," continued to manifest itself through generation after generation to the present day? Is it not the love of conquest, seeking good for itself by the destruction of others, which has thus acquired and retained dominion over the remotest parts of the earth? Unlovely as is this trait of char. acter, pirate-like, robber-like as it is, opposed directly to the selfsacrificing spirit of Christianity, till of late few have been so bold as to question it.

We allude not invidiously to England; we have selected her for an example, because it is easier to see the mist which hangs

Even now,

over others, than that in which we are ourselves enveloped. The same red stream flows in our veins, and this Anglo-Saxon blood is pre-eminent in the annals of warfare. We vaunt ourselves that we are as skilful in shedding blood, and as ready and willing to encounter a foe on the field of battle, as the most warlike. Our homes in this land are mainly by conquest; we fought side by side with England as her colonies; the birth-throe of our nation was in the field of blood; the martial spirit was revived in our last contest with England; and even now there are many among us ready to “let slip the dogs of war” for a narrow strip of waste land on our eastern borders. Could we see ourselves as others see us, we need not look abroad for an instance of the deep imbuing of the spirit of war.

In fact, though the Anglo-Saxon race are lovers of the fight to a degree unsurpassed by any other, the martial spirit has been the master of the civilized world, looking down upon the lives and happiness of the common people as of no worth, regarding them as but the counters in the game. The nations of Europe can hardly be considered as ever at peace.

Their nominal peace is but as a truce between contending armies, that they may rest a while and bury their dead; continuing to stand face to face, ready at the signal to rush forward for the destruction of each other. There is no peace for the nations confronting each other with vast armaments, each jealous of its national "glory," proud of its strength to rend and destroy. It is never a settled calm with them. There is nothing to bind down into subjection the conflicting elements. Even when the sun shines out over them, when the storm is hushed, the thick dark clouds still skirt the horizon; let the wind but change, and the whole heavens are hung with darkness. Whether the battle rage or not, is beyond human control. It depends on accident. A mistake in diplomacy, the irritable temper of some public functionary, the caprice of the leader of a party, a mob on the frontier, a foolish mistake of a navy officer, will pronounce the sentence of death upon hundreds of thousands, cause the widow's groan and the orphan's cry. The lusts of the Corsican yoked seventeen populous nations to the battlecar. Human life and human happiness thus, as it were, rest on the turn of the die. There is no security for man. He holds all that he values subject to the will, to the vices, to the mistakes of a few! It is against this galling aristocracy, this worst of despot, ism, that the advocate for peace contends. He would deliver the world from this abject bondage, and throw down the altars of this blind butcher-god, whose murdered victims have been as countless as the sands

upon

the sea-shore.

1

was war

way of

We can readily see how the world has been made subject to the sword. The slavery of the people has descended from generation to generation. The occupation of our far-off ancestors

the destruction of human life; their favorite amusement was hunting—the shedding of the blood of animals. The thirst for blood, child after child, was drawn in with the mother's milk, stimulated by nursery rhymes, inflamed in early youth by a warlike literature. The sword was the ornament for the gentleman ; the use of it, the only means of distinction. The song of the poet, the smile of beauty, the favor of the king, the blessing of the priest, the applause of the multitude, completed the work of hardening men's hearts, so that they could seek to destroy each other, on any occasion, whenever and wherever the leaders deemed it for their interest that the work of death should begin. This has continued for ages as if there was no escape from the curse.

It has been submitted to as a pestilence that could not be overcome, as a plague that could not be stayed ; nay, not only submitted to, but, catching the ferocity one man from another, by appeals to their patriotism, their chivalry, their contempt of danger, they were made to delight in the carnage of the fight.

Even Christianity has been harnessed to the war-chariot ; the religion which with her first breath proclaimed good-will to man, which was nurtured and strengthened by the blood of martyrs who sacrificed their own lives for others' good,—which ever spoke in accents of universal love, saying, If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he be athirst, give him drink,—this faith of love and mercy, of meekness and charity, has been forced, with unwilling lips, to bless those on whom resteth the curse of God--those who are “swift to shed blood.” Nay, nay! man never has had the boldness thus wholly to corrupt the truth. It is only the war of selfdefence, of national protection, over which the pure white robe of Christianity has been thrown. Thus saith the priest—but the soldier has stretched his Christian right to battle, to cover his deeds, whether he fought at home or abroad, to attack or repel, whether he contended with his own countryman or with the foreigner, with his next door neighbor or the far-off Indian, on any ground, for any purpose.

And none spoke to him of the wrong there came no voice of warning to his ears. The priest was silent-how could he speak? Was not his very church hung with the trophies of war ?

It is true that George Fox and his peaceful followers, and some other small sects, have lifted up their voices against war.

They eradicated from their own breasts the military spirit. But these men were of the people, of narrow views, and of plebeian blood. They were despised and looked down upon. Their light could not penetrate the camp, or throw its rays upon the council board. Individuals, isolated men, in every age, have also written and spoken against the horrors of war, and of the opposition of the martial spirit to the spirit of Christ. But in vain. The still small voice was overwhelmed by the shouts and the thunders of the battle-field.

In our own country, Benjamin Franklin has the high distinction of being the first advocate of peace, of being perhaps the first statesman in the whole world, who publicly and forcibly attempted to stem the tide of opinion, and to bear down on the custom of war.

He had seen its horrors in the battles of the Revolution, he deplored the mad passions which they excited, and mourned over the wide-spread desolation of this sanguinary contest, and declared that the time would come, when men would no longer thus butcher each other. His sagacity and practical wisdom anticipated the movement of these latter days. We refer for proof, that he had raised himself far above the common tone on the subject of war, to his correspondence with David Hartly, the British minister. It is full of the zeal and philanthropy of the peace-reformer. The following are extracts :-“I received your favor of the 20th Sept., containing your very judicious proposition for securing the spectators in the play-house from the danger of fire.

But what are the lives of a few idle haunters of play-houses compared with the many thousands of worthy men, and of honest industrious families, destroyed by this devilish war! O that we could find some invention to stop the spreading of the flames, and to put an end to so horrid a conflagration.” Again he speaks of means to make treaties more durable ; still further, in a letter to Hartly, he says: “What think you of a proposition, if I should make it, of a family compact between England, France, and America. America would be indeed happy, if she could be the means of uniting in perpetual peace her father and her husband. What repeated follies are these repeated wars! You cannot want to conquer or govern each other ; why then be continually employed in injuring and destroying each other. How many excellent things might have been done to promote the internal welfare of each country; what bridges, roads, canals, and other useful public works, tending to the common felicity, might have been made and established with the money and men foolishly spent during the last seven centuries, by our mad wars in doing

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