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The Inaugural Address - Arguments against War. 27 when the arts of peace have attained the highest perfection, and when science has brought into personal communion nations the most distant, and races the most unfriendly. But it is more inexplicable still, that war should exist where Christianity has for nearly 2000 years been shedding its gentle light, and that it should be defended by arguments drawn from the Scriptures themselves. If the sure word of prophecy has told us that the time must come when men shall learn the art of war no more, it is doubtless our duty, and it shall be our work, to hasten its fulfilment, and upon the anvil of Christian truth, and with the brawny arm of indignant reason, to beat the sword into the ploughshare, and the spear into the pruning-hook. I am ashamed, in a Christian community, to defend on Christian principles the cause of universal peace. He who proclaimed peace on earth and goodwill to man; who commands us to love our enemies, and to do good to them who despitefully use us and persecute us; he who counsels us to hold up the left cheek when the right is smitten, will never acknowledge as disciples, or admit into his immortal family, the sovereign or the minister who shall send the fiery cross over tranquil Europe, and summon the bloodhounds of war to settle the disputes and gratify the animosities of nations."
After alluding to the adhesion of the Archbishop of Paris, and the opinion of Bishop Porteous, he remarks :
“ War is, by its friends, deemed a condition of man in his state of trial. It has, they allege, been part of the Divine government for six thousand years, and it will, therefore, continue till that government has ceased. It is, consequently, as they argue, wholly Utopian to attempt to subvert what is a law of Providence, and what seems part and parcel of our fallen nature. If the combativeness of man, as evinced in his history, is thus a necessary condition of his humanity, and is for ever to have its issue in war, his superstition, his credulity, his ignorance, his lust for power, must also be perpetuated in the institutions to which they have given birth. Where, then, are the orgies, the saturnalia of ancient times, the gods who were invoked, and the temples where they were worshipped ? Like war, they were the condition of an infant race, and have disappeared in the blaze of advancing civilisation. The game of credulity, the condition of early science, and the sphere of the magician, the conjuror, and the alchemist, has, like that of superstition, been played, and the truths which once administered to imposture have become the sources of wealth and the means of happiness. The game of ignorance, also, has been played, and the schoolmaster has buckled on his armour to replace it with knowledge and with virtue. The game of slavery, too, has nearly been played--that monstrous condition of humanity which statesmen still living hold to be inseparable from social life, and which men, still called Christians, defend from Scripture. The game of duelling -the game of personal war, in which false honour and morbid feeling make their appeals to arms, and which was not only defended but practised by Christians—has likewise been played; and even the soldier, who was supposed to have a prescriptive title to its use, has willingly surrendered his right of homicide and manslaughter. Is it Utopian, then, to attempt to put an end to war? If personal and local feuds have been made amenable to law-if the border wars of once hostile kingdoms have been abolished by their union—if nations have successfully combined to maintain the balance of European power by their armies—if, in our own day, an alliance called holy has been organized to put down revolution in individual states, and maintain the principle of order—why may not the same great powers again combine to enforce peace as well as order, and to chastise the first audacious nation that ventures to disturb the tranquillity of Europe ? The principle of this Congress, to settle national disputes by arbitration, has, to a certain extent, been adopted by existing powers, both monarchical and republican; and it is surely neither chimerical nor officious to make such a system universal among the very nations that have themselves partially adopted it. If these views have reason and justice on their side, their final triumph cannot be distant. The cause of peace has made, and is making, rapid progress. The most distinguished men of all nations are lending it their aid. The illustrious Humboldt, the chief of the republic of letters, whom I am proud to call my friend, has addressed to the Congress of Frankfort a letter of sympathy and adhesion. He tells us that our institution is a step in the life of nations, and that under the protection of a superior power, it will at length find its cons
nsummation. He recalls to us the noble expression of a statesman long departed,' that the idea of humanity is becoming more and more prominent, and is everywhere proclaiming its animating power. Other glorious names sanction our cause. Several French statesmen, and many of the most distinguished members of the Institute, have joined our alliance. The Catholic and the Protestant clergy of Paris are animated in the sacred cause, and the most illustrious of its poets have brought to us the willing tribute of their genius. The philosophers and divines of Germany, too, have given us their sympathy and support; and in America, every man that thinks is a friend of universal peace.” After pointing out the security and amelioration which
property will derive from peace, he says :
“ With war will cease its expenditure. National prosperity will follow national security. The arts of peace will flourish as the arts of war decay. Science and the arts, in thus acquiring new intellectual strength, will make new conquests over matter, and give new powers to mind. The minister, who now refuses to science its inalienable rights, and grudges even the crumbs which fall from his niggardly board, will then open the nation's purse to advance the nation's glory. Education, too, will then dispense its blessings through a wider range, and Religion, within its own hallowed sphere, will pursue its labours of love and truth, in imitation of its blessed Master.”
He then described the Exhibition in the Crystal Palace, and its influence in preserving peace, and concluded thus :
Addresses from Sheffield and Dunfermline.
“ The grand truth, indeed, which this lesson involves, is recorded in bronze on the prize medal by which the genius of the exhibitors is to be rewarded. Round the head of Prince Albert, to whose talent and moral courage we owe the Exposition of 1851, and addressed to us in his name, is the noble sentiment—Dissociata in locis concordi Pace ligavi.' It will, indeed, be the noblest result of the Prince's labours, if they shall effect among nations what they have already done among individuals, the removal of jealousies that are temporary, and the establishment of friendships that are enduring. Nations are composed of individuals, and that kindness and humanity which adorn the single heart, cannot be real if they disappear in the united sentiment of nations. We cannot readily believe that nations which have embraced each other in social intercourse, and in the interchange of professional knowledge, will recognise any other object of rivalry and ambition than a superiority in the arts of peace. It is not likely that men who have admired each other's genius, and have united in giving a just judgment on rival inventions, will ever again concur in referring questions of national honour to the arbitrament of the sword. If, in the material works, the most repulsive elements may be permanently compressed within their sphere of mutual attraction; if, in the world of instinct, natures the most ferocious may be softened and even tamed when driven into a common retreat by their deadliest foe -may we not expect in the world of reason and of faith, that men severed by national and personal enmities, who have been toiling under the same impulse and acting for the same end, who are standing in the porch of the same Hall of Judgment, and panting for the same eternal home-may we not expect that such men will never again consent to brandish the deadly cutlass or throw the hostile spear? May we not regard it as certain that they will concur with us in exerting themselves to the utmost in effecting the entire abolition of war?”
After addresses had been read from the mayor and aldermen of Sheffield, and from the provost, magistrates, and town-council of Dunfermline, and letters of adhesion from Count Dumellie, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Turin, and from Thomas Carlyle, who held himself bound by all opportunities open to him to forward the cause,” the meeting proceeded to discuss the eight propositions in which they embodied their opinions and views. These propositions are given in the following programme:
“ The Congress of the friends of universal peace, assembled in London, July 22, 23d, and 24th, 1851, considering that recourse to arms for the settlement of international disputes is a custom condemned alike by religion, morality, reason, and humanity, and, believing that it is useful and necessary frequently to direct the attention both of governments and peoples to the evils of the war system, and the desirableness and practicability of maintaining permanent international peace, resolves :
“1. That it is the special and solemn duty of all ministers of
religion, instructors of youth, and conductors of the public press, to employ their great influence in the diffusion of pacific principles and sentiments, and in eradicating from the minds of men those hereditary animosities, and political and commercial jealousies, which have been so often the cause of disastrous wars.
“ 2. That as an appeal to the sword can settle no question, on any principle of equity and right, it is the duty of governments to refer to the decision of competent and impartial arbitrators such differences arising between them as cannot be otherwise amicably adjusted.
“ 3. That the standing armaments, with which the governments of Europe menace each other, amid professions of mutual friendship and confidence, being a prolific source of social immorality, financial embarrassment, and national suffering, while they excite constant disquietude and irritation among the nations, this Congress would earnestly urge upon the governments the imperative necessity of entering upon a system of international disarmament.
“ 4. This Congress, regarding the system of negotiating loans for the prosecution of war, or the maintenance of warlike armaments, as immoral in principle and disastrous in operation, renews its emphatic condemnation of all such loans.
“ 5. This Congress, believing that the intervention, by threatened or actual violence, of one country in the internal politics of another, is a frequent cause of bitter and desolating wars, maintains that the right of every state to regulate its own affairs should be held absolute and inviolate.
“ 6. This Congress recommends all the friends of peace to prepare public opinion, in their respective countries, with a view to the formation of an authoritative code of international law.
“7. This Congress expresses its strong abhorrence of the system of aggression and violence practised by civilized nations upon aboriginal and uncivilized tribes, as leading to incessant and exterminating wars, eminently unfavourable to the true progress of religion, civilisation, and commerce.
“ 8. This Congress, convinced that whatever brings the nations of the earth together in intimate and friendly intercourse, must tend to the establishment of peace, by removing misapprehensions and prejudices, and inspiring mutual respect, hails, with unqualified satisfaction, the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations, as eminently calculated to promote that end.”
In these propositions, so admirably conceived and expressed, our readers will find in no ambiguous language the objects which the friends of peace are desirous to accomplish. There is here no wish, as has been falsely stated, to recommend the discontinuance of our armaments, or the diminution of our vigilance, or the destruction of our defences, and still less to attack the honour or morality or bravery of our generals and our officers. The Congress urges the necessity." of entering upon a system of international disarmament,” and recommends a series of measures Universal Peace Advocated by the Times.
which no patriot and no friend of religion and humanity will venture to condemn. These views and these measures were advocated in 1846, when the peace societies were in active operation, by the most influential of all modern journals—The Times, in the following eloquent paragraph, which embodies all the doctrines of the friends of peace.
" Above all, there is one achievement before us without which every other must be insincere and of questionable value. It remains for the most powerful, the bravest, and the freest people of the globe, to proclaim and establish the virtue and beauty, the holiness and necessity, of UNIVERSAL Peace, and that they will proclaim it, in due time, we entertain no doubt. It has already occurred to the thinking masses of this great country, notwithstanding the humanizing creed which we profess, the civilisation which we boast, and the increased intelligence of all classes of the population, that the ferocity of warfare is as brutal to-day as in the remotest times of savage ignorance; that the Christian and the heathen are, to all intents and purposes, one and the same when they meet as destroyers in the battle-field; and that what we call the glorious victories of British arms, are scarcely to be distinguished from the butcheries of barbarous ages that we pity, and of more barbarous fighting men whom we think proper to condemn. And it must be so. You cannot redeem, under any circumstances, the naked and horrid aspect of war, the offspring of brutality, and civilisation's adopted child. War in itself is a mighty evil-an incongruity in a scheme of social harmony—a canker at the heart of improvement-a living lie in a Christian land-a curse at all times. We confess that we regard with infinite satisfaction every endeavour, come whence it may, to destroy the supremacy of a cruel deity acknowledged on every ground. Kings who preach to their subjects the advantage and sacred character of peace are more than kings. Men who unite to promulgate the same doctrine, feeble instruments though they be, and liable to ridicule, claim respect for their mission.”
The first resolution of the Congress, to assist in diffusing peaceful principles and eradicating hereditary animosities, as among the causes of disastrous war, was moved by the Rev. J. A. James of Birmingham, and the Rev. Mr. Brock of Bloomsbury Chapel, and supported by the Rev. Athanase Coquerel of Paris, and Don Mariano Soler, a Spanish writer, in speeches of much eloquence and power. Mr. James addressed himself to the ministers of religion, and implored them to assert from their pulpits the glorious doctrine of perpetual and universal peace." And I could now almost wish you,” he said, “to pledge yourselves to this labour of love." All the ministers here rose, amid the cheering of the Assembly, and thus accepted the challenge. “ Gentlemen,” continued the speaker, “I'thank you for that response. It proves that I had not misunderstood your sentiments, or miscalculated your zeal in the cause.”