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NOTE TO THE STEREOTYPE EDITION.
The original work embraced, “1. The Evils and Remedies of War; 2. Suggestions on the Law of Nations ; 3. Considerations of a Congress of Nations.” The two last parts, and several chapters in the first, on capital punishments, are, with the author's consent, omitted in this edition, (though evincing, in our judgment, even more research and ability than what is here published,) for the . purpose of bringing before a much larger number of readers the portions most important to the cause of Peace.
G. C. B.
Peace is as old as Christianity; but specific efforts in this cause are of recent origin. Erasmus, the father of modern literature, and the pioneer of the Reformation, wrote in its behalf with an eloquence far beyond his age; but it was not till the downfall of Napoleon, and the consequent pacification of Europe, that any effective movement was made on the subject. Near the close of 1814, Noah WORCESTER, the patriarch of this cause in modern times, published his Solemn Review of the Custom of War; and the first Peace Society was organized, the next summer, in the city of New York, and followed, in less than ten months, by one in Massachusetts, another in Ohio, and another in London, the present London Peace Society, — all without any knowledge of each other's existence. The AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, as a bond of union among the friends of peace through the United States, was established in 1828; and kindred efforts have been made, not only in England, but in France, in Switzerland, and other parts of Christendom.
We wish the cause of Peace to be distinctly understood. It seeks only the abolition of a specific, welldefined custom, the practice of international war, and has nothing to do with any thing else. All the relations among men consist either in the relation of individuals to one another, in the relation of individuals to society or government, or the relation of one society or government to another; and the cause of
Peace is restricted to this last class of relations, and aims solely at such an application of the gosrel to the intercourse of nations, as shall put an end to the practice of settling their disputes by the sword.
This view of our cause relieves it from a variety of extraneous questions. If our only province is the intercourse of nations, and our sole object the abolition of war between them, then have we nothing to do with capital punishments, or the strict inviolability of human life, or the question whether the gospel allows the application of physical force to the government of states, schools, and families. We go merely against war; and war is defined by our best lexicographers to be "
a contest by force between nations." It is not only a conflict unto death, but such a conflict between governments alone; and neither a parent chastising his child, nor a teacher punishing his pupil, nor a father defending his family against the midnight assassin, nor a ruler inflicting the penalties of law upon a criminal, can properly be called war, because the parties are not nations alone, but either individuals, or individuals and government.
The cause of Peace is not encumbered with such cases, but confines itself to the single purpose of abolishing war.
Now, is there no possibility of accomplishing this object ? Not a few persons of intelligent benevolence, while acknowledging and deploring the evils of war, seem to doubt whether it is possible to abolish a custom so deeply rooted in the passions of mankind, imbedded every where in the habits of society, and wrought into the texture of every government on earth.
This skepticism is one of the delusions of war, and springs from a fundamental misconception of the subject. It proceeds on the assumption, that war is a natural, necessary evil, as inevitable as a tempest or an earthquake; an evil as directly from God, or the