"Addresses on War:
1845, 1849, 1870

Sen. Charles Sumner, LL.D.
(Boston: 1845, 1849, 1870)

Welcome to this series of three scholarly lectures,
  • "The True Grandeur of Nations" (4 July 1845) (pp 5-132)
  • "War System of the Commonwealth of Nations" (28 May 1849) (pp 133-239)
  • "The Duel between France and Germany, with Its Lesson to Civilization" (26 October 1870)
            (pp 241-319).
    Charles Sumner (1811-1874), after a classic-style college education (A.B. 1830) and law school (LL.B. 1834; LL.D. 1859), became an attorney, law professor, judicial decision reporter, and activist. In 1851, he was elected U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, serving 1851-1874. In 1861, his colleagues chose him as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, serving as Chairman 1861-1871.
    In that capacity, he helped to preserve the U.S.A. during the Civil War, due to his personal international prestige, reputation, and credibility, by aiding Lincoln in restraining other nations (e.g., England, France) in two ways:
  • (a) against helping the Confederates and
  • (b) against intervening hostilely towards the U.S.A.

  • His reputation derived not only from his scholarship, but also from his well-known anti-slavery activism, e.g., his Barbarism of Slavery (1860), and others listed below.

    Table of Contents
    Introduction by 1904 Editor Edwin D. Mead--
    The True Grandeur of Nations5
    I. [Animal Brute Force Origin]
    II. [Severing Normal Relations]
    III. [Ineffectiveness]
    IV. [Prejudices Rebutted]
    1. [Necessity]
    2. [Practice]
    3. [Alleged Christianity]
    4. [Army]
    5. [Patriotism]
    War System of the Commonwealth of Nations133
    The Duel between France and Germany241

    (pp 1-3)


    He [Sumner] was disposed to dissent from the maxim, which had of late [recent] years received very general assent, that the best security for the continuance of peace was to be prepared for war. That was a maxim which might have been applied to the nations of antiquity, and to society in a comparatively barbarous and uncivilized state. . . . Men, when they adopted such a maxim, and made large preparations in time of peace that would be sufficient in time of war, were apt to be influenced by the desire to put their efficiency to the test, that all their great preparations and the result of their toil and expense might not be thrown away.—EARL OF ABERDEEN, Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, July 20, 1849.

    Bellum para, si pacem velis, was a maxim regarded by many as containing an incontestable truth. It was one, in his opinion, to be received with great caution, and admitting of much qualification. . . . We should best consult the true interests of the country by husbanding our resources in a time of peace, and, instead of a lavish expenditure on all the means of defence, by placing some trust in the latent and dormant energies of the nation.—SIR ROBERT PEEL, Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, March 12, 1850.

    Let us terminate this disastrous system of rival expenditure, and mutually agree, with no hypocrisy, but in a manner and under circumstances which can admit of no doubt,—by a reduction of armaments,—that peace is really our policy.—MR. [Benjamin] D'ISRAELI, Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, July 21, 1859.

    All high titles of honor come hitherto from fighting. Your Herzog (Duke, Dux) is Leader of Armies; your Earl (Jarl) is Strong Man; your Marshal, Cavalry Horseshoer. A Millennium, or Reign of Peace and Wisdom, having from of old been prophesied, and becoming now daily more and more indubitable, may it not be apprehended [concluded] that such fighting titles will cease to be palatable, and new and higher [titles / ranks] need to be devised?—CARLYLE, Sartor Resartus, Book III. chap. 7.

    After the memorable conflict of June, 1848, in which, as Chef de Bataillon, he [Ary Scheffer] had shown a capacity for military conduct not less remarked than his cool courage, Général Changarnier, then commanding thé National Guard of Paris, tendered to Scheffer's acceptance the cross [position, rank] of Commandeur. He replied, "Had this honorable distinction been offered to me in my quality of Artist, and as a recognition of the merit of my works, I should receive it with deference and satisfaction. But to carry about me a decoration reminding me only of the horrors of civil war is what I cannot consent to do."—ARY SCHEFFER, Life by Mrs. Grote, Appendix.



    IN accordance with uninterrupted usage, on this [civil religion] Sabbath [4 July] of the Nation, we have put aside our daily cares, and seized a respite from the never-ending toils of life, to meet in gladness and congratulation, mindful of the blessings transmitted from the Past, mindful also, I trust, of our duties to the Present and the Future.

    All hearts turn first to the Fathers of the Republic. Their venerable forms rise before us, in the procession of successive generations. They come
  • from the frozen rock of Plymouth,

  • from the wasted bands of Raleigh,

  • from the heavenly companionship of Penn,

  • from the anxious councils of the Revolution,

  • —from all those fields of sacrifice, where, in obedience to the spirit of their age, they sealed their devotion to duty with their blood.
  • They say to us, their children,

    “Cease to vaunt what you do, and what has been done for you.

    “Learn to walk meekly and to think humbly.

    “Cultivate habits of self-sacrifice.

    “Never aim at what is not RIGHT, persuaded that without this every possession and all knowledge will become an evil and a shame.

    “And may these words of ours be ever in your minds!

    “Strive to increase the inheritance we have bequeathed to you,—bearing in mind always, that, if we excel you in virtue, such a vic-


    tory will be to us a mortification, while defeat will bring happiness. In this way you may conquer us.

    “Nothing is more shameful for a man than a claim to esteem, not on his own merits, but on the fame of his ancestors. The glory of the fathers is doubtless to their children a most precious treasure; but to enjoy it without transmission to the next generation, and without addition, is the extreme of ignominy.

    “Following these counsels, when your days on earth are finished, you will come to join us, and we shall receive you as friend receives friend; but if you neglect our words, expect no happy greeting from us.”1

    Honor to the memory of our fathers! May the turf lie lightly on their sacred graves! Not in words only, but in deeds also, let us testify our reverence for their name, imitating what in them was lofty, pure, and good, learning from them to bear hardship and privation.

    May we, who now reap in strength what they sowed in weakness, augment the inheritance we have received! To this end, we must not fold our hands in slumber, nor abide content with the past. To each generation is appointed its peculiar task; nor does the heart which responds to the call of duty find rest except in the grave.

    Be ours the task now in the order of Providence cast upon us. And what is this duty? What can we do to make our coming welcome to our fathers in the skies, and draw to our memory hereafter the homage of a grateful posterity? How add to the inheritance received?

    The answer must interest all, particularly on
    (1) This is borrowed almost literally from the words attributed by Plato to the Fathers of Athens, in the beautiful funeral discourse of the Menexenus.


    this festival [Fourth of July], when we celebrate the Nativity of the Republic. It well becomes the patriot citizen, on this anniversary, to consider the national character, and how it may be advanced,—as the good man dedicates his birthday to meditation on his life, and to resolutions of improvement.

    Avoiding, then, all exultation in the abounding prosperity of the land, and in that freedom whose influence is widening to the uttermost circles of the earth, I would turn attention to the character of our country, and humbly endeavor to learn what must be doue that the Republic may best secure the welfare of the people committed to its care,—that it may perform its part in the worid's history,—that it may fulfil the aspirations of generous hearts,—and, practising that righteousness which exalteth a nation [Proverb 14:34], attain to the elevation of True Grandeur.

    With this aim, and believing that I can in no other way so fitly fulfil the trust reposed in me to-day, I purpose to consider what, in our age, are the true objects of national ambition,—what is truly National Honor, National Glory,—WHAT IS THE TRUE GRANDEUR OF NATIONS.

    I would not depart from the modesty that becomes me, yet I am not without hope that I may do something to rescue these terms, now so powerful over the minds of men, from mistaken objects, especially from deeds of war, and the extension of empire, that they may be applied to works of justice and beneficence, which are better than war or empire.

    The subject may be novel, on an occasion like the present; but it is comprehensive, and of transcendent importance. It raises us to the contemplation of things not temporary or local, but belonging to all ages and


    countries,—things lofty as Truth, universal as Humanity. Nay, more; it practically concerns the general welfare, not only of our own cherished Republic, but of the whole Federation of Nations. It has an urgent interest from transactions in which we are now unhappily involved.

    By an act of unjust [pro-slavery expansion] legislation, extending our power over Texas, peace with Mexico is endangered,—while, by petulant assertion of a disputed claim to a remote territory [Oregon] beyond the Rocky Mountains, ancient fires of hostile strife are kindled anew on the hearth of our mother country [England].

    Mexico and England both avow the determination to vindicate what is called the National Honor; and our Government [under President James Polk] calmly contemplates the dread Arbitrament of War, provided it cannot obtain what is called an honorable peace.

    Ed. Note: President James Polk, to support the South's slavery expansion goal, was planning a war of aggression by the U.S. to attack both England and Mexico, to seize Oregon, Texas, California, etc.

    Far from our nation and our age be the sin and shame of contests hateful in the sight of God and all good men, having their origin in no righteous sentiment, no true love of country, no generous thirst for fame,“that last infirmity of noble mind,” but springing manifestly from an ignorant and ignoble passion for new [slave] territory, strengthened, in our case, in a republic whose star is Liberty, by unnatural desire to add new links in chains destined yet to fall from the limbs of the unhappy slave!

    In such contests God has no attribute which can join with us.

    Ed. Note: Sumner is here citing Thomas Jefferson.

    Who [except slavers] believes that the national honor would be promoted by a war with Mexico or a war with England? What just man would sacrifice a single human life to bring under our rule both Texas and Oregon?

    An ancient Roman, ignorant of Christian truth, touched only by the relation of fellow-countryman, and not of fellow-man, said, as he turned


    aside from a career of Asiatic conquest, that he would rather save the life of a single citizen than win to his power all the dominions of Mithridates.1

    A war with Mexico [to conquer and annex Texas, California, Arizona, etc.] would be mean and cowardly; with England [for Oregon] it would be bold at least, though parricidal. The heart sickens at the murderous attack upon an enemy [Mexico] distracted by civil feud, weak at home, impotent abroad; but it recoils in horror from the deadly shock between chiidren of a common ancestry, speaking the same language, soothed in infancy by the same words of love and tenderness, and hardened into vigorous manhood under the bracing influence of institutions instinct with the same vital breath of freedom.

    The Roman historian has aptly pictured this unnatural combat. Rarely do words of the past so justly describe the present.

    “Curam acuebat, quod adversus Latinos bellandum erat, lingua, moribus, armorum genere, institutis ante omnia militaribus congruentes: milites militibus, centurionibus centuriones, tribuni tribunis compares collegæque, iisdem præsidiis, sæpe iisdem manipulis permixti fuerant?”2

    Can there be in our age any peace that is not honorable, any war that is not dishonorable? The true honor of a nation is conspicuous only in deeds of justice and beneficence, securing and advancing human happiness.

    In the clear eye of that Christian judgment which must yet prevail, vain are the victories of War, infamous its spoils. He is the benefactor, and worthy of honor, who carries comfort to wretchedness, dries the tear of sorrow, relieves the unfortunate, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, does justice, enlightens the ignorant, unfastens the fetters of
    1 Plutarch, Lucullus, Cap. VIII.

    Ed. Note: People were then better educated than now, so even in a speech to the public, it was (a) unnecessary to translate the above Latin quotation, nor (b) to explain the footnotes' references and allusions.

    2 Livy, Hist., Lib. VIII. c. 6.


    the slave, and finally, by virtuous genius, in art, literature, science, enlivens and exalts the hours of life, or, by generous example, inspires a love for God and man. This is the Christian hero; this is the man of honor in a Christian land.

    Ed. Note: Sumner also said: "Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace."

    He is no benefactor, nor worthy of honor, whatever his worldly renown, whose life is absorbed in feats of brute force, who renounces the great law of Christian brotherhood, whose vocation is blood. Well may the modern poet exclaim, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men!”—for thus far it has chiefly honored the violent brood of Battle, armed men springing up from the dragon's teeth sown by Hate, and cared little for the truly good men, children of Love, guiltless of their country's blood, whose steps on earth are noiseless as an angel's wing.

    It will not be disguised that this standard differs from that of the world even in our day. The voice of man is yet given to martial praise, and the honors of victory are chanted even by the lips of woman. The mother, rocking the infant on her knee, stamps the images of War upon his tender mind, at that age more impressible than wax; she nurses his slumber with its music, pleases his waking hours with its stories, and selects for his playthings the plume and the sword.

    From the child is formed the man; and who can weigh the influence of a mother's spirit on the opinions of his life? The mind which trains the child is like a hand at the end of a long lever; a gentle effort suffices to heave the enormous weight of succeeding years. As the boy advances to youth, he is fed like Achilles, not on honey and milk only, but on bears' marrow and lions' hearts. He draws the nutriment of his soul from a literature whose beautiful fields are moistened by human

    blood. Fain would I offer my tribute to the Father of Poetry, standing with harp of immortal melody on the misty mountain-top of distant Antiquity,—to those stories of courage and sacrifice which emblazon the annals of Greece and Rome,—to the fulminations of Demosthenes and the splendors of Tully,—to the sweet verse of Yirgil and the poetic prose of Livy; fain would I offer my tribute to the new literature, which shot up in modern times as a vigorous forest from the burnt site of ancient woods,—to the passionate song of the Troubadour in France and the Minnesinger in Germany,—to the thrillingballad of Spain and the delicate music of the Italian lyre: but from all these has breathed the breath of War, that has swept the heart-strings of men in all the thronging generations.

    And when the youth becomes a man, his country invites his service in war, and holds before his bewildered imagination the prizes of worldly honor. For him the pen of the historian and the verse of the poet. His soul is taught to swell at the thought that he, too, is a soldier,—that his name shall be entered on the list of those who have borne arms for their country; and perhaps he dreams that he, too, may sleep, like the Great Captain of Spain, with a hundred trophies over his grave.

    The law of the land throws its sanction over this frenzy. The contagion spreads beyond those subject to positive obligation. Peaceful citizens volunteer to appear as soldiers, and affect, in dress, arms, and deportment, what is called the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war.” The ear-piercing fife has to-day filled our streets, and we have come to this church, on this National Sabbath [Fourth of July], by the thump of drum and with the parade of bristling bayonets.


    It is not strange, then, that the Spirit of War still finds a home among us, nor that its honors continue to be regarded. All this may seem to illustrate the bitter philosophy of [Thomas] Hobbes [1588-1679], declaring that the natural state of mankind is War, and to sustain the exulting language of the soldier in our own day, when he wrote,

    “War is the condition of this world. From man to the smallest insect, all are at strife; and the glory of arms, which cannot be obtained without the exercise of honor, fortitude, courage, obedience, modesty, and temperance, excites the brave man's patriotism, and is a chastening corrective for the rich man's pride.”1

    This is broad and bold. In madder mood, another British general is reported as saying,

    “Why, man, do you know that a grenadier is the greatest character in this world,”—and after a moment's pause, with the added emphasis of an oath,“and, I believe, in the next, too.”2

    All these spoke in harmony. If one is true, all are true. A French voice has struck another note, chanting nothing less than the divinity of war, hailing it as

    “divine” in itself,—“divine” in its consequences,—“divine” in mysterious glory and seductive attraction,—“divine” in the manner of its declaration,—“divine” in the results obtained,—“divine” in the undefinable force by which its triumph is determined;3

    and the whole earth, continually imbibing blood, is nothing but an immense altar, where life is immolated without end, without measure, without respite. But this oracle [B.S.] is not saved from rejection even by the magistral style in which it is delivered. 1

    1 Napier, Peninsular War, Book XXIV. ch. 6, Vol. VI. p. 688.

    2 Southey, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, Coll. VIII., Vol. I. p. 211.

    3 Joseph de Maistre, Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tom. II. pp. 27, 32-35.


    Alas! in the existing attitude of nations, the infidel philosopher and the rhetorical soldier, to say nothing of the giddy general and the French priest of Mars, find too much support for a theory which degrades human nature and insults the goodness of God.

    It is true that in us are impulses unhappily tending to strife. Propensities possessed in common with the beast, if not subordinated to what in man is human, almost divine, will break forth in outrage. This is the predominance of the animal. Hence wars and fightings, with the false glory which crowns such barbarism.

    But the true civilization of nations, as of individuals, is determined by the extent to which thse evil dispositions are restrained. Nor does the teacher ever more truly perform his high office than when, recognizmg the supremacy of the moral and intellectual, he calls upon nations, as upon individuals, to declare independence of the bestial, to abandon practices founded on this part of our nature, and in every way to beat down that brutal spirit which is the Genius of War.

    In making this appeal, he will be startled as he learns, that, while the municipal law of each Christian nation, discarding the Arbitrament of Force, provides a judicial tribunal for the determination of controversies between individuals, International Law expressly establishes the Arbitrament of War for the determination of controversies between nations.

    Here, then, in unfolding the True Grandeur of Nations, we encounter a practice, or custom, sanctioned by the Law of Nations, and constituting a part of that law, which exists in defiance of principles such as no individuals can disown.

    If it is wrong and inglorious when individuals consent and agree to determine their petty


    controversies by [trial by] combat, it must be equally wrong and inglorious when nations consent and agree to determine their vaster controversies by combat.

    Ed. Note: Sumner's point about the wrongness of war, would be accepted in 1923, see p 51, infra.

    Here is a positive, precise, and specific evil, of gigantic proportions, inconsistent with what is truly honorable, making within the sphere of its influence all true grandeur impossible, which, instead of proceeding from some uncontrollable impulse of our nature, is expressly established and organized by law.

    As all citizens are parties to Municipal Law, and responsible for its institutions, so are all the Christian nations parties to International Law, and responsible for its provisions. By recognizing thse provisions, nations consent and agree beforehand to the Arbitrament of War, precisely as citizens, by recognizing Trial by Jury, consent and agree beforehand to the latter tribunal.

    As, to comprehend the true nature of Trial by Jury, we first repair to the Municipal Law by which it is established, so, to comprehend the true nature of the Arbitrament of War, we must first repair to the Law of Nations.

    Writers of genius and learning have defined this arbitrament, and laid down the rules by which it is governed, constituting a complex code, with innumerable subtile provisions regulating the resort to it and the manner in which it must be conducted, called the Laws of War.

    In these quarters we catch our first authentic glimpses of its folly and wickedness.

    According to Lord [Francis] Bacon [1561-1626], whose authority is always great,

    “Wars are no massacres and confusions, but they are the highest Trials of Right, when princes and states, that acknowledge no superior upon earth, shall put themselves upon the justice of God   for the deciding of their


    controversies by such success as it shall please him to give on either side.”1

    This definition of the English philosopher is adopted by the American jurist, Chancellor [James] Kent [1763-1847], in his Commentaries on American Law.2

    The Swiss publicist, [Emerich de] Vattel [1714-1767], whose work is accepted as an important repository of the Law of Nations, defines War as “that state in which a nation prosecutes its right by force.”3

    In this he very nearly follows the eminent Dutch authority, [Cornelius van] Bynkershoek [1673-1743], who says,

    “Bellum est eorum, qui suæ potestatis sunt, juris sui persequendi ergo, concertatio per vim vel dolum.”4

    Mr. Whewell, who has done so much to illustrate philosophy in all its departments, says, in his recent work on the Elements of Morality and Polity,

    “Though war is appealed to, because there is no other ULTIMATE TRIBUNAL to which states can have recourse, it is appealed to for justice.”5

    And in our country, Dr. Lieber says, in a work of learning and sagacious thought, that war is undertaken “in order to obtain right,”6—a definition which hardly differs in form from those of Vattel and Bynkershoek.

    In accordance with these texts, I would now define the evil which I arraign. War is a public armed contest between nations, under the sanction of International Law, to establish JUSTICE between them: as, for instance, to determine a disputed boundary, the title to territory, or a claim for damages.

    This definition is confined to contests between nations.
    1 Observations upon a Libel, etc., Works, Vol. III. p. 40.

    2 Lecture III., Vol. I. p. 45.

    3 Book III. ch. 1, sec. 1.

    4 Quæst. Jur. Pub., Lib. I. cap. 1.

    5 Book VI. ch. 2. art. 1146.

    [Ed. Note: Full citation: The Elements of Morality, including Polity by Prof. William Whewell (1794-1866) (New York: Harper & Bros., 1845)].

    6 Political Ethics, Book VII. sec. 19, Vol. II. p. 643.


    It is restricted to International War, carefully excluding the question, often agitated, concerning the right of revolution, and that other question, on which friends of peace sometimes differ, the right of personal self-defence. It does not in any way throw doubt on the employment of force in the administration of justice or the conservation of domestic quiet.

    It is true that the term defensive is always applied to wars in our day. And it is creditable to the moral sense that nations are constrained to allege this seeming excuse, although its absurdity is apparent in the equal pretensions of the two belligerents, each claiming to act on the defensive.

    It is unreasonable to suppose that war can arise in the present age, under the sanctions of International Law, except to determine an asserted right.

    Whatever its character in periods of barbarism, or when invoked to repel an incursion of robbers or pirates, “enemies of the human race,” war becomes in our day, among all the nations parties to existing International Law, simply a mode of litigation, or of deciding a lis pendens. It is a mere TRIAL OF RIGHT, an appeal for justice to force.

    The wars now lowering [threatened by President James Polk] from Mexico and England are of this character. On the one side, we assert a title to Texas, which is disputed; on the other, we assert a title to Oregon, which is disputed. Only according to “martial logic,” or the “flash language” of a dishonest patriotism, can the Ordeal by Battle be regarded in these causes, on either side, as Defensive War.

    Nor did the threatened war [under President Andrew Jackson] with France in 1834 promise to assume any different character. Its professed object was to obtain the payment of five million dollars,—in other words, to determine by this Ultimate


    Tribunal a simple question of justice. And going back still farther in our history, the avowed purpose of the war against Great Britain in 1812 was to obtain from the latter power an abandonment of the claim to search American vessels. Unrighteous as was this claim, it is plain that war here was invoked only as a Trial of Right.

    It forms no part of my purpose to consider individual wars in the past, except so far as necessary by way of example. My aim is higher. I wish to expose an irrational, cruel, and impious custom, sanctioned by the Law of Nations. On this account I resort to that supreme law for the definition on which I plant myself in the effort I now make.

    After considering, in succession, first, the character of war, secondly, the miseries it produces, and, thirdly, its utter and pitiful insufficiency, as a mode of determining justice, we shall be able to decide, strictly and logically, whether it must not be ranked as crime, from which no true honor can spring to individuals or nations.

    To appreciate this evil, and the necessity for its overthrow, it will be our duty, fourthly, to consider in succession the various prejudices by which it is sustained, ending with that prejudice, so gigantic and all-embracing, at whose command uncounted sums are madly diverted from purposes of peace to preparations for war.

    The whole subject is infinitely practical, while the concluding division shows how the public treasury may be relieved, and new means secured for human advancement.



    First, as to the essential character and root of war, or that part of our nature whence it proceeds. Listen to the voice from the ancient poet of Bœotian Ascra:—

    “This is the law for mortals, ordained by the Ruler of Heaven:
    Fishes and beasts and birds of the air devour each other;
    JUSTICE dwells not among them: only to MAN has he given
    JUSTICE the Highest and Best.”1

    These words of old Hesiod exhibit the distinction between man and beast; but this very distinction belongs to the present discussion. The idea rises to the mind at once, that war is a resort to brute force, where nations strive to overpower each other.

    Reason, and the divine part of our nature, where alone we differ from the beast, where alone we approach the Divinity, where alone are the elements of that justice, which is the professed object of war, are rudely dethroned.

    For the time men adopt the nature of beasts, emulating their ferocity, like them rejoicing in blood, and with lion's paw clutching an asserted right.

    Though in more recent days this character is somewhat disguised by the skill and knowledge employed, war is still the same, only more destructive from the genius and intellect which have become its servants.

    The primitive [ancient] poets, in the unconscious simplicity of the world's childhood, make this boldly apparent. The heroes of Homer are likened to animals in ungovernable fury, or to things devoid of reason or affection. Menelaus presses his
    1 Hesiod, Works and Days, vv. 276-279. Cicero also says, “Neque ulla re longius absumus a natura ferarum, in quibus inesse fortitudinem sæpe dicimus, ut in equis, in leonibus: justitiam, æquitatem, bonitatem non dicimus.”—De Offic., Lib. I. cap. 16.

    way through the crowd “like a wild beast.” Sarpedon is aroused against the Argives, “as a lion against the crooked-horned oxen,” and afterwards rushes forward

    “like a lion nurtured on the mountains, for a long time famished for want of flesh, but whose courage impels him to attack even the well-guarded sheepfold.”

    In one and the same passage, the great Telamonian Ajax is “wild beast,” “tawny lion,” and “dull ass”; and all the Greek chiefs, the flower of the camp, are ranged about Diomed, “like raw-eating lions, or wild-boars, whose strength is irresistible.”

    Even Hector, the model hero, with all the virtues of war, is praised as “tamer of horses”; and one of his renowned feats in battle, indicating brute strength only, is where he takes up and hurls a stone which two of our strongest men could not easily lift into a wagon; and he drives over dead bodies and shieids, while the axle is defiled by gore, and the guard about the seat is sprinkled from the horses' hoofs and the tires of the wheels;1   and in that most admired passage of ancient literature, before returning his child, the young Astyanax, to the arms of the wife he is about to leave, this hero of war invokes the gods for a single blessing on the boy's head,

    “that he may excel his father, and bring home bloody spoils, his enemy being slain, and so make glad the heart of his mother!”

    From early fields of modern literature, as from those of antiquity, might be gathered similar illustrations, showing the unconscious degradation of the soldier, in vain pursuit of justice, renouncing the human character,
    1 Little better than Trojan Hector was the “great” Condé ranging over the field and exulting in the blood of the enemy which defiled his sword-arm to the elbow.—Mahon, Essai sur la Vie du Grand Condé, p. 60.


    to assume that of brute. Bayard, the exemplar of chivalry, with a name always on the lips of its votaries, was described by the qualities of beasts, being, according to his admirers, ram in attack, wild-boar in defence, and wolf in flight.

    Henry the Fifth, as represented by our own Shakespeare, in the spirit-stirring appeal to his troops exclaims,—

    “When the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger.”

    This is plain and frank, revealing the true character of war.

    I need not dwell on the moral debasement that must ensue. Passions, like so many bloodhounds, are unleashed and suffered to rage. Crimes filling our prisons stalk abroad in the soldier's garb, unwhipped of justice. Murder, robbery, rape, arson, are the sports of this fiendish Saturnalia, when

    The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
    And the fleshed soldier, rough aud hard of heart,
    In liberty of bloody hand shall range
    With conscience wide as hell.”

    By a bold, but truthful touch, Shakespeare thus pictures the foul disfigurement which war produces in man, whose native capacities he describes in those beautiful words:

    “How noble in reason!
    how infinite in faculties!
    in form and moving
    how express and admirable!
    in action how like an angel!
    in apprehension how like a god!”

    And yet this nobility of reason, this infinitude of faculties, this marvel of form and motion, this nature so angelic, so godlike, are all, under the transforming power of War, lost in the action of the beast, or the license of the fleshed soldier with bloody hand and conscience wide as hell.



    The immediate effect of war is to sever all relations of friendship and commerce between the belligerent nations, and every individual thereof, impressing upon each citizen or subject the character of euemy.

    Imagine this instant change between England and the United States. The innumerable ships of the two conntries, the white doves of commerce, bearing the olive of peace, are driven from the sea, or turned from peaceful purposes to be ministers of destruction; the threads of social and business intercourse, so carefully woven into a thick web, are suddenly snapped asunder; friend can no longer communicate with friend; the twenty thousand letters speeded each fortnight from this port alone are arrested, and the human affections, of which they are the precious expression, seek in vain for utterance. Tell me, you with friends and kindred abroad, or you bound to other lands only by relations of commerce, are you ready for this rude separation?

    This is little compared with what must follow. It is but the first portentous shadow of disastrous eclipse, twilight usher of thick darkness, covering the whole heavens with a pall, broken only by the lightnings of battle and siege.

    Such horrors redden the historic page, while, to the scandal of humanity, they never want [lack] historians with feelings kindred to those by which they are inspired. The demon that draws the sword also guides the [historians'] pen. The favorite chronicler of modern Europe, [Jean] Froissart [1333-1400], discovers [reveals] his [pro-war] sympathies in his Prologue, where, with


    something of apostleship, he announces his purpose,

    “that the honorable enterprises and noble adventures and feats of arms which happened in the wars of France and England be notably registered and put in perpetual memory,”

    and then proceeds to bestow his equal admiration upon bravery and cunning, upon the courtesy which pardoned as upon the rage which caused the flow of blood in torrents, dwelling with especial delight on

    “beautiful incursions, beautiful rescues, beautiful feats of arms, and beautiful prowesses”; and wantoning in pictures of cities assaulted, “which, being soon gained by force, were robbed, and men and women and children put to the sword without mercy, while the churches were burnt and violated.”1

    This was in a barbarous age.

    But popular writers in our own day, dazzled by false ideas of greatness, at which reason and humanity blush, do not hesitate to dwell on similar scenes even with rapture and eulogy. The humane soul of Wilberforce, which sighed that England's

    “bloody laws sent many unprepared into another world,”

    could hail the slaughter of Waterloo, by which thousands were hurried into eternity on the Sabbath he held so holy, as a

    “splendid victory.”2

    My present purpose is less to judge the historian than to expose the horrors on horrors which he applauds.

    At Tarragona, above six thousand human beings, almost all defenceless, men and women, gray hairs and infant innocence, attractive youth and wrinkled age, were butchered by the infuriate troops in one night, and the morning sun rose upon a city whose streets and houses
    1 Froissart, Les Chroniques, Ch. 177, 179, Collection de Buchon, Tom. II. pp. 87, 92.

    2 Life of William Wilberforce, by his Sons, Ch. 30, Vol. IV. pp 256, 261.


    were inundated with blood: and yet this is called a

    “glorious exploit.”1

    Here was a conquest by the French.

    At a later day, Ciudad Rodrigo was stormed by the British, when, in the license of victory, there ensued a savage scene of plunder and violence, while shouts and screams on all sides mingled fearfully with the groans of the wounded. Churches were desecrated, cellars of wine and spirits were pillaged, fire was wantonly applied to the city, and brutal intoxication spread in every direction. Only when the drunken dropped from excess, or fell asleep, was any degree of order restored: and yet the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo is pronounced

    “one of the most brilliant exploits of the British army.”2

    This “beautiful feat of arms” was followed by the storming of Badajoz, where the same scenes were enacted again, with accumulated atrocities. The story shall be told in the words of a partial historian, who himself saw what he eloquently describes.

    “Shameless rapacity, brutal intemperance, savage lust, cruelty, and murder, shrieks and piteous lamentations, groans, shouts, imprecations, the hissing of fires bursting from the houses, the crashing of doors and Windows, and the reports of muskets used in violence, resounded for two days and nights in the streets of Badajoz. On the third, when the city was sacked, when the soldiers were exhausted by their own excesses, the tumult rather subsided than was quelled. The wounded men were then looked to, the dead disposed of.”3

    All this is in the nature of confession, for the historian is a partisan of battle.

    The same terrible war affords another instance of atrocities at a siege crying to Heaven. For weeks be-
    1 Alison, Hist. of Europe, Ch. 61, Vol. VIII. p. 237.

    2 Ibid , Ch 64, Vol. VIII. p 482.

    3 Napier, Hist Peninsular War, Book XVI. ch. 5, Vol. IV. p. 431.


    fore the surrender of Saragossa, the deaths daily were from four to five hundred; and as the living could not bury the increasing mass, thousands of carcasses, scattered in streets and court-yards, or piled in heaps at the doors of churches, were left to dissolve in their own corruption, or be licked up by the flames of burning houses.

    The city was shaken to its foundations by sixteen thousand shells, and the explosion of forty-five thousand pounds of powder in the mines,—while the bones of forty thousand victims, of every age and both sexes, bore dreadful testimony to the unutterable cruelty of War.1

    These might seem pictures from the life of Alaric [370 - 410 C.E.], who led the Goths to Rome, or of Attila [406 - 453 C.E.], general of the Huns, called the Scourge of God, and who boasted that the grass did not grow where his horse had set his foot; but no! they belong to our own times. They are portions of the wonderful, but wicked, career of him [Napoleon] who stands forth the foremost representative of worldly grandeur. The heart aches, as we follow him and his marshals from field to field of Satanic glory,2 finding everywhere, from Spain to Russia, the same carnival of woe.

    The picture is various, yet the same. Suffering, wounds, and death, in every form, fill the terrible canvas. What scene more dismal than that of Albuera, with its horrid piles of corpses, while all night the rain pours down, and river, hill, and forest, 1
    1 Napier, Book V. ch. 3, Vol. II. p. 46.

    2 A living poet of Italy, who will be placed by his prose among the great names of his country's literature, in a remarkable ode which he has thrown on the urn of Napoleon invites posterity to judge whether his career of battle was True Glory.

    “Fu vera gloria ? Ai posteri
    L'ardua sentenza.”
    —MANZONI, Il Cinque Maggio.

    When men learn to appreciate moral grandeur, the easy sentence will be rendered.


    on each side, resound with the cries and groans of the dying?1

    What scene more awfully monumental than Salamanca, where, long after the great battle, the ground, strewn with fragments of casques and cuirasses, was still white with the skeletons of those who fell?2

    What catalogue of horrors more complete than the Russian campaign? At every step is war, and this is enough: soldiers black with powder; bayonets bent with the violence of the encounter; the earth ploughed with cannon-shot; trees torn and mutilated; the dead and dying; wounds and agony; fields covered with broken carriages, outstretched horses, and mangled bodies; while disease, sad attendant on military suffering, sweeps thousands from the great hospitals, and the multitude of amputated limbs, which there is no time to destroy, accumulate in bloody heaps, filling the air with corruption.

    What tongue, what pen, can describe the bloody havoc at Borodino, where, between rise and set of a single sun, one hundred thousand of our fellow-men, equalling in number the whole population of this city, sank to earth, dead or wounded?3

    Fifty days after the battle, no less than thirty thousand are found stretched where their last convulsions ended, and the whole plain is strewn with half-buried carcasses of men and horses, intermingled with garments dyed in blood, and bones gnawed by dogs and vultures.4

    Who can follow the French army in dismal retreat, avoiding the spear of the pursuing Cossack only to sink beneath the sharper frost and ice,
    1 Napier, Book XII. ch. 7, Vol. III. p 543.

    2 Alison, Ch. 64, Vol. VIII. p. 589.

    3 Ibid., Ch. 67, Vol. VIII. p 871.

    4 Ibid., Ch. 68, Vol. VIII. p. 830. Ségur, Hist. de Napoléon, Liv. IX. ch. 7, Tom. II. p. 158. Labaume, Rel. de la Campagne de Russie, Liv. VII.


    in a temperature below zero, on foot, without shelter for the body, famishing on horse-flesh and a miserable compound of rye and snow-water?

    With a fresh array, the war is upheld against new forces under the walls of Dresden; and as the Emperor rides over the field of battle—after indulging the night before in royal supper with the Saxon king—he sees ghastly new-made graves, with hands and arms projecting, stark and stiff, above the ground; and shortly afterwards, when shelter is needed for the troops, the order to occupy the Hospitals for the Insane is given, with the words,

    “Turn out the mad.”1

    Here I might close this scene of blood. But there is one other picture of the atrocious, though natural, consequences of war, occurring almost within our own day, that I would not omit.

    Let me bring to your mind Genoa [Italy], called the Superb, City of Palaces, dear to the memory of American childhood as the birth-place of Christopher Columbus, and one of the spots first enlightened by the morning beams of civilization, whose merchants were princes, and whose rich argosies, in those early days, introduced to Europe the choicest products of the East, the linen of Egypt, the spices of Arabia, and the silks of Samarcand. She still sits in queenly pride, as she sat then,—her mural crown studded with towers,—her churches rich with marble floors and rarest pictures,—her palaces of ancient doges and admirals yet spared by the hand of Time,—her close streets thronged by a hundred thousand inhabitants,—at the foot of the Apennines [Mountains], as they approach the blue and tideless waters of the Mediterranean Sea,
    1 Alison, Ch. 72, Vol. IX. pp. 469, 553.


    —leaning her back against their strong mountain-sides, overshadowed by the foliage of the fig-tree and the olive, while the orange and the lemon with pleasant perfume scent the air where reigns perpetual spring. Who can contemplate such a city without delight? Who can listen to the story of her sorrows without a pang?

    At the opening [1801] of the present century, the armies of the French Republic, after dominating over Italy, were driven from their conquests, and compelled, with shrunken forces, to find shelter under Massena, within the walls of Genoa. Various efforts were made by the Austrian general, aided by bombardment from the British fleet, to force the strong defences by assault. At length the city was invested by a strict blockade. All communication with the country was cut off, while the harbor was closed by the ever-wakeful British watch-dogs of war.

    Besides the French troops, within the beleaguered and unfortunate city are the peaceful, unoffending inhabitants. Provisions soon become scarce; scarcity sharpens into want, till fell Famine, bringing blindness and madness in her train, rages like an Erinnys.

    Picture to yourselves this large population, not pouring out their lives in the exulting rush of battle, but wasting at noonday, daughter by the side of mother, husband by the side of wife. When grain and rice fail, flaxseed, millet, cocoa, and almonds are ground by hand-fulls into flour, and even bran, baked with honey, is eaten, less to satisfy than to deaden hunger.

    Before the last extremities, a pound of horse-flesh is sold for thirty-two cents, a pound of bran for thirty cents, a pound of flour for one dollar and seventy-five cents. A single bean is soon sold for two cents, and a biscuit of three ounces for two dollars and a quarter,


    till finally none can be had at any price. The wretched soldiers, after devouring the horses, are reduced to the degradation of feeding on dogs, cats, rats, and worms, which are eagerly hunted in cellars and sewers.

    “Happy were now,” exclaims an Italian historian, “not those who lived, but those who died!”

    The day is dreary from hunger, — the night more dreary still, from hunger with delirious fancies. They now turn to herbs,—dock, sorrel, mallows, wild succory. People of every condition, with women of noble birth and beauty, seek upon the slope of the mountain within the defences those aliments which Nature designed solely for beasts. Scanty vegetables, with a scrap of cheese, are all that can be afforded to the sick and wounded, those sacred stipendiaries of human charity.

    In the last anguish of despair, men and women fill the air with groans and shrieks, some in spasms, convulsions, and contortions, yielding their expiring breath on the unpitying stones of the street,—alas! not more unpitying than man. Children, whom a dead mother's arms had ceased to protect, orphans of an hour, with piercing cries, supplicate in vain the compassion of the passing stranger: none pity or aid. The sweet fountains of sympathy are all closed by the selfishness of individual distress.

    In the general agony, some precipitate themselves into the sea, while the more impetuous rush from the gates, and impale their bodies on the Austrian bayonets. Others still are driven to devour their shoes and the leather of their pouches; and the horror of human flesh so far abates, that numbers feed like cannibals on the corpses about them.1
    1 This account is drawn from the animated sketches of Botta (Storia


    At this stage the French general capitulated, claiming and receiving what are called “the honors of war,”—but not before twenty thousand innocent persons, old and young, women and children, having no part or interest in the contest, had died the most horrible of deaths. The Austrian flag floated over captured Genoa but a brief span of time; for Bonaparte had already descended like an eagle from the Alps, and in nine days afterwards, on the plains of Marengo, shattered the Austrian empire in Italy.

    But wasted lands, famished cities, and slaughtered armies are not all that is contained in “the purple testament of bleeding war.” Every soldier is connected with others, as all of you, by dear ties of kindred, love, and friendship. He has been sternly summoned from the embrace of family. To him there is perhaps an aged mother, who fondly hoped to lean her bending years on his more youthful form; perhaps a wife, whose life is just entwined inseparably with his, now condemned to wasting despair; perhaps sisters, brothers. As he falls on the field of war, must not all these rush with his blood?

    But who can measure the distress that
    d' Italia dal 1789 al 1814, Tom III. Lib 19), Alison (History of Europe, Vol. IV. ch. 30), and Arnold (Modern History, Lect. IV.).

    The humanity of the last [Arnold] is particularly aroused to condemn this most atrocious murder of innocent peopie, and, as a sufficient remedy, he suggests a modification of the Laws of War, permitting non-combatants to withdraw from a blockaded town! In this way, indeed, they may be spared a languishing death by starvation, but they must desert firesides, pursuits, all that makes life dear, and become homeless exiles,—a fate little better than the former.

    It is strange that Arnold's pure soul and dear judgment did not recognize the truth, that the whole custom of war is unrighteous and unlawful, and that the horrors of this siege are its natural consequence.

    Laws of War! Laws in what is lawless! rules of wrong! There can be only one Law of War,— that is, the great law which pronounces it unwise, unjust, and unchristian.


    radiates as from a bloody sun, penetrating innumerable homes? Who can give the gauge and dimensions of this infinite sorrow?

    Tell me, ye who feel the bitterness of parting with dear friends and kindred, whom you watch tenderly till the last golden sands are run out and the great hour-glass is turned, what is the measure of your anguish? Your friend departs, soothed by kindness and in the arms of Love: the soldier gasps out his life with no friend near, while the scowl of Hate darkens all that he beholds, darkens his own departing soul.

    Who can forget the anguish that fills the bosom and crazes the brain of Lenore, in the matchless ballad of Bürger, when seeking in vain among returning squadrons for her lover left dead on Prague's ensanguined plain?

    But every field of blood has many Lenores. All war is full of desolate homes, as is vividiy pictured by a master poet of antiquity, whose verse is an argument.

    “But through the bounds of Grecia's land,
    Who sent her sons for Troy to part,
    See mourning, with much suffering heart,
    On each man's threshold stand,
    On each sad hearth in Grecia's land.
    Well may her soul with grief be rent;
    She well remembers whom she sent,
    She sees them not return:
    Instead of men, to each man's home
    Urns and ashes only come,
    And the armor which they wore,—
    Sad relics to their native shore
    For Mars, the barterer of the lifeless clay,
    Who sells for gold the slain,
    And holds the scale, in battle's doubtful day,
    High balanced o'er the plain
    From Ilium's walls for men returns
    Ashes and sepuLchral urns,—
    Ashes wet with many a tear,
    Sad relics of the fiery bier.
    Round the full urns the general groan
    Goes, as each their kindred own:


    One they mourn in battle strong,
    And one that 'mid the armed throng
    He sunk in glory's slaughtering tide,
    And for another's consort died.

    Others they mourn whose monuments stand
    By Ilium's walls on foreign strand;
    Where they fell in beauty's bloom,
    There they lie in hated tomb,
    Sunk beneath the massy mound,
    in eternal chambers bound.”1


    But all these miseries are to no purpose. War is utterly ineffectual to secure or advance its professed object. The wretchedness it entails contributes to no end, helps to establish no right, and therefore in no respect determines justice between the contending nations.

    The fruitlessness and vanity of war appear in the great conflicts by which the worid has been lacerated. After long struggle, where each nation inflicts and receives incalculable injury, peace is gladly obtained on the basis of the condition before the war, known as the status ante bellum.

    I cannot illustrate this futility better than by the familiar example—humiliating to both countries—of our last war [of 1812] with Great Britain, where the professed object was to obtain a renunciation of the British claim, so defiantly asserted, to impress our seamen. To overturn this injustice the Arbitrament of War was invoked, and for nearly three years the whole country was under its terrible ban.

    Click here for slave-states' role in voting for the War of 1812.

    American commerce was driven from the seas; the re-
    1 Agamemnon of Æschylus: Chorus. This is from the beautiful translation by John Symmons [1781-1842, London: Taylor and Hessey, 1824].

    Ed. Note: Æschylus was 525 B.C.E. - 456 B.C.E.


    sources of the land were drained by taxation; villages on the Canadian frontier were laid in ashes; the metropolis of the Republic [Washington, D.C.] was captured [when Southern troops fled]; while distress was everywhere within our borders.

    Weary at last with this rude trial, the National Government appointed commissioners to treat for peace, with these specific instructions:

    "Your first duty will be to conclude a peace with Great Britain; and you are authorized to do it, in case you obtain a satisfactory stipulation against impressment, one which shall secure under our flag protection to the crew. . . . . If this encroachment of Great Britain is not provided against, the United States have appealed to arms in vain."1

    Afterwards, finding small chance of extorting from Great Britain a relinquishment of the unrighteous claim, and foreseeing from the inveterate prosecution of the war only an accumulation of calamities, the National Government directed the negotiators, in concluding a treaty, to

    omit any stipulation on the subject of impressment.”2

    Thse instructions were obeyed, and the treaty that restored to us once more the blessings of peace, so rashly cast away [by the Slave Power to damage the North], but now hailed with intoxication of joy, contained no allusion to impressment, nor did it provide for the surrender of a single American sailor detained in the British navy.

    Thus, by the confession of our own Government,

    “the United States had appealed to arms IN VAIN.”3

    These important words are not mine; they are words of the country.

    Ed. Note: The U.S. lost the War of 1812, fought it in vain. "The [peace] Treaty of Ghent was a simple cessation of hostilities. Every principle or cause for which the War of 1812 was fought was ignored," says Robert Leckie, The Wars of America (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), Part III, § 12, p 307.

    1 Mr. [James] Monroe [Secretary of State] to Commissioners, April 15, 1813: American State Papers, Vol. VIII. pp. 577, 578.

    2 Mr. Monroe to Commissioners, June 27, 1814: Ibid., Vol. VIII. p. 593.

    3 Mr. Jefferson, in more than one letter, declares the peaco an armistice only, “because no security is provided against the impressment of our seamen.”—Letter to Crawford, Feb. 11, 1815; to Lafayette, Feb. 14, 1815; Works, Vol. VI. pp. 420, 427.

    All this is the natural result of an appeal to war for the determination of justice. Justice implies the exercise of the judgment. Now war not only supersedes the judgment, but delivers over the pending question to superiority of force, or to chance.

    Superior force may end in conquest; this is the natural consequence; but it cannot adjudicate any right. We expose the absurdity of its arbitrament, when, by a familiar phrase of sarcasm, we deride the right of the strongest,—excluding, of course, all idea of right, except that of the lion as he springs upon a weaker beast, of the wolf as he tears in pices the lamb, of the vulture as he devours the dove. The grossest spirits must admit that this is not justice.

    But the battle is not always to the strong. Superiority of force is often checked by the proverbial contingencies of war. Especially are such contingencies revealed in rankest absurdity, where nations, as is the acknowledged custom, without regard to their respective forces, whether weaker or stronger, voluntarily appeal to this mad umpirage. Who beforehand can measure the currents of the heady fight?

    In common language, we confess the “chances” of battle; and soldiers devoted to this harsh vocation yet call it a “game.” The Great Captain of our age [Napoleon], who seemed to drag victory at his chariot-wheels, in a formal address to his officers, on entering Russia, says,

    “In war, fortune has an equal share with ability in success.”1

    The famous victory of Marengo, accident of an accident, wrested unexpectedly [14 June 1800] at close of day from a foe [Italy] at an earlier hour successful [against Napoleon's Army], taught him the uncertainty of war.

    Afterwards, in bitterness of spirit, when his immense forces were
    1 Alison, Ch. 67, Vol. VIII. p. 815.


    shivered, and his triumphant eagles driven back with broken wing, he exclaimed, in that remarkable conversation recorded by his secretary, Fain,—

    “Well, this is War! High in the morning,—low enough at night! From a triumph to a fall is often but a step.”1

    The same sentiment is repeated by the military historian of the Peninsular campaigns, when he [Napier] says,

    Fortune always asserts her supremacy in war; and often from a slight mistake such disastrous consequences flow, that, in every age and every nation, the uncertainty of arms has been proverbial.”2

    And again, in another place, considering the conduct of Wellington, the same military historian [Napier], who is an unquestionable authority, confesses,

    “A few hours' delay, an accident, a turn of fortune, and he would have been foiled. Ay! but this is War, always dangerous and uncertain, an ever-rolling wheel, and armed with scythes.”3

    And will intelligent man look for justice to an ever-rolling wheel armed with scythes?

    Chance is written on every battle-field. Discerned less in the conflict of large masses than in that of individuals, it is equally present in both. How capriciously the wheel turned when the fortunes of Rome were staked on the combat between the Horatii and Curiatii!—and who, at one time, augured [predicted] that the single Horatius, with two slain brothers on the field, would overpower the three living enemies?

    But this [fact] is not alone. In all the combats of history, involving the fate of individuals or nations, we learn to revolt at the frenzy which carries questions of property, freedom, or life to a judgment so uncertain and senseless. The humorous poet fitly exposes its hazards, when he says,—
    1 Alison, Ch. 72, Vol. IX. p. 497.

    2 Napier, Book XXIV. ch. 6, Vol. VI. p. 687.

    3 Ibid. Book XVI. ch 7, Vol. IV. p 476.


    “that a turnstile is more certain
    Than, in events of war, Dame Fortune.”1

    During the early modern centuries, and especially in the moral night of the Dark Ages, the practice prevailed extensively throughout Europe of invoking this adjudication [War] for controversies, whether of individuals or communities.

    Ed. Note: Sumner is making a standard distinction, practice vs. morals. Toi distinguish between the two, what to do is to (a) read the moral rules, and (b) not assume that practice (tradition, behavior, custom, culture, what people actually do) is moral or right, i.e., what they ought to do.

    It may be "practice" or "tradition" for people to jaywalk, rob, kidnap or enslave. But from the fact of what people do, it does not follow that that behavior is what moral guidance says to do!

    What people do is not the standard of what is moral. The standard is what the moral code says to do. To find out what morals say, do not compare with tradition, with practice, with what people do. Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:9. Read the moral guidance. Here are explanatory precedents:

    "what ought to be done is fixed by a standard . . . whether it usually is complied with or not."-Texas & Pac Ry v Behymer, 189 US 468, 470; 23 S Ct 622, 623; 47 L Ed 903 (1903).

    A moral code is designed for a purpose. That is, it is

    "designed to disrupt" nonconforming practice-U.S. v City of Los Angeles, 595 F2d 1386, 1391 (CA 9, 1979).

    A "practice not based upon any rule of law" must be reversed and rejected, Biafore v Baker, 119 Mich App 667; 326 NW2d 598 (1982); The T. J. Hooper, 60 F2d 737, 740 (CA 2, 1932).

    I do not dwell on the custom of Private War, though it aptly illustrates the subject, stopping merely to echo that joy which, in a time of ignorance, before this arbitrament [Private War] yielded gradually to the ordinances of monarchs and an advancing civilization, hailed its temporary suspension as The Truce of God.

    But this beautiful term, most suggestive, and historically important, cannot pass without the attention which belongs to it. Such a truce is still an example, and also an argument; but it is for nations. Here is something to be imitated; and here also is an appeal to the reason. If individuals or communities once recognized the Truce of God, why not again? And why may not its benediction descend upon nations also? Its origin goes back to the darkest night.

    It was in 1032 that the Bishop of Aquitaine [France] announced the appearance of an angel with a message from Heaven, engaging men to cease from war and be reconciled. The people, already softened by calamity and disposed to supernatural impressions, hearkened to the sublime message, and consented.

    From sunset Thursday to sunrise Monday each week, also during Advent and Lent, and at the great festivals, all effusion of blood was interdicted, and no man could molest his adversary. Women, children, travellers, merchants, laborers, were assured perpetual peace. Every church was made an asylum,
    1 Hudibras, Part I. Canto 3, vv. 23, 24


    and, by happy association, the plough also sheltered from peril all who came to it. This respite, justly regarded as marvellous, was hailed as the Truce of God.

    Beginning in one neighborhood, it was piously extended until it embraced the whole kingdom [France], and then, by the authority of the Pope, became coextensive with Christendom, while those who violated it were put under solemn ban. As these things passed, bishops lifted their crosses, and the people in their gladness cried, Peace! Peace.!1

    Originally too limited in operation and too short in duration, the Truce of God must again be proclaimed for all places and all times,—proclaimed to all mankind and all nations, without distinction of person or calling, on all days of the week, without distinction of sacred days or festivals, and with one universal asylum, not merely the church and the plough, but every place and thing.

    From Private Wars, whose best lesson is the Truce of God, by which for a time they were hushed, I come to the Judicial Combat, or Trial by Battle, where, as in a mirror, we behold the barbarism of War, without truce of any kind. Trial by Battle was a formal and legitimate mode of deciding controversies, principally between individuals.

    Like other ordeals, by walking barefoot and blindfold among burning ploughshares, by holding hot iron, by dipping the hand in hot water or hot oil, and like the great Ordeal of War, it was a presumptuous appeal to Providence, under the apprehension and hope that Heaven would give the victory to him who had the right. Its object was the
    1 Robertson, Hist. of Charles V., Vol. I. note 21. Semchon, La Paix et la Trève de Dieu, Tom. II. pp. 35, 53.


    very object of War,—the determination of Justice. It was sanctioned by Municipal Law as an arbitrament for individuals, as War, to the scandal of civilization is still sanctioned by International Law as an arbitrament for nations.

    “Men,” says the brilliant Frenchman, Montesquieu, [Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)] “subject even their prejudices to rules”;

    and Trial by Battle, which he does not hesitate to denounce as a

    “monstrous usage,”

    was surrounded by artificial regulations of multifarious detail, constituting an extensive System, determining how and when it should be waged, as War is surrounded by a complex code, known as the Laws of War.

    “Nothing,” says Montesquieu again, “could be more contrary to good sense, but, once established, it was executed with a certain prudence,”—

    which is equally true of War.

    No battle-field for an army is selected with more care than was the field for Trial by Battle. An open space in the neighborhood of a church was often reserved for this purpose. At the famous Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, there was a tribune for the judges, overlooking the adjoining meadow, which served for the field.1

    The combat was inaugurated by a solemn mass, according to a form still preserved, Missa pro Duello, so that, in ceremonial and sanction, as in the field, the Church was constantly present. Champions were hired, as soldiers now.2

    No question was too sacred, grave, or recondite for this
    1 Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. V. ch. 9, Tom. X. p. 514.

    2 The pivotal character of Trial by Battle, as an illustration of War, will justify a reference to the modern authorities, among which are Robertson, who treats it with perspicuity and fulness (History of Charles V., Vol. I. note 22),—Hallam, always instructive (Middle Ages, Vol. I. Chap. II. pt. 2),—Blackstone, always clear (Commentaries, Book III. ch. 22, sec. 5, and Book IV. ch. 27, sec. 3),—Montesquieu, who casts upon it a flood of


    tribunal. In France, the title of an Abbey to a neighboring church was decided by it; and an Emperor of Germany, according to a faithful ecclesiastic,

    “desirous of dealing honorably with his people and nobles”

    (mark here the standard of honor!), waived the judgment of the court on a grave question of law concerning the descent of property, and referred it to champions.

    Human folly did not stop here. In Spain, a subtile point of theology was submitted to the same determination.1

    But Trial by Battle was not confined to particular countries or to rare occasions. It prevailed everywhere in Europe, superseding in in many places all other ordeals, and even Trials by Proofs, while it extended not only to criminal matters, but to questions of property. In Orleans [France] it had an exceptional limitation, being denied in civil matters where the amount did not exceed five sous.2

    Like War in our day, its justice and fitness as an arbitrament were early doubted or condemned. Liutprand [712 C.E. - 744 C.E.], a king of the Lombards, during that middle period neither ancient nor modern, in a law bearing date A. D.
    light (Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXVIII. ch. 18-33),—Sismondi, humane and interesting (Histoire des Français, Part. IV. ch. 11, Tom. VIII. pp. 72-78),—Guizot, m a work of remarkable historic beauty, more grave than Montesquieu, and enlightened by a better philosophy (Histoire de la Civilisation en France depuis la Chute de l'Empire Romain, Tom. IV. pp. 89, 149-166),—Wheaton, our learned countryman (History of the Northmen, Chap. III. and XII.),—also the two volumes of Millingen's History of Duelling, if so loose a compend deserves a place in this list. All these, describing Trial by Battle, testify against War.

    I cannot conceal that so great an authority as Selden, a most enlightened jurist of the Long Parliament, argues the lawfulness of the Duel from the lawfulness of War. After setting forth that “a duel may be granted in some cases by the law of England,” he asks, “But whether is this lawful?” and then answers, “If you grant any war lawful, I make no doubt but to convince it.” (Table-Talk: Duel.) But if the Duel be unlawful, how then with War?

    1 Robertson, Hist. Charles V., Vol. I note 22.

    2 Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXVII. ch. 19.


    724 [C.E.], declares his distrust of it as a mode of determining justice; but the monarch is compelled to add, that, considering the custom of his Lombard people, he cannot forbid the impious law. His words deserve emphatic mention:

    Propter consuetudinem gentis nostrœ Langobardorum
    LEGEM IMPIAM vetare non possumus.” 1

    The appropriate epithet by which he branded Trial by Battle is the important bequest of the royal Lombard to a distant posterity. For this the lawgiver will be cherished with grateful regard in the annals of civilisation.

    This custom received another blow from Rome. In the latter part of the thirteenth century, Don Pedro of Aragon [1276-1285], after exchanging letters of defiance with Charles of Anjou, proposed a personal combat, which was accepted, on condition that Sicily should be the prize of success. Each called down upon himself all the vengeance of Heaven, and the last dishonor, if, at the appointed time, he failed to appear before the Seneschal of Aquitaine, or, in case of defeat, refused to consign Sicily undisturbed to the victor.

    While they were preparing for the lists [battle], the Pope, Martin the Fourth [1281-1285], protested with all his might against this new Trial by Battle, which staked the sovereignty of a kingdom, a feudatory of the Holy See, on a wild stroke of chance. By a papal bull, dated at Civita Vecchia, April 5th, 1283, he threatened excommunication to either of the princes who should proceed to a combat which he pronounced criminal and abominable.

    By a letter of the same date, the Pope announced to Edward the First [1272-1307] of England, Duke of Aquitaine, the agreement of the two princes, which he most earnestly declared to
    1 Liutprandi Leges, Lib. VI. cap. 65: Muratori, Rerum Italie. Script., Tom. I. pars 2, p. 74.

    be full of indecency and rashness, hostile to the concord of Christendom, and reckless of Christian blood; and he urged upon the English monarch all possible effort to prevent the combat,—menacing him with excommunication, and his territories with interdict, if it should take place. Edward refusing to guaranty the safety of the combatants in Aquitaine, the parties retired without consummating their duel.1

    The judgment of the Holy See, which thus accomplished its immediate object, though not in terms directed to the suppression of the custom, remains, nevertheless, from its peculiar energy, a perpetual testimony against Trial by Battle.

    To a monarch of France belongs the honor of first interposing the royal authority for the entire suppression within his jurisdiction of this impious custom, so universally adopted, so dear to the nobility, and so profoundly rooted in the institutions of the Feudal Age.

    And here let me pause with reverence as I pronounce the name of St. Louis [1226-1270], a prince whose unenlightened errors may find easy condemnation in an age of larger toleration and wider knowledge, but whose firm and upright soul, exalted sense of justice, fatherly regard for the happiness of his people, respect for the rights of others, conscience void of offence toward God or man, make him foremost among Christian rulers, and the highest example for Christian prince or Christian people,—in one word, a model of True Greatness.

    He was of angelic conscience, subjecting whatever he did to the single and exclusive test of moral rectitude, disregarding every consideration of worldly advantage, all fear of worldly consequences.
    1 Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. IV. ch. 15, Tom. VIII. pp. 338-347.


    His soul, thus tremblingly sensitive to right, was shocked at the judicial combat. It was a sin [Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12], in his sight, thus to tempt God, by demanding of him a miracle, whenever judgment was pronounced. From these intimate convictions sprang a royal ordinance, promulgated first at a Parliament assembled in 1260:

    We forbid to all persons throughout our dominions the TRIAL BY BATTLE; . . . . and instead of battles, we establish proofs by witnesses. . . . . AND THESE BATTLES WE ABOLISH IN OUR DOMINIONS FOREVER.”1

    Such were the restraints on the royal authority, that this beneficent ordinance was confined in operation to the demesnes of the king, not embracing those of the barons and feudatories. But where the [legal] power of the sovereign did not reach, there he labored by example, influence, and express intercession,—treating with the great vassals, and inducing many to renounce this unnatural usage. Though for years later it continued to vex parts of France, its overthrow commenced with the Ordinance [Law] of St. Louis.

    Honor and blessings attend this truly Christian king, who submitted all his actions to the Heaven-descended sentiment of Duty,—who began a long and illustrious reign by renouncing and restoring conquests of his predecessor [Louis VIII (1223-1226)], saying to those about him, whose souls did not ascend to his heights,

    “I know that the predecessors of the King of England [Henry III] lost altogether by right the conquest which I hold; and the land which I give him I do not give because I am bound to him or his heirs, but to put love between my children and his children, who are cousins-german; and it seems to me that what I
    1 Guizot, Hist. de la Civilisation en France, Leçon 14, Vol. IV. pp. 162-164.


    “thus give I employ to good purpose.”1

    Honor to him who never by force or cunning grasped what was not his own,—who sought no advantage from the turmoil and dissension of his neighbors,—who, first of Christian princes, rebuked the Spirit of War, saying to those who would have him profit by the strifes of others,

    “Blessed are the peacemakers,”2 [Matthew 5:9]

    —who, by an immortal ordinance, abolished Trial by Battle throughout his dominions,—who extended equal justice to all, whether his own people or his neighbors, and in the extremity of his last illness, before the walls of Tunis, under a burning African sun, among the beqnests of his spirit, enjoined on his son and successor,

    “in maintaining justice, to be inflexible and loyal, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left.”3 [Ed. Note: alluding to Deuteronomy 17:20.]

    To condemn Trial by Battle no longer requires the sagacity above his age of the Lombard monarch, or the intrepid judgment of the Sovereign Pontiff, or the ecstatic soul of St. Louis. An incident of history, as curious as it is authentic, illustrates this point, and shows the certain progress of opinion; and this brings me to England, where this trial was an undoubted part of the early Common Law, with peculiar ceremonies sanctioned by the judges robed in scarlet.

    The learned Selden, not content with tracing its origin, and exhibiting its forms, with the oath of the duellist,

    “As God me help, and his saints of Paradise,”

    shows also the copartnership [accessory role] of the Church through its liturgy appointing prayers for the occasion.4

    For some time it was the
    1 Guizot, Hist. de la Civilisation en France, Leçon 14, Vol. IV. p. 151.

    2 “Benoist soient tuit li apaiseur.”—Joinville, p. 143.

    3 Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Part. IV. ch. 12, Tom. VIII. p. 196.

    4 Selden, The Duello, or Single Combat, from Antiquity derived into this


    only mode of trying a writ of right, by which the title to real property was determined, and the fines from the numerous cases formed no inconsiderable portion of the King's revenue.1

    It was partially restrained by Henry the Second [1154-1189], under the advice of his chief justiciary, the ancient law-writer, Glanville, substituting the Grand Assize as an alternative, on the trial of a writ of right; and the reason assigned for this substitution was the uncertainty of the Duel, so that after many and long delays justice was scarcely obtained, in contrast with the other trial, which was more convenient and swift.2

    At a later day, Trial by Battle was rebuked by Elizabeth [1558-1603], who interposed to compel the parties to a composition,—although, for the sake of their honor, as it was called, the lists were marked out and all the preliminary forms observed with much ceremony.3

    It was awarded under Charles the First [1625-1649], and the proceeding went so far that a day was proclaimed for the combatants to appear with spear, long sword, short sword, and dagger, when the duel was adjourned from time to time, and at last the king compelled an accommodation without bloodshed.4

    Though fallen
    Kingdom of England; also, Table Talk, Duel: Works, Vol. III. col. 49-84, 2027.

    1 Madox, Hist. of Exchequer, Vol. I. p. 349.

    2 “Est autem magna Assisa regale quoddam beneficium, . . . . quo vitæ hominum et status integritati tam salubriter consulitur, ut in jure quod quis in libero soli tenemento possidet retinendo, duelli casum declinare possunt homines ambiguum. . . . . Jus enim, quod post multas et longas dilatiiones vix evincitur per duellum, per beneficium istius constitutionis commodius et acceleratius expeditur.” (Glanville, Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Angliæ, Lib. II. cap. 7.) These pointed words are precisely applicable to our Arbitrament of War, with its many and long delays, so little productive of Justice.

    3 Robertson, Hist. Charles V., Vol. I. note 22.

    4 Proceedings in the Court of Chivalry, on an Appeal of High Treason by


    into desuetude, quietly overruled by the enlightened sense of successive generations, yet, to the disgrace of English jurisprudence, it was not legislatively abolished till near our own day,—as late as 1819,— the right to it having been openly claimed in Westminster Hall [Court] only two years previous.

    An ignorant man, charged with murder,—whose name, Abraham Thornton, is necessarily connected with the history of this monstrous usage,—being proceeded against by the ancient process of appeal, pleaded, when brought into court, as follows:

    “Not guilty; and I am ready to defend the same by my body”:

    and thereupon taking off his glove, he threw it upon the floor. The appellant, not choosing to accept this challenge, abandoned his proceedings.

    The bench, the bar, and the whole kingdom were startled by the infamy; and at the next session of Parliament Trial by Battle was abolished in England. In the debate on this subject, the Attorney-General remarked, in appropriate terms, that,

    “if the appellant had persevered in the Trial by Battle, he had no doubt the legislature would have felt it their imperious duty at once to interfere, and pass an ex post facto law to prevent so degrading a spectacle from taking place.”1

    These words evince the disgust which Trial by Battle excites in our day. Its folly and wickedness are conspicuous to all.

    Reverting to that early period in which it prevailed, our minds are impressed by the general barbarism; we recoil with horror from the awful subjection of justice to brute force,—from the impious profanation
    Donald Lord Rea against Mr. David Ramsay, 7 Cha. I., 1631: Hargrave's State Trials, Vol. XI. pp. 124-131.

    1 Hansard, Parl. Debates, XXXIX. 1104. Blackstone, Com., III. 337; Chitty's note.


    of God in deeming him present at these outrages,—from the moral degradation out of which they sprang, and which they perpetuated; we enrobe ourselves in self-complacent virtue, and [as per (Luke 18:9-14] thank God that we are not as these men,—that ours is an age of light, while theirs was an age of darkness!

    But remember, fellow-citizens, that this criminal and impious custom, which all condemn in the case of individuals, is openly avowed by our own country, and by other countries of the great Christian Federation, nay, that it is expressly established by International Law, as the proper mode of determining justice between nations,—while the feats of hardihood by which it is waged, and the triumphs of its fields, are exalted [idolized] beyond all other labors, whether of learning, industry, or benevolence, as the well-spring of Glory.

    Alas! upon our own heads be the judgment of barbarism which we pronounce upon those that have gone before! [Matthew 7:2-5].

    At this moment, in this period of light, while to the contented souls of many, the noonday sun of civilization seems to be standing still in the heavens, as upon Gibeon [Joshua 10:12], the dealings between nations are still governed by the odious rules of brute violence which once predominated between individuals. The Dark Ages have not passed away; Erebus and black Night, born of Chaos, still brood over the earth; nor can we hail the clear day, until the hearts of nations are toucbed, as the hearts of individual men, and all acknowledge one and the same Law of Right.

    What has taught you, O man! [Isaiah 2:4; Deuteronomy 18:9; Jeremiah 10:2] thus to find glory in an act, performed by a nation, which you condemn as a crime or a barbarism, when committed by an individual?


    In what vain conceit of wisdom and virtue do you find this incongruous morality?

    Where is it declared that God, who is no respecter of persons [Acts 10:34], is a respecter of multitudes? Whence do you draw these partial laws of an impartial God? Man is immortal; but Nations are mortal. Man has a higher destiny than Nations.

    Can Nations be less amenable to the supreme moral law? Each individual is an atom of the mass. Must not the mass, in its conscience, he like the individuals of which it is composed? Shall the mass, in relations with other masses, do what individuals in relations with each other may not do?

    Ed. Note: See the similar concept by Lysander Spooner, that people cannot delegate to others powers that they themselves lack, in his book Unconstitutionality (1845), p 14.

    As in the physical creation, so in the moral, there is but one rule for the individual and the mass. It was the lofty discovery of [Sir Isaac] Newton [1642-1727], that the simple law which determines the fall of an apple prevails everywhere throughout the Universe,—ruling each particle in reference to every other particle, large or small,—reaching from earth to heaven, and controlling the infinite motions of the spheres.

    So, with equal scope, another simple law, the Law of Right, which binds the individual, binds also two or three when gathered together [Matthew 18:20],—binds conventions and congregations of men,—binds villages, towns, and cities,—binds states, nations, and races,—clasps the whole human family in its sevenfold embrace; nay, more, beyond

    “the flaming bounds of place and time,
    The living throne, the sapphire blaze,”

    it binds the angels of Heaven, Cherubim, full of knowledge, Seraphim, full of love; above all, it binds, in self-imposed bonds, a just and omnipotent God.

    This is the law of which the ancient poet sings, as Queen alike of mortals and immortals. It is of this, and not of any earthly law, that Hooker speaks in that magnificent pe-

    riod which sounds like an anthem:

    “Of Law there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power: both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.”

    Often quoted, and justly admired, sometimes as the finest sentence of our English speech, this grand declaration cannot be more fitly invoked than to condemn the pretence of one law for the individual aud another for the nation.

    Stripped of all delusive apology, and tried by that comprehensive law under which nations are set to the bar like common men, War falls from glory into barbarous guilt, taking its place among bloody transgressions, while its naming houors are turned into shame. Painful to existing prejudice as this may be, we must learn to abhor it, as we abhor similar transgressions by vulgar offender.

    Every word of reprobation which the enlightened conscience now fastens upon the savage combatant in Trial by Battle, or which it applies to the unhappy being who in murderous duel takes the life of his fellow-man, belongs also to the nation that appeals to War.

    Amidst the thunders of Sinai God declared,

    “Thou shalt not kill”—Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17;

    and the voice of those thunders, with this commandment, is prolonged to our own day in the echoes of Christian churches. What mortal shall restrict the application of thse words? Who on earth is empowered to vary or abridge the commandments of God? Who shall presume to declare that this injunction was directed, not to nations, but to individuals


    only,—not to many, but to one only,—that one man shall not kill, but that many may,—that one man shall not slay in Duel, but that a nation may slay a multitude in the duel of War,—that each individual is forbidden to destroy the life of a single human being, but that a nation is not forbidden to cut off by the sword a whole people?

    We are struck with horror, and our hair stands on end, at the report of a single murder; we think of the soul hurried to final account; we hunt the murderer; and Government puts forth its energies to secure his punishment.

    Viewed in the unclouded light of Truth, what is War but organized murder,—murder of malice aforethought,—in cold blood,—under sanctions of impious law,—through the operation of an extensive machinery of crime,—with innumerable hands,—at incalculable cost of money,—by subtle contrivances of cunning and skill,—or amidst the fiendish atrocities of the savage, brutal assault?

    By another commandment, not less solemn, it is declared, “Thou shalt not steal” [Exodus 20:15]; and then again there is another forbidding to covet what belongs to others [Exodus 20:17]: but all this is done by War, which is stealing and covetousness organized by International Law.

    Ed. Note: See fuller list of pertinent commandments.

    The Scythian, undisturbed by the illusion of military glory, snatched a phrase of justice from an acknowledged criminal, when he called Alexander “the greatest robber in the world.”

    And the Roman satirist, filled with similar truth, in pungent words touched to the quick that flagrant, unblushing injustice which dooms to condign punishment the very guilt that in another sphere and on a grander scale is hailed with acclamation:—

    “Ille crucem sceleris pretium tulit, hic diadema.”1
    1 [Decimus] Juvenal [60 C.E. - 140 C.E.], Sat. XIII. 105. The same judgment is pronounced by [François] Fenelon [1651-1715]


    While condemning the ordinary malefactor, mankind, blind to the real character of War, may yet a little longer crown the giant actor [the big malefactor] with glory; a generous posterity may pardon to unconscious barbarism the atrocities which have been waged; but the custom, as organized by existing law [traditions of men], cannot escape the unerring judgment of reason and religion.

    The outrages, which, under most solemn sanctions, it permits and invokes for professed purposes of justice, cannot be authorized by any human power; and they must rise in overwhelming judgment, not only against those who wield the weapons of Battle, but more still against all who uphold its monstrous Arbitrament.

    When, O, when shall the St. Louis of the Nations arise,—Christian ruler or Christian people,—who, in the Spirit of True Greatness, shall proclaim, that henceforward forever the great Trial by Battle shall cease,—that “these battles” shall be abolished throughout the Commonwealth of Civilization,—that a spectacle so degrading shall never be allowed again to take place,—and that it is the duty of nations, involving the highest and wisest policy, to establish love between each other, and, in all respects, at all times, with all persons, whether their own people or the people of other lands, to be governed by the sacred Law of Right, as between man and man?


    I am now brought to review the obstacles encountered by those who, according to the injunction of St. Augus-
    in his counsels to royalty, entitled, Examen de Conscience sur les Devoirs de la Royauté.

    tine, would make war on War, and slay it with the word. To some of these obstacles I alluded at the beginning, especially the warlike literature, by which the character is formed. The world has supped so full with battles, that its modes of thought and many of its rules of conduct are incarnadined with blood, as the bones of swine, feeding on madder [red plants], are said to become red.

    Not to be tempted by this theme, I hasten on to expose in succession those various PREJUDICES so powerful still in keeping alive the custom [human tradition] of War, including that greatest prejudice, mighty parent of an infinite brood, at whose unreasoning behest untold sums are absorbed in Preparations for War.

    1. One of the most important [pro-war biases] is the prejudice from belief in its neccssity. When War is called a necessity, it is meant, of course, that its object can be attained in no other way.

    Now I think it has already appeared [been proven], with distinctness approaching demonstration, that the professed object of War, which is justice between nations, is in no respect promoted by War,—that force is not justice, nor in any way conducive to justice,—that the eagles of victory are the emblems of successful force only, and not of established right.

    Justice is obtained solely by the exercise of reason aud judgment; but these are silent in the din of arms.

    Justice is without passion [emotion]; but War lets loose all the worst passions, while

    “Chance, high arbiter, more embroils the fray.”

    The age is gone when a nation within the enchanted circle of civilisation could make war upon its neihbors for any declared purpose of booty or vengeance. It does

    "nought in hate, but all in honor.”

    Such is the present rule. Professions of tenderness mingle with


    the first mutterings of strife. As if conscience-struck at the crimmal abyss into which they are plunging, each of the great litigants seeks to fix upon the other some charge of hostile aggression, or to set up the excuse of defending some asserted right, some Texas, some Oregon. Each, like Pontius Pilate, vainly washes its hands of innocent blood [Matthew 27:24], and straightway allows a crime at which the whole heavens are darkened [Matthew 27:45], and two kindred countries are severed, as the vail of the Temple was rent in twain. [Matthew 27:51].

    Proper modes for the determination of international disputes are Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration, and a Congress [League] of Nations [or, United Nations],—all practicable, and calculated to secure peaceful justice. Under existing Law of Nations these may be employed at any time.

    But [Indeed] the very law sanctioning War may be changed, as regards two or more nations by treaty between them, and as regards the body of nations by general consent.

    If nations can agree in solemn provisions of International Law to establish War as Arbiter of Justice, they can also agree to abolish this arbitrament, and to establish peaceful substitutes,—precisely as similar substitutes are established by Municipal Law to determine controversies among individuals.

    Ed. Note: This was later done, 1923, by international treaty, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, outlawing war. Under this treaty, when a nation (Germany) later violated that agreement, its leaders initiating the violation were hanged, at Nuremberg. See The Nurnberg Trial, 6 FRD 69 (1946).

    A System of Arbitration may be instituted, or a Congress [League] of Nations [United Nations], charged with the high duty of organizing an Ultimate Tribunal [Court], instead of “these battles.” To do this, the will only is required.

    Let it not be said, then, that war is a necessity; and may our country aspire to the glory of taking the lead in disowning the barbarous system of LYNCH LAW among nations, while it proclaims peaceful substitutes!

    Ed. Note: The U.S. became a leader, under President Woodrow Wilson, in establishing the League of Nations. U.S. Secretary of State Kellogg was a leader in promoting the above-cited 1923 Treaty outlawing aggressive war.
    For background, see, e.g., the Kellogg-Briand Pact: A Bibliography Compiled by the Avalon Project, and David Swanson, When the World Outlawed War (2011). Review by Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet: “David Swanson’s recently released book, When the World Outlawed War, tells the story of how the highly energized peace movement in the 1920s, supported by an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens from every level of society, was able to push politicians into something quite remarkable—the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. The 1920s 'War Outlawry' movement in the United States was so popular that most politicians could not afford to oppose it.”

    Such a glory, unlike the earthly fame of battle, will be


    immortal as the stars, dropping perpetual light upon the souls of men.

    2. Another prejudice is founded on the practice of nations, past and present. There is no crime or enormity in morals which may not end the support of human example, often on an extended scale.

    But it will not be urged in our day that we are to look for a standard of duty in the conduct [practice] of vain, fallible, mistaken man. Not by any subtile alchemy can man transmute Wrong into Right.

    Because War is according to the practice of the world, it does not follow that it is right.
  • For ages the world worshipped false gods,—not less false because all bowed before them.

  • At this moment the prevailing numbers of mankind are heathen; but heathenism is not therefore true.

  • Once it was the practice of nations to slaughter prisoners of war; but the Spirit of War recoils now from this bloody sacrifice.

  • By a perverse morality [practice] in Sparta, theft, instead of being a crime, was, like War, dignified into an art and accomplishment; like War, it was admitted into the System of youthful education; and, like War, it was illustrated by an instance of unconquerable firmness, barbaric counterfeit of virtue. The Spartan youth, with the stolen fox beneath his robe eating into his bowels, is an example of fortitude not unlike that so often admired in the soldier.
  • Other illustrations crowd upon the mind; but I will not dwell upon them. We turn with disgust from Spartan cruelty and the wolves of Taygetus,—from the awful cannibalism of the Feejee [Fiji] Islands,—from the profane rites of innumerable savages,—from the crushing Juggernaut,—from the Hindoo widow on her funeral pyre,—from the

    Indian dancing at the stake; but had not all these, like War, the sanction of established usage [practice]?

    Often is it said that we need not be wiser than our fathers. Rather strive to excel our fathers. What in them was good imitate; but do not bind ourselves, as in chains of Fate, by their imperfect example.

    In all modesty be it said, we have lived to little purpose, if we are not wiser than the generations that have gone before. It is the exalted distinction of man that he is progressive,—that his reason is not merely the reason of a single human being, but that of the whole human race, in all ages from which knowledge has descended, in all lands from which it has been borne away.

    We are the heirs to an inheritance grandly accumulating from generation to generation, with the superadded products of other lands. The child at his mother's knee is now taught the orbits of the heavenly bodies,

    “Where worlds on worlds compose one Universe,”

    the nature of this globe, the character of the tribes by which it is covered, and the geography of countries, to an extent far beyond the ken of the most learned in other days.

    It is true, therefore, that antiquity is the real infancy of man. Then is he immature, ignorant, wayward, selfish, childish, finding his chief happiness in lowest pleasures, unconscious of the higher. The animal reigns supreme, and he seeks contest, war, blood. Already he has lived through infancy and childhood. Reason and the kindlier virtues, repudiating and abhorring force, now bear sway.

    The time has come for temperance, moderation, peace. We are the true ancients. The single lock on the battered forehead of old Time is thinner now than when our fathers at-

    tempted to grasp it; the hour-glass bas been turned often since; the scythe is heavier laden with the work of death.

    Let us not, then, take for a lamp to our feet the feeble taper that glimmers from the sepulchre of the Past. Rather hail that ever-burning light above [Colossians 3:2], in whose beams is the brightness of noonday.

    3. There is a topic which I approach with diffidence, but in the spirit of frankness. It is the influence which War, though condemned by Christ, has derived from the [alleged] Christian Church.

    Ed. Note: "It is perhaps necessary to remind ourselves that the most destructive wars in the world's history have been waged by the Christian countries," says a source quoted by Prof. John W. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986), Chapter 7, p 163. (Review).

    When Constantine, on one of his marches, at the head of his army, beheld the luminous trophy of the cross in the sky, right above the meridian sun, inscribed with the words,

    By this conquer:

    had his soul [in fact] been penetrated [converted] by the true spirit of Him whose precious symbol it was, he would have found no inspiration to the spear and the sword.

    He would have [instead] received the lesson of self-sacrifice as from the lips of the Saviour, and learned that by no earthly weapon of battle can true victory be won. The pride of conquest would have been rebuked, and the bawble sceptre have fallen from his hands.

    By this conquer:
  • by patience,

  • suffering,

  • forgiveness of evil,

  • by all those virtues of which the cross is the affecting token,
  • conquer, and the victory shall be greater than any in the annals of Roman conquest; it may not yet find a place in the records of man, but it will appear in the register of everlasting life.

    The Christian Church, after the early centuries, failed to discern the peculiar spiritual beauty of the faith it professed. Like Constantine, it found new incentive to War in the religion of Peace; and such is its [deteriorated, apostate] character,


    even in our own day.

    Ed. Note: This change occurred pursuant to Diocletian's persecution.

    The Pope of Rome, the asserted head of the [professed] Church, Vicegerent of Christ upon earth, whose seal is a fisherman, on whose banner is a Lamb before the Holy Cross, assumed the command of armies, mingling the thunders of Battle with the thunders of the Vatican.

    The dagger projecting from the sacred vestments of De Eetz, while still an archbishop, was justly derided by the Parisian crowd as

    “the Archbishop's breviary.”

    We read of mitred prelates in armor of proof, and seem still to catch the clink of the golden spurs of bishops in the streets of Cologne. The sword of knighthood was consecrated by the Church, and priests were expert masters in military exercises.

    I have seen at the gates of the Papal Palace in Rome a constant guard of Swiss soldiers; I have seen, too, in our own streets, a show as incongruous and inconsistent,—the pastor of a [professed] Christian church swelling the pomp of a military parade.

    And some have heard, within a few short weeks, in a [professed] Christian pulpit, from the lips of an eminent [alleged] Christian divine, a sermon, where we are encouraged to serve the God of Battles, and, as citizen soldiers, fight for Peace:1

    —a sentiment in unhappy harmony with the profane language of the British peer, who, in addressing the House of Lords, said,

    The best road to Peace, my Lords, is War, and that in the manner we are taught to worship our Creator, namely, by carrying it on with all our souls, with all our minds, with all our hearts, and with all our strength,”2

    —but finding small support in a religion that expressly enjoins, when one cheek is smitten, to

    1 Discourse before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, by A. H. Vinton.

    1 Earl of Abingdon, May 30, 1794: Hansard, Parl. Hist., XXXI. 680.


    turn the other, and which we hear with pain from a [professed] minister of Christian truth,—alas! thus made inferior to that of the heathen who preferred the unjustest peace to the justest war.1

    Ed. Note: See Rev. William Patton's sermon 13 months later on when Christians set a bad example, paganism results.

    Well may we marvel that now, in an age of civilization, the God of Battles should be invoked.


    are the appropriate words of surprise in which Tacitus [55 C.E. - 117 C.E.] describes a similar delusion of the ancient [heathen] Germans.2

    The polite Roman did not think God present with fighting men.

    This ancient superstition [of God and country] must have lost something of its hold even in Germany; for, at a recent period, her most renowned captain,—whose false glory procured for him the title of Great,—Frederick of Prussia [1740-1786], declared, with commendable frankness, that he always found the God of Battles on the side of the strongest regiments; and when it was proposed to place on his banner, soon to flout the sky of Silesia, the inscription,

    For GOD and Country,”

    he rejected the first word, declaring it not proper to introduce the name of the Deity in the quarrels of men.

    By this elevated sentiment the warrior monarch may be remembered, when his fame of battle has passed away.

    The French priest of Mars, who proclaimed the
    1Vel iniquissimam in pacem justissimo bello anteferrem,” are the words of Cicero [106 B.C.E. - 43 B.C.E.]. (Epist. A. Cæcingæ: Epp. ad Diversos, VI. 6.) Only eight days after [Benjamin] Franklin [1706-1790] had placed his name to the treaty of peace which acknowledged the independence of his country, he wrote to a friend,
    “May we never see another war! for, in my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace.” (Letter to Josiah Quincy: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. X. p. 11.)

    It is with sincere regret that I seem, by a particular allusion, to depart for a moment from so great a theme; but the person and the theme here become united. I cannot refrain from the effort to tear this iron branch of War from the golden tree of Christian Truth, even though a voice come forth from the breaking bough.

    2 De Moribus German., Cap. 7.


    “divinity” of War, rivals the ancient Germans in faith that God is the tutelary guardian of battle, and he finds a new title, which he says “shines” on all the pages of Scripture, being none other than God of Armies.1

    Never was greater mistake. No theology, no theodicy, has ever attributed to God this title. God is God of Heaven, God of Hosts, the Living God, and he is God of Peace,—so called by St. Paul, saying,

    “Now the God of Peace be with you all,”2
    and again,
    “The God of Peace shall bruise Satan shortly,”3

    —but God of Armies he is not, as he is not God of Battles.4

    The title, whether of Armies or of Hosts, thus invoked for War, has an opposite import, even angelic,—the armies named being simply, according to authorities Ecclesiastical and Rabbinical, the hosts of angels standing about the throne.

    Who, then, is God of Battles? It is Mars,—man-slaying, blood-polluted, city-smiting Mars!5

    It is not He who binds the sweet influences of the Pleiades and looses the bands of Orion [Job 38:31], who causes the sun to shine on the evil and the good [Matthew 5:45], who distils the oil of gladness upon every upright heart [Psalm 97:11], who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,—the Fountain of Mercy and Goodness, the God of Justice and Love.

    Mars is not the God of Christians; he is not Our Father in Heaven; to him can ascend no prayers of Christian thanksgiving, no words of Christian worship, no pealing anthem to swell the note of praise.

    And yet Christ and Mars are still brought into fel-
    1 Joseph de Maistre, Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tom. II. p. 27.

    2 Romans, xv. 33.

    3 Ibid., xvi. 20.

    4 A volume so common as Cruden's Concordance shows the audacity of the martial claim.

    5 Iliad, V. 31.

    lowship, even interchanging pulpits. What a picture of contrasts!

    A national ship of the line [U.S. Navy warship] now floats in this [Boston] harbor. Many of you have pressed its deck, and observed with admiration the completeness which prevails in all its parts,—its lithe masts and complex network of ropes,—its thick wooden walls, within which are more than the soldiers of Ulysses,—its strong defences, and its numerous dread and rude-throated engines of War.

    There, each Sabbath, amidst this armament of blood, while the wave comes gently plashing against the frowning sides, from a pulpit supported by a cannon, in repose now, but ready to awake its dormant thunder charged with death, a Christian preacher addresses officers and crew. May his instructions carry strength and succor to their souls!

    But, in such a place, those highest words of the Master he professes,

    “Blessed are the peacemakers” [Matthew 5:9],

    “Love your enemies” [Matthew 5:44],

    “Resist not evil” [Matthew 5:39].

    must, like Macbeth's “Amen,” stick in the throat.

    It will not be doubted that this strange and unblessed conjunction of the Church with War has no little influence in blinding the world to the truth, too slowly recognized, that the whole custom of war is contrary to Christianity.

    Individual interests mingle with prevailing errors, and are so far concerned in maintaining them that military men yield reluctantly to this truth. Like lawyers, as described by Voltaire, they are

    “conservators of ancient barbarous usages.”

    But that these usages should obtain countenance in the Church is one of those anomalies which make us feel the weakness of our nature, if not the elevation of Christian truth. To uphold the Arbitrament of War requires no more than to uphold

    the Trial by Battle; for the two are identical, except in proportion. One is a giant [beam], the other a pygmy [mote]. [Matthew 7:3-5].

    Long ago the Church condemned the pygmy [mote], and this Christian judgment now awaits extension to the giant [beam].

    Meanwhile it [Christianity's now forgotten original viewpoint] is perpetual testimony; nor should it be forgotten, that, for some time after the Apostles, when the message of peace and good-will was first received, many yielded to it so completely as to reject arms of all kinds. Such was the voice of Justin Martyr, Irenseus, Tertullian, and Origen, while Augustine pleads always for Peace.

    Gibbon coldly recounts, how Maximilian, a youthful recruit from Africa, refused to serve, insisting that his conscience would not permit him to embrace the profession of soldier, and then how Marcellus the Centurion, on the day of a public festival, threw away his beit, his arms, and the ensigns of command, exclaiming with a loud voice, that he would obey none but Jesus Christ, the Eternal King.1

    Martyrdom ensued, and the Church has inscribed their names on its everlasting rolls, thus forever commemorating their testimony. These are early examples, not without successors.

    But Mars, so potent, especially in Rome, was not easily dislodged, and down to this day holds his place at Christian altars.

    “Thee to defend the "Moloch priest prefers
    The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd,
    That Deity, accomplice Deity,
    In the fierce jealousy of wakened wrath,
    Will go forth with our armies and our fleets
    To scatter the red ruin on their foes!
    O, blasphemy! to mingle fiendish deeds
    With blessedness!”2

    1 Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. XVI. Vol. I. p. 680.

    2 Coleridge, Religious Musings, written Christmas Eve, 1794.


    One of the beautiful pictures adorning the dome of a church in Rome, by that Master of Art, whose immortal colors speak as with the voice of a poet, the Divine Raphael, represents Mars in the attitude of War, with a drawn sword uplifted and ready to strike, while an unarmed angel from behind, with gentle, but irresistible force, arrests and holds the descending hand.

    Such is the true image of Christian duty; nor can I readily perceive any difference in principle between those [alleged] ministers of the Gospel who themselves gird on the sword, as in the olden time, and those others, unarmed, and in customary suit of solemn black, who lend the sanction of their presence to the martial array, or to any form of preparation for War.

    The drummer, who pleaded that he did not fight, was held more responsible for the battle than the soldier,—as it was the sound of his drum that inflamed the flagging courage of the troops.

    Ed. Note: Imposing responsibility for the effect of one's words has been upheld by law. For details in one context, click here.

    4. From prejudices engendered by the Church I pass to prejudices engendered by the army itself, having their immediate origin in military life, but unfortunately diffusing themselves throughout the community, in widening, though less apparent circles. I allude directly to what is called the Point of Honor, early child of Chivalry, living representative of its barbarism.1

    It is difficult to define what is so evanescent, so impalpable, so chimerical, so unreal, and yet which exercises such fiendish
    1 The Point of Honor has a literature of its own, illustrated by many volumes, some idea of which may be obtained in Brunet, "Manuel du Libraire," Tom. VI. col. 1636-1638, under the head of Chevalerie au Moyen Age, comprenant les Tournois, les Combats Singuliers, etc. One of these has a title much in advance of the age in which it appeared: " Chrétienne Confutation du Point d'Honneur sur lequel la Noblesse fonde aujourd'hui ses Querelles et Monomachies," par Christ. de Chiffontaine, Paris, 1579.


    power over many men, and controls the intercourse of nations. As a little water, fallen into the crevice of a rock, under the congelation of winter, swells till it bursts the thick and stony fibres, so a word or slender act, dropping into the heart of man, under the hardening inflence of this pernicious sentiment, dilates till it rends in pieces the sacred depository of human affection, and the demons Hate and Strife are left to rage.

    The musing Hamlet saw this sentiment in its strange and unnatural potency, when his soul pictured to his contemplations an

    “army of such mass and charge,
    Led by a delicate and tender prince, . . . .
    Exposing what is mortal and unsure
    To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
    Even for an egg-shell”;

    and when, again, giving to thé sentiment its strongest and most popular expression, he exclaims, —

    “Rightly to be great
    Is not to stir without great argument,
    But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,
    When honor's at the stake.”

    And when is honor at stake? This inquiry opens again the argument with which I commenced, and with which I hope to close. Honor can be at stake only where justice and beneficence are at stake; it can never depend on egg-shell or straw; it can never depend on any hasty word of anger or folly, not even if followed by vulgar violence.

    True honor appears in the dignity of the human soul, in that highest moral and intellectual excellence which is the nearest approach to qualities we reverence as attributes of God.

    Our community frowns with indignation upon the profaneness of the duel, having its rise in this irrational point of


    honor. Are you aware that you indulge the same sentiment on a gigantic scale, when you recognize this very point of honor as a proper apology for War? We have already seen that justice is in no respect promoted by War. Is True Honor promoted where justice is not?

    The very word Honor, as used by the world, fails to express any elevated sentiment. How immeasurably below the sentiment of Duty! It is a word of easy virtue, that has been prostituted to the most opposite characters and transactions. From the field of Pavia, where France suffered one of the worst reverses in her annals, the defeated king writes to his mother,

    “"All is lost, except honor!

    At a later day, the renowned French cook, Vatel, in a paroxysm of grief and mortification at the failure of two dishes for the table, exclaims,

    “I have lost my honor!"”

    and stabs himself to the heart.1

    Montesquieu, whose writings are constellations of epigrams, calls honor a prejudice only, which he places in direct contrast with virtue,—the former being the animating principle of monarchy, and the latter the animating principle of a republic; but he reveals the inferiority of honor, as a principle, when he adds, that, in a well-governed monarchy, almost everybody is a good
    1 The death of the culinary martyr is described by Madame de Sévigné with the accustomed coldness and brilliancy of her fashionable pen (Lettres L. and LI., Tom. I. pp. 164, 165). It was attributed, she says, to the high sense of honor he had after his own way. Tributes multiply. A French vaudeville associates his name with that of this brilliant writer, saying,

    “Madame de Sévigné and Vatel are the people who honored the age of Louis XIV.”

    The Almanach des Gourmands, in the Epistle Dedicatory of its concluding volume, addresses the venerable shade of the heroic cook:

    “You have proved that the fanaticism of honor can exist in the kitchen as well as the camp.”

    Berchoux commemorates the dying exclamation in La Gastronomie, Chant III.:—

    Je suis perdu d'honneur, deux rôtis ont manqué.”


    citizen, while it is rare to meet a really good man.1

    The man of honor is not the man of virtue. By an instinct pointing to the truth, we do not apply this term to the high columnar qualities which sustain and decorate life,—parental affection, justice, benevolence, the attributes of God.

    He would seem to borrow a feebler phrase, showing a slight appreciation of the distinctive character to whom reverence is accorded, who should speak of father, mother, judge, angel, or finally of God, as persons of honor. In such sacred connections, we feel, beyond the force of any argument, the mundane character of the sentiment which plays such a part in history and even in common life.

    The rule of honor is founded in the imagined necessity of resenting by force a supposed injury, whether of word or act.2

    Admit the injury received, seeming to sully the character; is it wiped away by any force, and descent to the brutal level of its author?

    “Could I wipe your blood from my conscience as easily as this insult from my face,” said a Marshal of France, greater on this occasion than on any field of fame, “I would lay you dead at my feet.”

    Plato, reporting the angelic wisdom of Socrates, declares, in one of those beautiful dialogues shining with stellar light across the ages,

    1 Esprit des Lois, Liv. III. ch. 3-7.

    2 This is well exposed in a comedy of Molière.

    Don Pedre. Souhaitez-vous quelque chose de moi?

    Hali. Oui, un conseil sur un fait d'honneur. Je sais qu'en ces matières il est mal-aise de trouver un cavalier plus consomme que vous. . . . .

    “Seigneur, j'ai reçu un soufflet. Vous savez ce qu'est un soufflet, lorsqu'il se donne à main ouverte sur le beau milieu de la joue. J'ai ce soufflet fort sur le cœur; et je suis dans l'incertitude, si, pour me venger de l'affront, je dois me battre avec mon homme, ou bien le faire assassiner.

    “Don Pedre. Assassiner, c'est le plus sûr et le plus court chemin."

    Le Sicilien, Sc. XIII.


    that to do a wrong is more shameful than to receive a wrong.1

    And this benign sentiment commends itself alike to the Christian, who is bid to render good for evil [Matthew 5:44, 1 Thess. 5:15, 1 Peter 3:9], and to the enlightened soul of man. But who confessing its truth will resort to force on any point of honor?

    In ancient Athens, as in unchristianized Christian lands, there were sophists who urged that to suffer was unbecoming a man, and would draw down incalculable evil. The following passage, which I translate with scrupulous literalness, will show the manner in which the moral cowardice of these persons of little faith was rebuked by him whom the gods of Greece pronounced Wisest of Men.

    “These things being so, let us inquire what it is you reproach me with: whether it is well said, or not, that I, forsooth, am not able to assist either myself or any of my friends or my relations, or to save myself from the greatest dangers, but that, like the infamous, I am at the mercy of any one who may
  • choose to smite me on the face [Matthew 5:39] (for this was your juvenile expression), or

  • take away my property, or

  • drive me out of the city, or

  • (the extreme case) kill me,
  • and that to he so situated is, as you say, the most shameful of all things.

    “But my view is,—a view many times expressed already, but there is no objection to its being stated again,—my view, I say, is, O Callicles, that to be struck on the face unjustly is not most shameful, nor to have my body mutilated, nor my purse cut; but that to strike and cut me and mine unjustly is more shameful and worse—and stealing, too,

    1 This proposition is enforced by Socrates, with unanswerable reasoning and illustration, throughout the Gorgias, which Cicero read diligently while studying at Athens (De Oratore, I. 11).


    and enslaving, and housebreaking, and, in general, doing any wrong whatever to me and mine, is more shameful and worse—for him who does the wrong than for me who suffer it.

    “These things, which thus appeared to us in the former part of this discussion, are secured and bound (even if the expression be somewhat rustical) with iron and adamantine arguments, as indeed they would seem to be; and unless you, or some one stronger than you, can break them, it is impossible for any one, saying otherwise than as I now say, to speak correctly: since, for my part, I always have the same thing to say,—that I know not how these things are, but that, of all whom I have ever discoursed mth as now, no one is able to say otherwise without being ridiculous.”1

    Such is the wisdom of Socrates, as reported by Plato; and it has found beautiful expression in the verse of an English poet, who says,—

    “Dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
    Just estimation prized above all price,
    I had much rather be myself the slave
    And wear the bonds than fasten them on him

    The modern point of honor did not obtain a place in warlike antiquity. Themistocles at Salamis, when threatened with a blow, did not send a cartel to the Spartan commander.

    “Strike, but hear,”

    was the response of that firm nature, which felt that true honor is gained only in the performance of duty.

    It was in the depths of modern barbarism, in the age of chivalry, that this [revenge - honor] sentiment shot up into wildest and rankest fancies. Not a step was taken without it. No act without reference to the

    “bewitching duel.”

    And every stage in the combat, from the ceremonial at its

    1 Gorgias, Cap. LXIV.

    2 Cowper, The Task, Book II. vv. 33-36.


    beginning to its deadly close, was measured by this fantastic law.

    Nobody forgets As You Like It, with its humorous picture of a quarrel in progress to a duel, through the seven degrees of Touchstone.

    Nothing more ridiculous, as nothing can be more disgusting, than the degradation in which this whole fantasy of honor had its origin, as fully appears from an authentic incident in the life of its most brilliant representative.

    The Chevalier Bayard, cynosure of chivalry, the good knight without fear and without reproach, battling with the Spaniard Senor Don Alonso de Soto Mayor, succeeded by a feint in striking him such a blow, that the weapon, despite the gorget [protective barrier], penetrated the throat four fingers deep. The wounded Spaniard grappled with his antagonist until they both rolled on the ground, when Bayard, drawing his dagger, and thrusting the point directly into the nostrils of his foe, exclaimed,

    “Senor Don Alonso, surrender, or you are a dead man!”

    —a speech which appeared superfluous, as the second of the Spaniard cried out,

    “Senor Bayard, he is dead already; you have conquered.”

    The French knight

    “would gladly have given a hundred thousand crowns, if he had had them, to have vanquished him alive,”

    says the Chronicle; but now falling upon his knees, he kissed the earth three times, then rose and drew his dead enemy from the field, saying to the second,

    “Senor Don Diego, have I done enough?”

    To which the other piteously replied,

    “Too much, Senor Bayard, for the honor of Spain !”

    when the latter very generously presented him with the corpse, it being his right, by the Law of Honor, to dispose of it as he thought proper: an act highly commended by the chivalrous Brantôme, who thinks it difficult to say which did most honor to the faultless knight,—not


    dragging the dead body by a leg ignommiousiy from the field, like the carcass of a dog, or condescending to fight while suffering under an ague!1

    In such a transaction, conferring honor upon the brightest son of chivalry, we learn the real character of an age whose departure has been lamented With such touching, but inappropriate eloquence. Thank God! the age of chivalry is gone; but it cannot be allowed to prolong its fanaticism of honor into our day. This must remain with the lances, swords, and daggers by which it was guarded, or appear, if it insists, only with its inseparable American companions, bowie-knife, pistol, and rifle.

    A true standard of conduct is found only in the highest civilization, with those two inspirations, justice and benevolence,—never in any barbarism, though affecting the semblance of sensibility and refinement. But this standard, while governing the relations of the individual, must be recognized by nations also. Alas! alas! how long? We still wait that happy day, now beginning to dawn, harbinger of infinite happiness beyond, when nations, like men, shall confess that it is better to receive a wrong than do a wrong.

    5. There is still another influence stimulating War, and interfering with the natural attractions of Peace: I refer to a selfish and exaggerated prejudice of country, leading to physical aggrandizement and political exaltation at the expense of other countries, and in disre-
    1 La Tresjoyeuse, Plaisante et Recreative Hystoire, composée par le Loyal Serviteur, des Faiz, Gestes, Triumphes et Prouesses du Bon Chevalier sans Paour et sans Reprouche, le Gentil Seigneur de Bayart, Chap. XXII.:

    Petitot, Collection Complète des Mémoires relatifs a l'Histoire de France, Tom. XV. pp. 238-244.

    Brantôme, Discours sur les Duels: Œuvres, Tom VII. pp. 34, 35.


    gard of justice. Nursed by the [pagan] literature of antiquity, we imbibe the sentiment of heathen patriotism.

    Ed. Note: Such “imbibing” occurs as a result of disregard of moral concepts such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37, which shows to "love thy neighbor," all people not just your own nationality; Deuteronomy 18:9, which commands to not learn the ways of the heathen; and I Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7, and Revelation 18:4, which say to not partake in, not aid and abet, others' sins.
    For background on the First Century Christian position on patriotism, see, e.g., Prof. Ernest Renan, The Apostles (New York, Carleton; Paris, Michel Levy Frères, 1866), Chapter XIX, pp 295-297: "If any one sentiment was wholly wanting [lacking] in the founders of the Church, it was patriotism. . . . there were never any people so regardless [heedless, uncaring] of [patriotism] as the primitive [First Century] Christians."
    “Patriotism is a [pagan] superstition artificially created and maintained through a web of lies and falsehoods, robbing us of our dignity and increasing our arrogance and conceit.”—Emma Goldman.
  • “War would end if the dead could return”—Stanley Baldwin.
  • “Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by 'a world of enemies' - 'one against all' - and that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.”—Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism, p. 227
  • “Blind patriotism has been kept intact by rewriting history to provide people with moral consolation and a psychological basis for denial.”—William H. Boyer.
  • “Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thousands and pillaging the very hills?”—Kahlil Gibran.
  • “Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds), and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating.”—Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910).
  • “In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning and cruelty.”—Count Leo Tolstoy.
  • “War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity; it destroys religions, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.”—Martin Luther.
  • “The church that preaches the gospel in all of its fullness, except as it applies to the great social ills of the day, is failing to preach the gospel.”—Martin Luther.
  • “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the hater but you do not murder the hate, in fact violence increases hate. Returning violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader (1929-1968).
  • “This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.”—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Because we want peace with half a heart, half a life and will, the war making continues. Realize that the making of war is total because the making of peace by our cowardice is partial.”—Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
  • “War is hunger, thirst, blindness, death. I call upon you to resist it. You young men should refuse to take up arms. Young women tear down the patriotic posters. And all of you-young and old-put away your flags.”—Dorothy Day, Founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, 8 December 1941.
  • “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.”—Joe Stalin, comment to Churchill at Potsdam, 1945.
  • “The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it.”—Louis Simpson.
  • “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”—Ernest Hemingway.
  • “How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?”—Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845.
  • "The point of public relations slogans like 'Support our troops' is that they don't mean anything. . . That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about.”—Prof. Noam Chomsky.
  • “There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used. . . . Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, and these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was. The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed”—Gil Bailie.
  • “I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?”—Eve Merriam.
  • “They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.”—Eugene V. Debs.
  • “It is a sobering thought that better evidence is required to prosecute a shoplifter than is needed to commence a world war.”—Anthony Scrivener QC: (Times, 5 October 2001, p. 7)
  • “I lost my mother in that stupid war. I lost my first son, my third son. I will not promise anyone that your word ‘sorry’ will make me forget about that. My first born, my last born. My uncle, my brother, my sister.”—Morris Sesay, on reconciliation efforts after Liberia’s civil war (17 September 2007).
  • “A standing army is one of the greatest mischiefs that can possibly happen.”—James Madison (4th US president, 1751-1836)
  • “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”—James Madison (4th US president, 1751-1836)
  • “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”—Noam Chomsky
  • “The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments.”—Michael Parenti
  • “Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thousands and pillaging the very hills?.”—Kahlil Gibran (1883 - April 10, 1931)
  • “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”—Albert Camus (French novelist, essayist, and playwright.1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. 1913-1960)
  • “Over-grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”—George Washington (1732-1799, U.S. president, 1789-1797).
  • “A good [military] . . . commander . . . needs the absence of the highest and best human attributes . . . God forbid that he should be humane, should love, or pity, or consider what is just and unjust.”—Leo Tolstoy.
  • “I hate it when they say, 'He gave his life for his country.' Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don't die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them.”—Admiral Gene LaRocque.
  • “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.”—Howard Zinn.
  • “Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In World War I it was the munitions industrialists; in World War II it was the psychopathic generals who were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck. The responsibility for wars falls solely upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity, and in part actively, these same masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which they themselves suffer more than anyone else. To stress this guilt on the part of the masses of people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, to commiserate masses of people as victims, means to treat them as small, helpless children. The former is the attitude held by genuine freedom fighters; the latter that attitude held by power-thirsty politicians.”—Wilhelm Reich, M.D. (1897-1957), The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933; Trans. by Theodore P. Wolfe; Orgone Institute Press: New York, 1946).
  • “In most communities it is illegal to cry 'fire' in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?”—Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • “All wars are sacred . . . to those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn't make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars in reality are money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it. Their ears are too full of bugles and drums and fine words from stay-at-home orators. Sometimes the rallying cry is 'Save the Tomb of Christ from the Heathen!' Sometimes it's "Down with Popery!' and sometimes 'Liberty!' and sometimes 'Cotton, Slavery, and States' Rights!'”—Rhett Butler, in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind.
  • “The role of the U.S. in the new world corporate order is going to be to export security. That means endless wars and weapons in space. The Pentagon will send our kids off to foreign lands to suppress opposition to corporate globalization. How will we ever end America's addiction to war and violence as long as our communities are dependent on military spending for jobs?”—Bruce Gagnon.
  • “A patriot sets himself apart in his own country under his own flag, sneers at other nations and keeps an army of uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries and keep them from grabbing slices of his. In the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' — with his mouth.”—Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal.
  • “You'll never have a quiet world until you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”—George Bernard Shaw.
  • "What routine [patriotism] has split asunder, Thy [God's] enchantment [Holy Spirit] will re-bind. We shall brothers be, in wonder, Where Thy wings abide, so kind," from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
  • “This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism.”—Albert Einstein.
  • “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”—Albert Einstein.
  • “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”—Plato.
  • “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.”—Erasmus c. 1469 - 1536.
  • “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”—Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken, 1880-1956.
  • “It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.”—Andre Gide.
  • “One of the great attractions to patriotism, it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of a nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat while feeling we're profoundly virtuous.”—Aldous Huxley.
  • “A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and a common fear of its neighbors.”—W. R. Inge.
  • “Patriotism is fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone and as irrational as a headless hen.”—Ambrose Bierce.
  • “Patriotism is a religion, the egg from which wars are hatched.”—Guy de Maupassant.
  • “Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill.”—R. Aldington.
  • “Patriotism is the belief your country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”—George Bernard Shaw.
  • “To abolish war it is necessary to abolish patriotism, and to abolish patriotism it is necessary first to understand that it is an evil. Tell people that patriotism is bad and most will reply: 'Yes, bad patriotism is bad, but mine is good patriotism.'”—Leo Tolstoy.
  • “To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.”—George Santayana.
  • “Patriotism means advocating plunder in the interests of the privileged class of your particular country. The time will soon come when calling someone a patriot will be the deepest insult.”—Ernest B. Bax.
  • “Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power.”—Leo Tolstoy.
  • “If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life you say mister you're a liar. Nothing is bigger than life. There's nothing noble in death. What's noble about lying in the gound and rotting? What's noble about never seeing the sunshine again? What's noble about having your legs and arms blown off? What's noble about being an idiot? What's noble about being blind and deaf and dumb? What's noble about being dead? Because when you're dead mister it's all over. It's the end. You're less than a dog, less than a rat, less than a bee or an ant, less than a maggot crawling around on a dungheap. You're dead, mister, and you died for nothing. You're dead, mister. Dead.”—Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (1938).
  • “You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else's life. They're plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That's their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously. They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.”—Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (1938).
  • “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage—torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians—which does not change its moral color when it is committed by 'our' side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”—George Orwell.
  • “What is hateful . . . is not rebellion but the despotism which induces the rebellion; what is hateful are not rebels but the men, who, having the enjoyment of power, do not discharge the duties of power; they are the men who, having the power to redress wrongs, refuse to listen to the petitioners that are sent to them; they are the men who, when they are asked for a loaf, give a stone.”—Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
  • “The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise.”—James Larkin, Statue on O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland.
  • “Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? . . . A free government with an uncontrolled power of military conscription is the most ridiculous and abominable contradiction and nonsense that ever entered into the heads of men.”—Daniel Webster (1782-1852), US Representative and Senator, Speech in the House of Representatives, 14 January 1814.
  • “This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships . . . . Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society—one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security.”—Michael Lerner.
  • "There would be an end of war and preparations for war if the cost were borne by those responsible for war. There would be an end of armaments and preparedness if incomes and inheritances and the landed estates of the feudal classes paid for the protection which their privileges enjoy. War and preparations for war are possible only because the ruling classes are able to shift a great part of the cost onto the poor by indirect taxation and loans. War expenditures are tolerated only because the burdens are concealed in the increased cost of the things people consume. 'The art of plucking the goose without making it cry out' has been developed to a high state of perfection at the hands of the war makers.”—Frederic Clemson Howe, Ph.D. (1867-1940)
  • "Put away the flags.”—Howard Zinn (2 July 2006).

    French Premier Georges B. Clemenceau (1841-1929) cited the peace vs. empire concept:
    "'One moment, gentlemen,' he said. 'I have been hearing much talk about a permanent peace. There has been a great deal of talk about a peace to end war forever, and I am interested in that. But I would like to know whether you mean it, this permanent peace.'
    "He looked at his colleagues, and they nodded. 'And you have counted the cost of such peace?' he asked. Then there was some hesitation. 'Well,' continued Clemenceau, 'if we give up all future wars, we must give up our empires and all hope of empire. You, Mr. Lloyd George, will have to come out of India; we French will have to come out of Africa; you Americans, Mr. President, must get out of the Philippines and Puerto Rico and leave Cuba alone, and Mexico. We shall have to tear down our tariff walls and open the whole world to free trade and traffic. These are some of the costs of permanent peace; there are other sacrifices we, the dominant powers, will have to make. It is very expensive, peace. We French are willing, but are you willing, to pay the price, all these costs of no more war in the world?'
    "The President and the premiers began to protest that they did not mean all that, that it was not necessary, not all at once. No, they had not meant exactly that. 'Then,' said Clemenceau, sitting up straight and striking the table sharply, 'talk as you may, you don't mean peace. You mean war!'" -- Quoted in Lincoln Steffens, Autobiography, cited by Ralph T. Templin in "Democracy and Nonviolence.

  • “What experience and history teach is this—that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831).
  • Numbers of people accordingly refuse to participate in war, see, e.g., Sherry Gershon Gottlieb, Hell No We Won't Go: Resisting the Draft During the Vietnam War (New York: Viking Press, 1991).
    See also our history of war and anti-war.
  • Exclusive love for the land of birth belonged to the pagan] religion of [ancient] Greece and Rome. This sentiment was material as well as exclusive. The [heathen] Oracle directed the returning Roman to kiss his mother, and he kissed Mother Earth. Agamemnon, according to Æschylus, on regaining his home, after perilous separation for more than ten years at the siege of Troy, before addressing family, friend, or countryman, salutes Argos:—

    “By your leave, lords, first Argos I salute.”

    The schoolboy does not forget the victim of Verres, with the memorable cry which was to stay the descending fasces of the lictor,

    “I am a Roman citizen,”

    —nor those other words echoing through the dark Past,

    “How sweet and becoming to die for country!”

    Of little avail the nobler cry,

    “I am a man,”

    or the Christian ejaculation, swelling the soul,

    “How sweet and becoming to die for duty!”

    The beautiful genius of Cicero, instinct at times with truth almost divine, did not ascend to that heaven where it is taught that all mankind are neighbors and kindred. To the love of universal man may be applied those words by which the great Roman elevated his selfish patriotism to virtue, when he said that country alone embraced all the charities of all.1

    Attach this admired phrase to the single idea of country, and you see how contracted are its charities, compared with that world-wide circle where onr neighbor is the suffering
    1 “Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares; sed omnes omnium caritates patria una complexa est.” (De Offic., Lib. I. cap. 17.) It is curious to observe how Cicero puts aside that expression of true humanity which fell from Terence, “Humani nihil a me alienum puto.” He says, “Est enim difficilis cura rerum alienarum.” Ibid., Lib. I. cap. 9.


    man, though at the farthest pole. Such a sentiment would dry up those precious fountains now diffusing themselves in distant unenlightened lands, from the icy mountains of Greenland to the coral islands of the Pacific Sea [Ocean].

    It is the policy of rulers to encourage this exclusive patriotism, and here they are aided by the examples of [heathen] antiquity.

    I do not know that any one nation is permitted to reproach another with this selfishness. All are selfish. Men are taught to live, not for mankind, but only for a small portion of mankind.

    The pride, vanity, ambition, brutality even, which all rebuke in the individual, are accounted virtnes, if displayed in the name of country. Among us the sentiment is active, while it derives new force from the point with which it has been expressed.

    An officer of our navy, one of the heroes nurtured by War, whose name has been praised in churches, going beyond all Greek, all Roman example, exclaimed,

    “Our country, right or wrong

    —a sentiment dethroning God and enthroning the Devil, whose flagitious character must be rebuked by every honest heart.

    How different was virtuous Andrew Fletcher, whose heroical uprightness, amidst the trials of his time, has become immortal in the saying, that he

    “would readily lose his life to serve his country, but would not do a base thing to save it.”1

    Better words, or more truly patriotic, were never uttered.

    “Our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country

    are other delusive sounds, which, first falling from the lips of an eminent American orator, are often painted on banners, and echoed by innumerable multitudes.

    Cold and dreary, narrow and selfish would be
    1 Character, prefixed to Political Works, p. viii.


    this life, if nothing but our country occupied the soul,— if the thoughts that wander through eternity, if the infinite affections of our nature, were restrained to that place where we find ourselves by the accident of birth.

    By a natural sentiment we incline to the spot where we were born, to the fields that witnessed the sports of childhood, to the seat of youthful studies, and to the institutions under which we have been trained.

    The finger of God writes all these things indelibly upon the heart of man, so that even in death he reverts with fondness to early associations, and longs for a draught of cold water from the bucket in his father's well.

    This sentiment is independent of reflection: for it begins before reflection, grows with our growth, and strengthens with our strength. It is the same in all countries having the same degree of enlightenment, differing only according to enlightenment, under whose genial influence it softens and refines.

    It is the strongest with those least enlightened. The wretched Hottentot never travels away from his melting sun; the wretched Esquimau never travels away from his freezing cold; nor does either know or care for other lands. This is his patriotism.

    The same instinct belongs to animals. There is no beast not instinctively a patriot, cherishing his own country with all its traditions, which he guards instinctively against all comers. Thus again, in considering the origin of War, do we encounter the animal in man.

    But as human nature is elevated, as the animal is subdued, that patriotism which is without reason shares the generous change and gradually loses its barbarous egotism. To the enlarged vision a new world is disclosed, and we begin to discern the distant mountain-peaks, all gilded by the beams of morning, reveal-


    ing that God has not placed us alone on this earth, but that others, equally with ourselves, are children of his care.

    The curious spirit goes further, and, while recognizing an inborn attachment to the place of birth, searches into the nature of the allegiance required. According to the old [heathen] idea, still too prevalent, man is made for the State, not the State for man. Far otherwise is the truth. The State is an artificial [heathen-invented, 1 Samuel 8:5, 19-20] body, for the security of the people [apart from reliance on God, Exodus 14:13].

    Ed. Note: “Security is mostly a superstition,” wrote Helen Keller. “It does not exist in nature . . . Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” The Open Door (1957).

    How constantly do we find in human history that the people are sacrificed for the State,—to build the Roman name, to secure for England the trident of the sea, to carry abroad the conquering eagles of France! This is to barter the greater for the less,—to sacrifice humanity, embracing more even than country all the charites of all, for the sake of a mistaken grandeur.

    Not that I love country less, but Humanity more, do I now and here plead the cause of a higher and truer patriotism. I cannot forget that we are men by a more sacred bond than we are citizens,—that we are children of a common Father more than we are Americans.

    Thus do seeming diversities of nations—separated by accident of language, mountain, river, or sea—all disappear, and the multitudinous tribes of the globe stand forth as members of one vast Human Famity, where strife is treason to Heaven, and all war is nothing else than civil war. In vain restrict this odious term, importing so much of horror, to the dissensions of a single community. It belongs also to feuds between nations.

    The soul trembles aghast in the contemplation of fieids drenched with fraternal gore, where the happiness of homes is shivered by neighbors, and kinsman sinks beneath the steel nerved by a kinsman's


    hand. This is civil war, accursed forever in the calendar of Time. In the faithful record of the future, recognizing the True Grandeur of Nations, the Muse of History, inspired by a loftier justice and touched to finer sensibilities, will extend to Universal Man the sympathy now confined to country, and no war will be waged without arousing everlasting jndgment.

    6. I might here pause, feeling that those who have accompanied me to this stage will be ready to join in condemnation of War, and to hail Peace as the only condition becoming the dignity of human nature, while it opens vistas of all kinds abundant with the most fruitful promises.

    But there is one other consideration, yielding to none in importance,—perhaps more important than all, being at once cause and effect,—the cause of strong prejudice in favor of War, and the effect of this prejudice. I refer to Preparations for War in time of Peace. Here is an immense practical evil, requiring remedy. In exposing its character too much care cannot be taken.

    I shall not dwell upon the fearful cost of War itself. That is present in the mountainous accumulations of debt, piled like Ossa upon Pelion, with which civilization is pressed to earth. According to the most recent tables, the public debt of European nations, so far as known, amounts to the terrifie sum of $7,777,521,840,—all the growth of War! It is said that there are throughout these nations 17,000,000 paupers, or persons subsisting at the public expense, without contributing to its resources. If these millions of public debt, forming only a part of what has been wasted in War, could


    be apportioned among these poor, it would give to each $450,—a sum placing all above want [poverty], and about equal to the average wealth of an [1845] inhabitant of Massachusetts.

    The public debt of Great Britain in 1842 reached to $3,827,833,102, the growth of War since 1688. This amount is equal to two thirds of all the harvest of gold and silver yielded by Spanish America, including Mexico and Peru, from the discovery of our hemisphere by Christopher Columbus to the beginning of the present century [1492-1800], as calculated by Humboldt.1

    It [that public debt] is much larger than the mass of all the precious metals constituting at this moment the circulating medium of the world.

    Ed. Note: For example re just one era of war, see Josh White, “'Hidden Costs' Double Price Of Two Wars” (Washington Post, 13 November 2007), p A14. “The economic costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total approximately $1.5 trillion, according to a new study . . . that estimates the conflicts' 'hidden costs'—including higher oil prices, the expense of treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars.”
    For backgorund on hidden costs, see, e.g., Frédéric Bastiat's essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas (English: "What is Seen and What is Not Seen") (1850), and its "broken window parable"; and Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1946), especially the chapters entitled "The Broken Window" (on vandalism effects) and "Disbanding Troops and Bureacrats."
    See also Prof. Chalmers Johnson, “The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke” (Le Monde diplomatique, 26 April 2008).
    Gareth Porter, Ph.D., in "From Military-Industrial Complex to Permanent War State" (17 January 2011), says, "Fifty years after Dwight D. Eisenhower's January 17, 1961 speech on the 'military-industrial complex', that threat has morphed into a far more powerful and sinister force than Eisenhower could have imagined. It has become a 'Permanent War State', with the power to keep the United States at war continuously for the indefinite future."

    Sometimes it is rashly said, by those who have given little attention to the subject, that all this expenditure has been widely distributed, and therefore beneficial to the people; but this apology forgets that it has not been bestowed on any productive industry or useful object.

    The magnitude of this waste appears by contrast. For instance, the aggregate capital of all the joint-stock companies in England of which there was any known record in 1842, embracing canals, docks, bridges, insurance, banks, gaslights, water, mines, railways, and other miscellaneous objects, was about $800,000,000,—all devoted to the welfare of the people, but how much less in amount than the War Debt! For the six years preceding 1842, the average payment for interest on this debt was $141,645,157 annually.

    If we add to this sum the further annual outlay of $66,780,817 for the army, navy, and ordnance, we shall have $208,425,974 as the annual tax of the English people, to pay for for-
    1 New Spain, Vol. III. p. 431.


    mer wars and prepare for new. During this same period, an annual appropriation of $24,858,442 was sufficient for the entire civil service.

    Thus War consumed ninety cents of every dollar pressed by heavy taxation from the English people. What fabulous monster, what chimæra dire, ever raged with a maw so ravenous?

    The remaining ten cents sufficed to maintain the splendor of the throne, the administration of justice, and diplomatic relations with foreign powers,—in short, all the more legitimate objects of a nation.1

    Thus much for the general cost of War. Let us now look exclusively at the Preparations for War in time of Peace. It is one of the miseries of War, that even in Peace its evils continue to be felt beyond any other by which suffering humanity is oppressed.

    If Bellona [the Roman war goddess] withdraws from the field, we only lose sight of her flaming torches; the baying of her dogs is heard on the mountains, and civilized man thinks to find protection from their sudden fury only by inclosing himself in the barbarous armor of battle.

    At this moment, the [professed] Christian nations, worshipping a symbol of common brotherhood, occupy intrenched camps, with armed watch, to prevent surprise from each other. Recognizing War as Arbiter of Justice, they hold themselves perpetually ready for the bloody umpirage.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at any exact estimate of thEse Preparations, ranging under four different heads,—Standing Army, Navy, Fortifications, and Militia, or irregular troops.
    1 Here and in subsequent pages I have relied upon the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Annual Register, McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary, Laurie's Universal Geography, founded on the works of Malte-Brun and Balbi, and the calculations of Hon. William Jay, in War and Peace, p. 16, and in his Address before the Peace Society, pp. 28, 29.


    The number of soldiers now affecting to keep the peace of [professed] European Christendom, as a Standing Army, without counting the Navy, is upwards of two millions: some estimates place it as high as three millions.
  • The army of Great Britain, including the forces in India, exceeds 300,000 men;

  • that of France, 350,000;

  • that of Russia, 730,000, and is reckoned by some as high as 1,000,000;

  • that of Austria, 275,000;

  • that of Prussia, 150,000.
  • Taking the smaller number, and supposing these two millions to require for their support an average annual sum of only $150 each, the result would be $300,000,000 for sustenance alone; and reckoning one officer to ten soldiers, and allowing to each of the latter an English shilling a day, or $88.33 a year, for wages, and to the former an average annual salary of $500, we have for the pay of the whole no less than $258,994,000, or an appalling sum-total, for both sustenance and pay, of $558,994,000 a year.

    If the same calculation be made, supposing the force three millions, the sum-total will be $ 838,491,000!

    But to this enormous sum must be added another still more enormous, on account of loss sustained by the withdrawal of these hardy, healthy millions, in the bloom of life, from useful, productive labor.

    It is supposed that it costs an average sum of $500 to rear a soldier, and that the value of his labor, if devoted to useful objects, would be $150 a year.

    Therefore, in setting apart two millions of men as soldiers, the [professed] Christian powers sustain a loss of $1,000,000,000 on account of training, and $300,000,000 on account of labor, in addition to the millions annually expended for sustenance and pay. So much for the Standing Army of Christian Europe in time of Peace.

    Glance now at the Navy. The Royal Navy of Great Britain consists at present of 557 ships; but deducting such as are used for convict ships, floating chapels, and coal depots, the efficient Navy comprises 88 ships of the line, 109 frigates, 190 small frigates, corvettes, brigs, and cutters, including packets, 65 steamers of various sizes, 3 troop-ships and yachts: in all, 455 ships. Of these, in 1839, 190 were in commission, carrying in all 4,202 guns, with crews numbering 34,465 men.

    The Navy of France, though not comparable with that of England, is of vast force. By royal ordinance of 1st January, 1837, it was fixed in time of peace at 40 ships of the line, 50 frigates, 40 steamers, and 19 smaller vessels, with crews numbering, in 1839, 20,317 men.

    The Russian Navy is composed of two large fleets,—one in the Gulf of Finland, and the other in the Black Sea; but the exact amount of thcir force is a subject of dispute among naval men and publicists. Some idea of the Navy may be derived from the number of hands. The crews of the Baltic amonnted, in 1837, to not less than 30,800 men, and those of the Black Sea to 19,800, or altogether 50,600,—being nearly equal to those of England and France combined.

    The Austrian Navy comprised, in 1837, 8 ships of the line, 8 frigates, 4 sloops, 6 brigs, 7 schooners or galleys, and smaller vessels: the number of men in its service, in 1839, was 4,547.

    The Navy of Denmark comprised, at the close of 1837, 7 ships of the line, 7 frigates, 5 sloops, 6 brigs, 3 schooners, 5 cutters, 58 gunboats, 6 gun-rafts, and 3 bomb-vessels, requiring about 6,500 men.

    The Navy of Sweden and Norway consisted recently of 238 gunboats, 11 ships of the line, 8 frigates, 4 corvettes, and 6 brigs, with several smaller vessels.

    The Navy of

    Greece has 32 ships of war, carrying 190 guns, with 2,400 men.

    The Navy of Holland, in 1839, had 8 ships of the line, 21 frigates, 15 corvettes, 21 brigs, and 95 gunboats.

    Of the untold cost absorbed in these mighty Preparations it is impossible to form an accurate idea. But we may lament that means so gigantic are applied by [professed] Christian Europe, in time of Peace, to the construction and maintenance of such superfluous wooden walls.

    In the Fortifications and Arsenals of Europe, crowning every height, commanding every valley, frowning over every plain and every sea, wealth beyond calculation has been sunk. Who can tell the immense sums expended in hollowing out the living rock of Gibraltar? Who can calculate the cost of all the Preparations at Woolwich, its 27,000 cannon, and its small arms counted by hundreds of thousands? France alone contains more than one hundred and twenty fortified places; and it is supposed that the yet unfinished fortifications of Paris have cost upward of fifty millions of dollars.

    The cost of the Militia, or irregular troops, the Yeomanry of England, the National Guard of Paris, and the Landwehr and Landsturm of Prussia, must add other incalculable sums to these enormous amounts.

    Turn now to the United States, separated by a broad ocean from immediate contact with the Great Powers of Christendom, bound by treaties of amity and commerce with all the nations of the earth, connected with all by strong ties of mutual interest, and professing a devotion to the principles of Peace. Are Treaties of Amity mere words? Are relations of Commerce and mutual interest mere things of a day? Are professions

    of Peace vain? Else why not repose in quiet, unvexed by Preparations for War?

    Colossal as are European expenditures for these purposes, they are still greater among us in proportion to other expenses of the National Government.

    It appears that the average annual expenses of the National Government, for the six years ending 1840, exclusive of payments on account of debt, were $26,474,892. Of this sum, the average appropriation each year for military and naval purposes amounted to $21,328,903, being eighty per cent.

    Yes,—of all the annual appropriations by the National Government, eighty cents in every dollar were applied in this unproductive manner. The remaining twenty cents sufficed to maintain the Government in all its branches, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial,—the administration of justice, our relations with foreign nations, the post-office, and all the lighthouses, which, in happy, useful contrast with the forts, shed their cheerful signals over the rough waves beating upon our long and indented coast, from the Bay of Fundy to the mouth of the Mississippi.

    The relative expenditures of nations for Military Preparations in time of Peace, exclusive of payments on account of debts, when accurately understood, must surprise the advocates of economy in our country. In proportion to the whole expenditure of Government, they are,
    in Austria, as 33 per cent;

  • in France, as 38 per cent;

  • in Prussia, as 44 per cent;

  • in Great Britain, as 74 per cent;
  • in the UNITED STATES, as 80 per cent!1

  • ____________________________________
    1 I have verified these results, but do little more than follow Judge Jay, who has illustrated this important point with his accustomed accuracy.—Address before the American Peace Society, p. 30.


    To this stupendous waste may be added the still larger and equally superfluous expenses of the Militia throughout the country, placed recently by a candid and able writer at $50,000,000 a year!1

    By a table of the National expenditures,2 exclusive of payments on account of the Public Debt, it appears, that, in fifty-four years from the formation of our present Government, that is, from 1789 down to 1843, $155,282,217 were expended for civil purposes, comprehending the executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the post-office, light-houses, and intercourse with foreign governments.

    During this same period, $370,981,521 were devoted to the Military establishment, and $169,707,214 to the Naval establishment,—the two forming an aggregate of $540,688,735.

    Deducting from this amount appropriations during three years of War [1812-1814], and we find that more than four hundred and sixty millions were absorbed by vain Preparations for War in time of Peace.

    Add to this amount a moderate sum for the expenses of the Militia during the same period, which, as we have seen, are placed at $50,000,000 a year,—for the past years we may take an average of $25,000,000,—and we have the enormous sum-total of $1,350,000,000 piled upon the $460,000,000, the whole amounting to eighteen hundred and ten millions of dollars, a sum not easily conceived by the human faculties, sunk, under the sanction of the National Government, in mere peaceful Preparations for War: almost twelve times as much as was dedicated by the National Government, during the same period, to all other purposes whatsoever.
    1 Jay, War and Peace, p. 13.

    2 Executive Document No. 15, Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, pp 1018-19.

    From this serried array of figures the mind instinctively recoils. If we examine them from a nearer point of view, and, selecting some particular item, compare it with the figures representing other interests in the community, they will present a front still more dread.

    Within cannon-range of this city stands an institution of learning which was one of the earliest cares of our forefathers, the conscientious Puritans.

    Favored child in an age of trial and struggle,—carefully nursed through a period of hardship and anxiety,—endowed at that time by the oblations of men like [Rev. John] Harvard [1607-1638],—sustained from its first foundation by the parental arm of the Commonwealth [Massachusetts], by a constant succession of munificent bequests, and by the prayers of good men,—the [Harvard] University at Cambridge [founded 1636] now invites our homage, as the most ancient, most interesting, and most important seat of learning in the land,—possessing the oldest and most valuable library,—one of the largest museums of mineralogy and natural history,—with a School of Law which annually receives into its bosom more than one hundred and fifty sons from all parts of the Union, where they listen to instruction from professors whose names are among the most valuable possessions of the land,—also a School of Divinity, fount of true learning and piety,—also one of the largest and most flourishing Schools of Medicine in the country,—and besides these, a general body of teachers, twenty-seven in number, many of whose names help to keep the name of the country respectable in every part of the globe, where science, learning, and taste are cherished,—the whole presided over at this moment by a gentleman early distinguished in public life by unconquerable energy and masculine eloquence, at a later period by


    the unsurpassed ability with which he administered the affairs of our city [as Mayor], and now, in a green old age, full of years and honors, preparing to lay down his present high trust.1

    Such is Harvard University; and as one of the humblest of her children, happy in the memories of a youth nurtured in her classic retreats, I cannot allude to her without an expression of filial affection and respect.

    It appears from the last Report of the Treasurer, that the whole available property of the University, the various accumulations of more than two centuries of generosity [1636-1844], amounts to $703,175.

    Change the scene, and cast your eyes upon another object. There now swings idly at her moorings in this harbor a ship of the line, the [U.S.S.] Ohio, carrying ninety guns, finished as late [recently] as 1836 at an expense of $547,888,—repaired oniy two years afterwards, in 1838, for $233,012,—with an armament which has cost $53,945,—making an aggregate of $834,845, as the actual outlay at this moment [1836-1845] for that single ship,2—more than $100,000 beyond all the available wealth of the richest and most ancient seat of learning in the land!

    Choose ye, my fellow-citizens of a [professing] Christian state, between the two caskets,—that wherein is the loveliness of truth, or that which contains the carrion death.

    I refer to the Ohio because this [U.S. Navy] ship happens to be in our waters; but I do not take the strongest case afforded by our Navy. Other ships have absorbed larger sums. The expense of the Delaware, in 1842, had reached $1,051,000.
    1 Hon. Josiah Quincy.

    2 Executive Document No. 132, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Third Session.


    Pursue the comparison still further. The expenditures of the University during the last year, for the general purposes of the College, the instruction of the Undergraduates, and for the Schools of Law and Divinity, amounted to $47,935. The cost of the Ohio for one year of service, in salaries, wages, and provisions, is $220,000,—being $172,000 above the annual expenditures of the University, and more than four times as much as those expenditures. In other words, for the annual sum lavished on a single ship of the line [warship], four institutions like Harvard University might be supported.

    Furthermore, the pay of the Captain of a ship like the Ohio is $4,500, when in service,—$3,500, when on leave of absence, or off duty. The salary of the President of Harvard University is $2,235, without leave of absence, and never off duty.

    If the large endowments of Harvard University are dwarfed by comparison with a single ship of the line, how must it be with other institutions of learning and beneficence, less favored by the bounty of many generations?

    The average cost of a sloop of war is $315,000,—more, probably, than all the endowments of those twin stars of learning in the Western part of Massachusetts, the Colleges at Williamstown and Amherst, and of that single star in the East, the guide to many ingenuous youth, the Seminary at Andover. The yearly expense of a sloop of war in service is about $50,000,—more than the annual expenditures of these three institutions combined.

    I might press the comparison with other institutions of beneficence,— with our annual appropriations for the Blind, that noble and successful charity which


    sheds true lustre upon the Commonwealth, amounting to $12,000, and for the Insane, another charity dear to humanity, amounting to $27,844.

    Take all the institutions of Learning and Beneficence, the crown jewels of the Commonwealth [Massachusetts], schools, colleges, hospitals, asylums, and the sums by which they have been purchased and preserved are trivial and beggarly, compared with the treasures squandered within the borders of Massachusetts in vain Preparations for War,
  • —upon the Navy Yard at Charlestown, with its stores on hand, costing $4,741,000,

  • —the fortifications in the harbors of Massachusetts, where untold sums are already sunk, and it is now proposed to sink $3,875,000 more,1

  • —and the Arsenal at Springfield, containing, in 1842,175,118 muskets, valued at $2,099,998,2 and maintained by an annual appropriation of $200,000, whose highest value will ever be, in the judgment of all lovers of truth, that it inspired a poem which in influence will be mightier than a battle, and will endure when arsenals and fortifications have crumbled to earth.
  • Some of the verses of this Psalm of Peace may relieve the detail of statistics, while they happily blend with my argument.

    “Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
    Were half the wealth hestowed on camps and courts,
    Given to redeem the human mind from error,
    There were no need of arsenals or forts:

    " The warrior's name would be a name abhorred,

    And every nation that should lift again
    Its hand against a brother on its forehead
    Would wear forevermore the curse of Cain.” 3

    1 Report of Secretary of War, Senate Document No. 2, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Second Session,—where we are asked to invest in a general system of land defences $51,677,929.

    2 Executive Document No. 3, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Third Session.

    3 Longfellow, The Arsenal at Springfield.


    Turn now to a high and peculiar interest of the nation, the administration of justice. Perhaps no part of our System is regarded with more pride and confidence, especially by the enlightened sense of the country. To this, indeed, all other concerns of Government, with all its complications of machinery, are in a manner subordinate, since it is for the sake of justice that men come together in communities and establish laws.

    What part of the Government can compare in importance with the National Judiciary, that great balance-wheel of the Constitution, controlling the relations of the several States to each other, the legislation of Congress and of the States, besides private interests to an incalculable amount?

    Nor can the citizen who discerns the true glory of his country fail to recognize in the immortal judgments of [Chief Justice John] MARSHALL [1755-1835], now departed, and of [Justice Joseph] STORY [1779-1845], who is still spared to us—serus in cœlum redeat!—a higher claim to admiration and gratitude than can be found in any triumph of battle.

    The expenses of this great department under the National Government, in 1842, embracing the cost of court-houses, the salaries of judges, the pay of juries, and of all the law officers throughout the United States, in short, all the outlay by which justice, according to the requirement of Magna Charta, is carried to every man's door, amounted to $560,990,—a larger sum than is usually appropriated for this purpose, but how insignificant, compared with the cormorant demands of Army and Navy!

    Let me allude to one more curiosity of waste. By a calculation founded on the expenses of the Navy it appears that the average cost of each gun carried over the ocean for one year amounts to about fifteen thou-


    sand dollars,—a sum sufficient to maintain ten or even twenty professors of Colleges, and equal to the salaries of all the Judges of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and the Governor combined!

    Such are illustrations of that tax which nations constituting the great Federation of Civilization, including our own country, impose on the people, in time of profound peace, for no permanent productive work, for no institution of learning, for no gentle charity, for no purpose of good.

    Wearily climbing from expenditure to expenditure, from waste to waste, we seem to pass beyond the region of ordinary measurement; Alps on Alps arise, on whose crowning heights of everlasting cold, far above the habitations of man, where no green thing lives, where no creature draws breath, we behold the sharp, icy, fiashing glacier of War.

    In the contemplation of this spectacle the soul swells with alternate despair and hope:
  • with despair, at the thought of such weaith, capable of such service to Humanity, not merely wasted, but bestowed to perpetuate Hate;

  • with hope, as the blessed vision arises of all these incalculable means secured to purposes of Peace.
  • The whole world labors with poverty and distress; and the painful question occurs in Europe more than here, What shall become of the poor,—the increasing Standing Army of the poor?

    Could the voice that now addresses you penetrate those distant councils, or councils nearer home, it would say, Disband your Standing Armies of soldiers, employ your navies in peaceful and enriching commerce, abandon Fortifications and Arsenals, or dedicate them to works of Beneficence, as the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus was changed to the image


    of a Christian saint; in fine, utterly renounce the present incongruous System of Armed Peace.

    That I may not seem to accept this conclusion too hastily, at least as regards our own country, I shall consider the asserted usefulness of the nationaL armaments,—and then expose the fallacy, at least in the present age and among Christian nations, of the maxim, that in time of Peace we must prepare for War.

    For what use is the Standing Army of the United States? For many generations it has been a principle of freedom to avoid a standing army; and one of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence was, that George the Third had quartered large bodies of troops in the Colonies.

    For the first years after the adoption of the National Constitution, during our period of weakness, before our power was assured, before our name had become respected in the family of nations, under the administration of [George] Washington [1789-1797], a small sum was ample for the military establishment of the United States.

    Ed. Note: “The founding fathers of the United States ('a republic,' said Benjamin Franklin, 'if you can keep it') were strongly opposed to it having a standing army. They disbanded the Continental Army within six months of the end of the war. They also disbanded the Navy and the Marines. Today the Republic still stands, but its biggest expense each year is keeping up its standing army,” says Ripley's Believe It or Not! Book of the Military, ed., Prof. Leonard R. N. Ashley (New York, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Pocket Book, 1976), § “A Standing Army,” p 148.

    It was at a later day that the country, touched by martial insanity, abandoned the true economy of a Republic, and, in imitation of monarchical powers, lavished means, grudged to Peace, in vain preparation for War. It may now be said of our Army, as Dunning said of the influence of the Crown, it has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    Ed. Note: President Dwight D. Eisenhower would say likewise of the “military-industrial complex” in 1961. Eisenhower was in essence repeating a warning others too had said, e.g., Marine Major General Smedley D. Butler in his book, War Is A Racket (1931). (This book was cited anew in "Intrigue" by David Gallagher, Military History, pp 18-22 [May 2005].)
    DateTroopsUS PopulationRatio
    186016,00031,443,32116:31,443 = 1:1965
    20041,500,000294,000,00015:2,940 = 1:196
    If ratio had remainedat 1860 level,NTE about 183,730

    At this moment there are in the country more than sixty military posts. For any of these it would be difficult to present a reasonable apology,—unless, perhaps, on some distant Indian frontier. Of what use is the detachment of the Second Artillery at the quiet town of New London, in Connecticut? Of what use is the detach-


    ment of the First Artillery in that pleasant resort of fashion, Newport? By exhilarating music and showy parade they may amuse an idle hour; but is it not equally true that emotions of a different character will be aroused in thoughtful bosoms?

    He must have lost something of sensibility to the dignity of human nature who can observe, without at least a passing regret, all the details of discipline—drill, marching, countermarching—which fill the life of the soldier, and prepare him to become the rude, inanimate part of that machine to which an army is likened by the great living master of the Art of War.1

    And this sensibility may be more disturbed by the spectacle of ingenuous youth, in chosen numbers, under the auspices of the Government, amidst the bewitching scenery of West Point, painfully trained to these same exercises,—at a cost to the country, since the establishment of this Academy, of above four millions of dollars.

    In Europe, Standing Armies are supposed to be needed in support of Government; but this excuse cannot prevail here. The monarchs of the Old World, like the chiefs of the ancient German tribes, are upborne on the shields of the soldiery. Happily, with us, Government needs no janizaries. The hearts of the people are a sufficient support.

    I hear a voice from some defender of this abuse, some upholder of this “rotten borough,” crying, The Army is needed for defence! As well might you say that the shadow is needed for defence. For what is the Army of the United States, but the feeble shadow of the American people? In placing the Army on its present footing, so small in numbers, compared with the forces of great
    1 The Duke of Wellington.

    (pp 88-91)

    this judgment. A very small portion of the means absorbed by the Militia would provide a substantial police, competent to [sufficient to pay for] all the domestic emergencies of disorder and violence. The city of Boston has discarded a Fire Department composed of accidental volunteers. Why not do the same with the police, and set another example to the country?

    I am well aware that efforts to reduce the Militia are encountered by some of the dearest prejudices of the common mind,—not only by the War Spirit, but by that other, which first animates childhood, and, at a later day, “children of a larger growth,” inviting to finery of dress and parade,—the same which fantastically bedecks the dusky feather-cinctured chief of the soft regions warmed by the tropical sun,—which inserts a ring in the nose of the North American Indian, —which slits the ears of the Australian gavage, and tattoos the New Zealand cannibal.

    Such are the national armaments, in their true character and value. Thus far I have regarded them in the plainest light of ordinary worldly economy, without reference to those higher considerations, drawn from the nature and history of man and the truths of Christianity, which pronounce them vain.

    It is grateful to know, that, though having yet the support of what Jeremy Taylor calls “popular noises,” the other more economical, more humane, more wise, more Christian System is daily commending itself to good people. On its side are all the virtues that truly elevate a state. Economy, sick of pygmy efforts to stanch the smallest fountain and rill of exuberant expenditure, pleads that here is a measureless, fathomless, endless river, an


    Amazon of waste, rolling its prodigal waters turbidly, ruinously, hatefully, to the sea. It chides us with unnatural inconsistency, when we strain at a little twine and paper, and swallow the monstrous cables and armaments of War. Humanity pleads for the surpassing interests of Knowledge and Benevolence, from which such mighty means are withdrawn.

    Wisdom frowns on these Preparations, as nursing sentiments inconsistent with Peace; Christiamty calmly rebukes the spirit in which they have their origin, as of little faith, and treacherous to her high behests: while History, exhibiting the sure, though gradual, Progress of Man, points with unerring finger to that destiny of True Grandeur, when nations, like individuals, disowning War as a proper Arbiter of Justice, shall abandon the oppressive apparatus of Armies, Navies, and Fortifications, by which it is waged.

    Before considering the familiar injunction, In time of Peace prepare for War, I hope I shall not seem to descend from the proper sphere of this discussion, if I refer to the parade of barbarous mottoes, and of emblems from beasts, as another impediment to the proper appreciation of these Preparations. These mottoes and emblems, prompting to War, are obtruded on the very ensigns of power and honor, and, careless of their discreditable import, men learn to regard them with patriotic pride.

    In the armorial bearings of nations and individuals, beasts and birds of prey are the exemplars of True Grandeur. The lion appears on the flag of England; the leopard on the flag of Scotland; a double-headed eagle spreads its wings on the imperial standard of Austria, and again on that of Russia; while


    (pp 94-107)

    the religion of his Master the great Christian saint had learned that Love is more puissant than Force. To the reflecting mind, the Omnipotence of God himself is less discernible in earthquake and storm than in the gentle, but quickening, rays of the sun, and the sweet descending dews. He is a careless observer who does not recognize the superiority of gentleness and kindness in exercising influence or securing rights among men. As the storms of violence beat upon us, we hug mantles gladly thrown aside under the warmth of a genial sun.

    Christianity not only teaches the superiority of Love to Force, it positively enjoins the practice of the former, as a constant, primal duty. It says,

    “Love your neighbors”;

    but it does not say,

    “In time of Peace rear the massive fortification, build the man-of-war, enlist standing armies, train militia, and accumulate military stores, to overawe and menace your neighbor.”

    It directs that we should do to others as we would have them do to us,—a golden rule for all; but how inconsistent is that distrust in obedience to which nations professing peace sieep like soldiers on their arms!

    Nor is this all. Its precepts inculcate patience, forbearance, forgiveness of evil, even the duty of benefiting a destroyer,

    “as the sandal-wood, in the instant of its overthrow, sheds perfume on the axe which fells it.”

    Can a people in whom this faith is more than an idle word authorize such enormous sacrifices to pamper the Spirit of War? Thus far nations [pp 45 and 238] have drawn their weapons from earthly armories, unmindful that there are others of celestial temper.

    The injunction, “Love one another,” is as applicable to nations as to individuals. It is one of the great laws


    of Heaven. And nations, like individuals, may well measure their nearness to God and to his glory by the conformity of their conduct to this duty.

    In response to arguments founded on economy, the true nature of man, and Christianity, I hear the skeptical note of some advocate of the transmitted order of things, some one among the “fire-worshippers” of War, saying, All this is beautiful, but visionary; it is in advance of the age, which is not yet prepared for the great change. To such I answer: Nothing can be beautiful that is not true; but all this is true, and the time has come for its acceptance. Now is the dawning day, and now the fitting hour.

    The name of Washington is invoked as authority for a prejudice which Economy, Human Nature, and Christianity repudiate. Mighty and reverend as is his name, more mighty and more reverend is Truth. The words of counsel which he gave were in accordance with the spirit of his age,—which was not shocked by the slave-trade. But his great soul, which loved virtue and inculcated justice and benevolence, frowns upon those who would use his authority as an incentive to War. God forbid that his sacred character should be profanely stretched, like the skin of John Ziska, on a militia-drum, to arouse the martial ardor of the American people!

    The practice of Washington, during the eight years of his administration [1789-1797], compared with that of the last eight years [1837-1845] for which we have the returns, may explain his real opinions. His condemnation of the present wasteful system speaks to us from the following table.1
    1 Executive Document No. 15, Twenty-eighth Congress, First Session.

    Years.Military Establishment.Naval Establishment.
    Total, during eight years of Washington,$10,078,102$747,378
    1835 [Jackson]$9,420,313$3,864,939
    1836 [Jackson]19,667,1665,807,718
    1837 [Van Buren]20,702,9296,646,915
    1838 [Van Buren]20,557,4736,131,581
    1839 [Van Buren]14,588,6646,182,294
    1840 [Van Buren]12,030,6246,113,897
    1841 [Tyler]13,704,8826,001,077
    1842 [Tyler]9,188,4698,397,243
    Total, during eight recent years,$119,860,520$49,145,664

    Thus the expenditures for the national armaments under the sanction of Washington were less than eleven million dollars, while during a recent similar period of eight years they amounted to upwards of one hundred and sixty-nine millions,—an increase of nearly fifteen hundred per cent!

    Ed. Note:
    1790's: $10,825,480 / 4,000,000 Americans = $2.71 avg cost per
    1830's: $169,006,184 / 20,000,000 Americans= $8.45 avg cost per
    2002: $350,000,000,000 / 270,000,000 Americans= $1296.30 avg cost per

    To him who quotes the precept of Washington I commend the example.

    Ed. Note: Imagine the shock of our forefathers that “defense spending” as per the “military-industrial complex” (that President Eisenhower warned against) has now expanded to hundreds of billions of dollars per year!
    Founding Father Elbridge Gerry, U.S. Vice-President (1813-1814), at the 1787 Constitutional Convention advocated limiting the Army to a mere 300 troops in peacetime, from a population of some four million. Reason: Although “[a] standing army is . . . an . . . assurance of domestic tranquillity, [it is] a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure [wars].” That 1787 ratio, 90 times more population now, would mean a military not exceeding 27,000!!
    Founding Father James Madison, U.S. President (1809-1817) said: “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war. . . and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” (20 April 1795).

    He must be strongly possessed by the martial mania who will not confess, that, in this age, when the whole world is at peace, and our national power is assured, there is less need of these Preparations than in an age convulsed with War, when our national power was little respected. The only semblance of argument in their favor is the increased wealth of the country; but the capacity to endure taxation is no criterion of its justice, or even of its expediency.

    Another fallacy is also invoked, that whatever is, is right.

    A barbarous practice is elevated above all those


    authorities by which these Preparations are condemned. We are made to count principles as nothing, because not yet recognized by nations. But they are practically applied in the relations of individuals, towns, counties, and states in our Union. All these have disarmed. It remains only that they [moral principles] should be extended to the grander sphere of nations. Be it our duty to proclaim the principles, whatever the practice.

    Through us let Truth speak.

    From the past and the present auspicious omens cheer us for the future. The terrible wars of the French Revolution were the violent rending of the body preceding the exorcism of the fiend.

    Since the morning stars first sang together [Job 36:7], the world has not witnessed a peace so harmonious and enduring as that which now blesses the Christian nations.
  • Great questions, fraught with strife, and in another age heralds of War, are now determined by Mediation or Arbitration.

  • Great political movements, which a few short years ago must have led to bloody encounter, are now conducted by peaceful discussion.

  • Literature, the press, and innumerable societies, all join in the work of inculcating good-will to man.

  • The Spirit of Humanity pervades the best writings, whether the elevated philosophical inquiries of the “Vestiges of the Creation,” the ingenious, but melancholy, moralizings of the “Story of a Feather,” or the overflowing raillery of “Punch.”
  • Nor can the breathing thought and burning word of poet or orator have a higher inspiration. Genius is never so Promethean as when it bears the heavenly fire to the hearths of men.

    In the last age, Dr. [Samuel] Johnson [1709-1784] uttered the detestable


    (pp 112-129)

    considerations springing from our situation and condition which fervently invite us to take the lead. Here should join the patriotic ardor of the land, the ambition of the statesman, the effort of the scholar, the pervasive influence of the press, the mild persuasion of the sanctuary, the early teaching of the school. Here, in ampler ether and diviner air, are untried fields for exalted triumph, more truly worthy the American name than any snatched from rivers of blood.

    War is known as the Last Reason of Kings. Let it be no reason of our Republic. Let us renounce and throw off forever the yoke of a tyranny most oppressive of all in the world's annals.

    As those standing on the mountain-top first discern the coming beams of morning, so may we, from the vantage-ground of liberal institutions, first recognize the ascending sun of a new era! Lift high the gates, and let the King of Glory in,—the King of True Glory,—of Peace! I catch the last words of music from the lips of innocence and beauty,1

    “And let the whole earth be filled with His Glory!”
    Ed. Note: Click here for full text of Song.

    It is a beautiful picture in Grecian story, that there was at least one spot, the small island of Delos, dedicated to the [pagan] gods, and kept at all times sacred from War. No hostile foot ever pressed this kindly soil, and citizens of all countries met here, in common worship, beneath the ægis of inviolable Peace. So let us dedicate our beloved country; and may the blessed consecration be felt in all its parts, everywhere throughout its ample demain! The Temple of Honor shall
    1 The services of the choir on this occasion were performed by the youthful daughters of the public schools of Boston.


    be enclosed by the Temple of Concord, that it may never more be entered through any portal of War; the horn of Abundance shall overflow at its gates; the angel of Religion shall be the guide over its steps of flashing adamant; while within its happy courts, purged of Violence and Wrong, JUSTICE, returned to the earth from long exile in the skies, with equal scales for nations as for men, shall rear her serene and majestic front; and by her side, greatest of all, CHARITY, sublime in meekness, hoping all and enduring all, shall divinely temper every righteous decree, and with words of infinite cheer inspire to those deeds that cannot vanish away.

    And the future chief of the Republic, destined to uphold the glories of a new era, unspotted by human blood, shall be first in Peace, first in the hearts of his contrymen.

    While seeking these fruitful glories for ourselves, let us strive for their extension to other lands. Let the bugles sound the Truce of God to the whole world forever. Not to one people, but to every people, let the glad tidings go.

    The selfish boast of the Spartan women, that they never saw the smoke of an enemy's camp, must become the universal chorus of mankind, while the iron belt of War, now encompassing the globe, is exchanged for the golden cestus of Peace, clothing all with celestial beauty.

    History dwells with fondness on the reverent homage bestowed by massacring soldiers upon the spot occupied by the sepulchre of the Lord. Vain man! why confine regard to a few feet of sacred mould? The whole earth is the sepulchre of the Lord; nor can any righteous man profane any part thereof. Confessing this truth, let us now, on this Sab-


    bath [4 July] of the Nation, lay a new and living stone in the grand Temple of Universal Peace, whose dome shall be lofty as the firmament of heaven, broad and comprehensive as earth itself.


    Ed. Note: The significance of what Sumner said led to this oration being reprinted in multiple editions, sent to every member of Congress to aid in averting war with Britain; publication in Britain, and sent to the Queen, Prime Minister, etc. Elihu Burritt, President, American Peace Society, on 19 Nov 1845 said to Sumner: "The cause of Peace dates principally from your oration."


    BOSTON, MAY 28, 1849.

    That it may please Thee to give to all nations unity, peace, and
    concord.—THE LITANY.

    What angel shall descend to reconcile
    The Christian states, and end their guilty toil?



    (pp 134-137)

    will be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France [and what Congress is to the U.S.]. A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in public museums, just as an instrument of torture is now, and people will be astonished how such a thing could have been. A day will come when those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, shall be seen placed in presence of each other, extending the hand of fellowship across the ocean.—VICTOR HUGO, Inaugural Address at the Peace Congress of Paris, August 22, 1849.

    Clearly, beyond question, whatsoever be our theories about human nature and its capabilities and outcomes, the less war and cutting of throats we have among us, it will be better for us all. One rejoices much to see that immeasurable tendencies of this time are already pointing towards the results you aim at,—that, to all appearance, as men no longer wear swords in the streets, so neither by-and-by will nations.—CARLYLE, Letter to the Peace Congress at London, July, 1851.

    The longer I live, the more I am convinced of the necessity of a powerful association to plead the cause of Universal Peace and International Arbitration; and I feel confident that the time is not far distant when war will be as impossible among civilized nations as duelling is among civilized men.—SIR DAVID BREWSTER, Letter to the Peace Conference at Edinourgh, October, 1853.

    Aujourd'hui encore on bénit les drapeaux qui conduisent les hommes à de mutuels égorgements. En donnant à un Dieu de paix le nom de Dieu des Armées, on fait de l'Être infini en bonté le complice de ceux qui s'abreuvent des larmes de leurs semblables. Aujourd'hui encore on chante d'impies Te Deum pour le remercier de ces victoires obtenues au prix d'épouvantables massacres, victoires qu'il faudrait ou expier comme des crimes lorsqu'elles ont été remportées dans des guerres offensives ou déplorer comme la plus triste des nécessités quand elles ont été obtenues dans des guerres défensives.—LARROQUE, De la Guerre et des Armées Permanentes, Part. III. § 4.

    La monarchie, sous les formes mêmes les plus tempérées, tiendra toujours a avoir à sa dévotion des armées permanentes. Or avec les armées en permanence l'abolition de la guerre est impossible. Par conséquent la grande fédération des peuples, au moins de tous les peuples Européens, dans le but d'arriver à l'abolition de la guerre par l'institution d'un droit international et d'un tribunal supérieur chargé de le faire observer, ne sera réalisable que le jour où ces peuples seront organisés sous la forme républicaine. Quand luira ce jour?—IBID., Avant-propos, p. 6.

    Sir J. Lubbock quotes the case of a tribe in Baffin's Bay [Northeastern Canada] who "could not be made to understand what was meant by war, nor had they any war-like weapons." No wonder, poor people! They had been driven into regions where no stronger race could desire to follow them.—DUKE OF ARGYLL, Primeval Man, p. 177.



    MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN,—We are assembled in what may be called the Holy Week of our community,—not occupied by pomps of a complex ceremonial, swelling in tides of music, beneath time-honored arches, but set apart, with the unadorned simplicity of early custom, to anniversary meetings of those charitable and religious associations from whose good works our country derives such true honor.

    Each association is distinct. Gathered within the folds of each are its own members, devoted to its chosen objects: and yet all are harmonious together; for all are inspired by one sentiment,—the welfare of the united Human Family. Each has its own separate orbit, a pathway of light; while all together constitute a system which moves in a still grander orbit.

    Among all these associations, none is so truly comprehensive as ours. The prisoner in his cell, the slave in his chains, the sailor on ocean wanderings, the Pagan on far off continent or island, and the ignorant here at home, will all be commended by eloquent voices. I need not say that you should listen to these voices, and answer to their appeal. But, while mindful of these interests, justly claiming your care, it is my present and


    most grateful duty to commend that other cause, the great cause of Peace, which in its wider embrace enfolds prisoner, slave, sailor, the ignorant, all mankind,—which to each of these charities is the source of strength and light, I may say of life itself, as the sun in the heavens.

    Peace is the grand Christian charity, fountain and parent of all other charities. Let Peace be removed, and all other charities sicken and die. Let Peace exert her gladsome sway, and all other charities quicken into life. Peace is the distinctive promise and possession of Christianity,—so much so, that, where Peace is not, Christianity cannot be.

    It is also the promise of Heaven, being the beautiful consummation of that rest and felicity which the saints above are said to enjoy. There is nothing elevated which is not exalted by Peace. There is nothing valuable which does not gain from Peace.

    Of Wisdom herself it is said, that all her ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are Peace. And these golden words are refined by the saying of the Christian Father, that the perfection of joy is Peace.

    Naturally Peace is the longing and aspiration of the noblest souls, whether for themselves or for country. In the bitterness of exile, away from the Florence immortalized by his divine poem, and pacing the cloisters of a convent, where a sympathetic monk inquired,

    “What do you seek?”

    Dante answered, in accents distilled from the heart,


    In the memorable English struggles, while King and Parliament were rending the land, a gallant supporter of monarchy, the chivalrous Falkland, touched by the intolerable woes of
    1 Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe, p. 513.


    War, cried, in words which consecrate his memory more than any feat of arms,

    Peace! peace!1

    Not in aspiration only, but in benediction, is this word uttered.

    As the Apostle went forth on his errand, as the son forsook his father's roof, the choicest blessing was,

    Peace be with you!

    When the Saviour was born, angels from heaven, amidst choiring melodies, let fall that supreme benediction, never before vouchsafed to the children of the Human Family,

    “Peace on earth, and good-will towards men!” [Luke 2:14].

    To maintain this charity, to promote these aspirations, to welcome these benedictions, is the object of our Society.
  • To fill men in private with all those sentiments which make for Peace,

  • to lead men in public to the recognition of those paramount principles which are the safeguard of Peace,

  • above all, to teach the True Grandeur of Peace, and

  • to unfold the folly and wickedness of the Institution of War and of the War System, now recognized and established by the Commonwealth of Nations as the mode of determining international controversies,—

    such is the object of our Society.

  • There are persons who allow themselves sometimes to speak of associations like ours, if not with disapprobation, at least with levity and distrust. A writer so humane and genial as Robert Southey left on record a gibe at the “Society for the Abolition of War,” saying that it had

    “not obtained sufficient notice even to be in disrepute.” 2

    It is not uncommon to hear our aims characterized as visionary, impracticable, Utopian. Sometimes it is hastily said that they are contrary to
    1 Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, Book VII. Vol. IV. p. 255.

    2 Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, Vol. I. p. 224.


    (pp 142-225)

    bled in the face of the Nations, better than the swords of all the marshals of France, better than the bloody terrors of Austerlitz or Waterloo.

    The idea of a Congress of Nations [United Nations] with a High Court of Judicature [World Court] is as practicable as its consummation is confessedly dear to the friends of Universal Peace. Whenever this Congress is convened, as surely it will be, I know not all the names that will deserve commemoration in its earliest proceedings; but there are two, whose particular and long-continued advocacy of this Institution will connect them indissolubly with its fame,—the Abbé Saint-Pierre, of France, and William Ladd, of the United States.

    2. There is still another substitute for War, which is not exposed even to the shallow objections launched against a Congress of Nations. By formal treaties between two or more nations, Arbitration may be established as the mode of determining controversies between them. In every respect this is a contrast to War. It is rational, humane, and cheap. Above all, it is consistent with the teachings of Christianity. As I mention this substitute, I should do injustice to the cause and to my own feelings, if I did not express our obligations to its efficient proposer and advocate, our fellow-citizen, and the President of this Society, the honored son of an illustrious father [Chief Justice John Jay], whose absence to-night enables me, without offending his known modesty, to introduce this tribute: I mean William Jay [1769-1853].

    The complete overthrow of the War System, involving the disarming of the Nations, would follow the establishment of a Congress of Nations, or any general


    system of Arbitration. Then at last our aims would be accomplished; then at last Peace would be organized among the Nations. Then might Christians repeat the fitful boast of the generous Mohawk:

    “We have thrown the hatchet so high into the air, and beyond the skies, that no army on earth can reach to bring it down.”

    Incalculable sums, now devoted to armaments and the destructive industry of War, would be turned to the productive industry of Art and to offices of Beneficence. As in the dead and rotten carcass of the lion which roared against the strong man of Israel, after a time, were a swarm of bees and honey, so would the enormous carcass of War, dead and rotten, be filled with crowds of useful laborers and all good works, and the riddle of Samson be once more interpreted:

    “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” [Judges 14:5-6, 8, 14, 18].

    Put together the products of all the mines in the world,—the glistening ore of California, the accumulated treasures of Mexico and Peru, with the diamonds of Golconda,—and the whole shining heap will be less than the means thus diverted from War to Peace. Under the influence of such a change, civilization will be quickened anew. Then will happy Labor find its reward, and the whole land be filled with its increase. There is no aspiration of Knowledge, no vision of Charity, no venture of Enterprise, no fancy of Art, which may not then be fufilled.

    The great unsolved problem of Pauperism will be solved at last. There will be no paupers, when there are no soldiers. The social struggles, so fearfully disturbing European nations, will die away in the happiness of unarmed Peace, no longer incumbered by the oppressive System of War; nor can there


    (pp 228-237)

    zens, though traitors and rebels.

    As the Brotherhood of Man is practically recognized, it becomes impossible to restrict the feeling within any exclusive circle of country, and to set up an unchristian distinction of honor between civil war and international war. As all men are brothers, so, by irresistible consequence, ALL WAR MUST BE FRATRICIDAL. And can glory come from fratricide?

    None can hesitate in answer, unless fatally imbued with the Heathen rage of nationality that made the Venetians declare themselves Venetians first and Christians afterwards.

    Ed. Note: This is standard "Emperor-worship" as distinct from Christianity. Fake Christians are invariably "patriots" of whatever nation, Christians second, meaning last. See also p 45, supra.

    Tell me not of homage yet offered to the military chieftain. Tell me not of "glory" from War. Tell me not of "honor" or "fame" on its murderous fields. All is vanity. [Eccl. 1:2]. It is a blood-red phantom. They who strive after it, Ixion-like, embrace a cloud. Though seeming to fill the heavens, cloaking the stars, it must, like the vapors of earth, pass away. Milton likens the contests of the Heptarchy to

    "the wars of kites or crows flocking and fighting in the air."(1)

    But God, and the exalted judgment of the future, must regard all our bloody feuds in the same likeness,—finding Napoleon and Alexander, so far as engaged in War, only monster crows and kites. Thus must it be, as mankind ascend from the thrall of brutish passion.

    Nobler aims, by nobler means, will fill the soul. There will be a new standard of excellence; and honor, divorced from blood, will beconie the inseparable attendant of good works alone. Far better, then, even in the judgment of this world, to have been a doorkeeper in the house of Peace than the proudest dweller in the tents of War.
    (1) History of England, Book IV.: Prose Works (ed. Symmons), Vol. IV. p. 158.

    There is a pious legend of the early Church, that the Saviour left his image miraculously impressed upon a napkin which had touched his countenance. The napkin was lost, and men attempted to supply the divine lineaments from the Heathen models of Jupiter and Apollo.

    But the true image of Christ is not lost. Clearer than in the venerated napkin, better than in color or marble of choicest art, it appears in each virtuous deed, in every act of self-sacrifice, in all magnanimous toil, in any recognition of Human Brotherhood.

    It will be supremely manifest, in unimagined loveliness and serenity, when the Commonwealth of Nations, confessing the True Grandeur of Peace, renounces the War System, and dedicates to Beneficence the comprehensive energies so fatally absorbed in its support.

    Then, at last, will it be seen, there can be no Peace that is not honorable, and no War that is not dishonorable.


    Duel Between France and Germany
    With Its Lesson to Civilization

    Lecture in the Music Hall,
    Boston, October 26, 1870

    "When kings make war,
    No law betwixt two sovereigns can decide,
    But that of arms, where Fortune is the judge,
    Soldiers the lawyers, and the Bar the field.
    —Dryden, Love Triumphant, Act. 1, Sc. 1



    MR. PRESIDENT,—I am to speak of the Duel between France and Germany, with its Lesson to Civilization.

    Ed. Note: This refers to the Franco-Prussian War,
    19 July 1870 - 10 May 1871.
    For an 1870 English view, click here.

    In calling the terrible war now waging a Duel, I might content myself with classical authority, Duellum being a well-known Latin word for War. The

  • historian Livy [59 B.C.E. - 17 C.E.] makes a Roman declare that affairs are to be settled
    "by a pure and pious duel"; (1)

  • the dramatist Plautus [254 B.C.E. - 184 B.C.E.] has a character in one of his plays who obtains great riches

    "by the duelling art," (2) meaning the art of war;

  • and Horace [65 B.C.E. - 8 B.C.E.] , the exquisite master of language, hails the age of Augustus with the Temple of Janus closed and

    "free from duels," (3) meaning at peace,—for then only was that famous temple shut.

  • BUT no classical authority is needed for this designation. War, as conducted under International Law, between two organized nations, is in all respects a duel, according to the just signification of this word,—differing from that between two individuals only in the number of combatants. The variance is of proportion merely, each nation being an individual who appeals to the sword as Arbiter; and in each case the combat is
    (1) "Puro pioque duello."—Historiœ, Lib. I. cap. 32.

    (2) "Arte duellica."—Epidicus, Act. III. Sc. iv. 14.

    (3) "Vacuum duellis."—Carmina, Lib. IV. xv. 8.


    subject to rules constituting a code by which the two parties are bound.

    For long years before civilization prevailed, the code governing the duel between individuals was as fixed and minute as that which governs the larger duel between nations, and the duel itself was simply a mode of deciding questions between individuals.

    In presenting this comparison I expose myself to criticism only from those who have not considered this interesting subject in the light of history and of reason.

    The parallel is complete. Modern war is the duel of the Dark Ages, magnified, amplified, extended so as to embrace nations; nor is it any less a duel because the combat is quickened and sustained by the energies of self-defence, or because, when a champion falls and lies on the ground, he is brutally treated.

    An authentic instance illustrates such a duel; and I bring before you the very pink of chivalry, the Chevalier Bayard,

    “the knight without fear and without reproach,”

    who, after combat in a chosen field, succeeded by a feint in driving his weapon four fingers deep into the throat of his adversary, and then, rolling with him, gasping and struggling, on the ground, thrust his dagger into the nostrils of the fallen victim, exclaiming,

    “Surrender, or you are a dead man”

    —a speech which seemed superfluous; for the second cried out,

    “He is dead already; you have conquered.”

    Then did Bayard, brightest among the Sons of War, drag his dead enemy from the field, crying,

    “Have I done enough?”1

    Now, because the brave knight saw fit to do these things, the combat was not changed in original character. It was a duel at the
    1 La tresjoyeuse, plaisante et recreative Hystoire, composee par le Loyal Serviteur, des Faiz, Gestes, Trmmphes et Prouesses du Bon Chevalier sans Paour et sans Reprouche, le Gentil Seigneur de Bayart: Petitot, Collection des Mémoires relatifs à l'Histoire de France, Tom. XV. pp. 241, 242.


    beginning and at the end. Indeed, the brutality with which it closed was the natural incident of a duel.

    A combat once begun opens the way to violence, and the conqueror too often surrenders to the Evil Spirit, as Bayard in his unworthy barbarism.

    In likening war between nations to the duel, I follow not only reason [logic], but authority also. No better lawyer can be named in the long history of the English bar than John Selden [1584-1654], whose learning was equalled only by his large intelligence. In those conversations which under the name of “Table-Talk” continue still to instruct, the wise counsellor, after saying that the Church allowed the duel anciently, and that in the public liturgies there were prayers appointed for duellists to say, keenly inquires,

    “But whether is this lawful?”

    And then he answers,

    “If you grant any war lawful, I make no doubt but to convince it.”1

    Selden regarded the simple duel and the larger war as governed by the same rule.

    Of course the exercise of force in the suppression of rebellion, or in the maintenance of laws, stands on a different principle, being in its nature a constabulary [police] proceeding, which cannot be confounded with the duel.

    But my object is not to question the lawfulness of war; I would simply present an image, enabling you to see the existing war in its true character.

    The duel in its simplest form is between two individuals. In early ages it was known sometimes as the Judicial Combat, and sometimes as Trial by Battle. Not only points of honor, but titles to land, grave questions of law, and even the subtilties of theology, were referred to this arbitrament,2   just as now kindred
    1 Table-Talk, ed. Singer, (London, 1856,) p. 47,—Duel.

    2 [William] Robertson [1721-1793], History of the Reign of Charles V.: View of the Progress of Society in Europe [London: W. and W. Strahan, 1769], Section I. Note XXII.


    (pp 246-261)

    have reached, these two peers of civilization can descend to practise the barbarism of war, and especially that the land of Descartes, Pascal, Voltaire, and Laplace must challenge to bloody duel the land of Luther, Leibnitz, Kant, and Humboldt.


    PLAINLY between these two neighboring powers there has been unhappy antagonism, constant, if not increasing, partly from the memory of other days, and partly because France could not bear to witness that German unity which was a national right and duty.

    Often it has been said that war was inevitable. But it has come at last by surprise, and on “a question of form.” So it was called by Thiers; so it was recognized by Ollivier, when he complained of insensibility to a question of honor; and so also by the Duc de Gramont, when he referred it all to a telegram.

    This is not the first time in history that wars have been waged on trifles; but since the Lord of Frauenstein challenged the free city of Frankfort because a young lady of the city refused to dance with his uncle, nothing has passed more absurd than this challenge sent by France to Germany because the King of Prussia refused to see the French Ambassador a second time on the same matter, and then let the refusal be reported by telegraph.

    Ed. Note: Sumner is referring to the memorandum of a 13 July 1870 meeting between the Prussian king and and French Ambassador. The wording, editing, was used as the pretext for war!!!

    Here is the folly exposed by Shakespeare, when Hamlet touches a madness greater than his own in that spirit which would “find quarrel in a straw when honor's at the stake,” and at the same time depicts an army

    “Led hy a delicate and. tender prince,
    Exposing what is mortal and unsure
    To all that Fortune, Death, and Danger dare,
    Even for an egg-shell.”


    There can be no quarrel in a straw or for an egg-shell, unless men have gone mad. Nor can honor in a civilized age require any sacrifice of reason or humanity.

    Ed. Note: For more background on how the war came about, see, e.g., Hannah Pakula, An Uncommon Woman: The Empress Frederick (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), Chapters 31-33, pp 264-290.


    IF the utter triviality of the pretext were left doubtful in the debate, if its towering absurdity were not plainly apparent, if its simple wickedness did not already stand before us, we should find all these characteristics glaringly manifest in that unjust pretension which preceded the objection of form, on which France finally acted [started the War of 1870]. A few words will make this plain.

    In a happy moment Spain rose [conducted a Revolution] against Queen Isabella, and, amidst cries of “Down with the Bourbons!” drove her from the throne which she dishonored. This was in September, 1868.

    Instead of constituting a Republic at once, in harmony with those popular rights which had been proclaimed, the half-hearted leaders proceeded to look about for a King; and from that time till now they have been in this quest, as if it were the Holy Grail, or happiness on earth.

    The [Bourbon] royal family of Spain was declared incompetent. Therefore a king must be found outside,—and so the quest was continued in other lands. One day the throne is offered to a prince of Portugal, then to a prince of Italy, but declined by each,—how wisely the future will show.

    At last, after a protracted pursuit of nearly two years, the venturesome soldier who is Captain-General and Prime-Minister, Marshal Prim, conceives the idea of offering it to a prince of Germany. His luckless victim is Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a


    (pp 264-265)


    IN sending defiance to Prussia on this question, the French Cabinet selected their own ground. Evidently a war had been [pre-]meditated, and the candidature of Prince Leopold [for the Spanish government vacancy] from beginning to end supplied a pretext.

    In this conclusion, which is too obvious, we are hardly left to inference.

    The secret was disclosed by Rouher, President of the [French] Senate [under Napoleon III], lately the eloquent and unscrupulous Minister, when, in an official address to the Emperor [Napoleon III], immediately after the War Manifesto read by the Prime-Minister, he declared that France quivered with indignation at the flights of an ambition over-excited by the one day's good-fortune at Sadowa, and then proceeded:—

    "Animated by that calm perseverance which is true force, your Majesty has known how to wait; but in the last four years [1866-1870] you have carried to its highest perfection the arming of our soldiers, and raised to its full power the organization of our military forces. Thanks to your care, Sire, France is ready."(1)

    Thus, according to the President of the Senate, France, after waiting, commenced war becanse she was ready,—while, according to the Cabinet, it was on the point of honor. Both were right. The war was declared because the Emperor thought himself ready, and a pretext was found in the affair of the telegram.

    Considering the age, and the present demands of civilization, such a war stands forth terrific in wrong, making the soul rise indignant against it. One reason avowed is brutal; the other is frivolous; both are criminal.

    If we look into the text of the Manifesto
    (1) Address at the Palais de Saint-Cloud, July 16, 1870: Journal Officiel du Soir, 18 Juillet 1870.


    and the speeches of the Cabinet, it is a war founded on a trifle, on a straw, on an egg-shell. Obviously these were pretexts only.

    Therefore it is a war of pretexts, the real object being the humiliation and dismemberment of Germany, in the vain hope of exalting the French Empire and perpetuating a bawble crown on the head of a boy [son Eugene]. By military success and a peace dictated at Berlin, the Emperor trusted to find himself in such condition, that, on return to Paris, he could overthrow parliamentary government so far as it existed there, and reëstablish personal government, where all depended upon himself,—thus making triumph over Germany the means of another triumph over the French people.

    In other times there have been wars as criminal in origin, where trifle, straw, or egg-shell played its part; but they contrasted less with the surrounding civilization. To this list belong the frequent Dynastic Wars, prompted by the interest, the passion, or the whim of some one in the Family of Kings.

    Others have begun in recklessness kindred to that we now witness,—as when England entered into war with Holland, and for reason did not hesitate to allege

    "abusive pictures."(1)

    The England of Charles the Second [1660-1685] was


    (1) Hume, History of England, Ch. LXV., March 17, 1672.—The terms of the Declaration [of War] on this point were,—

    "Scarce a town within their territories that is not filled with abusive pictures." (Hansard's Parliamentary History, Vol. IV. col. 514.)

    Upon which Hume remarks:

    "The Dutch were long at a loss what to make of this article, till it was discovered tbat a portrait of Cornelius de Witt, brother to the Pensionary [John DeWitt], painted by order of certain magistrates of Dort, and hung up in a chamber of the Town-House, had given occasion to the complaint. In the perspective of this portrait the painter had drawn some ships on fire in a harhor. This was construed to be Chatham, where De Witt had really distinguished himself," during the previous war, in the way here indicated,—"the disgrace" of which, says Lingard, "sunk deep into the heart of the King and the hearts of his subjects."—History of England, Vol. IX. Ch. III., June 13, 1667.


    (pp 268-273)

    [to] her he [Francis I, 1515-1547] is said to have written the sententious letter,

    "All is lost except honor."

    No such letter was written by Francis,(1) nor do we know of any such letter by Louis Napoleon [1852-1870]; but the situation of the two Regents was identical. Here are the words in which Hume describes the condition of the earlier:—

    "The Princess was struck with the greatness of the calamity [of 1525]. She saw the kingdom without a sovereign, without an army, without generals, without money, surrounded on every side by implacable and victorious enemies; and her chief resource, in her present distresses, were the hopes which she entertained of peace, and even of assistance from the King of England [Henry VIII]."(2)

    Francis [25 Feb 1525] became the prisoner of Charles the Fifth [1519-1556], and was conveyed to Madrid, where, after a year of captivity, he was at length released, crying out, as he crossed the French frontier,

    "Behold me King again!"(3)

    Is not the fate of Louis Napoleon prefigured in the exile and death of his royal predecessor John [1350-1364], rather than in the return of Francis with his delighted cry?


    THE fall of Louis Napoleon [1852-1870] is natural. It is hard to see how it could be otherwise, so long as we continue to

    "assert eternal Providence,
    And justify the ways of God to men."(4)

    Had he remained successful to the end, and died peace-
    (1) Sismondi, Histoire des Français, Tom. XVI. pp. 241 - 42. Martin, Histoire de France, (4ème édit.,) Tom. VIII. pp. 67, 68.

    (2) History of England, (Oxford, 1826,) Ch. XXIX., Vol. IV. p. 51.

    (3) Sismondi, Tom. XVI. p. 277. Martin, Tom. VIII. p. 90.

    (4) Paradise Lost, Book I. 25-26. [Ed. Note: And examples by Sen. Corwin].


    fully on the throne, his name would have been a perpetual encouragement to dishonesty and crime. By treachery without parallel, breaking repeated promises and his [1848] oath of office, he was able to trample on the [French] Republic.

    Taking his place in [September 1848 in] the National Assembly after long exile, the adventurer made haste to declare exultation in regaining his country and all his rights as citizen, with the ejaculation [comment],

    "The Republic has given me this happiness: let the Republic receive my oath of gratitude, my oath of devotion!"

    —and next he proclaimed that there was nobody to surpass him in determined consecration

    "to the defence of order and to the
    establishment of the Republic."(1)

    Good words these.

    Then again, when candidate [in 1848] for the Presidency, in a manifesto to the electors [voters] he gave another pledge, announcing that he

    "would devote himself altogether, without mental reservation, to the establishment of a Republic, wise in its laws, honest in its intentions, great and strong in its acts";

    and he volunteered further words, binding him in special loyalty, saying that he

    "should make it a point of honor to leave to his successor, at the end of four years [1848-1852], power strengthened, liberty intact, real progress accomplished."(2)

    How these plain and unequivocal engagements were openly broken you shall see.

    Chosen by the popular voice, his inauguration took place [20 December 1848] as President of the Republic, when he solemnly renewed the engagements aiready assumed. Ascending from his seat in the Assembly to the tribune, and holding up his hand, he took the following oath of office:

    "In presence of God, and before the French people,

    (1) Séance du 26 Septembre 1848: Moniteur, 27 Septembre.

    (2) A ses Concitoyens: Œuvres, Tom. III. p. 25.


    represented by the National Assembly, I [Louis Napoleon] swear to remain faithful to the Democratic Republic One and Indivisible, and to fulfil all the duties which the Constitution imposes upon me."

    This was an oath [20 December 1848]. Then, addressing the Assembly, he said:

    "The suffrages of the nation and the oath which I have just taken prescribe my future conduct. My duty is marked out. I will fulfil it as a man of honor."

    Again he attests his honor.

    Then, after deserved tribute to his immediate predecessor [1848] and rival, General [Louis B.] Cavaignac [1802-1857], on his loyalty of character, and that sentiment of duty which, he declares to be

    "the first quality in the chief of a State,"

    he renews his vows to the Republic, saying,

    "We have, Citizen Representatives, a great mission to fulfil; it is to found a Republic in the interest of all";

    and he closed amidst cheers for the Republic.(1)

    And yet, in the face of this oath of office and this succession of most solemn pledges, where he twice attests his honor, he has hardly become President [1848-1852] before he commences plotting to make himself Emperor, until, at last, by violence and blood, with brutal butchery in the streets of Paris, he succeeded in overthrowing the Republic [2 December 1851], to which he was bound by obligations of gratitude and duty, as well as by engagements in such various form. The Empire was declared.

    Ed. Note: For more on his accession and policy, see Dr. Hippolyte A. Depierris, Physiologie Sociale (Paris: Dentu, 1876), pp 75-76.

    Then followed his marriage [to Josephine], and a dynastic ambition to assure the crown for his son.

    Early in life a "Charcoal" conspirator against kings,(2)   he now became a crowned conspirator against republics. The name of Republic was to him a reproof, while its glory was a menace.

    Against the Roman Republic [in Italy] he conspired early [1849]; and when [in the U.S.] the [Confederate] rebellion waged [1861-1865]
    (1) Séance du 20 Décembre 1848: Moniteur, 21 Décembre.

    (2) A member of the secret society of the Carbonari in Italy.


    by Slavery seemed to afford opportunity, he conspired against our Republic, promoting as far as he dared the independence of the Slave States, and at the same time on the ruins of the Mexican Republic setting up a mock Empire. In similar spirit has he conspired against German Unity, whose just strength promised to be a wall against his unprincipled self-seeking.

    This is but an outline of that incomparable perfidy, which, after a career of seeming success, is brought to a close. Of a fallen man I would say nothing; but, for the sake of Humanity, Louis Napoleon [1852-1870] should be exposed.

    He was of evil example, extending with his influence. To measure the vastness of this detriment is impossible.

    In sacrificing the Republic to his own aggrandizement, in ruling for a dynasty rather than the people, in subordinating the peace of the world to his own wicked ambition for his boy, he set an example of selfishness, and in proportion to his triumph was mankind corrupted in its judgment of hurnan conduct.

    Teaching men to seek ascendency at the expense of duty, he demoralized not only France, but the world. Unquestionably part of this evil example was his falsehood to the Republic. Promise, pledge, honor, oath, were all violated in this monstrous treason.

    Never in history was greater turpitude.

    Unquestionably he could have saved the [pre-1852 French] Republic, but he preferred his own exaltation.

    As I am a Republican, and believe republican institutions for the good of mankind, I cannot pardon the traitor.

    The people of France are ignorant; he did not care to have them educated, for their ignorance was his strength. With education bestowed, the Republic would have been assured. And even after the Empire, had he thought more of education and less of his dy-


    (pp 278-318)

    will not be Cossack, unless the Cossack is already changed to Republican,—as well may be, when it is known, that, since the great act of Enfranchisement [by Tsar Alexander II], in February, 1861, by which twenty-three millions of serfs were raised to citizenship, with the right to vote, fifteen thousand three hundred and fifty public schools have been opened in Russia.

    A better than Napoleon, who saw mankind with truer insight, [Marquis de] Lafayette [1757-1834], has recorded a clearer prophecy. At the foundation of the monument on Bunker Hill, on the semi-centennial anniversary of the battle, 17th June, 1825, our much-honored national guest [Lafayette] gave this toast:

    "Bunker Hill, and the holy resistance to oppression, which has already enfranchised the American hemisphere. The next half-century Jubilee's toast shall be,—To Enfranchised Europe."(1)

    Ed. Note: In calling the American Revolution a "resistance to oppression," Lafayette was citing the view of the Revolution-ary Era and the Founding Fathers. They violently overthrew the government over, e.g., a 33¢ tea tax!—See George Mellen, Unconstitutionality (Boston: Saxton & Pierce, 1841), p 40. The Founders deemed "oppression" as "slavery."
    Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants."—Letter (13 November 1787).
    The "holy" aspect of the violent "resistance to oppression" derives from the Bible's Genesis' "original grant" concept, detailed by activists, e.g.,:
  • Rev. Theo. D. Weld, Bible Against Slavery (1837), pp 28-30
  • Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), p 100
  • James Birney, Bulwarks (1840), p 29
  • Lysander Spooner, Slavery (1845), p 14
  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Hope (1847), p 8
  • Rev. John Fee, Non-Fellowship (1849), p 6
  • Rev. John Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), p 116
  • Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality (1855), pp 28-33
  • Sen. Charles Sumner Barbarism (1860), p 132
  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts (1883), p 365.
  • The close of that half-century, already so prolific, is at hand. Shall it behold the great Jubilee with all its vastness of promise accomplished? Enfranchised Europe, foretold by Lafayette, means not only the Republic for all, but Peace for all; it means the United States of Europe, with the War System abolished.

    Against that little faith through which so much fails in life, I declare my unalterable conviction, that

    "government of the people, by the people, and for the people"

    —thus simply described by Abraham Lin-
    and as authenticated by the Commission appointed by Louis Napoleon for the collection and publication of the matters now composing the magnificent work entitled "Correspondance de Napoléon Ier":—

    "Dans l'état actuel des choses, avant dix ans, toute l'Europe peut être cosaque, ou toute en république."

    —LAS CASES, Mémorial de Sainte-Hélene, (Réimpression de 1823 et 1824,) Tom. III. p. 111,—Journal, 18 Avril 1816. Correspondance de Napoléon Ier, (Paris, 1858-69) Tom, XXXII. p. 326.

    (1) Columbian Centinel, June 18, 1825.


    coln(1)— is a necessity of civilization, not only because of that republican equality without distinction of birth which it establishes, but for its assurance of permanent peace.

    All privilege is usurpation, and, like Slavery, a state of war, relieved only by truce, to be broken by the people in their might. To the people alone can mankind look for the repose of nations; but the Republic is the embodied people. All hail to the Republic, equal guardian of all, and angel of peace!

    Our own part is simple. It is, first, to keep out of war,—and, next, to stand firm in those ideas which are the life of the Republic. Peace is our supreme vocation. To this we are called. By this we succeed.

    Our example is more than an army. But not on this account can we be indifferent, when Human Rights are assailed or republican institutions are in question.

    Garibaldi asks for a "word,"(2)   that easiest expression of power. Strange will it be, when that is not given.

    To the Republic, and to all struggling for Human Rights, I give word, with heart on the lips. Word and heart I give. Nor would I have my country forget at any time, in the discharge of its transcendent duties, that, since the rule of conduct and of honor is the same for nations as for individuals, the greatest nation is that which does most for Humanity.
    (1) Address at the Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863: McPherson's Political History of the United States during the Great Rebellion, p. 606.

    (2) "The cause of Liberty in Italy needs the word of the United States Government, which would be more powerful in its behalf than that of any other."—Message to Mr. Sumner from Caprera, May 24,1869.

    [The End]


    Anti-Slavery Speeches
    by Sen. Sumner
    "Freedom National, Slavery Sectional," Cong Globe, 32d Cong, 1st Sess, App, 26 Aug 1852, pp 1102-1114
    "The Landmark of Freedom," Cong Globe, 33d Cong, 2d Sess, 21 Feb 1854
    "The Crime Against Kansas," Cong Globe, 34th Cong, 2d Sess, 19-20 May 1856; and Works, vol. IV (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1870-1873), pages 125-249
    The Barbarism of Slavery, Cong. Globe, 36th Cong, 1st Sess, 4 June 1860, pp 2590-2603; and His Complete Works, Vol. VI (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1900), pp 119-238
    Excerpts from Others (1840's - 1870's)

    For more information on Charles Sumner, A.B. 1830, LL.B. 1834, LL.D. 1859, see Archibald Henry Grimké, LL.B., The Life of Charles Sumner, the Scholar in Politics (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co, 1892)
    A Schoolnet Biography
    Sumner, Iowa, is named for him.
    See also various encyclopedia articles, e.g., encyclopedia.org, virtualology.com, and the Peace Movement, e.g., meadprimer.

    See also related writings by

  • Sen. Thomas Corwin, Speech Against Unjust National Acquisitions such as Mexico (11 February 1847)

  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Essay Against the U.S. Aggression against Mexico (November 1847)

  • Rep. Abraham Lincoln, Speech against the U.S. Aggression Against Mexico (12 January 1848)

  • Rev. William Goodell, History of the U.S. Aggression against Mexico (1852)

  • Julia Ward Howe, "Original Mother's Day Proclamation" (1870)

  • Count Leo Tolstóy, e.g., his “Thou Shalt Not Kill” (8 August 1900); and his "Last Message to Mankind" (1909).

  • "Senator Wayne Morse from War Made Easy" (August 1964) (excerpt of his speaking against presidential war making power in Vietnam War context)
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