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Charles Sumner 1811-1874

The True Grandeur of Nations


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It follows the full text transcript of Charles Sumner's The True Grandeur of Nations speech, delivered before the authorities of the city of Boston on July 4, 1845.

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Charles Sumner Speech  

And this benign sentiment commends itself, alike to the Christian who is told to render good for evil, and to the universal heart of man. But who that confesses its truth can vindicate a resort to force, for the sake of honor?

It seems that 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 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 them from the greatest dangers, but that, like the outlaws, I am at the mercy of any one, who may choose to smite me on the temple and this was the strong point in your argument or take away my property, or drive me out of the city, or (to take the extreme case) kill me ; now, according to your argument, to be so situated is the most shameful thing of all. 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 unjustly on the temple is not most shameful, nor to have my body mutilated, nor my purse cut; but to strike me and mine unjustly, and to mutilate me and to cut my purse is more shameful and worse ; and stealing, too, 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 thus established in the former arguments, as I maintain, are secured and bound, even if the expression be somewhat too rustical, with iron and adamantine arguments, and unless you, or someone more vigorous than you, can break them, it is impossible for any one, speaking otherwise than I now' speak, to speak well: 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 with as now, not one is able to say otherwise without being ridiculous"*

* Gorgias, cap. lxiv.

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
Esteem prized above all price, myself
Had rather be the slave, and wear the chains,
Than fasten them on him.

The modern point of honor did not obtain a place in warlike antiquity. Themistocles at Salamis did not send a cartel to the Spartan commander, when threatened by a blow. " Strike, but hear," was the response of that firm nature, which felt that True Honor was gained only in the performance of duty. It was in the depths of modern barbarism, in the age of chivalry, that this sentiment shot up in the wildest and most exuberant fancies. Not a step was taken without reference to it. No act was done which had not some point tending to the " bewitching duel." And every stage in the combat, from the ceremonial of its beginning, to its deadly close, was measured by this fantastic law. Nobody can forget the humorous picture of the progress of quarrel to a duel, through the seven degrees of Touchstone, in As You Like It. But the degradation, in which the law of honor has its origin, may be illustrated by an authentic incident from the life of its most brilliant representative. The Chevalier Bayard, the cynosure of chivalry, the knight without fear and without reproach, in a contest with the Spaniard Don Alonzo de Soto Mayor, by a feint struck him such a blow in the throat, that the weapon, despite the gorget, penetrated four fingers deep. The wounded Spaniard gasped and struggled until they both rolled on the ground, when Bayard, drawing his dagger, and thrusting its point in the nostrils of his foe, exclaimed, " Senor Don Alonzo, 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 ; you have conquered." The French knight would have given one hundred thousand crowns for the opportunity to spare that life ; but he now fell upon his knees, kissed the ground three times, and then dragged his dead enemy out of the camp, saying to the second, " Senor Don Diego, have I done enough ? " To which, the other piteously replied, " Too much, senor, for the honor of Spain ! " when Bayard very generously presented him with the corpse, although it was his right, by the law of honor, to dispose of it as he thought proper ; an act which is highly commended by the chivalrous Brantome, who thinks it difficult to say which did most honor to the faultless knight not dragging the body ignominiously by a leg out of the field, like the carcass of a dog, or condescending to fight while laboring under an ague !

If such a transaction conferred honor on the brightest son of chivalry, we may understand from it something of the real character of an age, the departure of which has been lamented with such touching but inappropriate eloquence. Do not condescend to draw a comprehensive rule of conduct from a period like this. Let the fanaticism of honor stay with the daggers, swords, and weapons of combat by which it was guarded ; let it appear only with its inseparable American companions, the bowie-knife and the pistol !

I would that our standard of conduct were derived, not from the degradation of our nature, though it affect the semblance of sensibility and refinement, but from the loftiest attributes of man, from truth, from justice, from duty; and may this standard, while governing our relations to each other, be recognized also among the nations ! Alas ! when shall we behold the dawning of that happy day, harbinger of infinite happiness beyond, in which nations, like individuals, shall feel that it is better to receive a wrong than to do a wrong.

Apply this principle to our relations at this moment with England. Suppose that proud monarchy, refusing all submission to Negotiation or Arbitration, should absorb the whole territory of Oregon into her own overgrown dominions, and add, at the mouth of the Columbia River, a new morning drumbeat to the national airs with which she has encircled the earth ; who, then, is in the attitude of Truest Honor, England appropriating, by an unjust act, what is not her own, or the United States, the victim of the injustice?


5. There is still another influence which stimulates War, and interferes with the natural attractions of Peace ; I refer to a selfish and exaggerated prejudice of country, leading to its physical aggrandizement, and political exaltation, at the expense of other countries, and in disregard of justice. Nursed by the literature of antiquity, we have imbibed the narrow sentiment of heathen patriotism. Exclusive love for the land of birth was a part of the religion of Greece and Rome. It is an indication of the lowness of their moral nature, that this sentiment was so material as well as exclusive in character. The Oracle directed the returning Roman to kiss his mother, and he kissed the Mother Earth. Agamemnon, according to AEschylus, on regaining his home, after a perilous separation of 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 cannot forget the cry of the victim of Verres, 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 to die for country ! " Of little avail that nobler cry, " I am a man ; " or that Christian ejaculation, swelling the soul, " How sweet to die for duty ! " The beautiful genius of Cicero, at times instinct with truth almost divine, did not ascend to that highest heaven, where is taught, that all mankind are neighbors and kindred, and that the relations of fellow-countryman are less holy than those of fellow-man. To the love of universal man may be applied those words by which the great Roman elevated his selfish patriotism to a virtue when he said, that country alone embraced all the charities of all. *

* De Offic. Lib. 1, cap. xvii. It is curious to observe how Cicero puts aside that expression of true Humanity, which fell from Terence, Humani nikila me alienum puto. He says, Est enim difficilis cura rerum alienarum. De Offic. Lib. 1, cap. ix.

Attach this admired phrase to the single idea of country, and you will see how contracted are its charities, compared with that world-wide circle in which our neighbor is the suffering man, though at the farthest pole. Such a sentiment would dry up those fountains, whose precious waters now diffuse themselves in distant unenlightened lands, bearing the blessings of truth to the icy mountains of Greenland and the coral islands of the Pacific sea.

It has been a part of the policy of rulers to encourage this exclusive patriotism ; and the people of modern times have all been quickened by the feeling of antiquity. I do not know that any one nation is in a condition to reproach another with this patriotic 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 individuals, are accounted virtues when displayed in the name of a 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, exclaims, " Our country, be she right or wrong; " a sentiment dethroning God and enthroning the devil, whose flagitious character must be rebuked by every honest heart. Unlike this officer was the virtuous Andrew Fletcher, of Saltoun, in the days of the English Revolution, of whom it was said, that he " would lose his life to serve his country, but would not do a base thing to save it." Better words, or more truly patriotic, have never been uttered. " Our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country," are other words which, falling first from the lips of an eminent American, have often been painted on banners, and echoed by the voices of innumerable multitudes. Cold and dreary, narrow and selfish, would be this life, if nothing but our country occupied our souls ; if the thoughts that wander through eternity, if the infinite affections of our nature, were restrained to that spot of earth where we have been placed by the accident of birth.

I do not inculcate indifference to country. We incline by a natural sentiment 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 in the anxious extremities of death, he reverts in 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 blind in nature ; and therefore, it is a duty to watch that it does not absorb and pervert the whole character. In the moral night which has enveloped the world, nations lived ignorant and careless of the interests of others, which they imperfectly saw ; but the thick darkness is now scattered, and we begin to discern the distant mountain-peaks of other lands, all gilded by the beams of morning. "We find that God has not placed us on this earth alone ; that there are others, equally with us, children of his protecting care.

The curious spirit goes further, and while recognizing an inborn sentiment of attachment to the place of birth, inquires into the nature of the allegiance due to the State. According to the old idea, still too much received, man is made for the State, and not the State for man. Far otherwise is the truth. The State is an artificial body, intended for the security of the people. How constantly do we find, in human history, that the people have been sacrificed for the State ; to build the Roman name, to secure for England the trident of the sea. This is to sacrifice the greater to the less ; for the False Grandeur of earth, to barter life and the soul itself.

Not that I love country less, but Humanity more, do I now, on this National Anniversary, 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.

Recognizing this truth, the seeming diversities of nations, separated only by the accident of mountain, river, or sea, all disappear, and the various people of the globe stand forth as brothers members of one great Human Family. Discord in this family is treason to God ; while all War is nothing else than civil war. In vain do we restrain this odious term, importing so much of horror, to the petty dissensions of a single nation. It belongs as justly to the feuds between nations, when referred to the umpirage of battle. The soul trembles aghast, as we contemplate fields drenched in fraternal gore, where the happiness of homes has been shivered by the unfriendly arms of neighbors, and kinsman has sunk beneath the steel nerved by a kinsman's hand. This is civil war, which stands accursed forever in the calendar of time. But the Muse of History, in the faithful record of the future transactions of nations, inspired by a loftier justice, and touched to finer sensibilities, will extend to the general sorrows of Universal Man the sympathy still profusely shed for the selfish sorrow of country, while it pronounces international War to be civil War, and the partakers in it traitors to God and enemies to man.


6. I might here pause, feeling that those of my hearers who have kindly accompanied me to this stage, would be ready to join in the condemnation of War, and hail Peace, as the only condition becoming the dignity of human nature. But there is still one other consideration, which yields to none of the rest in importance ; perhaps it is more important than all. It is at once cause and effect, the cause of much of the feeling in favor of War, and the effect of this feeling. I refer to the costly PREPARATIONS FOR WAR in time of Peace. And here is an immense practical evil, requiring an immediate remedy. Too much time cannot be taken in exposing its character.

I shall not dwell upon the immense cost of War itself. That will be present to the minds of all, in the mountainous accumulations of debt, piled like Ossa upon Pelion, with which Europe is pressed to the earth. According to the most recent tables to which I have access, the public debt of the different European nations, so far as known, amounts to the terrific sum of $6,387,000,000, all the growth of War ! It is said that there are throughout these states, 17,900,000 paupers, or persons subsisting at the expense of the country, 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, $375, a sum which would place all above want, and which is about equal to the average wealth of each inhabitant of Massachusetts.

The public debt of Great Britain reached, in 1839, to $4,265,000,000, the growth of War since 1688 ! This amount is nearly equal, according to the calculations of Humboldt, to the sum-total of all the treasures reaped from the harvest of gold and silver in the mines of Spanish America, including Mexico and Peru, since the first discovery of our hemisphere by Christopher Columbus ! It is much larger than the mass of all the precious metals, which at this moment form the circulating medium of the world ! It is sometimes rashly said by those who have given little attention to this subject, that all this expenditure is widely distributed, and therefore beneficial to the people ; but this apology does not bear in mind that it is not bestowed in any productive industry, or on any useful object. The magnitude of this waste will appear by a contrast with other expenditures. 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 companies, banks, gas-lights, water, mines, railways, and other miscellaneous objects, was about $835,000,000; a sum which has been devoted to the welfare of the people, but how much less in amount than the War Debt ! For the six years ending in 1836, the average payment for interest on this debt was about $140,000,000 annually. If we add to this sum, $60,000,000 during this same period paid annually to the army r navy,, and ordnance, we shall have $200,000,000 as the annual tax of the English people, to pay for former wars and to prepare for new. During this same period, there was an annual appropriation of only $20,000,000 for all the civil purposes of the Government. It thus appears that War absorbed ninety cents of every dollar that was pressed by heavy taxation from the English people, who seem almost to sweat blood ! What fabulous monster, or chimera 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 the diplomatic relations with foreign powers, in short, all the proper objects of a Christian Nation.*

* I have relied here and in subsequent pages upon Mc Culloch's Commercial Dictionary; The Edinburgh Geography, founded on the works of Malte Brun and Balbi ; and the Calculations of Mr. Jay, in Peace and War, p. 16, and hi his Address before the Peace Society, pp. 28, 29.


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 by the world, beyond any other by which poor suffering Humanity is oppressed. If Bellona withdraws from the field, we only lose sight of her flaming torches ; the bay of her dogs is heard on the mountains, and civilized man thinks to find protection from their sudden fury, only by enclosing himself in the barbarous armor of battle. At this moment, the Christian nations, worshipping a symbol of common brotherhood, live as in intrenched camps, with armed watch, to prevent surprise from each other. Recognizing the custom of War as a proper 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 the cost of these Preparations, ranging under four different heads, Standing Army ; Navy ; Fortifications and Arsenals ; and Militia, or irregular troops.

The number of soldiers now affecting to keep the peace of 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 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 annual support an average sum of only $150 each, the result would be $300,000,000, for their sustenance alone ; and reckoning one officer to ten soldiers, and allowing to each of the latter an English shilling a day, or $87 a year, for wages, and to the former an average salary of $500 a year, we shall have for the pay of the whole no less than $256,000,000, or an appalling sum-total, for both sustenance and pay, of $556,000,000. If the same calculation be made, supposing the forces three millions, the sum-total will be $835,000,000 ! But to this enormous sum another still more enormous must be added, on account of the loss sustained by the withdrawal of two millions of hardy, healthy men, 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. The Christian Powers, therefore, in setting apart two millions of men, as soldiers, sustain a loss of $1,000.000,000 on account of their training ; and $300,000,000 annually, on account of their labor, in addition to the millions already mentioned as annually expended for sustenance and pay. So much for the cost of the standing army of European Christendom in time of Peace.

Glance now at the Navy of European Christendom. The Royal Navy of Great Britain consists at present of 557 ships of all classes ; but deducting such as are used for convict ships, floating chapels, coal depots, the efficient navy embraces 88 sail 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, there were in commission, in 1839, 190 ships, carrying in all 4,202 guns. The number of hands was 34,465. The Navy of France, though not comparable in size 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 ; and the amount of crews, in 1839, was 20,317 men. The Russian Navy consists of two large fleets in the Gulf of Finland and the Black Sea ; but the exact amount of their force and their available resources has been a subject of dispute among naval men and publicists. Some idea of the size of the navy may be derived from the number of hands. The crews of the Baltic fleet amounted, in 1837, to not less than 30,800 men ; and those of the fleet in the Black Sea to 19,800, or altogether 50,600, being nearly equal-to those of England and France combined. The Austrian Navy embraced, in 1837, 8 ships of the line, 8 frigates, 4 sloops, 6 brigs, 7 schooners or galleys, and a quantity of smaller vessels ; the number of men in its service, in 1839, was 4,547. The Navy of Denmark embraced, at the close of 1837, 7 ships of the line, 7 frigates, 5 sloops, 6 brigs, 3 schooners, 5 cutters, 58 gun- boats, 6 gun-rafts, and three 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, 6 brigs, with several smaller vessels. The Navy of Greece is 32 ships of war, carrying 190 guns and 2,400 men. The Navy of Holland, in 1839, was 8 ships of the line, 21 frigates, 15 corvettes, 21 brigs, and 95 gunboats. Of the immense cost of all these mighty Preparations for War, it is impossible to give an accurate idea. But we may lament that means, so gigantic, should be applied by European Christendom to the erection, in time of Peace, of such superfluous wooden walls !

In the Fortifications and Arsenals of Europe, crowning every height, commanding every valley, and frowning over every plain and every sea, wealth beyond calculation has been sunk. Who can tell the immense sums expended in hollowing out, for purposes of War, the living rock of Gibraltar? Who can calculate the cost of all the Preparations at Woolwich, its 27,000 cannons, and its hundreds of thousands of small arms ? France alone contains upwards of 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 Guards 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 the strong ties of mutual interest, and professing a devotion to the principles of Peace. Are the Treaties of Amity mere words ? Are the Relations of Commerce and mutual interest mere things of a day ? Are the professions of Peace vain ? Else why not repose in quiet, unvexed by Preparations for War?

Enormous as are these expenses in Europe, those in our own country are still greater in proportion to other expenditures of the Federal Government.

It appears that the average annual expenditures of the Federal Government, for the six 3 T ears ending with 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 of the whole amount ! Yes ; of all the annual appropriations by the Federal Government, eighty cents in every dollar were applied in this irrational and 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 any 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. A table of the relative expenditures of nations, for Military Preparations in time of Peace, exclusive of payments on account of debts, exhibits results which will surprise the advocates of economy in our country. These are in proportion to the whole expenditure of Government ;

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 ! *

* I have verified these results by the expenditures of these different nations ; but I do little more than follow Mr. Jay, who has illustrated this important point with his accustomed accuracy. Address, 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 ! *

* Jay's Peace and War, p. 13.

By a table * of the expenditures of the United States, exclusive of payments on account of the Public Debt, it appears, that, in fifty-three years from the formation of our present Government, from 1789 down to 1843, $246,620,055 have been expended for civil purposes, comprehending the executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the post-office, lighthouses, and intercourse with foreign governments.

* American Almanac for 1845, p. 143.

During this same period, $368,626,594 have been devoted to the Military establishment, and $170,437,684 to the Naval establishment; the two forming an aggregate of $538,964,278. Deducting from this sum appropriations during three years of war, and we shall find that more than four hundred millions were absorbed by vain Preparations in time of Peace for War. Add to this amount, a moderate sum for the expenses of the Militia during the same period, which, as we have already seen, have been placed at $50,000.000 a year, for the past years, we may take an average of $25,000,000, and we shall have the enormous sum of $1,335,000,000 to be added to the $400,000,000 ; the whole, amounting to seventeen hundred and thirty-five millions of dollars, a sum not easily conceived by the human faculties, sunk under the sanction of the Government of the United States in mere peaceful Preparations for War; more than seven times as much as was dedicated by the Government, during the same period, to all other purposes whatsoever !


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

Within a short distance of this city stands an institution of learning, which was one of the earliest cares of the early forefathers of the country, the conscientious Puritans. Favored child of 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 Harvard ; sustained from its first foundation by the paternal arm of the Commonwealth, by a constant succession of munificent bequests, and by the prayers of good men, the University at Cambridge 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 ; 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 have become among the most valuable possessions of the land ; a School of Divinity, the nurse of true learning and piety ; one of the largest and most flourishing Schools of Medicine in the country ; 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 energies and masculine eloquence, at a later period, by the unsurpassed ability with which he administered the affairs of our city, and now, in a green old age, full of years and honors, preparing to lay down his present high trust.*

* Hon. Josiah Quincy.

Such is Harvard University ; and as one of the humblest of her children, happy in the recollection 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 accumulation of more than two centuries of generosity, 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 Ohio, carrying ninety guns, finished as late as 1836, for $547,888 ; repaired only two years afterwards, in 1838, for $223,012 ; with an armament which has cost $53,945 ; making an amount of $834,845, * as the actual cost at this moment of that single ship ; more than $100,000 beyond all the available wealth of the richest and most ancient seat of learning in the land !

*  Document No 132, House of Representatives, Third Session, Twenty-Seventh Congress.

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

I refer thus particularly to the Ohio, because she happens to be in our waters. But in so doing, I do not take the strongest case afforded by our Navy. Other ships have absorbed still larger sums. The expense of the Delaware, in 1842, had been $1,051,000.

Pursue the comparison still farther. 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, amount to $46,949. The cost of the Ohio for one year of service, in salaries, wages, and provisions, is $220,000; being $175,000 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, four institutions like Harvard University might be sustained throughout the country !

Still further pursue the comparison. 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 $2,205 ; without leave of absence, and never, off duty !

If the large endowments of Harvard University are dwarfed by a comparison with the expense of a single ship of the line, how much more so must it be with those of 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 cost 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 the annual expenditures for the Blind that noble and successful charity, which has shed true lustre upon our Commonwealth amounting to $12,000 ; and the annual expenditures for the Insane of the Commonwealth, another charity dear to humanity, amounting to $27,844.

Take all the institutions of Learning and Beneficence, the crown jewels of the Commonwealth, the 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. There is the Navy Yard at Charlestown, with its stores on hand, costing $4,741,000 ; the fortifications in the harbors of Massachusetts, where incalculable sums have been already sunk, and in which it is now proposed to sink $3,853,000 more ; * and besides, the Arsenal at Springfield, containing, in 1842, 175,118 muskets, valued at $2,999,998, ** and fed by an annual appropriation of $200,000 ; but whose highest value will ever be, in the judgment of all lovers of truth, that it inspired a poem, which in its influence will be mightier than a battle, and will endure when arsenals and fortifications have crumbled to earth.

* Document; Report of Secretary of War; No. 2 Senate, Twenty-Seventh Congress, Second Session ; where it is proposed to invest in a general system of land defenses, $51,677,929.
** Exec. Documents of 1842-43, vol. i., No. 3.

Some of the verses of this Psalm of Peace may happily relieve the detail of statistics, while they blend with my argument.

Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camp and courts,
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals and forts.

The warrior's name would be a name abhorred !
And every nation that should lift again
Its hand against its brother, on its forehead
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain !

Look now for one moment at a high and peculiar interest of the nation, the administration of justice. Perhaps no part of our system is regarded, by the enlightened sense of the country, with more pride and confidence. To this, indeed, all other concerns of Government, all its complications of machinery, are in a manner subordinate, since it is for the sake of justice that men come together in states and establish laws. What part of the Government can compare, in importance, with the Federal Judiciary, that great balance-wheel of the Constitution, controlling the relations of the 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 judicial labors of MARSHALL, now departed, and in the immortal judgments of STORY, who is still spared to us serus in coelum redeat a higher claim to admiration and gratitude than can be found in any triumph of battle. The expenses of the administration of justice throughout the United States, under the Federal Government, in 1842, embracing the salaries of judges, the cost of juries, court-houses, and all its officers ; 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. It appears, by a calculation founded on the expenses of the Navy, that the average cost of each gun carried over the ocean, for one year, amounts to about fifteen thousand dollars, a sum sufficient to sustain 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 the nations, constituting the great Federation of civilization, and particularly 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. As we wearily climb, in this survey, from expenditure to expenditure, from waste to waste, we seem to pass beyond the region of ordinary calculation ; Alps on Alps arise, on whose crowning heights of everlasting ice, far above the habitations of man, where no green thing lives, where no creature draws its breath, we behold the cold, sharp, flashing glacier of War.


In the contemplation of this spectacle, the soul swells with alternate despair and hope ; with despair, at the thought of such wealth, capable of rendering such service to Humanity, not merely wasted, but given to perpetuate Hate ; with hope, as the blessed vision arises of the devotion of all these incalculable means to the purposes of Peace. The whole world labors at this moment with poverty and distress ; and the painful question occurs to every observer, in Europe more than here at home, What shall become of the poor the increasing Standing Army of the poor ? Could the humble voice that now addresses you penetrate those distant counsels, or counsels nearer home, it would say, disband your Standing Armies of soldiers, apply your Navies to purposes of 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 forsake the present incongruous system of Armed Peace.

That I may not seem to reach this conclusion with too much haste, at least as regards our own country, I shall consider briefly, as becomes the occasion, the asserted usefulness of the national armaments ; and shall next expose the outrageous fallacy, at least in the present age, and among the Christian Nations, of the maxim by which they are vindicated, that, in time of Peace, we must prepare for War.

What is the use of the Standing Army of the United States? It has been a principle of freedom, during many generations, to avoid a standing army ; and one of the complaints, in the Declaration of Independence, was that George III. had quartered large bodies of troops in the colonies. For the first years, after the adoption of the Federal Constitution, during our weakness, before our power was assured, before our name had become respected in the family of nations, under the administration of Washington, a small sum was deemed ample for the military establishment of the United States. It was only when the country, at a later day, had been touched by martial insanity, that, in imitation of monarchical states, it abandoned the true economy of a Republic, and lavished means, begrudged to purposes of 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. At this moment, there are, in the country, more than fifty- five military posts. It would be difficult to assign a reasonable apology for any of these unless, perhaps, on some distant Indian frontier. Of what use is the detachment of the second regiment of Artillery at the quiet town of New London, in Connecticut? Of what use is the detachment of the first regiment of Artillery in that pleasant resort of fashion, Newport? By exhilarating music and showy parade, they may amuse an idle hour ; but it is doubtful if emotions of a different character will not be aroused in thoughtful bosoms. He must have lost something of his sensibility to the dignity of human nature, who can observe, without at least a passing regret, all the details of discipline, drill, marching, countermarching, putting guns to the shoulder, and then dropping them to the earth, which fill the life of the poor soldier, and prepare him to become 'the rule inanimate part of that machine, to which an army has been likened by the great living master of the Art of War. And this sensibility may be more disturbed, by the spectacle of a chosen body of ingenuous youth, 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 upwards of four millions of dollars.

In Europe, Standing Armies are supposed to be needed to sustain the power of governments ; but this excuse cannot prevail here. The monarchs of the Old World, like the chiefs of the ancient German tribes, are upborne by the shields of the soldiery. Happily with us, government springs from the hearts of the people, and needs no janizaries for its support.

But I hear the voice of some defender of this abuse, some upholder of this " rotten borough," crying, the Army is needed for the defence of the country ! As well might you say, that the shadow is needed for the defence of the body ; 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 European States, our Government has tacitly admitted its superfluousness for defence. It only remains to declare distinctly, that the country will repose, in the consciousness of right, without the extravagance of supporting soldiers, unproductive consumers of the fruits of the earth, who might do the State good service in the various departments of useful industry.

What is the use of the Navy of the United States? The annual expense of our Navy, during recent years, has been upwards of six millions of dollars. For what purpose is this paid ? Not for the apprehension of pirates, since frigates and ships of the line are of too great bulk for this service. Not for the suppression of the Slave Trade ; for, under the stipulations with Great Britain, we employ' only eighty guns in this holy alliance. Not to protect our coasts ; for all agree that our few ships would form an unavailing defence against any serious attack. Not for these purposes, you will admit ; but for the protection of our Navigation. This is not the occasion for minute calculation. Suffice it to say, that an intelligent merchant, extensively engaged in commerce for the last twenty years, and who speaks, therefore, with the authority of knowledge, has demonstrated, in a tract of perfect clearness, that the annual profits of the whole mercantile marine of the country do not equal the annual expenditure of our Navy. Admitting the profit of a merchant ship to be four thousand dollars a year, which is a large allowance, it will take the earnings of one hundred ships to build and employ for one year a single sloop of war one hundred and fifty ships to build and employ a frigate, and nearly three hundred ships to build and employ a ship of the line. Thus, more than five hundred ships must do a profitable business, to earn a sufficient sum for the support of this little fleet. Still further, taking a received estimate of the value of the mercantile marine of the United States at forty millions of dollars, we find that it is only a little more than six times the annual cost of the navy ; so that this interest is protected at a charge of more than fifteen per cent of its whole value ! Protection at such a price is not less ruinous than one of Pyrrhus's victories !

But it is to the Navy, as an unnecessary arm of national defence, and as part of the War establishment, that I confine my objection. So far as it is required for purposes of science and for the police of the seas, to scour them of pirates, and, above all, to defeat the hateful traffic in human flesh, it is an expedient instrument of Government, and cannot be obnoxious as a portion of the machinery of War. But surety, a navy, supported at immense cost in time of Peace, to protect navigation against the piracies of civilized nations, is absurdly superfluous. The free cities of Hamburg and Bremen, survivors of the great Hanseatic League, with a commerce that whitens the most distant seas, are without a single ship of war. Following this prudent example, the United States may be willing to abandon an institution which has already become a vain and most expensive toy !

What is the use of the Fortifications of the United States? We have already seen the enormous sums, locked in the dead hands the odious mortmain of their everlasting masonry. Like the pyramids, they seem by mass and solidity to defy time. Nor can I doubt, that hereafter, like these same monuments, they will be looked upon with wonder, as the types of an extinct superstition, not less degrading than that of Ancient Egypt the superstition of War. It is in the pretence of saving the country from the horrors of conquest and bloodshed that they are reared. But whence the danger? On what side? What people is there any just cause to fear? No Christian nation threatens our borders with piracy or rapine. None will. Nor in the existing state of civilization, and under existing International Law, is it possible to suppose any War, with such a nation, unless we voluntarily renounce the peaceful Tribunal of Arbitration, and take an appeal to Trial by Battle. The fortifications might be of service in waging this impious appeal. But it must be borne in mind that they would invite the attack, which they might be inadequate to defeat. It is a rule now recognized, even in' the barbarous code of War, one branch of which has been illustrated with admirable ability in the diplomatic correspondence of Mr. Webster, that non-combatants on land shall not in any way be molested, and that the property of private persons on land shall in all cases be held sacred. So firmly did the Duke of Wellington act upon this rule, that, throughout the revengeful campaigns of Spain, and afterwards when he entered France, flushed with the victory of Waterloo, he directed his army to pay for all provisions, and even for the forage of their horses. War is carried on against public property against fortifications, navy yards, and arsenals. But if these do not exist, where is the aliment, where is the fuel for the flame ? Paradoxical as it may seem, and disparaging to the whole trade of War, it may be proper to inquire, whether, according to the acknowledged Laws, which now govern this bloody Arbitrament, every new fortification and every additional gun in our harbor is not less a safeguard than a source of danger to the city ? Plainly they draw the lightning of battle upon our homes, without, alas, any conductor to hurry its terrors innocently beneath the concealing bosom of the earth !

What is the use of the Militia of the United States ? This immense system spreads, with innumerable suckers, over the whole country, draining its best life-blood, the unbought energies of the youth. The same painful discipline, which we have observed in the soldier, absorbs their time, though, of course, to a less degree than in the regular army. Theirs also is the savage pomp of War. We read with astonishment of the painted flesh and uncouth vestments of our progenitors, the ancient Britons. But the generation must soon come, that will regard, with equal wonder, the pictures of their ancestors closely dressed in padded and well-buttoned coats of blue, " besmeared with gold," surmounted by a huge mountain-cap of shaggy bear-skin, and with a barbarous device, typical of brute force, a tiger, painted on oil-skin, tied with leather to their backs ! In the streets of Pisa, the galley-slaves are compelled to wear dresses stamped with the name of the crime for which they are suffering punishment, as theft, robbery, murder. It is not a little strange, that Christians, living in a land ' where bells have tolled to church," should voluntarily adopt devices, which, if they have any meaning, recognize the example of beasts as worthy of imitation by man.

The general considerations, which belong to the subject of Preparations for War, will illustrate the inanity of the Militia for purposes of national defence. I do not know, indeed, that it is now strongly advocated on this ground. It is oftener approved as an important part of the police of the country. I would not undervalue the blessings of an active, efficient, ever-wakeful police ; and I believe that such a police has been long required in our country. But the Militia, composed of youth of undoubted character, though of untried courage and little experience, is inadequate for this purpose. No person, who has seen this arm of the police in an actual riot, can hesitate in this judgment. A very small portion of the means, absorbed by the Militia, would provide a substantial police, competent to all the emergencies of domestic disorder and violence. The city of Boston has long been convinced of the inexpediency of a Fire Department composed of accidental volunteers. A similar conviction with regard to the police, it is hoped, may soon pervade the country.

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

Such is a review of the true character and value of the national armaments of the United States ! It will be observed that I have thus far regarded them in the plainest light of ordinary worldly economy, without reference to those higher considerations, founded on the nature and history of man, and the truths of Christianity, which pronounce them to be vain. It is grateful to know, that, though they may yet have the support of what Jeremy Taylor calls the " popular noises," still the more economical, more humane, more wise, more Christian system is daily commending itself to wide circles of good people. On its side are all the virtues that truly elevate a state. Economy, sick of pigmy efforts to staunch the smallest fountains and rills of exuberant expenditure, pleads that here is an endless, boundless, fathomless 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. Wisdom frowns on these Preparations as calculated to nurse sentiments inconsistent with Peace. Humanity pleads for the surpassing interests of Knowledge and Benevolence, from which such mighty means are withdrawn. Christianity 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 impiously waged.


And now, before considering the sentiment, that, in time of Peace, we must 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 furnishing another impediment to the proper appreciation *bf these Preparations. These mottoes and emblems, prompting to War, are obtruded on the very ensigns of power and honor ; and men, careless of their discreditable import, learn to regard them with patriotic pride. Beasts, and birds of prey, in the armorial bearings of nations and individuals, are selected as exemplars of Grandeur. The lion is rampant 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. After exhausting the known kingdom of nature, the pennons of knights, like the knapsacks of our Militia, were disfigured by imaginary and impossible monsters, griffins, hippogriffs, unicorns, all intended to represent the excess of brute force. The people of Massachusetts have unconsciously adopted this early standard. In the escutcheon which is used as the seal of the state, there is an unfortunate combination of suggestions, to which I refer briefly, by way of example. On that part, which, in the language of heraldry, is termed the shield, is an Indian, with a bow in his hand certainly, no agreeable memento, except to those who find honor in the disgraceful wars where our fathers robbed and murdered King Philip, of Pokanoket, and his tribe, rightful possessors of the soil. The crest is a raised arm, holding, in a threatening attitude, a drawn sabre being precisely the emblem once borne on the flag of Algiers. The scroll, or legend, consists of the last of those two favorite verses, in questionable Latin, from an unknown source, which we first encounter, as they were inscribed by Algernon Sydney, in the Album at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark :

Manus haec, inimica tyrannis,
Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.

The Legislature of Massachusetts, with singular unanimity, has adopted resolutions expressing an earnest desire for the establishment of a High Court of Nations to adjudge international controversies, and thus supersede the Arbitrament of War. It would be an act of moral dignity, consistent with these professions of Peace, and becoming the character which it vaunts before the world, to abandon its bellicose escutcheon at least, to erase that Algerine emblem, fit only for corsairs, and those words of questionable Latin, which tend to awaken the idea of ignorance and brute force. If a Latin motto be needed, it might be those words of Virgil, " Pacisque irnpouere morem ; " or that sentence of noble truth from Cicero, " Sine SUMMA JUSTITIA rempublican geri nullo modo posse." Where the spirit of these words prevailed, there would be little occasion to consider the question of Preparations for War.


The maxim, that, in time of peace, we must prepare for War, has been transmitted from distant ages when brute force prevailed. It is the terrible inheritance, damnosa haereditas, which painfully reminds present generations of their relations with the Past. It belongs to rejected dogmas of barbarism. It is the companion of those harsh rules of tyranny, by which the happiness of the many has been offered up to the propensities of the few. It is the child of suspicion and the forerunner of violence. Having in its favor the almost uninterrupted usage of the world, it possesses a hold on popular opinion, which is not easily unloosed. And yet, no conscientious man can fail, on careful observation, to detect its mischievous fallacy at least, among Christian Nations in the present age a fallacy, the most costly the world has witnessed ; which dooms nations to annual tribute, in comparison with which all extorted by conquest are as the widow's mite by the side of Pharisaical contributions. So, true is what Rousseau said, and Guizot has since repeated, " that a bad principle is far worse than a bad fact;" for the operations of the one are finite, while those of the other are infinite.

I speak of this principle with earnestness ; for I believe it to be erroneous and false, founded in ignorance and barbarism, unworthy of an age of light, and disgraceful to Christians. I have called it a principle ; but it is a mere prejudice sustained by vulgar example only, and not by enlightened truth in obeying which, we imitate the early mariners, who steered from headland to headland and hugged the shore, unwilling to venture upon the broad ocean, where their guide was the luminaries of Heaven.

Dismissing the actual usage of nations, on the one side, and the considerations of economy on the other, let us regard these Preparations for War, in the simple light of reason, in a just appreciation of the nature of man, and in the injunctions of the highest truth. Our conclusion will be very easy. They are pernicious on two grounds ; and whoso would vindicate them must satisfactorily answer these two objections, first, because they inflame the people, exciting to deeds of violence, otherwise alien to their minds ; and secondly, because, having their origin in the low motive of distrust and hate, they inevitably, by a sure law of the human mind, excite a corresponding feeling in other nations. Thus, in fact, are they the promoters of War, rather than the preservers of Peace.

In illustration of the first objections, it will occur at once to every inquirer, that the possession of power is always in itself dangerous, that it tempts the purest and highest natures to self-indulgence, that it can rarely be enjoyed without abuse ; nor is the power to employ force in War an exception to this law. History teaches that nations, possessing the greatest armaments, have always been the most belligerent ; while feebler powers have enjoyed, for a longer period, the blessings of Peace. The din of War resounds throughout more than seven hundred years of Roman history, with only two short lulls of repose ; while smaller states, less potent in arms, and without the excitement to quarrel on this account, have enjoyed long eras of Peace. It is not in the history of nations only that we find proofs of this law. Like every moral principle, it applies equality to individuals. The experience of private life, in all ages, confirms it. The wearing of arms has always been a provocative to combat. It has excited the spirit and furnished the implements of strife. Reverting to the progress of society in modern Europe, we find that the odious system of private quarrels, of hostile meetings even in the street, continued so long as men persevered in the habit of wearing arms. Innumerable families were thinned by death received in these hasty, unpremeditated encounters ; and the lives of scholars and poets were often exposed to their rude chances. Marlowe, " with all his rare learning and wit," perished ignominiously under the weapon of an unknown adversary ; and Savage, whose genius and misfortune inspired the friendship and eulogy of Johnson, was tried for murder committed in a sudden broil. " The expert swordsman," says Mr. Jay,* " the practised marksman, is ever more ready to engage in personal combats, than the man who is unaccustomed to the use of deadly weapons,.

* Address before the American Peace Society, pp. 23, 24

In those portions of our country where it is supposed essential to personal safety to go armed with pistols and bowie-knives, mortal affrays are so frequent as to excite but little attention, and to secure, with rare exceptions, impunity to the murderer ; whereas at the North and East, where we are unprovided with such facilities for taking life, comparatively few murders of the kind are perpetrated. We might, indeed, safely submit the decision of the principle we are discussing to the calculations of pecuniary interest. Let two men, equal in age and health, apply for an insurance on their lives : one known to be ever armed to defend his honor and his life against every assailant ; and the other, a meek, unresisting Quaker ; can we doubt for a moment which of these men would be deemed by the Insurance Company most likely to reach a good old age?"

The second objection is founded on that law of the human mind, in obedience to which, the sentiment of distrust or hate, of which these Preparations are the representatives, must excite a corresponding sentiment in others. This law is a part of the unalterable nature of man, recognized in early ages, though too rarely made the guide to peaceful intercourse among nations. It is an expansion of the old Horatian adage, Si vis me fare, dolendum est primum ipsi tibi; if you wish me to weep, you must yourself first weep. Nobody can question its force or its applicability ; nor is it too much to say, that it distinctly declares, that Military Preparations by one nation, in time of professed Peace, must naturally prompt similar Preparations by other nations, and quicken ever}' where, within the circle of their influence, the Spirit of War. So are we all knit together, that the feelings in our own bosoms awaken corresponding feelings in the bosoms of others ; as harp answers to harp in its softest vibration ; as deep responds to deep in the might of its power. What within us is good invites the good in our brother ; generosity begets generosity ; love wins love ; Peace secures Peace ; while all within us that is bad challenges the bad in our brother ; distrust engenders distrust ; hate provokes hate ; War arouses War.

This beautiful law may be seen in numerous illustrations. Even the miserable maniac, in whose mind the common rules of conduct are overthrown, confesses its overruling power ; and the vacant stare of madness may be illumined by a word of love. The wild beasts confess it : and what is the story of Orpheus, whose music drew, in listening rapture, the lions and panthers of the forest ; or of St. Jerome, whose kindness soothed a lion to lie down at his feet, but expressions of its prevailing influence ? *

* Scholars will remember the incident recorded by Homer in the Odyssey (XIV. 30, 31), where Ulysses, on reaching his loved Ithaca, is beset by dogs, who are described as wild beasts in ferocity, and who, barking, rushed towards him ; but he, with craft (that is the word of Homer) seats himself upon the earth, and lets his staff fall from his hands. A similar incident is noticed by Mr. Mure, in his entertaining travels in Greece; and also by Mr. Borrow, in his Bible in Spain. Pliny remarks that all dogs may be appeased in the same way. Impetus eorum, et sasvitia mitigantur ab nomine considente humi. Nat. His. Lib. VIII. cap. 40.

It speaks also in the examples of literature. Here, at the risk of protracting this discussion, I am tempted to glance at some of these curious instances, asking your indulgence, and trusting that I may not seem to attach undue meaning to them, and especially disclaiming any conclusions beyond the simple law which they illustrate.

Looking back to the historic dawn, one of the most touching scenes which we behold, illumined by that Auroral light, is the peaceful visit of the aged Priam to the tent of Achilles, entreating the body of his son. The fierce combat has ended in the death of Hector, whose unhonored corse the bloody Greek has already trailed behind his chariot. The venerable father, after twelve days of grief, is moved to regain the remains of the Hector he had so dearly loved. He leaves his lofty cedarn chamber, and with a single aged attendant, unarmed, repairs to the Grecian camp, by the side of the distant-sounding sea. Entering alone, he finds Achilles in his tent, with two of his chiefs. Grasping his knees, the father kisses those terrible homicidal hands which had taken the life of his son. The heart of the inflexible, the angry, the inflamed Achilles, touched by the sight which he beholds, responds to the feelings of Priam. He takes the suppliant by the hand, seats him by his side, consoles his grief, refreshes his weary body, and concedes to the prayers of a weak, unarmed old man, what all Troy in arms could not win. In this scene, which fills a large space in the Iliad, the master poet, with unconscious power, has presented a picture of the omnipotence of that law, making all mankind of kin, in obedience to which no word of kindness, no act of confidence, falls idly to the earth.

Among the legendary passages of Roman history, perhaps none makes a deeper impression, than that scene, after the Roman youth had been consumed at Allia, and the invading Gauls under Brennus had entered the city, where we behold the venerable Senators of the Republic, too old to flee, and careless of surviving the Roman name, seated each on his curule chair, in a temple, unarmed, looking, as Livy says, more august than mortal, and with the majesty of the gods. The Gauls gaze upon them, as upon sacred images ; and the hand of slaughter, which had raged through the streets of Rome, is stayed by the sight of an assembly of unarmed men. At length, a Gaul approaches, and with his hand gently' strokes the silver beard of a Senator, who, indignant at the license, smites the barbarian with his ivory staff; which was the signal for general vengeance. Think you, that a band of savages could have slain these Senators, if the appeal to Force had not first been made by one of their own number? This story, though recounted by Livy, and also by Plutarch, is properly repudiated by Niebuhr as a legend ; but it is none the less interesting, as showing the law by which hostile feelings are necessarily aroused or subdued.

Other instances present themselves. An admired picture by Virgil, in his melodious epic, represents a person, venerable for piety and deserts, assuaging by words alone a furious populace, which had just broken into sedition and outrage. Guizot, in his History of French Civilization,* has preserved a similar example of what was accomplished by an unarmed man, in an illiterate epoch, who, employing the word instead of the sword, subdued an angry multitude.

* Tom, II. p. 36.

And surely no reader of that noble historical romance, the Promessi Sposi, can forget that finest scene, where Fra Christofero, in an age of violence, after slaying a comrade in a broil, repairs in unarmed penitence to the very presence of the family and retainers of his victim, and by dignified gentleness, awakens the admiration of those already mad with rage against him. Another example, made familiar by recent translations of Frithiof's Saga, the Swedish epic, is more emphatic. The scene is a battle. Frithiof is in deadly combat with Atle, when the falchion of the latter breaks. Throwing away his own weapon, he says :

Swordless foeman's life
Ne'er dyed this gallant blade.

The two champions now close in mutual clutch; they hug like bears, says the Poet:

"Tis o'er ; for Frithiof s matchless strength
   Has felled his ponderous size ;
And 'neath that knee, at giant length,
   Supine the Viking lies.
"But fails my sword, thou Berserk swart! "
   The voice rang far and wide,
" Its point should pierce thy inmost heart,
   Its hilt should drink the tide."
" Be free to lift the weaponed hand,"
   Undaunted Atle spoke ;
" Hence, fearless, quest thy distant brand !
   Thus I abide the stroke."

Frithiof regains his sword, intent to close the dread debate, while his adversary awaits the stroke ; but his heart responds to the generous courage of his foe ; he cannot injure one who has shown such confidence in him ;

This quelled his ire, this checked his arm,
Outstretched the hand of peace.

I cannot leave these illustrations, without alluding particularly to the treatment of the insane, which teaches, by conclusive example, how strong in nature must be the principle, that makes us responsive to the conduct and feelings of others. When Pinel first proposed to remove the heavy chains from the raving maniacs of the Paris hospitals, he was regarded as one who saw visions, or dreamed dreams. At last, his wishes were gratified. The change in the unhappy patients was immediate ; the wrinkled front of evil passions was smoothed into the serene countenance of Peace. The old treatment by Force is now universally abandoned ; the law of Love has taken its place ; and all these unfortunates mingle together, unvexed by those restraints, which implied suspicion, and, therefore, aroused opposition. The warring propensities, which, while hospitals for the insane were controlled by Force, filled them with confusion and strife, are a dark but feeble type of the present relations of nations, on whose hands are the heavy chains of Military Preparations, assimilating the world to one Great Mad-house ; while the Peace and good-will, which now abound in these retreats, are the happy emblems of what awaits mankind when they recognize the supremacy of the higher sentiments, of gentleness, confidence, love ;

making their future might
Magnetic o'er the fixed untrembling heart.

I might dwell also on the recent experience, so full of delightful wisdom, in the treatment of the distant, degraded convicts of New South Wales, showing how confidence and kindness, on the part of their overseers, awaken a corresponding sentiment even in these outcasts, from whose souls virtue, at first view, seems to be wholly blotted out.

Thus, from all quarters and sources, the far-off Past, the far-away Pacific, the verse of the poet, the legend of history, the cell of the mad-house, the assembly of transported criminals, the experience of daily life, the universal heart of man, ascends the spontaneous tribute to that law, according to which, we respond to the feelings by which we are addressed, whether of love or hate, of confidence or distrust.

It may be urged that these instances are exceptions to the general laws by which mankind are governed. It is not so. They are the unanswerable evidence of the real nature of man. They reveal the divinity of Humanity, out of which all goodness, all happiness, all True Greatness, can alone proceed. They disclose susceptibilities which are universal, which are confined to no particular race of men, to no period of time, to no narrow circle of knowledge and refinement but which are present wherever two or more human beings come together, and are strong in proportion to their virtue and intelligence. It is, then, on the nature of man, as on an impregnable ground, that I place the fallacy of that prejudice, in obedience to which, now, in an age of civilization, Christian nations, in time of Peace, prepare for War.


This prejudice is not only founded on a misconception of the nature of man ; it is abhorrent to Christianity, which teaches that Love is more puissant than Force. To the reflecting mind, the Omnipotence of God himself is less discernible in. the earthquake and the storm, than in the gentle but quickening rays of the sun, and the sweet descending dews. And he is a careless observer, who does not recognize the superiority of gentleness and kindness, as a mode of exercising influence or securing rights among men. As the storms of violence beat down, they hug those mantles, which are gladly thrown to earth under the warmth of a genial sun. Thus far, nations have drawn their weapons from earthly armories, unmindful of those others of celestial temper.

Christianity not only teaches the superiority of Love over 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 armies, train militia, and accumulate military stores to overawe your neighbors." It directs that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us a golden rule for nations, as well as individuals; but how inconsistent is that distrust of others, in wrongful obedience to which nations, in time of Peace, sleep like soldiers on their arms ! This is not all. Its precepts inculcate patience, suffering, 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." And can a people, in whom this faith is more than an idle word, consent to the diversion of such inestimable sums from Good Works and all Christian purposes, to pamper the Spirit of War?

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 degree to which they regulate their conduct by this duty.


In response to these successive arguments, founded on economy, the true nature of man, and Christianity, I hear the skeptical note of some speaker for the transmitted order of things, some one who wishes " to fight for peace," sa3'ing, these things are beautiful, but visionary ; they are in advance of the age ; the world is not yet prepared for their reception. To such, I would answer : nothing can be beautiful that is not true ; but these things are true, and the time is now come for their reception. Now is the dawning day, and now is the fitting hour. Every effort to impede their progress arrests the advancing hand on the dial-plate of human happiness. The name of Washington is invoked as authority for a prejudice which Economy, Wisdom, Humanity, and Christianity, declare to be false. 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, an 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 !

Let the practice of Washington, during the eight years of his administration, compared with that of the eight years last past, explain his real opinions. His condemnation of the present wasteful system speaks to us from the following table :






















Total, during eight years of Washington






























Total, during eight years




Thus it appears, that the expenditures for the armaments of the country, under the sanction of Washington, amounted to about eleven million dollars ; while those during a recent similar period of eight years, reach to upwards of one hundred and sixty-four million dollars an increase of fifteen hundred per cent! To him who quotes the precept of "Washington, I commend the example. He must be strongly possessed by the military mania who is not ready to confess, that, in this age, when the whole world is at peace, and when 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 its expediency.

The fallacy is also invoked, that whatever is, is right. Our barbarous practice is exalted above all those principles by which these preparations are condemned. We are made to count principles as nothing, because they have not yet been recognized by nations. But they have been practically applied to the relations of individuals, of towns, of counties, and of States in our Union. All these have disarmed. It remains only that they should be extended to the grander sphere of nations. Be it our duty to proclaim the principles, whatever may be the practice ! Through us, let Truth speak. The bigots of the past, and all, selfishly concerned in the existing system, may close mind and heart to her message. Thus it has been in all ages. Nay, more ; there is often an irritation excited by her presence ; and men, who are kind and charitable, forget their kindness and lose their charity towards the unaccustomed stranger. Harshness, neglect, intolerance, ensue. It was this spirit which awarded a dungeon to Galileo, when he declared that the earth moved round the sun which neglected the great discovery by Harvey of the circulation of the blood which bitterly opposed the divine philanthropy of Clarkson, when first denouncing the wickedness of the slave-trade. But Truth, rejected and dishonored in our day, will become the household companion of the next generation.


Auspicious omens from the past and the present cheer us for the future. The terrible wars of the French Revolution were the violent rending of the body, which preceded the exorcism of the fiend. Since the morning stars first sang together, the world has not witnessed a peace so harmonious and enduring as that which now blesses the Christian nations. Great questions between them, fraught with strife, and in another age sure heralds of War, are now determined by Mediation or Arbitration. Great political movements, which, only a few short years ago, must have led to forcible rebellion, are now conducted by peaceful discussion. Literature, the press, and various societies, all join in the holy work of inculcating good-will to man. The Spirit of Humanity pervades the best writings, whether the elevated philosophical inquiries of the Vestiges of 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. Johnson uttered the detestable sentiment, that he liked " a good Hater." The man of this age must say that he likes " a good Lover." Thus reversing the objects of regard, he follows a higher wisdom and a purer religion than the renowned moralist knew. He recognizes that peculiar Christian sentiment, the Brotherhood of Man, soon to become the decisive touchstone of human institutions. He confesses the power of Love, destined to enter, more and more, into the concerns of life. And as Love is more Heavenly than Hate, so must its influence redound more to the True Glory of man and to the approval of God. A Christian poet whose few verses bear him with unflagging wing on his immortal flight has joined this sentiment with Prayer. Thus he speaks in words of uncommon pathos and power :

He prayeth well who loveth well
All things, both great and small.

He prayeth best who loveth best
Both man and bird and beast,
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

Surely the ancient Law of Hate is yielding to the Law of Love. It is seen in the manifold labors of philanthropy and in the missions of charity. It is seen in institutions for the insane, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the poor, the outcast; in generous efforts to relieve those who are in prison ; in public schools, opening the gates of knowledge to all the children of the land. It is seen in the diffusive amenities of social life, and in the increasing fellowship of nations. It is seen in the rising opposition to Slavery and to War.

There are yet other special auguries of this great change, auspicating, in the natural Progress of Man, the abandonment of all international Preparations for War. To these I allude briefly, but with a deep conviction of their significance.

Look at the Past ; and observe the change in dress. Down to a period quite recent, the sword was the indispensable companion of the gentleman, wherever he appeared, whether in the street or in society ; but he would be thought a madman, or a bully, who should wear it now. At an earlier period, the armor of complete steel was the habiliment of the knight. From the picturesque sketch by Sir Walter Scott, in the " Lay of the Last Minstrel," we may learn the barbarous constraint of this custom.

Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
With belted sword, and spur on heel ;
They quitted not the harness bright,
Neither by day, nor yet by night ;

They lay down to rest,
With corset laced,
Pillowed on buckler cold and hard;
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel,
And they drunk the red wine through the helmet barred.

But this is all changed now.

Observe, also, the change in architecture and in domestic life. The places once chosen for castles, or houses, were savage, inaccessible retreats, where the massive structure was reared, to repel attack, and to enclose its inhabitants. Even monasteries and churches were fortified, and girdled by towers, ramparts, and ditches; while a child was stationed as a watchman, to observe what passed at a distance, and announce the approach of an enemy. Homes of peaceful citizens in towns were castellated, often without so much as an aperture for light near the ground, but with loop-holes through which the shafts of the cross-bow were aimed. From a letter of Margaret Paston, in the time of Henry VII of England, I draw a curious and authentic illustration of armed life.*

* Paston Letters, CXIII. (LXXVII.), vol. iii p. 81.

Addressing in dutiful phrase " her right worshipful husband," she asks him to procure for her " some cross-bows, and wyndnacs [grappling-irons] to bind them with, and quarrels" [arrows, with a square head] ; also, " two or three short pole-axes to keep within doors " ; and she tells her absent lord of Preparations made apparently by a neighbor "great ordnance within the house" "bars to bar the door crosswise, and wickets in every quarter of the house to shoot out at, both with bows and hand-guns." Savages could hardly live in greater distrust. Let now the poet of chivalry describe another scene :

Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
Waited the beck of the warders ten ;
Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
Stood saddled in stable, day and night,

Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow,
And with Jedwood axe at saddle-bow ;
A hundred more fed free in stall :
Such was the custom at Branksome Hall.

This also is all changed now.

The principles which have caused this change are not only active still, but increasing in activity, nor can they be restrained to individuals. Nations must soon confess them, and, abandoning martial habiliments and fortifications, enter upon a peaceful unarmed life. With shame let it be said, that they continue to live in the very relations of distrust towards their neighbors, which shocks us in the knights of Branksome Hall, and in the house of Margaret Paston. They pillow themselves on " buckler cold and hard ; " and their highest anxiety and largest expenditure is for the accumulation of new munitions of War. The barbarism which individuals have renounced, nations still cherish. So doing, they take counsel of the wild boar in the fable, who whetted his tusks on a tree of the forest, when no enemy was near, saying, that in time of Peace, he must prepare for War. Has not the time come, when man, whom God created in his own image, and to whom He gave the Heaven-directed countenance, shall cease to look down to the beast for an example of conduct? Nay ; let me not dishonor the beasts by the comparison. Man alone of the animal creation preys upon his own species. The kingly lion turns from his brother lion ; the ferocious tiger will not raven upon his kindred tiger ; the wild boar of the forest does not glut his sharpened tusks upon a kindred boar !

Sed jam serpentum major concordia ; parcit Cognatis maculis similis fera. Quando leoni Fortior eripuit vitam leo ? quo nemore unquam Exspiravit aper majoris dentibus apri ? Indica tigris agit rabida cum tigride Pacem Perpetuam.*

* Juvenal, Sat. XV. 159.

To an early monarch of France, homage has already been offered for effort in the cause of Peace, particularly in abolishing the Trial by Battle. To another monarch of France, in our own day, a descendant of St. Louis, worthy of the illustrious lineage, Louis Philippe, belongs the honest fame of first, from the throne, publishing the truth, that Peace was endangered by Preparations for War." The sentiment, or rather the principle," he says, in reply to an address from the London Peace Convention in 1843, " that in Peace you must prepare for war, is one of difficulty and danger ; for while we keep armies on land to preserve peace, they are, at the same time, incentives and instruments of War. He rejoiced in all efforts to preserve peace, for that was what all need. He thought the time was coming when we shall get rid entirely of War in all civilized countries." This time has been hailed by a generous voice from the army itself, by a Marshal of France, Bugeaud, the Governor of Algiers, who gave, as a toast at a public dinner in Paris, these words of salutation to a new and approaching era of happiness : "To the pacific union of the great human family, by the association of individuals, nations, and races ! To the annihilation of War ! To the transformation of destructive armies into corps of industrious laborers, who will consecrate their lives to the cultivation and embellishment of the world ! " Be it our duty to speed this consummation ! And may other soldiers emulate the pacific aspiration of this veteran chief, until the trade of War has ceased from the earth !

To William Penn belongs the distinction, destined to brighten as men advance in virtue, of first in human history establishing the Law of Love, as a rule of conduct, in the intercourse of nations. While recognizing the duty " to support power in reverence with the people, and to secure the people from abuse of power," * as a great end of government, he declined the superfluous protection of arms against Foreign Force, and "aimed to reduce the savage nations, by just and gentle manners, to the love of civil society and the Christian religion."

* Preface to Penn's Constitution.

His serene countenance, as he stands, with his followers, in what he called the sweet and clear air of Pennsylvania, all unarmed, beneath the spreading elm, forming the great treaty of friendship with the untutored Indians, who fill with savage display the surrounding forest as far as the eye can reach, not to wrest their lands by violence, but to obtain them by peaceful purchase, is, to my mind, the proudest picture in the history of our country. "The great God," said the illustrious Quaker, in words of sincerity and truth addressed to the Sachems, " has written his law in our hearts by which we are taught and commanded to love and to help, and to do good to one another. It is not our custom to use hostile weapons against our fellow-creatures, for which reason we have come unarmed. Our object is, not to do injury, but to do good. "We have met, then, in the broad pathway of good faith and good will, so that no advantage can be taken on either side, but all is to be openness, brotherhood, and love ; while all are to be treated as of the same flesh and blood." *

* Clarkson's Life of Penn, I. cap. xviii.

These are words of True Greatness. " Without any carnal weapons," says one of his companions, u we entered the land, and inhabited therein, as safe as if there had been thousands of garrisons." "This little State," says Oldmixon, " subsisted in the midst of six Indian nations, without so much as a militia for its defence." A Great Man, worthy of the mantle of Penn, the venerable philanthropist, Clarkson, in his life of the founder of Pennsylvania, says, "The Pennsylvanians became armed, though without arms ; they became strong, though without strength ; they became safe, without the ordinary means of safety. The constable's staff was the only instrument of authority amongst them for the greater part of a century, and never, during the administration of Penn, or that of his proper successors, was there a quarrel or a war." *

* Life of Penn, II. cap. xxiii.

Greater than the divinity that doth hedge a king is the divinity that encompasses the righteous man and the righteous people. The flowers of prosperity smiled in the blessed footprints of William Penn. His people were unmolested and happy, while (sad, but true contrast !) those of other colonies, acting upon the policy of the world, building forts, and showing themselves in arms, not after receiving provocation, but merely in the anticipation, or from the fear of insult or danger, were harassed by perpetual alarm, and pierced by the sharp arrows of savage war.

This pattern of a Christian commonwealth never fails to arrest the admiration of all who contemplate its beauties. It drew an epigram of eulogy from the caustic pen of Voltaire, and has been fondly painted by many virtuous historians. Every ingenuous soul in our day offers willing tribute to those celestial graces of justice and humanity, by the side of which, the hardness of other colonists seems coarse and earthly.


Let us not confine ourselves to barren words, in recognition of virtue. While we see the right, and approve it too, let us dare to pursue it. Let us now, in this age of civilization, surrounded by Christian nations, be willing to follow the successful example of William Penn, surrounded by savages. While recognizing those two transcendent ordinances of God, the Law of Right and the Law of Love, the double suns which illumine the moral universe, let us aspire to the True Glory, and, what is higher than Glory, the great good of taking the lead in the disarming of the nations. Let us abandon the system of Preparations for War in time of peace, as irrational, unchristian, vainly prodigal of expense, and having a direct tendency to excite the evil against which it professes to guard. Let the enormous means, thus released from iron hands, be devoted to labors of beneficence. Our battlements shall be schools, hospitals, colleges, and churches ; our arsenals shall be libraries ; our navy shall be peaceful ships, on errands of perpetual commerce ; our army shall be the teachers of youth, and the ministers of religion. This is, indeed, the cheap defence of nations. In such entrenchments, what Christian soul can be touched with fear ? Angels of the Lord will throw over the land an invisible, but impenetrable panoply ;

Or if virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her.*

* These are the concluding words of that most exquisite creation of early genius, the Comus. I have seen them in Milton's own handwriting inscribed by himself, during his Italian travels, as a motto in an Album ; thus showing that they were regarded by him as expressing an important practical truth. The truth, which is thus embalmed by the grandest poet of modern times, is also illustrated, in familiar words, by the most graceful poet of antiquity.

Integer vitre scelerisque purus,
Non eget Mauri jaculis, neque areu,
Nee venenatis gravida sagittis,
Fusee, pharetra.

Dryden pictures the same idea in some of his most magical lines.

A milk-white hind, immortal and unchanged,
Fed on the lawns, and in the forest ranged ;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She feared no danger, for she knew no sin.

At the thought of such a change, the imagination loses itself in vain effort to follow the multitudinous streams of happiness, which gush forth as from a thousand hills. Then shall the naked be clothed and the hungry fed. Institutions of science and learning shall crown every hill-top ; hospitals for the sick, and other retreats for the unfortunate children of the world, for all who suffer in any way, in mind, body, or estate, shall nestle in every valley ; while the spires of new churches leap exulting to the skies. The whole land shall testify to the change. Art shall confess it in the new inspiration of the canvas and the marble. The harp of the poet shall proclaim it in a loftier rhyme. Above all, the heart of man shall bear witness to it, in the elevation of his sentiments, in the expansion of his affections, in his devotion to the highest truth, in his appreciation of True Greatness. The eagle of our country, without the terror of his beak, and dropping the forceful thunderbolt from his pounces, shall soar, with the olive of Peace, into untried realms of ether, nearer to the sun.


Here I pause to review the field over which we have passed. We have beheld War, sanctioned by International Law, as a mode of determining justice between Nations, elevated into an established custom, defined and guarded by a complex code, known as the Laws of War ; we have detected its origin in an appeal, not to the moral and intellectual part of man's nature, in which alone is Justice, but in an appeal to that low part, which he has in common with the beast ; we have contemplated its infinite miseries to the human race ; we have weighed its sufficiency as a mode of determining justice between nations, and found that it is a rude appeal to force, or a gigantic game of chance, in which God's children are profanely treated as a pack of cards, while, in unnatural wickedness, it is justly likened to the monstrous and impious custom of Trial by Battle, which disgraced the Dark Ages ; thus showing, that, in this day of boastful civilization, justice between nations is determined by the same rules of barbarous, brutal violence, which once controlled the relations between individuals. We have next considered the various prejudices by which War is sustained ; founded on a false belief in its necessity ; the practice of nations, past and present ; the infidelity of the Christian Church ; a mistaken sentiment of honor ; an exaggerated idea of the duties of patriotism ; and finally, that monster prejudice, which draws its vampire life from the vast Preparations in time of peace for War ; especially dwelling, at this stage, upon the thriftless, irrational, and unchristian character of these Preparations ; hailing also the auguries of their overthrow, and catching a vision of the surpassing good that will be achieved, when the boundless means, thus barbarously employed, are dedicated to works of Peace, opening the serene path to that righteousness which exalteth a Nation.


And now, if it be asked why, on this National Anniversary, in considering the TRUE GRANDEUR OP NATIONS, I have dwelt, thus singly and exclusively on War, it is, because War is utterly and irreconcilably inconsistent with True Greatness. Thus far, mankind have worshipped in Military Glory a phantom idol, compared with which the colossal images of ancient Babylon or modern Hindostan are but toys ; and we in this blessed land of freedom, in this blessed day of light, are among the idolaters.

The Heaven-descended injunction, Know thyself, still speaks to an unheeding world from the distant letters of gold at Delphi ; Know thyself; know that the moral nature is the most noble part of man, transcending far that part which is the seat of passion, strife, and War; nobler than the intellect itself. And the human heart, by its untutored judgment, rendering spontaneous homage to the virtues of Peace, approves the same truth. It admonishes the military idolater, that it is not the bloody combats, even of the bravest chiefs, even of the gods themselves, as they echo from the resounding lines of the great Poet of War, which have received the warmest admiration ; but those two scenes, in which he has painted the gentle, unwar-like affections of our nature, the Parting of Hector from Andromache, and the Supplication of Priam. In this definitive election of the peaceful pictures of Homer, the soul of man, inspired by a better wisdom than that of books, and drawn unconsciously by the Heavenly attraction of what is Truly Great, has acknowledged, by a touching instance, the vanity of Military Glory. The Beatitudes of Christ, which shrink from saying " Blessed are the War-makers," inculcate the same lesson. Reason affirms and repeats what the heart has prompted, and Christianity declared. Suppose War to be decided by Force, where is the Glory? Suppose it to be decided by Chance, where is the Glory? Surely, in other ways True Greatness lies. Nor is it difficult to tell where.

True Greatness consists in imitating, as near as possible for finite man, the perfections of an Infinite Creator ; above all, in cultivating those highest perfections, Justice and Love ; Justice, which, like that of St. Louis, does not swerve to the right hand or to the left ; Love, which, like that of William Penn, regards all mankind of kin. " God is angry," says Plato, " when any one censures a man like himself, or praises a man of an opposite character. And the God-like man is the good man." *

* Minos, 12.

Again : in another of those lovely dialogues, vocal with immortal truth, " Nothing resembles God more than that man among us who has arrived at the highest degree of justice." *

* Theaetetus, 87.

The True Greatness of Nations is in those qualities which constitute the True Greatness of the individual. It is not in extent of territory, or vastness of population or accumulations of wealth ; not in fortifications, or armies, or navies ; not in the phosphorescent glare of battle ; not in Golgothas, though covered by monuments that kiss the clouds ; for all these are the creatures and representatives of those qualities in our nature, which are unlike anything in God's nature. Nor is it to be found in triumphs of the intellect alone, in literature, learning, science, or art. The polished Greeks, our masters in the delights of art, and the commanding Romans, overawing the earth with their power, were little more than splendid savages. And the age of Louis XIV., of France, spanning so long a period of ordinary worldly magnificence ; thronged by marshals, bending under military laurels ; enlivened by the unsurpassed comedy of Moliere ; dignified by the tragic genius of Corneille ; lumined by the splendors of Bossuet, is degraded by immoralities, that cannot be mentioned without a blush ; by a heartlessness, in comparison with which the ice of Nova Zembla is warm; and by a succession of deeds of injustice, not to be washed out by the tears of all the recording angels of Heaven.

The True Greatness of a Nation cannot be in triumphs of the intellect alone. Literature and art may enlarge the sphere of its influence ; they may adorn it ; but they are in their nature but accessaries. The True Grandeur of Humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened, and decorated by the intellect of man. The surest tokens of this Grandeur, in a Nation, are that Christian Beneficence, which diffuses the greatest happiness among the greatest number, and that passionless, God-like Justice, which controls the relations of the Nation to other Nations, and to all the people committed to its charge.


But War crushes, with bloody heel, all beneficence, all happiness, all justice, all that is God-like in man. It suspends every commandment of the Decalogue ; it sets at naught every principle of the Gospel ; it silences all law, human as well as divine, except only that blasphemous code of its own, the Laws of War. If, in its dismal annals, there is any cheerful passage, be assured that it is not inspired by a martial Fury. Let it not be forgotten, let it be ever borne in mind, as you ponder this theme, that the virtues, which shed their charm over its horrors, are all borrowed of Peace ; that they are emanations of the Spirit of Love, which is so strong in the heart of man, that it survives the rudest assaults. The flowers of gentleness, of kindliness, of fidelity, of humanity, which flourish unregarded in the rich meadows of Peace, receive unwonted admiration when we discern them in War, like violets, shedding their perfume on the perilous edges of the precipice, beyond the smiling borders of civilization. God be praised for all the examples of magnanimous virtue which he has vouchsafed to mankind ! God be praised, that the Roman Emperor, about to start on a distant expedition of War, encompassed by squadrons of cavalry, and by golden eagles which swayed in the wind, stooped from his saddle to hear the prayer of the humble widow, demanding justice for the death of her son ! *

* This most admired instance of justice, according to the legends of the Catholic Church, opened to Trajan, although a heathen, the gates of salvation. Dante found the scene and the visibile parlare of the widow and Emperor storied on the walls of Purgatory, and he has transmitted them in a passage which commends itself hardly less than any in the Divine Poem. - See Purgatorio, Canto X.

God be praised, that Sydney, on the field of battle, gave, with dying hand, the cup of cold water to the dying soldier ! That single act of self-forgetful sacrifice has consecrated the deadly field of Zutphen, far, oh, far beyond its battle ; it has consecrated thy name, gallant Sydney, beyond any feat of thy sword, beyond any triumph of thy pen ! But there are lowly suppliants, in other places than the camp ; there are hands outstretched, elsewhere than on fields of blood, for so little as a cup of cold water. Everywhere are opportunities for deeds of like Greatness.

Know well, that these are not the product of War. They do not spring from enmity, hatred, and strife ; but from those benign sentiments, whose natural and ripened fruit, of joy and blessing, can be found only in Peace. If, at any time, they appear in the soldier, it is not because, but notwithstanding, he is the hireling of battle. Let me not be told, then, of the virtues of War. Let not the acts of generosity and sacrifice, which have blossomed on its fields, be invoked in its defence. From such a giant root of bitterness no True Good can spring. The poisonous tree, in Oriental imagery, though watered by nectar, and covered with roses, can produce only the fruit of death !

Casting our eyes over the history of nations, with horror we discern the succession of murderous slaughters, by which their Progress has been marked. Even as the hunter traces the wild beast, when pursued to his lair, by the drops of blood on the earth, so we follow Man, faint, weary, staggering with wounds through the Black Forest of the Past, which he has reddened with his gore. Oh, let it not be in the future ages, as in those which we now contemplate ! Let the Grandeur of man be discerned, not in bloody victory, or in ravenous conquest, but in the blessings which he has secured ; in the good he has accomplished ; in the triumphs of Beneficence and Justice ; in the establishment of Perpetual Peace.


As the ocean washes every shore, and, with all-embracing arms, clasps every land, while, on its heaving bosom, it bears the products of various climes ; so Peace surrounds, protects, and upholds all other blessings. Without it, commerce is vain, the ardor of industry is restrained, justice is arrested, happiness is blasted, virtue sickens and dies.

And Peace has its own peculiar victories ; in comparison with which, Marathon and Bannockburn and Bunker Hill, fields sacred in the history of human freedom, will lose their lustre. Our own Washington rises to a truly heavenly stature, not when we follow him over the ice of the Delaware to the capture of Trenton, not when we behold him victorious over Cornwallis at Yorktown, but when we regard him, in noble deference to Justice, refusing the kingly crown which a faithless soldiery proffered, and, at a later day, upholding the peaceful neutrality of the country, while he received unmoved the clamor of the people wickedly crying for War. What Glory of battle in England's annals will not fade by the side of that great act of Justice, by which her Parliament, at a cost of one hundred million dollars, gave freedom to eight hundred thousand slaves! And when the day shall come (may these eyes be gladdened by its beams !) that shall witness an act of larger Justice still, the peaceful emancipation of three millions of our fellow-men, " guilty of a skin not colored as our own," now in this land of jubilant freedom, bound in gloomy bondage, then will there be a victory, in comparison with which that of Bunker Hill will be as a farthing-candle held up to the sun. That victory will need no monument of stone. It will be written on the grateful hearts of uncounted multitudes, that shall proclaim it to the latest generation. It will be one of the famed landmarks of civilization ; nay, more, it will be one of the links in the golden chain by which Humanity shall connect itself with the throne of God.

As man is higher than the beasts of the field ; as the angels are higher than man ; as Christ is higher than Mars ; as he that ruleth his spirit is higher than he that taketh a city, so are the victories of Peace higher than the victories of War.


Far be from us, fellow-citizens, on this Festival, the pride of national victory, and the illusion of national freedom, in which we are too prone to indulge. None of you make rude boast of individual prosperity or prowess. But there can be only one and the same rule, whether in morals or conduct, for nations and individuals. Our country will act wisely and in the spirit of True Greatness, by emulating, in public behavior, the reserve and modesty universally commended in private life. Let it cease to vaunt itself and be puffed up ; but rather brace itself, by firm resolve and generous aspiration, to the duties before it. We have but half done, when we have made ourselves free. Let not the scornful taunt, wrung from bitter experience of the great French Revolution, be directed at us : " They wish to be free; but know not how to be just." *

* "Ils veulent etre libres et ne savent pas etre justes," was the famous exclamation of Sieyes.

Freedom is not an end in itself, but a means only, a means of securing Justice and Beneficence, in which alone is happiness, the real end and aim of Nations, as of every human heart. It becomes us to inquire earnestly, if there is not much to be done by which these can be advanced. If I have succeeded in impressing the truths which I have upheld today, you will be ready, as faithful citizens, alike of our own Republic and of the universal Christian Commonwealth, to join in efforts to abolish the Arbitrament of War, to suppress International Lynch Laic, and to induce the Disarming of the Nations, as indispensable to the establishment of Permanent Peace that grand, comprehensive blessing, at once the child and parent of all those guardian virtues, without which National Honor and National Glory are vain things, and there can be no True Grandeur of Nations !

To this Great Work let me summon you. That Future, which filled the lofty vision of the sages and bards of Greece and Rome, which was foretold by the prophets and heralded by the evangelists, when man, in Happy Isles, or in a new Paradise, shall confess the loveliness of Peace, may be secured by your care, if not for yourselves, at least for your children. Believe that you can do it. and you can do it. The true golden age is before, not behind. If man has been driven once from Paradise, while an angel, with a flaming sword, forbade his return, there is another Paradise, even on earth, which he may form for himself, by the cultivation of knowledge, religion, and the kindly virtues of life ; where the confusion of tongues shall be dissolved in the union of hearts ; and joyous Nature, borrowing prolific charms from the prevailing Harmony, shall spread her lap with unimagined bounty, and there shall be a perpetual jocund spring, and sweet strains borne on " the odoriferous wing of gentle gales," through valleys of delight, more pleasant than the Vale of Tempe, richer than the garden of the Hesperides, with no dragon to guard its golden fruit.

Is it said that the age does not demand this work ? The robber conqueror of the Past, from his fiery sepulchre, demands it ; the precious blood of millions unjustly shed in War, crying from the ground, demands it ; the heart of the good man demands it ; the conscience, even of the soldier, whispers " Peace." There are considerations, springing from our situation and condition, which fervently invite us to take the lead. Here should bend 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 more oppressive than any 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 ; *

And let the whole earth be filled with His Glory !

* The services of the choir at the church, where the Oration was delivered, were performed by the youthful daughters of the public schools of Boston.

It is a beautiful picture in Grecian story, that there was at least one spot, the small Island of Delos, dedicated to the gods, and kept at all times sacred from War. No hostile foot ever sought to press this kindly soil ; and citizens of all countries met here, in common worship, beneath the aegis of inviolable Peace. So Jet us dedicate our beloved country ; and may the blessed consecration be felt in all its parts, everywhere throughout its ample domain ! The TEMPLE OF HONOR shall be surrounded 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 enraptured courts, purged of Violence and Wrong, JUSTICE, returned to the earth from long exile in the skies, with mighty 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 those Good Works that cannot vanish away. And the future chiefs of the Republic, destined to uphold the Glories of a new era, unspotted by human blood, shall be " the first in PEACE, and the first in the hearts of their countrymen."

While seeking these blissful 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. Let the selfish boast of the Spartan women become the grand chorus of mankind, that they have never seen the smoke of an enemy's camp. Let the iron belt of War, which now encompasses the earth, be 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 ! to restrain his 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. Recognizing this truth, I would now, on this Sabbath of our country, lay a new stone in the grand Temple of Universal Peace, whose dome shall be as lofty as the firmament of Heaven, as broad and comprehensive as the earth itself.

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