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CORRECTION OF A MISTAKE CONCERNING PEACE.
I REJOICE to see the periodical press so generally open to appeals on the subject of peace, and especially to find so many friends of the cause ready to improve this opportunity of easy and extensive usesuloess. I have observed the past year not a few of our religious papers publishing articles well calculated to excite and repay attention; and I cannot but hope, that through these weekly and monthly channels of influence there will ere-long be poured upon the public mind a ceaseless stream of facts, and arguments, and motives, to rouse the community, still slumbering to a very culpable degree over one of the greatest sins and evils that afflict our fallen race.
There is need of “line upon line” to disabuse the public mind of misconceptions extensively prevalent on the subject of peace; and I was glad to find a writer, who speaks as “a Director of the American Peace Society," coming out to correct a misapprehension into which one of our own friends may seem to bave fallen. The Rev. Mr. Bacon, of New Haven, Ct., had said, in a letter recently published through the columns of a very respectable and widely circulated paper,* " a fifth class of itinerant lecturers, if I read aright the shadow of coming events, will ere-long be preaching in all quarters against the right of the magistrate to bear the sword of justice, or to protect the people from the outbreakings of wickedness.” I cannot suppose
that Mr. Bacon in this remark had his eye upon the American Peace Society; for he has been, I believe, one of its cordial, active friends, and not only published an able address delivered before the Hartford Peace Society, but has on other occasions advocated our cause with his wonted ability and zeal. Still I am glad the writer “ took the opportunity to correct a mistake concerning the cause of peace which ought never to have been made ;” and I think the substance of his remarks, coming from such a source, worthy of a place on the pages of the society's periodical:
“1. I know that there are individuals—how numerous I cannot safely conjecture—who hold to the strict inviolability of human life, and deny the right of government to inflict cap
* New York Observer.
ital punishment in any case, or to suppress mobs and insurrections by the sword; and I have heard of a very few persons that would fain exclude from families, schools and nations every kind and degree of physical force as inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel.”
“2. But such are not the views of one peace man in ten thousand among us.
I have had rather extensive opportunities of observation; and this statement, so far as I can judge, is much within the truth. A very large majority of the friends of peace in this country admit the lawsulness even of wars strictly defensive ;* and nearly all those who deny their lawfulness on Christian principles, and hold without qualification the doctrines laid down by our Saviour in bis Sermon on the Mount, still concede the right of civil government (Rom. 13: 1–7) to use any degree of force requisite to insure the obedience of its own subjects, although some of the doubt the expediency of capital punishments among a people so enlightened as our own.
“3. On this whole subject, however, the American Peace Society, and all its auxiliaries, are entirely silent, for the obvious reason that it does not belong to the great enterprise in which they are embarked. “This cause,' in the language of the National Society, 'contemplates only the intercourse of nations, and does not involve the question concerning the right of a government to punish its own subjects with death, or to put down mobs and insurrections by the sword.' It is, indeed, very natural for a friend of peace to inquire into subjects like these ; but they belong to a department entirely distinct, and the society ought not to be held responsible for what its members may think or publish on such topics. Do we reproach the cause of temperance for the religious or political heresies entertained by obnoxious portions of its friends ?”
“ Yet this glaring mistake has been committed by some of our most respectable papers; but I hope that writers for the periodical press will hereafter take the trouble to ascertain our principles and aims, before they repeat such sweeping slanders against one of the purest and noblest enterprises that ever tasked the energies of man.”
* The writer doubtless means by the friends of peace, not merely members of our society, but all that are disposed to aid our cause; for in this sense alone can it be true.-ED. Adv.
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY.
The Ninth Anniversary of the American Peace Society was held in the Baptist church in Nassau street, New York, on Thursday, May 11th, 1837.
At 3 P. M., S. V. S. Wilder, Esq., was called to the chair. The meeting was opened with prayer by Rev. J. GOING, D. D., Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Home Missionary Society. The annual report was read by Wm. Ladd, Esq., General Agent of the Society ; after which the following resolves were passed, viz. :
1. Resolved, That the report just read be accepted, and published uuder the direction of the Executive Committee.
Moved by the Rev. A. D. Eddy, of Newark, N. J.
2. Resolved, That Christians are bound by the strongest and most sacred obligations to remove the disgrace which the wars of Christendom have brought upon their religion.
Moved by the Rev. G. C. BECKWITH, of Lowell, Mass.
3. Resolved, That the custom of war, as contrary to the spirit, principles and aims of the gospel, ought to be held in deep abhorrence, and resisted, in every proper way, by all the followers of the Prince of Peace.
Moved by the Rev. E. CHEEVER, of Newark, N. J. Seconded by the Rev. J. P. CLEAVELAND, of Detroit, Michigan. 4. Resolved, That the aspect of the times, the smiles of Heaven on our efforts during the past year, and the unexpected preparation of the public mind for appeals on this subject, call upon the friends of peace for much greater exertions in this cause, and make it desirable that at least ten thousand dollars should be raised this year for the support of lecturers, and the circulation of publications on peace.
Moved by the Rev. O. Fowler, of Fall River, Mass.
5. Resolved, That we continue our request, that all ministers of the gospel preach on the subject of peace to their people at least once during the year, and, if convenient, on or near the 25th of Dec.; that churches observe a concert of prayer, on or near the same day, for the universal prevalence of peace, and that a collection be then taken up in aid of this cause.
Moved by the Rev. Mr. Hunt, of Philadelphia.
These resolutions were ably supported both by the movers and seconders of them, with a few exceptions owing to want of time.
The public meeting was then dismissed with a benediction by the Rev. Mr. EMERSON, of South Reading, Mass., and the society continued its session for business.
The committee, consisting of Messis. Beckwith, Cock and Ladd, to whom was referred at the last annual meeting the subject of drafting a new constitution, reported one, which was adopted without amendment.
Resolved, That the bureau of the American Peace Society be removed to Boston.
Resolved, That the list of officers sent by the friends of peace in Boston through the General Agent, be adopted as the officers of the American Peace Society, for the ensuing year.
By this list of officers S. V. S. Wilder was nominated as President. Mr. Wilder for various reasons declined the office, and nominated Wm. Ladd, who was unanimously chosen. Mr. Ladd accepted the office for the present, intimating his intention to resign as soon as the board of directors, who have the power to fill vacancies, shall be organized in Boston, with the expectation that a more suitable person shall be found to fill the office of president.
Resolved, That the accounts of the society, left in an unsettled state by the decease of their late lamented Treasurer, be referred to the new Executive Committee. Adjourned without date.
S. V. S. WILDER, Chairman. Wm. Ladd, Secretary pro tem.
WILLIAM LADD, Esq., PRESIDENT.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. Rev. RALPH EMERSON, D. D.
Rev. GEO. C. BECKWITH, AMASA WALKER, Esq.
LEWIS T. STODDARD, THOMAS VOSE, Esq.
JOHN OWEN, CHARLES SUMNER, Esq.
THOMAS THOMPSON, Jr.
THE NINTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AMERICAN
State of the world with respect to peace
war. Very few changes have taken place in the world, with respect to peace and war, since our last anniversary. War continues to rage in Spain ; and the balances, so long held in equilibrium, now seem to vibrate in favor of Don Carlos, and against the queen. France has made a disastrous attack on the city of Constantine, near the newly acquired kingdom of Algiers, and is meditating revenge.
The war seems to be at an end in Texas. The Seminole Indians, though very much distressed and reduced, do not seem to be quite extirpated. In all these cases, both sides plead that they are acting on the defensive. The war with the Seminoles has already cost more than three times the value of the whole country conquered, without reckoning the loss of lives, morals and immortal souls.
Mediation of England and Russia. The spirit of mediation is still abroad. The king of Great Britain, who is fast acquiring the distinguished and highly honorable title of "Pacificator of Christendom,” has added another wreath of olive to his crown, by mediating between France and Switzerland; and even Russia has sent her diplomatists to England, to inquire whether some way may not be found out of putting an end to the effusion of blood in Spain. When will the nations of Christendom be wise enough to devise some means of settling their disputes without resort to war?
Change of public sentiment. There has been a great change in public sentiment since the first organization of peace societies. Our highly valued correspondent, the Rev. James Hargreaves, Foreign Corresponding Secretary of the London Peace Society, in a letter lately received by our General Agent, thus writes, “Wherever I travel, I feel it my duty, in every company, where I prudently can, to introduce and to advocate the cause of peace. By this means, I learn generally the tone of public feeling. It is astonishing what a change has been effected during the last ten years. This change has been produced almost imperceptibly. The principle of peace has operated like the leaven hid in the meal. Persons seem to have forgotten in what light they once viewed the subject of war and peace. War, even apart from religious principle, is now generally dep