Literature Published 1800 to 1850




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A Solemn Review of the Custom of War
by Noah Worcester

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Noah Worcester (1758-1837) was a self-educated author, editor, peace activist, and Unitarian minister.  He first published this pamphlet in 1814 and founded the Massachusetts Peace Society a year after that.  He continued to write, edit, and publish the Society’s quarterly journal, The Friend of Peace, until 1828, publishing most of his work under the name Philo Pacificus.  A Solemn Review was extensively reprinted in America, England, and Europe throughout the 19th century.




War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ
by David Low Dodge

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To David Low Dodge belongs the high honor of having written the first pamphlets published in America directed expressly against the war system, and of having founded the first peace society ever organized in America or in the world.  His first pamphlet, The Mediator’s Kingdom not of this World, was published in 1809 and is included here as well.  His second and more important pamphlet, War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ, was prepared for the press in 1812, but its publication was delayed until 1815 due to America's war with Great Britain.  In August of that year the New York Peace Society, the first in the world, was organized, with Mr. Dodge as its president.




Letters Addressed to Caleb Strong
by Samuel Whelpley

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Samuel Whelpley was a clergyman during the early years of the American nation and lived just long enough to see the establishment of the first American peace societies. In this book he admirably demonstrates the hypocrisy of those who would attempt to justify war and capital punishment on the basis of the Old Testament.




An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the
Principles of Christianity
by Jonathan Dymond

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The first edition of this book, also simply and understandably known as On War, was published in 1823, and it formed the basis of a later expanded essay on the topic. It was doubtlessly both the product and the inspiration of the peace and nonresistance societies that were springing up in the early 19th century. This is perhaps the first concise and coherent statement of the position that Quakers had traditionally held for the previous 200 years.  In it, Dymond also addresses the psychology of those who support war and systematically dissects and rebuts their arguments. Leo Tolstoy highly praised it in his Kingdom of God is Within You. If you read nothing else, read his description of Christianity's reputation.




Christian Non-Resistance in relation to
Human Governments
by Adin Ballou

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This pamphlet contains Adin Ballou's address to the first annual meeting of the New England Non-Resistance Society, held in 1939.  In it he describes the true nature of human governments, the non-resistants relationship and responsibility to them, and the non-resistant's true means of accomplishing the redemption and regeneration of society.




All War Antichristian
by various authors

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The Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace was established in London, June 1816. Its object was to diffuse information to prove that ALL WAR is inconsistent with the spirit and precepts of Christianity, and the true interests of mankind; and to point out the means best calculated to maintain permanent and universal peace, on the basis of true Christian principles. The Society addressed itself to no particular or separate religious community, but was heavily influenced by the Quakers. This collection of tracts represents the "best of the best" of their literature.




Christian Non-Resistance in all its
Important Bearings
by Adin Ballou

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Adin Ballou (1803–1890) was founder of the Hopedale Community and was a prominent promoter of pacifism, Christian socialism, and abolitionism. He was also involved with the New England Non-Resistance Society and the Universal Peace Union. He was a prolific writer and in this, his principal pacifist work, he presents the quintessential definition and description of nonresistance. If you read nothing else, read his inspiring explanation of the underlying principle of nonresistance.




Declaration of Sentiments of the
Peace Convention of 1838
by William Lloyd Garrison

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The New England Non-Resistance Society was founded as a result of this special peace convention organized by William Lloyd Garrison. Conservative attendees walked out of the convention in protest when nonresistance and the participation of women were included.  This document served as the blueprint for other peace societies of the day, including the Oberlin Nonresistance Society.