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by Adin Ballou
Biographical Sketch of the Author
Adin Ballou, author of the foregoing treatise, belonged to a family widely known and somewhat distinguished in the religious history of this country during the nineteenth century, especially in its relation to the so-called Universalist Church. One of his distant cousins, Hosea Ballou, is generally regarded as the most prominent exponent and leading champion in his day of the distinctive form of faith which that church represents, while quite a number of his other kinsmen have been and still are much esteemed and highly honored members, as ministers or laymen, of the same fellowship. One of them, Hosea Ballou II, a man of superior ability, rare culture, and noble character, was the first president of Tufts College, honored not only by his immediate associates and friends, but also by Harvard University, which conferred upon him the degrees of M.A. and D.D. and which he served for many years as a member of its Board of Overseers.
Adin Ballou was a descendant in the fifth generation of Maturin Ballou, the immigrant ancestor of all bearing the family name in America, a French Protestant, it is said, who came to this country about 1640 and was associated with Roger Williams in the founding of Providence, R.I., and the son of Ariel and Edilda (Tower) Ballou, of Cumberland, R.I., where he was born, April 23, 1803. He grew up after the common manner of high-minded farmer’s sons of those days (his father being a typical New England yeoman), with plenty of work suited to his age, and few educational advantages of any sort. His mind was active and thoughtful from early childhood, and a thirst for knowledge seemed to be innate with him. In his youth he earnestly desired a liberal education, but circumstances restricted him to the limited privileges of the ordinary public school. These he sedulously improved, endeavoring to make up for his privation by diligently searching for knowledge wherever he thought it might be found, and by subjecting himself to a careful discipline of his mental powers – a practice he followed through life.
He was naturally disposed to religious emotions and impressions, and when eleven years of age was the subject of an experience of that sort, the influence of which upon his character and life was most salutary and continuous, even to the end of his mortal pilgrimage, A year later he was baptized by immersion and received into a church in his neighborhood belonging to the so-called “Christian Connection,” a small division of the general Baptist ecclesiastical body located mostly in Rhode Island and Connecticut. When he was about eighteen he had a spiritual vision, as he termed it, requiring him imperatively to preach the gospel. From this he shrank most decisively as thwarting his fondly-cherished worldly plans, but at length reluctantly consented from an overmastering sense of duty, preaching his first sermon from the text “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.” He had received no training for such service and spoke chiefly from inward inspiration. But so impressed were the multitudes who heard him, and especially those of the church to which he belonged, that he soon after accepted a formal call to the ministry of that church, an arrangement which continued for about a year. It was one of the dogmas of that communion that all who died out of Christ or “the finally impenitent,” as the saying went, would be sentenced at the judgment to a punishment ending at length in their destruction or utter annihilation; and to this dogma he gave his unqualified assent. But the reading of a work on the doctrine of the ultimate restoration of all souls to holiness and happiness, and the profound study of the subject induced thereby, led him to abandon the former belief for the latter, which brought him into very close sympathy with the then growing Universalist movement, to which he had been previously most strongly, not to say bitterly, opposed. Being strictly honest and true to his convictions, he openly avowed his change of opinion upon the subject. Whereupon his church associates, his own father being foremost among them, rose in protest against him, at length ejecting him from the ministerial office after having served in it scarcely a year. His newly accepted views and the sympathies engendered by them inclined him strongly towards the Universalists in spite of his former repugnance to them, and he was soon drawn almost irresistibly into their fellowship. They very naturally hailed the accession to their numbers with unbounded delight.
But while in happy accord with his new coadjutors in regard to the great question of the final destiny of all souls – of the ultimate outcome of things in the moral and spiritual universe under the government of an infinitely powerful, wise and good God, to wit, universal holiness and happiness, he found that he was quite at variance with many of them, and especially with their leaders, in respect to the doctrine of future retribution – a doctrine which he regarded as of very great importance in its bearing upon human character and conduct, and which he therefore proclaimed in his public ministrations, but which many of his brethren repudiated with something like contempt of it and of its advocates. This soon caused friction between the subject of this sketch and them, which increased as time went on and which, with the dogmatism and intolerance of those opposed to him, who seemed to dominate the great body of the denomination, at length led him, in fidelity to his deep-rooted convictions of truth and duty, to sever his ecclesiastical relations at the expiration of about ten years of nominal fellowship, and in co-operation with a dozen or more others of similar views and feelings, to organize what was called “The Massachusetts Association of Independent Restorationists.” The members of this organization sympathized and fraternized with a section of the Unitarian denomination, with which they ultimately become organically affiliated, the Restorationist Association having been dissolved.
About this time, the subject of this sketch became very deeply interested in the practical nature of Christianity, and especially in its bearing upon human character and human life in its various relations and manifestations. This prepared and predisposed him to examine and, after examination, to recognize the claims made by their advocates in behalf of the great, leading reforms of the day: temperance, anti-slavery, the rights of women, peace and, finally, social reform, each and all of which he at length heartily espoused, becoming a consistent exponent and an earnest and eloquent champion of them all. As time went on, his interest and thought seemed to center in and fasten upon the matter of social reorganization, which he was pleased to name “Practical Christian Socialism,” deeming it inclusive of all other needed reforms and regarding it as the effective way by which the divine kingdom was to come into the world and the will of God to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” So fully persuaded was he of this and so strong was his faith in the beneficent results to humanity that would follow the exemplification of the principles of Practical Christian Socialism in actual life, that he projected and, as leader of a goodly number of others – men and women – of like faith, founded in the town of Milford, Mass., “The Hopedale Community,” which was designed under the general system of reconstructed society formulated by him, to be the forerunner and the inspirer of an indefinite number of similar enterprises scattered here and there throughout the land, and possibly all over the globe.
This experiment failing of the success that was anticipated, its characteristic industrial feature being abandoned some fifteen years after it was started, while its moral and religious interests were at a later day merged in what was termed “the Hopedale Parish,” a constituent of the Unitarian branch of the Christian church. Mr. Ballou received and accepted a call to the pastorate of the parish. In that position he remained until 1880, when failing health and the infirmities of age induced him to resign his position and retire from the active duties of his profession, only as occasional calls for ministerial services, which he did not feel obliged to decline, were made upon him. And these occurred almost to the end of his days.
After the dissolution of the Community at Hopedale, he spent most of the time that could be spared from professional duties in literary pursuits. He prepared several works for the press, notable among which were a History of the Town of Milford, a royal octavo volume of 1,150 pages, and an elaborate History of the Ballous in America, a similar work of 1,325 pages. He also wrote a History of the Hopedale Community, an autobiography, and Volumes II and III of a work entitled Primitive Christianity and its Corruptions (the first volume of which had been published in 1870) to be put in print after his decease, which has been accordingly done. The books have been widely distributed in theological and college libraries throughout the United States. He was at an earlier day the author of several published works, among which were Christian Non-resistance, Spirit Manifestations, Memoir of His Son, Adin Augustus Ballou, and a large volume of 650 pages entitled Practical Christian Socialism, which is an exposition of the principles involved in that science, and a presentation of methods by which this principle could be illustrated in the actual life of communities, states, and nations. He was also the compiler of The Hopedale Hymn Book and the author of The Monitorial Guide to be used in social religious meetings and elsewhere as an aid to devotion and the higher life of the sons and daughters of men. The number of tracts, pamphlets, etc., of a religious and reformatory character that came from his pen at irregular intervals, as occasion or inclination suggested, beginning early in life and continuing almost to the end, was large and not easily estimated, no record of them having been preserved.
Adin Ballou was twice married, first to Abigail Sayler, of Smithfield, R.I., in 1822. She bore him two children, a son who died in childhood, and a daughter still living, the wife of Rev. William S. Heywood, a Unitarian minister of Dorchester, Mass. The mother died in 1829, and Ballou married his second wife, Lucy Hunt, of Milford, Mass. She had two children, sons, the older of whom, Pearly Hunt, died when two years and three months old; the other, Adin Augustus, richly endowed by nature with qualities of mind, heart and character, which, as he grew in years, won the love, the confidence, and the admiration of all who knew him, and gave promise of eminent usefulness and a most honorable career in the world, was in the bloom of opening manhood stricken with a fatal disease which, in a few days, put an end to his mortal existence, to the unutterable sorrow of his family and a host of devoted and appreciative friends.
Mr. Ballou passed away on the 5th of August, 1890, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, three months and fifteen days. His wife, with whom he had lived in tender, sacred companionship for more than sixty years, survived him but a year and two days, dying August 7, 1891, aged seventy years, nine months and eight days.
Mr. Ballou’s faith in non-resistance, or radical peace principles, never gave way nor faltered as long as he lived, but grew stronger and more assured with every passing year; and, while health and strength permitted, he expounded, defended, and promulgated those principles, as far as possible, by the agency of the printing press and in public addresses, whenever opportunity offered or occasion seemed to require. In 1865 he presided over the meeting in Boston at which “the Universal Peace Union” was organized; and, though feeling obliged to decline the permanent presidency of the new association, made an able, eloquent, and most admirable speech in support of its declared principles and objects, with which he was in most hearty sympathy and accord; as he continued to be to the end of his days, retaining his membership in it, speaking from time to time at its meetings, contributing to its funds, and otherwise giving it the countenance and support which he felt it so richly deserved. He appreciated the grand and noble work it was doing, under the direction of its honored president, his valued friend, Mr. Alfred H. Love, and its efficient Board of Managers, for the advancement of the cause in which he had such profound interest, and for the promotion of which he had labored with untiring devotion and zeal during the greater portion of his long and constantly active life.
The Higher Patriotism and Its Relation to the Cause of Universal Peace
by Rev. William S. Heywood,
“It is not that I love country less but humanity more that … I plead the cause of a higher and truer Patriotism.” – Charles Sumner.
“There is no Patriotism so coherent and mighty as that which stands conformed to the boundless Brotherhood of the Gospel. That Gospel makes all human slaughter fratricidal.” – Bishop F. D. Huntington.
The essentially wicked and reprehensible character of the great War System of the world, as it has existed and displayed itself in all past ages, is revealed not only in the more open and violent manifestations of its devastating power, but in the subtle, malarious influence it has diffused through almost every department of human experience. While it has disturbed the otherwise quiet and orderly processes of domestic, social, and civil life, destroyed the fruits of human genius and toil accumulated through long generations, laid waste cities and provinces without number, armed men with deadly weapons and sent them forth to mangle and destroy their fellow men, strewn fair and fertile fields with the ghastly bodies of the dying and the dead, drenched the earth again and again with human blood, and multiplied many-fold the agonies and tears of mankind, it has also woefully perverted the better instincts of the human heart, demoralized most grievously both private and public character, corrupted the fountains of human thought, and vitiated the very airs that nourish and renew the vital energies of the world. The pages of literature, which are the proper treasure-house of culture, refinement, virtue, and piety, have been debased and polluted by it, and history, which should be a trustworthy record of humanity’s progress from the earliest known date and the causes thereof, with the method of their operation, has, for the most part, been one long-drawn-out book of Chronicles, telling of the marshaling and going forth of armies and navies, of battles and sieges, of defeats suffered and victories won, while the great intellectual, moral, and spiritual forces and agencies, ordained of God for the enlightenment, elevation and redemption of the race, have been either wholly unrecognized and unrecorded or remanded to a subordinate place in the classification. Moreover, under the satanic enchantment of the iniquitous system, the ordinary forms of human speech have been grossly perverted or robbed of their highest meaning, words and phrases being misused or interpreted by the light of its baleful fires, and so made to beguile the unthinking mind and minister to its own unhallowed purposes and aims. Thus courage, heroism, honor, patriotism, words of intrinsic worth and power, are not infrequently disassociated from the common virtues or duties of life where they justly belong, forming as they do an essential part of a well-balanced character, and where they find ample field for laudable and even glorious exemplification, and are employed to represent distinctively soldierly attributes, martial prowess and valor, as their chief and most signal if not only worthy mode of expression. That is, with many people, blinded by the deceitful glamour of militarism to the true significance of the terms named, the qualities they stand for are of little account, save as displayed amid scenes of mortal combat and drip with the blood of wounded and slaughtered men. Even such grandly important words as right, duty, and responsibility are often despoiled of their intrinsic moral quality by the same deceitful sorcery and given a merely conventional or political meaning, expressive only of fealty to the existing civil order or system of government, irrespective of its form, character, or requirements, be they just or unjust, righteous or wicked, when tested by the eternal standards of ethics and religion. In this way an idol of purely human manufacture is “exalted above all that is called God,” and made an object of supreme allegiance in place of the infinite One whose right it is to rule and to whom all such allegiance is forever due – an act of gross impiety if not of blasphemy. It is to rescue these terms from the misconception and abuse to which they have thus been subjected in popular estimation that I take the last and chief of them, Patriotism, which in some proper sense may be understood as representing the others, and make it the special theme of consideration on the present occasion.
What we dignify by the name Patriotism, defined in our dictionaries as love of country, is, I take it, a native instinct or sentiment of the human heart, the spontaneous outcome of impulses or affections that antedate all nurture and training, of whose beginning memory preserves no record, and of whose existence philosophy offers no explanation, except that it is an original part of the constitution of man. It is natural for one to feel the pulsations of this instinct or sentiment in the breast; and so, being of an elementary character and not a creation of art or tradition, it has the merit of universality, is not of local or temporary manifestation, characterizes no one class or condition of people, and knows no distinction of race, color, or nationality. It exists more or less active among the rude tribes of the forest; it is found a ruling motive among the most civilized of the children of men. It manifested itself in the remotest periods of history; it was never more in evidence than it is today, under all skies, wherever human beings dwell.
“Man, through all ages of revolving time –
Unchanging man, in every varying clime,
Deems his own land of every land the pride
Beloved by heaven o’er all the world beside.”
The ancient Jews thought that Canaan was most highly favored of Jehovah and Mt. Zion, around which their history and their piety revolved, nearest His throne. The Greeks of old regarded their Olympus the dwelling place of the gods, and hence the choicest spot beneath the stars. So the early Romans felt that their great empire was nobler than all others and their capital city the grandest in the world. In more modern times the German sings praises to his fatherland; the Frenchman exults in the charms of his native valleys and vine-clad hills, under whatsoever government he lives; the storm-swept mountains of Switzerland have an unsurpassed grandeur for those dwelling perpetually in their presence; and the subjects of Victoria’s widely extended rule, consider their own Albion, as they do her Majesty, worthy of profound esteem. The Laplander, whose home is amid scenes of never-failing snow and ice, can with difficulty be lured to more genial latitudes, while the American Indian, driven from the wilds of his childhood and youth by the white man’s greed or otherwise, sighs and pants for his familiar hunting grounds and the regions, desolate as they may be, where the bones of his ancestors are laid. And are you and I lacking this same impulsive sentiment? Do we pay no spontaneous tribute of the heart to the land in which we were born and within whose boundaries it is our privilege to live, to work, to share the manifold blessings of existence, to serve our Maker and our fellow men –
“Land of the Pilgrim’s pride, land where our fathers died,”
and so on? Who does not feel an honest delight at the thought of this country of ours, vast in extent, wonderful in the variety, beauty and grandeur of its scenery, rich in resources and possibilities; with its marvelous history, its sublime ideals of liberty, justice, and humanity, its institutions of religion, education and charity; with its great and good men and women who have lived and are living to make the world better and to bring in the kingdom of heaven? Despite her errors, follies, and sins, her inhumanities and perfidies – not few nor far between, God knows – notwithstanding these things, not to be justified, condoned, or palliated, who does not feel impelled when thoughts of his country and all it represents come trooping through his mind, to exclaim in grateful gladness, “O land of mine, America, with all thy faults, I love thee still.”
Regarding Patriotism in the light thus thrown upon it, as a native instinct of the human heart, and therefore to be not only innocently but joyfully exercised and employed, I am free to confess that I cannot sympathize with the distrust which some over-scrupulous peace men and women cherish towards it, and certainly not with that feeling of opposition and reprobation with which it is contemplated by the great Russian reformer, Count Tolstoy, who characterizes it as “a terrible evil and superstition.” “The great sorrow of my old age,” he says, “is that I have not succeeded in communicating to my brethren the truth, which I feel with the same evidence that I feel the light of the sun, that Patriotism must lead to lies, violence and murder; and not only to the loss of material well-being, but to the grossest moral depravation… I think it is one of the most dreadful delusions of the world.”
For reasons already indicated, I count this a distorted view of the subject, as un-philosophical and false to human nature, and to history, as it is unsatisfactory and misleading. It is based, it seems to me, not upon a comprehensive study of the subject, but upon some of its lowest and most reprehensible manifestations; upon those acts of deceit, oppression, and cruelty which, in the name and under the guise of Patriotism, have been perpetrated in his own and other lands, in times of both peace and war. Just as Dr. Johnson, beholding the chicanery, fraud, corruption, and iniquity practiced in his day with the same pretext, was moved to declare that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
And not only is Patriotism to be regarded as an innate impulse or endowment of human nature, but as one of the strongest and most commanding of its capabilities, urging to the greatest sacrifices, to the most heroic endeavors, to the grandest achievements. What have men not dared, what have they not done under the inspiration and motive power of this inborn passion, roused from its constitutional lethargy to energetic action, for the accomplishment of some real or supposed-to-be lofty purpose or object! This has been illustrated in times of war, when, at the sound of the trumpet, men, under a sense of loyalty to their country, have rushed forth at the risk of life and of all that made life dear to them, to defend her against a foreign foe or maintain her standing before the world. It has been illustrated no less in times of peace, when other men, who never doffed a soldier’s garb or wore shoulder-straps, like Sir Thomas Moore, Milton, Wilberforce, and Gladstone across the sea, and Adams, Sumner, Giddings, and Phillips in our own land, have foregone a thousand delights and suffered obloquy, detraction, poverty, and sometimes imprisonment and death, for freedom’s sake and the perpetuity of those ideas and institutions upon which the well-being of their county and of its people depended.
But while this love of country is a native and divinely appointed instinct or force of human nature, it is not necessarily self-regulative and praiseworthy in its diversified promptings and manifestations, as already intimated. In common with all other human capabilities, it needs guidance, restraint, and wise and righteous control. Like a mountain stream, which may be pure, healthful, and invigorating at its source, it is liable to become so devitalized, so charged with deleterious, foreign elements in its onward flow as to hinder rather than help the truer life of men – as to become a bane and not a blessing to society and the world. Channing, one of the earliest and most clear-sighted champions of the Peace Cause in the United States, speaking of Patriotism, says, “It is a natural and generous impulse of human nature to love the country that gave us birth… But this sentiment often degenerates into a narrow, partial, exclusive attachment, alienating us from other branches of the human family and instigating to aggression on other states. In ancient times this principle developed with wonderful energy and sometimes absorbed every other sentiment.” And he might have added that it not infrequently has overmastered and trampled in the dust every consideration of justice and the eternal right, the most imperative dictates of reason and humanity.
“Patriotism as existing among certain of the Greeks,” says the brilliant essayist and statesman, Macaulay, “turned kingdoms into gangs of robbers, whom mutual fidelity rendered more dangerous, gave a character of peculiar atrocity to war, and generated the worst of political evils, the tyranny of nation over nation.” To the Roman of the time of the Caesars, the empire was the most important, as it was in a material sense the most powerful of dynasties, and it claimed the right as it made the attempt to subjugate and absorb all other nations, vanquishing their armies on the field of battle and bringing commanders and chieftains, potentates and kings home to the imperial city as trophies of its victorious might. These other nations in his estimation were of no account, save as they could be made to increase its wealth, extend its dominion, and add to its glory. In many of the so-called commonwealths of antiquity and of the medieval ages, in which there was some professed regard for liberty, Patriotism, like liberty itself, was often made a pretext for assaults upon the inborn rights of mankind, for adopting and enforcing measures that stifled thought and free discussion, corrupted the administration of justice, sacrificed the well-being of the many to the ambition of the few, and crushed the hopes of aspiring multitudes under the iron heel of arbitrary power.
This same spirit is, alas, still abroad in the world, carrying on its direful work under the same alluring disguise. It is to be found, not among ignorant, degraded, so-called heathen nations alone, but among nations claiming to be pre-eminently civilized and Christian. Yes, sometimes in the name of civilization and Christianity, as well as of Patriotism, does that fell spirit sound the toxin of aggressive war, summon minions from the peaceful and beneficent pursuits of life, equip them and send them forth by land and sea to engage in the work of human butchery; showing thereby how closely allied the foremost of nations in our own time may be to those benighted peoples of bygone days whose tyrant chieftains, impelled by the greed of empire or of gain, were every ready –
“To wade through slaughter to a throne
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”
This was signally illustrated in the case of the war between this country of ours and Mexico, occurring within the memory of some of us here present, as needless, as unjustifiable and wicked a conflict at arms as was ever waged since time began, inaugurated, as it was, and carried through for the indisputable purpose of strengthening the slave power in the national councils and of thereby perpetuating on American soil a system of oppression and outrage, “one hour of which,” Thomas Jefferson said, “was fraught with more misery than whole ages of that which our fathers rose in rebellion to oppose.” And yet it was a war waged ostensibly for the purpose of promoting the honor and glory of the country and therewith also the welfare and happiness of mankind. The Governor of my own state, an honored deacon of an evangelical (?) church, issued a proclamation calling upon the young men of the Commonwealth to enlist as volunteers in the country’s service and go forth across the continent to kill or to be killed, in the name of “Patriotism and Humanity” – words easily suborned to beguile the common mind and to soften, if not sanctify, the enormities incident to the systematic slaughter of man by the hands of his fellow man.
The devout Governor, who personally believed the conflict with Mexico to be wrong, was deluded and thrown off his moral base by the often prevailing fallacy that, when a country is engaged in a war, all loyal citizens are bound to render it free and hearty support, whatever may be the merits or demerits of the strife; and that under such circumstances Patriotism can be shown in no other way. As was said by a soldier of the Civil War, prominent afterward in public affairs: “It is conceit for any man to think he can serve his country in any way but in the ranks.” In other words, no one can be a true lover of his country while an armed conflict is going on, except he approve, uphold, and aid the government under whose auspices it is waged. And this the real patriot will cheerfully do, irrespective of any scruples he may have concerning the rightfulness of war in general or the particular war in hand. Under the same prepossession the New York Independent, a religious journal of advanced views, soon after the opening of hostilities with Spain two years or more ago, besought those of its readers who believed “the war wicked and unnecessary to join with us in support of the government in fighting it quickly to the end.” That is, fling your ideas of right and wrong to the winds, abandon your principles, trample conscience under foot, and unite with others in what you believe to be a scheme of iniquity, if, so be it, a foolish or sinful administration of public affairs demands it. From all such counselors, religious or otherwise, we may say in the words of the Liturgy, “Good Lord, deliver us.” Such Patriotism, I have no hesitation in pronouncing both false and immoral, and such loyalty to country, treason to God, as I shall show later on.
And not only is that Patriotism false and misleading which thus seeks to hide, palliate or justify the evils of the great war system, or of some special war – a war perchance of invasion and conquest inaugurated by unscrupulous leaders and urged on by the baser elements of the political arena and by morally deceptive religious teachers, on the ground that it is the work of the government and that the patriot will stand by the government in such a case – but that Patriotism also is false and misleading, yes, and dangerous as well, which is blinded by the glamour of military display and achievement to various forms of personal vice and crime existing beneath a soldier’s uniform or within an army encampment; or which by some impious legerdemain converts a man of unclean and disorderly life into a hero or a saint upon enlisting as a soldier in his country’s service – his enlistment papers being counted a sufficient passport to the realms of bliss, and an honorable discharge from military duty the guarantee of an abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom.
The distinguished orator at Harvard University a few weeks ago, Hon. William Everett, LL.D., in a brilliant and brave address upon the subject I am now discussing, speaks of the immorality which is often lost to sight or duly atoned for by assuming a military costume, in terms worthy of remembrance. “If a monarch,” he says, “a statesman, or a soldier stands forth pre-eminent in exalting the name or extending the boundaries of his country, he is a patriot, and that is enough. Such a leader may be as perjured and blasphemous as Frederic or as brutal and stupid as his father; he may be as faithless and mean as Marlborough or as dissolute and bloody as Julius Caesar; he may trample on every right of independent nations and drive his countrymen to the shambles like Napoleon; he may be as corrupt as Walpole or as wayward as Chatham; he may be destitute of every spark of culture, or prostitute the gifts of the Muses to the basest ends; he may have, in short, all manner of vices and defects, but if he is true to his country, if he is her faithful standard-bearer, if he strives to set her and keep her high above her rivals, he is right, a worthy patriot. And if he seems lukewarm in her cause; if, however wise and good he may be in all other relations, he fails to work with all his heart and soul to maintain her position among the nations, he must be stamped with failure if not with a curse.”
Such conceptions of Patriotism and all of kindred nature are gross perversions of the true meaning of the word – a prostitution of it to base and unhallowed uses. Readiness to enlist in the army of a country and to go forth and help fight her battles is no proof or token of patriotism. Thousands of men are thus ready and eager to enlist and to fight, whose hearts never felt one honest throb of real love for their country, whose minds never cherished one earnest purpose to further their country’s well-being, who never spent one solitary moment in striving to know in what their country’s real honor consisted or how they could most effectively promote it. And thousands there are in every army corps of such ignoble, degraded, shameless lives, that it might be truly said that the best service they could personally render their country would be to go out of it on some hazardous venture in far-away lands, where they could work the least possible harm to the common weal. Patriotism in any proper sense cannot be made a shield for criminality and guilt or an expiation for offenses of any sort against the moral law. Nor is it to be identified with bellicosity or the fighting spirit, whatever form it may assume. “Patriotism,” said Starr King, “is not that pugilistic passion which estimates glory by battlefields, weighs national worth by vigor of muscle, and culls the anthology of its bloody traditions into a sort of pirate’s own book, by which its brutal appetite is nourished.” Yet it is by multitudes of people so regarded. “The fighting man,” it has been truly remarked, “the man of desperate deeds, the captain of the bloody deck and riddled rigging, is the patriot of popular song,” as it is of many a favorite story. From the martial standpoint – the standpoint of war – Patriotism that is of any account must drip with human blood.
“But it is sometimes said,” observes the previously quoted Channing, “that war kindles patriotism”; that “by fighting for his country one learns to love it.” But he adds, “the patriotism which is cherished by war is ordinarily false and spurious, a vice and not a virtue, a scourge to the world, a narrow, unjust passion, which aims to exalt a particular state on the humiliation or destruction of other states.” And if we may judge by the history of the war system, as it has existed from time immemorial, and by the influence of the military spirit wherever it has prevailed to any extent, the patriotism engendered and nurtured amid scenes of violence and carnage has wrought more harm than good to national welfare, and has been, as a rule, a menace rather than a protection to the higher interests of the people.
And while Patriotism in its better aspects derives no significance nor force from the spirit of belligerence with which it is so often associated, and is never to be confounded with mere militarism in any of its manifestations, it is not, on the other hand, what is represented by the flamboyant rhetoric and spread-eagle oratory frequently displayed on the Fourth of July and like occasions, nominally observed for a patriotic purpose. It is more than this – more than a glorification of the fathers, more than a rehearsal of heroic deeds, more than fulsome praise of national resources, wealth, power, achievement, or possibility. It is more than pronouncing the Shibboleth of some political party, manipulating conventions, ratifying nominations, or celebrating any victories of Election Day. Let us take heed lest we be led astray by the clangor of mere words or by the false meaning that popular opinion or the excitement of an hour or a day or any form of sophistry may put into words; lest “we crown that which is only a blind passion as a lofty emotion and clothe with the robes of duty what is little more than a superstition.”
True Patriotism, as distinguished from that which is false and deceitful, is love of country for what it really stands for, in its own distinctive character and in the life of the world. As an enlightened, refined sentiment, flavored, so to say, with morality and religion, it is love of country for that in it which is worthy of regard and commendation; for that which makes it a living factor in the development, elevation, and perfecting of humanity. In this land of ours, true Patriotism, while recognizing and appreciating its material resources, advantages, blessings of whatever sort, will prize it, rejoice in it, and honor it chiefly for its intellectual, moral, social, civil, and religious characteristics – for the tokens of Providential favor that illumine so many pages of its history, for the lofty character of the brave adventurers, who, as the representatives of an advancing civilization, first peopled its shores and laid the foundation of its various and manifold institutions, for the great ideas of justice, equity, and freedom promulgated to the world from its high places, for what has been accomplished within its borders in the way of realizing a better domestic, social, and civil order for all classes and conditions of people, for what has here been done through the agency of its more Christ-like men and women and in other ways to build up the kingdom of heaven on the earth.
And such a Patriotism will manifest itself, not so much in the politician’s arts, in the resolutions of caucuses and conventions, in glowing sentences, or idle boasting, or impassioned appeals, or noisy demonstrations of any sort, as in personal integrity, in fidelity to the great trusts of life, in a noble type of manhood and womanhood, in loyalty to that law of eternal rectitude which alone can honor, adorn, and save a state as it can an individual soul. It will display itself in purified homes and the right ordering of domestic life, in a cherished spirit of conciliation and brotherhood, in the maintenance of kindly and helpful relations with all sorts and conditions of people, in practical endeavors to uplift, benefit, and redeem the more dependent, unfortunate, and needy classes of society – to remedy the abuses, harmonize the differences, lessen the inequalities, and overcome the evils of the existing social order, in striving to exemplify in all the affairs and relations of life the principles, precepts, and spirit of the gospel of Christ. It will show itself in independence of thought and action upon all important concerns, in refusing to be the tool or the victim of tricksters and demagogues, in exposing the chicaneries and iniquities of unscrupulous aspirants for office, in protesting against the wrongs of public as well as private life, in resisting all solicitations to go with the multitude to do evil, in disobeying unrighteous requirements even though made by the government itself, and in maintaining the supremacy of the right, good, and true over all legislative enactments, state policies, and national decretals whatsoever.
But passing from these generalizations, I am moved to make certain affirmations based upon the divine order of the world which a true and enlightened Patriotism will recognize and be governed by as essential to a proper and rightful development or expression of national life.
1. The first is that the well-being, prosperity, and happiness of a nation is indissolubly associated with the well-being, prosperity, and happiness of all classes of its population and their corresponding unity, harmony, and kindly co-operation. There can be no well-assured national good, no ideal national life, no unsullied national honor, where any considerable number of people are subject to the evils of ignorance, poverty, vice, and crime, or are enslaved by bad habits and besotted by debauchery and excess. And no nation is really worthy of admiration in which gross and startling inequalities of circumstance, condition, and opportunity exist – as between the rich and poor, the educated and uneducated, the refined and the vulgar, the so-called higher and lower elements of society. Nor can a nation be ideally prosperous and happy, or free from threatening ills, in which class distinctions assume a hostile and virulent form, or where envy, jealousy, ill-will, or other spirit of alienation and distrust disturbs otherwise harmonious relations and engenders bitterness and wrath between man and man or between party and party; in social circles, in industry, business, politics, or religion. Differences of opinion and of action there may be, there must be, except the individuality of men be destroyed, which would be a dire calamity – but all differences must be shared and exercised in the spirit of true liberty, without intolerance and persecution, each granting to others the rights claimed for himself, and all striving together for the common good of all. Fraternity, co-operation, and harmony are the watchwords of an orderly, happy community, town, state, nation, and world.
2. A second important consideration regulating the expression or overt action of true Patriotism is that one’s country is but a single member of an extended brotherhood of countries, each and all having a place in the Providential plan of the world and a part to play in the great drama of human life on the earth. As a legitimate deduction from this proposition, it follows that the several countries constituting this brotherhood, like the different classes or circles in any one of them, have certain common interests and rights entitled to mutual respect, and certain common obligations to be sacredly regarded and faithfully met; and that between those countries there should be nurtured the feeling of fraternal sympathy, helpfulness, and goodwill. This makes all international jealousy, enmity, wrath, and war not only derogatory to the character of the particular nations concerned, but perilous to the highest good of the entire fraternity of nations. The scorn, contempt, and hostility sometimes shown by citizens of one country towards those of another is no proof of pure Patriotism but of the lack of it; as a man who hates his neighbor’s children can have no pure love for his own. Such scorn, contempt, and hostility is but the outcome of national conceit, egotism, and bigotry, as offensive to a profound sense of justice and honor in a commonwealth or empire as in an individual, and as full of mischief and peril. National selfishness, like personal selfishness, is the grave of all true nobility and renown; it festers with the germs of decay and death.
And the practical recognition of this fact of the brotherhood of nations opens out naturally into the larger fact of the brotherhood of the human race; the special love of one’s country under divine tuition growing into that love for all men, without which we are told upon good authority there can be no real love of God. So that without depreciating or limiting one’s affection for the land in which he lives or his desire or ability to serve its highest good, he may say in all honesty, as did one of America’s noblest philanthropists, “My country is the world and my countrymen are all mankind.” In the spirit of this broader, more inclusive interpretation of the word Patriotism may men and nations dwell together in unity, in friendliness, and in peace, mutual helpers of each other in all things pertaining to their enduring progress and glory, each striving with all, and all with each, for the universal good, the ultimate “federation of the world.”
3. And once more I observe that Patriotism of the higher order recognizes and regards the great fundamental fact of the universe that there is a law superior to all human enactments or decrees – a moral government of the world, supreme over all human interests and concerns, to which not alone the common personal affairs of men must be made subject, but all social, civil, national, and international affairs as well; the greatest no less than the least of them. A nation without the consciousness of such a law, “whose seat is the bosom of God and whose voice is the harmony of the world,” without a living sense of loyalty to such a government on the part of its rulers and the great mass of its people, is a nation doomed, a nation rushing upon the thick bosses of the buckler of the Almighty. It is a dictum not from the scripture records alone, but from the council chamber of the eternities, that comes ringing through all the corridors of time, saying, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” How slow are men to learn the sacred lesson that “whatsoever a man (or a nation) soweth, that shall he (or it) also reap;” that no one individual, though he be king or president, and no body of men, though it be a legislature or parliament, can annul the statutes of the great Framer of all worlds, make a wrong thing right, or stay the operations of that retributive justice which holds all rational, responsible beings in all possible conditions, under all possible relations, amenable to its own solemn, inescapable operations and behests.
These things being so, the intelligent patriot shapes his thought and conduct accordingly. True to its permanent interests, he refuses to be a party or lend support to whatever he sees or believes to be wrong in his country’s counsels, in its governmental policy, or in any department of the public service. The younger Pitt, whom Macaulay termed “the greatest master of parliamentary government the world has ever seen,’ resigned his place as Prime Minister of England, rather than violate his conscience in breaking faith with the Catholics of Ireland. Granville Sharpe, the patriarch of British Abolitionists, gave up his position in the government of the kingdom rather than lend support in any way to the war against the American colonies in 1776, deeming it unjust and therefore detrimental to the public welfare. It was no lack of Patriotism that prompted the actions of these men, but the impulse of the highest type of Patriotism. They were better patriots by far than the monarch and members of parliament whose policy they opposed. Who were the more worthy to be called patriots in this country before the Civil War, the abolitionists, who, seeing the giant iniquity that was destroying the liberties of the people and threatening the life of the nation, sought to have it put away by legitimate means and without violence and the effusion of blood, or their proslavery detractors, in and out of office, who, by a blind and wicked policy, brought on the strife at arms, causing the Republic to totter in her accustomed seat and the Southland to be strewn with the dead bodies of more than half a million of her sons?
No true patriot shuts his eyes to his country’s follies, crimes, and abominations, or withholds his testimony against them, whatever be the sacrifice or risk. Much less does he palliate them, apologize for them, or seek to shield them from the rebuke and condemnation that are their righteous due. Nor does he adopt or give currency, repute, and weight to such maxims as “My country, however bounded,” “My country, right or wrong,” “My country, my whole country, and nothing but my country,” maxims born of the war spirit, and employed chiefly in war time to pervert the judgment of men and spur on war’s bloody work. No thoughtful, high-minded patriot is deceived and led astray by them. They are morally indefensible, wicked, and atheistic. They dethrone God; they ignore, set at naught, and bring into contempt the everlasting law; they deserve only censure and unqualified reprobation at the hands of all who reverence truth, justice, and the eternal right.
And now let us consider what relation true Patriotism sustains to the great Peace Cause, whose interests this gathering represents, and whose triumph it is designed to advance. That it is exceedingly cordial and intimate has been already indicated. Every consideration offered in exposition of such Patriotism, of its essential nature and character, of its workings in human history, of what it suggests, inspires and seeks to accomplish, is in singular and happy accord with the principles, purposes, methods and hopes of the friends of Peace, appeals directly to their sympathy and judgment, and commends itself to their approval, confidence, and regard. The Peace Cause is emphatically the cause of the Republic; and the welfare of the Republic is largely dependent upon the development and ascendancy among its citizens of that type of personal character and the prevalence of that spirit of friendliness, co-operation, and harmony which it is the special purpose of the Peace movement to engender and make dominant in public as well as in private life.
As a matter of fact, true Patriotism and the Peace Cause operate along similar lines to one and the same transcendent end: along lines of justice, mercy, and love, towards mutual good will, unity, and solidarity in the state and nation, and towards the final enfranchisement and pacification of the world. There is ample room for illustrating in detail this likeness of the two to each other – of showing their many points of correspondence, if not their absolute identity; and even that in many particulars. Certainly the Peace Cause recognizes and emphasizes the three fundamental truths or principles of civic order just now stated, the acknowledged supremacy of which has been declared to be essential to true and enlightened Patriotism – truths or principles that need no further elaboration or enforcement. True Patriotism and the Peace Cause correspond in desiring and seeking to enhance the enduring greatness of a country and in the conception of what that greatness is – of its real nature and character. And this has never been set forth in more eloquent and impressive language than by the distinguished philanthropist and statesman, Charles Sumner, in his splendid oration upon The True Grandeur of Nations. “War,” he says, “is utterly and irreconcilably inconsistent with true greatness… That consists in imitating as near as possible for finite man the perfection of an infinite Creator, and above all, in cultivating those highest perfections: Justice and Love… The true greatness of nations is in those qualities that constitute the greatness of the individual. It is not to be found in extent of territory, or in vastness of population, or in wealth; not in fortifications, or armies, or navies; not in the phosphorescent glare of fields of battle, nor in Golgothas, though covered with monuments that kiss the clouds. For all these are creatures and representatives of qualities in our nature unlike anything in God.
“Nor is the greatness of nations to be found in the triumphs of the intellect alone – in literature, learning, science, or art. These may widen the sphere of its influence; they may adorn it, but they are only its accessories. The polished Greeks – the world’s masters in language and thought, and the commanding Romans, overawing the earth with their power, were little more than splendid savages; and the age of Louis XIV, spanning a long period of worldly magnificence, was degraded by immoralities that can not be mentioned without a blush, and by deeds of injustice not to be washed out by the tears of all the recording angels of heaven. The true grandeur of humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened, and decorated by the intellect of man. And the truest tokens of this grandeur are the diffusion of the greatest happiness to the greatest number, and that Godlike justice which controls the relations of the state to other states and to all the people under its care.” It is national greatness, thus delineated, that the true patriot and the friend of peace conjointly seek to honor and enhance.
Such greatness will command the approval and admiration of all noble souls, not alone by the sublime qualities that characterize it, but by the extent and splendor of its achievements. It will be not simply a latent and inappreciable force in the world – an abstract idea for the student of political economics – but an active energy in human life and history, making the nation, illustrating it a mighty factor in the problem of human uplifting and redemption. We are hearing just now a great deal about the part that the United States is coming to play in the great drama of human affairs by reason of her recent military and naval exploits. “The war with Spain,” says Governor Adams, of Colorado, “makes our country a world power.” Other purblind politicians and half-fledged patriots are saying the same thing, and the responding populace rends the air with shouts of applause at these statements. To such persons, ignorant of the philosophy of history as they are of ethical principles and agencies, this great American Nation was of little account in the world until within two or three years. But now, since San Juan and Manila, we, her people, are somebody; we can take our place among other nations and defy them all; we can whip all creation; no foreign, old-time dynasty will henceforth dare to tread on the toes of our venerable Uncle Sam or insult the dignity of his imperial majesty. The watchwords henceforth are to be, “Hands off” and “Beware.”
So some people talk. But such talk is cheap – too cheap for serious consideration, and as vicious as it is cheap. It is the glorification of brute force and national pugilism. It is the exaltation of might over right, of military prowess over justice and humanity. It is the boast of the braggart, the swaggerer, and the prizefighter – not an expression of true valor, of lofty statesmanship, or of clear-seeing philosophy. It makes the United States the chief bully among the nations – a distinction not to be proud of and not to be coveted. This vain and shameful braggartism was so well stated and elucidated a year or more ago by Rev. Dr. Jefferson, of Broadway Tabernacle, New York City, in a sermon from the text, “And the devil taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain.” I venture to quote a brief passage:
“Men are everywhere exulting in the notion that we, as a nation, have become a great world power. We amounted to nothing before the victory at Manila. He is a Rip Van Winkle of an American who had to be aroused from sleep by a cannon shot to learn that the United States has been a world power for years. How did she become such? By her army? No. By her navy? No. By dabbling in diplomacy? No. By colonies and dependencies? No. It was by the culture of the arts of peace, by building schools, colleges, and churches, and by developing free institutions. We have not fooled away our time in drilling men to kill each other. We have not squandered our money on armies and navies… America is not isolated. Her spirit for years has walked up and down the earth. Where is there a land her influence has not reached? Her ideas have touched the hearts of men under every sun… She is a power already in the evolution of the race. And yet some men never knew it until a gun was fired at Manila… A great naval power – a great military power! In many circles these are phases to conjure with. A great Christian power to my ears sounds much better!” As it does, I apprehend, to the ears of both peace men and true patriots – to the ear of God and his holy angels – a great power for justice, righteousness, brotherhood, and peace throughout the earth. So may she be.
So indeed let us hope and pray that she may be. For it is in the way suggested that our beloved country is to act a noble part on the stage of history and serve humanity’s highest good in the years to come. Not like Rome of old by making other nations tremble at the mention of her name, not by conquests at arms on distant battlefields, not by subjugating weaker provinces and compelling them to bow to her imperial sway.
Not by elevating her standards on foreign soil and refusing to take them down again, however unrighteously they may have been set up; but by her proclamation of the principles of civil and religious liberty, by her championship of the inborn rights of mankind, by her ideals of freedom made real within her own borders, by the light of her example of righteous self-government shining forth to illume the benighted portions of the globe, by the contagion of an honorable, just, humane national life, by the prosperity, virtue, and happiness of all classes of her population, by her institutions of learning, charity, and religion, by her sympathy for and hospitality to down-trodden and oppressed peoples struggling after liberty and a better life, by her missionaries and heralds of Christian faith going forth in the spirit of the Master into all the world to preach the Gospel of love to God and man and to wage holy warfare against human folly, ignorance, sin, and shame, not with carnal weapons but with spiritual ones, which are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds of the adversary and to the achievement of a final victory for the true, the beautiful, and the good throughout the earth.
True Patriotism in this land of ours supplements and reinforces the Peace Cause in vigorously resisting the growing militarism which is dominating to a large extent the policy of the national government, corrupting the high standards of public life, and exalting brute force to the place in common esteem which properly belongs to reason, the judicial sense, and the spirit of brotherhood. Two and a half years ago, under the pretext of delivering the inhabitants of the island of Cuba from the cruel tyranny of Spain, the baser elements of the political arena and the jingoists of the press throughout the country roused the latent war-spirit of the people at large from the repose of a generation to an intensity that overruled their calmer judgment and more humane feeling and that inaugurated a new regime in the administration of national affairs full of mischief and portents of coming ill. As a result, the army of the United States has been multiplied fourfold, with a fair prospect of indefinite increase under the infatuation created by the widely prevailing greed of gain and of empire in our borders. An army is in its very nature a despotism, and, extended beyond the limits of a national police force, a menace to the Republic and to that freedom and independence for which the Republic, true to its ideals and the principles of its founders, stands; a menace to all forms of popular government. This is shown in the history of the ancient and mediaeval commonwealths, as it is in the experience of the French nation since it last assumed the name and form of democracy. Again and again has the government established by Thiers, Hugo, Favre, and other actors in the revolution of 1870 come near to shipwreck by reason of the arbitrary spirit, the imperialistic tendencies, and the malign influence of the army. Washington clearly apprehended danger from this source to the political edifice he helped to raise, and in his farewell address warned his fellow countrymen against “overgrown military establishments, which,” he said, “under any form of government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” True Patriotism today, among wise, prophetic men, as in the person of the “father of his country,” views the rapid increase of these liberty-imperiling establishments with deep solicitude and even alarm, and protests against them accordingly. Moreover, such establishments and their accessories are highly prejudicial to the well being of the great mass of the people of a country, especially of the industrial classes – the honest yeomanry. We have but to look at continental Europe for indisputable proof of this. The army equipments there, which have doubled within thirty years, are maintained at immense cost, necessitating a system of taxation which reduces the populace to a condition of extreme poverty and degradation, a condition provocative of unrest and disorder, and well calculated to generate Nihilism, Anarchism, and all forms of violent upheaval and bloody outbreak. If our land is to avoid social and civil tumult and convulsions in days to come, she must guard assiduously against the causes that produce them, the chief of which is an oppressive militarism, as experience in the countries alluded to demonstrates. Clear-seeing, high-minded patriots among us see the impending peril, and join most heartily with the friends of Peace in demanding a halt in the military activities of the time, a suppression of the prevailing war spirit for the sake of the Republic, of the people generally, and of the cause of freedom in the world at large.
In conclusion, I am moved to affirm that true Patriotism and the Peace Cause are singularly coincident in deprecating and condemning unqualifiedly the war now (1900) being carried on by the United States government against the people of the Philippine Islands, and the policy of the national administration in respect to the same. The latter bases its verdict upon those fundamental principles of morality, justice, brotherhood, and love, of which it is the practical expression; the former upon those fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty on which the American Republic was founded and for which it has ever stood before the nations. Those principles are distinctly set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Charta of that type of national life which this country represents. The issuance of that instrument marked an epoch in the social and civil evolution of the race; it was a new departure in the march of humanity to its final earthly destiny. On that instrument and on the great truths it enunciated the national edifice has been built; by it has the national character been shaped, and under its inspiration and guidance whatever is most signal and praiseworthy in the national career has been achieved. But the governmental policy in regard to the Philippine war is in open contravention of the spirit and affirmations of the Declaration; a denial of its claims, an abandonment of what has been most distinctive in the national life. It is a virtual repudiation of the work of the nation’s founders; a return to old world ideals, doctrines, practices, and methods of administration. It is a surrender of America and the West to Europe and the East. It is a re-adoption of the statecraft that the pilgrim and the Puritan dared the perils of the sea and the greater perils of the wilderness to escape. It is playing the part of George III and Lord North over again in their dealings with the American colonies one hundred and twenty-five years ago – attempting to subjugate and render submissive to a foreign power a people who, like our revolutionary fathers, are striving for liberty and independence. It may be called the onward march of democratic ideas, but it bears all the insignia of imperialism and what that term stands for in the philosophy of government and the history of nations. It may be called “benevolent assimilation,” but it is of the same nature and character as “criminal aggression,” and no shuffle of words can make it otherwise. It is practically a war of invasion and conquest, such as has been waged from time immemorial under the barbarous, tyrannical assumption that “might makes right.” It puts the nation into the same category and reduces it to the same plane with the dynasties of the old world, enabling them to say to it in scornful derision, “Aha! Thou didst set thyself up as vastly wiser and better than we were, to be our light and our example; but now, how art thou fallen and become as one of us!” Wise statesmen see this and deplore it, while the demoralized politician, the devotee of brute force, and the unthinking multitude, drunk with the wine of militarism or infatuated with the lust for dominion, are oblivious to the gravity of the situation and to the dire consequence which it assuredly portends.
But there is a moral and humanitarian aspect of the case, more serious, if possible, than the political. How did this war with the Filipinos come to be? Two years ago they were our friends and we were theirs. Now the two are deadly enemies. Two years ago we solicited their aid as allies in overcoming the forces of Spain at Manila with the assurance, if not open promise, that, if successful, they should have their independence. They gladly acceded to our request. Yet no sooner was Spain conquered, and conquered by their help, than our arms were turned against them, under the demand of absolute subjection to our authority to which they owed no allegiance, with no regard for their inborn rights, but with scornful refusal to listen to their repeated appeals in behalf of such rights. And from that day to this the United States government has been fighting and attempting to conquer them as miscalled rebels and insurgents. The treatment of them is as gross, unjustifiable, and base an act of perfidy as the annals of nations record. Rev. Mr. Chadwick, of Brooklyn, says: “The colonial history of Spain contains no such atrocious piece of treachery as the Filipinos have suffered at the hands of this country.” It is to be believed that they have been subjected to more outrage, cruelty, and loss of blood and life under eighteen months of United States domination in and about Manila than under eighteen years of Spanish misrule – to the nation’s lasting dishonor and unutterable shame.
Such being the case, both Patriotism and the Peace Cause enter a solemn protest against the whole proceeding, and demand an immediate cessation of hostilities. They cry aloud, amid the impending gloom and clash of resounding arms, for a return to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, to the principles of justice and humanity, upon which the safety, prosperity, and glory of the Republic rests, and in which lies the hope of the downtrodden and oppressed of all lands and climes to the ends of the earth.
Unfortunate, however, and deplorable as is the condition into which our beloved country has been brought at this period of her history, and forbidding as is the outlook in many directions, yet may we not despair. A way out of the encompassing darkness will, in the good providence of God, be opened, and new light will in due time, I doubt not, illumine the pathway of the Republic and gladden all our hearts. “The wrath of man shall praise Him, and the remainder of wrath will He restrain.” Recovering from this fearful lapse towards barbarism and escaping the perils incident thereto; instructed it may be and purified by the experience and invested with new power of accomplishment, the nation will go forward more rapidly than before to the attainment of that destiny which I can but believe is her inalienable birthright – a destiny worthy of her origin, of her lofty ideals, of her history, of her opportunities and of her possibilities; sublime in itself and unspeakably beneficent for mankind. A destiny it is, as I contemplate it, of universal liberty, not of license; of justice to all men, not of oppression and outrage to any; of noble ideas, not of barbarous maxims and immoral sophistries; of healthful growth and normal development of resources and character, not of foreign invasions and enforced annexations; of peace and good will, and not of war. A destiny of lifting up fallen races, of educating benighted tribes, of regenerating sinful peoples, of leading other nations and the world in the grand march of humanity to its divinely ordained, ultimate estate of universal liberty, righteousness, brotherhood, harmony, and happiness. In the faith and hope that such is the transcendently glorious mission of this country of ours in the years to come, the part she is to hereafter play in the great drama of human existence upon the earth, we can most sincerely salute her in the inspiring verse of the elder President Dwight, of Yale College:
“Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
Thou queen of the world and child of the skies!
Thy genius commands thee; with rapture behold,
While ages on ages thy splendors unfold.
Thy reign is the last and noblest of time,
Most fruitful thy soil, most inviting thy clime;
Let the crimes of the East ne’er encrimson thy name,
Be freedom and virtue and knowledge thy fame.
“To conquest and slaughter let Europe aspire,
Whelm nations in blood and wrap cities in fire;
Thy heroes the rights of mankind shall defend,
And triumph shall crown them and glory attend.
A world is thy realm; for a world be thy laws
Enlarged as thine empire and just as thy cause;
On freedom’s broad basis that empire shall rise,
Extend with the years and dissolve with the skies.
“Thy fleets to all regions thy power shall display,
The nations admire thee and ocean obey;
Each shore to thy glory shall tribute unfold,
And the East and the South yield their spices and gold.
As the dayspring unbounded thy splendor shall flow,
And earth’s smaller kingdoms before thee shall bow,
While the ensigns of union, in triumph unfurled,
Hush the tumult of war and bring peace to the world.”