Images de page

Sixteenth Annual Report of the Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace.

YOUR Committee, in their last Report, adverted to the progress which the pacific principle was making in the world. After the lapse of another year, they have again to congratulate you that Peace still extends her olivebranch over the nations; not that the demon of War is less insatiable in his appetite for blood, or less jealous of his power over mankind; but there is a superior power by which he is restrained; and therefore his recent struggles to maintain his dominion in different parts of Europe, particularly where his devotees abound, have only demonstrated that his influence is on the wane.

Impressed with the importance of the position in which they are placed at this momentous period, your Committee have not relaxed in their labours. The instruction of children and of youth, in the meek and forgiving spirit of the Gospel of Christ, is a subject that has long occupied the attention of your Committee; the principal difficulty they had to surmount was to procure works suitable for their purpose. Lately, a lady has kindly volunteered her services in this interesting department. Three small Tracts, adorned with wood-cuts, are the fruits of her labours; and more Tracts, from the same able and judicious author, are in progress. Some steps have also been taken to get popular works, written exclusively for children and for schools, imbued with the pacific spirit of the Gospel; and they entertain a hope, that thus, by purifying the fountains of instruction, much may be done towards cherishing correct Christian principles in the minds of the rising generation. The influence which Ministers of religion possess over their flocks, particularly over the young and susceptible mind, makes it highly important that their

standard of morals should be that of Christianity, the weapons of which are not carnal; and though we agree with the last Swansea and Neath Report, that "Ministers of the Gospel, of several denominations, cheerfully unite in giving the principles and plan of the Society their support," and we with pleasure record it, yet we regret that the assistance derived from this source is not so general and cordial as might have been expected from Ambassadors of the Prince of Peace. As this may partly arise from the subject not having, as its importance demanded, been brought under their consideration, the Committee have sent your Tracts to several ministers and others, in London and its vicinity, accompanied by a circular, inviting their co-operation with you in spreading the principles of that Gospel which they preach.

Our Bristol friends, in their Eleventh Annual Report, urge on those who, in the providence of God, are appointed the natural or deputed guardians of youth, the importance of impressing on their minds the positive duty and real advantage of cultivating peaceable dispositions. The Report says, "Teach them this lesson, Christian friends, in the nursery, not merely by withholding those miniature representations of warlike instruments, too commonly found among the playthings of children, but by endeavouring to repress angry feelings and childish squabbles, childish as to their object, but not in their nature; as they originate in the same evil dispositions which, in mature age, give influence to the murderous knife, and load the pistol of the duellist.' The excellent Christian sentiment inculcated in this passage, your Committee have transferred to their Report, in order to give it all the sanction and publicity it deserves, Books imbued with the best principles, may fail of making a lasting impression on a mind that is not taught to check the first buddings of angry feeling, of passion,

and of hatred, by those to whom the child naturally looks for advice and example. The Bath Auxiliary continue, successfully, to pursue their plan of circulating Tracts among the teachers and scholars of the Bath Sunday School Union. They intend to appropriate the small Tracts, lately published by your Committee, to this mode of distribution. It is, also, satisfactory to learn, that another minister in Bath has, unsolicited, advocated the pacific principles of Christianity from the pulpit; and a hope is expressed, in which we unite, "that the period is fast approaching, when the avowed Ministers of the Gospel will, at length, see it to be their duty to proclaim the essentially pacific character of that dispensation.' The Birmingham Auxiliary continue their attention to the introduction of your Publications to the schoolmasters and their pupils, in that town and its neighbourhood. They have also presented the Herald of Peace, and Tracts, to several Reading Rooms, under the direction of ministers of various denominations, which have been thankfully received. Other Auxiliaries might adopt a similar plan for making known the Publications of the Peace Society, and for diffusing its principles. To their friends situated at Sea Ports, they would also recommend the example set by the Bristol Auxiliary, of placing Peace Tracts in cabins of Steam Vessels, as no opportunity should be lost for diffusing Christian principles, which tranquillize the mind, and preserve a man at peace within himself, and at peace with his neighbour.

The Report from one of your oldest Auxiliary Societies, that at Newcastleupon-Tyne, gives proof of a newlykindled zeal in the holy cause you advocate. May this zeal extend itself to others, and produce an abundant harvest of Peace in the domestic and social circle, while, at the same time, its benefits are felt by more distant regions, healing the divisions between

nations, and causing them to live as one harmonious family.

It has been, at different times, represented to your Committee, that if they could procure an efficient person to visit and hold public meetings at the various stations, where they had either Correspondents, or Auxiliary Societies, as well as at other places, it would much promote the cause of Peace by producing an increased interest in its object, and extend a knowledge of the Peace Society and its principles, to places where they had been previously but partially, if at all, known; therefore, your Committee availed themselves, last year, of the services of their Home Secretary, who, induced by that zeal for your cause which he has always evinced, undertook a Christian mission on their behalf northward - they say a Christian mission, because, your principles are identified with those of Christianity. He visited Hull, Leeds, Bradford, Derby, Nottingham, and Leicester. Auxiliary Peace Societies have consequently been established at Hull, at Leeds, and at Leicester.— This spring he undertook another journey on behalf of the Society, and has delivered lectures, which were well attended, at Southampton, Exeter, Plymouth, Devonport, Tavistock, Bristol, Bath, Nailsworth, and Maidenhead. From the satisfactory accounts received, considerable benefit may be anticipated from the impression they have made. At most of these places, Auxiliary Societies had been already established. Other places were embraced in the plan marked out for this journey, besides those visited; it was, however, for various reasons, sidered expedient to decline them at this time. These are the first attempts that have been made to promote your cause by a travelling agent; and it is a plan which should be persevered in to produce permanent effects. It is however obvious, that this cannot be done without additional funds; and so evident is the utility of the measure,


that your Committee appeal, with the greatest confidence, to their wealthy friends for liberal contributions.

[ocr errors]

Two new Tracts have been published during the past year; the first forming No. 10 of the series, under the title of "Historical Illustrations of the Origin and Consequences of War," by the Author of Tract No. 8: -the second, forming No. 11 of the series, under the title of " Reflections on the Calamities of War, and the superior Policy of Peace; translated from the French of a Treatise on the Administration of the Finances of France, by M. Necker." An edition of this last Tract, in the original French, has also been published. To these must be added the three small Tracts, by a Lady, already adverted to, which commence a new series, of which No. 1. is entitled, "Sketch of a Hospital Scene in Portugal." No. 2, Results of War, with Suggestions for an amicable Settlement of national Disputes." No. 3, "Sketch of the Miseries suffered by the Germans, during the Seven Years' War, from 1756 to 1763." As these small Tracts are approved, as adapted to the purposes for which they are designed, it is hoped that they will excite attention, and insure a perusal, where the larger Tracts would not be read. New editions also of Tracts, No. 1 to 8 inclusive, with the Fifteenth Annual Report, and " The Herald of Peace," have been published, making altogether within the year 52,511, comprising a total of 541,082, that have been published since the establishment of the Society. The sales and distributions this year have been 45,226. The amount of subscriptions, donations, &c. this year is 6671. 17s. 9 d. including a legacy

of 50%.

[blocks in formation]

fying accounts of the success which has attended the labours of our transatlantic brethren." In our labours," they say, "we have received decided marks of approbation from all the great ecclesiastical bodies of the Congregational order in New England, and from some other denominations : but the convention of Congregational Ministers in Massachusetts has passed a specific resolve, approving the exertions in favour of a Congress of Nations in particular." From this extract it will be seen, that the proposition for referring international disputes to a Congress of Nations, continues to occupy the attention of the Peace Societies in America. They have endeavoured to procure the signatures of respectable individuals, agreeing to the presentation of a petition or memorial to the Congress of the United States on the subject. In Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, the proposition had, sometime since, received the signatures of

one lieutenant governor, one state treasurer, one state secretary, four judges, twenty-seven lawyers, four presidents, twelve professors, and six tutors of universities and colleges, twenty-nine schoolmasters and principals of academies, fifty-seven clergymen, thirty-nine generals, eighteen. physicians, and five hundred and eighty-two merchants and others." Since these signatures were obtained, the American Peace Society has issued a circular on the subject, which has produced many more subscribers. Two prizes have also been offered by that Society, for the best and second best dissertations on a Congress of Nations. A prize has also been offered by an Assembly, which the Comte de Sellon opened at Geneva, for the best essay, in French, on the means for establishing a general and permanent Peace. The results of these offers of prizes have not yet transpired. In their former Reports, your Committee have, with pleasure, adverted to a partial recognition by America and Great

2 z

Britain, of the principle of settling disputes by arbitration, in the adjustment of some differences that existed between them; and though the present does not appear to be the proper time for the Peace Society in Great Britain to press this subject upon the consideration of government, your Committee wait with interest the result of the measures taken by the American and Geneva Peace Societies.

In America, nothing has, perhaps, fostered the war spirit more than the militia trainings; on this subject the Report of the American Peace Society remarks," One thing ought not to pass unnoticed, and that is the great change which has taken place in the public opinion on the militia system. Militia titles have ceased to be an object of desire, or an enviable distinction, and this nursery of war has been but little cultivated in many of the states, and quite abandoned in others. The number of those who delight in war is now but small, and is gradually diminishing, as the labours of the Peace Societies increase, and light has taken the place of dark ness. Neither have our American friends overlooked the important duty of implanting right principles in the minds of the youth. They report the publication of the following SundaySchool Books: - Charles Ashton, the Boy that would be a Soldier ;The Sword, or Christmas Present;

Howard and Napoleon contrasted; and, ere this, the following works have probably been added to the above: The Adventures of a French Serjeant ;-Christ and Mahomet. [See Appendix, No. I.]

[ocr errors]

New Peace Societies have been established at Lowell, Massachusetts; at Concord, the capital of New Hampshire; and at Hanover, in the same state. A new State Peace Society has also been established in Connecticut, which has opened a correspondence with your Society, through its secretary, the Rev. Thomas H.

Gallaudit, and promises to be an efficient auxiliary in our cause.

[ocr errors]

Your Committee have kept up an active correspondence with the Geneva Peace Society, through its zealous and indefatigable President the Comte de Sellon. That Society has commenced the publication of a periodical work, under the title of "Archives de la Société de la Paix de Genève;” the first number of which has been received. Among other interesting articles, this number contains the Rules of the Geneva Peace Society, a copy of which, accompanied with a letter, M. de Sellon sent to most of the Potentates, and Ministers of State, and other functionaries in Europe, the receipt of which has been not only respectfully, but with expressions of approbation, acknowledged by M. Casimir Perrier; the King of Prussia; the Cabinet of the King of Holland; and the Prince of Denmark; a copy of whose letters is inserted in this number of the " Archives de la Société de la Paix de Genève," which also contains an Address the Comte de Sellon delivered to the Geneva Peace Society, on the 12th of June, 1831. In this Address, M. de Sellon says,

I cannot abstain from lamenting that there are so many persons who assume the excellent title of Christian, yet continue the advocates of War, and give us cause to think, by their conduct, that they have not meditated upon the sublime discourse of our Saviour Jesus Christ on the mount, which assigns to the Gospel the part that it is to act upon earth, and which promises to effect the triumph of moral, over physical power." [See Appendix, No. II.] Is it not a subject of serious and painful reflection, that in Great Britain, which stands pre-eminent among the nations for moral and intellectual light, there should be many, not merely nominal, but highly professing Christians, to whom M. de Sellon's severe reproof would too truly apply? May they be brought to a just sense of the flagrant

inconsistency of the countenance they give to the murderous practice of War, with the moral precepts of that Gospel which they profess to take for their guide.

Some time since, several of your Tracts were sent to Holland; recent accounts from that country have proved that they have excited attention. A clergyman in the vicinity of Rotterdam has written, requesting information respecting the Peace Society, and a supply of its publications; the requisite information, with its publications, was sent him; a letter was also received from a lady of Groningen, giving a modest but interesting account of her attempts to promote the cause of the Peace Society in Holland. The immediate object of her letter was to request a supply of Tracts, as those which had been sent to her near relation, some time before, were most of them distributed; her request was complied with, since which she has sent us a few copies of Tract No. 8, by a Lady, as translated and published by herself, in Dutch, accompanied with an interesting letter, in which she says, that she has opened a correspondence with the clergyman above mentioned, and states her intention of publishing, in an Amsterdam newspaper, called the Atlas, an account of the establishment of the Geneva Peace Society, and that two articles from the Herald of Peace would appear in the next number of the Atlas from the date of her letter. The real excellence of this lady, and the value of her advocacy of our cause, will best appear from the following extracts from her letter. My time must be chiefly devoted to female occupations and household duties, and only now and then an hour of recreation can be employed in reading or writing. But still I do what I can, and the Lord will do what I cannot. I will persevere patiently, and should I never see success, I am sure he will give it in his time; that after me there will come other and better advocates

of the holy cause in which we are engaged." After adverting to the present situation of Holland as not being considered by some as favourable to the establishment of a Peace Society there, in which opinion she does not altogether acquiesce, she proceeds: "I do not know that I shall live to see better times, but I know that we must work while it is yet day, so I will promote the beneficent object of your Society as much as I can, and rely for help and success on Him, the Prince of Peace, to whom is given all power in heaven and upon earth." In the labours and devotedness of this pious female, we realized a degree of that faith to which our Saviour ascribes so much power, as to be able to remove mountains, and which may figuratively be applied to those difficulties which, to an ordinary mind, will appear insurmountable, and also to the Divine aid in overcoming them, which will be extended to all who, with pure devotion, endeavour to do the will of their Heavenly Father.


May the females of this highlyfavoured Isle examine whether their hearts are imbued with the same devout and holy faith and zeal which adorn this distinguished lady; and whether, like her, they are exerting all their influence to prevent the recurrence of the bloody work of War, that cruel scourge, which, by the violent disruption of the dearest-the strongest ties of nature, makes the heart of many a wife and many a mother to bleed. Say not that War and Peace depend exclusively on man; the influence of woman penetrates into the most confidential, the most sacred recesses of human intercourse; and if she does not use it in the holy cause of humanity, virtue, and religion, which prohibit the sanguinary custom of War, is she clear of the guilt, devastation, and ruin, which are its inevitable consequences?

Your Committee continue their friendly connexions with the Society

« PrécédentContinuer »