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Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the American Peace Society.

THE annual meeting was held on Tuesday, May 8th, 1832, in Clinton Hall. The chair was taken at 10 o'clock, by S. V. S. Wilder, Esq. and the meeting opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Somers, of the Baptist church of this city. After a few preliminary remarks by the chairman, the Annual Report was read by the secretary, Mr. Ladd.

After the reading of the Report, the following resolutions were offered and seconded, accompanied with remarks, by the gentlemen whose names are annexed :

1. That the Report now read be accepted and printed, under the direction of the Committee. By the Rev. C. G. Somers, of New York, and Rev. D. L. Carroll, of Brooklyn.

2. That the leading objects of the Peace Society are eminently accordant with the principles of the Gospel of Christ, and as such entitled to the countenance and support of all good men. By the Rev. George Bush, and the Rev. E. W. Baldwin, of New York.

3. That the time has arrived when VOL. VIII. NEW SERIES.

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preparations for a Congress of nations for the amicable adjustment of national disputes should be commenced, and that the friends of peace should make vigorous efforts for the accomplishment of this object.-By Mr. Ladd, of Maine, and Rev. C. Freeman, of Massachusetts.

4. That the Board of the American Peace Society invite the ministers of the Gospel of every denomination to preach one sermon a year on war and peace, and that they present every one who shall do this, and afford his aid in the circulation of the "Calumet," a copy of the work as it is published.-By Rev. T. S. Waterman, Rhode Island, and the Rev. L. D. Dewey, New York.

Mr. Somers remarked, that having been, when a child, by a very peculiar Providence, an eye-witness of the siege of Copenhagen by the British fleet under Lord Nelson, and having lost a brother in the action of Trafalgar, he had at that early age imbibed a horror of war in every form, which his subsequent reflection and observation had tended only to confirm.

Mr. Carroll dwelt with much earnestness on the duty of Christians to promote the objects of this institution, on the ground, that as they were

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required to attempt the removal of all obstructions to the spread of the Gospel, one so vast and formidable as war, imperiously claimed their attention, that this Herculean labour was to be achieved by the moral influence of Christianity, which was but another name for the efforts of individual Christians, and not the name of an abstraction-and that parents especially were bound to watch over the early associations of their children, and to prevent them from imbibing, whether by means of toys, books, or spectacles witnessed, the pernicious elements of the military spirit.

Mr. Bush expatiated on the community of character and aim, between this society and the Gospel of peacemaintaining that the same principles which actuated Christians in accomplishing other objects of benevolence, ought to operate also in regard to this-expressing strong confidence that the day was not far distant when this humble institution would rank high among its sister societies.

*** "Renouncing, therefore," he continued, "the dim and shadowy forecastings of human reason, and looking around us for a more solid basis for our hopes than the fond, but fallible, anticipations of philanthropists and perfectionists, we behold the lighted lamp of prophecy shining in the Cimmerian darkness of the future, with a lustre which extinguishes the twinkling beams of all mere rational sagacity or foresight, however true it may be that

"Old experience doth attain

To something of prophetic strain.' Giving ourselves up then to the conduct of the oracles of God, do not the visions of his gifted seers, piercing the long vista of coming ages- the dark forward and abysm of time'-lay open before us a scene of most exhilarating promise-a period when it shall be said of the long-protracted night of error, ignorance, irreligion, despotism, and bloodshed, that its shadows have

fled away, and the sunlight of a brighter and benigner period dawned upon the earth? Is not the assured hope of such a day—a day when wars and fightings shall cease-when the voice of wasting and destruction shall no more be heard in the borders of Zion-when there shall be a metamorphosis of the bloody weapons of war into the implements of husbandry and the peaceful arts when the spectacle of murderous legions shall no longer be an eye-sore to philanthropy and humanity—I say, does not such a prospect constitute the fundamental moral datum on which the success of our Christian efforts is mainly anticipated? Citations cumulative from holy writ might be easily adduced to this effect, and the predictions both of the early and the latter prophets laid under a willing contribution in support of such an expectation.

"But waving the express allegation of Scripture language before my present audience, permit me to ask, whether the common principles of action, in reference to predicted events, have not been in this case strangely lost sight of? Although we are looking forward with delighted hopes—scanning the signs of the times with a sanguine eye-and, full of joyous self-felicitation, referring ourselves, as the weird sisters referred Macbeth, 'to the coming on of time;' eagerly congratulating our race on the cessation of wars the world over—yet has not a sentiment of fatality given birth to a conduct of fatuity in relation to the great interests of peace? Have we not folded our hands in the baseless presumption that the result so ardently desired, and so confidently anticipated, was to be effected by omnipotence without subsidizing human agency in its production? unwarrantable to affirm, that the Christian world have seemed disposed, by a monstrous mal-appropriation, to screen their remissness under the saying of the prophet, Your strength is to sit

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still,' or to whisper a quietus to conscience in the words of Moses to Israel, Stand still and see the salvation of God?' They seem, in fact, to have assumed it for granted that the Lord would hasten the work in its time, and that nothing could be done to expedite the chariot-wheels of the Prince of Peace. * * *

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But, Sir, I believe that the men of God of this age are awakening to a juster appreciation of the subject before us. There are evident symptoms of the breaking of that magic military spell which has so long beguiled the reason, and fascinated the senses, and bound the hands, and tied the tongues, of the friends and lovers of human weal. And for one, I cannot doubt, Sir, that the time is not far distant when the objects of this benign institution shall be no longer undervalued or disparagedwhen, although it may now, if compared with the other more imposing institutions of the day, be accounted least among the thousands of Israel, it shall yet lift up its head among its elder sisters, and increasing numbers rally round its standard. Rally round its standard,' did I say? Sir, I know the potency of human language in perpetuating errors and evils, whether of sentiment or of action, and perhaps I ought to apologize for the use of a phraseology which I admit is not very congruous with the spirit and genius of the Peace Society. But the banners of peace are the banners of purity; they are not sullied with the stain of the vital dye of blood; they have never floated over the field of carnage; they have never, like other banners, been first consecrated at the altar, baptized, as it were, at the hallowed font of the sanctuary, and then crimsoned in the current flowing from human veins. No, Sir, the banners of this Society are as pure and innocuous as those which we have seen waving their silken folds over the multitudinous group of Sabbath-school children congregated at

this season in the streets and churches of our city. Sir, the banners of this Society are those of the Shiloh himself, which is, by interpretation, the pacificator, the tranquillizer, to whose standard the gathering of the nations shall indeed be, but not for purposes of bloodshed and devastation. His sacramental host shall achieve a conquest, it is true; but as Milton, in the inspiration of his prose, has expressed it, they shall conquer by the unresistible might of weakness;' or as the followers of the Lamb in the Apocalyptic visions are said to have achieved their victory, because they loved not their lives unto death!'

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I repeat then the remark, that the time probably is not far distant when this humble and pacific institution shall rank by the side of the Bible and Tract Societies, and listening thousands shall annually await, in eager expectation, the report of its progress and its triumphs.

And surely it is standing upon the Mount of Delectable Vision to look forward to the associated achievments of these kindred charities! Sir, I have been within the walls of the Depository of the American Bible Society, and seen its columnar masses of Bibles piled from the floor to the ceiling, and I have thought of the pillars that upheld the universe; certainly they were the pillars that upheld the fabric of the moral universe, which, if subverted, would turn the foundations of the earth out of course. Standing in the precincts of this great revelation-receptacle, was it unnatural that I should conceive myself in the very heart of the camp of God, and should imagine a voice sounding in my ear in the words addressed to Jacob at Mahanaim- This is God's host.' Yes, Sir, such is the involuntary suggestion :—this is the encampment-the sacred parembole—of his army. And O! how different from a cantonment, a rendezvous, of the embattled legions of a human army! How vastly different the associations

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awakened by the two! From the one goes forth an army of martial myrmidons to waste, kill, and destroy. From the other issues a ministration of mercy to bless, to sanctify, to save. The benignant émanations of the one cause the widow's heart to leap for joy, and the children of distress to become vocal with thanksgiving and the voice of melody. The sallying squadrons of the other open the sluices of conjugal and parental sorrow, making houses headless, whelming orphans in redoubled woe, and converting, in fine, the widowed mother with her fatherless children, Niobe-like, into a group stricken and petrified with grief.

"Now, Sir, I will venture to say, that the moral armament which is sent forth from the stored chambers of yonder Biblical depôt, has no object more definite and direct, no tendency more legitimate and palpable, than to confront, cope with, and conquer the whole horrid apparatus of war. This is one of the enemies which is to be dislodged from his usurped dominions by the consecrated crusade of the Bible. Yes, Sir, every Bible is brought into array against every cannon, and will eventually extinguish its thunder and smoke. Every tract is opposed to every musket, and will finally quench its fiery flash. And so complete will be the silent but efficacious triumphs of the Gospel, that it shall at length transform the costume of war into the habiliments of peace, denuding every shoulder of its epaulet, and every hat of its cockade; while its etherial virtue, like the electric fluid, will fuse every sword in its scabbard, and liquefy the blade of the battle-axe in the hand of the warrior. Nay, the sumptuous housings of the war-horse, whose neck is clothed with thunder and the glory of his nostrils terrible,' will be deemed put to a better use when trampled with the straw beneath his feet, than when formed into the gorgeous caparison of the steed of battle. But ah! how

stupendous must be the revolution in public sentiment before this halcyon era shall bless the world!

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"I am astonished—rapt-lostwhen I think of the wonder and awe with which coming generations will look back upon the belligerent character of their forefathers! Will not the record of every war be in their estimation a blazoned memorial of the folly and infatuation of their Christian ancestors? Will not the pæans and the Te Deums of victory chanted in Christian temples be regarded by them as a gross desecration of those sacred altars, and kindle in the retrospect a feeling kindred to that of the pious Jew when the Roman standards, the abomination of desolation,' were seen standing in the holy place? Oh! how melancholy will be the mementos which history will hand down to after-ages of the ages past! We are told that Napoleon, in whom the mythologic Mars may be said to have made his grand Avatar to the earth, caused the cannon taken on the field of Austerlitz to be re-cast and converted into a proud triumphal monument which now adorns the city of Paris. Sir, I haye sometimes imagined to myself, in the picturings of prophetic fancy, that I saw the pacific sons of the Millennium busied in heaping up the piles of brazen ordnance, which will form so large a part of the legacy we bequeath them, into a massive and mournful structure, commemorative of the effects of the worst of human passions going forth in the direst of human plagues. I assure you it would form a mountain of brass and iron which would shame the pigmy pyramids of Egypt.

"But I still think, Mr. President, that we may solace ourselves in the confident anticipation of such a period. It is unquestionable that the bulwarks of war are weakening in their foundations. The chief corner stone is loosening in the temple of this cacodomon of devastation—this fiend of fire and sword-this Apollyon

of blood and carnage, having the shades of perdition darkening on his forehead. And suffer me to say, Sir, that for one I shall not wonder if the expulsion of the fell destroyer from the earth be effected, under Providence, by the progress and results of revolutions, breaking down the great masses of empire which have hitherto constituted the chief of its strong holds. To my own conviction nothing is clearer than that great consolidated governments-kingdoms and monarchies spread over immense territories and cemented by despotic thrones have formed, in all ages, the grand abutments on which the centre arch of the edifice of war has rested. Take them away, and the building falls. In other words, if this groaning world is ever to be filled with the beatitudes of peace, society must be resolved into simpler elements. I imagine, therefore, that we are not to be surprised if the Providence of God should pave the way for the universal prevalence of peace by a gradual process of crumbling down, dismembering, and disintegrating the belligerent sovereignties of the earth. But however this may be, and it is doubtless a theme to the discussion of which the nations are not yet prepared to listen, our duties as individuals are plain, our success and our reward are certain. Let the genuine principles of our Divine religion be but fairly and fully understood and vigorously carried into acts even by the present number of its professed disciples, and peace, that heavenly visitant, shall yet again revisit the abodes from which she has been ruthlessly driven. She shall come with her ten thousand doves flying through the hemisphere of heaven on silver wings, with olive branches in their beaks; while the warlike eagle, the bird of Jove, with, all his ravenous and ill-boding train, shall be frayed away from the sacrificial holocaust of the universe of human hearts offered up in sweet oblation to the Lord Almighty."


Mr. Ladd, in his characteristic manner, drew a glowing picture of the horrors of war, lamented the apathy which prevailed in regard to the interests of peace, acknowledged the present unpopular character of the institution, but strenuously urged its claims on the prayers and efforts of Christians, as a cause which heaven had irrevocably purposed to prosper.

Mr. Freeman expressed his conviction, that many of the desolating effects usually supposed to have been wrought by time alone, were really attributable in a great measure to the devastations of war and that the scythe of the one would have been more powerless, had the sword of the other remained in its scabbard.

Mr. Waterman observed, that although a number of the audience had withdrawn for the purpose of attending the sabbath-school meeting, yet, if he had no other object than to befriend that cause, he would choose to do it through the medium of the Peace Society, as he had often found the military parade of Saturday a serious obstacle to the religious instruction of children on the Sabbath, and that the militia system was one of the principal means of deteriorating the morals of, the youth of our country.

It was proposed by the offerer of the last resolution that, in order to obtain something more than a mere verbal assent to it, those clergymen present, who were willing to agree to its terms, should evidence their com pliance by rising. Exceedingly to the gratification of the friends of peace, the proposition was responded to by the simultaneous rising of the whole clerical body assembled, with scarcely a single exception.

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