May 16. I was much pleased with what you said of Louis Blanc. Judging him by his writings I admire him much. I have now read the first volume of his history of the old Revolution. It is a masterly work. . . . And yet the future which he seeks cannot be forced. Fraternity cannot be imposed on mankind. It will come with the elevation of the moral and intellectual nature of man, when the social atmosphere is changed to a more genial temperature by gradual but incessant influence. To expect it now is to expect a full-blown rose in a northern winter.Sumner delivered May 28, 1849, an address before the American Peace Society, at its anniversary meeting in Park Street Church, Boston, taking for his subject the immediate aim of the Society,—‘the abolition of the institution of war, and of the whole war system as an established arbiter of justice in the Commonwealth of Nations;’1 and advocating as a substitute a Congress of Nations, with a high court of judicature, or arbitration established by treaties between nations. His argument was that as tribunals of peace have taken the place of force in disputes between individuals, towns, counties, and the States of our own country as well as between States under certain historic leagues, such a tribunal should succeed to force in controversies between nations. He illustrated his thought by the tendency of mankind to unity which has associated individuals, families, tribes, States into a nation, excluding all resort to force between them, and contended that the same principle of attraction should at the next stage associate nations to the extent of the submission of all questions between them to the decision of a common tribunal established by their consent. He suggested for the preservation of domestic peace a constabulary force in place of the militia, and the retention of the navy ‘so far as necessary in arrest of pirates, of traffickers in human flesh, and generally in preserving the police of the sea.’ He traced the idea of universal peace among nations, or of some method of adjusting their controversies without resort to arms, as developed in writers of different periods, and in the peace movements of modern times. This elaborate review extended the address to a great length, and in a measure diminished its effect as an argument; but always no labor was so congenial to Sumner as to trace a thought or sentiment through the literature of different ages and countries, and he could not refrain from it even though it expanded his discourse beyond proper limits. He recurred
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1 Works, vol. II. pp. 171-277.
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