previous next
[68] egotism, I shall at least show myself not insensible to your good opinion, while I strive to disabuse your mind of any prejudice which may have arisen on account of the course to which you have referred. my name is connected somewhat with two questions, which may be described succinctly as those of peace and slavery. To these may be added prison-discinpline. In thus restraining it to these, I would not be understood as expressing indifference to any matter by which the welfare of our race is advanced. Let me recount briefly the manner of my connection with these questions.

That which earliest interested me, and which has always occupied much of my thoughts, is the peace question. When scarcely nine years old, it was my fortune to listen to President Quincy's address before the Peace Society, delivered in the Old South Church. It made a deep and lasting impression on my mind; and though, as a boy and youth, I surrendered myself to the illusions of battles and wars, still as I came to maturity I felt too keenly their wickedness and woe. A lecture which I heard from Mr. Ladd,1 in the old court house at Cambridge, shortly after I left college, confirmed these impressions. My ripened convictions were known to my friends, and were often the subject of conversation. Nor did I confine the expression of them to my own country. When in Europe, it so happened that on more than one occasion, in conversation and otherwise, in France, Germany, and England, I dwelt upon this subject. Let me relate an incident. In Paris, M. Victor Foucher, Procureur-General du Roi. being engaged upon a treatise on the law of nations, did me the honor, in the winter of 1838 (more than ten years ago,) to ask me to read a portion of his manuscript, inviting my criticism. On studying it, I observed that he had adopted in his prolegomena, among the fundamental principles of the law of nations, that war was recognized as the necessary arbitrament or mode of determining justice between nations, thus giving to it the character of a legal institution. In returning his manuscript, I ventured to call his attention to this dogima; and while admitting that it was received by every publicist from Alberius Gentilis to the present day, suggested to him to be the first to brand it as unchristian and barbarous, and to declare that the institution, of war, defined, sanctioned, and upheld by the law of nations as a mode of determining justice between them, was but another form of the ordeal by battle, which was once regarded as a proper mode of determining justice between individuals. This view, which you will perceive does not in any Way interfere with the right of self-defence or the stability of government or the sword of the magistrate. I developed at some length at a later day in an oration to which I shall refer. I relate this experience in Paris that you may see that I early expressed my opinions on this subject, and did not shrink from so doing in places where they might naturally find little favor. After an absence of two years and a half in Europe, I returned to Boston, and was at once received, not without consideration. In the very month of my arrival (May, 1840), seeing a notice in the papers of the meeting of the American Peace Society, I attended it. The Rev. Henry Ware was in the chair. I think there were not more than twelve persons present. We met in a small room under the Marlboroa Chapel. On motion of Dr. Gannett, I was placed upon the executive committee, and from that time Was in the habit of attending

1 William Ladd, 1778-1841; he lived at Minot, me.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Paris (France) (1)
Minot, me. (Maine, United States) (1)
France (France) (1)
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William Ladd (2)
Henry Ware (1)
Roi (1)
Josiah Quincy (1)
E. S. Gannett (1)
M. Victor Foucher (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1841 AD (1)
May, 1840 AD (1)
1838 AD (1)
1778 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: