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judgment on this matter as a mere policy to be adopted by States only nominally Christian: the condition undoubtedly of all the so-called Christian governments of the present day.
The great Apologist of Quakerism, Robert Barclay, writing in 1675, when the Society was in its greatest purity and vigour, expressly says on this subject, respecting governments which have not come to the pure dispensation of the Gospel,' that whilst they are in that condition we shall not say that war undertaken on a just occasion is altogether unlawful to them.' 'For,' he adds, they are not yet fitted for this form of Christianity, and therefore cannot be undefending themselves until they attain that perfection.' (Apol. prop. xv. p. 538).
But to those earnest men who felt they had come to the pure dispensation,' or rather had been brought to it by God's revealing spirit, and who recognised the obligation that belongs to Divine teaching, this principle of the unlawfulness of war to the Christian, was no mere counsel of perfection which might be relegated to the far distant future. On the contrary, they accepted it as a truth for immediate use, which they were called upon as practical men faithfully to work out for the welfare of mankind. They not only preached a great principle without compromise or dilution, but they felt called to put it into practice in the face of the world. At the very time that Barclay was writing his Defence of the Society of Friends and their principles, a great enterprise was being organised by these people, under the leadership of the celebrated William Penn. This movement had for its object the building up in the wilds of America of a free state, whose constitution, representing the convictions of the citizens, should be founded on New Testament principles, including among these principles the old doctrine of the Primitive Church, that war, in the ordinary blood-shedding sense of the word, was unlawful to the Christian.
The story of this unique experiment in statesmanship will be startling and mysterious to those who believe that the only way for even Christians to secure peace is to prepare for war. The Quaker statesmen of Pennsylvania had, in a certain elementary form, their foreign affairs and their foreign policy. The Indians were all round them, not, as now, the dwindling and feeble remnants of an ancient race, but swarming everywhere, subtle, suspicious, bloodthirsty, and at first intensely prejudiced against the white faces. But a just foreign policy, based upon Christian principle, and backed, not by bluster and threats, but by forbearance and conciliation and fair dealing, proved a perfect success. There was no attempt at intimidation, no cowardly truckling to unreasonable demands. Disputes and misunderstandings at times arose, but arrangements existed for disposing of them by impartial courts. Above all, there was one prevailing policy of good will, in the daily intercourse between Christian and savage, which slew enmity and disarmed suspicion. And so it came to pass that peace was maintained with honour by
the State of Pennsylvania, and under some specially unfavourable circumstances, for the long period of seventy years; until, in fact, the principle was abjured, and the pacific policy which was its outcome abandoned.
To stigmatize men who achieved this and other remarkable work, through their loyalty and faith towards both God and man, as Peaceat-any-price men,-to insinuate that they were spiritless timid folk, who spoke for peace because they were afraid of war, is to outrage common sense. The early Quakers were essentially a brave, fearless, fighting people, and the victories they won by their sturdy warfare unmistakably widened and confirmed the liberties of England. So far from accepting Peace-at-any-price, these men would accept peace at no price that taxed conscience, or which infringed their sense of the requirements of righteousness and truth. And however degenerate the Society may have become in later time, we have occasional evidence that there is not a little warlike blood and resolute determination still to be found within its borders. The fact is, that the difference between these men of peace and the military people is not one of courage or spirit, but of weapons.
One other point may be noted before passing away from that practical illustration of Quaker peace principles, the story of the founders of Pennsylvania. Contrary to the popular conception of their views on this subject, these peace-loving people believed in physical force, rightly administered, and in its right place. That right place, they held, could only be maintained by such physical force being kept strictly as the servant of law. They recognised not only the necessity, but the Christian rectitude and the beneficence to all parties, of an effective system of police. In the earliest days of Pennsylvania a police force was instituted, and the constable's baton was for many years the only weapon to be found in the State. The founders of the Quaker commonwealth saw a radical distinction between a policeman and a soldier, though both are undoubtedly exponents of physical force. A recent appeal from the Society of Friends, issued in 1878, and addressed to Christians, takes the same stand:We are conscious,' it says, of a specific difference between a civil and a military force. The civil force, rightly administered, is used under strict legal restraint, and within very definite limits, to preserve life and property. It is directed solely towards evil doers, and includes in its aims their reclamation and benefit. War, on the other hand, is the embodiment of lawlessness and violence.'
William Penn, in his essay on the Peace of Europe,' goes even further. Writing possibly from the point of view of one who had not come to the pure dispensation of the Gospel,' he has been thought to hint approvingly, though somewhat obscurely, at the establishment of an International police! These are his words:- The princes of Europe should establish one sovereign assembly, before which all international differences should be brought which cannot be settled by the embassies, and the judgment of which should be so
binding, that if any one Government offering its case for decision did not abide by it, the rest shall compel it.'
It may be difficult to see how such compulsion, carried out by physical force, would result in anything but war. But there are various forms of pressure available amongst nations besides that of cutting throats. To say nothing of diplomacy and friendly remonstrance, there are all the other powers of patience, moral influence, and the common sense of most,
To keep a fretful realm in awe;
besides the full force of an enlightened self-interest, which would, in the long run, strive its utmost—when the nations had once entered on a pacific course to avoid being again drawn into the mad and costly rivalries of war. There is, in fact, no evidence that even an International Police, however needful in other directions as a substitute for armies, would be required to induce dissatisfied nations to accept the verdict of a supreme tribunal, such as William Penn, in his essay, projects. The experience of the last fifty years in International Arbitration has been in this respect very encouraging. Instances have occurred again and again of high-spirited and powerful nations cheerfully accepting an adverse decision in their case. feeling has been that they have thereby conformed to the requirements of justice and civilisation by appealing to a nobler arbitrament than that of the sword, and that, whatever the decision, they had maintained peace with honour, and were immeasurable gainers over those who resort to war. But the very suggestion of compulsion, in whatever form, from so great a Quaker authority as Penn, goes to strengthen the evidence already adduced, that the Society of Friends are not the propagandists of a Peace-at-any-price policy, as the phrase is commonly understood.
The Peace Society, while making the same urgent appeal as the Society of Friends, to Christian people to be faithful to a great Christian principle, not as a matter of expediency, but as a matter of duty, has also a strong case to present to those who do not accept such doctrine. It is in fact in this latter direction that the work of the Peace Society chiefly consists. On this subject, Mr. Richard,. the eminent secretary of the society, in addressing a meeting of those who accepted the full Christian principle, used these words:
There are two aspects under which the Peace question may be regarded, namely, the principle of Peace, and the policy of Peace. former is the testimony we have to bear; the latter is the work we have to do. I believe that abstinence from violence, practised on Christian principle, in a Christian spirit, and from Christian motives, would often be safer for a man or a nation than the other course. But I do not say that it would be safe for an individual who has been acting all his life, or for a nation which has been acting for a thousand years, on the opposite principle-the principle of suspicion, of defiance, of hostility-suddenly to abandon their defence. And nobody, so far as I know, has proposed that England should adopt this course.
It is evident from these words of its leader that the Peace Society is not chargeable with the terrible crime upon which Lord Beaconsfield heaped his invective. Upon governments only nominally Christian, and upon that predominant majority of people to whom all the commands of Christ have not yet acquired the force of supreme law, it has never urged a Peace-at-any-price policy, in whatever way this phrase may be construed. It has never pleaded with anybody, Christian or non-Christian, for a policy that was either truckling or visionary. On the contrary, its teaching has been manly and practical, directed to questions prominently before the public, and having in view the condition and needs of the times.
The Peace Society has taken for its text the generally accepted truth that war at its best is a horrible barbarism, a cruel and discreditable expedient for the disposal of international disputes. It has sketched with truthful but unsparing hand the misery, the immorality, and the incalculable waste with which not only war, but the preparations for war, are inevitably associated. It has pointed out that the dread arbitrament of the sword is at best a kind of lynch law among the nations, and that its decisions have no reference to the justice or right of the point in dispute. It has proved from history that the victories gained on the battle-field have been, in a vast number of instances, of no permanent advantage to mankind; and that treaties written by the bloody finger of war are, in many cases, speedily torn up and set aside. It has steadily raised its voice against the inroads of suspicion and passion and panic that have so often engendered war. It has declared that whilst tyranny and injustice and unrighteous intermeddling are as certain to produce war as filth and bad drainage are to produce fever, it finds in this fact no defence for either fever or war, but a call in each case for the remedies of
On the other hand, recognising that 'peace hath her victories, no less renowned than war,' whilst they are far more enduring and beneficent in their results, the Peace Society has sought to widen the range of these victories. It has maintained that they consist not only in the appliances of civilisation, the achievements of science, the extension of commerce, and the spread of intellectual culture, but also in the development of international morality, in the steady replacement among nations, of law for violence, of amity for jealousy, of a just foreign policy for that which is blustering and aggressive.
Further, it has in effect said to the people—
If you wish for peace, you must prepare for peace. You must abandon the policy of continual intermeddling. You must do your utmost to remove incentives to war, and to plant arrangements for the maintenance of peace. Great armaments, such as are now to be found everywhere, are not only ruinous to the finance of the nations, but they are admitted on all hands to be a constant provocative to war. Why not compel your Governments to enter into negotiation with other similarly burdened powers, with a view to the proportionate reduction of these bloated armaments by mutual agreement?
Again, in the course of its quiet agitation on the subject, it has persistently said—
International disputes and misunderstandings will no doubt continue to arise, but we have had many precedents of late times for honourably settling these without bloodshed, and without any traces of that hunger for revenge which is sure to be left by war. Why not take the needful steps for facilitating this peaceful and rational process by the development of international law, and by the institution of a Supreme Tribunal to administer such law, and to adjudge cases of disputes when they arise? We admit that these are proposals of surpassing difficulty, but they are at the same time of the deepest moment to the progress of liberty and the growth of civilisation; and there is no evidence that they are outside the field of true statesmanship or beyond its powers. But how are statesmen to be brought to the consideration of these perplexing problems? Simply by the force of public opinion declaring against the perpetuation of the war system, and demanding the institution of rational methods for settling disputed points. This public opinion it is our duty as a Peace Society to educe and develop.
Such are the avowed aims of the Peace Society, and in this direction lie the practical truths which it is seeking to enunciate. Where is there in all this anything visionary, anything degrading to true manhood, any hint at a policy of Peace-at-any-price?
The whole programme may be called perhaps a dream. It is none the less true that the dream of to-day has, times without number, grown into the grand fact of to-morrow. If dreaming dreams leads people to overlook the actual condition of things, and the terrible complications into which the barbarous policy of the past has landed us, it is obviously a very idle and even a mischievous occupation. But what is often styled by superficial observers as a Utopian dream, is really the summing-up of the purpose of a movement, and the picture of its hoped-for results; and as such it surely has its uses. A grand prospect is a grand incentive, though it may be very distant and somewhat undefined.
The sanitary reformer labours to stamp out fever and small-pox, and works in the hope that he and his fellow-labourers will finally achieve this as effectually as in Europe they have stamped out the plague. The educationist sends the schoolmaster abroad to dissipate the brutal ignorance that weighs down and threatens society; and looks forward to a time when sweetness and light' shall generally prevail. But because they do not at once, or even rapidly, attain their object in full, their dreams of educated and healthful communities are neither unreasonable nor useless.
So it is with the Peace Society. Its members look forward to what may be a distant prospect (though it is well not to forget the momentum which belongs to morals as well as to physics), when war shall be regarded in all civilised nations as a savage absurdity, altogether out of date. Meanwhile they are earnestly directing their efforts to the requirements of the day, and to the spread of light and