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In the following Letters, which, it is hoped, will be found unequivocally friendly to the real cause of Peace, the Author has not made it any part of his design, to pourtray the crimes and miseries of War. This task has been so ably fulfilled in those eloquent discourses and popular tracts which depict the horrors of warfare in general, and in some dreadful narratives of recent campaigns, that a repetition of the gloomy detail might be justly deemed superfluous. * The
* It is only since this manuscript and preface were complete for the press, that the sermon of Dr. Chalmers, published in 1816, entitled, “ Thoughts on Universal Peace,” has been put into iny hands.' Besides the general gratification derived from its perusal, I am naturally interested in the concluding paragraph, where attempts to promote pacific principles are eloquently encouraged. The author invites the friends of peace
10 come forward, each with his own peculiar con.
writer's purpose has been to confine himself to calm reasonings, conducted with as much
tribution;" and proceeds to suggest, as follows, the various departments in which their endeavours might be exercised :-“ Let' one take up the question of war in its principle, and make the full weight of his moral severity rest upon it, and upon all its abominations. Let another take up the question of war in its consequences, and bring his every power of graphical description to the task of presenting an awakened public with an impressive detail of its cruelties and its horrors. Let another neutralize the poetry of war, and dismantle it of all those bewitching splendours which the hand of misguided genius has thrown over it. Let another teach the world a truer and more magnanimous path to national glory, than any country of the world has yet walked in. Let another tell, with irresistible argument, how the Christian ethics of a nation are at one with the Christian ethics of its humblest individual. Let another bring all the resources of his political science to'unfold the vast energies of defensive war, and show, that, instead of that ceaseless jealousy aud disquietude which are ever keeping alive the flame of hostility among the nations, each may wait, in prepared security, till the first footstep of an invader shall be the signal for mustering around the standard of its outraged rights, all the steel, and spirit, and patriotism, of the country. Let another pour the light of modern speculation into the mysteries of trade, and prove that not a single war has been undertaken for any of its objects, where the millions and the millions more which were lavished on the cause, have not at all been cheated away from us by the phantom of an imaginary interest. This may look to many like the Utopianism of a ro. mantic anticipation, but I shall never despair of the cause of truth addressed to a Christian public, wheu the clear light of principle can be brought to every one of its positions, and when its practical and conclusive establishment forms one of the most distinct of Heaven's prophecies, that men shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn the art of war any more.'
Only a part of the topics at which this powerful writer glances, have conie within the scope of my design, though perhaps more than a suitable portion, according to that division of the undertaking which be proposes. Assuredly, I feel with what feebleness and dryness I have
order and exactness as he was capable of giving them, seeking to avoid asperity towards any party, and more especially all appearance of disrespect towards those advocates of peace from whom he is compelled partially to differ. He bespeaks only thus much justice, of the reader and the critic, that he may not be supposed to have selected, with an arrogant vanity, topics appropriate to statesmen, or to be senselessly puffed up with the notion that he shall influence their councils. His professed and real purpose has been to ascertain the duty of a private Christian, an object important to every man, whatever be his rank either of intellect or of society. When, by the objections to his principles which it was necessary to anticipate, he has been led into considerations and arguments more strictly political, these can be regarded only as arising collaterally from his primary design. He is also as much aware, as any sarcastic censor can be, that the disabling poverty of the State has a more restrictive and tranquillizing operation on the patrons of war, than all the volumes of argument by which far better advocates of peace could labour to preserve it. But he conceives, that now, while the nation is aching under its burdens, of necessity reposing after its long contests, and unfortunately too much at leisure, it is at least an opportune moment for the grave inquiry, whether those animating pursuits for which many of our countrymen are so restlessly or piningly impatient, be accordant with Christian principle. He earnestly wishes that other writers, possessing that established influence with the public, of which he is destitute, would join in pressing this inquiry on their serious hours. There is no doubt, that, to several classes of modern readers, the following pages will be altogether uninviting : but those who contemplate with real pain the fre
treated them, comparatively with that impression which he himself might produce, should he direct his energy to the developement of either. It is altogether doubtful, how far the reasonings and practical conclusions of the following Letters may have his concurrence; but it has gratified me to discover that the various discussion of this subject appears expedient and hopeful to such a mind; and I sincerely desire that his sentiments (both as seen in his own pages and in this place) may call forth much more effective contributions in the cause, than that which is now presented.
quent recurrence of war among nations called Christian, who deplore, not its temporary ravages alone, but its demoralizing effects even on countries exempted from these, and who see no gleam of hope for the diminution of such evils, except in the increased influence of practical Christianity, may perhaps take an interest in this inquiry; and such readers, although they should disagree with the writer in judgment, will treat his intentions and his opinions with candour.
Frome, February, 1820.