John Greenleaf Whittier.
(Read at the reosption in Boston of the English delegation representing more than two hundred
members of the British Parliament who favor international arbitration.)
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
AMESBURY, 11th Mo., 9, 1887.
IT is a very serious disappointment to me not to be able to be present at the welcome of the
Amerlean Peace Society to the delegation of more than two hundred members of the. British
Parliament who favor international arbitration. Few events have more pr ofoundly impressed me
than the presentation of this peaceful overture to the President of the United States. It seems to
me that every true patriot who seeks the best interests of his country and every believer in the
gospel of Christ must respond to the admirable address of Sir Lyon Playfair and that of his
colleagues who represented the workingmen of England. We do not need to be told that war is
always cruel, barbarous, and brutal; whether used by professed Christians with ball and bayonet,
or by hea then with club and boomerang. We cannot be blind to its waste of life and treasure and
the demoralization which follows in its train; nor cease to wonder at the spectacle of Christian
nations exhausting all their resources in preparing to slaughter each other, with only here and
there a voice, like Count Tolstoy's in the Russian wilderness, crying in heedless ear that the gospel
of Christ is peace, not war, and love, not hatred.
The overture which comes to us from English advocates of arbitration is a cheering assurance that
the tide of sentiment is turning in favor of peace among English speaking peoples. I cannot doubt
that whatever stump orators and newspapers may say for par ty purposes, the heart of America
will respond to the generous proposal of our kinsfolk across the water. No two nations could be
more favorably conditioned than England and the United States for making the "holy experiment
In our associations and kinship, our aims and interests, our common claims in the great names and
achievements of a common ancestry, we are essentially one people. whatever other nations may
do, we at least should be friends. God grant that the noble and generous attempt shall not be in
vain! May it hasten the time when the only rivalry between us shall be the peaceful rivalry of
progress and the gracious interchange of good.
"Where closer strand shall lean to strand,
Till meet beneath saluting flags,
The eagle of our mountain crags,
The lion of our mother land!"