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ral thousand years, the enormous expenditures which in every country are devoted to military objects,-the vast numbers of men who imagine that their interest or their fame must rise or fall with the popularity of war,-the many also, who suppose that they understand the subject sufficiently to decide, without the labour of investigation,--and the whole mass of human depravity. These all stand arrayed to obstruct the object of Peace Societies.
An answer is given to the objection, that war is necessary from the very nature of man, by an appeal to history, which shows us that many customs, once esteemed quite as necessary, have yet passed away. "Public opinion, custom, and habit, always create a kind of necessity in their own favour."
At one period in the history of our ancestors, they were of the opinion that human sacrifices were acceptable to God, and the most efficacious means of appeasing his anger, and procuring his aid. While such was the prevailing sentiment, human sacrifices were as necessary "from the very nature of man," as wars have been in this age. But as soon as public opinion was changed, the necessity of such sacrifices ceased to exist, and the custom was of course abolished. The same things may be affirmed of other barbarous customs, the histories of which are now read with astonishment mingled with horror.
Within less than 150 years, the learned Christians of Massachusetts regarded "liberty of conscience," or "toleration," as the first-born of all abominations; and were of the opinion that "to destroy the bodies of those wolves," who propagate erroneous opinions, is not "frustrating the end of Christ's coming, which was to save souls, but a direct advancing it." While such was the popular sentiment, there was a necessity of hanging or burning men for their conscientious opinions,--and the best of men were as liable to suffer as the worst. But in our times, that liberty of conscience which our ancestors regarded with so much horror, is acknowledged in our civil constitutions, as one of the essential and unalienable rights of man. Of course, there is now no necessity of destroying "the bodies" of men on account of their religious opinions. Such scenes as were formerly witnessed in New-England, if now repeated, would fill the whole country with indignation and horror. A similar change in public sentiment, and in the constitutions and laws of the country, will render war, with all its bewildering splendour, an object of general abhorrence.
The 15th No. of The Friend of Peace is published, and contains the following additional facts relative to peace societies.
The New-York Peace Society has been lately re-organized and its concerns placed under the direction of a large Committee. The Annual meeting of the Society was held on the 25th of December; a valuable Report has been published, and the prospects of the society are flattering.
The Ohio Peace Society is also in a flourishing state; its numbers increasing and its exertions very considerable. This Society has republished eight numbers of the Friend of Peace, and has proposed to republish the remainder of the first volume. Four respectable Auxiliaries have been added to the M.P.S. Two new Peace Societies in the state of New-York have also been recently formed.
A proposed Constitution for a Vermont Peace Society has been published in the newspapers of that state.
The Friend of Peace has obtained a very extensive circulation. Nos. 1, 2, and 3, have already passed through seven edi tions, and the 7th edition of No. 4, is now in press. Several other numbers have passed through 5 or 6 editions, and the whole of the first volume has been reprinted.
Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians and others in North America.-The anniversary of this Society was holden in November last, when the discourse was preached by Rev. President Kirkland. The annual report has but just been published. It presents a detail of the operations of the Society in the District of Maine, and among some of the Indian tribes. In the District of Maine it supported, during the last year, eleven missionaries in various places, from two to four months each, and granted to some places pecuniary assistance for schools and religious instruction. By the accounts received from their missionaries, there appears to be in various parts of that country, a deplorable want both of common and of religious instruction. Many instances like the following are given:-"Last fall," says Mr. Sawyer, who has been occupied at Williamsburg and the vicinity, "I visited a neighbourhood, where I found their sons and daughters, of the age of eighteen or twenty years, who could not read a word. I engaged a young woman, of good qualifications, to teach them three months. The first week she had twenty-one scholars; and only three of them could read the alphabet. A few miles distant, I visited a family of thirteen, parents and children; and neither parent nor child could read a sentence in the word of God; in the nearest house was a family of seven in the same lamentable ignorance." Mr. Douglas says, "he finds great reason to lament the neglect of early religious instruction. New Series-vol. I.
Here are parents, surrounded with children, to whom even the first principles of religion have never been taught. He frequently examined the children before them, and, to their extreme mortification, found the children destitute of a knowledge of the existence of God." One girl of seventeen years old, could not even read. 'Mr. Parker informs us, "that at Pittston, East Parish, where there are about fifteen or twenty families, only one sermon has been preached since the settlement, fifteen years; that no missionary had ever before visited them, and that they were so poor as to be even neglected by the Methodists." From such specimens it is evident there is a great deal to be done in that part of our land; and the report of the society contains much gratifying information of what has been done successfully. Schools have been opened and maintained, and meetings for worship and preaching holden, which have undoubtedly been the means of great good.
With respect to the Indians, to whom a portion of the attention of this society is directed, their report gives some interesting intelligence, A school was opened for three months, among the Narragansetts, at Charlestown, Rhode Island, at which "the children, from twelve to twenty-four, appear to have made considerable improvement. A girl of about twelve years of age, says the Instructor, began in words of two syllables, and in the course of a week was in four syllables. She became well acquainted with the spelling book, and I advanced her to the Testament, and, at the close of the school, she could read in any part of the Testament with fluency and exactness. Numbers, who began in words of two syllables, read at the close with tolerable exactness." The Rev. T. Alden has performed a second mission of six weeks among the Seneca and Munsee tribes. He has given a particular account of some of his interviews with the natives, and of the topics on which he addressed them. They listened attentively, and answered him kindly. Their replies, in two instances, are given as follows:"Brother, we thank you for coming to see us. We thank the Great Spirit, that he has given you health and strength to come and talk to us about the works of God. We will thank the Great Spirit to preserve your health and to prosper you in going to the other villages of your red brethren.
"Brother, we have been told nearly the same things, which you have now told us, by men of different societies. We have considered them much. We fully understand every thing you have told us, and we shall take it into deeper consideration than we have ever done before.
"Brother, there is good and bad among us. Some are a long time in taking hold of the gospel. We hope all will one day take hold of it.
"Brother, we understand that you are going to Tonnewanta. Many chiefs are now assembled there in counsel; some of ours some from Buffalo, some from Alleghany, some from Gennesee, some from Cayuga, some from Oneida; and they all met toIt will be a good gether upon the same business you are on. time for you to go to Tonnewanta. We pray the Great Spirit to give you strength to talk to your red brethren at Tonnewanta. You could not have come and talked to us, if the Great Spirit had not given you strength."
On the other occasion, "It was almost sunset when the exercises were over. Pollard made a short address. His first sentence, delivered with a solemn countenance, was interpreted in these words :-We thank the Great Spirit, that we are brought so near to the close of another day in health and strength.
"After the above expression of thanksgiving to Almighty God, Pollard, in the name of the chiefs, thanked me for coming again to talk to them about the Great Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said they hoped that they should be enabled to remember what I had told them, and with God's merciful help give great attention to it, and that I might have health and strength to return in safety to my home."
Among the Stockbridge Indians there is a permanent missionary; and the account given of the state of things there, confirms the opinion we have always held, that substantial, permanent good to these poor savages, is to be principally hoped from permanent, resident, instructors. Under the labours of Mr. Sergeant, considerable moral and religious impression seems to have been made.
Mr. Sergeant visited the Oneida Indian village, where his children kept a Sunday school; and, though it was a rainy day, found, to his surprise, between thirty and forty children collected. This village of about twenty families, and upwards of fifty children, has been grossly neglected. "They generally understand and speak a little English, are very industrious, and have made considerable progress in civilization, but there is not one professor of religion among them." They had been "much inclined to work or play on the Sabbath;" our missionary "observes with pleasure, that this Sunday school has put a stop to their profaning the Sabbath."
The Indians appeared "so far engaged for a general refor mation, that they agreed to form two societies; the men by
themselves, and the women by themselves; for the promotion of temperance, morality, industry, and the arts of civilized life." On the first day of the year (1818,) instead of the intemperate and revelling practices which had been customary for many years past, there was a meeting for prayer and reading the Word of God.
The present state of this mission is, on the whole, apparently encouraging; and we may unite our hopes with our prayers, "that a remnant," at least, of this forlorn people, "may be saved."
Reform in English Prisons.-Hardly any thing in the way of active benevolence has taken place in this active age, so interesting as the exertions of a few women in London to civilize and render comfortable the prisoners in Newgate. This prison has of late years been crowded with double the number of prisoners it was constructed to hold; and the abuses which existed there, the uncleanness, the indecency, the riot, intemperance, gambling and quarrelling, were horrible to think of. The women's apartments were universally allowed to be the worst; so bad indeed, that those, who knew most about it, declared that reformation was absolutely impracticable. Nevertheless, in spite of all discouragement, Mrs. Fry, one of the society of Friends, visited the place, and accomplished a work of benevolence which has astonished all England; the history of which is one of the most wonderful and affecting in all the annals of charity, or of the world. Her first visit to the prison was in 1813. She found there nearly 300 women, crowded together, sometimes 120 in one ward; they slept on the floor without any bedding, and niany without clothing; they were openly drinking spirits, and swearing with shocking imprecations; every thing filthy to excess. She read to them from the Bible, and was convinced that something might be done for them. Circumstances prevented her visiting them again, until December 1816. She then found all the women playing at cards, or reading improper books, or begging at the gratings, or fighting for the money thus acquired, or engaged in the mysteries of fortune-telling. The children of these women, about seventy in number, were there with them; and Mrs. Fry's first object was to open a school for them, which she did, notwithstanding many discouragements, and constant assurances that her efforts would be utterly fruitless. The good effect was immediate; the most abandoned of the mothers thanked her with tears; and the younger of the women crowded