restricted access Race Street Meeting, Philadelphia, March 14, 1869
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180 Race Street Meeting, 1869 Notwithstanding all the apparent love of war and fighting, there is an innate love of peace, an innate love of justice, the hearts of the people are right. Let us therefore respect these and keep on in our work, do that which hands find to do, and though our meetings may be small, not many of us, not many learned, not many great ones, we must be satisfied to work on. We can do much better than we did in the early days of the women’s Anti-slavery Society, we did not know how to take a vote—we had to call in a colored man [James McCrummell] and ask him. But in this Peace movement we understand better what to do, there will be stronger men and stronger women and they will all aid us and I doubt not the time is far nearer than many of us anticipate, when this barbarous custom will be abandoned, and I always mean to have hope that the good will ever prevail. PD Bond of Peace, vol. 2, no. 1 (January 1869), 13–14 1. LM, JM, and Alfred Love had founded the Pennsylvania Peace Society in 1866, with the first convention to be held in January 1867 (Palmer, 381). 2. Speakers included Levi K. Joslin, who argued that war is murder in the first degree and “that Church and Government are the chief criminals” (Bond of Peace, 1). 3. Joshua Blanchard (1782–1868), a Boston merchant, was a long-time member of the American Peace Society, but objected to its refusal to condemn the Civil War. In 1866 he was one of the founders of the Universal Peace Union (Valarie H. Ziegler, The Advocates of Peace in Antebellum America (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1992, 2001), 149–52. Race Street Meeting, Philadelphia, March 14, 1869 There is a principle in the human mind which renders all men essentially equal. I refer to the inward principle, to the power of discerning and doing right, to the moral and religious principle. This is the great gift of God to man; I can conceive no greater. This sentiment of one of the apostles of our times [William Ellery Channing] is worthy of all acceptation.1 But as the veneration of the believer and worshiper among us generally is directed more to the outward authority of the Scriptures, I would quote: “This is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” This principle, or doctrine, or great tenet of the Quakers, so called, of the Religious Society of Friends from its origin, is becoming more and more the accepted creed of many of the enlightened of other professions. Many attached to other religious organizations, and who have a right to that attachment, have still an increasing interest and faith in this divine inward principle. It matters less as to the various beliefs with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity or Unity, of Predestination or Fore Ordination of any kind. As regards many of these religious tenets of the professors, they are held in faith or they are not, according to the circumstances of education and the daring, the increasing daring of men, to do their own thinking, to reason and judge for themselves, to “try all things, prove all things, and only hold fast to that which is good.” Race Street Meeting, 1869 181 After the Apostle Paul had enlarged on the catholicity, if I may so speak, of the religion which he would advocate and spread, he returned to his Jewish education, and said the question might be asked: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?” And his answer was “Much every way.” So it seemed to me reflecting on this great interrogatory and its answer, since I took my seat here; so it seemed to me might be said of the Quaker, or Friend, with the general belief—the belief in the universal salvation of all sects or denominations, and equally those of no particular sect or denomination with the universality of the light which they preach: what advantage then hath the Quaker? or what benefit in these peculiar and specific teachings? May we not answer: much every way. And why? Because from the early days of this Society of the faith in this inward principle and its teachings as the great monitor, directing aright, turning to the right hand or to the left, saying: this...