Pennsylvania Peace Society, Friends’ Meeting House, Abington, Pennsylvania, September 19, 1869
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Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1869 191 5. During the afternoon session, Minnie Merton, a “victim of a monomania,” demanded to speak. Several women tried to persuade her to leave, and a policeman attempted to escort her off stage. Finally, the audience supported her right to address the assembly. Her “wild harangue” argued that it was the “duty of Government to take care of the women” (New York Tribune, May 15, 1869). 6. The New York Herald reported, “the Equal Rights women want to be free in everything but love . . . they piously affirm and passionately declare they do not want ‘free love.’ When they began their agitation the great oppression was the tyranny of marriage” (New York Herald, May 15, 1869). Pennsylvania Peace Society, Friends’ Meeting House, Abington, Pennsylvania, September 19, 1869 I feel greatly comforted in seeing such a large gathering here. There has been evidence ever since our late war, that the subject of peace is taking a deep hold on the minds of many persons, especially those who were engaged in that contest, many of these came home more opposed to war than ever before, and those in our society who enlisted in the war because they felt that it was necessary to overthrow the great evil of slavery which threatened the destruction of the government. These friends have been willing to go as far as they could in acknowledging the evils of war, and the great regret that the country was thus involved. I rejoice that there is this evidence of interest in the cause of Peace. The treatment of the Indians may seem, by some, not to be strictly relevant to the subject of peace, and one for the Peace Society to take up, but we know as in the great crime of human slavery, that it never could have gone to the extent it has, but for war, so with the Indians they never could have arrived at the state of revenge and cruelty towards the white inhabitants of this land, if they had not set the example by taking the sword.1 Our friend mentioned that one great object of this society, was the education of the people of this country.2 I knew not what branch of this subject would be considered at this meeting. Greatly interested as I am in this question of Peace, it occurred to me as I was coming to this meeting, that what ought to be considered was the condition of our country and our State. I know there is an effort to have a portion of the education in the Public Schools of the country of a military character. I do not know how far military tactics, training, and preparations have been introduced among the little children in our public schools. It seems to me that it is a duty that we owe to ourselves and to our children, to our State and to the world, as a Peace Society, if this practice is still continued to bear our testimony against it,—to enter some protest against it, and urge that States shall not introduce anything of this kind. I met a few days ago a Roman Catholic father, and in speaking of the education of that society, he said the Catholics never have given attention to the education of their people, said he, how could that be carried on in our country, when the popular education was not in accordance with their most conscientious belief—they could not send their children to Public schools.3 192 Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1869 I believe there never was more willingness and openness in the minds of the people, to hear appeals made for peace in a way that can be carried out, than at present. I know that we cannot availingly advocate peace principles, until we are prepared to carry out the spirit of peace,—that spirit which delights not in anything like revenge, and indulging in any feeling towards the wrong doer, but a spirit of forgiveness. That this is attainable the testimonies on record go to show, and very desirable is it that there should be a sufficient number of the advocates of peace, so grounded and settled in the principles of peace, that they may know of what they speak, and thus be enabled to labor to prepare the minds of the people, for a better way of settling their disputes. It may not be necessary to hold up the idea that all must attain to this...