« PreviousContinue »
dustrial rivalry. It would set at liberty probably 2,700,000 men, who are now supported at an annual expense of 540,000,000 of dollars. This annual saving in ten years would amount to 5,400,000,000. By applying a portion of this saving to educate the rising generation and improve the means of commercial intercourse, the balance might be employed to pay off the national debts of Europe. By gradually reducing the taxes, and thus devoting the revenue, in twenty five years the whole national debt of the European nations would be paid off, the rising generation would be educated, and extensive lines of rail-ways and canals might be constructed. Then taxes, poverty and misery would give place to plenty and happiness. War would be exchanged for peace, and joy for mourning. This is a simple application of the principle of the Holy Alliance to the states of Europe without any change of their forms of government. It is most devoutly to be wished that the sovereigns of Europe would once more assemble and lay anew, by adopting this plan, the foundation of their thrones on the precepts of the Gospel, and in the hearts of an intelligent, peaceful, moral and industrious people.
Our code of the moral law of nations aims to substitute reason for force, peace for war,
and to establish firmly, and practically, equity and hu
manity in international transactions. We mere. ly re-assert the inspired declaration of the royal Psalmist :-" The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom—a good understanding have all they that do his commandments." We rely for? improvement in the code of public law upon the same onward and steady progress in the arts and sciences, in Christianity and civilization, which the history of the last two centuries records. Christianity, using in our day the power of the printing press and steam, is diffusing over the earth her genial influence, and impressing the doctrines of the Prince of Peace more efficaciously upon Christian as well as upon Pagan nations. For the future it must advance more rapidly than heretofore the civilization of mankind. Men of good understanding, and of humane disposition, in Europe and America, feeling the impulse, the moral rising of society, call for an amelioration of the law of nations, agreeable to the spirit of the Gospel, of right reason, and of this enlightened age. To meet this law of progress, and to aid its onward march'is our object. As light shines forth, darkness must be dissipated; as men become more Christian and more intelligent, a more powerful national public opinion will be found enforcing in international transactions peace, justice and benevolence.
THE MORAL LAW OF NATIONS.
We have, in the preliminary chapters, endeav- . ored to prove that the moral laws of God, prescribed for the regulation of human conduct, form the elements of our being, and are as fixed and certain as the laws of physical nature. We have shown that nations, by the law of their existence, are bound to peace, equity and humanity, and that suffering or destruction have uniformly arisen from violation of this benign, this celestial principle. For the purpose of accounting for the recent atrocities in war of the most cultivated nations of Europe, we have sought to establish the fact that Christianity is but partially known, and less regarded by the governments of that continent. The example of our republic has been presented to exhibit the results of the conjoint action of free Christianity, a free press and free government ; with suggestions of a practical mode of adopting American principles to the monarchies of Europe. The law of nations we derive from the fountain of all law, from God the Creator. The very idea of creative power implies an authority to prescribe the elements of their existence to mind and matter, a power to impress upon thern the law of their being. Hence mental and physical laws originally enacted by the Creator of the universe, are in their nature unchangeable, irresistable and irreversible. As no man can arrest the rotation of the earth on its axis, or stay the planets in their sublime flight around the sun impelled by gravity, so in our view of the past we have discovered fixed moral laws, making national crimes yield invariably national punishment. We have seen offending nations from the days of Abraham, age after age, wrecked upon the immovable rock of Jehovah's law, and their fragments floating on the stream of time. Having ascertained the certainty of a moral law of nations invariably and necessari. ly inflicting punishment for all violations of its high and holy enactments, we shall not seek for the sanction of international law in the contradictory customs of warring states and empires, which in every age, and even in the nineteenth century, have disgraced humanity. Our law of nations we derive from heaven's high chancery, from the Lord Almighty, maker of all things, and we shall unfold it as the high and Holy One hath enacted it,