This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
A third consideration which leads us to expect that the present war system will be superseded by a general confederation for the preservation of peace, is, that all the influences of the age are against its barbarities.
(a) Commeree, as well as common sense, makes a strong plea in favor of peace. Extending with almost inconceivable rapidity, its influence is every day advancing, and its interests becoming more identified with the harmony of nations. No stronger illustration of this was ever afforded than that presented by the war of the Rebellion in the United States. Although a civil war, confined, of course, within the territories of our government, it deranged, to a wonderful extent, the commerce of the world. How tremendous its effect upon European industry! How rapidly did it transfer the wealth of Europe to India and other Eastern nations! How severely did it affect the commerce of the United States, driving nearly half of it from the ocean in the short period of three years!
But how circumscribed were the effects of that conflict to what would be felt, should a war arise between Great Britain and the United States! In such an event, how painful and wide-spread would be the devastation to the commerce of the two most commercial nations on the face of the globe! How terrible the results to trade and industry in every part of the earth! Yet no preparation is being made to prevent the occurrence of such a calamity; but every thing is done to make it as destructive and ruinous as possible, should it take place. It does not seem reasonable to suppose that such a state of things can be permanent; that all the great social, moral, and material interests of mankind can, in the present advanced period of intelligence, be allowed much longer to be thus imperilled.
(6) The rapidly increasing intercourse by travel between the different peoples is making them more acquainted with each other, and dissipating much of that ignorance and prejudice which, in times past, has been a prolific source of jealousy and distrust.
(c) The education of the masses, their gradual progress in knowledge, and their growing influence in public affairs, is another very hopeful indication. The people are being enlightened, and are becoming too "wise" to be made the dupes of a system of which they are the greatest victims.*
(d) The neutralization of the Black Sea, by the treaty
* It may perhaps be expected, that we should mention "the onward progress of the gospel" as one of the influences adverse to war: but we are indisposed to enter upon the theological question, whether Christianity condemns war as sinful; and, consequently, as we cannot assume that it does so, can make no argument as to its influence in preventing war. Christianity, certainly, has no direct tendency to abolish any system which it does not positively condemn, still less any practice which it openly sanctions and approves. We have our individual opinion, that war is not in accordance with the teaching and example of the great Founder of Christianity, but shall not moot the question here. We prefer to look only at the economical, political, and social bearings of the subject made at Paris, 1856, at the conclusion of the war of the Crimea, is a very significant fact, as connected with disarmament and the permanent peace of the world. By that treaty, the parties agreed that no ships of war should enter the Black Sea, but that its waters should be sacred to peaceful commerce. This was the introduction of a new principle into European diplomacy, although the idea had before been adopted in the Treaty of Ghent, made, in 1815, between Great Britain and the United States, which contained a provision, that the great lakes, lying between the territories of the contracting parties, should be neutralized, and neither party build fortifications or maintain a naval force upon them. This treaty has been observed down to the present time, upwards of fifty years, to the great advantage of both parties.
The argument suggested by these two facts is, that, if the neutralization of the American lakes and the Black Sea is found so feasible and beneficial, the same principle might, with still greater advantage, be extended to all the seas and oceans on the globe.