William Lloyd Garrison Renounces War, 1838
. . . We register our testimony, not only against all
wars, whether offensive or defensive, but all preparations for war; against
every naval ship, every arsenal, every fortification; against the militia
system and a standing army; against all military chieftains and soldiers; . . .
We believe that the penal code of the old covenant, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, has been abrogated by Jesus Christ; and that, under the new covenant, the forgiveness instead of the punishment of enemies has been enjoined upon all His disciples, in all cases whatsoever. . . .
The history of mankind is crowded with evidences proving that physical coercion is not adapted to moral regeneration; that the sinful dispositions of men can be subdued only by love; that evil can be exterminated from the earth only by goodness; that it is not safe to rely upon an arm of flesh, upon man whose breath is in his nostrils, to preserve us from harm; that there is great security in being gentle, harmless, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy; that it is only the meek who shall inherit the earth, for the violent who resort to the sword are destined to perish with the sword. Hence, as a measure of sound policy; of safety to property, life, and liberty; of public quietude and private enjoyment, as well as on the ground of allegiance to Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, we cordially adopt the nonresistance principle; being confident that it provides for all possible consequences, will ensure all things needful to us, is armed with omnipotent power, and must ultimately triumph over every assailing force.