Friday, April 18, 2008

fast day 1812 (and 2008!)

William Ellery Channing preached the following words on a Fast Day sometime around 1812:

“We have lived to hear the strange doctrine, that to expose the measures of rulers is treason; and we have lived to see this doctrine carried into practice…The cry has been that war is declared, and all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country can hardly be propagated. If this doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war, and they are screened at once from scrutiny. At the very time when they have armies at command, when…their power most formidable, not a word of warning…must be heard. The press, which is to expose…abuses, must not utter one rebuke…although our best interests and most valuable rights are put to hazard by an unnecessary war! [If we] let rulers…know that, by placing the country in a state of war, they place themselves beyond the only power they dread—the power of free discussion—[then] we may expect war without end.”


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