Our Glorious National Heritage, The Past is a Foreign...Something

A Scurvy Affair in the History of Bloodshed

Or, They Don’t Make War Like They Used To


Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette, (Raleigh, NC) Tuesday, June 02, 1840

Great Britain vs China. – We are more than half inclined to join the Peace Society – buy the Prize dissertations – and go against all wars, just as Mr. Ladd does. If Great Britain can’t get up a better war than that which she is waging against China, she ought to be ashamed of herself, and never go to war at all. We have never known a more scurvy affair in the history of bloodshed.

Many of her own statesmen, who have either honesty or shame, blush for her. A resolution disapproving the course of the British government in relation to China, was lately introduced into the House of Commons, and after a stormy debate of three days, was lost by a majority of ten only. Ten righteous men would once have saved a Sodom, but they must have been a very different sort of men from the ten in the British Parliament who justify the war with China. – Exeter News Letter

I’m beginning to really like the editors of the Raleigh Register, and North Carolina Gazette.

To close a few loops here: The American Peace Society was a Christian organization that campaigned for pacifism. Ladd was an Exeter and Harvard grad who became a sailor and worked his way up to captain in the New England merchant marine. He settled in Maine, where he ran the organization, and published its poorly edited house organ, The Harbinger of Peace from his home in Minot, ME.

Prior to his settling in Maine, Ladd ran a plantation in Florida that failed because he refused to use slave labor (sound like anyone?).

He was partly inspired to his activism by the Aroostook War, a conflict over timber rights in a valley whose ownership was disputed by the US and Canada (or, more accurately, the local citizens of each nation). This conflict was one of several diplomatic issues that was, circa 1840, souring British-American relations.

bobtravis, “The tree in focus,” Flickr, CC License

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