A Celebration of Women Writers

"Synopsis of 'Peace.'" by Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Lease (1853-1933).
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 412-413.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 412] 



In the shadowy morning of the world's childhood, when man dwelt in caves clad in skins of animals, and feasted upon blood-reeking flesh, might made right, brute force prevailed, and he whose sinewy arm could best direct the murderous aim of spear or arrow, he who from the chase bore the greatest number of bleeding trophies as evidence of his barbarous prowess was acclaimed a mighty warrior. And as the world grew the struggle for supremacy was transferred from butchery of beasts to the butchery of men. And he who participated in the bloodiest wars, who bore the brunt of battle while slaughtering his fellow-men, he whose soldier's wreath was deepest dyed and darkest stained with human blood, had attained the standard of human greatness and was made ruler or crowned king by an applauding people.

Under the benign influence of the teachings of the Nazarene, the "Man of Peace," the standard of the world's greatness no longer accords to blood-stained men the greatest laurels, but to him who seeks to uplift and rescue suffering humanity, to him who practices as well as preaches that new command, the life and soul of every religion, "Love ye one another," the benediction falls.

Two great forces have for centuries contested for supremacy; Cæsarism, the doctrine of hate, and the religion of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of love. We have professed Christianity, filled God's blue sky full of church spires and preached the doctrine of love while practicing the doctrine of hate. Te Deums are chanted in our churches and thanks returned to a God of peace for battles won and murderous men triumphant. The horrible inconsistency between religious belief and action is dawning upon the hearts of the race, and they declare that the real sin against the Holy Ghost is to strike at God through His image, man; that we have been living a gigantic lie, and that unless we practice what we profess to believe we had best stop building churches and supporting ministers, and take down our signs of Christianity and go out of the business. An honest Pagan is exemplary compared with a lying, hypocritical Christian.

The hatred implanted in the minds of unborn children by the mothers of the North and South thirty years ago is today struggling to give expression in force. The world is ready for another baptism of blood. The "dragon's teeth" sown in that fratricidal war are springing up "armed men." A dark cloud, surcharged with the electricity of the coming storm, is suspended above the nation. The rumblings of discontent and mutterings of war are heard coming up from every side. The women of this nation can alone avert the conflict. Let them come into their kingdom, claim [Page 413]  their own, assert their power and bid the murderous passions of men cease, as Christ stilled the stormy waves of Galilee. Peace! be still.

The mothers of this nation, the mothers of the world, shall no longer rear their sons to be slain, or give their loved ones to be butchered. If men can not get along without the shedding of blood and putting the knife to the throat of brother, let them no longer set themselves up as guides and rulers, but confess their self-evident inefficiency and turn the management of affairs over to the mothers, who will temper their justice with love and enthrone mercy on the highways. Then shall that peace that surpasseth human understanding, the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, abide among men and redeem the world. Theirs the mission to bring about that time when the Golden Rule shall be incarnated in human affairs and govern the world; theirs the mission to usher in that time of which Isaiah sang and the prophets have so long foretold-that time, the hope of which has lingered in the hearts of men, and mingled with their hopes and yearnings, since the "morning stars first sang together when the earth was young."

"Oh Christ! Thou friend of men,
When thou shalt come again
    In truth's new birth,
May all the fruits of peace
Be found in rich increase
    Upon the earth."

We are nearing the dawn of the Sabbatical period–the dawn of the glorious twentieth century–of which that inspired champion of human rights, Victor Hugo, makes prophecy.

"In the twentieth century war will be dead, famine will be dead, royalty will be dead, but the people will live." A fuller and holier comprehension of the Lord's prayer is filling the hearts of the people. "Our Father, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," will usher in that era when "the swords shall be beat into plowshares, the spears into pruning hooks; when nations shall not go to war against nations, neither shall they learn war any more."

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Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Lease is a native of Pennsylvania. She was born September 11, 1853. Her parents were Joseph P. Clyens and Mary Elizabeth Murray Clyens. She was educated in the Allegany (convent) School, N. Y., and in the Young Ladies' Seminary, Ceres, N. Y., and has traveled in Great Britain, in the United States and in Canada. She married Charles L. Lease June 30, 1873. Her special work has been in the interest of women and the laboring classes. Her principal literary works are essays and lectures on economic subjects, and a volume of poems not yet published. Her profession is that of attorney at law. In religious faith she is a Christian, or Campbellite. Her postoffice address is Wichita, Kan.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteer
Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom