Henry Grew, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "to the Friends of Righteousness and humanity to convene at West Chester on the 25th inst.", 1861 October 23

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War on the part of the north is to reestablish a government which recognizes

slavery, its object being to prevent its extension; it is

therefore to be justified. This is to suppose that we

may justify iniquity at the fountain, if you will dam

up some of its streams. We may sanction some moral

evil, if we do not sanction too much. Of two natural 

evils we may choose the least. Of two moral evils, we

must choose neither. 

If, however, the avowed object of the war was perfectly 

right, the question remains to be considered, is the war

the rightful mean to accomplish it?

Many persons suppose that a justification of national wars is 

found in the rightful authority of the Civil magistrate

to execute wrath on individuals who do evil. The fact

that national wars execute wrath on those who do not do

evil, proves that the conclusoin is not warranted by the 

premises. Wars involve the principle of injustice. We say

"Let justice stand though the heavens fall." Shall we

not then say, Let Justice stand, though the United

States fall? In the Secession army, men have been 

compelled to enroll themselves contrary to their own 

minds. Is it just and right to kill them or for men to meet on the 

battle field to slaughter one another because the "Powers 

that be," command them to do so? Is not the authority 

of these Powers limited by the laws of God and righteousness?

"Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken

unto (them) more than unto God, judge ye." I submit

that national wars, not positively commanded by

the Almighty, are a violatoin of his law, "Thou

Shall not kill."