The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 12
Edmund Fry's Lectures
Edmund Fry's Lectures.
During the past month several Peace Lectures have been delivered by Mr. Edmund Fry in East Cornwall, to audiences, to most of whom the subject was entirely new. Mr. Fry commenced his labours in the interesting old town of Launceston. On Monday, October 7th, at the invitation of the committee of the Mechanics' Institution, he gave the opening lecture of the winter course; taking for his subject, "Peace and War in relation to the interests of Christianity, Commerce and Civilisation." It may be accepted as a proof of the growing influence of the Peace Movement, that such a topic should be admitted into the programme of a Mechanics' Institute. The attendance was large and highly respectable; and the lecture was listened to with marked expressions of interest and approval. The lecturer did not hesitate to express his conviction that all war was opposed to the spirit and precepts of Christianity, and therefore must always be opposed to the real interest and security of the country. This led to an animated discussion at the close of the lecture, in which it was remarkable to find three ministers of the Gospel—two clergymen and an independent minister, taking a prominent part as apologists for war, and seeking to page 559 reconcile the profession of manslaughter with the profession of Christianity. The old stale objections were raised against the principles of the Peace Society, and the usual resort was had to the stock bugbears of the opponents. The highwaymen and the burglars, were thrust prominently forward, and the usual stress was laid upon the awful peril to which wives and daughters would be subject if Peace principles were permitted to gain the ascendancy. The lecturer found little difficulty in replying to these objections, to the satisfaction of many, if not most, of those present. A cordial vote of thanks was unanimously awarded to Mr. Fry at the close. A similar lecture was delivered on the two following evenings to crowded audiences in the Bible Christians' Chapels at Callington and Horrabridge. The subject was quite new at these places, and a warm interest was expressed in the lecture and in the objects of the Peace Society's efforts. On the Thursday and Friday the Chapels of the Free Methodists at Morwellham and Gunnis-lake were placed at Mr. Fry's disposal, and good audiences were assembled in each place to listen to the lecture. The chair was taken on each occasion by the Rev. Mr. Kennard of Tavistock whose cordial sympathy and co-operation were of great service to the cause. The result of the week's labours was very encouraging. It is hoped that the Peace cause has gained many new friends, and that not a few have been led to perceive the inconsistency of our war practice as a nation with our national profession of Christianity.