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WIlliam Ladd, Sometime of Minot, Maine: THE APOSTLE OF PEACE 1778-1841

WIlliam Ladd,  Sometime of Minot, Maine: THE APOSTLE OF PEACE 1778-1841
By George C. Wing, Jr.Printed in Sprague's Journal of Maine History
Vol. XI.   APRIL, MAY, JUNE No. 2Courtesy of the Androscoggin Historical Society
<http://www.rootsweb.com/~meandrhs>William LaddSometime of Minot, Maine
THE APOSTLE OF PEACE1778-1841                           By George C. Wing, Jr.
  In these days of ardent hope for world peace, when the
      minds of thoughtful men and women are much concerned with
       a League of Nations, conferences between nations for the re-
       duction of armaments and the payment of national debts,
       when the Hague Tribunal is an accomplished fact, it is pleas-
       ant and most satisfying to recall William Ladd and his life
       in the Town of Minot, Maine, and his efforts to prevent     war
       and to obtain the consummation of peace.
           William Ladd was born in Exeter, New Hampshire,  May
       10, 1778, the oldest son of Eliphalet Ladd and Abigail  Hall
       Ladd.  He fitted for college in the Academy at Exeter, en-
       tered Harvard in 1793, and there graduated in 1798.  Eli-
       phalet Ladd moved to Portsmouth about 1795, and in that
       city became an eminent and successful merchant.  In 1797,
       William Ladd sailed as a common sailor in one of his father's
       vessels and visited London and other parts of Europe.  At
       twenty years of age he was in command of a ship.  He fol-
       lowed the sea until about 1800.  His title Captain was thus
       earned and deserved.  When he was twenty-one years old he
       married in England, Sophia Ann Augusta Stidolph of London.
       After leaving the sea Capt.  Ladd lived for a few months in
       Savannah, Georgia, where he occupied himself as a merchant.
       From Savannah, he moved to Florida, where on a cotton plan-
       tation he undertook the abolition of negro slavery by the in-
       troduction of free labor in the persons of European emigrants.
       In this he was a failure and he lost most of his property.  In
       1806, the father, Eliphalet Ladd, died, and William returned
 54 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY
 to Portsmouth and to the sea, which he followed until the War
 of 1812 made such an occupation undesirable.
    In June, 1814, as he himself records in his Annals of
 Bakerstown, "William Ladd moved from Portsmouth to
 Minot" and the hill-top where he made his home and built his
 mansion house, dreamed of peace, conceived the idea of a Con-
 gress of Nations, as set forth in his Essay on a Congress of
 Nations, and justly earned the title with which his memory is
 yet honored, "The Apostle of Peace." The Cumberland County
 Registry of Deeds shows in 1813 that Capt.  Ladd bought of
 James Jewett of New Durham, New Hampshire, "The New
 Farm" in the town of Minot.  For this he paid $7,750.  In
 addition to "The New Farm" he bought otter lands until he
 possessed more than 600 acres.  To house his herds and crops
 he had six large barns.  He employed many hands and his
 farming operations were most extensive and conducted on
 scientific lines.  That his interest among his neighbors was
 not confined to selfish ends alone is evidenced by the fact that
 he was a stockholder in the first shoe manufacturing company
 organized in Minot, now Auburn, January 2, 1835.  On July
HOMESTEAD OF WILLIAM LADD     Center Minot, Maine, 1896Page 55
     4, 1814, he delivered at Minot, an oration, in the closing sen-
     tences of which occur these ringing words, "religion, virtue
     and knowledge shall rule and the Empire of Peace shall be
     established." In 1816, with Seth Chandler, he was sent as a
     representative to the General Court and September 16 of
     that year he attended the convention at Brunswick to form
     a constitution if there should be five-ninths of the voters of
     Maine in favor of a separation.  In July 20, 1817, he joined
     the Second Congregational Church of Minot, and in 1837 be
     was licensed to preach the Gospel of Peace.
        In 1819, when Capt.  Ladd was forty-one years old, he saw
     the Reverend Jesse Appleton, President of    Bowdoin College.
     Hemenway, his biographer, quotes William Ladd as saying:
     "I had the privilege of witnessing some of   the last hours of
     the Rev. Jesse Appleton, D.D., President of  Bowdoin College.
     In his joyful anticipations of the growing improvement of the
     world, and the enumeration of the benevolent societies of the
     day, he gave a prominent place to Peace Societies; and this
     was almost the first time I ever heard of them.  The idea then
     passed over my mind as the day-dream of benevolence; and
     so every one views the subject, who does not examine it.  It is
     probable that the impressions made at this interview first
     turned my attention to the subject, but it probably would soon
     have escaped from me, had not the Solemn Review, which
     came soon after into my possession, in a very singular way,
     riveted my attention in such a manner as to make it the prin-
     cipal object of my life to promote the cause of Peace on earth
     and good-will to man."
        The origin of Peace Societies may be traced to the publica-
     tion in 1809 of a tract entitled, "The Mediator's Kingdom, not
     of this world, but Spiritual," by David Low Dodge, a citizen
     and merchant of New York City.  These societies were an
     organized religious movement as a protest against war as in-
     consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.  "In
     1815, the following Peace Societies were created in the
     United States: The New York Peace Society, the first of its
     kind, organized as has been seen by Mr. David Low Dodge in
     August; the Ohio Peace Society, founded on December 2nd;
     the Massachusetts Society founded December 26th, by the
56 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY
 Reverend Noah Worcester, D.D., author of the tract entitled
 'A Solemn Review of the Custom of War,' which appears to
 have converted Mr. Ladd to the ways of peace."
    William Ladd began his first series of Essays on Peace
 and War, thirty-two in number, in the Christian Mirror at
 Portland, Maine, July, 1823.  In 1825, these essays were col-
 lected and published in a volume.  In 1825, he wrote a review
 of Commodore Porter's "Journal of a Voyage in the Pacific
 Ocean in the United States Frigate, Essex," in which he
 criticized the "War Trade" as well as the "Slave Trade."
 This same year in these articles in the Christian Mirror he
 disapproved the erection of the Bunker Hill Monument on the
 ground that future generations will look upon the column as
 a "monument of the barbarism and anti-Christian spirit of our age."
    In 1827, appeared another volume of essays begun in 1825,
 thirty-seven in all.  July 4, 1825, he addressed the Peace So-
 ciety of Oxford County at Sumner.  In December, 1825, he ad-
 dressed the Massachusetts Peace Society and February, 1824,
 he spoke before the Peace Society of Maine.  Both of these ad-
 dresses were reprinted in London.  July 4, 1826, he delivered
 an oration at Exeter, New Hampshire, in which his favorite
 note of peace predominated.  The American Peace Society
 was formed in 1828.  William Ladd was its first president.
 Its first meeting was held in New York City, May 8, 1828, and
 in that month and year Mr. Ladd issued the first number of a
 "Harbinger of Peace." This paper was issued monthly and
 had a circulation of about 1500 numbers.  The "Calumet"
 took the place of the "Harbinger of Peace" in 1831, and con-
 tinued four years.  The latter publication appeared every two
 months.  The writing and editorial work of these papers was
 done by William Ladd on the Minot hill-top where he made hi's
 home and had his study.  In 1830, he wrote a tract published
 by the Minot Peace Society, "Reflections on War," and between
 1829 and 1832 he wrote the following books on peace for the
 improvement of young people: "The Sword or Christmas
 Presents," "Howard and Napoleon Contrasted," "The French
     *Introduction "An Essay on a Congress of Nations," Carnegie Endowment for In-
 ternational Peace, James Scott Brown, Page IX.WILLIAM LADD             57
Soldier," "History of Alexander the Great." In 1831, Mr.
Ladd published a dissertation on a Congress of Nations in the
Harbinger of Peace.  This also appeared in pamphlet.  This
was according to Hemenway, his biographer, the first work on
a Congress of Nations ever printed in America.  In 1834 ap-
peared his "Solemn Appeal to Christians in Favor of Peace,"
and in 1835 he issued his work on "The Duty of Woman to
Promote the Cause of Peace." In 1836-7 he published in the
Christian Mirror twenty-two essays entitled "Obstacles and
Objections to the Cause of Peace." The essays afterward ap-
peared in book form.  In 1837 the Constitution of the Ameri-
can Peace Society was revised and the stand taken that all
war is contrary to Gospel.  This was in accordance with
William Ladd's idea and in the controversy which arose over
the amendment he was opposed by President Allen of Bow-
doin College.  In 1837 appeared nine articles in the Christian
Mirror addressed to ministers in which he sought to awaken
and instruct them in their duty as to the Cause of Peace.  In
November, 1837, occurred the death of Elijah Lovejoy at Al-
ton, Illinois, while defending his printing press against a mob.
Ladd took the ground that Lovejoy was not a martyr, that
he did anything but right in resorting to violence, that his
conscience would not permit him to say Lovejoy died like
a Christian and justified his stand by ample quotations from
the teachings and words of the Saviour.  In 1839 occurred the
so-called Aroostook War.  Ladd called attention to the fact
that the situation showed the want of a competent tribunal to
settle the disputes between Nations.
    In 1840 appeared the prize essays on a Congress of Na-
tions, together with a sixth essay.  The American Peace So-
ciety offered a prize of $1000 for the best essay on a Congress
of Nations.  The committee, Joseph Story, William Wirt and
John C. Calhoun could not agree as to the best effort.  An-
other committee, John Quincy Adams, James Kent and Daniel
Webster were selected and they could not agree.  The Peace
Society then concluded to accept the proposal of the first com-
mittee to publish five of the best essays.  To these five, Mr.
Ladd, at the request of-the Peace Society, wrote and added a
sixth essay, which was printed and bound with the five prize
58 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY
 essays.  This volume was distributed among distinguished
 persons in Europe and America.  It is this essay which is
 William Ladd's greatest claim for enduring fame.  It was
 written at his home in Minot.  In it he gave a new idea to the
 law of international relations which found expression in the
 great Peace Congress at Brussels, Paris, London and the
 Hague.  In his Advertisement to his Essay on a Congress of
 Nations, William Ladd says: "In reading over these Essays,
 I noted down every thought worth preserving; and I present
 them here in a body, with such reflections, additions and    his-
 torical facts as occurred to me during my labor; so that my
 claim to originality, in this production, rests much on      the
 thought of separating the subject into two distinct parts, viz:
 1st. A congress of ambassadors from all those Christian      and
 civilized nations who should choose to send them, for the
 purpose of settling the principles of international law by com-
 pact and agreement, of the nature of a mutual treaty, and also
 of devising and promoting plans for the preservation of
 peace, meliorating the condition of man. 2nd.  A court of
 nations, composed of the most able civilians in the world, to
 arbitrate or judge such cases as should be brought before it,
 by the mutual consent of two or more contending nations:
 thus dividing entirely the diplomatic from the judicial func-
 tions, which require such different, not to say opposite, char-
 acters in the exercise of their functions.  I consider the Con-
 gress as the legislature, and the Court as the judiciary, in the
 government of nations, leaving the functions of the executive
 with public opinion, "the queen of the world." This division
 I have never seen in any essay, or plan for a congress or diet
 of independent nations, either ancient or modern; and I believe
 it will obviate all the objections which have been heretofore
 made to such a plan."
    In 1840 and 1841, Capt.  Ladd lectured on his favorite topic
 in Albany and Troy, New York, Worcester, Massachusetts,
 Auburn, New York, Rochester, and other places in western
 Massachusetts and New York.  It is recorded that in some in-
 stances he was unable to stand, but addressed his audiences
 on his knees.  In April, 1841, he left New York for his home
 in Minot.  He reached Portsmouth the 9th of that month.    
 As he retired his wife said, "now let us kneel down and thank
 God that you are safe returned."     They knelt and prayed.
 On lying down he felt the approach of death, but before help
 could be called he passed beyond.    He lies buried in Ports-
 mouth, and on his tomb appears:          Born May 10, 1778
           Died April 9, 1841 Blessed are the Peace Makers for they
  shall be called the Children of God.    Erected by the American Peace Society
       Such were     the activities of    William Ladd,the      Apostle of
   Peace, and during the years which he gave so much to the
   cause of peace, he also found time to carry on his large farm
   at Minot.  He improved the general conduct of agriculture
   in the neighborhood, he planted orchards, he moved among his
   neighbors, respected and much liked.  He contributed to
   every good cause.  He became an advocate of temperance.  He
   lectured to his fellow-townsmen on that subject.  What he
   preached he practised.  No account of William Ladd would
   be complete without mention of the rugged man who was his
   pastor and friend, Elijah Jones, who became pastor of the
   church at Minot in 1823, and there continued for more than
   fifty years.  To this man must be attributed the Christian, if
   that term may be used, touch of all of William Ladd's writ-
   ings, for it must have been noted from the foregoing that
   William Ladd's conception of Peace was of a religious origin.
   This is most clearly seen in his treatment of the Lovejoy epi-
   sode.  The idea of a Christian Peace permeates his great es-
   say on a Congress of Nations.
    The  homestead of William Ladd at Center Minot is now in
 the hands of strangers.  The elegance of his mansion house
 is no more.  The white church in which he worshiped yet
 graces the Minot hill-top, and nearby in the churchyard sleeps
 Elijah Jones.  But the idea that William Ladd gave to the
 world in his great essay yet lives and grows greater and more
 sublime as men of our day seek a World Peace under its benign
60 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY
                                        and simple doctrine,
                                         and as it becomes more
                                        and more evident that
                                         the better ordering of
                                         the world lies in a Con-
                                         gress of Nations and a
                                         World Court.
                                           Among Maine men
                                         who have a claim to
                                         fame, none have a
                                         greater and sounder
                                         cause   for    respectful
                                         memory than William
                                         Ladd of Minot, "The
                                         Apostle of Peace."
Authorities The Apostle of Peace.
Memoir of William  Ladd by John Hemenway with an 
introduction by Elihu Burritt, 1872.Captain William Ladd  -The Apostle of Peace,
by John Witham Penney-Collections     and    Proceedings of the
Maine Historical Society,  April, 1899, Second Series, Vol. 10,Page 113.
    Prize Essays on a Congress of Nations, together with a Sixth Essay. 1840.
    An Essay on a Congress of Nations by William Ladd.  Re-
 printed from the original edition of 1840 with an introduction
 by James Brown Scott-Carnegie Endowment for Interna- tional Peace. 1916.
    An Oration pronounced at Minot, Maine, on the Fourth
 day of July, 1814, by William Ladd.
    Annals of Bakerstown, by William Ladd, Vol. 2 (First
 Series).  Collections of Maine Historical Society, Page 111.
 GRAVE OF WILLIAM LADD          Portsmouth, N.H-1897

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