DIARY OF ALFRED H. LOVE
Love, Alfred H. (1830-1913)
When drafted in 1863, Love refused to serve in the Union army or to pay for a substitute to go in his place. He also did not allow his woolen commission business to sell goods in support of the war effort. As a result, his business suffered, and he also endured criticism from those who found his absolutist pacifism too uncompromising. He was one of the founders of the Universal Peace Union in 1866; he edited its periodicals, as well as served as its president until his death.
In diary #9 (Feb. 25, 1861 - Dec. 17, 1862), he wrote:
- April 20, 1861. Saturday.... Excitement rages. The Girard[?] House is now a military rendezvous. Sewing is going on & the volunteers will soon be clothed. Recruits are constantly arriving. A proposition is being circulated for the merchants to close at 4 oclk to give their employees an opportunity to learn the arts of war. I will not sign & prevented by moral suasion from having any of our folks to sign. The bridges round Baltimore are said to have been burned.
- [April] 21st, . Sunday.... Went with Ma to good old quaint Green St. Meeting. I have had for three days an intense feeling & a Spirit moving to attend Social worship there this day & I was gratified by hearing Henry W. Ridgway on the subject of the day -- war! He was very earnestly conclusive for peace. I felt the full force of the occasion & the deep responsibility resting upon every one & especially upon the Quaker. Soon after Henry sat down I offered a few remarks that flowed from me as freely as I felt the flood of light stream into my soul. I am so clear & firm that one ought not to contend with arms but should carry out ...the great truths of early Friends. The golden rule seems now forgotten & some of our Friends waver & some have even joined the army. To these I felt called upon to speak & the termination of the morning proved I acted for the best. It was a great trial to thus get up in meeting but this is no time to please ourselves merely & be afraid. We must do our duty. Two friends spoke after me & similar strain. After meeting in the yard a friend (Joseph Cox) came to me & asking my name regretted I had not been at meeting a week sooner. Why I could not tell for some time. I thought because I might have heard some one who spoke truer & better than I on this subject. Howver the tears filled his eyes when I asked him "what trouble." "Oh," he said, "great trouble & I want to get out of it." "Well, my friend, tell me perhaps I can aid thee." He then said, "I have been induced to join the army & expect to have to go off in a few days." "And dont thee want to go because thee feels it to be wrong." "No thy words have taught be better." "Is thee a member of the Society of Fds.?" "Yes." "Is thee married?" "Yes," he said & pointed to a young wife & child standing a few paces off. He was a fine & noble looking man & I advised him as best my simple reason could & he will doubtless get off. Others spoke to me encouragingly & one father of two sons came to me & thanked me & begged me to use my influence for his two sons & the son of a widowed mother.
- [April] 22nd, .... Many, almost all, the stores closed at 4 PM to give the employees an opportunity to drill. We did not close until nearly 6. I was asked to sign as a manager of the Spring Garden Institute for the [large?] room being used for military purposes I declined on principle. Our building is for the arts of peace education etc. & not for teaching our youth the arts of war. It would be a sad use to put it to. Evening attended the A.S.U. The subject of war & if right was accidentally broached & I took the side of peace & non-resistance & although I stood alone & had every one to speak agaisnt me yet kindly & in several instances yielding to my truths I held firmly to the rock & felt better for bearing my testimony. Numerous arguments have arisen to day & our streets are crowded & in an uproar. New is recd that Baltimore is being bombarded & is on fire. They there will not allow the government troops to pass through to Washington.
- [April] 23rd, .... The excitement to day seemed more settled. No news being received from the South as the telegraph wires had been cut it confined the excitement to the arrival & departure of troops. Baltimore seems threatened with bombardment from Ft. McHenry as the troops do not have the right of transit to Washington, though this will doubtless be granted.... The failures [of businesses?] occurring are frightful some 2 or 3 every day adn good houses too but they cant collect.
- [April] 24th, .... Business but light. Thomas sold some Blue cloths for military purposes about $500 which I cannot do but as he feels it right I dont prevent it not having full control.
- [April] 26th, .... No goods seling except for military purposes & as I wont sell them we have little trade.... The war news seems prepartory for a Struggle before long.
- [April] 28th, . Sunday.... At 9 went to the Penitentiary & took the seeds got yesterday. I saw 2 prisoners in their cells. When I felt like leaving & attending friends meeting at Coates[?] West Sts. which I did. This is a small meeting but will grow I think. Eliza Newport spoke on the present times with good advice but not practical enough I thought & yet I learned the lesson she taught. I felt called upon to make a few remarks opposing war & strengthening our Friends to stand firm in their cause. I do feel the importance of adhering to peace principles now when from 50,000 churches the cry goes up for war. How wrong to Seek to redress wrongs by the Sword. If the principles of peace on earth & good will to men is worth anything in days of peace & no trials it is surely of value in days of temptation & trial. Then it is when we are called upon to live out & up to our professions.
- May 1, 1861.... Rec'd a very cheery letter from Wm. Lloyd Garrison. He is my echo & answers my spirit longings for peace principles - I have been waiting for a response & it came to day quite unexpectedly. I find so few to agree with my non resistance stand.
- [June] 8th, .... This morning I recd the Liberator with my letter "Thoughts on the war" published. This was satisfying to me not from vanity but for the good it may do. I had written plainly pointedly & conscientiously against war & its effects upon slavery taking rather adverse grouneds to abolitionists generally & even to Wm. L. Garrison.
- [June] 8th, . Sunday.... Started to meeting.... We had a silent meeting. I felt as though there was much required saying but I stifled the Spirit somewhat because I want to be fully satisfied of my duty before speaking. It is so easy to misinterpret our mission that even when we hold a strong testimony against sin as I am feeling at present against war we must be careful & not be led into too much speaking or seeking too prominent a position.
- [Aug.] 10th, . Sunday.... I gave forth my testimony in favor of individual courage to stand firmly by the principles of non resistance. I repeated the earnest appeal of the North Carolina Friends against being drafted. I applied this to the course of Friends in the North refusing to fight because our Heavenly Father disapproves. I spoke longer than usual perhaps but being enrolled for Militia duty & before another week liable to draft & many more likely to be drafted inspired me onward & I must have spoken earnestly.... Wm. Thonmas who I found is not a member but a Unitarian came to me in the yard & said he was much pleased with me at the Lincoln campaign at the Riverton school house urging the election of Lincoln but now felt I was deserting our President because I declined to fight & encouraged others not to. To this I replied that I acted there for the good in it - that I believed the President had consitutional obligations to fulfil or resign - that I only urged those not to fight who had scruples of conscience against it & I urged it from moral motives alone & was a firm friend of the right & loved my country as much as anyone could. Our interview was pleasant. I hope profitable.
- [Aug.] 11th, .... Trade very dull. Expecting drafting to go on. no one comes to buy except for immediate wants.... We have news of a great battle at Cecar Run between Banks & Pope & Stonewall Jackson. So far as heard it seems like a tie, but a dreadful battle it has been.
In diary #10 (Dec. 18, 1862 - Nov. 8, 1964), he wrote:
- January 1st, 1863. Thursday. Bright & glorious on the day of Freedom. Should be we have no proclamation published from the President but it is understood he presents it to day. Oh that it may be so! Many churches are celebrating it as a day of Freedom.
- [January] 2nd, .... We are all full of praise & patriotism to day. We feel that we have a President to begrateful for & a country to adore. The Proclamation of Freedom to Slaves of Rebel Masters -- They are declared forever free! I have saved the proclamation. I have heard no one condemn it.
Source: Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Universal Peace Union (DG 038): Series 2 includes Love's 1848-1912 diaries; also one box of personal items, correspondence, passport, photographs, etc.
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