William Lambie was a Scotland-born Ypsilanti farmer of Scottish extraction. In 1883 he self-published a book of prose and poetry "Life on the Farm."
Today's prose selection touches on Lambie's pacifism. It is one of several examples of his writing in which he compares the fruits of peace to those of war.
"Every new generation should be an improvement on the last. We would like to see our young people live noble lives and be pioneers in righteousness. But the old are first. "The hoary head is a crown of glory if found in the way of righteousness." The men and women who have fought the battles of life long and well, who have kept their integrity, who have been tried in the crucible and found pure, weighed in the balances and found not wanting, are the
and Kings of humanity. We are sometimes called old fogies. If a man has established a good moral character, gives an honest dollar for all he receives, and has exerted an influence for good all his life, has a young fogy ever done as nuch for humanity? It is not what a man is going to do, but what he has done, that is the true test of his worth. We hear a good deal about ringing speeches in Congress to save the country, but it is the pioneer's ax ringing in the forest, the farmer singing at his plow, the reaper clicking in the harvest field, and the thrasher humming in the barnyard, that not only saves, but sustains the country. It is the faithful pioneers, who have grown gray producing more than they consume, who have converted great forests into fruitful fields, who have made Washtenaw what it is, who are the first men in the land, in more ways than one.
"The victories of peace are far better than the victories of war; the history of the old settlers are not written in letter of blood, but in the peaceful victories of civilized over savage life. The harvest field of life-giving productions is far before the tented fields of destruction; it is better to tell of how many thousand bushels of wheat have been produced by valiant industry, to feed the hungry and enrich humanity, than to tell of how many thousands have been killed on the cruel battle fields, to fill the land with debt, desolation, and woe."