Quaker Theology #30/#31
A Sampler of Quaker Resistance
A Quaker Artist Takes on World War One
Editor’s Note: Joseph Southall (1861-1944) was a successful
British artist, who was at the peak of his renown and productivity when
World War One began. A lifelong Quaker pacifist and socialist, he set
aside much of his conventional work to make drawings of protest against
the war and militarism.
Then in 1917, he joined with a radical former member of Parliament, R.
L. Outhwaite, and illustrated a pamphlet, The Ghosts of the Slain.
Largely allegorical in form (no doubt to evade strict wartime
censorship), it targeted politicians and munitions makers for promoting
war, and heaped special vitriol on the churches whch blessed the
Southall was past fifty when the war came, beyond the age for war
conscription. But draft resistance was widespread among younger British
Friends, and more than a hundred served time in prison for it. Many
women Friends also shared the risks by joining in protests.
On the pamphlet’s centennial, here are some excerpts and several of
Southall’s drawings. The visual style might seem dated to some, but
there is no mistaking the depth of Southall’s anger at war’s folly and
waste, and his demand for finding some alternative is still all too
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