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is likelier to have a fair hearing, and to produce beneficial effects. The late contest has left here, and in other realms, a wholesome weariness with war, which should be improved by those who are on principle the friends of peace. The public, at least all who think, seem to be feeling much like the ruined spendthrift on his wild excesses, and the condemned malefactor on his criminal passions. Those who wish well to human interests should seize such a moment, and exert themselves, on this subject, to form just opinions and diffuse useful information. The labour would not be lost, either as to the ultimate object, or the immediate influence.
We comprise the object of this discourse in one sentence-war is a great, but not insuperable, obstacle to that general improvement in the state of man which Christianity tends, and was designed to realize.
War is opposed to the well-being and progress of society by the misery it inflicts, the criminality it implies, and the mischiefs it produces. To men of human feelings, Christian principles, general benevolence, it is unnecessary to advance laboured proof of these assertions. Nothing more is required than attention to the subject.
From the humblest agent whom poverty or folly may have driven or cajoled into military service, or the wretchedest inhabitant of the seat of hostilities, to the vast empires by which they
are waged, war is associated with suffering. Scenes may be shifted, and success may vary, but the misery is permanent. It is alike the sad accompaniment of the lamentation for defeat, and the joyous song of victory. There is nothing of good but what is foreign, ambiguous, and accidental. The evil is great, inseparable, and essential. Trace it in the field of battle. What multitudes are there assembled, that the scythe of death may mow them down with greater facility—that not individuals, but thousands, may be levelled at a stroke! Dreadful scene of indiscriminate slaughter! There perish the mighty and renowned, there the young, the healthy, and the vigorous. The qualities which, in the ordinary course of things, seem to promise exemption from the ravages of mortality, there only recommend them for the sacrifice, and fit them to be victims. And surround it as we may with epithets of glory, or think to reward it with the meed of fame, still what a death is the soldier's ! What rational being would thus take the awful step into the unseen world—what Christian would wish the fierce passions or unmitigated agonies of that scene to be his last earthly feeling, his preparation for standing at the bar of God ? For the bed of death one would wish all that is soothing and consolatory Wretched and comfortless is the soldier's fate. He is alone in the midst of thousands. The vanquished in their
hasty flight, the victors in their hot pursuit, care not for him. On the cold ground he lies, forsaken, mangled, and trampled on; no tender hand to staunch the flowing blood, or raise his fainting frame; no kind tongue to whisper consolation; he thinks, perhaps distractedly, of those loved ones who should have encompassed his dying bed; but his sickening glance meets only sights of horror, and he hears only piercing groans, and frantic shouts, and bitter shrieks, and the roar of that deadly thunder which strews the field with companions in misery. But comparatively few fall in the field: of greater numbers, fatigue and disease are the lingering and loathsome destiny. If the grass yet grows bright and green on the plains of Waterloo, fed with the rotting carcases of thousands who bled in battle; there are plains yet in Russia, their surface bleached with the bones of the best of France and Italy, who were levelled by no hostile blow, but sunk under the cold, famine, and fatigue of that disastrous retreat. All protracted warfare is the prolongation of misery in a thousand forms, more agonizing than what is suffered in the bloodiest field of battle. Often does it make men pray for death, as a release from present anguish. But not to conflicting armies are confined the evils of war: they are the centre of mischief, but it spreads around them widely: they are the nucleus of crime and misery, but large is its pestilential atmosphere.
Wherever they go, they carry desolation,--they devour like locusts,--they blast like the lightning, - they destroy like the volcano,--they overwhelm like the earthquake. Little is spared by plunder, revenge, or wantonness. At their approach, harvests vanish, and burning villages are torches to light their march. Law is at an end : life, honour, property, are held on sufferance by the mercy of the sword. O what have the peaceful inhabitants to recount, by whose abodes this torrent has rolled! They have survived scenes, they have tales to tell, which, long as they remember, shall wring their hearts, which their tongues shall falter to repeat, and at which the listening traveller shall shudder. Nor in escaping from the seat of war to remotest nations involved in it, can we escape its horrors. They have a kind of infernal omnipresence. The warrior is seldom an isolated being. Far distant from the field on which he conquers, or dies, or the hospital in which he lingers, there may be many a bosóm throbbing with anxiety for him. His sufferings are multiplied in theirs. He may, perhaps, perish instantaneously; but they long suffer from anxiety, or mourn in anguish. On him is dealt the fatal stroke, but they feel the wound. The aged widow, tottering to the grave, weeps the child who should have soothed and supported her declining years. The mother bends in unutterable anguish over her orphaned babes. The heart of affection is torn in sunder. Every sympathy of life is turned to bitterness and poison. In this favoured land, we have long been privileged from the immediate presence of war : on British ground, not one of you has heard the roar of battle, or seen its carnage ; but who has not heard the voice of mourning? In those days when giddy crowds pealed high their acclamations, how many a bereaved one fled from the joyous uproar to the solitude of comfortless sorrow! How many does war deprive of all the comforts of life, by crippling industry, baffling foresight in its vicissitudes, and from its enormous expenditure forcing every thing into an unnatural state! In this country, how many families did the late war find happy, opulent, and respectable; and leave in beggary! At different periods, what scenes of complicated wretchedness have many of our large towns presented! How enormous were the strides of pauperism! It is the tendency of war to produce war, and thus to extend and multiply miseries. Treaties of peace seem little better than links to connect one war with another. They leave something ambiguous for future dissension, some germ of discord, which grows into a poison tree. Indeed, the professed object of hostility is seldom deter-' mined in favour of either party, by the peace. In the series of wars which have for ages desolated Europe, we may generally see one growing out