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might take the place of war; and then Christians would wonder that they had ever countenanced this diabolical custom.
The effect of the abolition of war would be great and glorious. Virtue would flourish; learning and religion would go hand in hand; the yoke of tyranny and oppression would be broken; intemperance would hide her blushing head; the Sabbath would be observed; moral reform would advance; swearing and duelling would go out of fashion; and theft, robbery and murder would seldom be heard of. The mouths of infidels would be stopped ; for the prophecies would be fulfilled, and the precepts of Christ universally prevail. All objections of the Jews against the Christian religion, drawn from belligerent nominal Christians, would be removed. Mohammedans would admire the wondrous change, and open their hearts to receive the gospel; heathens would send to us for missionaries and the Bible; and, when the vast expenses of war should be turned into the treasury of the Lord, missionaries and Bibles could be easily furnished for the whole world.
But how is this great change to be effected? The means are Bo simple that it is difficult to make men believe so great a cure can be performed by so simple means. It is only necessary that those Christians who believe war to be a heaven-daring, souldestroying sin, and that God is able and willing to perform his promise when his children shall require it of him, should pray for its abolition, and send publications, tracts and agents to lay these views before their sister churches all over the world; and the work would speedily be accomplished.
But how are such operations to be carried on? Just as other enterprises of benevolence-by the contributions of Christians. Let every church observe the peace prayer-meeting, and take up a contribution for the cause. Let peace societies be formed in every church and society. Let the ladies form themselves into peace societies, and make their ministers and minister's wives life members of the American Peace Society. Let them also be careful to educate their children in peace principles, and in every way give their influence to the cause. Finally, let all men and women give the subject a fair and impartial investigation. Use the means, and the cause must triumph.
For aid in this work, we turn to the church of Christ, the Prince of Peace ; for God will honor his church by making her the instrument of abolishing war, nor will he ever give that glory to the world. Large and numerous ecclesiastical bodies have recommended that ministers preach, and churches hold a concert of prayer for the peace cause, and take up a collection, once every year. Shall their recommendations be unavailing? Do Christians believe that the soul is immortal; that a vast majority of those who perish in battle, go down to endless perdition; that war is the mother of all abominations, and the greatest obstacle to the spread of vital piety both at home and abroad? And will they refuse to offer their prayers and their alms for its abolition ?
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS,
The sword is not the only nor the chief destroyer of life in war; yet the field of battle multiplies its victims with the most fearful rapidity. It is the grand carnival of the war-god; and fiercely does this Moloch riot there in fire and blood, in shrieks and groans, in a sort of temporary hell upon earth!
Imagine yourself on some lofty eminence surveying a field of battle like Cannæ or Arbela, Austerlitz or Borodino, Leipsic or Waterloo. A forest of swords and bayonets are bristling there; the fierce war-horses are pawing the earth impatient for the onset; and thousands on either side are waiting, with compressed yet quivering lip, for the signal to begin the work of mutual slaughter. At length that signal is given; and anon the whole field, wrapt in flame and smoke, is hid from your view ; but the roar of cannon, and the rattle of musketry, and the clashing of arms, and the furious shouts, and the agonizing shrieks, and the dying groans, all tell you that the work of death is going on with horrible rapidity. Now the smoke rolls off from part of the field; and you see whole battalions riddled, rank after rank mowed down by the deathful volleys of artillery, and descry the wounded, the dying and the dead strewed far and near, while soldiers, and horses, and cannon are passing and repassing over them in the fight.
Night closes the scene, but leaves its victims still on the ground either cold in death, or moaning in despair, or howling in agony. Wait till another morn, and then go over that field. What a human slaughter-yard! Wherever your eye now turns, you behold men, and horses, and weapons, and broken carriages, all mingled in most shocking confusion. At every step, you tread in blood that only yesterday flowed, warm as your own, in the veins of a father, a son or a brother. The wounded, the dying, the dead are all heaped together; and already have the wolf and the vulture come to prey upon them without distinction. Friends, too, are here in quest of these fallen victims. Yonder is a wife, a mother, a sister, each frantic with grief, searching on this field of blood for a husband, a son, a brother. Here is a wretch with his limbs horribly mangled, yet still alive; and there is another all covered with blood, and crushed by the tread of the war-horse, or the wheels of cannon passing over him. Yonder is an athletic frame that had struggled hard against his pains, and survived his mortal wounds long enough in his anguish to gnaw the turf with his teeth, and plough the earth with his hands. Here is another still that had dragged himself along in his own gore till death kindly released him from his agonies, and yonder is a young man of fair
P. T. NO. XLIV.
form and noble mien, who felt the dews of death fast settling on his brow, and, knowing his hour had come, pulled from his bosom the last letter of a mother, the picture of a wife, or the braided lock of a loved and plighted one, and, pressing the fond memorial to his lips, expired with no kind one near to ease his dying head, or catch his last farewell.
Would to God that this were all ! But every battle is followed by a long train of the keenest sufferings. Often are thousands left day after day stretched on the open field, without food, or drink, or any shelter from scorching suns, from drenching rains, from the damps and chills of night, or even from the voracity of famished beasts of prey, till multitudes linger out a most miserable death, the wounds of many become incurable, and the excruciating pains of others drive them to madness.
Go to a hospital crowded with such victims-victims jolted thither, days and even weeks after the battle, in rude carts, with their undressed wounds all festering and gangrened! Here is a limb shattered to pieces, and there another torn almost from the body. Yonder is a wretch with his skull fractured, his jaw broken, an eye dislocated, or crushed in its socket. Here is one feebly gasping in death, and there another driven to madness by his sufferings, raving in wild, fierce. delirium, and pouring forth a torrent of horrid imprecations. Here you behold one pleading piteously for the surgeon's knife to ease his pains, and yonder another writhing and shrieking under an operation more painful than even his wounds.
But let us look at a single one of these sufferers. In the melee,' says Gen. Ponsonby wounded at the battle of Waterloo, 'I was almost instantly disabled in both arms; and, followed by a few of my men who were at once cut down, I was carried along by my horse, till receiving a blow from a sabre, I fell senseless on my face to the ground. Recovering, I raised myself a little to look around, being unable to get up, and run away, when a lancer passing by, struck his lance through my back. My head dropped, the blood gushed into my mouth, and a difficulty of breathing came on. A soldier stopped to plunder me, and threatened my life. I directed him to a small side-pocket, where he found three dollars, all I had: But he still threatened, and I said he might search me, which he immediately did, unloosing my stock, tearing open my waistcoat, and leaving me in a very uneasy posture. No sooner was he gone than an officer, bringing up some troops, and happening to halt where I lay, stooped down, and addressed me, saying he feared I was badly wounded. I told him I was, and expressed a wish to be carried to the rear. He said it was against their orders to remove even their own men; but, if they gained the day, as he expected they would, every attention in his power should be shown me. I complained of thirst; and he held his bottle to my lips, directing one of his soldiers to lay me straight on my side, and place a knapsack under my head. He then passed on into action; and I never knew to whom I was thus indebted for my life.
It was dusk when two squadrons of Prussian cavalry, each of them two deep, came across the valley, and passed me in full trot, lifting me from the ground, and tumbling me about cruelly. This was horrid enough; but a gun taking that direction, must have destroyed me.—The battle was now at an end; but the groans of the wounded all around me became every instant more and more audible. There I lay in my agony, and thought the night would never end. About this time I found a soldier lying across my legs. He had probably crawled thither in his anguish; and his weight, his convulsive motions, his doleful noises, and the air rushing through a wound in his side, distressed me greatly—the last circumstance more than all, as I had a wound of the same nature 'myself. Several stragglers of our own allies, wandering about in quest of plunder, came one after another to look at me, and at last one stopped to examine me. I told him I was a British officer, and had been plundered already; yet he did not desist, but pulled me about roughly. Near midnight, I saw a man in English uniform walking towards me. I spoke instantly to him, told him who I was, and offered him a reward to remain with me. He relieved me from the dying soldier, and stood' over me as a sentinel till day broke, when, a messenger being sent to Hervey, a cart came, and carried me, a mile and a half, to the village of Waterloo, where I was found to have received seven wounds.
Let us hear the testimony of some eye-witnesses. The battle of Preuss-Eylau was suspended awhile; and never did a more horrid spectacle present itself! Fifty thousand men killed and wounded since sun-rise, and a great part of them, being struck by cannon shot, exposed still on the ground without any means or hopes of succor! Near fifty thousand more, worn out with fatigue, and exhausted with hunger, were unable to keep the field, and about to abandon their mangled comrades who vainly implored their assistance and protection!
• The cannon thundered at Heilsberg, and the musketry rolled, illuminating the atmosphere with continued flane, until the combat gradually relaxed; but a little before ten at night, a deserter came over to the Russians, and informed the general that another assault was preparing from the wood. Soon the batteries were opened, and the fury of battle raged again; but the assailants, unable to force the passage, fell back almost annihilated, and shouted, cease the fight. The massacre was terminated; but the uproar of conflict was followed by the groans of the wounded who, tortured with pain, and anticipating a renewal of the fight on the morrow, in vain implored removal, relief, and even death. When the light broke, a most disgusting sight attracted the attention of both the armies. The ground between them, about a quarter of a mile, was a sheet of naked human bodies which friends and foes had during the night mutually stripped, not leaving the poorest rag upon them, although numbers were still alive, and recained consciousness of their situation!'
Glance at the battle-field of Borodino. "As we passed over the
ground which the Russians had occupied, we could judge of the immense loss they had sustained. In the space of nine square miles, almost every spot was covered with the killed or wounded! On many places the bursting of shells had promiscuously heaped together men and horses. The fire of our howitzers had been so destructive, that mountains of dead bodies were scattered over the plain; but the most horrid spectacle was in the interior of the ravines, where those of the wounded who were able to drag themselves along, had taken refuge to avoid the shot. These miserable wretches, heaped one upon another, and almost suffocated with blood, uttering the most dreadful groans, and invoking death with piercing cries, eagerly besought us to end their torments by killing them on the spot!
Take the following account of scenes after the battle of Soldin, from the pen of a clergyman. “At one o'clock the cannonading 'ceased; and I went out on foot as far as Soldin to learn to whose advantage the battle had turned. Towards evening, seven hundred Russian fugitives came to Soldin, a most pitiful sight! some holding up their hands, cursing and swearing; others praying, and praising the king of Prussia; without hats, without clothes; some on foot, others two on a horse, with their heads and arms tied up; some dragging along by the stirrups, and others by the tails of the horses.—When the battle was decided in favor of the Prussians, I ventured to the place where the cannonading had been. After walking some way, a Cossack's horse came running full speed towards me. I mounted him; and on my way for seven miles and a half on this side the field of battle, I found the dead and wounded lying on the ground, sadly cut in pieces. The further I advanced, the more these poor creatures lay heaped one upon another. That scene I shall never forget. The Cossacks, as soon as they saw me, cried out, Dear sir, water, water, water! Righteous God! what a sight! Men, women and children, Russians and Prussians, carriages and horses, oxen, chests and baggage, all lying one upon another to the height of a man! and seven villages around me in flames, and the inhabitants either massacred, or thrown into the fire!-Nor were the embers of mutual rage yet extinguished in the hearts of the combatants; for the poor wounded were still firing at each other in the greatest exasperation! The field of battle was a plain two miles and a half long, and so entirely covered with dead and wounded, that there was not even room to set my foot without treading on some of them! Several brooks were so filled up with Russians, that they lay heaped one upon another as high as two men, and appeared like hills to the even ground! I could hardly recover myself from the fright occasioned by the miserable outcries of the wounded. A noble Prussian officer, who had lost both his legs, cried out to me, Sir, you are a priest, and preach mercy; pray, show me some compassion, and despatch me at once.'
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.