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“In every situation where men are impelled by circumstances, neither their first choice, nor their first impulse, is to be considered in this argument. We must study their sentiments in those moments when, distracted by a thousand excruciating pains, yet still lingering in existence, they are carried off in heaps from the fatal field where they have been mowed down by the enemy. We must study their sentiments in those noisome hospitals where they are crowded together, and where the sufferings they endure to preserve a languishing existence, too forcibly prove the value they set upon their lives, and the greatness of the sacrifice to which they had been exposed. We ought more especially to study their sentiments on board those ships on fire, in which there is but a moment between them and the most cruel death; and on those ramparts where subterraneous explosion announces, that they are in an instant to be buried under a tremendous heap of stones and rubbish. But the earth has covered them, the sea has swallowed them up, and we think of them no more. What unfeeling survivors we are! While we walk over mutilated bodies, and shattered bones, we exult in the glory and honor of which we alone are the heirs."
This subject is immensely important to every nation. War multiplies the calamities of mankind. Several states are already converted, as it were, into a vast body of barracks; and the successive augmentation of disciplined armies will be sure to increase taxes, fear, and slavery in the same proportion."
THOMAS JEFFERSON both wrote and acted with great decision in favor of peace.
" I stand in awe,” he 1798, “ at the mighty conflict to which two great nations," (France and England,) are advancing, and recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force ? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands, and of the labor of millions of our fellow-creatures ? — Wonderful has been the progress of human improvement in other respects. Let us then hope, that the law of nature will in time influence the proceedings of nations as well as of individuals, and that we shall at length be sensible, that war is an instrument entirely inefficient towards redressing wrong, and multiplies instead of indemnifying losses. Had the money which has been spent in the present war, been employed in making roads, and constructing canals of navigation and irrigation through the country, not a hovel in the Highlands of Scotland, or the mountains of Auvergne, would have been without a boat at its door, a rill of water in every field, and a road to its market-town. Were we to go to war for redress of the wrongs we have suffered, we should only plunge deeper into loss, and disqualify ourselves for half a century more for attaining the same end. These truths are palpable, and must in the progress of time have their influence on the minds and conduct of nations.”
We might quote from a long list of English statesmen BURKE, Fox, CANNING, MCINTOSH, and others; but a single paragraph from a speech of Lord BROUGHAM is all we have room to give. My principles — I know not whether they agree with yours; they may be derided, they may be unfashionable ; but I hope they are spreading far and widemy principles are contained in the words which that great man, Lord Faulkland, used to express in secret, and which I now express in public Peace, Peace, PEACE. I abominate war as unchristian. I hold it to be the greatest of human crimes. I deem it to include all others violence, blood, rapine, fraud, every thing which can deform the character, alter the nature, and debase the name of man."
were more accus
PHILOSOPHERS. We need not quote largely from philosophers; but in the van of them all we will place the great philosopher of common sense, our own FRANKLIN, a stanch opposer of the war-system.
“ If statesmen,” says he, tomed to calculation, wars would be much less frequent. Canada might have been purchased from France for a tenth part of the money England spent in the conquest of it; and if, instead of fighting us for the power to tax us, she had kept us in good humor by allowing us to dispose of our own money, and giving us now and then a little of her own by way of donation to colleges or hospitals, for cutting canals, or fortifying ports, she might easily have drawn from us much more by occasional voluntary grants and contributions, than ever she could by taxes. Sensible people will give a bucket or two of water to a dry pump, in order to get from it afterwards all they want.”
“ After much occasion to consider the folly and mis
chiefs of a state of warfare, and the little or no advantage obtained even by those nations which have conducted it with the most success, I have been apt to think there never has been, nor ever will be, any such thing as a good war, or a bad peace. — All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. When will mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration ? Were they to do it even by the cast of a die, it would be better than by fighting and destroying each other. — We daily make great improvements in natural philosophy; there is one I wish to see in moral — the discovery of a plan that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without first cutting one another's throats."
BENJAMIN Rush, a name dear to science and patriotism, philanthropy and religion, wrote with great force against war, and was the first to suggest the idea of associated efforts for its abolition. In a very ingenious essay, he proposed “an office for promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country," and recomi
mmended, among many other appropriate and horrific emblems of the waroffice, that "there be in the lobby painted representations of all the common military instruments of death; and also human skulls broken bones unburied and putrefying dead bodies — hospitals crowded with sick and wounded soldiers villages on fire mothers in besieged towns eating the flesh of their children - ships sinking in the
– rivers dyed with blood - and extensive plains without a tree, or fence, or any object but the ruins of deserted farm-houses. Above all this group of woful figures, let the following words be inserted in red characters, to represent human blood NATIONAL GLORY !!”
JEREMY BENTHAM, a peculiar but powerful mind, says, that “nothing can be worse than the general feeling on the subject of war. The church, the state, the ruling few, the subject many, all seem in this case to have combined to patronize vice and crime in their widest sphere of evil. Dress a man in particular garments, call him by a particular name; and he shall have authority, on divers occasions, to commit every species of offence— to pillage, to murder, to destroy human felicity; and, for so doing, he shall be rewarded. The period will assuredly arrive, when better instructed generations will require all the evidence of history to credit, that in times deeming themselves enlightened, human beings should have been honored with public approval in the very proportion of the misery thev
caused, and the mischiefs they perpetrated; that men there were, men deemed worthy of popular recompense, who for some small pecuniary retribution, hired themselves out to do any deeds of pillage, devastation and murder, which might be demanded of them; and that such men-destroyers were marked out as the eminent and illustrious, as the worthy of laurels and monuments, of eloquence and poetry.”
MEN OF LETTERS.
ERASMUS, the glory of his age, wrote against war with unrivalled beauty and force. « What infernal being, allpowerful in mischief, fills the bosom of man with such insatiable rage for war! If familiarity with the sight had not destroyed all surprise at it, and custom blunted the sense of its evils, who could believe that those wretched beings are possessed of rational souls, who contend with all the rage of furies ? Robbery, blood, butchery, desolation, confound without distinction every thing sacred and profane."
“ Behold with the mind's eye savage troops of men. horrible in their very visage and voice; men clad in steel, drawn upon every side in battle-array, and armed with weapons that are frightful in their clash and their very glitter. Mark the horrid murmur of the confused multitude, their threatening eyeballs, the harsh, jarring din of drums and clarions, the terrific sound of the trumpet, the thunder of cannon, a mad shout like the shrieks of bedlamites, a furious onset, a cruel butchering of each other ! See the slaughtered and the slaughtering, heaps of dead bodies, fields flowing with blood, rivers reddened with human gore!”
"I pass over, as comparatively trifling, the fields of grain trodden down; peaceful cottages and rural mansions burnt to the ground; villages and towns reduced to ashes; innocent women violated; old men dragged into captivity; churches defaced and demolished ; every thing laid waste, a prey to robbery, plunder and violence. Nor will I mention the consequences of the justest and most fortunate
- the unoffending common people robbed of their little, hard-earned property; the great laden with taxes ; old people bereaved of their children, more cruelly killed by the murder of their offspring than by the sword; women far advanced in age, left destitute, and put to death in a worse form than if they had died at once by the point
of the bayonet; widowed mothers, orphan children, houses of mourning, and once affluent families reduced to extreme penury.”
you detest robbery and pillage? These are among the duties of war. Do
shudder at the idea of murder? To commit it with despatch, and by wholesale, constitutes the celebrated art of war. Do you regard debauchery, rapes, incest, and crimes of a dye still deeper than these, as foul disgraces to human nature ? Depend upon it, war leads to all of them in their most aggravated atrocity. Is impiety, or a total neglect of religion, the source of all-villany? Religion is always overwhelmed in the storms of war.
“ The absurdest circumstance of all is, that you see in wars among . Christian nations the cross glittering and waving on high in both the contending armies at once. What a shocking sight! Crosses dashing against crosses, and Christ on this side firing bullets at Christ on the other ! Cross against cross, and Christ against Christ, and prayers at the same time from both armies to the same God of Peace!!”
Well does BURTON, Johnson's favorite author, ask, “Is not this a mad world? Are not these madmen who leave such fearful battles as memorials of their madness to all succeeding generations ? What fury put so brutish a thing as war first into the minds of men ? Why should creatures, born to exercise mercy and meekness, so rave and rage like beasts rushing on to their own destruction ? So' abominable a thing is war! And yet warriors are the brave spirits, the gallant ones of this world, the alone admired, the alone triumphant! These have statues, and crowns, and pyramids, and obelisks to their eternal fame!!”
can never sanc
The early fathers of the church were unanimous in denouncing war as inconsistent with a profession of faith in Christ. “ Custom,” says TERTULLIAN, tion an unlawful act. And can a soldier's life be lawful, when Christ has pronounced that he who lives by the sword, shall perish by the sword? Can any one who professes the peaceable doctrines of the gospel, be a soldier ? Such views prevailed among all the ministers and churches of Christ during the purest era of our religion, and ceased not to regulate their conduct till near the fatal union of