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gently as possible, but in striving, on the contrary, to destroy each other, as though time did not do this with sufficient rapidity. What I thought at fifteen years of age, I still think, that war, and the pain of death which society draws upon itself, are but organized barbarisms, an inheritance of the savage state, disguised or ornamented by ingenious institutions, and false eloquence."
We might quote WELLINGTON himself, the conqueror of Napoleon, deploring the evils of this custom, and expressing his willingness, “ even by the sacrifice of his life, to prevent one month of war in a country to which he was attached ;” but it is more refreshing to hear such a patriotwarrior as our own WASHINGTON “reflecting how much more delightful to an undebauched mind is the task of making improvements on the earth, than all the vain-glory which can be acquired from ravaging it by the most uninterrupted career of conquests. How pitiful, in the eye of reason and religion, is that false ambition which desolates the world with fire and sword, compared to the milder virtues of making our fellow-men as happy as their frail conditions and perishable natures will permit them to be! It is time for knight-errantry and mad heroism to be at an end."
Immediately after the battle of Germantown, Warner Mifflin, in behalf of the Quakers, carried to the opposing generals, Washington and Howe, the testimony of his brethren against war; and when Mifflin, after Washington was raised to the presidency of the United States, visited him in New York, the President, having received him with much respect, said, “Will you please, Mr. Mifflin, to inform me on what principles you were opposed to the Revolution ?” “Yes, Friend Washington; on the same principle that I should now be opposed to any change in this government. All that ever was gained by revolutions, is not an adequate compensation to the poor mangled soldier for the loss of life or limb" — how much more truly he might have added, “ for the loss of his soul, a gem value than all the kingdoms of this world.” Washington, after some pause and reflection, replied, “Mr. Mimin, I honor your sentiments; there is more in them than mankind have generally considered.”
STATESMEN. MACCHIAVEL himself denounces war as “a profession by which men cannot live honorably; an employment by
which the soldier, if he would reap any profit, is obliged to be false, and rapacious, and cruel. Nor can any man, who makes war his profession, be otherwise than vicious. Have you not a proverb, that war makes villains, and peace brings them to the gallows ?”
LORD CLARENDON, illustrious in the annals of England, is very explicit in his denunciations of this custom. all the punishments and judgments which the provoked anger of the divine providence can pour out upon a nation full of transgressions, there is none so terrible and destroying as war. A whole city on fire is a spectacle replete with horror; but a whole kingdom on fire must be a prospect much more terrible. And such is every kingdom in war, where nothing flourishes but rapine, blood and murder. We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war."
They who allow no war to be lawful, have consulted both nature and religion much better than they who think it may be entered into to comply with the ambition, covetousness, or revenge
of the greatest princes and monarchs upon earth; as if God had inhibited only single murders, and left mankind to be massacred according to the humor and appetite of unjust and unreasonable men. It is no answer to say, that this universal suffering is the inevitable consequence of war, however warrantably soever entered into, but rather an argument that no war can warrantably be entered into. It may be, upon a strict survey and inquisition into the elements and injunctions of the Christian religion, that no war will be found justifiable; and, at all events, what can we think of most of those wars which for some hundreds of years have infested the world so much to the dishonor of Christianity, and in wbich the lives of more men have been lost than might have served to people all those parts of the earth which yet remain without inhabitants ?"
Necker, the great French financier, exclaims, " With what impatience have I wished to discuss this subject, and to expatiate on the evils which always attend this terrible calamity! War, alas! impedes the course of every useful plan, exhausts the sources of prosperity, and diverts the attention of governors from the happiness of nations. It even suspends, sometimes, every idea of justice and humanity; and, instead of gentle and benevolent feelings, it substitutes hostility and hatred, the necessity of oppression, and the rage of desolation."
“ 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 says in 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 a 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,
employed in making roads, and constructing canals of nav. igation 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 our. selves 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.”
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, were more accustomed 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 mischiefs 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 recommended, 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 ocean - 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