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on the 9th April, 1809. In thirty days Vienna was once more in possession of the French, and on the 6th July the battle of Wagram placed the house of Austria, for the third time, at the mercy of Napoleon, and for the third time was peace purchased by prodigious sacrifices.
Surely this brief retrospect of the wars arising from the Frencn revolution, is sufficient to humble the pride of human reason. We see nations rejecting peace as an evil, counting war as a blessing, spurning the lessons of experience, and again and again seeking safety and power in the same paths which had repeatedly led them to defeat and spoliation. It has been very far from our design in this retrospect to justify the conduct of Napoleon. The ends he pursued, and the means he employed, were generally alike unlawful; but we must admit that, for very many of the wars waged against him, he had given no other provocation than the possession of great power and inordinate ambition. That his power was augmented, and his ambition indulged by the very assaults of his enemies, cannot be questioned; and their retrospect forcibly illustrates the little dependence that can rationally be placed on war as a means of national security.
But it may be contended that the successive defeats sustained by Russia, Prussia and Austria, were owing to their inferiority to their enemy; and that the nation which can bring into the field the most numerous and best appointed army, must invariably be successful. Were we to admit this, still, unless the superiority of the army to which victory is destined can be previously ascertained, war must remain as uncertain as ever. But if this superiority can be discovered before the contest is commenced, how are we to account for the fact, that Austria, Russia and Prussia were so often and so grievously deceived? Their wars against France were either declared or invited by themselves, and they must therefore have flattered themselves that they had at least an even chance for success. All history, however, and none more fully than that of Napoleon himself, bears testimony to the great and instructive truth, that the battle is not always to the strong, and that no military force or skill whatever'can enable the eye of man to penetrate the future, and distinctly foresee the result of a single campaign.
This truth is strikingly illustrated in Napoleon. On taking a survey of Europe, after his last conquest of Austria, he beheld the whole continent courting his alliance and protection, with the single exception of Spain, in which the arms and treasures of England were employed in strengthening a popular resistance to his will. Bent on the destruction of his insular foe who, inaccessible to his armies, was both indefatigable and implacable in her hostility, he determined to enforce against her the continental system in every country that could be controlled by his power. Russia refused to submit to all the restrictions of this system, and he sternly resolved to compel obedience to his mandate. The preparations for this war by France exceeded in effective strength any the world had ever witnessed. Greater numbers may have assembled in arms; but history affords no reason to believe that any body of men were ever summoned to the field possessed in as great a degree of the constituents of military power, as the army now collected by Napoleon. The gidss amount of the regular disciplined force of the empire, and its dependencies and allies, amounted to the almost incredible number of 1,187,000. From this mighty mass the emperor could draw at pleasure to maintain the war; and he selected about half a million to carry the French eagles into the heart of Russia. This prodigious multitude, inured to arms, and accustomed to victory, were commanded not by a Xerxes or Darius, but by one of the most energetic, skilful and fortunate soldiers that Europe had ever known. Could military superiority insure success, surely Napoleon was justified in his confident anticipations of triumph; and yet in a few months this mighty monarch was seen deserting at night the wreck of an army that had lost 450,000 men, and seeking safety in flight under a borrowed name! It is unnecessary to trace further the progress of this memorable war, which terminated in the entire subjugation of France, and in the exile and captivity of her late powerful emperor. Of these results England claims the chief credit; but they would probably have come without her agency. Napoleon was indeed banished to Elba; but that was effected almost without the aid of a British musket. British troops caused his downfall at Waterloo ; but, had there not been a British soldier on the continent, he could not long have retained the throne of France.
For her wanton waste of human life and happiness, Great Britain is now suffering a severe retribution in her enormous debt, which represses industry, and has filled the kingdom with mourning and sedition. Institutions long her pride and boast, are now tottering to their fall, and she is threatened with a portentous revolution. For her blood poured out like water, for the millions on millions wrung from her people to sustain her wars, Great Britain has received no one substantial good!
* But liberty is a blessing worth every sacrifice, and war is often indispensable to its acquisition and protection.'—Could liberty be always attained and preserved by war, there would certainly be strong inducements to wage it; but if you consult the records of history, you will find war far more frequently the foe than the friend of freedom. Rarely have usurpers triumphed over the liberties of their country but by the sword. The ancient despotism of France was overthrown by representative assemblies, and a republic established on-its ruins; and that republic was annihilated by an adventurous soldier
through the agency of the army entrusted to him for its defence. The liberties of England have been acquired not by force of arms, but by the energy of parliaments. Î'he ruin of almost every republic that has been blotted from the list of nations, may be ascribed to the military spirit fostered by its citizens.
War has always been adverse to political freedom. A Roman statesman declared, that laws are silent in the midst of arms;' and the experience of ages has converted the words into a proverb. Civil liberty requires the substitution of laws for the will of the ruler; but in war, the will of the ruler becomes the source of legitimate authority, and the bulwarks erected around civil rights, are all levelled on the proclamation of martial law. Constitutional liberty is often sacrificed to the policy of war, and almost every campaign produces its dictator. Few men have ever been more jealous of encroachments on their rights than the fathers of the American Revolution; yet were they frequently induced by the exigencies of the war to submit to the most despotic measures. At one period, no citizen of New York was permitted to pass from one county to another without a passport; and the convention of the same State authorized a committee of three to send for persons and papers; to call out detachments of the militia; to apprehend, imprison, and banish whom they thought proper; to impose secrecy on those they employed; to make draughts on the treasury; to raise officers, and employ as they pleased 220 soldiers. All history bears testimony to the natural tendency of war to establish and strengthen arbitrary power. The pride and pomp of war, the unlimited
power of the commander, the gradations of rank, and the blind, mechanical obedience exacted from the troops, all conspire to render an army a fit instrument of tyranny.
In the policy of nations no maxim is more universally received, with undoubting confidence in its truth, than that “to preserve peace, it is necessary to be prepared for war.” But the wisdom of man is foolishness with God; and upon few maxims of worldly wisdom has Providence more indelibly impressed the stamp of folly and of falsehood. The maxim is founded in ignorance or forgetfulness of the depravity of human nature. It supposes that aggression will be prevented by the power to repel it; while the incitement to aggression by the power to commit it, is wholly overlooked. It is not true that military preparation prevents assaults. The very possession of power, provoking envy, jealousy and hatred, invites hostility. When has Europe beheld a nation more thoroughly prepared for war than France under Napoleon ? Yet when has any nation, in the same period of time, been more frequently and violently attacked ? History affords no example of a nation so powerful as to be exempted from enemies. On the other hand, great military strength has certainly no tendency to encourage pacific dispositions in its possessor. While the nature of man remains unchanged, his cupidity, oppression and injustice will ordinarily be proportioned to his means of indulging them, and those nations will be most frequently engaged in war, who are most competent to wage it.
From the commencement of the eighteenth century, Great Britain, France and Russia have been the most formidable powers in Europe, while Holland, Denmark and Portugal have ranked among the minor states. From 1700 to the general peace in 1815, these countries had been engaged in war as follows :-Great Britain 69 years, Russia 68, France 63, Holland 43, Portugal 40, Denmark 28. Thus their wars have been pretty much in proportion to their military strength; and thus, in the righteous retribution of Providence, those nations which most cultivate the arts of war, are made to drink most deeply of its bloody cup. We also learn the folly of the opinion current in all ages, that national power is conducive to national happiness. The importance attached by statesmen to national wealth, population and military resources, arises from the wretched delusion, that national happiness can be insured only by force of arms. But no truth can be more obvious than that national happiness is merely the aggregate happiness of individuals; and surely the happiness of individuals rests on other grounds than the revenues, fleets and armies of the government to which they are subject. Military power is too often the instrument of a barbarous and debasing despotism. The actual amount of individual and domestic suffering in France, while Napoleon was arbiter of Europe, was probably greater than under any other sovereign that had ever wielded the French sceptre; and who can doubt for a moment, that there is comparatively more comfort, and less misery, in the diminutive state of Connecticut, than in the mighty empire of Russia ?
The last plea in behalf of war is, that it is indispensable in selfdefence. To this we reply, that every war is professedly defensive, while scarcely any one is so in fact. It will be difficult to specify a single instance in which a war might not have been averted by honest and sincere negotiation, or by a sacrifice far less costly to either party than the prosecution of hostilities. Let it be remembered, that precisely the same plea is advanced in vindication of duelling; a plea we all know to be utterly false. War is national duelling, in which each party is exposed to calamities incomparably more dreadful than the grievances they are seeking to redress.
Madison.—Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded. It is the parent of armies ; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended; and all the means of seducing the mind, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continued warfare.
Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH.—The army is the last resource of power; a tremendous weapon, which cannot burst without threatening destruction to all around, and which, if it were not sometimes happily so overcharged as to recoil on him who wields it, would rob all the slaves in the world of hope, and all the freemen of safety.
O'CONNELL.-Remember no political change is worth a single crime, or, above all, a single drop of human blood.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
Nations have always claimed the right of war, and made it their great business to prepare for it, either by having every man a warrior, as among savages; or by standing armies, as in Europe since the middle of the fifteenth century ; or by a militia system which places the defence of a country in its own citizens, and keeps more or less of them trained for this service. Such a system, though extremely crude and inefficient, existed in the feudal ages; and the elements of even our own militia may be traced back as far as Alfred the Great.
I shall not now discuss the principle of such preparations; for the rightfulness of these turns very much, if not entirely, on that of war itself. I may certainly prepare for whatever I am bound or permitted to do; but, if the thing itself is wrong, then is it equally so to make any preparation for doing it. If duelling or piracy is wrong, I must not prepare myself for either. If wrong to counterfeit, or steal, or commit robbery or murder, I have no right to make the slightest preparation for such crimes; and, on the same principle, it is just as right, or just as wrong, to prepare for war as it is to use such preparations in actual warfare. I believe the gospel forbids both ; but, supposing war to be right in the emergencies for which preparations are made, I still contend that militia drills are worse than useless. I do not now call in question the system itself, or the principle of repelling, and being prepared to repel aggression; but I think it possible, in perfect consistency with this admission, to prove that our militia drills are an expensive and pernicious superfluity, and might, without the least injury or danger, be entirely discarded.
Few suspect how much our militia drills cost and waste. Take a case which I myself learned on the spot. In a small town of New England, there were formed even in 1842 no less than three military companies with soine aid from an adjoining town, and one company of juvenile volunteers. Of the laiter a shrewd, economical man said, “I wish this training fever were over; for it has cost me eight or ten dollars to fit up my boys, and lost me a great deal of their time during the best season of the year. If there were only forty boys in the company, and their equipments cost four dollars each, and their time was worth only twenty-five cents a day, the sum total for these items alone, would have been $340. If we suppose the whole number from that town in the adult companies to have been only one hundred, the time spent through the season a single week at merely half a dollar a day, their incidental expenses barely twenty-five cents more, and their equipments of every kind eight dollars each, the aggregate, though most of these