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Statesmen and philosophers, orators and men of science and letters, it throws into the shade, or chains to its car, or crushes beneath its iron hoof. Rold and brawny hands, the qualities of a tiger or bull-dog, seize the reins of government, and monopolize the political power of the world.
On this point history is decisive. Warriors have generally been permitted io engross the government of mankind; and, with a very few exceptions like Cæsar, you will find them, like Attila and Alaric, Tamerlane, Jenghiz-khan and Achilles, a species of human tigers, skilled in little else than the art of bloodshed, devastation and misery. An Alexander or Napoleon may occasionally take with thein on their excursions a naturalist to collect curiosities, a historian to record their exploits, or a poet to sing their praises; but the mass of powerful and cultivated minds, the warrior brings into subserviency to his own agerandizement, and keeps them in a state of servile, debasing subjection. If you cultivate the arts of peace, talent, knowledge and wisdom will hold the reins of
government; but let the people become warlike, and military chieftains would soon drive them all the point of the bayonet. Review the history of Greece and Rome, of England under Cromwell, of France under Napoleon, of all the republics except our own in the New World; and you will find on this point a superabundance of proof.
In view of such facts, I stand amazed at the disposition of intellectual men to eulogize war and warriors. Still more strange is the encouragement which statesmen lend to war; for they are thus cherishing a serpent that will one day wreath his folds around themselves, and strangle them to death. It is only in peace that their worth can be fully appreciated, or their merits duly rewarded; while in war, or under its influonces even in peace, Pompey outpeers Cicero, Cromwell takes precedence of Milton, and the hero of New Orleans or Tippecanoe, with only a modicum of talent or knowledge, leaves the first minds of the land far behind them in the race of popularity and power.
4. Another pledge of their special interest in the cause of peace may be found in the character of literary men. They are generally peaceful; most of the influences acting upon them are pacific; and I can hardly conceive it possible for them to carry the spirit of war into the researches of science, the pursuits of art, or the studies of literature and philosophy. All these are plants of peace, and can flourish only amid its balmy breezes, and beneath its gentle dews and genial sunshine.
Loc at the man of science or letters. Peace is his very element. He lives in a peaceful retreat; he breathes a peaceful atmosphere; he is surrounded by peaceful associates; his whole life is a current of peaceful labors and enjoyments. Still more so with the youthful student; his studies, his recreations, all the scenes about him are peaceful. It would seem impossible for such persons to cherish a war-spirit; and from them the cause of peace may well expect an unwonted degree of sympathy and support.
5. But mark the subserviency of this cause to the peculiar interests of sc entitic and literary men. All their pursuits require peace. War paralyzes, suspends or deranges them all. Peace is the chosen nurse of genius and taste, of philosophy, art and science. They expire in the foul and bloody embraces of war. It sweeps, like a deadly sirocco, across the gardens of intellect and knowledge. You can find no lite no philosophy, no art. or science, except that of huinan butchery, flourishing beneath its death-shades.
So all history tells us. Recount the names of those whose literary or scientific fame has filled the world; and how few of them won their way to eminence amid the din of war! Where did Newton and Davy make their discoveries, or Locke and Aristotle excogitate their metaphysics, or Pliny, Buffon and Linnæus originate or remodel entire departments of science, or Bacon clicit and embody the great principles of philosophy, or Plato compose his matchless essays, or Demosthenes and Cicero acquire their mastery over the human mind, or Homer himself learn to chant the praises of war in deathless song? On the battle-fi in camps and fleets ? No; nearly all the products of their genius, taste and learning were fruits of peace, which war would have crushed in . the germ, or nipped in the bud.
Glance at the ravages which this demon of vandalism has made of such products. Whose torch burnt those treasures of knowledge which so many centuries had been accumulating in Egypt? Whose hand seized the noblest monuments of ancient art, and hurled them in fragments to the ground? Whose foot of iron trampled on the statues, and temples, and arches, and columns of Greece and Rome? The richest treasures of learning, the finest works of art, the most splendid productions of taste and genius, war has wantonly destroyed, and seemed to glory in the ruin.
6 War is, also, hostile to the general culuvation of mind. It comes over the mass of society like a thunder-cloud, and conceals the sun of science from their view. It quenches in many the very desire for mental improvement, and absorbs the time and money needed for such a purpose.
Where the whole land is a vast muster-field; where every man, not diseased or crippled, is held to military service; where the arrangements for war supersede those for every other object, and keep society in a state of ceaseless commotion or suspense, I see not how any system of common edlucation can be pursued with steady vigor and success. To this rule there may be exceptions, but no contradiction of the principle.
Equally hostile is war to the higher departments of education. Few here pass through a course of liberal sindies without an eye to one of the learned professions; but the demands of war, if uninterrupted, would render it quite uncertain whether a youth would be permitted to reach his goal. Where the practice of conscription or impressment prevails; where every young man is liable, at the very age of comunencing his studies for a profession, to be dragged into an army or navy for life; where every thing is unseuiled, and the vicissitudes of war keep the whole community like
vessels tossed on the ocean in a storm ;—what encouragement can parents have to educate their sons ?
I grant that America has not yet reached the savage practices of impressment and conscription ; but they were seriously proposed in Congress before the close of even our last war(1812,) and, should we embark in frequent or protracted conflicts, they would be found indispensable. They are the necessary feeders of this insatiate, all-devouring Moloch, and must spread its disastrous influence over all the departments of education. It would paralyze the intellect of the nation, and roll back the wheels of general improvement. It would break the main-spring of education, or derange its entire machinery. It would blight more or less every seminary of learning from the highest to the lowest. Our last, as well as our revolutionary war, disbanded some of our colleges, and turned the buildings into barracks. This monster rides rough-shod over all such institutions. It would thin even our Sabbath and common schools, as well as our academies, our colleges, and professiona. seminaries. The youth destined to these nurseries of intellect and knowledge, would be forced into fleets and camps, or be dragged from the very temples of science to meet the hardships and horrors
Reflect for a moment on the loss of mind and general improvement occasioned by this custom. It does indeed quicken the intellect of a few leaders; but it is a sort of mental torpedo to the mass of persons in its service. It makes them mere tools, or parts of a vast engine for the destruction of mankind. It is a dead loss of mind to nearly all the purposes for which mind was made ; and, if you review the whole history of war, you will find the sum total of this waste to exceed all calculation. Alexander and Cæsar each kept, hundreds of thousands continually in the field ; the armies of Ninus and Semiramis often amounted to more than two millions each; that of Xerxes exceeded five millions; the standing forces of Christendom even in a time of peace are about three millions; and myriads of immortal minds has this custom lost to improvement and society, to God and heaven. The siege of ancient Troy, undertaken for the recovery of a worthless courtezan, blighted not less than 2,000,000; the wars of Napoleon, in the short space of fourteen years, crushed more than 5,000,000 in the heart of Christendom ; Jenghiz-khan butchered nearly 32,000,000 in forty-one years; the wars of the Roman empire, of the Saracens and the Turks, sacrificed 60,000,000 each; those of the Tartars, 80,000,000; those of Africa, 100,000,000 ; and Dick reckons the whole number of its victims from the first, at 14,000,000,000! while Burke put them at 35,000,000,000!! What a fearful, immeasurable waste of immortal minds!
7. Other claims of peace upon literary men result from the general prevalence of a war spirit from their agency heretofore in spreading this poison, and from their ability to neutralize its baleful influence. War has diffused a species of moral malaria over the whole world. Look at the dangers from a literature tainted with its spirit. They cluster thickly along the student's path.
At every step he treads among the scorpions of war; with every breath he inhales its delicious infection; at every turn he is met by its gilded, glorious, bewildering fascinations. Its kaleidoscopes pour upon his eye from cvery quarter their bright and dazzling images. War besets every avenue to his soul. He is constantly begirt with its influences. They form the atmosphere and aliment of his moral being. The richest banquets of taste and intellect are strongly spiced with the spirit of war. The waters of Helicon are saturated with it. The very nectar and ambrosia of ancient literature are steeped in it. The plague-spots are all over the noblest creations of genius. This moral gangrene cankers the literature of the world, and mars more or less the best specimens of ancient and modern poetry and eloquence, history and philosophy.
Now, if the student must or will peruse such works, does he need no shield or warning against the dangers that lurk on every side of him, no antidote to the moral poison he is continually imbibing ? Let him beware; his task is perilous,--very like that of a botanist culling flowers from a garden of death, or an amateur trying to pull a jewel of diamonds from a body all spotted with the plague, or a traveller inhaling Arabian odors wafted on the wings of the Simoom. Every scholar knows these dangers, and should warn his successors. The mania of war has pervaded the world ; its mighty spell has bound the naster-minds of every age; its atinosphere of death hangs over all the fields of ancient and modern literature; and, inhaled by the student, it is continually tainting the life-blood of his soul. Genius, taste, learning, all have bowed, age after age, before this universal Juggernaut, and poured out their richest offerings on its altar.
This point needs little proof. The literature of the world reeks with war.
Scarce a poet or orator, historian or philosopher of Greece or Romne, that did not worship at the shrine of the wardemon, and bequeath to posterity some memorial of his devotion. Nor is the literature even of Christendom free from the same taint; it were easy to fill volumes with specimens of the war-spirit. The student is constantly meeting them in works of taste; nor do I see how the combustible spirit of youth can help taking fire at such scintillations of war; and surely he needs the shield of peace to guard him against this cluster of dangers by which he is surrounded.
War has ever had a fearful ubiquity of influence. The chief business and boast of the world, it has moulded the character of every age and clime. The first minds even of Christendom have been educated under its delusions. The press and the pulpit, the school and the fireside, have conspired to breathe into the young more or less of its spirit, and train them to the admiration and support of the system. They have been taught to look upon it as the great theatre of glory, as an essential part of society and government. All the power of custom, all tlie authority of age, all the fascinations of beauty, all the sanctions of religion, all the charms
of music and poetry, the utmost efforts of the pen, the pencil and the chisel, have coinbined to throw a most delusive coloriny over its manifold aboininations, and thus to beguile the young, the ardent and the gifted into a passionate fondness, or protvund respect for war.
But on whom rests the chief responsibility of a result so deplorable? Not on the mass of common minds, for they are only its dupes and victims; but on men of letters as the educators of mankind, and the eulogists of this bloody and barbarous custom. They have been the leading agents in perpetuating its strange, guilty, fatal delusions. Their utmost powers they have tasked to prepare the Circean cup of war. Their genius, learning and taste they have prostituted to its service, and done more than all other classes to keep it alive. They have written its histories; they have composed its songs and ballads; they have emblazoned the warrior's deeds, and trumpeted his fame through the world. They have been the high priests of war to cultivated minds, and breaihed its spirit into the literature of every age. Almost every seminary of learning they have made a nursery of war, and filled our libraries with works too well calculated to perpetuate its reign of guilt and terror.
For such wrongs, is not a large atonement due from literary men? This whole war-process must be reversed; and only men of letters can reprir or counteract the evil done by their predecessors of a hundred generations. They alone can fornish the needful antidote to the wide-spread poison of war. It is for them to strip off the rich and gorgeous drapery of delusion which genius has thrown over its manifold abominations ; for them to dissect its rotten-cored philosophy, to expose its heartless sophistries, and silence its coldblooded arguments; for them to show its glaring contrariety to nature, reason and revelation ; for them to guage, if that be possible, the real dimensions of this gigantic sin, to collect the statistics of its mighty mischief for two worlds, and paint its atrocities and woes in such colors as shall rouse every Christian community to the work of its speedy, utter, everlasting extinction.
The cause demands a variety of services from men of letters. “Let one," says Chalmers, " take up the question of war in its principle, and make the full weight of his moral severity rest upon it, and upon all its abominations. Let another take up the question of war in its consequences, and bring all his powers of graphical description to the task of presenting an awakened public with an impressive detail of its cruelties and its horrors. Let another neutralize the poetry of war, and dismantle it of all those bewitching splendors which the hand of misguided genius has thrown over it. Let another teach the world a truer and more magnanimous path to national glory than any country of the world has yet walked in. Let another tell with irresistible argument how the Christian ethics of a nation are at one with the Christian ethics of its humblest individual. Let another pour the light of modern speculation into the mysteries of trade, and prove that not a single war has been