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1. On every side of me I see causes at work which go to spread a most delusive coloring over war, and to remove its shocking barbarities to the background of our contemplations altogether. I see it in the history which tells me of the superb appearance of the troops, and the brilliancy of their successive charges. I see it in the poetry which lends the magic of its numbers to the narrative of blood, and transports its many admirers, as, by its images, and its figures, and its nodding plumes of chivalry, it throws its treacherous embellishments over a scene of legalized slaughter.
2. I see it in the music which represents the progress of the battle ; and where, after being inspired by the trumpet-notes of preparation, the whole beauty and tenderness of a drawing-room are seen to bend over the sentimental entertainment; nor do I hear the utterance of a single sigh to interrupt the death-tones of the thickening contest, and the moans of the wounded men, as they fade away upon the ear, and sink into lifeless silence.
3. All, all, goes to prove what strange and half. sighted creatures we are. Were it not so, war could never have been seen in any other aspect than that of unmingled hatefulness; and I can look to nothing but to the progress of Christian sentiment upon earth to arrest the strong current of the popular and prevail.
ing partiality for war. Then only will an imperious sense of dūty lay the check of severe principle on all the subordinate tastes and faculties of our nature.
4. Then will glory be reduced to its right estimate, and the wakeful benevolence of the gospel, chasing away every spell, will be turned by the treachery of no delusion whatever from its simple but sublime enterprises for the good of the species. Then the reign of truth and quietness will be ushered into the world, and war — cruel, atrocious, unrelenting warwill be stripped of its many and its bewildering fascinations.
Rev. Thomas CHALMERS.
5. Nobody sees a battle. The common soldier fires away amid a smoke-mist, or hurries on to the charge in a crowd which hides every thing from him. The officer is too anxious about the performance of what he is specially charged with to mind what others are doing. The commander can not be present every where; he learns from his reports how the work goes · on. It is well; for a battle is one of those jobs which men do without daring to look upon.
6. Over miles of country, at every field-fence, in every gorge of a valley or entry into a wood, there is murder committing — wholesale, continuous, recip'rocal murder. The human form — God's image – is mutilated, deformed, lăcerated, in every possible way, and with every variety of torture. The wounded are jölted off in carts to the rear, their bared nerves crushed into maddening pain at every stone or rut; or the flight and pursuit trample over them, leaving them to writhe and roar without assistance—and fever and thirst, the most enduring of painful sensations, possess them entirely.
7. The ripening grain is trampled down; the garden is trodden into a black mud; the fruit-trees, bending
beneath their luscious load, are shattered by the cannon-shot. Churches and private dwellings are used as fortresses, and ruined in the conflict. Barns and stack-yards catch fire, and the conflagration spreads on all sides. And yet the desolation which a battle spreads over the battle-field is as nothing when compared with the moral blight which war diffuses through all ranks of society in the country where it rages.
8. Such is war, with its sufferings and sorrows. Such is war in Christian and civilized Europe — war in an age when most has been done to alleviate its horrors. Whitewash it as we will, it still remains full of dead men's bones and rottenness within. Those who trust most to it will be sure to feel most severely that it is an engine the direction and efficacy of which defy calculation — which is as apt to recoil upon those who explode it as to carry destruction into the ranks of their adversaries.
LXXXVI. THE PRUSSIAN GENERAL ON THE RHINE.
Pronounce Blucher, Blook'er ; yea, yà or ye. The former is most in use.
'Twas on the Rhine the armies lay :-
“Bring here the map to me!
From the German of KOPISCH.
1. The whole continental struggle exhibited no fublimer spectacle than this last effort of Napoleon to save his sinking empire. Europe had been put upon the plains of Waterloo to be battled for. The greatest military energy and skill the world possessed had been tasked to the utmost during the day. Thrones were tottering on the ensanguined field, and the shadows of fugitive kings flitted through the smoke of battle.
2. Bonaparte's star trembled in the zenith, — now blazing out in its ancient splendor, now suddenly paling before his anxious eye. At length, when the Prussians appeared on the field, he resolved to stake Europe on one bold throw. He committed himself and France to Ney, and saw his empire rest on a single chance.
3. Ney felt the pressure of the immense responsibility on his brave heart, and resolved not to prove unworthy of the great trust. Nothing could be more imposing than the movement of that grand column to the assault. That guard had never yet recoiled before a human foe; and the allied forces beheld with awe its firm and terrible advance to the final charge.
4. For a moment the batteries stopped playing, and the firing ceased along the British lines, as, without the beating of a drum, or the blast of a bugle, to cheer their steady courage, they moved in dead silence over the plain. The next moment the artillery opened, and the head of that gallant column seemed to sink into the earth. Rank after rank went down; yet they neither stopped nor faltered. Dissolving squadrons, and whole battalions disappearing one after another in the destructive fire, affected not their steady courage. The ranks closed up as before, and each, treading over his fallen comrade, pressed firmly on.
5. The horse which Ney rode fell under him, and he had scarcely mounted another before it also sank to the earth. Again and again did that unflinching man feel his steed sink down, till five had been shot under him. Then, with his uniform riddled with bullets, and his face singed and blackened with powder, he marched on foot, with drawn saber, at the head of his men. In vain did the artillery hurl its storm of fire and lead into that living mass. Up to the very muzzles they pressed, and, driving the artillerymen from their own pieces, pushed on through the English lines.
6. But at that moment a file of soldiers who had lain flat on the ground, behind a low ridge of earth, suddenly rose, and poured a volley in their very faces. Another and another followed, till one broad sheet of flame rolled on their bosoms, and in such a fierce and unexpected flow, that human courage could not with. stand it. They reeled shook, staggered back, then turned and fled.
7. Ney was borne back in the refluent tide, and hurried over the field. But for the crowd of fugitives that forced him on, he would have stood alone, and fallen on his footsteps. As it was, disdaining to fly, though the whole army was flying, he formed his men into two immense squares, and endeavored to stem the terrific current, and would have done so, had it not been for the thirty thousand fresh Prussians that pressed on his exhausted ranks.