« PreviousContinue »
3. Some of the evils of war are so manifest as to need only to be mentioned. Such is the destruction of life which it occasions, always followed, of course, by misery to many survivors. Such is the děvastation it often introduces into a country which is its seat. The injury it does, by misapplying the nătional energies and funds, is less apt to be understood. Yet this is one of its greatest evils. War destroys — it never creates or produces. All it does is in the way of subtraction — nothing in the way of addition.
4. The men who become soldiers are kept from useful employment; the money spent in their pay, accouterments, and all the appurtenances of war, is laid out on what makes no return, and is gone forever as truly as if it had been thrown into the sea. The persons, indeed, who furnish the articles required for war, have lived upon the profits of their work; but their work has been unserviceable, whereas it might have been otherwise. Their talents and labor have all been misdirected. Thus, in every point of view, the money spent in war is misspent. · 5. War not only takes largely of our existing means, besides anticipating the future, but it paralyzes and blights the powers by which means are acquired. The commerce of a country is usually much deranged by war, in consequence of the shutting up of certain mar. kets, and the danger incurred in reaching others. Manufacturers are consequently thrown idle. All this descends in incalculable miseries upon the humbler classes.
6. But perhaps the most fatal effect of war is the lowering of the moral tone of the people. It sets all their sympathies into wrong directions, and introduces a new set of objects to public notice. Idle parade and gewgaws take the place of solidly-useful matters; men worship what destroys; merit is estimated, not by the
extent of good that a man does, but by his power of inflicting evil. The modest benefactors of their race are overlooked; while praise is heaped upon him who has shown an unusual amount of perhaps merely animal courage, or, at best, exercised ingenuity in inflicting suffering upon his fellow-creatures. .
7. In the progress of such a dispute with another nation the selfish feelings are called into powerful play. We wish for victory, and seek to obtain it, without the least regard to the merits of the case. “Our own country and cause, right or wrong," is practically the maxim of all belligerent parties. This selfishness and injustice diffuse themselves into the administration of the government, and even into private affairs; so that corruption, peculation and fraud, abound on all hands. In such a state of things all that condūces to moral progress is sensibly checked; and it may be said that, for every year spent in war, we would require five to do away with its bad effects, and enable us to start at the point where we formerly were.
8. It is not wonderful that war should be so ruinous; for men are so constituted as to be benefited only by mutual kindness and a firm union, and not by doing each other harm. It is a great mistake to suppose even that we can be benefited, in the long run, by only consulting our own interests. A much greater mistake is to suppose that we can, as a rule, derive good from what does harm to our neighbors. All our highest gratifications are found in the efforts we make to give happiness to others. A nation, therefore, on the out. look for happiness to itself, ought to promote the benefit of its neighbors; it should seek to form friendly relations with them; to produce an interchange of benefits by commerce and other means; to do them, in short, all the good in its power.
9. But now a policy of suspicion, attended with immense expense, is established among states. France keeps up an army and navy, lest Britain should some day fall upon her. Britain does the same, dreading some outbreak on the part of France. Forts are raised beside harbors, to protect shipping from these imaginary hostilities. Half the men who are at the prime of life are obliged to go into discipline as soldiers, for a month per annum, that they may be ready to repel any assault from their neighbors, who are drilling under the same terror for them.
10. Thus money is misexpended, and human labor
ment of jealousy,-a fear which actually engenders its own assailants. How strange that no people have ever yet been found capable of the gallantry of saying to a neighbor, “We arm not, for we mean no harm, and wish to apprehend none. Here we offer you love, instead of hostility. You are too magnanimous, in such circumstances, to refuse the one or offer the other”! . No nation, civilized to the degree of those in western Europe, could withstand this. There is no nation but would, like Orlando, blush and hide its sword.
11. There is nothing Quixotic in this doctrine. It proceeds upon the most familiar principles in human nature, namely, that an honest good-will generates the same in the bosoms to which it is addressed. Would governments but try the relaxation of an im'port duty, instead of the putting a war-vessel into commission; would they but hold out a friendly hand in any case of exigency, — such as occurred when Hamburgh was burnt, — instead of raising up jealous forts and martello towers, they would find how much better it is to do good than to threaten or inflict evil, and how truly LOVE IS POWER.
CXXII. — THE CHOLERIC FATHER.
PIT'TANCE, n., a small allowance. Tuwart (a as in war), v. t., to come O'GLE (oʻgl), v. t., to look at with side across; hence to frustrate; to defeat. glances.
JACK'A-NAPES, n., a monkey. Re:CRUIT'ING, ppr., raising troops. Mu-NIF'I-CENCE, n., liberality.
For practicing the voice in the level tones of ordinary conversation, and forming a nat. ural, easy and colloquial style of reading, no exercise is more suitable than a lively, wellwritten dialogue. Readers, who enter into the spirit and humor of the following, can hardly fail of giving it the proper effect.
• Capt. Absolute. Sir, I am delighted to see you here, and looking so well! Your sudden arrival at Bath made me apprehensive for your health.
Sir Anthony. Very apprehensive, I dare say, Jack, What, you are recruiting here, hey?
Capt. A. Yes, sir ; I am on dūty. :
Sir A. Well, Jack, I am glad to see you, though I did not expect it; for I was going to write to you on a little matter of business. Jack, I have been considering that I grow old and infirm, and shall probably not trouble you long.
Capt. A. Pardon me, sir, I never saw you look more strong and hearty ; and I pray fervently that you may continue so.
Sir A. I hope your prayers may be heard, with all my heart. Well, then, Jack, I have been considering that I am so strong and hearty, I may continue to plague you a long time. Now, Jack, I am sensible that the income of your commission, and what I have hitherto allowed you, is but a small pittance for a lad of your spirit.
Capt. A. Sir, you are very good.
Sir A. And it is my wish, while yet I live, to have my boy make some figure in the world. I have resolved, therefore, to fix you at once in a noble independence.
Capt. A. Sir, your kindness overpowers me. Such
generosity makes the gratitude of reason more lively than the sensations even of filial affection. · Sir A. I am glad you are so sensible of my atten. tion; and you shall be master of a large estate in a few weeks.
Capt. A. Let my future life, sir, speak my gratitude. I can not express the sense I have of your munifi. cence. Yet, sir, I presume you would not wish me to quit the army?
Sir A. O, that shall be as your wife chooses.
Sir A. Ay, ay, settle that between you — settle that between you
Capt. A. A wife, sir, did you say?
Sir A. Ay, a wife — why, did not I mention her. before ?
Capt. A. Not a word of her, sir.
Sir A. Upon my word, I must n't forget her, though! Yes, Jack, the independence I was talking of is by a marriage, — the fortune is saddled with a wife; but I suppose that makes no difference?
Capt. A. Sir, sir, you amaze me!
Sir A. What's the matter? Just now you were all gratitude and duty. .
Capt. A. I was, sir; you talked to me of independ. ence and a fortune, but not one word of a wife.
Sir A. Why, what difference does that make? Sir, if you have the estate, you must take it with the live stock on it, as it stands.
Capt. A. If my happiness is to be the price, I must beg leave to decline the purchase. Pray, sir, who is the lady?
Sir A. What's that to you, sir? Come, give me your promise to love, and to marry her directly. .
Capt. A. Sure, sir, that's not very reasonable, to summon my affections for a lady I know nothing of