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vessels toesed on the ocean in a storm; hat encouragement can parents have to educate their sons ?
I grant that America has not yet reached the savage practices of impressinent and conscription, but they were serious y proposed in Congress before the close of even our last war 1&12, and, sbouid we embark in frequent or protracted conflicts, tiey would be found indispensable. They are the necessary feeders of this insatiate, all-devouring Moloch, and must spread its disastrous influence over all the departinents 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 serninary 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 acaderies, 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 borrors of war.
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 spillions; 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 Saracers 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 every 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 master-minds of every age; its atmosphere 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 Rome, 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 the authority of age, all the fascinations of beauty, all the sanctions of religion, all the charms
still wider and more powerful influence. As teachers, editors and authors; as expounders of law, or professors of the healing ait; as preacbers of the gospel, or guardians of society and govern ment, they will hold in their hands the main-springs of the world, and could, if they would, so far saturate the public mind with a love of peace, and abhorrence of war, as to prevent this scourge from ever returning upon civilized nations.
Most earnestly, then, would we commend this cause not only to the cultivated, leading minds already on the stage of public life, but especially to the rising generation of scholars now in our seminaries of learning. Fain would we press its claims on your conscience as well as your self-interest. Its destiny is suspended mainly on you; and your character and circumstances, your future pursuits and interests, your obligations to society and to God, all unite in demanding of you special services for a cause sa important in itself, and so indissolubly linked with the welfare of your country and the world. Open your mind then to its claims. Examine the subject for yoаrselves; you will find it full of unexpected interest. Read and reflect upon it at your leisure. Discuss it in your literary associations. Try your powers upon it both in prose and verse. Make it a topic of frequent conversation, and fully resolve so far to master the whole subject, and so deeply to imbue yourselves with its spirit, that you will feel self-impelled to its earnest, habitual advocacy, and be well prepared in future life to plead with success the claims of an enterprise so vital to the welfare of all mankind for time and eternity.
CHARLES SUMNER.–One of the obstacles to be encountered by the advocate of Peace, is the warlike tone of literature. The world has supped so full with battles, that all its inner modes of thought, and many of its rules of conduct, seem ro be incarnadined with blood;
as the bones of swine, fed on madder, are said to become red. Fain would I offet my tribute to the Father of Poetry, standing, with harp of immortal melody, on the misty mountain top of distant antiquity ; to all those stories of courage and sacrifice which emblazon the annals of Greece and Rome; to the fulminations of Demosthenes, and the splendors of Tully ; 10 the sweet verse of Virgil, and the poetic prose of Livy. Fain would I offer my tribute to the new literature which shot up in modern times as a vigorous forest from the burnt site of ancient woods; to the passionate song of the Troubadour of France, and the Minnesinger of Germany; to the thrilling ballads of Spain, and the delicate music of the Italian lyre. But from all these bas breathed the breath of war, that has swept the heart-strings of innumerable generations of men!
DOUGLASS JERROLD.—Now, look aside, and contemplate God's image with a musket. Behold the crowning glory of his work managed like a machine, to slay the image of God, ta stain the teeming earth with homicidal blood, to fill the air with howling anguish! Is not yonder row of clowns a melancholy sight? Yet are they the sucklings of glory, the baby mighty ones of a future gazette. What a fine looking thing is war! Yet, dress it as we may, dress and feather it, daub it with gold, kuzza it, and sing swaggering songs about it, what is it, nine times out of ten, but murder in uniform-Cain taking the sergeant's shilling ?
But the craft of man has made a splendid ceremony of homicide. He slaughters with flags flying, drums beating, trumpets braying. He kills according to method, and has worldly honors for his grin kandiwork. He does not, like the unchristian savage, carry away with him mortal trophies from the skulls of his enemies. No; the alchemy or magic of authority turns his wellworn scalps into epaulettes, or hangs them in stars and crosses at his button-hole; and then, the battle over, the dead not eaten, but carefully buried, and the maimed and mangled howling and blaspheming in hospitals, the meek Christian warrior marches to church, and, reverently folding his sweet and spotless hands, sings Te Deum! And this spirit of destruction is canonized by the craft and ignorance of man, and worshipped as glory! This religion of the sword, this dazzling heathenism which makes a pomp of wickedness, seizes and distracts us even on the threshold of life. Swords and drums are our baby play-things; and, as we grow older, the outward magnificence of the ogre Glory, his trappings and his trumpets, his privileges, and the songs that are shouted in his praise, ensnare the bigger baby to his sacrifice. Hence slaughter becomes an exalted profession; the marked, distinguished employment of what is called a gentleman!!
But, man of war! you are at length shrinking, withering like an aged giant. You are not now the feathered thing you were the fingers of Opinion have been busy at your plumes; and then that little tube, the goose-quill, has sent its silent shots into your huge anatomy, and the corroding ink, even whilst you look at it, and think it shines so brightly, is eating into your sword with a tooth of rust.
Leigu Hunt.-I firmly believe that war, or the sending thousands of our fellow creatures to cut one another to bits, often for what they have no concern in, nor understand, will one day be reckoned far inore absurd than if people were to settle an argument over the dinner-table with their knives –a logic, indeed, which was once fashionable in some places during the “good old times.” The world has seen the absurdity of that practice; why should it not come to years of discretion, with respect to violence on a larger scale? Why should not every national dispute be referred to a third party? There is reason to suppose, that the judgment would stand a good chance of being impartial; and it would benefit the character of the judge, and dispose him to receive judg. ments of the same kind ; till at length the custom would prevail, like any other custom ; and men be astonished at the customs that
preceded it. In private life, none but school-boys and the vulgar settle disputes by blows; even duelling is losing its dignity.
Two nations, or, most likely, two governments, have a dispute ; they reason the point backwards and forwards ; they cannot determine it, perhaps do not wish to determine it; so, like two carmen in the street, they fight it out; first, however, dressing themselves up to look fine, and pluming themselves on their absurdity, just as if the two carmen were to go and put on their Sunday clothes, and stick a feather in their hat besides, in order to be as dignified and fantastic as possible. They then go at it, and cover themselves with mud, blood and glory! Can any thing be more ridiculous ? Yet the similitude is not one atom too ludicrous; no, nor a thousandth part enough so.
THOMAS CARLYLE.—What is the net purport and upshot of war? To my own knowledge, for example, there dwell and toil, in the British village of Dumdrudge, usually some five hundred souls. From these, by certain natural enemies' of the French, there are successively selected, during the French war, say thirty able-bodied men. Dumdrudge, at her own expense, has suckled and nursed them; she has, not without difficulty and sorrow, fed them up to manhood, and even trained them to crafts, so that one can weave, another build, another hammer, and the weakest can stand under thirty stone avoirdupois. Nevertheless, amid much weeping and swearing, they are selected; all dressed in red, and shipped away, at the public charges, some two thousand miles, or say only to the south of Spain, and fed there till wanted. And now, to that same spot in the south of Spain, are thirty similar French artisans, from a French Dumdrudge, in like manner wending; till at length, after infinite effort, the two parties come into actual juxta-position; and thirty stand fronting thirty, each with a gun in his hand. Straightway the word ' fire !' is given; and they blow the souls out of one another; and in place of sixty brisk, useful craftsmen, the world has sixty dead carcasses, which it must bury, and anew shed tears for.
Had these men any quarrel ? Busy as the devil is, not the smallest! They lived far enough apart; were the entirest strangers; nay, in so wide a universe, there was even, unconsciously, by commerce, some mutual helpfulness between them. How then ? Simpleton! their governors had fallen out; and, instead of shooting one another, had the cunning to make these poor blockheads shoot.-Alas, so is it in Deutschland, and hitherto in all other lands; still, as of old, what devilry soever kings do, the Greeks must pay the piper!'
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.