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STATESMEN, more enlightened and humane than warriors, accustomed to take larger and juster views of the public weal, and more familiar with the virtues and blessings of peace, are more generally and more decidedly opposed to the custom of war.
Even MACHIAVEL, whose name long ago became synonymous with political chicanery, condemns the practice in very pointed terms. “War, being a profession by which men cannot live honorably at all times, is not," he says, “to be taken up as a trade, except by a commonwealth or a kingdom ; and, if they be well constituted, they will neither of them suffer any of their citizens or subjects, or any other good man, to make it his business. He can never be thought a good man who takes upon himself an employment by which, if he would ever reap any profit, he is obliged to be false, and rapacious, and cruel, and to entertain several other qualities which are not consistent in a good man. Nor can any man, great or small, who makes war his profession, be otherwise than vicious. Have you not a proverb which confirms what I say, that war makes villains, and peace brings them to the gallows ? Rome, while it was well governed, had never any soldier who made it his profession to be so; and hence few of them were dissolute.” * “War," said LORD BURLEIGH, “is the curse, and
* As quoted by Thrush, in his Observations on War.
blessing, of a country. A realm gaineth more by one year's peace than by ten years' war.'
LORD CLARENDON, the great historian of his own age, and eminent as a statesman and philosopher, is very full and decided in his reprobation of war. “Of all the punishments and judgments which the provoked anger of the divine Providence can pour out upon a nation full of transgressions, there is none so terrible and destroying as war. It is a depopulation, defaces all that art and industry hath produced, destroys all plantations, burns churches and palaces, and mingles them in the same ashes with the cottages of the peasant and the laborer. It distinguishes not of age, or sex, or dignity, but exposes all things and persons, sacred and profane, to the same contempt and confusion, and reduces all that blessed order and harmony, which hath been the product of peace and religion, into the chaos it was first in.
A whole city on fire, is a spectacle full of horror; but a whole kingdom on fire, must be a prospect much more terrible. And such is every kingdom in war, where nothing flourishes but rapine, blood and murder. We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war.
It was a very proper answer to him who asked, why any man should be delighted with beauty ? that it was a question which none but a blind man could ask. Nor can any man ask how or why men come to be delighted with peace, but he who is without natural bowels, who is deprived of all those affections which can only make life pleasant.
No kingdom can flourish or be at ease, in which there is no peace. It is only this which makes men dwell at home, and enjoy the labor of their own hands, and improve all the advantages which the air, and the climate, and the soil administer to them, and all which yield no comfort where there is no peace. God himself reckons peace the greatest comfort and ornament he can confer upon states.
A greater curse cannot befall the most wicked nation, than to be deprived of peace. There is nothing of real and substantial comfort in this world, but what is the product of peace; and whatsoever we may lawfully and innocently take delight in, is the fruit and effect of peace.
War breaks all that order, interrupts all that devotion, and even extinguisheth all that zeal which peace had kindled in us. It lays waste the dwelling-place of God as well as of man, and introduces and propagates opinions and practices as
much against heaven as against earth, and erects a deity that delights in nothing but cruelty and blood.
Are we pleased with the enlarged commerce and society of large and opulent cities, or with the retired pleasures of the country? Do we love stately palaces, and noble houses, or take delight in pleasant groves and woods, or fruitful gardens ? All this we owe to peace; and the dissolution of peace disfigures all this beauty, and in a short time covers and buries all this order and delight in ruin and rubbish.
Finally, have we any content, satisfaction and joy in the conversation of each other, or in the knowledge and understanding of those arts and sciences which more adorn mankind than buildings and plantations do the fields and grounds on which they stand ? Even this is the blessed effect and legacy
War lays our natures and manners as waste as our gardens and our habitations; and we can as easily preserve the beauty of the one, as the integrity of the other, under the cursed jurisdiction of drums and trumpets.
That men should kill one another for want of somewhat else to do, seems to be so horrible to humanity, that there needs no divinity to control it. They who allow no war to be lawful, have consulted both nature and religion much better than they who think it may be entered into to comply with the ambition, covetousness or revenge of the greatest princes and monarchs upon earth ; as if God had inhibited only single murders, and left mankind to be massacred according to the humor and appetite of unjust and unreasonable men.
It is no answer to say, that this universal suffering, and even the desolation that attends it, are the inevitable consequences of war, however warrantably soever entered into, but rather an argument, that no war can warrantably be entered into. It may be, upon a strict survey and disquisition into the elements and injunctions of the Christian religion, that no war will be found justifiable; and, at all events, what can we think of most of those wars which for some hundreds of years have infested the world, so much to the dishonor of Christianity, and in which the lives of more men have been lost than might have served to have driven infidelity out of the world, and 10 have peopled all those parts which yet remain without inhabitants? Can we believe that all those lives are forgotten, and that no account shall be rendered of them?
They who are the cause and authors of any war that can justly and safely be avoided, have great reason to fear that they shall be accountable before the supreme Judge for all the