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Ye bungling soul-physicians! to bellow for an hour and more against a few flea-bites, and not say a word about that horrid distemper which tears us to pieces. Burn your books, ye moralizing philosophers! Whilst the humour of a few shall make it an act of loyalty to butcher thousands of our fellowcreatures, the part of mankind dedicated to heroism will be the most execrable and destructive monsters in all nature. Of what avail is humanity, benevolence, modesty, temperance, mildness, discretion, or piety, when half a pound of ad, discharged at the distance of six hundred paces, shatters my body; when í expire at the age of twenty under pains unspeakable, and amidst thousands in the same miserable condition; when my eyes, at their last opening, see my native town all in a blaze ; and the last sounds I hear, are the shrieks and groans of women and children expiring among the ruins; and all for the pretended interest of a man who is a stranger to us.
POLITICAL "NECESSITY.” . The two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu have been engaged in a most obstinate war for six and thirty moons past. It began on the following occasion :- It is allowed on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers; whereupon, the emperor, his father, published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon severe penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this' law, that our historians tell us there have been six rebellions on that account; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. It is computed that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffered death rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Now, Big-Endian exiles have found so much credit in the emperor of Blefuscu's court
, that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two empires, for thirty-six moons, with various success; during which time we have lost forty capital ships, and a much greater number of smaller vessels, together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers; and the damage received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater than ours.-Swift.
The general Duty. What is a people? An individual of the society at large. What a war? A duel between two individual people. In what manner ought society to act when two of its members fight?' Interfere and reconcile, or repress them.- Volney.
Volunteers.—That men should kill one another for want of somewhat else to do (which is the case of all volunteers in war) seems to be so horrible to humanity, that there needs no divinity to control it.- Clarendon.
Heroes. It is not known where he that invented the plough was born, nor where he died; yet he has effected more for the happiness of the world, than the whole race of heroes and conquerors, who have drenched it with tears, and manured it with blood, and whose birth, parentage, and education have been handed down to us with a precision proportionate to the mischief they have done.
The most successful War leaves nations generally more poor, always more profligate, than it found them.-C. C. Colton.
THE VULTURES' FRIEND. An old vulture was sitting on a naked prominence with her young about her, whom she was instructing in the arts of a vulture's life, and preparing, by the last lecture, for their final dismission to the mountains and skies.
“My children,” said the old vulture, you will the less want my instruction, because you have seen my practice before your eyes; you have seen me snatch from the farm the household fowl; you have seen me seize the leveret in the bush, and the kid in the pasture; you know how to fix your talons and how to balance your flight when you are loaded with your prey.
“But you remember the taste of more delicious food; I have often regaled you with the flesh of man."
“ Tell us,” said the young vultures, “where man may be found, and how he may be known; his filesh is surely the natural food of a vulture.' Why have you never brought a man in your talons to the nest ?"
“He is too bulky," said the mother. “When we find a man, we can only tear away his flesh and leave his bones upon the ground."
“Since man is so big,” said the young ones, “how do you kill him? You are afraid of the wolf and the bear: by what power are vultures superior to man? Is man more defenceless than a sheep?"
“We have not the strength of man,” returned the mother, "and I am sometimes in doubt whether we have the subtlety; and the vultures would seldom feed upon his flesh, had not nature, that devoted him to our uses, infused into him a strange ferocity, which I have never observed in any other creature that feeds upon the earth. Two herds of men will often meet and shake the earth with noise, and fill the air with fire. When you hear noise and see fire, with flashes along the ground, hasten to the place with your swiftest wing, for men are surely destroying each other; you will then find the ground smoking with blood and covered with carcases, of which many are dismembered and mangled for the convenience of the vultures."
“But when men have killed their prey,” said the pupil,"why do they not eat it? When the wolf has killed a sheep he suffers not the vulture to touch it till he is satisfied himself. Is not man another kind of wolf?”
“Man," said the mother, “is the only kind of beast who kills that which he does not devour; and this quality makes him so much a benefactor to our species."
“ If men kill 'our prey and lay it in our way," said the young one, what need shall we have of labouring for it ourselves ?”
“ Because man will sometimes,” replied the mother, “remain for a long time quiet in his den. The old vultures will tell you when you are to watch his motion. When you see men in great numbers moving close together like a flock of storks, you may consider that they are hunting, and that you will soon revel in human blood.”
“But still,” said the young one,“ I would gladly know the reason of this mutual slaughter. I could never kill what I could not eat."
“My child," said the mother, “this is a question which I cannot answer, though I am reckoned the most subtle bird of the mountain. When I was young, I used frequently to visit the eyrie of an old vulture, who dwelt upon the Carpathean rocks; he had made many observations; he knew the places that afforded prey round his habitation, as far in every direction as the strongest wing can fly between the rising and the setting of the summer sun. He had fed year after year on the entrails of men. His opinion was, that men had only the appearance of animal life, being really vegetables, with the power of motion; and that as the boughs of an oak are dashed together by the storm, that swine may fatten upon the falling acorns, so men are, by some unaccountable power, driven one against the other, till they lose their motion, that vultures may be fed. Others think they have observed something of contrivance and policy among these mischievious beings; and those that hover more closely around them pretend that there is in every herd one that gives directions to the rest, and seems to be more eminently delighted with a wide carnage. What it is that entitles him to such pre-eminence we know not; he is seldom the biggest or the swiftest, but he shows, by his eagerness and diligence, that he is, more than any of the others—a friend to the vultures."
Glory.-Curse on these taxes—one succeeds another
Our ministers, panders of a king's will,
An honourable Employment.-We must look pretty far into human nature before we shall discover the cause why killing men in battle should be deemed, in itself, an honourable employment. A hangman is universally despised! he exercises an office which not only the feelings but the policy of all nations have agreed to regard as infamous. What is it that should make the difference of these two occupations in favour of the former? Surely it is not because the victims in the former case are innocent, and in the latter guilty. To assert this, would be a greater libel upon human society than I can bring myself to utter: it would make the tyranny of opinion the most detestable, as well as the most sovereign, of all possible tyrannies. But, what can it be? It is not, what is sometimes alleged, that courage is the foundation of the business; that fighting is honourable because it is dangerous ; there is often as much courage displayed in highway robbery as in the warmest conflict of armies, and yet it does no honour to the party. It is not because there is any idea of justice or honesty in the case; for, to say the best that can be said of war, it is impossible that more than one side can be just or honest; and yet both sides of every contest are equally the road to fame, where a distinguished killer of men is sure to gain immortal honour. It is not patriotism, even in that sense of the word which deviates most from general philanthropy; for, a total stranger both parties in a war may enter into it, on either side, as a volunteer, perform more than a vulgar share of the slaughter, and be for ever applauded--even by his enemies. Finally, it is not from any pecuniary advanfages that are ordinarily attached to the profession of army; for, soldiers are generally poor, though part of their business be to plunder.
Indeed, I can see but one reason in nature why the principle of honour should be selected from all human incentives, and relied on for the support of the military system: it is, because it was convenient for the governing power; that power being in the hands of a small part of the community, whose business was to support it by imposition.
Barlow's Advice to the Privileged Orders.
PHILOSOPHY OF WAR. A TYRANT is a being who possesses the power and will to oppress, and who exercises both. Whether a monarch raise armies, and kidnap thousands of men to crowd his navies, (and the war-trade is far worse than the slave-trade,) for the purpose of carrying on an unjust as well as ruinous contest; whether he grind exorbitant taxes from his subjects to meet the continual expense, and subsequent debts and emergencies; he is undoubtedly a tyrant, be his title and nominal power what it may, since an absolute despot could do no more than waste the lives of his people and the products of their laborious industry. It may be said in extenuation, that a king is guided by his ministers. In this case he permits and sanctions the evil he might prevent; and though of a negative kind, he is still a tyrant. While, however
, we all deprecate to the utmost the devastating and barbarous scenes of war wherewith the earth has been incessantly cursed; while we frequently express a vague horror at the recollections of slaughter; the fact, even when actually transpiring, takes no repulsive effect upon our feelings. Quite the contrary: folk's generally delight and exult in it; and always manifest a thorough indifference to the loss of lives, with a little verbal commiseration by way of enhancing the excitement, and to be on good terms with their own humanity. The people, in fact, are as bad as the kings-only that they do not cause the wars. Men read of a tremendous slaughter with avidity, as the next best thing to seeing a destructive fire, or the execution of some eminent villain. The great modern metaphysician has observed, that if you tell people of a shocking accident one day, and contradict it as a false report on the next, or before they have forgotten it, they all look chagrined and disappointed. It is too true.- What feelings of commiseration do we entertain for the heaps of men who are now dust beneath the luxuriant fields of Waterloo, which are manured by the bodies of our own countrymen and their opponents ? Who, beside actual relatives, and a few travellers of more than ordinary sensibility, have ever shed a tear, or felt a pang at heart? No one. Has any individual, in reading the foregoing pages, been aught more affected by the frequent allusion to human slaughter, than by the estimate of the millions of cattle annually required for our carnivorous consumption ? We doubt it. A kind of half-pitying astonishment is all that can generally be wrung from selfish, obdurate , money-hunting human nature.
- The slaughter of one hundred thousand people is "too much of a good thing," and we give immediate and exuberant preference to the horrid, barbarous, and most shocking murder of any worthless character; and read with greedy avidity column after column in the newspapers (few battles pay like this !) which enter so minutely into all the circumstantial evidence, preposterous, tautological, or contradictory, and into all the common place localities, rendered so original and picturesque by the colouring of a little blood. The interest never flags in the progress--we pant and devour onwards with gusto; the roots of our hair tingle with exquisite griesly apprehension,—we pause and shudder, then rush again at the narrative, and gasp and stare, and shift our seat, and read on for more; and, finally, hurry off to the coach in order to reach the tragic spot in time to obtain a sight of the real blood, and a splinter of the crow-bar, or a bit of the fatal mallet, to make into a snuff-box or toothpick!
The main-spring and grand movement, the nourishment and strength of War, are human ignorance and human labour. Industry makes wealth ; war imposes onerous taxes; stupidity pays them. The consequences of war are the slaughter of thousands of our fellow-creatures, and the over-burdening ourselves with a vast national debt, and all ruinous contingencies. England can show no counter-balancing advantages by her wars. War hires myrmidons at vast expense in their pay, provisions, arms, ammunition, &c. &c.; and, even when disabled or dead, a part of the expense continues in the shape of pensions for themselves or families. War destroys its own minions; but its attendant offspring, taxes, outlive it long enough to ruin a far greater number, and reduce all the poorer classes to utter want and misery. Have we recovered the consequences of the American War, or the French War? Shall we ever recover them? Insane conflicts like these, always make Peace suffer so grievously, that the people are gradually rendered desperate, and generally induced to desire a fresh war, as the only means of effecting a change, not much caring whether it be for better or for worse.
To force a sensitive and minute comprehension upon mankind, as to the actual horrors of war, is impossible. A few words are all we shall offer. What is a single murder, about which we are all so excited—a man stabbed in a backkitchen, or knocked on the head in a barn-compared to the carnage of a field of battle? Almost every soldier who falls, dies a much worse death, as far as the actual butchery is concerned. Bayoneted through the bowels sabred across the face-shot through both thighs—and trampled under foot by men and horses, like a writhing worm, after lying there in momentary expectation of it, perhaps half-an-hour! And all for what ?—most probably for a cause in which both parties are wrong! Armies are composed from the people; twenty or fifty thousand of you being slain, as described, only serves for a few days talk at home. Nobody feels for you at all, except a few near relations; be sure of that fact. The sympathy of your countrymen is too diffused and vague; all chance of commiseration is lost in the excitement of the battle and its political consequences. Think, therefore, of yourselves; feel for your own position distinctly; and do not be cajoled and drawn off
, as heretofore, by the insidious pretence and sovereiyn hoax of aiding the cause of liberty in some other quarter of Europe, to forget your own.-R. H. Horne.
The fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, in Germany, opposite Coblentz, on the Rhine, stands on the summit of a rock, eight hundred feet above the level of the river, and was deemed impregnable. It has a communication with Coblentz, by a subterranean passage cut through the solid rock; and is plentifully supplied with water from a well two hundred and eighty feet deep. În the vale of Ehrenbreitstein is an old palace which belonged to the Elector of Treves. This fortress was dismantled by the French Republicans, to whom it was surrendered, through famine, after a blockade of twenty months.
The feudal Castles were the storehouses and strongholds of robbers; built in commanding situations to facilitate their lordly and knightly owners'