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ciety. At this period the manner of conducting it is improved and humanized and reduced to a system of rules, sanctioned by public opinion, to which individuals naturally submit.Prisoners, instead of being made slaves or put to death, are treated with marked courteousness and exchanged. Private property is in some cases respected. Ambassadours are acknowledged as sacred and in general the belligerent parties pique themselves upon adopting a generous demeanour towards each other. In short, the refinement and polish that pervade all parts of the social machine, communicate themselves to war, as well as to the rest. If however we examine the causes of wars at this period of society, we shall find reason to apply to them exactly the same remark, that we have made upon those of an earlier one. In each particular case there is now, as there was then, some complaint made of wrong that has been suffered or some doubtful point put forward as being in dispute between the parties. But considering the immense disproportion between the value of the interests at stake and the sacrifices of every kind made in the course of the war, it is perfectly clear that we must look somewhere else for the real causes. It is obvious that the parties are urged on by the impulse of some interest or passion entirely independent of the supposed point at issue. In many cases this is so clear as to be quite indisputable. When for example Frederick the Great seizes Silesia and alleges certain antiquated pretensions to it, which have not the shadow of real justice-when Bonaparte, previously to his invasion of Russia, musters up his pretended list of grievances, we see at once that these allegations are almost avowedly formal. And though in some other cases there may really appear to be some doubtful interest of considerable importance in agitation between the parties, the disproportion is still so great between the value of the thing sought and the sacrifices made to obtain it, that it is quite certain, this is not the real reason of the war.

However uncertain it may be to what motive we are to attribute the disposition to hostility in uncivilized nations, there can be no great difficulty in assigning to its true causes the frequency of wars in the present state of society. These causes are unquestionably the existence of the military profession in the social system as one of the principal avenues to fortune and fame, the toleration of war in publick opinion as a

part of this system, and the applause bestowed upon those, who distinguish themselves in military operations. The existence of the military profession as one of the regular occupations of society is a legacy bequeathed to us from those ages when fighting was the only employment, and the way in which it keeps up the habit of war among nations is perfectly obvious. This being one of the professions, a certain portion of every generation as they enter upon the stage of life, devote themselves to it for a subsistence. The ardent and powerful take the lead, and in order to distinguish themselves and acquire the fame and fortune that they covet, they must have war. In proportion to the importance of this profession in any particular state, its influence will have effect in regulating the publick affairs. In all the governments, both of ancient and modern Europe, this influence has always predominated over all others. If circumstances place the direction of publick affairs naturally in the hands of one of these military spirits he becomes a conqueror and directs the whole energies of his country to the destruction of his neighbours. These wars in their mildest form are only struggles between the military professions of the two countries, carried on to be sure at the expense of the people, and accompanied by great destruction of private property. No national interest is at stake, and nations as bodies politick have really nothing to do with them but to suffer from them. Sometimes the struggle becomes more general and almost every individual is compelled to stake his life and whole fortune upon the issue. In either case the moving causes remain the same.

We are therefore to look upon war not as a method of adjusting disputes among nations, although it has this ostensible aspect and is so spoken of in declarations and manifestoes. In this sense it would be liable to all the ridicule of the ancient and exploded system of judicial combat, in which God was considered as giving victory to the side of justice. We are to consider it as nothing more than an unfortunate custom, that had its origin in times of barbarism, and is kept in existence at a period of society, with the character and manners of which it is entirely at variance, by being made the occupation of a distinct corps or profession in the state, and encouraged and justified by publick opinion.

On these principles we are to form our opinion of the justice or injustice of particular wars and of the characters of indi

viduals who have distinguished themselves in the military profession. The morality or immorality of an action depends entirely upon the opinion of the agent with regard to it. If he thinks himself right, he is right, because he is bound at every moment to act according to his sincere conviction at the time, however faulty he may be in another respect in not sufficiently enlightening his conscience. Now when we consider how much publick opinion regulates our moral notions, we ought not to judge very hardly of the character of an individual who acts up to the moral standard of his age and country. However barbarous and bloody a thing war may be in itself, and bowever as a custom it may be worthy of all execration, we are not to judge of the authors of any particular war precisely on the same ground, but are to inquire whether they acted up to the spirit of the times, whether they made war for those purposes for which it is generally resorted to, and in the manner in which it is generally carried on: A wise statesman, though too familiar with the subject or too much carried away by the current of contemporary politics, to avoid war entirely, will shew his judgment in resorting to it as seldom as possible. A generous spirit, though insensible by habit to the every day cruelties of the military profession, will display itself by mitigating and alleviating them as much as possible in particular instances. The same sort of charity should be extended to the class of men called conquerors as to the other members of the military profession. They, like the rest, only follow the lead of publick opinion and prove themselves either more fortunate or more powerful than their brother soldiers. The motives of them all for fighting are in general about the same. Take for instance Bonaparte and Wellington, and you find their characters (independently of some particular actions, which have been attributed to the former,) substantially alike. Both are devoted by their friends to the military profession, before they are able themselves to form an opinion of its character. Both are men of high minds and indefatigable activity, and rise of course to the first honours of that profession that circumstances place within their reach. They pursue the military life as an occupation, and the justice or injustice of the wars they are engaged in is probably the last thing that enters into the minds of either.

The real thing therefore to be considered is the publick opinion that tolerates this profession and the establishments con

nected with it; and while we extend a reasonable and proper charity to individuals, we are at full liberty to condemn, as directly and pointedly as we please, the custom itself.

But is it not necessary sometimes in self-defence? This is the ground on which it is placed by Grotius and the civilians ; and with respect to this it may be observed,that there is probably more or less justice, which is all that can be meant in this case by necessity, on one side or other in every war. But taking the subject generally it is too absurd to suppose that war is a necessary part of the social system, and that nations could not get along without it, when the great wonder seems to be how they are able to exist at all with it.

We have shewn already that military conquerors are formed by the operation of the publick opinion in favour of the profession. Were it not for this they would not feel the desire or have the means of carrying on offensive operations, and there would of course be no necessity of defensive operations to meet them. In whatever light we regard the subject we still return to the same point as the source of the evil. Some have said, that if civilized nations should lay aside the military system, they would be subject to the inroads of barbarians, who would overwhelm them, as the Northern hordes did the Roman Empire. They would be an easy prey, it is said, to the first comer. This, however, is clearly a futile objection. The world is now explored, and we know that no such danger exists. On sait, says Rousseau, que ce prémier venu ne viendra jamais.

War then, in its real character, is a vicious custom indefensible on any rational grounds, bequeathed to us by barbarous ancestors, and maintained in society by being made a separate profession, and by the support and encouragement of publick opinion. We now come to the second point: viz.

2. The practicability of putting an end to the custom of war. This point resolves itself into two branches; the possibility and the probability of effecting the object in question.

The first inquiry is, is it possible in the nature of things that the custom of war should be eradicated? And this we see no good reason to answer in the negative. War is a vicious custom-that is, a particular form, in which vicious dispositions exhibit themselves. Now we cannot conceive of the

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absolute impossibility of eradicating any particular vicious habit, however deep-rooted and general it may be-and however difficult may be the attempt to remove it. Vice we know will always display itself in some form or other, until the human character undergoes a radical change; and therefore it is sometimes pretended, that wars will never come to an end. But does it follow, because vice itself cannot be removed, that there is no prospect of success in the attack of one particular form of vicious practices? This is not the sort of reasoning that we apply in other cases. Individual immoralities are also particular forms of vicious practice, and we might just as well argue from the same grounds, that it is absolutely impossible to remove them, and quite useless to do any thing with a view to that object. In regard to these, it may in fact be considered next to impossible that the object can be effected at least we think the improbability of eradicating entirely any particular form of individual vice that may be mentioned, for instance, drunkenness, much greater than that of putting an end to wars. Yet we institute societies, write books, and preach sermons to discourage intemperance. Why should not the same thing be done with regard to war, however great we may consider the improbability of effecting a complete reformation? The reason why there is a greater probability of removing this national vice than of reforming the world in regard to individual vicious indulgences is obvious. The latter are commonly accompanied with an immediate pleasure, which acts as an incentive to the transgression of duty. War is, in its nature, at once horrible and absurd, and nothing but the force of habit, and accidental interested associations could possibly create an artificial taste for it in the mind of any body. It is obvious that such artificial associations may by possibility be overcome, however general and deep rooted they may be, and admitting even, that practices founded on some natural association of immediate pleasure with vice never can be checked. For this reason, national vices are more susceptible of reform than individual ones, and there have been some remarkable instances of success in this particular ; among which are the cessation to a great degree of religious persecution-the discontinuance of the practice of killing or enslaving prisoners of war-and the almost

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