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THE MILITARY AND MISSIONARY CHARACTERS, ETC. 375
in your philosophical and literary predilections. It is, however, to be hoped that you will carry with you a deep conviction of the great responsibility which attaches to the possession of powers, reputation, and influence like yours. You belong to the class of men who are “born for the universe,” and whose high prerogative it is to exercise an intellectual sovereignty over all nations. The age in which you live is peculiarly favourable to the beneficial exercise of your brilliant gifts. The great war now waged throughout the world, is a war of opinion, in which the pen and the printing press are the chief instruments employed by the advocates and friends of liberty against the assertors and abettors of privilege and prescription, of bad laws and worse legitimation. If an All-wise Providence shall see fit to prolong your days it is probable that many honours and high distinctions await you, unless you shall resolutely decline the public stage in your preference for lettered quietude. But the times in which we live demand sacrifices, and the British empire cannot dispense with the services of men like you. Mankind confidently expect that you will be ever found, like your illustrious and early friend Lord Brougham, ranged on the side of peace and liberty, education and philanthropy, unfettered commerce, and equal legislation.
Sir, my object in now addressing you, is to solicit your attention to a subject of the utmost moment to the world's welfare, and which, I think, requires only a little candid and careful consideration from a mind like yours, in order to fire your genius, to excite your sympathy, and to command your eloquent and most powerful advocacy. Though once ostensibly the Minister of War, your friends know well that you are an intense lover of peace. A great and happy change has come over the minds of men since the close of the last great European struggle. It would seem as if the Prince of Peace had already begun to “rebuke many nations," as if they were now preparing furnaces at which to “ beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks," as if nation were never again to “ lift up sword against nation, neither to learn war any more.” The words of Don Manuel Lorenzo Vidaurre, Minister of Peru, at the Congress of Panama, in June, 1826,“Peace with the whole world," seem to have mingled with the winds of heaven, and to have been wafted through every clime. “Peace with the whole world!” The heavenly sentiment was publicly approved by Adams, President of the United States, while his voice has been echoed and re-echoed in Europe. That great fountain of political truth, the Edinburgh Review, which has done so much to advance literature, liberty, and civilization among mankind, - in March, 1829, thus expressed itself :-“We earnestly hope that the friends of liberal opinions, in this great nation, will never cease to bestir themselves against war; will be instant in season and out of season, in subduing all lurking remains of that unhallowed spirit, and leading them to the real glories of PEACE.” This most noble and most Christian sentiment was not a novelty in the pages of that immortal work. From its memorable outset, war was the object of its earnest, emphatic, and indignant denunciation.* The first men of the senate united with the chief organ of letters. The leading voice of Lord
Brougham was responded to by the lips of Mackintosh, who never spoke but to enlighten his auditors, and to plead for the welfare of mankind. The following are some of his declarations :-“Whatever may be the political intrigue of some parties, a passion for peace is visibly extending and growing throughout Europe, which is the best legacy left us by that fierce war that has raged from Copenhagen to Cadiz; I confess I feel a very strong passion for peace,—for I must call it by that name;—I trust this feeling will ultimately become the ruling passion of Europe.” On the same memorable occasion, the present Premier of England, Sir Robert Peel, did himself infinite honour by the following frank and striking avowal of opinions worthy of a man in his high position :—“I do hope that one great and most beneficial effect of the advance of civilization, the diffusion of knowledge, and the extension of commerce, will be, the reducing within their proper dimensions, of the fame and the merit, and the reward of military achievements; and that juster notions of the moral dignity of, and the moral obligation due to, those who apply themselves to preserve peace, and to avoid the eclat of war, will be the consequence."
This enlightened, this patriotic, this philanthropic, this transcendantly glorious sentiment deserves to be had in everlasting remembrance. It involves the great subject to be discussed, or rather pressed upon your notice in this communication. The season of peace is the only fit time for successfully considering the character of war and the merits of its prime conductors; for this cannot be done during periods of conflict. Then the cupidity of one class, the revengeful spirit of another, the fear of being charged with cowardice of a third, and the national pride of all—feelings such as these then extinguish among the wise and prudent all hope of beneficial disquisition. Times of peace, therefore, and especially times when millions groan under the mournful consequences of war, are the only hopeful seasons to atten.pt the cure of this murderous, this suicidal malady of mankind. The minds of millions, in England, are now in a proper frame to entertain the momentous question. The late fearful war is past and gone, and is seen only in its results; the ennobling of a few—the enriching of a few more—and the beggaring of a nation! Eight hundred millions of debt! The terrific words, eight hundred millions of debt, are a happy motto, an excellent help to the study of war. It is all very well to read its poetry and listen to its music—to gaze on its sculpture, and the glare of its illuminations—to survey the marble statues and monumental columns which are raised to its heroes —to boast their victories and toast their names—and to declaim on England's prowess, amid the wine and rapture of Waterloo dinners: all this, I say, is very fine; but if men would only lift up their eyes, there they will see a handwriting upon the wall, with its finger dipped in our fathers' blood-eight hundred millions of debt! During the first twenty years of my life, and the first fifteen of yours, Mars was the god of England and of all Europe. Red coats and nodding plumes, recruiting, drilling, reviewing, illuminations, hypocritical fasts, riotous feasts, the sounding of trumpets, the roaring of cannon, were among the objects which hourly occupied the attention of all nations. Till the battle of Waterloo, we never knew peace. To us there appeared in war nothing unnatural. The raising and killing of soldiers, the impressment and destruction of sailors, were
mere matters of course. Our rulers went on in the madness of their folly, contracting debt, and at one time lavishing money at the rate of two millions sterling a week! Thus labour was abundant and well paid. Fortunes were made by multitudes, almost with the rapidity of vegetation, and the thoughtless myriads of operatives, having ample means of sensual gratification, revelled and rejoiced, dancing, and singing the praises of heroes and statesmen, reckless of futurity and posterity, and of a coming debt of eight hundred millions! The mass of these parties, both small and great, are gone to their account ; and here we find ourselves crushed and groaning under a burden which threatens us with national destruction!
We have now enjoyed or sustained twenty-six years of peace, which is surely a tolerable space for meditation. We have, at least, had time to make up our minds on our condition, and to count the profits of many wars. If the result of our reflections and calculations, combined with our sufferings, has been to create and foster in our bosoms the spirit of peace, so as to prevent a heedless rushing into war for the future, it is perhaps the only alleviation of our deep afflictions that can be looked for, and the only reparation of our fathers' errors that can be made to our children. To Christian and philanthropic minds, it is consoling to hope that such will be actually the case. An invaluable article, on “ The Dangers of the Country,” in the Edinburgh Review for April, 1807, contains the following profound, I had almost said prophetic, passage :—“ Peace is in itself so great a good, and war so great an evil, that whenever we are not able to foresee exactly all the consequences of either, we may safely presume, that all that are unknown of the one will be good, and all that