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Arbitration of the Sword-Its Character.
sees neither the lance that pierced him, nor the hand from which it came. In the advance, too, and in the retreat, in the ambush, and in the open field, the missiles of war, guiltless of revenge, alone grapple with their victims. Hero after hero falls, as if by the bolts of heaven, till death, exhausted by his toils, counts by his tens of thousands the life that has been lost.
Of this wager of battle let the monarch now count the cost. If he has secured his area of turf and stone, what is its value! and what the price he has paid! If he has established his right by the code of war, has he proved it by the code of justice? If his honour has been vindicated by the sword, are neutral nations convinced that he is honourable? In the empurpled ledger,– where life is the creditor and land the debtor,—where life is the capital and honour the interest,—where the ocean rock gained in war could not cover with its turf the heroes that died for it,will the god of reason audit the account, or the god of humanity discharge it? If the man of the world, with reason as a guide and humanity as an impulse, does not answer NEVER, the Christian will. He who acknowledges the value of a single soul, and knows the spiritual condition of marshalled armies, cannot but regard war as the master-crime of nations, and as the deepest guilt of the individual that promotes it. He can defend it only by viewing the death of the hero as a passport to heaven; but were this the clear dictate of reason, and the avowed doctrine of revelation, the millions of the old world should rise against the millions of the new, and giving no quarter, rush into a happy immortality.
Such is the mode of deciding questions of right and points of honour-such its danger and such its guilt. The friends of peace propose to abolish what reason, humanity, and religion abjure, and to refer the differences between nations to upright and independent arbitration. The proposal is doubtless reasonable and humane. It has been pronounced Utopian by men who have an interest in war, by many who live by it, and by some who expect to live by it. The opinion is not unnatural, and we must respect it from the respectability of those who maintain it. The discovery of a universal medicine would doubtless alarm the faculty; and a balloon that made a successful trip to the Indies, would startle the directors of our railways; but the alarm would soon disappear, and doctors and directors would flourish as before.
In the history of past times, and in the history of our own, questions of high import have been settled by arbitration--sometimes by the friendly decisions of councils and leagues, and sometimes by the award of sovereigns or of governinents. In our own day the United States and France referred a difference between them to William IV. England and the United States referred a dispute to the Emperor of Russia; Mexico and the United States referred a question to Prussia; and the United States and England referred the dispute regarding the Maine boundary to the King of the Netherlands. It is scarcely to be credited, even as a fact in our deceitful nature, that men, who, as individuals, or as members of families or associations, are willing to refer to arbitration the most important disputes which affect their honour and their character, their position in society, and their whole property and income, should, as members of the social body, feel any difficulty in referring international differences to the same pacific ordeal. There must be in the heart thus constituted some malformation, which, though unseen by its owner, is not hid from the world. A lust of power or of gain is the rankling germ that tempts the greedy statesman to keep in his own grasp the power of the sword, the profits of negotiation, and the patronage of war. Lord Palmerston has said, that he now thinks, and always thought, “that when two nations have had any difference capable of being settled by arbitration, it is most desirable that a third party, not actuated by the same passions which heat those immediately concerned, should step in and bring the disputants to something like a compromise, with a view to prevent an appeal to arms." While thus admitting the principle of the Peace Congress, the noble Lord has contrived to make it impracticable. The sophistry of dividing differences into those which can and those which cannot be settled by arbitration, is a distinction which might have been expected from the schoolmen of the middle ages. There is not, and cannot, in the nature of things, be any such difference. Was it ever before asserted that a difference could exist which the sword alone could settle? If we can imagine such a dispute, it must be one of honour, in which one of the parties felt itself dishonoured; and in such a case the sensitive party must necessarily be the proclaimer of war. The sword consequently is drawn, the blood of the insulter and the insulted flows, and if the dishonoured nation is subjugated, what becomes of its honour? Its reputation remains with its original stain, and its martial glory, like its moral fame, has suffered an eclipse in the eyes of surrounding nations. But if, on the other hand, the nation sensitive of its honour triumphs in the field, will the vanquished people concur in the verdict of the sword, and will civilized nations ratify its decisions? But even if our Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose ingenuity in this instance surpasses his logic, had not embarrassed the question with so singular an opinion, he has made his own scheme of arbitration impracticable by giving the arbiter no other power than that of counsellor or a friend. What would we think of an individual who proffered to his opponent an amicable arrangement, and yet withheld from the arbiter the power of giving a final decision and what would
we think of an arbiter who would accept of so degrading a commission? . However limited has been our experience of the system
of arbitration, as occasionally and voluntarily practised in our own day, it is important to state that it has never yet led to war, nor is it easy to conjecture how such a result could be the consequence of it. But were the principle of arbitration to be based on the solemnity of treaties, and become the germ of the international code of the world, the peace of civilized nations would never be interrupted,—the soldier would be the guardian of domestic order, and the missionaries would advance with the breastplate of faith and the sword of the spirit, to humanize the savage race, and carry to thein the comforts and the luxuries of polished life. The frontier of crime and ignorance would gradually recede before the advancing torch of knowledge. The frontier of civilisation would make its way over the burning sands of Africa. The rivers of the new world would carry to their very springs the wealth and the knowledge of the old: The insular sa vage of the Pacific would yield to the influence of commercial intercommunication. Liberty would plant its foot on the Siberian wilds, and the presumptous barbarism of Eastern Asia would wane before the stern rebuke of religion and humanity. In every region of the globe the physical energy of man would seek and find its noblest exercise in cultivating the soil and exploring the mineral wealth of his district. Treasures unknown would surrender themselves to his power, and the hand of peaceful labour would receive from its maker the gold and the silver, the metals and the gems, which he has denied to the conqueror and the tyrant. Our readers, we trust, require no farther defence of the plan of international arbitration for settling differences between nations. Reason, religion, and humanity plead for its adoption, and we defy human ingenuity to adduce against it the shadow of an argument. The man, indeed, who dares to aver that war is the only method of deciding international questions, must have a heart as cramped in its affections, as his mind is limited in its range. Such a man has never felt beyond his own selfish nature, nor thought beyond his own limited horizon; and we cannot conceive why such a being was made, unless as a finger-post to mark the extreme depth of ignorance, and the extreme height of presumption.*
nder theme from its n he has de
* If persons of this description have learned to read, we recommend to them the following statistics of war, made out some years ago by the Peace Society of Massachusetts. Since the world became Christian, or since the age of Constantine, there have been forty-four wars of ambition, twenty-two of plunder, twentyfour of retaliation, eight of honour, six of disputed territory, forty-one disputed titles to crowns, thirty of alliances, twenty-three of jealousy, five of commerce, fifty-five civil wars, and twenty-eight on account of Religion, including the crusades against the Turks and Heretics ! Upham's Manual of Peace, chap. vii. p. 84.
In these observations we have supposed the contending nations to be equal in power and resources, or so nearly equal that the chances of war might give to either the victory. But if we · suppose them to be unequally matched, it is only by arbitration that differences between them can be adjusted. If in individual states th rights of the poor man are vindicated by the gratuitous services of appointed agents, the rights of small but independent European states can be preserved only by an European court of arbitration. And if such a state should be placed between two of greater power, in whose quarrels they may be allured, or compelled to participate, their independence and tranquillity can be ensured only by a right of appeal to disinterested arbiters.
We have hitherto supposed that Religion and humanity were the only interests staked in the game of war; but every people in Europe has been taught, by an experience not to be forgotten, that their daily comfort as individuals, and their very existence as a nation, depend on the continuance and universality of peace. While the mailed goddess has sported with human life, drunk with the blood and the tears of her victims ;-while she has defaced and destroyed the noblest forms of nature and of art, she has devoured also the resources of industry, inflicted the curse of poverty upon families unborn, and robbed the treasuries of nations that hated her, by the profligacy of her expenditure in war, and the folly of her extravagance in peace. It has been calculated that the cost of all the wars carried on by Great Britain since the Revolution in 1688, is £1,438,000,000 sterling, £635,000,000 of which was paid in taxes, while the remaining £803,000,000 remains OUR NATIONAL DEBT, requiring to pay its interest £29,500,000 of our annual revenue,-more than the whole of the other expenses of the Government. This money, together with that furnished by continental nations, was employed in slaying three million nine hundred and ten thousand human beings, whose immortal souls, thirsting for blood, were summoned by the stroke of the sword into the immediate presence of the God of peace. In recording this master fact of human depravity, we almost feel partakers in its guilt by having lived, and by continuing to live, in the slaughter-house of the world.
The Duke of Wellington has made the remarkable declaration, that Great Britain cannot afford to carry on a little war. The sentiment, to us incomprehensible, except in its simplest meaning, has been lauded as an apostolic truth to teach and to guide the Legislature. If Great Britain is unable to carry on a little war, she can still less afford to carry on a great one; and hence we arrive at the logical conclusion, that she cannot afford to carry on war at all. Should she, however, in the face of such a truth, wantonly light the torch of destruction, the nation, if
Advantuges of International Disarmament.
it does not rise as one man in abhorrence and resistance of the bloody mandate, justly merits its inevitable doom. If to a debt averaging the eighth or tenth part of the whole property of the kingdom, is added more, we tell the creditors of the nation—the contractors for the fire and the sword-that its bankruptcy is an event not coming, but come; and we tell the nation's friends, that revolution is the infallible result of financial ruin, and that they may begin to rehearse the secretion of those tears that are to flow over the downfal of our beloved country, and the destruction and dismemberment of its noble empire. It is an act of patriotism to anticipate a great calamity. It is doubly patriotic if we have the sagacity to prevent it. We warn, therefore, the Arbiter of war, in whatever climate he breathes, that there are certain extremes in which the law of God and of humanity justifies a breach of the law of man. We hold him responsible for the peace of Europe. One life is a trifle compared with that of thousands; and that soul is worthless that has no regard for the souls of millions. If a patriot gives his own life in the cause of his country, a patriot might take another in defence of humanity.
Akin to the national calamity of war, is that of an armed peace, in which standing armies and floating navies frown defiance upon surrounding nations. While the grand budget or annual expenditure of all Europe is about £217,600,000, or two hundred and nineteen millions sterling, its war budget, in time of peace, (excluding its marine,) is no less than £56,000,000, or fifty-sis millions,—more than a fourth of its general revenue. According to another statement, the average annual expenditure for military preparations in time of peace by Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia, and the United States, is fifty-four per cent. of the whole expenditure of the Government.* Is an international disarmament, then, an unwise or a chimerical proposal ? Might not Great Britain and France lay down a portion of their arms in mutual confidence and security? If France requires hers to suppress intestine commotion, and protect her Republic against the enemies of liberty, Britain might admit the necessity, and generously reduce her military battalions and her naval squadrons. She has no enemy to fear either from within
* In Austria, . 33 per cent. In Great Britain, . 74 per cent.
In France, . 38 per cent. In United States, . 80 per cent.
Sumner's True Grandeur of Nations. † “ I am disposed," says Lord Aberdeen, “to dissent from that maxim which has been so generally received, that if you wish for peace, you must prepare for war. ..... I say, that so far from warlike preparations being any security for peace, they are directly the contrary, and tend at once to war; for it is natural that men baving adopted means that they think efficient to any end, should desire to put their efficiency to the test, and to have some direct result from their labour and expense.”