« ZurückWeiter »
existed, must have produced, are beyond the power of human imagination cither to conceive or to delineate. Some faint idea, however, may be formed of sonic of these spectacles, from the descriptions I have already given of the effects which would inevitably follow, were the princi'de of henevolence to be eradicated from the mind, or were any one of the precepts of the divine law to be universally violated—(see ch. ii. sect. iv. and ch. iii. throughout.) 3. The effects produced by this universal depravity are forcibly expressed in the words, “The earth was filled with violence.” From this declaration we are necessarily led to conceive a scene in which universal anarchy and disorder, devastation and wretchedness, every where prevailed—the strong and powerful sorcibly seizing upon the wealth and possessions of the weak, violating the persons of the female sex, oppressing the poor, the widow, and the fatherless, overturning the established order of families and societies, plundering cities, demolishing temples and palaces, desolating fields, orchards, and vineyards, setting fire to towns and villages, and carrying bloodshed and devastation through every land—a scene in which cruelty, injustice, and outrages of every kind, obscenity, revelry, riot, and debauchery of every description, triumphed over every principle of decency and virtue—a scene in which the earth was strewed with smoking ruins, with the fragments of human habitations, with mangled human beings in a state of wretchedness and despair, and with the unburied carcasses of the slain. Such appears to have been the state of general society at the time when Noah was commanded to build an ark of refuge—a state of society which could not have long continued, but must inevitably, in the course of a few generations, have thinned the race of mankind, and ultimately have extirpated the race of Adam from the earth, even although the deluge had never been poured upon the world. Wickedness appears to have come to such a height, that no interposition of Providence could be supposed available to produce a reformation among mankind, without destroying their freedom of will; and, therefore, it was an act of mercy, as well as of judgment, to sweep them away at once by the waters of the flood, after having given them warnings of their danger; in order to convince such obstinate and abandoned characters, that “there is a God that judgeth in the earth;" and in order to prevent the misery which would otherwise have been entailed on succeeding generations. Not only the Sacred, but also the Pagan writers, when alluding to the antediluvians, uniformly represent them as abandoned to uncleanness, and all kinds of wickedness. Eutychus, in his Annals, when speaking of the posterity of Cain, says, “that they were guilty of all manner of filthy crimos with one another, and, meeting to*
gether in public places for that purpose, two or three men were concerned with the same woman the ancient women, is possible, being more lustful and brutish than the young. Nay, fathers lived promiscuously with their daughters, and the young men with their mothers so that neither the children could distinguish their own parents, nor the parents know their own children.”—Lucian, a native of Samosaia, a town situated on the Euphrates, a spot where memorials of the deluge were carefully preserved, gives the following account of the antediluvians:—“The present race of mankind,” says he, “are different from those who first existed ; for those of the antediluvian world were all destroyed. The present world is peopled from the sons of Deucalion [or Noah ;) having increased to so great a number from one person. In respect of the former brood, they were men of violence, and lawless in their dealings. They were contentious, and did many unrighteous things ; they regarded not oaths, nor observed the rights of hospitality, nor showed mercy to those who sued for it. On this account they were doomed to destruction: and for this purpose there was a mighty eruption of waters from the earth, attended with heavy showers, from above; so that the rivers swelled, and the sea overflowed, till the whole earth was covered with a flood, and all flesh drowned. Deucalion alone was preserved to re-people the world. This mercy was shown to him on account of his piety and justice. His preservation was effected in this manner —He put all his family, both his sons and their wives, into a vast ark which he had provided, and he went into it himself. At the same time animals of every species—boars, horses, lions, serpents, whatever kind lived upon the face of the earth—followed him by pairs; all which ho received into the ark, and experienced no evil from them ; for there prevailed a wonderful harmony throughout, by the immediate influence of the Deity. Thus were they wasted with him as long as the flood endured.” Such is the accout which Lucian gives of the antediluvian world, and of the preservation of the human race, as he received it from the traditions of the inhabitants of Hierapolis, in Syria, where the natives pretended to have very particular memorials of the deluge. It corroborates the facts stated in the sacred history, and bears a very near resemblance to the authentic account which has been transmitted to us by Moses.— These facts, respecting the depravity of the antediluvians, present to us a striking example, and a demonstrative evidence of the dreadful effects to which a general violation of the divine law necessarily leads; and of the extensive confusion and misery which are inevitably produced, when the law of love is set aside, and when malevolence exerts, without control, its diabolical energies. All order in society is subverted, every species of rational happiness is destroyed, and the existence of intelligent beings, in such a state, becomes a curse to themselves, and to all around them. Had not this been the case in the primeval world, we cannot suppose that the Deity would have exerted his Omnipotence in shattering the crust of the terraqueous globe, and burying its inhabitants under the waters of a deluge. After the deluge had subsided, and the race of Noah had begun to multiply on the earth, it was not long before the depravity of man began to show itself by its malignant effects; though huinan wickedness has never arrived to such a pitch as in the times before the flood; for this reason, among others, that the life of man has been reduced to a narrow span, which prevents him from carrying his malevolent schemes to such an extent as did the inha'bitants of the world before the flood, whose lives were prolonged to the period of nearly a thousand years. The lust of ambition soon began to exert its baleful influence over the mind; and an inordinate desire after wealth, distinctions, and aggrandizement, paved the way for the establishment of despotism, and for encroachments on the rights and the enjoyments of mankind. Among the heroes and despots of antiquity, Nimrod, the founder of tho Babylonish empire, holds a distinguished place. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, and is the first one mentioned in Scripture who appears to have made invasions on the territories of his neighbours. Having distinguished himself, by driving from his country the beasts of prey, and by engaging in other valorous exploits, he appears to have aspired after regal dignity and power, and to have assumed the reins of absolute government. He was the first that subverted the patriarchal government; and is supposed to have introduced, among his subjects, the Zabian idolatry, or the worship of the heavenly host. “The beginning of his kingdom,” we are told, “was Babylon, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” In the footsteps of this proud and ambitious despot, has followed a train of Alexanders, Caesars, Hannibals, Jenghiz-Kans, Attilas, Alaric, Tamerlanes, Marlboroughs, Fredericks, and Bonapartes, who have driven the plough-share of devastation through the world, erected thrones over the graves of slaughtered nations, decorated their palaces with trophies dyed in blood, and made the earth to resound with the groans and shrieks of dying victims, and the voice of mourning, lamentation, and wo. To delineate all the scenes of desolation and horror which have been produced by such desperadoes, and the atrocious crimes and immoralities which have sollowed in their train, would be to transcribe the whole records of ancient and modern history, which contain little else than a register of human folly, avarice, ambition, and cruelty; and of the daring villanies with which they have been accompanied. Even then, we
should acquire but a very limited conception of the extent of moral evil, and of the immer.se
variety of shapes which it has assumed ; for the
one tenth of the crimes of mankind has never been recorded; and it is to the public transastions of only a small portion of the world that the page of the historian directs our attention. I
shall, therefore, content Inyself with stating a few insulated facts, as specimens of the train of actions which have generally prevailed in the world.
W.A.R.L.I.K.E. Dispositions of MANKIND,
War, as already noticed, has been the delight and the employment of man in every age; and, under this term may be included every thing that is base and execrable in moral conduct, every thing that is subversive of the principle of benevolence, every thing that is destructive of human enjoyment, every thing that rouses the passions into diabolical fury, every thing that adds to the sum of human wretchedness, every thing that is oppressive, cruel, and unjust, and every thing that is dreadful and appalling to mankind.—As an exemplification of the destructive effects of war, I shall, in the first place, state a few facts in relation to the Carthaginians.
Carthage was originally a small colony of Phenicians, who, about 800 years before the Christian era, settled on the northern coast of Africa, on a small peninsula, adjacent to the bay of Tunis. Having increased in wealth and power, by means of their extensive commerce, like most other nations, they attempted to make inroads on the territories of neighbouring tribes, and to plunder them of their treasures. By degrees they extended their power over all the islands in the Mediterranean, Sicily only excepted. For the entire conquest of this island, about 480 years before Christ, they made vast preparations, which lasted for three years. Their army consisted of 300,000 men; their fleet was composed of upwards of 2000 men of war, and 3000 transports. With such an immense armament, they made no doubt of conquering the whole island in a single campaign. But they found themselves miserably deceived. Hamilcar, the most experienced captain of the age, sailed from Carthage with this formidable army, and invested the city of Hymera. The besieged were much straitened and dismayed by the operations of this powerful armament; but Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse, flew immediately to their relief, with 50,000 foot and 5000 horse. A dreadsul slaughter ensued: an hundred and fifty thousand of the Carthaginians were killed in the battle and pursuit, and all the rest taken prisoners; so that not a single person escaped of this mighty army. Of the 2000 ships of war, and the 3000 transports of which the fleet consisted, eight ships only, which then happened to be out at sea, made their escape: these immediately set sail for Carthage, but were
all cast away, and every soul perished, except a few who were saved in a small boat, and at last reached Carthage with the dismal tidings of the total loss of the fleet and army.—Here we have presented to our view, in one short struggle, the entire destruction of more than two hundred thousand human beings, if we take into account the number which must necessarily have fallen in the Sicilian army. And, if we take into consideration the many thousands of mangled wretches, whose existence, srom that moment, would be rendered miserable; the destruction of property in the besieged city; the victims crushed to death amidst the ruins of falling houses; the cries, and shrieks, and lamentations of women and children; the diseases and the misery induced by terror and alarm, and the loss of friends; the terrific and appalling spectacle of 5000 ships all on a blaze, of ten thousands of burning and drowning wretches, supplicating in vain for mercy, and the oaths, execrations, and furious yells which would be mingled with this work of destruction, we shall find it difficult to form an adequate conception of the miseries and horrors of such a scene. And what was the cause of this dreadful slaughter and devastation ? That a proud and opulent city, whose inhabitants were rioting in every species of luxury, might gratisy its ambition, by tyrannizing over neighbouring tribes, and by plundering them of that wealth of which it did not stand in need. And this is but one instance out of ten hundred thousand of the miseries of war, one faint shade in the picture of human wo! One would have thought, that, after such a signal loss and discomfiture, the Carthaginians would have contented themselves with their own territory, and refrained from aggressive war. This, however, was not the case. Where benevolence is banished from the mind, and revenge occupies its place in the affections, it will hurry unprincipled men to the most wild and atrocious actions, although they should terminate in destruction to themselves and to all around them. It was not long afer this period, when preparations were again made for the invasion of Sicily. Hannibal, the grandson of Hamilcar, landed on the coast of Sicily, and laid siege to Selinus. The besieged made a vigorous desence; but at last the city was taken by storm, and the inhabitants were treated with the utmost cruelty. All were massacred by the savage conquerors, except the women, who fled to the temples;–and these escaped, not through the mercisul dispositions of the Carthaginians, but because they were afraid, that, if driven to despair, they would set fire to the temples, and by that means consume the treasure they expected to find in those places. Sixteen thousand were massacred; the women and children, about 5000 in number, were carried away captive: the temples were plundered of all their treasures, and the city razed to the ground.
Hymera was next besieged by Hannibal, and razed to its foundations. He forced three thousand prisoners to undergo all kinds of ignominy and punishments, and at last murdered thern, on the very spot where his grandfather had been kill. ed by Gelon's cavalry, to appease and satisfy his manes, by the blood of these unhappy victims. such is the humanity and the justice of those men, whom we are accustomed to distinguish by the names of Patriots and Heroes!—Elated with these partial victories, the Carthaginians meditated the reduction of the whole of Sicily. They marched against the city of Agrigentum, and battered its walls with dreadsul fury. The besieged defended themselves with incredible resoiution. In a sally, they burned all the battering machines raised against their city, and repulsed the enemy with immense slaughter. Again the Carthaginians rallied their forces, beat down the walls of the city, plundered it of an immense booty, and with their usual cruelty, put all its inhabitants to the sword, not excepting even those who had fled to the temples. The Carthaginians were soon after forced to retire from Sicily. Again they renewed their expeditions; again they were repulsed ; and again they plunged into the horrors of war; while thousands and ten thousands were slaughtered at every onset; men, women, and children massacred in cold blood and the pestilence produced by the unburied carcasses of the slain, proved more fatal to myriads, than even the sword of the warrior. In this manner did these infatuated mortals carry on a series of sanguinary contests for several centuries, with the Sicilians, Greeks, and other nations; till, at length, they dared to encounter the power, and the formidable forces of the Romans, and commenced those dreadful and long-continued conflicts, distinguished in History by the name of The Punic Wars. The first Punic war lasted twenty-four years; the second, seventeen years; and the third, four years and some months. In this last contest, the ploughshare of destruction was literally driven through their devoted city, by the Romans. It was delivered up to be plundered by their soldiers; its gold, silver, statues, and other treasures amounting to 4,470,000 pounds weight of silver, were carried off to Rome; its towers, ramparts, walls, and all the works which the Carthaginians had raised in the course of many ages, were levelled to the ground. Fire was set to the cdifices of this proud metropolis, which consumed them all, not a single house escaping the fury of the flames. And though the fire began in all quarters at the same time, and burned with incredible violence, it continued for seventeen days besore all the buildings were consumed.—Thus perished Carthage—a city which contained 700,000 inhabitants, and which had waged so many ferocious wars with neighbouring nations—a terrible example of the destructive effects produced by malevolent passions, and of the retributive justice of the Governor of the world. The destruction of human life in the numerous wars in which it was engaged, is beyond all specific calculation. During the space of sixteen years, Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, plundered no less than four hundred towns, and destroyed 300,000 of his enemies; and we may safely reckon, that nearly an equal number of his own men must have been cut off by the opposing armies; so that several millions of human victims must have been sacrificed in these bloody and cruel wars. The following is a summary statement of the number of human beings that were slain in several of the battles recorded in history.—In the year 101 before Christ, in an engagement between Marius, the Roman Consul, and the Ambrones and the Teutones, in Transalpine Gaul, there were slain of these barbarians, besides what sell in the Roman army, 200,000, some historians say, 290,000. And it is related, that the inhabitants of the neighbouring country made fences for vineyards of their bones. In the following year, the Romans, under the command of the same general, slaughtered 140,000 of the Cimbri, and took 60,000 prisoners. In the year 105, B. C. the Romans, in a single engagement with the Cimbri and the Teutones, lost upwards of 80,000 men. In the battle of Cannae, the Romans were surrounded by the forces of Hannibal, and cut to pieces. Afer an engagement of only three hou •, the carnage became so dreadful, that even the Carthaginian general cried out, to spare the conquered. Above 40000 Romans lay dead on the field, and six thousand of the Carthaginian army. What a dreadful display of the rage and fury of diabolical passions must have been exhibited on this occasion! and what a horrible scene must have been presented on the field of battle, when we consider, that, in the mode of ancient warfare, the slain were literally inangled, and cut to pieces!—In the battle of Issus, between Alexander and Darius, were slain 110,000; in the battle of Arbela, two years afterwards, between the same two despots, 300 000; in the battle between Pyrrhus and the Romans, 25,000; in the battle between Scipio and Asdrubal, 40 000; in the battle between Suetonius and Boadicea, 80,000. In the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian, according to the account of Josephus, there were destroyed, in the most terrible manner, 1,100,000; and there were slaughtered in Jerusalem, in 170, B. C. by Antiochus, 40,000. At Cyrene, there were slain of Romans and Greeks, by the Jews, 220 000: in Egypt and Cyprus, in the reign of Trajan, 240,000; and in the reign of Adrian, 580 000 Jews. After Julius Caesar had carried his arms into the territories of Usipetes in Germany, he defeated them with such sianghter, that 400 000 are said to have perished in one battle. At the defeat of Attila, King of
the Huns, at Chalons, there perished about 300 000. In the year 631, there were slain by the Saracens in Syria, 60,000; in the invasion of Milan by the Goths, no less than 300000; and in A. D. 734, by the Saracens in Spain, 370000. In the battle of Fontenay, were slaughtered 100,000; in the battle of Yermouk, 150 000; and in the battle between Charles Mariel and the Mahometans, 350 000. In the battle of Muret, in A.D. 1213, between the Catholics and the Albigenses, were slain 32 000; in the battle of Cressy, in 1346, 50 000; in the battle of Halidon-hill, in 1833, 20000; in the battle of Agincourt, in 1415, 20000; in the battle of Towton, in 1461, 37 000; in the battle of Lepanto, in 1571, 25.000; at the siege of Vienna, in 1683, 70,000; and in a battle in Persia, in 1734, 60,000.* The most numerous army of which we have any account in the annals of history, was that of Xerxes. According to the statement of Rollin, which is sounded on the statements of Herodotus, Isocrates, and Plutarch, this army consisted of 1,700,000 foot, 80,000 horse, and 20,000 men for conducting the carriages and camels. On passing the Hellespont, an addition vas made to it from other nations, of 300 000, which made his land forces amount to 2,100,000. His fleet consisted of 1207 vessels, each carrying 230 men ; in all 277,610 men, which was augmented by the European nations, with 1200 vessels carrying 240,000 men. Besides this fleet the small galleys, transport ships, &c. amounted to 3000, containing about 240,000 men. Including servants, eunuchs, women, sutlers, and others, who usually follow an army, it is reckoned, that the whole number of souls that followed Xerxes into Greece, amounted to 5.283,220; which is more than the whole of the male population of Great Britian and Ireland, above twenty years of age, and nearly triple the whole population of Scotland. After remaining some time in Greece, nearly the whole of this immense army, along with the fleet, was routed and destroyed. Mardonius, one of his ablest commanders, with an army of 300 000, was finally defeated and slain at the battle of Platea, and only three thousand of this vast army, with difficulty escaped destruction. The destruction of human life in the wars which accompanied and followed the incursions of the barbarians, who overthrew the Roman empire, is beyond all calculation or conception. It forms an era in history most degrading to the human species. In the war which was waged in Asrica, in the days of Justinian, Procopius remarks, “It is no exaggeration to say, that five
• The above statements are collected from the facts stated in Rollin's Ancient History, Millot's ele ments, Mavors Universal History, the historical Ar. ticles in the Encyclopedia Britannica, from a list of battles contained in the “Pictures of war,” &c.
millions perished by the sword, and famine, and pestulence.” The same author states that, during the twenty years' war which Justinian carried on with the Gothic conquerors of Italy, the loss of the Goths amounted to above 15 millions; nor will this appear incredible, when we find, that in one campaign, 50 000 labourers died of hunger. About the beginning of the 13th century arose that cruel and bloody tyrant Jenghiz-Khan. With iminense armies, some of them amounting to more than a million in number, he overran and subdued the kingdom of Hya in China, Tangut, Kitay, Turkestan, Karazum, Great Buckaria, Persia, and part of lndia, committing the most dreadful cruelties and devastations. It is computed, that, during the last 22 years of his reign, no fewer than 14,470,000 persons were butchered by this scourge of the human race. He appeared like an infernal fiend, breathing destruction to the nations of the East, and the principle which he adopted, after conquest, was utter extermination. Nearly about the same period when this monster was ravaging and slaughtering the eastern world, those mad expeditions, distinguished by the name of the Crusades, were going forward in the west. Six millions of infatuated wretches, raging with hatred, and thursting for blood, assumed the image of the cross, and marched in wild disorder to the confines of the Holy land, in order to recover the city of Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels. In these holy wars, as they were impiously termed, more than 850,000 Europeans were sacrificed before they obtained possession of Nice, Antioch, and Edessa. At the siege of Acre, 300,000 were slain ; and at the taking of Jerusalem, in 1099, about seventy thousand. For 193 years, these wild expeditions continued in vogue, and were urged forward by proclamations issued from the throne, and by fanatical sermons thundered from the pulpit, till several millions of deluded mortals perished from the earth; for by far the greater part of those who engaged in the crusades, were either slain or taken prisoners. About this period, and several centuries before it, the whole earth exhibited little else than one great field of battle, in which nations were dashing against each other, conquerors ravaging kingdoms, tyrants exercising the most horrid cruelties; superstition and revenge immolating their millions of victims; and tumults, insurrections, slaughter, and universal alarm, banishing peace and tranquillity from the world, and subverting the moral order of society. “In Europe, Germany and Italy were distracted by incessant contests between the pope and the emperors; the interior of every European kingdom was torn in pieces by the contending ambition of the powerful barons; in the Mahomedan empire, the caliphs, stituns, enmirs, &c. waged continual war; new sovereignties were daily arising, and daily de
stroyed; and amidst this universal slaughter ano devastation, the whole earth seemed in danger of being laid waste, and the human race to suffet a total annihilation.”* Such is the bird's eye view of the destruction of the human species, which war has produced in different periods. The instances I have brought forward present only a few detached circumstances in the annals of warfare, and relate only to a few limited periods in the history of man: and yet in the four instances above stated, we are presented with a scene of horror, which includes the destruction of nearly 50 millions of human beings. What a vast and horrific picture, then, would be presented to the eye, could we take in at one view all the scenes of slaughter, which have been realized in every period, in every nation, and among every tribe' If we take into consideration not only the number of those who have fallen in the field of battle, but of those who have perished through the natural consequences of war, by the famine and the pestilence, which war has produced ; by disease, fatigue, terror, and melancholy; and by the oppression, injustice, and cruelty of savage conquerors, it will not, perhaps, be overrating the destruction of human life, if we affirm, that one tenth of the human race has been destroyed by the ravages of war. And if this estimate be admitted, it will follow, that more than fourteen thousand millions of human beings have been slaughtered in war, since the beginning of the world—which is about eighteen times the nun, Jer of inhabitants which, at the present, exist on the globe; or, in other words, it is equivalent to the destruction of the inhabitants of eighteen worlds of the same population as ours.f That this conclusion is rather within than beyond the bounds of truth, will appear, from what has been stated above respecting the destruction of the Goths, in the time of Justinian. In the course of 20 years, 15 millions of persons perished in the wars. Now, if the population of the countries of Europe, in which these wars took place, did not exceed 60 millions, the proportion of the slaughtred to the whole population was as one to four, and, if 20 years be reckoned as only half the period of a generation, the proportion was as one to two ; in other words, at the rate of one half of a whole generation in the course of 40 years. Whal a horrible and tremendous consideration ?—to reflect,that 14,000,000,000 of beings, endowed with intellectual faculties, and furnished with bodies curiously organized by divine wisdom—that the inhabitants of eighteen worlds should have been massacred, mangled, and cut to pieces, by those
• Mavor's Universal History, Robertson's Charles W. &c.
* This calculation proceeds on the ground, that 145 thousand millions of men have existed since the Mosaic creation. See Christian philosopner, Ari. Geography.