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who were partakers of the same common mature, as is they had been created merely for the work of destruction! Language is destitute of words sufficiently strong to express the emotions of the mind, when it seriously contemplates the horrible scene. And how melancholy is it to reflect, that in the present age, which boasts of its improvements in science, in civilization, and in religion, neither reason, nor benevolence, nor humanity, nor Christianity, has yet availed to arrest the progress of destroying armies, and to set a mark of ignominy on “the people who delight in war !”
ATRocities connected with war.
However numerous may have been the victims that have been sacrificed in war, it is not so much the mere extinction of human life that renders the scene of warfare so horrible, as the cruelties with which it has always been accompanied, and the infernal passions which it has engendered and carried into operation. It extirpates every principle of compassion, humanity, and justice; it blunts the feelings, and hardens the heart; it invents instruments of torture, and perpetrates, without a blush, cruelties revolting to every principle of virtue and benevolence.
When Jerusalem was taken hy Antiochus Epiphanes, in the year 168, B.C. he gave orders to one division of his army to cut in pieces all who were found in the temple and synagogues; while another party, going through the streets of the city, massacred all that came in their way. He next ordered the city to be plundered and set on fire ; pulled down all their stately buildings, caused the walls to be demolished, and carried away captive ten thousand of those who had escaped the slaughter. He set up the statue of Jupiter Olympus on the altar of burnt-offerings, and all who refused to come and worship this idol were either massacred, or put to some cruel tortures, till they either complied or expired under the hands of the executioners. In the war which the Carthaginians waged with the Mercenaries, Hamilcar, the Carthaginian general, threw all the prisoners that fell into his hands to be devoured by wild beasts. Asdrubal, another Carthaginian general, when engaged in war against the Romans, in revenge for a defeat he had sustained, brought all the Roman prisoners he had taken during two years, upon the walls, in the sight of the whole Roman army. There he put them to the most exquisite tortures, putting out their eyes, cutting off their noses, ears, and fingers, legs and arms, tearing their skin to pieces with iron rakes or harrows; and then threw them headlong from the top of the battlements.” He was of a temper remarkably inhuman, and it is said that he even .ook pleasure in seeing some of these unhappy smen flayed alive.—In the year 1201, when Jeng
• Rollin's Ancient History, Wol. I
hiz-Khan had reduced the rebels who had seized upon his paternal possessions, as a specimen of his lenity, he caused seventy of their chiefs to be thrown into as many cauldrons of boiling water. The plan on which this tyrant conducted his expeditions, as already stated, was that of total extermination. For some time he utterly extirpated the inhabitants of those places which he conquered, designing to people them anew with his Moguls ; and, in consequence of this resolution, he would employ his army in beheading 100,000 prisoners at once.—Tamerlane, one of his successors, who followed in his footsteps, is said to have been more humane than this cruel despot. Historians inform us that “his sportive cruelty seldom went farther than the pounding of three or sour thousand people in large mortars, or building them among bricks and mortar into a wall.” If such be the “tender mercies of the wicked,” how dreadful beyond description must their cruelties be! We are accustomed to hear Alexander the Great eulogized as a virtuous and magnanimous hero; and even the celebrated Montesquieu, in his “Spirit of Laws,” has written a panegyric on his character. Yet we find him guilty of the most abominable vices, and perpetrating the most atrocious crimes. At the instigation of the strumpet Thais, during a drunken banquet, he set on fire the beautiful city of Persepolis, and consumed it to ashes. Clitus, one of his captains, and brother of Helenice who had nursed Alexander, and saved his life at the battle of the Granicus, at the imminent danger of his own. Yet this man, to whom he was so highly indebted, he thrust through with a javelin, at an entertainment to which he had invited him ; on account of his uttering some strong expressions, which were intended to moderate Alexander's vanity. His treatment of the Branchidae furnishes an example of the most brutal and frantic cruelty which history records. These people received Alexander, while pursuing his conquests, with the highest demonstrations of joy, and surrendered to him, both themselves and their city. The next day, he commanded his phalanx to surround the city, and, a signal being given, they were ordered to plunder it, and to put every one of its inhabitants to the sword, which inhuman order was executed with the same barbarity with which it had been given. All the citizens, at the very time they were going to pay homage to Alexander, were murdered in the streets and in their houses; no manner of regard being had to their cries and tears, nor the least distinction made of age or sex. They even pulled up the very foundations of the walls, in order that not the least traces of that city might remain. And why were these ill-fated citizens punished in so suminary and inhuman a manner Merely because their forefathers, upwards of one hundred and fifty years before, had
delivered up to Xerxes the treasure of the temple of Didymaon, with which they had been intrusted "-When he entered the city of Tyre, after a siege of seven months, he gave orders to kill all the inhabitants, except those who had fled to the temples, and set fire to every part of the city. Eight thousand men were barbarously slaughtered; and two thousand more reinaining, after the soldiers had been glutted with slaughter, he fixed two thousand crosses along the seashore,f and caused them all to be crucified. War has given rise to the most shocking and unnatural crimes, the idea of which might never otherwise have entered into the human mind. Lathyrus, after an engagement with Alexander, king of the Jews, on the banks of the river Jordan,—the same evening he gained the battle, in going to take up his quarters in the neighbouring villages, he found them full of women and children, and caused them all to be put to the sword, and their bodies to be cut to pieces, and put into cauldrons in order to their being dressed, as if he intended to make his army sup upon them. His design was to have it believed, that his troops ate human flesh, to spread the greater terror throughout the surrounding country. #. under the pretext of religion, and of the Christian religion too, the most shocking barbarities have been committed. Under the pretence of vindicating the cause of Him who, in the midst of cruel sufferings from men, prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” the crusaders hurried forward towards Jerusalem, wading through seas of blood. When their banners were hoisted on a principal eminence of Antioch, they commenced their butchery of the sleeping inhabitants. The dignity of age, the helplessness of youth, and the beauty of the weaker sex, were disregarded by these sanctimonious savages. Houses were no sanctuaries; and the sight of a mosque added new virulence to cruelty. The number of Turks massacred, on this night of frantic sury, was at least ten thousand. After every species of habitation, from the marble palace to the meanest hovel, had been converted into a scene of slaughter; when the narrow streets and the spacious squares were all alike disfigured with human gore, and crowded with mangled carcasses, then the assassins turned robbers, and became as mercenary as they had been merciless. When Jerusalem was taken by these furious sanatics, they suffered none to escape the slaughter: “Yet, after they had glutted themselves with blood and carnage, they immediately became devout pilgrims, and in religious transports, ran barefooted to visit the holy sepulchre.”$ In what light must that religion appear to Eastern Infidels which is supposed to lead to the perpetration of
* Rollin's Ancient Hist. * ibid. : Ibid. 4Millot's Elements of Gen. Hist.
such enorinities? And how wifully ore the mild precepts and doctrines of Chrir tianity misrepresented, when desperadoes of tais description dare assume the Christian nanie' Even the finer feelings of the female sex have been blunted, and, in many instances, quite extirpated by the mad schemes of ambition, and the practices connected with war. Towards the beginning of the thirteenth century, a Queen of Hungary took the sign of the cross, and enrbarked in the mad expeditions of the crusaders, as did likewise fify thousand children and a crowd of priests; because, according to the Scripture, “God has made children the instruments of his glory.”||—Cleopatra, daughter of Ptolemy Philometer, in order to gratify her restless ambition of reigning alone and uncontrolled in her dominions, killed her son Seleucus, with her own hand, by plunging a dagger into his breast. She had been the wife of three Kings of Syria and the mother of sour, and had occasioned the death of two of her husbands. She prepared a poisoned draught to destroy Grypus another of her sons; but her intention having been suspected, she was compelled to swallow the deadly potion she had prepared, which took immediate effect, and delivered the world from this female monster. The Carthaginians were in the practice of offering human sacrifices to their god Saturn, when they were defeated in war, in order to propitiate the wrath of this deity. At first, children were inhumanly burned, either in a fiery furnace, like those in the valley of Hinnom, so frequently mentioned in Scripture, or in a flaming statue of Saturn.—The cries of these un-happy victims were drowned by the uninterrupted noise of drums and trumpets. Mothers made it a merit, and a part of their religion, to view the barbarous spectacle with dry eyes, and without so much as a groan; and if a tear or sigh stole from them, the sacrifice was considered as less acceptable to the deity. This savage disposition was carried to such excess, that even mothers would endeavour, with embraces and kisses to hush the cries of their children, lest they should anger the god." When Carthage was taken by the Romans, the wise of Asdrubal, the Carthaginian general, who had submitted to the Romans, mounted to the upper part of one of the temples which had been set on fire; and, placing herself, with her two children, in sight of her husband, uttered the most bitter imprecations against him. “Base coward (said she) the mean things thou hast done to save thy life shall not avail thee; thou shalt die this instant, at least in thy two children.” Having thus spoken, she stabbed both the infants with a dagger, and while they were yet struggling for life, threw them both from the top of the temple, and then leaped down after them into the flames!”*
Such are only a few insulated pictures of the atrocities of war, and of the unnatural and infernal passions which uniformly follow in its train, which may be considered as specimens of many thousands of similar instances, which the records of history furnish of the malignity and depravity of mankind. I have selected my examples chief. ly from the history of ancient warfare: but were we to search the annals of modern warfare, and confine our attention solely to the battles of Alexandria, of the Pyramids, of Borodina, of Smolensko, of Austerlitz, of Leipsic, of Jena, of Eylan, of Waterloo, and other warl,ke events which have happened within the last thirty years, we should meet with atrocities and scenes of slaughter, no less horrible than those which I have now related. I shall content myself with stating only two or three instances.
After the taking of Alexandria by Bonaparte, “We were under the necessity,” says the relator, “ of putting the whole of them to death at the breach. But the slaughter did not cease with the resistance. The Turks and inhabitants fled to their mosques, seeking protection from God and their prophet; and then, men and women, old and young, and infants at the breast, were slaughtered. This butchery continued for four hours; after which the remaining part of the inhabitants were much astonished at not having their throats cut.” Be it remembered that all this bloodshed was premeditated. “We might have spared the men whom we lost,” says General Boyer, “by only summoning the town; but it was necessary to begin by confounding our enemy.”* After the battle of the Pyramids, it is remarked by an eye-wintess, that “the whole way through the desert, was tracked with the bones and bodies of men and animals who had perished in these dreadful wastes.—In order to warm themselves at night, they gathered together the dry bones and bodies of the dead, which the vultures had spared, and it was by a fire composed of this fuel that Bonaparte lay down to sleep in the desert.”f A more revolting and insernal scene it is scarcely possible for the imagination to depict.
Miot gives the following description in relation to a scene at Jaffa :-" The soldier abandons himself to all the fury which an assault authorizes. He strikes, he slays, nothing can impede him. All the horrors which accompany the capture of a town by storm, are repeated in every street, in every house. You hear the cries of violated females calling in vain for help to those relatives whom they are ou. hering. No asylum is respected. The blood streams on every side; at every step you meet with human beings groaning and expiring,” &c.—Sir Robert Wilson, when describing the campaigns in Po"and relates, that “the ground between the wood.
* Miot's Memoirs. * ibid.
and the Russian batteries, about a quarter of mile, was a sheet of naked human bodies, which friends and foes had during the night mutually stripped, not leaving the worst rag upon them. although numbers of these bodies still retained consciousness of their situation. It was a sight which the eye loathed, but from which it could not remove.”—In Labaume's “Narrative of the Campaign in Russia,” we are presented with the most horrible details of palaces, churches, and streets, enveloped in flames,<-houses tumbling into ruins,—hundreds of blackened carcasses of the wretched inhabitants, whom the fire had consumed, blended with the fragments, hospitals containing 20,000 wounded Russians on fire, and consuming the miserable victims, numbers of half-burned wretches crawling among the smoking ruins,—semales violated and massacred,—parents and children half naked, shivering with cold, flying in consteration with the wrecks of their half-consumed funiture, horses falling in thousands, and writhing in the agonies of death, the fragments of carriages, muskets, helmets, breast-plates, portmanteaus, and garments strewed in every direction,-roads covered for miles with thousands of the dying and the dead heaped one upon another, and swimming in blood, and these dreadful scenes rendered still more horrific by the shrieks of young females, of mothers and children, and the piercing cries of the wounded and the dying, invoking death to put an end to their agonies. But I will not dwell longer on such revolting details. It is probable, that the feelings of some of my readers have been harrowed up by the descriptions already given, and that they have turned away their eyes in disgust from such spectacles of depravity and horror. Every mind susceptible of virtuous emotions, and of the common feelings of humanity, must, indeed, feel pained and even agonized, when it reflects on the depravity of mankind, and on the atrocious crimes they are capable of committing, and have actually perpetrated. A serious retrospect of the moral state of the world in past ages, is calculated to excite emotions, similar to those which overpowered the mourning prophet when he exclaimed, “O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a sountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, for the slain of the daughters of my people!” But, however painful the sight, we ought not to turn away our eyes, with fastidious affectation, from the spectacles of misery and devastation which the authentic records of history present before us. They form traits in the character of man, which ought to be contemplated,—they are facts in the history of mankind, and not the mere pictures of fancy which are exhibited in poetry, in novels, and romances, facts which forcibly exemplify the operations of the malevolent principle, and from which we ought to deduce important instructions, in reserence to the evil of sin, and the malignancy of pride, cove'ousness, ambition, and revenge. We think nothing, in the common intercourse of life, of indulging a selfish disposition, of feeling proud and indignant at a real or supposed affront, of looking with a covetous eye at the possessions of our neighbours, of viewing the success and prosperity of our rivals with discontentment and jealousy, or of feeling a secret satisfaction at the distress or humiliation of our enemies; and we seldom reflect on the malignant effects which such passions and dispositions would produce, were they suffered to rage without control. But, in the scenes and contentions of warfare which have been realized on the great theatre of the world, we contemplate the nature and effects of such malignant dispositions in their true light; we perceive the ultimate tendency of every malevolent affection, when no physical obstruction impedes its progress; we discern that it is only the same dispositions which we daily indulge, operating on a more extensive scale; and we learn the necessity of mortifying such dispositions, and counteracting their influence, if we expect to enjoy substantial felicity either here or hereafter; and if we wish to see the world restored to order, to happiness and repose. . I shall only observe farther on this part of my subject, that, besides the atrocities already noticed, war has been the nurse of every vicious disposition, and of every immoral practice. The Carthaginians, who were almost incessantly engaged in war, were knavish, vicious, cruel, and superstitious; distinguished for craft and cunning, lying and hypocrisy, and for the basest frauds and the most perfidious actions. The Goths and Vandals are uniformly characterized, as not only barbarous and cruel, but avaricious, perfidious, and disregardsul of the most solemn promises. It was ever a sufficient reason for them to make an attack, that they thought their enemies could not resist them. Their only reason for making peace, or for keeping it, was because their enemies were too strong; and their only reason for committing the most horrible massacres, rapes, and all manner of crimes, was because they had gained a victory. The Greeks and Romans, it is well known, notwithstanding their superior civilization, were distinguished for the most degrading and immoral practices. They gloried in being proud, haughty, and revengeful; and ever their amusements were characterized by a spirit of ferocity, and by the barbarisms of war.—It is almost needless to say that war blunts the finer feelings of humanity, and engenders a spirit of selfishness, and of indifference even towards friends and companions. Of this many shocking instances could be given. Miot in his Memoirs of the War in Egypt, relates the case of a soldier who was seized with the plague, and with the delirium which someimes accompanies the disease. He took up his
knapsack, upon which his head was resting, and placing it upon his shoulders, made an effort to rise, and to follow the army. The venom of the dreadful malady deprived him of strength, and after three steps, he fell again upon the sand, headlong. The fall increased his terror of being left by the regiment, and he rose a second time, but with no better fortune. In his third effort, he sunk, and, falling near the sea, remained upon that spot which fate had destined for his grave. The sight of this soldier was frightful: the disorder which reigned in his senseless speech—his figure, which represented whatever is mournful— his eyes staring and fixed—his clothes in rags— presented whatever is most hideous in death. The reader may perhaps believe that his comrades would be concerned for him; that they would stop to help him; that they would hasten to support him, and direct his tottering steps. Far from it: the poor wretch was only an object of horror and derision. They ran from him, and they burst into loud laughter at his motions, which resembled those of a drunken man, “He has got his account,” cried one; “He will not march far,” said another; and, when the wretch fell for the last time, some of them added, “See, he has taken up his quarters!” This terrible truth, says the narrator, which I cannot help repeating, must be acknowledged—Indifference and selfishness are the predominant feelings of an army. Rocca, in his “Memoirs of the War in Spain,” remarks, “The habit of danger made us look upon death as one of the most ordinary circumstances of life ; when our comrades had once ceased to live, the indifference which was shown them amounted almost to irony. When the soldiers, as they passed by, recognised one ol their companions stretched among the dead, they just said, ‘He is in want of nothing, he will not have his horse to abuse again, he has got drunk for the last time,” or something similar, which only worked, in the speaker, a stoical contempt Such were the funeral orations pronounced in honour of those who fell in our battles.”—Simpson, in his “Visit to Flanders,” in 1815, remarks, “Nothing is more frightful than the want of feeling which characterizes the French soldiery. Their prisoners who were lying wounded in the hospitals of Antwerp, were often seen mimicking the contortions of countenance which were produced by the agonies of death, in one of their own comrades in the next bed. There is no cv.2e to be compared with the power of fiends "...e these.” , Thus, it appears, that wars have prevailed in every period, during the ages that are past, and have almost extirpated the principle of benevolence from the world; and, therefore, it is obvious, that, before the prevailing propensity to warfare be counteracted and destroyed, the happiness which flows from the operation of the benevolent affec *ions canno: be enjoyed by mankind at large. To counteract this irrational and most deplorable propensity, by every energetic mean which reason, humanity, and Christianity can suggest, must be the duty of every one who is desirous to promote the present and everlasting happiness of his species.*
SECTION II. 8TATE or MoRALs in MODERN TIMES. JMoral state of Savage Nations.
I shall now take a very brief survey of the state of morals in modern times, and of the prevailing dispositions which are displayed by the existing inhabitants of our globe. Were I to enter into those minute and circumstantial details which the illustration of this subject would require, several volumes would be filled with the detail of facts, and with the sketches of moral scenery which might be brought sorward. And such a work, if judiciously executed, might be rendered highly interesting, and might produce a variety of benignant effects both on Christian and on general society. But the narrow limits within which the present work must be comprised, compels me to confine my attention to a few prominent features in the characters of mankind, and, to a few insulated facts by which they may be illustrated.—Ishall consider, in the first place, some of the
the character of savage nations, is, their disposition for war, and to inflict revenge for real or supposed injuries. With respect to the North AMERIcAN Indians, it is the uniform description given of them by all travellers, that, if we except hunting, war is the only employment of the men, and every other concern is left to the women. Their most common motive for entering into war, is, either to revenge themselves for the death of some lost friends, or to acquire prisoners, who may assist them in their hunting, and wholn they adopt into their society. In these wars, they are cruel and savage, to an incredible degree. They enter unawares, the villages of their foes, and, while the flower of the nation are engaged in hunting, massacre all the children, women, and helpless old men, or make prisoners of as many as they can manage. But when the enemy is apprized of their design, and coming on in arms against them, they throw themselves flat on the ground, among the withered herbs and leaves, which their faces are painted to resemble. They then allow a part to pass unmolested; when, all at once, with a tremendous shout, rising up from their ambush, they pour astorm of musket-balls on their foes. Is the force on each side continues nearly equal, the fierce spirits of these savages, inflamed by the loss of friends, can no longer be restrained. They abandon their distant war, they rush upon one another with clubs and hatchets in their hands, magnifying their own courage, and insulting their enemies. A cruel combat ensues; death appears in a thousand hideous forms, which would congeal the blood of civilized nations to behold, but which rouse the fury of these savages. They trample, they insult over the dead bodies, tearing the scalp from the head, wallowing in their blood like wild beasts, and sometimes devouring their flesh. The flame rages on till it meets with no resistance; then the prisoners are secured, whose sate is a thousand times more dreadful than theirs who have died in the field. The conquerors setup a hideous howling, to lament the friends they have lost. They approach to their own village; the women, with frightful shrieks, come out to mourn their dead brothers, or their husbands. An orator proclaims aloud a circumstantial account of every particular of the expedition; and as he mentions the names of those who have fallen, the shrieks of the women are redoubled. The last ceremony is the proclamation of victory: each individual then forgets his private misfortune, and joins in the triumph of his nation; all tears are wiped from their eyes, and, by an unaccountable transition, they pass in a moment from the bitterness o. sorrow, to an extravagance of joy." As they feel nothing but revenge for the enemies of their nation, their prisoners are treated with cruelty in the extreme. The cruelties in
* See Ency. Brit. Art. America.