English Essay on "War"

In civiised countries, when two individual have a dispute that they cannot settle among themselves, they go before the judge, Who by his decision, brings to matter to a peaceful settlement. It might be expected that a similar course would be followed by civilized nations in international quarrels, and some progress has been made in this direction of late years by the employment of arbitration to settle disputes between nation and nation. The disagreement between the United State and England about the damage done to American shopping by the Alabama, which threatened to lead to war, was settled in 3872 by the Geneva arbitration; and the good example then set has been followed on’ several occasion since that date.

But, nevertheless, war is still generally regarded as the only ultimate way of setting national disputes, the armies of great nations are larger than they ever were before in the history of the world, and there seems little prospect of the establishment of the region of universal peace. Although the principle that might is right no longer prevails in the relations between individuals, it is still considered national to appeal to it when one nation quarrels with another.

No doubt the increase the humanity and of sympathy that has accompanied the advance of civilisation has done something to mitigate the horror of war. Tile ancient Assyrians used to impale their captives. The Greeks and Romans made slaves of their conquered enemies. In the region of Edward I., Sir william Wallace, the brave champion of Scottish independence, was hung, drawn and quartered by his English conquerors. His head-was fixed on London Bridge and his four quarters were sent to Newcastle, Berwick, Perth, and Stifling. When the Black Prince, who was regarded as the flower of chivalry, captured the French town of Limoges, he vented his fury on the town by allowing three thousand of its inhabitants, men women, and children, to be massacred by his troops. Such terrible cruelty as this would be now impossible in the warfare of civiised nations. Attempts have been made of late years, not without success, to diminish the horrors of war by international agreement.

But in spite of all such agreements, war, as long as it exist, must produce countless evils. Even if the regular armies in the fields abstain from pillage, anarchy is sure to prevail in the neighbourhood of their operations, the criminal classes feel relieved from all restraint, and bands of plunderers spread ruin far and wide. War always paralyses the industry of a country by calling away able-bodies men from the held and the factory. Powerful artillery destroys in a few hours buildings that have taken many years to erect. in every war a large number o families are reduced to destitution by the destruction of their property or by the loss of those on whom they depended for support.

On the content of Europe of the present day universal conscription prevails, and the younger members of every family are compelled by law to-serve in the army. Under such circumstances war spreads far wider desolation than when it is waged by a limited number of men who have voluntarily adopted the profession of arms.

But just this circumstance, which increase the extent of the suffering inflicted by war may tend to prevent nations from hastily appealing to arms, and so promote the cause of peace. No nation is likely to enter upon war with a light heart when every man capable of bearing aims is compelled to take has place in the ranks and risk his own life on the battle-field. The knowledge of this must surely do much to extinguish the national ardour for warlike glory, which has been the cause of so much bloodshed in the past.

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