« PreviousContinue »
all sides consumed more than two millions of the wretched people. The Gauls rushing into Italy about this time, added the total destruction of their own armies to those of the ancient inhabi. tants. In short, it were hardly possible to conceive a more horrid and bloody picture, if that the Punick wars that ensued soon after did not present one, that far exceeds it. Here we find that climax of devastation, and ruin, which seemed to shake the whole earth. The extent of this war which vexed so many nations, and both elements, and the havock of the huinan species caused in both, really astonishes beyond expression, when it is nakedly considered, and those matters which are apt to divert our attention from it, the characters, actions, and designs of the persons concerned, are not taken into the account. These wars, I mean those called the Punick wars, could not have stood the human race in less than three millions of the species. And yet
this forms but a part only, and a very small part, of the havock caused by the Roman ambition. The war with Mithridates was very little less bloody; that prince cut off at one stroke 150,000 Romans by a massacre. In that war Sylla destroyed 300,000 men at Cheronea. He defeated Mithridates' army under Dorilaus, and slew 300,000. This great and unfortunate price lost another 300,000 before Cyzicum. In the course of the war he had innumerable other losses; and
having many intervals of success, he revenged them severely. He was at last totally overthrown; and he crushed to pieces the king of Armenia his ally by the greatness of his ruin. All who had connexions with him shared the same fate. The merciless genius of Sylla had its full scope; and the streets of Athens were not the only onės which ran with blood. At this period, the sword, glutted with foreign slaughter, turned its edge upon the bowels of the Roman republick itself; and presented a scene of cruelties and treasons enough almost to obliterate the memory of all the external devastations. I intended, my Lord, to have proceeded in a sort of method in estimating the numbers of mankind cut off in these wars which we have on record. But I am obliged to alter my design. Such a tragical uniformity of havock and murder would disgust your Lordship as much as it would me; and I confess I already feel my eyes ake by keeping them so long intent on so bloody a prospect. I shall observe little on the Servile, the Social, the Gallick, and Spanish wars; nor upon those with Jugurtha, nor Antiochus, nor many others equally important, and carried on with equal fury. The butcheries of Julius Cæsar alone, are calculated by somebody else; the numbers he has been a means of destroying have been reckoned at 1,200,000. But to give your Lordship an idea that may serve as a standard,
by by which to measure, in some degree, the others; you will turn your eyes on Judea; a very inconsiderable spot of the earth in itself, though ennobled by the singular events which had their rise in that country.
This spot happened, it matters not here by what means, to become at several times extremely populous, and to supply men for slaughters scarcely credible, if other well-known and well-attested ones had not given them a colour. The first settling of the Jews here, was attended by an almost entire extirpation of all the former inhabitants. Their own civil wars, and those with their petty neighbours, consumed vast multitudes almost every year for several centuries; and the irruptions of the kings of Babylon and Assyria made immense ravages. Yet we have their history but partially, in an indistinct confused manner; so that I shall only throw the strong point of light upon that part which coincides with Roman history, and of that part only on the point of time when they received the great and final stroke which made them no more a nation; a stroke which is allowed to have cut off little less than two millions of that people. I say nothing of the loppings made froin that stock whilst it stood; nor from the suckers that grew out of the old root ever since. But if in this inconsiderable part of the globe, such a car. nage has been made in two or three short reigns,
and that this great carnage, great as it is, makes but a minute part of what the histories of that people inform us they suffered; what shall we judge of countries more extended, and which have waged wars by far more considerable?
Instances of this sort compose the uniform of history. But there have been periods when no less than universal destruction to the race of mankind seems to have been threatened. Such was that, when the Goths, the Vandals, and the Huns poured into Gaul, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Africa, carrying destruction before them as they advanced, and leaving horrid desarts every way behind them. Vastum ubique silentium, secreti colles ; fumantia procul tecta; nemo exploratoribus obvius, is what Tacitus calls facies victoriæ. It is always so; but was here emphatically so. From the north proceeded the swarms of Goths, Vandals, Huns, Ostrogoths, who ran towards the south into Africa itself, which suffered as all to the north had done. About this time, another torrent of barbarians, animated by the same fury, and encouraged by the same success, poured out of the south, and ravaged all to the north-east and west, to the remotest parts of Persia on one hand, and to the banks of the Loire or further on the other; destroying all the proud and curious monuments of human art, that not even the memory might seem to survive of the former inhabitants. What has been done since,
and what will continue to be done while the same inducements to war continue, I shall not dwell upon. I shall only in one word mention the horrid effects of bigotry and avarice, in the conquest of Spanish America; a conquest on a low estimation effected by the murder of ten millions of the species. I shall draw to a conclusion of this part, by making a general calculation of the whole. I think I have actually mentioned above thirty-six Inillions. I have not particularized any more. I don't pretend to exactness; therefore, for the sake of a general view, I shall lay together all those actually slain in battles, or who have perished in a no less miserable manner by the other destructive consequences of war from the beginning of the world to this day, in the four parts of it, at a thousand times as much; no exaggerated calculation, allowing for time and extent. We have not perhaps spoke of the five-hundredth part; I am bure I have not of what is actually ascertained in history; but how much of these butcheries are only expressed in generals, what part of time history has never reached, and what vast spaces of the habitable globe it has not embraced, I need not mention to your Lordship. I need not enlarge on those torrents of silent and inglorious blood which have glurted the thirsty sands of Africk, or discoloured the polar snow, or fed the savage forests of America for so many ages of con