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tinual war. "Shall I, to justify my calculations from the charge of extravagance, add to the account those skirmishes which happen in all wars, without being singly of sufficient dignity in mischief, to merit a place in history, but which by their frequency compensate for this comparative innocence; shall I inflame the account by those general massacres which have devoured whole cities and nations; those wasting pestilences, those consuming famines, and all those furies that follow in the train of war? I have no need to exaggerate; and I have purposely avoided a parade of eloquence on this occasion. I should despise it upon any occasion; else in mentioning these slaughters, it is obvious how much the whole might be heightened, by an affecting deseription of the horrours that attend the wasting of kingdoms, and sacking of cities. But I do not write to the vulgar, nor to that which only governs the vulgar, their passions. I go upon a naked and moderate calculation, just enough, without a pedantical exactness, to give your Lordship some feeling of the effects of political society. I charge the whole of these effects on political society. I avow the charge, and I shall presently make it good to your Lordship's satisfaction. The numbers I particularized are about thirty-six millions. Besides those killed in battles I have said something, not half what the matter would have justified, but something I have said, concerning the consequences of war even more dreadful than that monstrous carnage
itself which shocks our humanity, and almost staggers our belief. So that allowing me in my exuberance one way, for my deficiencies in the other, you
will find me not unreasonable. I think the numbers of men now upon earth are computed at five hundred millions at the most. Here the slaughter of mankind, on what you will call a small calculation, amounts to upwards of seventy times the number of souls this day on the globe: a point which may furnish matter of reflexion to one less inclined to draw consequences than your Lordship
I now come to shew, that political society is justly chargeable with much the greatest part of this destruction of the species. To give the fairest play to every side of the question, I will own that there is a haughtiness, and fierceness in human nature, which will cause innumerable broils, place men in what situation you please; but owning this, I still insist in charging it to political regulations, that these broils are so frequent, so cruel, and attended with consequences so deplorable. In a state of nature, it had been impossible to find a number of men, sufficient for such slaughters, agreed in the same bloody purpose; or allowing that they might have come to such an agreement, (an impossible supposition) yet the means that 6
simple nature has supplied them with, are by no means adequate to such an end; many scratches, many bruises undoubtedly would be received upon all hands; but only a few, a very few deaths. Society, and politicks, which have given us these destructive views, have given us also the means of satisfying them. From the earliest dawnings of policy to this day, the invention of men has been sharpening and improving the mystery of murder, from the first rude essays of clubs and stones, to the present perfection of gunnery, cannoneering, bombarding, mining, and all these species of artificial, learned, and refined cruelty, in which we are now so expert, and which make a principal part of what politicians have taught us to believe is our principal glory.
How far mere nature would have carried us, we may judge by the example of those animals, who still follow her laws, and even of those to whom she has given dispositioniş more fierce, and arms more terrible than ever she intended we should use. It is an incontestable truth, that there is more havock made in one year by men, of men, than has been made by all the lions, tygers, panthers, ounces, leopards, hyenas, rhinoceroses, elephants, bears, and wolves, upon their several species, since the beginning of the world; though these agree ill enough with each other, and have a much greater proportion of rage and fury in their composition than we have. But with rea spect to you, ye legislators, ye civilisers of mankind! ye Orpheuses, Moseses, Minoses, Solons, Theseuses, Lycurguses, Numas! with respect to you be it spoken, your regulations have done more mischief in cold blood, than all the rage of the fiercest animals in their greatest terrours, or furies, has ever done, or ever could do!
These evils are not accidental. Whoever will take the pains to consider the nature of society; will find they result directly from its constitution. For as subordination, or in other words, the reciprocation of tyranny, and slavery, is requisite to support these societies, the interest, the ambition, the malice, or the revenge, nay even the whim and caprice of one ruling man among them, is enough to arm all the rest, without any private views of their own, to the worst and blackest purposes; and what is at once lamentable, and ridiculous, these wretches engage under those banners with a fury greater than if they were animated by revenge for their own proper wrongs.
It is no less worth observing, that this artificial division of mankind, into separate societies, is a perpetual source in itself of hatred and dissension among them. The names which distinguish them are enough to blow up hatred and rage. Examine history; consult present experience; and you will find, that far the greater part of the
quarrels between several nations, had scarce any other occasion, than, that these nations were different combinations of people, and called by different names: to an Englishman, the name of a Frenchman, a Spaniard, an Italian, much more a Turk, or a Tartar, raises of course ideas of hatred, and contempt. If
would inspire this compatriot of ours with pity or regard, for one of these; would
not hide that distinction? You would not pray him to compassionate the poor Frenchman, or the unhappy German. Far from it; you would speak of him as a foreigner, an accident to which all are liable. You would represent him as a man, one partaking with us of the same common nature, and subject to the same law. There is something so averse from our nature in these artificial political distinctions, that we need no other trumpet to kindle us to war, and destruction. But there is something so benign and healing in the general voice of humanity, that, maugre all our regulations to prevent it, the simple name of man applied properly, never fails to work a salutary effect.
This natural unpremeditated effect of policy on the unpossessed passions of mankind, appears on other occasions. The very name of a politician, a statesman, is sure to cause terrour and hatred; it has always connected with it the ideas of treachery, cruelty, fraud and tyranny; and those writers who