self-devotion, its patient endurance, its loyalty to home and country.
An American judge, son of an American poet, and himself a soldier in youth, has lately given an address on “The soldier's faith,” which, while itself somewhat overstated doubtless, has been harshly, almost brutally, attacked as glorifying only the lower side of our nature.
Yet all that he said was but little more than was said during our civil war by Emerson
, the calmest and least combative of philosophers.
He, too, saw the curious fact that while war is in itself barbarous, yet it partly counterbalances this evil by bringing out certain virtues which in calmer and commercial times are less prominent.
Some vocations exhibit them; the fireman, the policeman, the sailor, the railway engineer, may show them, as do often the wife and mother; but none of these on a scale so conspicuous and irresistible as in the conflict of war. Emerson
's conclusion is, “Certain it is that never before since I read newspapers has the morale
played so large a part in them as now” --that is, early in the civil war.
He had written in his journal long before, in 1850: “Yes, the terror and repudiation of war . . . may be a form of materialism . . . ”