The First redeeming side.
The fact of supremacy has been settled, and by the rule of primitive war one life is forfeit to the other.
When, then, the victor did not slay, but spared the victim—suffered him to live; not as rival, to be sure, but as subject; to retributively serve in return for the life which had been donated, and was gratuity—it was the very charity of a redeeming gospel, breaking through the crust of ‘Old Dispensations’ of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; tempering with the hand of mercy the iron hand.
It is not extravagant to say that
this was the first redeeming sign in the storm and terrible joy of war. The stronger included the weaker; the two were cooperant— social, not dissocial.
Their blows, no longer rival, rang in unison, each sending the other farther.
It was a large concession to humanity when Caesar
at the battle of Pharsalia granted permission to every man in his army to save one enemy.
Only the nomad life existed until servitude existed.
The ‘mighty hunter’ had no accumulated spoil wherewith to feed dependents.
Outside of his limited and mutable camp his hand was against every man and every man's against him. No civilization could ripen in the saddle of the Bedouin or under his restless tents.
He neither plants nor builds.
That which to-day were the incurable evil of society—that it be stationary—in the beginning was the one anchor of hope; that the human group should stay in one place long enough to catch the contagion of humanity.
Property in the soil arose with property in man. All progress, all empire, all the law, and all the piety of the ancient time grew up around this centre.
Competition, as a motive force, is about coeval with the impulses thrown into the great world scales by the voyage of Columbus
Voluntary co-operation has just begun.
There was no permanent property until there was permanent force, nor continuous production until there was servitude.
This was the inexorable necessity of civilized life.
Prior to it man cannot be said to have even lived by bread.
But by it man planted himself behind the stone wall on which has grown the moss of ages, and ceased himself to be the rolling stone which gathers no increase.
He stood upon the ancient ways and boundaries and said to the predatory nomad without, ‘Thus far and no farther.’