It may be some consolation to a people groaning under the calamities of war to bear in mind that the evil which they endure is one from which their race has never been exempt, and which is as inevitable as suffering and death in any other form.
What nation is there which has escaped the scourge of war?
Search the records of ancient and modern times, explore the whole habitable area of our planet, and name one country, discover one rood of earth, which has not been visited by this desolating scourge!
Like plague, pestilence, and famine, war is a scourge from which fallen humanity never has escaped and never will.
Why should the people of this continent expect exemption from the common curse of mankind?
It is only in the Millennium that the Scriptures have taught us to look for the conversion of the sword into the plough share and the spear into the pruning hook.
But we seem to think that America
was entitled to a Millennium of its own, independent of the rest of the world, and consider it a peculiar grievance that whilst every nation of our fallen race has been punished in this way for its sins we should escape it altogether, for no better reason than that we have been mercifully spared it for the last fifty years.
There are those who say that if the Union
had not been dissolved there would have been no war, but if that were true, the Millennium would have been established in America
and nowhere else.
For it was a part of the manifest destiny announced by Northern politicians that we should go on annexing other countries, and visiting them with the sword, whilst we ourselves sit in peace beneath our own vine and fig tree!
God does not permit such injustice and inequality as that in his dominions.
Moreover the Union
could not have been preserved, unless the disposition to abuse power on the one hand, and the spirit of manly resistance on the other, had died out from the hearts of men. To these principles may be traced most of the wars which have convulsed society, and these, sooner or later, rendered the violent dismemberment of the United States
It was impossible to accede to the demands of the party which has overthrown the United States Constitution
without such a surrender of manhood and self-respect as to the honor of humanity is rare in its annals.
We must submit to war as a thing that is inevitable; that cannot be escaped by living in America
any more than sorrow and death in any other shape, and console ourselves with reflecting that this great evil was forced upon us against our most earnest prayers and struggles for peace.
We have only asked to be let alone; we have stood upon the defensive; we are hunted and shot down in our own fields and at our own firesides.
The same has happened to our unhappy race in every age and every clime.
Shall we meet our tribulations like men and Christians, or whine like spoiled children because an All wise Father commends to our lips the same bitter chalice which our brethren have drank in all generations?
To speak of no other nation, England
alone, our mother country, besides her various civil convulsions and wars with other empires, has had, within a period of seven hundred years, two hundred and sixty-six years of desolating war
Some of these wars lasted twenty, thirty, forty, and one over fifty years. The fate of the Continental
nations has been even worse.
Was the Western Hemisphere
a part and parcel of Heaven, that we were to expect in it perpetual peace?
It is not enough to emigrate from Europe
to escape war; in order to accomplish that, man must emigrate from himself.
The Wars of the Roses in England
, "ate out," as the London Times
expresses it, "the heart of a century." The Reformation found belligerent employment for a whole generation.
The Civil War, from the raising of the standard at Nottingham
to the final reduction of Scotland
, lasted ten years. It matters not what the form of Government — whether despotism, constitutional monarchy, or republicanism,--the earth has no covert or shelter from war, except the grave.
There alone "the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."
The American Unionists would build up in a colossal Union another Tower
of Babel against which the floods and storms of War should beat in vain.
Idle, impracticable enterprise!
God has but to utter his voice, and there is a dispersion of the tribes, leaving a half finished monument to attest the weakness and the misery of man. The very magnitude of the project was the source of its failure.--For, as has been already shown in this paper, it is impossible to hold together immense territories having conflicting sectional and social interests and feelings, and inhabited by populous and civilized communities, by any means short of despotic force.
Unless the people become as degenerate as the cohesive power is despotic, resistance and disintegration are inevitable.
The Old World is full of illustrations of the fact, and the history of the Old World is now repeating itself in the New
. In whatever light, therefore, we look at it, we must reverently recognize the hand of Providence
We must submit to this infliction as we do to Plague and Pestilence, which, in one respect, are lighter evils, because they cannot be resisted.
But this invasion, cruel and bloody as it is, we may rob of its crowning agony, our subjugation, if we but meet it in the spirit of men and Christians.
Let us learn to prefer death to degradation, and we shall convert an inevitable evil into the source of security and happiness to ourselves and our posterity.