Tyranny of Ignorance.
When the reign of terror first began to sweep over France
one of its earliest victims of note was Gen. Custine
--that General whose invasions of the heart of Germany
, and taking of Mayence, had endeared him both to the people and the army.
His popularity indeed was immense, for the successes of the soldier he added the attractious of great generosity of disposition, and manners at once courteous and military.
But he was carried away from the midst of a devoted army by the commissary of the convention and brought to Paris
to render an account of his military inactivity.
What was the offence upon which he was tried for his life and lost his head?
We give it in the language of a historian of the Reign of Terror. "His orine was having mingled science with war.
desired a rapid and cursory campaign; they required plebeian generals to direct the plebeian masses, and ignorant generals to invent modern warfare."
It was in vain that Custine
, in a defence luminous as light, and fortified by unanswerable facts, annihilated every inculpation of his accusation.
His very defence proved him a man of science. "Dost thou use to write they name?" quoth Jack Cade
; "or hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest, plain dealing man?" Clerk--"Sir, I thank God I have been so well brought up that I can write my name." Cade
-- "Away with him; hang him with his pen and inkhorn about his neck."In a like spirit Custine
was sent to the guillotine.
"God is not honored by human know ledge," said a fanatic to the witty Dr. South
. "Still less is he honored by human Ignorance," was the crushing rejoinder.
We are reminded of these things when we hear the learned criticisms by civilians of military education, and military measures.
could not be brought to the block in America
for "mingling science with war," but the guillotine of public opinion would quite as affectually take his head from the army.
One of the wisest conclusions ever arrived at by a civilian was that of James Madison
--"leave military measures to military men. "