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EVENTUAL DISUSE OF WAR.
" Cedant arma togæ."
Introduction. Ir must have been observed by the comparatively few persons who have been led to reflect upon the subject, that very dissimilar and indistinct notions are circulated, as well by books as in conversation, with respect to the future temporal fortunes of the human race. Revelation has shed a sufficient, if not, to our impatient desires, a satisfactory light upon the economy of the spiritual world ; but it has been evidently ordained, that we are to derive from Reason our chief knowledge of what more immediately concerns the present life. Reason is too commonly neglected, often perverted, and never at the same time justly and adequately applied: hence in every department of science something will always remain to be performed ; and this consideration may help to account for the actual want of fixed attention upon a point of such general interest. The march of social improvement is on different occasions represented as retrograde, as vacillating, as stationary, and sometimes, but more seldom, as hurrying us towards a state of unattainable perfection. These opinions are, for the most part, only incidentally, although not unimpressively thrown out, without any attempt to examine the data upon which they may have been casually founded ; and thus, after much converse with books and the world, the mind becomes insensibly.crowded with a mass of confused notions upon this peculiar subject, which materially impede its acquisitions in the higher branches of moral and political knowledge.
A luminous and well-arranged inquiry into the rational grounds of our expectations of future improvement, the probable extent of that improvement, and its reasonable influence on our judgment regarding the great theological question of the destined term of the material world, would be a becoming employment for a highly-gifted and enlightened mind. We have proposed to ourselves a much humbler and less arduous task. The investigation alluded to would evidently embrace, among its numerous ramie fications, the question of the probable eventual disuse of war, upon which the current opinions are equally vague as those relating to the more comprehensive subject. To this simple branch are the observations in the present short tract intended to be principally confined, although we have felt ourselves compelled to renounce the ambition-if, in the ardour of the first conception, it was momentarily entertained-of doing justice even to this limited province : all we really hope to accomplish is, to awaken attention and reflection, and to assist the reader's more extended inquiries by the few useful considerations which, as the natural result of thought sedulously applied to any subject, we may be so fortunate as to produce.
Brief as our work is intended to be, we have not thought it proper to ne glect altogether an attention to arrangement; although its humble character precludes any value being attached to the particular divisions which have almost at a venture been adopted.
On the progress of civilization must rest all our hopes of eventual improvement, as well as of the cessation, either in whole or in part, of the practice of war; but the word is commonly used in a very indefinite sense, and made, without the adjunct of many distinctive characters, to represent very dissimilar degrees of refinement. This, it is obvious, must be a serious impediment to our inquiry at the outset ; and we shall therefore attempt, in the first book, to describe the most prominent features of civilization, and to consider it as divided into distinct parts or stages, of which those features will be the characteristic marks.
Proceeding upon the principle, that the moral acquisitions of a single community must in the end influence those of the world at large, we shall,
without, in the first instance, particularly adverting to the existing anomalies in the degrees of civilization, consider, in the second book, the causes of wars which are peculiarly applicable to the respective stages pourtrayed.
The next step will be to investigate the probability of the eventual cessation of those causes. It will accordingly be shewn, in the third book, that so far as certain of the existing societies are concerned, some of the most inveterate of the causes of war have already become considerably weakened, or have altogether expired. Among a race of beings, all the families of which, however locally divided, are derived from a common stock, too much weight cannot be given to the force of example; and on its power we may confidently rely for the similar operation of similar circumstances, when, in the due course of time, they may be applicable to the several nations of the earth. Hence will be deduced the moral certainty of the extinction, at least, of some of the causes of war; and an inquiry will be instituted as to the probable ultimate cessation of the remainder.
We shall, finally, advert to the supposed advantages of, and necessity for the practice of war, and to the objections which may be made upon that ground to some of the views we may have occasion to unfold.
It is not possible to take that side of this question, as, upon the most perfect conviction, we feel ourselves inclined to do, which is favourable to the warmest hopes of humanity, without anticipating very considerable alterations in the several existing political establishments. Our views, however, are purely and unaffectedly general: by whatever terms we may find it convenient to develope them, they must not be considered as having the slightest reference, in a hostile sense, to local or temporary politics. We shall have occasionally to allude to existing abuses; but it will be only in very flagrant instances that we shall permit ourselves to animadvert, even in general terms, on the errors of any particular state. In asserting the probable amelioration or subversion of imperfect or deleterious institutions, we presume not to mark the periods of the expected changes; and, above all, we sball be careful not to propagate the gross fallacy, that any change can be beneficial which is founded on violence and injustice.
Religion must of necessity take a part in this inquiry. Although, even in this supremely important department, we are sanguine enough to look for ward to improvement, we believe that our intended observations upon it can reasonably give offence'to no sect or party. Firmly assured of the sufficiency as well as the integrity of the sacred volume, we can neither expect nor wish for any improvements in the sound doctrines deduced therefrom by its numerous able expounders; but much, unquestionably, remains to be performed in respect to the general religious practice and discipline. Irrationally attached to no particular formulary of worship, we are not slow to discern the defects of that church to which we are, from principle as well as education, in our own practice subservient; but our subject is too general to require a specification of their nature. We shall content ourselves with indicating our reasons for believing that those defects, as well as others which may adhere to the practice of Christianity, under all its various denominations, will be certainly, but gradually, removed.
All speculations, however humble their pretensions, lay claim to a portion of utility. We conceive that an inquiry of the peculiar description of that into which we are about to enter, comprehending a very considerable field for moral reflection and disquisition, cannot be temperately, although inadequately, conducted without some useful result. We are free, however, to confess, that for the attainment of this end we rely more upon the value of our materials than upon our power of duly applying them; and that after all our efforts to be useful, our chief merit will consist in the attempt to combine, in something like a consistent form, the various bearings of a very popular and interesting subject.
PROGRESS OF CIVILIZATION.
Preliminary Observations. The terms Barbarism and Civilization have been adopted to designate two very opposite conditions in the circumstances of mankind. Each of these conditions, and particularly the latter, may be varied indefinitely in degree, although the poverty of human language prevents our applying appropriate appellations to the respective points of difference. A society is usually considered as partaking of the blessings of civilization, soon after it has ceased to depend altogether for subsistence upon the casual bounty of unassisted nature, and commenced to draw regular supplies from a cultivated soil. The Aborigines of New Holland afford an instance of a people existing in a state of barbarism ; the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands had, at the time of the first visit of our countrymen in the last century, already entered within the pale of civilization. The Mexicans, in the age of Hernando Cortes, had erected towns, instituted a standard religion, or rather superstitious creed, and made some advances in the arts: they had, therefore, arrived at a higher degree in the scale of improvement. One still superior is that of the Chinese of the present day, who have established a regular system of jurisprudence, and made some efforts towards the cultivation of the arts and sciences. Ancient Carthage, besides these advantages, possessed a considerable navy, had embarked widely in foreign commerce, and interested herself in the concerns and policy of neighbouring states : long before her final destruction by her great rival, she had attained a higher rank in the order of civilization than the Chinese have yet reached. All these acquirements were subsequently surpassed by the republic of Venice-principally, if not altogether, in consequence of the benign influence of Christianity, which, in spite of the amazing difficulties it had to encounter, and the impurities which had mingled themselves with its holy rites, had already succeeded in ameliorating the general condition of the Roman world. The reformation of some of the abuses of religion, and the natural disposition to advance in the progress of improvement, have since produced still more important effects in society: these effects may be discerned in estimating the moral acquirements of several of the existing European communities; but in Great Britain, and the United States of America, where a nearer approximation to a perfect system of rational freedom has been effected, civilization may be confidently said to have attained a point which the world has never before witnessed.
Whatever doubts may be entertained with respect to the amount of improvement which may still be expected, no one, whose mind is not perverted by false estimates of the past, and gloomy but unfounded anticipations of the future, will dispute the probability of future advances in the grand work of civilization. "Experience, and an enlightened theory, equally confirm the assurance, that not only will the people, placed in the lowest of the scales to which we have adverted, pass on successively, although, according to circumstances, more or less rapidly, to the highest, but that those who have already attained that fortunate eminence are labouring successfully in the road to much greater preferment. A candid observer of human nature, and a thorough convert to the sacred truths of Christianity, well knows, that, in the present stage of existence, there must be an impassable limit beyond which perishable man must not hope to soar: he will stop infinitely short of perfection, after the progressive improvement of innumerable ages; but vast and spacious indeed is the room between our highest present attainments and that necessary limit. It is to that vacant chasm, that place of superior enjoyment, which man is invited and destined by his benevolent Creator to occupy, to which we must be understood to direct the attention of our readers, and not to the forbidden ground, which is the peculiar property of a better and immortal world.
Societies in a state of civilization differ from each other by numerous impalpable degrees. Peculiarities of climate and manners help to multiply the various shades of difference ; but there are, common to all nations, some of a broader or more prominent cast, which are therefore capable of general description. A brief sketch of the most striking transitions in the progress of civilization, as they have been exemplified in the history of this globe, or which, upon an application of the past to the future, appear likely hereafter to occur, is required to support the gratifying inferences to be deduced, in the sequel, from the views we have been led to entertain of this highlyinteresting subject.
To the earliest ages, the terms Barbarism and Civilization, in the sense in which we usually accept them, do not apply. When man had but recently proceeded from the hands of his Maker, he enjoyed the benefits of a direct revelation, which equally screened him from the evils of ignorance, and precluded a reliance for moral improvement upon the mere exertion of his natural powers. In the arts and sciences he was no doubt inferior to his cultivated descendants of a distant period; but his knowledge of the higher accomplishments of life-those spiritual accomplishments, which especially characterise an immortal being-must have been, so far as was compatible with his actual situation, already complete: His ethical principles, infinitely removed from the darkness of subsequent ages, were comparatively perfect, when contrasted with those of communities in a rapid career of civilization previous to the introduction of Christianity; It is to this circumstance that we must attribute the awful visitations of the Divine vengeance on the immediate descendants of Adam at the Deluge, on the cities of Sodom, and the nations of Canaan. The wrath of the Almighty does not waste itself on the wretched victims of helpless ignorance. All these people fell into the lowest depths of depravity in the broad glare of noon-day light;-their knowledge of the celestial economy, so far as it was connected with their individual interests, was probably superior to that of the most refined nations of modern times ;-their rebellion partook of the nature of a deliberate and diabolical insult to the Most High, and necessarily and justly called down upon their heads those fearful severities which have so frequently produced the superficial animadversions of sceptical writers.
If we reflect on the history of the Jews, down to the period of their final dispersion, we shall find them to have stood, with respect to their political position, in nearly the same predicament. At no time barbarians, they moved not with the ordinary current of civilization. Superior, at the very commencement of their existence, as a nation, in their religious and moral institutions, to the rest of mankind, they were greatly surpassed, even at its close, by Greece, Rome, and some less celebrated countries, in the distinguishing marks of social improvement. A more decisive internal evidence than this cannot be afforded, of their having dwelt under a peculiar dispensation, of which the natural order of progression, as established by the economy of Providence in the common business of life, formed no part of the plan.
The all-wise, but inscrutable designs of Heaven did not require that the same supernatural interposition should illumine the fortunes of the whole human race. The greater part dispersed over the face of the earth, lost the remembrance of the primeval revelation, or retained it only through the obscure and erring channel of distorted tradition. These people soon display, ed, as others still exhibit even in the present day, the melancholy spectacle of fallen creatures, involved in the mist of profound ignorance, and unconscious of their natural capacity to effect some amelioration of their deplorable condition. Such is the age of barbarism, in which every nation, not set apart for a peculiar end in furtherance of the plays of Omniscience, has been benighted. A total want of law and order-practices similar to, and probably for the most part founded upon an imitation of those of the brute creation, and miseries rendered tolerable only by the absence of all human sensibility-are, in most instances, the lamentable characteristics of the savage state.
Out of such a state of abasement, barbarians, with more or less difficulty,
according to circumstances, at length emerge. Placed in happy climates and sitnations, a part have, by their own unassisted efforts, operated their extrication ; others have caught a glimpse of light from a more fortunate neighbour, and followed in the race of improvement. The greater numbers, enamoured of a slothful freedom, and tenacious of depravity, have been tamed only by the galling yoke of a conqueror, and in gradually imbibing the manners of their masters, earned by their involuntary sufferings, a less degraded station for their descendants. Not a few, alas! still remain, and afford, it may be, a salutary lesson of the fatal effects of a vitiated nature.
There are but two general points of view in which civilization may naturally be considered—that which is past and present, and the state to which it may reasonably be expected to attain in future times. Under the distinct heads of retrospective and prospective civilization, those general views will comprehend various subdivisions in the two separate parts of the first book.
(To be continued.)
THE AUTO-BIOGRAPHY OF GILBERT GREENWOOD:
In Four Parts.
The Reverend Moses Gray was ger more tardily, because they preparish minister of Balwhinny, situ- vented the consummation of his ate in the bosom of the Grampians, union with one so dear to his heart, and surrounded with hills, which, in and whom he loved too well to plunge a manner, shut it out from the rest into poverty and its accompanying of the world. Mr Gray had been privations. Her love was not less ordained to this charge, after having ardent; and she gave proof of her lingered on the brink of the pool of attachment, by living in virgin conpatronage for twenty of the best stancy, till time had blighted the years of his life, and had been some roses on her cheeks; and, in the fora what more than fifteen years minister tieth year of her age, she became of the parish, when I became an in- mistress of the manse of Balwhinny. mate of the manse. The family con Her husband had seen more than sisted of the minister, Mrs Gray, a half a century of years pass over son in his fourteenth year, a daugh- him; but the regularity of their lives, ter about my own age, a maid-ser. the equanimity of their minds, and vant, and a herd-boy. Mr Gray had the salubrity of the climate, made all the piety, learning, and simplicity the worthy couple appear at least ten of a patriarch of the primitive times. years younger than they really were. There were many richer pastors in When I first entered the family, I the church, where worldly wealth is believed it impossible that I should supposed to constitute riches; but it not die of downright weariness in a might be questioned whether the or- few weeks; for there was a quietness, der to which he belonged contained method, and regularity, from morna happier member than Moses Gray. ing to night, so unlike all that I had His courtship with the woman who been accustomed to, that it seemed was now his wife had commenced to me as the stillness of the grave ; about the time he was licensed as a and had it not been the fear of my preacher; and perhaps the long years father's whip, I should certainly have that he was doomed to pass in almost returned to my former companions hopeless expectation, secmed to line in a few days after my arrival. For