« ZurückWeiter »
“Last noon bebell them full of lusty life,
Last eve in beauty's circle proudly gay ;
Which its own clay sha'l cover; heaped and pent,
Rider and horse, friend, foe, in one red burial blent."-Byrox. The temple of Janus bas again been open-the beautiful stillness of peace has been broken by the conflict of nations, the thunders of war, the maniac shout of infuriated armies, the groans of the dying soldier, and the sighs of the loved ones at home. Never does human life appear so great and inexplicable a mystery as when it is presented to de in connection with war. Thousands on thousands of buman beings who never before sex one another, who have no personal enmity against one another, meet for the first and only time in their lives on the field of battle, fall upon one another, rank after rank, with thirsty bayonets, enraged like tigers—and only lie peacefully side by side in blood and death when their feeble might has been exhausted upon one another! What a scene for angels te view! What a humiliating spectacle to a christian heart.
In view of the peaceful spirit of our holy christianity, may we not ask whether the time for “wars to cease is not yet? When shall swords be beaten into plough-shares, and spears into pruning-hooks, and the nations-especially christian nations-learn war »» more? One way to bring about such a result, is to create a public sentiment that sban possess a deep and abiding horror of war, with its scenes of cruelty and devastation; and it needs but a true picture of it, to make it scem only next to hell itself in the estimatise of every reflecting person, and the glare of false glory, which so bewildered men, to appear like the lurid light of the pit. We present a brief account of “Death in Battle” from Burgess' Last Enemy, which we ask the reader to ponder, as a true, though still inadequate picture of war. [Ed. GUARDIAN.
WHEN men became tribes and nations, the danger of national contest arose : the utmost height of contention would be war; the utmost point of war would be battle ; the utmost point of battle, death. The superior authority of laws might restrain the strife of individuals; but for nations, commonly, there has been no higher tribunal on earth. They have taken op arms: every age has had its wars: and to the traveler along the road of history, tales of battles are like vast and frequent
mounds, marking the distances, but at the same time covering the bones of armies.
Many of the more barbarous tribes have lived in such perpetual warfare, that a fourth or even half of their mature male population may have died by the weapons of their enemies. The islands of the Pacific, the forests of America, the almost unknown heart of Africa, have been the scenes of ten thousand unrecorded conflicts; and such must bave filled many of the more favored lands at periods of which no history is left. The little that we know of countries like Japan, Madagascar, Abyssinia, and many portions of the East, is but a story of revolutions and slaughter. Historic wars begin with those of Nimrod, a mighty one on the earth” within two or three centuries after the flood, the founder of the great empire of Assyria. A century or two later, the combat of four kings against five in the vale of Siddim was doubtless but one amongst many struggles of interior princes. Nine hundred years after the deluge, the Israelites conquered Canaan : every step was a battle. Perhaps it was in the next century that twenty-five thousand men of Benjamin, with their households, almost all the tribe, perished in a contest with the other tribes, in which the victors also lost forty thousaud. In the next century, as is probable, ten thousand Moabites fell before Ebud; and in the next, the host of Sisera before Barak, and the vast array of the Midianites before " the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” The next century witnessed the wars of Jephthah, when forty-two thousand Ephraimites were cut off, and those between Israel and the Philistines, when thirty thousand Israelites fell in one disastrous day. Not far from the same period was the siege of Troy; and then, in the eleventh century before the Incarnation were the wars of Saul and of David. In the tenth century are placed the mighty expeditions of Sesostris, and the wars between Abijah and Jeroboam. The ninth beheld the battle of Ramothgilead, and the hostilities between Syria and the ten tribes of Israel. In the eighth, the Assyrians extended their conquests, and swept those tribes away; while the first Messenian war introduced the drama of authentic Grecian history. The seventh was the period of the second Messinian war, of the great contests between Media and Assyria, of the overthrow of Nineveh, and of the fall of Josiah at Megiddo, while he placed himself between the hostile Babylonians and Egyptians. In the sixth, lie the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar and of Cyrus. The fifth opened with the Persian war in Greece, and closed with the Peloponnesian. The fourth was the time of the expedition of the younger Cyrus, the whole career of Philip and Alexander, and the irruption of the Gauls into Italy. In the third were the wars of Pyrrhus, and the first two of the great struggles between Rome and Carthage; in the second the wars of the Greek kings in Syria, and of Perseus, the third Punic war, and the Cimbric; in the first, those of Marius and Sylla, of Mithridates, of Pompey, of Cæsar, and of Antony and Octarius. The first century of the Christian era embraced the German wars of Rome, the Jewish, and the civil strife between the soldiers of Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian ; the second, the wars of Rome against the Dacians, the Parthians, and the Marcomanni, and those of Severus for his crown; the third, a succession of revolutions, and a perpetual series of hostilities all along the frontiers of a tottering empire; the fourth, the successes of Constantine, and the wars of Julian against the Persians, and of Valens and Theodosius against the Goths; the fifth, the destructive march of Goths, Huns, Vandals, of Alaric, Attila, Genseric, Hengist, Clovis; the sixth, the campaigns of Belisarius, Totila, and Narses; the seventh, the contest of Chosroes and Heraclius, and the first, wide victories of the Saracens; the eighth, the subjugation of Spain by the Moors, their check by Charles Martel, and the wars of Charlemagne; the ninth, the inroads of Normans and Danes; the tenth, the ravages of the Hungarians, and the wars of Otho the Great; the eleventh, the Norman conquest, the victories of the Turks, and the first crusade; the twelfth, the Turkish conquest of Egypt, and the second and third crasades; the thirteenth, the conquests of Genghis Khan, and the fourth and fifth crusades; the fourteenth, the wars of the English in Scotland and France, and the career of Timour; the fifteenth, the wars of Henry the fifth, those of York and Lancaster, the Bohemian struggle, and the capture of Constantinople by the Turks; the sixteenth, the wars of the French in Italy, of the Spaniards in America, and of the Roman Catholics and Protestants in France and Germany; the seventeenth, the civil wars under Charles the First, the Thirty Years' War, and many of those which issued from the ambition of Louis the Fourteenth; the eighteenth, the wars of the Spanish succession, of Charles the Twelfth, of Frederick of Prussia, and the French Revolution, as well as the loss of America to Britain, and the conquest of India; the nineteeth, the bloody empire of Napoleon, and now the Austrian campaigns of Radetzki and Jellachich. These wars very much compose the history of the civilized world; the uncivilized world has been one confused mass of perpetual slaughter. To reckon the proportion of mankind that have perished in consequence of the ravages of war would be, if it were possible, a work that might daunt the imagination. Even the number that includes only such as bave fallen in actual and recorded battles, though it may be ex. pressed in figures, leaves no distinct conception, from its prodigious magnitude.
When Absalom fought against the army of David, there was a slaughter of 20,000 men. When Jeroboam and Abijah met on Mount Zemaraim, there fell down slain of Israel, unless an error has found its way into the copies of numbers in the sacred text, no less than half a million. In that battle in which the ark was taken, 30,000 fell with Hophui and Phinehas. At Marathon, the number of the dead scarcely reached 7000; at the pass of Thermopylæ it was more than 20,000; while of 300,000 Persians who fought at Platæa, it is said that only three thousand survived. On the plain of Jesus 100,000 dead, and at Arbela 300,000, are enumerated as a part of the price with which Alexander won the dominion over Persia. In the great battle of Ipsus, where Antigonus sapk under a shower of darts, 30,000 of his army must have been left with him upon the field. On the bank of Lake Thrasymene, 15,000 Romans were slaughtered, and 70,000 on the fatal day of Cannæ. In the battle of Munda the younger Pompey lost 30,000; Hannibal 20,000 at Zama; Antiochus 52,000 at Magnesia; Perseus 25,000 at Pyuda ; 100,000 subjects of Tigranes fell in one battle against Lucullus; 15,000 Romans died at Pharsalia. The two legions of Varus, that were utter y cut to pieces in Germany, must have contained more than thirteen thousand men. Of the 1,110,000 Jews who perished in their struggle against Rome, a vast proportion were slain in the siege of their sacred city. At the victory of the second Claudius at Naissus, 50,000 men perished: in the unfortunate battle of Adrianople, 60,000 died with Valens. When Aetius delivered the world from the terror of Attila, 162,000 are said to have covered the field of Chalons. How terrific must have been the bloodshed of that battle of seven days, in which Spain was lost by the Goths, and won by the Mussulmen! How terrific that resistance of Charles Martel at Poictiers, from which, after a century of victories, the Saracen hosts at length withdrew! At the battle of Fontenai, fought between the four sons of Louis the Debonnair, 40,000 were slain ; at the victory of the Emperor Henry the Fowler over the Hungarians near Merseburg, 36,000; at Simancas, Ramiro the Second destroyed 80,000 Moors; probably 30,000 men fell when Jerusalem was taken by the Crusaders; and Richard Cæur de Lion slew 40,000 Saracens under Saladin, on the shore of Ascalon. The battle of Hastings strewed the English coast with 40,000 bodies ; at Crecy 40,000 Frenchmen fell, and 15,000 at Agincourt ; at Halidon Hill, 30,000 Scots; at Durham, 15,000; at Flodden, a host even of knights and nobles. Marignano was the field of death to 40,000 ; Towton, to 36,000; Ravenna, to 18,000; 20,000 perished at Neerwinden ; at least 15,000 at Blenheim ; 15,000 at Ramillies ; 5000 at Almanza; 30,000 at Malplaquet ; 9000 Swedes at Pultowa ; 17,000 on both sides on Fontenoy; 20,000 at Colin; 30,000 at Cunnersdorf; 15,000 at Austerlitz ; 8000 at Friedland; 8000 at Jepa; 50,000 at Eylau ; 13,000 at Aspern; 60,000 at Borodino ; 15,000 at Talavera ; 10,000 at Lutzen; probably 30,000 at Leipsic; probably 30,000 at Waterloo ; and as many as 30,000 in the British battles on the Sutledge. When the Saracens first took Jerusalem, 90,000 Christians are said to have perished; 65,000 Mussulmen in the contests between Ali and the Caliph of Damascus; 150,000 natives at the siege of Mexico by Cortes. In rather more than sixty chief battles, almost three millions of men are numbered as the victims. But the whole carnage of the wars of Cæsar has been commonly estimated at two millions; and as many lives must have been shortened through the selfishness of Napoleon. The forces engaged in sea-fights have been smaller than those in actions on tbe shore, and the loss far inferior; but death in soch strife has a form peculiarly appalling to the imagination; and sometimes the slaughter has been awful, in comparison with the theatre of the conflict. In the celebrated battle of Lepanto, 40,000 perished; 5000 Pisans fell, in 1284, in a sea-fight with the Genoese; 5000 died at Actium ; 5000 at Navarino; and full 15,000 at Aboukir. The Earl of Sandwich, in the time of Charles the Second, fought his ship till out of its thousand de. fenders six hundred lay dead upon the deck; and at Aboukir the ship of the French admiral blew up with all who were aboard.
GREAT EFFECTS FROM LITTLE CAUSES.
RY THE EDITOR.
" Who hath despised the day of small things ?" Where the Savannah wends its lazy way
Five hundred years ago
With iioty dart and bow.
The wbizzing arrow sped
And buried to its head.
And cent'ries rolled around;
Lay in the hidden wound.
As timber for a ship;
On a far eastern trip.
Fierce was its sudden sweep;
Sunk in the dismal deep!
How joined we may not see ;
May sink a ship at sea.
“And now, when come the calm, mild days,