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´╗┐Title: The Duel Between France and Germany
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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Ralph Zimmerman, David Starner, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed






"When kings make war,
 No law betwixt two sovereigns can decide,
 But that of arms, where Fortune is the judge,
 Soldiers the lawyers, and the Bar the field."

DEYDEN, _Love Triumphant_, Act I. Sc. 1.


MR. PRESIDENT,--I am to speak of the Duel between France and
Germany, with its Lesson to Civilization. In calling the terrible
war now waging a Duel, I might content myself with classical
authority, _Duellum_ being a well-known Latin word for War.
The historian Livy makes a Roman declare that affairs are to be
settled "by a pure and pious duel"; [Footnote: "Puro pioqne
duello."--_Historie_, Lib. I. cap. 32.] the dramatist Plautus
has a character in one of his plays who obtains great riches "by
the duelling art," [Footnote: "Arte duellica."--_Epidicus_,
Act. III. Sc. iv. 14.] meaning the art of war; and Horace, the
exquisite master of language, hails the age of Augustus with the
Temple of Janus closed and "free from duels," [Footnote: "Vacuum
duellis."--_Carmina_, Lib, IV. xv. 8.] meaning at peace,--for
then only was that famous temple shut.


But no classical authority is needed for this designation. War, as
conducted under International Law, between two organized nations,
is in all respects a duel, according to the just signification of
this word,--differing from that between two individuals only in
the number of combatants. The variance is of proportion merely,
each nation being an individual who appeals to the sword as
Arbiter; and in each case the combat is subject to rules
constituting a code by which the two parties are bound. For long
years before civilization prevailed, the code governing the duel
between individuals was as fixed and minute as that which governs
the larger duel between nations, and the duel itself was simply a
mode of deciding questions between individuals. In presenting this
comparison I expose myself to criticism only from those who have
not considered this interesting subject in the light of history
and of reason. The parallel is complete. Modern war is the duel of
the Dark Ages, magnified, amplified, extended so as to embrace
nations; nor is it any less a duel because the combat is quickened
and sustained by the energies of self-defence, or because, when a
champion falls and lies on the ground, he is brutally treated. An
authentic instance illustrates such a duel; and I bring before you
the very pink of chivalry, the Chevalier Bayard, "the knight
without fear and without reproach," who, after combat in a chosen
field, succeeded by a feint in driving his weapon four fingers
deep into the throat of his adversary, and then, rolling with him,
gasping and struggling, on the ground, thrust his dagger into the
nostrils of the fallen victim, exclaiming, "Surrender, or you are
a dead man!"--a speech which seemed superfluous; for the second
cried out, "He is dead already; you have conquered." Then did
Bayard, brightest among the Sons of War, drag his dead enemy from
the field, crying, "Have I done enough?" [Footnote: La tresjoyeuse,
plaisante et recreative Hystoire, composee par le Loyal Serviteur,
des Faiz, Gestes, Triumphes et Prouesses du Bon Chevalier
sans Paour et sans Reprouche, le Gentil Seigneur de Bayart:
Petitot, Collection des Memoires relatifs a l'Histoire de France,
Tom. XV. pp. 241, 242.] Now, because the brave knight saw
fit to do these things, the combat was not changed in original
character. It was a duel at the beginning and at the end. Indeed,
the brutality with which it closed was the natural incident of a
duel. A combat once begun opens the way to violence, and the
conqueror too often surrenders to the Evil Spirit, as Bayard in
his unworthy barbarism.

In likening war between nations to the duel, I follow not only
reason, but authority also. No better lawyer can be named in the
long history of the English bar than John Selden, whose learning
was equalled only by his large intelligence. In those conversations
which under the name of "Table-Talk" continue still to instruct,
the wise counsellor, after saying that the Church allowed
the duel anciently, and that in the public liturgies there were
prayers appointed for duellists to say, keenly inquires, "But
whether is this lawful?" And then he answers, "If you grant any
war lawful, I make no doubt but to convince it." [Footnote: Table-
Talk, ed. Singer, London, 1856, p. 47,--_Duel_.] Selden
regarded the simple duel and the larger war as governed by the
same rule. Of course the exercise of force in the suppression of
rebellion, or in the maintenance of laws, stands on a different
principle, being in its nature a constabulary proceeding, which
cannot be confounded with the duel. But my object is not to
question the lawfulness of war; I would simply present an image,
enabling you to see the existing war in its true character.

The duel in its simplest form is between two individuals. In early
ages it was known sometimes as the Judicial Combat, and sometimes
as Trial by Battle. Not only points of honor, but titles to land,
grave questions of law, and even the subtilties of theology, were
referred to this arbitrament, [Footnote: Robertson, History of the
Reign of Charles V.: View of the Progress of Society in Europe,
Section I. Note XXII.]--just as now kindred issues between nations
are referred to Trial by Battle; and the early rules governing the
duel are reproduced in the Laws of War established by nations to
govern the great Trial by Battle. Ascending from the individual to
corporations, guilds, villages, towns, counties, provinces, we
find that for a long period each of these bodies exercised what
was called "the Right of War." The history of France and Germany
shows how reluctantly this mode of trial yielded to the forms of
reason and order. France, earlier than Germany, ordained "Trial by
Proofs," and eliminated the duel from judicial proceedings, this
important step being followed by the gradual amalgamation of
discordant provinces in the powerful unity of the Nation,----so
that Brittany and Normandy, Franche-Comte and Burgundy, Provence
and Dauphiny, Gascony and Languedoc, with the rest, became the
United States of France, or, if you please, France. In Germany the
change was slower; and here the duel exhibits its most curious
instances. Not only feudal chiefs, but associations of tradesmen
and of domestics sent defiance to each other, and sometimes to
whole cities, on pretences trivial as those which have been the
occasion of defiance from nation to nation. There still remain to
us Declarations of War by a Lord of Frauenstein against the free
city of Frankfort, because a young lady of the city refused to
dance with his uncle,--by the baker and domestics of the Margrave
of Baden against Esslingen, Reutlingen, and other imperial
cities,--by the baker of the Count Palatine Louis against the
cities of Augsburg, Ulm, and Rottweil,--by the shoe-blacks of the
University of Leipsic against the provost and other members,--and
by the cook of Eppstein, with his scullions, dairy-maids, and
dish-washers, against Otho, Count of Solms. [Footnote: Coxe,
History of the House of Austria. (London, 1820) Ch. XIX., Vol. I.
p. 378.] This prevalence of the duel aroused the Emperor
Maximilian, who at the Diet of Worms put forth an ordinance
abolishing the right or liberty of Private War, and instituting a
Supreme Tribunal for the determination of controversies without
appeal to the duel, and the whole long list of duellists, whether
corporate or individual, including nobles, bakers, shoe-blacks,
and cooks, was brought under its pacific rule. Unhappily the
beneficent reform stopped half-way, and here Germany was less
fortunate than France. The great provinces were left in the
enjoyment of a barbarous independence, with the "right" to fight
each other. The duel continued their established arbiter, until at
last, in 1815, by the Act of Union constituting the Confederation
or United States of Germany, each sovereignty gave up the right of
war with its confederates, setting an example to the larger
nations. The terms of this important stipulation, marking a stage
in German unity, were as follows:--

"The members of the Confederation further bind themselves under no
pretext to make war upon one another, or to pursue their
differences by force of arms, but to submit them to the Diet."
[Footnote: Acte pour la Constitution federative de l'Allemagne du
8 Juin 1815, Art. 11: Archives Diplomatiques, (Stuttgart et
Tubingen, 1821-36,) Vol. IV. p. 15.]

Better words could not be found for the United States of Europe,
in the establishment of that Great Era when the Duel shall cease
to be the recognized Arbiter of Nations.

With this exposition, which I hope is not too long, it is easy to
see how completely a war between two nations is a duel,--and, yet
further, how essential it is to that assured peace which
civilization requires, that the duel, which is no longer tolerated
as arbiter between individuals, between towns, between counties,
between provinces, should cease to be tolerated as such between
nations. Take our own country, for instance. In a controversy
between towns, the local law provides a judicial tribunal; so also
in a controversy between counties. Ascending still higher, suppose
a controversy between two States of our Union; the National
Constitution establishes a judicial tribunal, being the Supreme
Court of the United States. But at the next stage there is a
change. Let the controversy arise between two nations, and the
Supreme Law, which is the Law of Nations, establishes, not a
judicial tribunal, but the duel, as arbiter. What is true of our
country is true of other countries where civilization has a
foothold, and especially of France and Germany. The duel, though
abolished as arbiter at home, is continued as arbiter abroad. And
since it is recognized by International Law and subjected to a
code, it is in all respects an Institution. War is an institution
sanctioned by International Law, as Slavery, wherever it exists,
is an institution sanctioned by Municipal Law. But this
institution is nothing but the duel of the Dark Ages, prolonged
into this generation, and showing itself in portentous barbarism.


Therefore am I right, when I call the existing combat between
France and Germany a Duel. I beg you to believe that I do this
with no idle purpose of illustration or criticism, but because I
would prepare the way for a proper comprehension of the remedy to
be applied. How can this terrible controversy be adjusted? I see
no practical method, which shall reconcile the sensibilities of
France with the guaranties due to Germany, short of a radical
change in the War System itself. That Security for the Future
which Germany may justly exact can be obtained in no way so well
as by the disarmament of France, to be followed naturally by the
disarmament of other nations, and the substitution of some
peaceful tribunal for the existing Trial by Battle. Any
dismemberment, or curtailment of territory, will be poor and
inadequate; for it will leave behind a perpetual sting. Something
better must be done.


Never in history has so great a calamity descended so suddenly
upon the Human Family, unless we except the earthquake toppling
down cities and submersing a whole coast in a single night. But
how small all that has ensued from any such convulsion, compared
with the desolation and destruction already produced by this war!
From the first murmur to the outbreak was a brief moment of time,
as between the flash of lightning and the bursting of the thunder.

At the beginning of July there was peace without suspicion of
interruption. The Legislative Body had just discussed a
proposition for the reduction of the annual Army Contingent. At
Berlin the Parliament was not in session. Count Bismarck was at
his country home in Pomerania, the King enjoying himself at Ems.
How sudden and unexpected the change will appear from an
illustrative circumstance. M. Prevost-Paradol, of rare talent and
unhappy destiny, newly appointed Minister to the United States,
embarked at Havre on the 1st of July, and reached Washington on
the morning of the 14th of July. He assured me that when he left
France there was no talk or thought of war. During his brief
summer voyage the whole startling event had begun and culminated.
Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen being invited to become
candidate for the throne of Spain, France promptly sent her
defiance to Prussia, followed a few days later by formal
Declaration of War. The Minister was oppressed by the grave
tidings coming upon him so unprepared, and sought relief in self-
slaughter, being the first victim of the war. Everything moved
with a rapidity borrowed from the new forces supplied by human
invention, and the Gates of War swung wide open.


A few incidents exhibit this movement. It was on the 30th of June,
while discussing the proposed reduction of the Army, that Emile
Ollivier, the Prime-Minister, said openly: "The Government has no
kind of disquietude; at no epoch has the maintenance of peace been
more assured; on whatever side you look, you see no irritating
question under discussion." [Footnote: Journal Officiel du Soir, 3
Juillet 1870.] In the same debate, Gamier-Pages, the consistent
Republican, and now a member of the Provisional Government, after
asking, "Why these armaments?" cried out: "Disarm, without waiting
for others: this is practical. Let the people be relieved from the
taxes which crush them, and from the heaviest of all, the tax of
blood." [Footnote: Journal Official du Soir, 2 Juillet 1870.] The
candidature of Prince Leopold seems to have become known at Paris
on the 5th of July. On the next day the Duc de Gramont, of a
family famous in scandalous history, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
hurries to the tribune with defiance on his lips. After declaring
for the Cabinet that no foreign power could be suffered, by
placing one of its princes on the throne of Charles the Fifth, to
derange the balance of power in Europe, and put in peril the
interests and the honor of France, he concludes by saying, in
ominous words: "Strong in your support, Gentlemen, and in that of
the nation, we shall know how to do our duty without hesitation
and without weakness." [Footnote: Ibid., 8 Juillet.]

This defiance was followed by what is called in the report,
"general and prolonged movement,--repeated applause"; and here was
the first stage in the duel. Its character was recognized at once
in the Chamber. Gamier-Pages exclaimed, in words worthy of memory:
"It is dynastic questions which trouble the peace of Europe. The
people have only reason to love and aid each other." [Footnote:
Ibid.] Though short, better than many long speeches. Cremieux, an
associate in the Provisional Government of 1848, insisted that the
utterance of the Minister was "a menace of war"; and Emmanuel
Arago, son of the great Republican astronomer and mathematician,
said that the Minister "had declared war." [Footnote: Ibid.]

These patriotic representatives were not mistaken. The speech made
peace difficult, if not impossible. It was a challenge to Prussia.


Europe watched with dismay as the gauntlet was thus rudely flung
down, while on this side of the Atlantic, where France and Germany
commingle in the enjoyment of our equal citizenship, the interest
was intense. Morning and evening the telegraph made us all
partakers of the hopes and fears agitating the world. Too soon it
was apparent that the exigence of France would not be satisfied,
while already her preparations for war were undisguised. At all
the naval stations, from Toulon to Cherbourg, the greatest
activity prevailed. Marshal MacMahon was recalled from Algeria,
and transports were made ready to bring back the troops from that

Meanwhile the candidature of Prince Leopold was renounced by him.
But this was not enough. The King of Prussia was asked to promise
that it should in no event ever be renewed,--which he declined to
do, reserving to himself the liberty of consulting circumstances.
This requirement was the more offensive, inasmuch as it was
addressed exclusively to Prussia, while nothing was said to Spain,
the principal in the business. Then ensued an incident proper for
comedy, if it had not become the declared cause of tragedy. The
French Ambassador, Count Benedetti, who, on intelligence of the
candidature, had followed the King to Ems, his favorite watering-
place, and there in successive interviews pressed him to order its
withdrawal, now, on its voluntary renunciation, proceeding to urge
the new demand, and after an extended conversation, and
notwithstanding its decided refusal, seeking, nevertheless,
another audience the same day on this subject, his Majesty, with
perfect politeness, sent him word by an adjutant in attendance,
that he had no other answer to make than the one already given:
and this refusal to receive the Ambassador was promptly
communicated by telegraph, for the information especially of the
different German governments. [Footnote: Bismarck to Bernstorff,
July 19, 1870, with Inclosures: Parliamentary Papers, 1870, Vol.
LXX.,--Franco-Prussian War, No. 3, pp. 5-8. Gerolt to Fish, August
11, 1870, with Inclosures: Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 3d
Sess., H. of R., Vol. I. No. 1, Part 1,--Foreign Relations, pp.
219-221. The reader will notice that the copy of the Telegram in
this latter volume is the paper on p. 221, with the erroneous
heading, "_Count Bismarck to Baron Gerolt._"]


These simple facts, insufficient for the slightest quarrel,
intolerable in the pettiness of the issue disclosed, and monstrous
as reason for war between two civilized nations, became the
welcome pretext. Swiftly, and with ill-disguised alacrity, the
French Cabinet took the next step in the duel. On the 15th of July
the Prime-Minister read from the tribune a manifesto setting forth
the griefs of France,--being, first, the refusal of the Prussian
King to promise for the future, and, secondly, his refusal to
receive the French Ambassador, with the communication of this
refusal, as was alleged, "officially to the Cabinets of Europe,"
which was a mistaken allegation: [Footnote: Bismarck to
Bernstorff, July 18, and to Gerolt, July 19, 1870: Parliamentary
Papers and Executive Documents, Inclosures, _ubi supra._] and
the paper concludes by announcing that since the preceding day the
Government had called in the reserves, and that they would
immediately take the measures necessary to secure the interests,
the safety, and the honor of France. [Footnote: Journal Officiel
du Soir, 17 Juillet 1870.] This was war.

Some there were who saw the fearful calamity, the ghastly crime,
then and there initiated. The scene that ensued belongs to this
painful record. The paper announcing war was followed by prolonged
applause. The Prime-Minister added soon after in debate, that he
accepted the responsibility with "a light heart." [Footnote: "De
ce jour commence pour les ministres mes collegues, et pour moi,
une grande responsibilite. ["Oui!" _gauche_.] Nous l'acceptons,
le coeur leger."] Not all were in this mood. Esquiros, the
Republican, cried from his seat, in momentous words, "You
have a light heart, and the blood of nations is about to
flow!" To the apology of the Prime-Minister, "that in the
discharge of a duty the heart is not troubled," Jules Favre, the
Republican leader, of acknowledged moderation and ability, flashed
forth, "When the discharge of this duty involves the slaughter of
two nations, one may well have the heart troubled!" Beyond these
declarations, giving utterance to the natural sentiments of
humanity, was the positive objection, most forcibly presented by
Thiers, so famous in the Chamber and in literature, "that the
satisfaction due to France had been accorded her---that Prussia
had expiated by a check the grave fault she had committed,"--that
France had prevailed in substance, and all that remained was "a
question of form," "a question of susceptibility," "questions of
etiquette." The experienced statesman asked for the dispatches.
Then came a confession. The Prime-Minister replied, that he had
"nothing to communicate,--that, in the true sense of the term,
there had been no dispatches,--that there were only verbal
communications gathered up in reports, which, according to
diplomatic usage, are not communicated." Here Emmanuel Arago
interrupted: "It is on these reports that you make war!" The
Prime-Minister proceeded to read two brief telegrams from Count
Benedetti at Ems, when De Choiseul very justly exclaimed: "We
cannot make war on that ground; it is impossible!" Others cried
out from their seats,--Garnier Pages saying, "These are phrases";
Emmanuel Arago protesting, "On this the civilized world will
pronounce you wrong"; to which Jules Favre added, "Unhappily,
true!" Thiers and Jules Favre, with vigorous eloquence, charged
the war upon the Cabinet: Thiers declaring, "I regret to be
obliged to say that we have war by the fault of the Cabinet";
Jules Favre alleging, "If we have war, it is thanks to the
politics of the Cabinet;....from the exposition that has been
made, so far as the general interests of the two countries are
concerned, there is no avowable motive for war." Girault
exclaimed, in similar spirit: "We would be among the first to come
forward in a war for the country, but we do not wish to come
forward in a dynastic and aggressive war." The Duc de Gramont, who
on the 6th of July flung down the gauntlet, spoke once more for
the Cabinet, stating solemnly, what was not the fact, that the
Prussian Government had communicated to all the Cabinets of Europe
the refusal to receive the French Ambassador, and then on this
misstatement ejaculating: "It is an outrage on the Emperor and on
France; and if, by impossibility, there were found in my country a
Chamber to bear and tolerate it, I would not remain five minutes
Minister of Foreign Affairs." In our country we have seen how the
Southern heart was fired; so also was fired the heart of Franco.
The Duke descended from the tribune amidst prolonged applause,
with cries of "Bravo!"--and at his seat (so says the report)
"received numerous felicitations." Such was the atmosphere of the
Chamber at this eventful moment. The orators of the Opposition,
pleading for delay in the interest of peace, were stifled; and
when Gambetta, the young and fearless Republican, made himself
heard in calling for the text of the dispatch communicating the
refusal to receive the Ambassador, to the end that the Chamber,
France, and all Europe might judge of its character, he was
answered by the Prime-Minister with the taunt that "for the first
time in a French Assembly there were such difficulties on a
certain side in explaining _a question of honor_." Such was
the case as presented by the Prime-Minister, and on this question
of honor he accepted war "with a light heart." Better say, with no
heart at all;--for who so could find in this condition of things
sufficient reason for war was without heart. [Footnote: For the
full debate, see the _Journal Officid du Soir_, 17 Juillet
1870, and Supplement.]

During these brief days of solicitude, from the 6th to the 15th of
July, England made an unavailing effort for peace. Lord Lyons was
indefatigable; and he was sustained at home by Lord Granville, who
as a last resort reminded the two parties of the stipulation at
the Congress of Paris, which they had accepted, in favor of
Arbitration as a substitute for War, and asked them to accept the
good offices of some friendly power. [Footnote: Earl Granville to
Lords Lyons and Loftus, July 15, 1870,--Correspondence respecting
the Negotiations preliminary to the War between France and
Prussia, p. 35: Parliamentary Papers, 1870, Vol. LXX.] This most
reasonable proposition was rejected by the French Minister, who
gave new point to the French case by charging that Prussia "had
chosen to declare that France had been affronted in the person of
her Ambassador," and then positively insisting that "it was this
boast which was the _gravamen_ of the offence." Capping the
climax of barbarous absurdity, the French Minister did not
hesitate to announce that this "constituted an insult which no
nation of any spirit could brook, and rendered it, much to the
regret of the French Government, impossible to take into
consideration the mode of settling the original matter in dispute
which was recommended by her Majesty's Government." [Footnote:
Lord Lyons to Earl Granville, July 15, 1870,--Correspondence
respecting the Negotiations preliminary to the War between France
and Prussia, pp. 39, 40: Parliamentary Papers, 1870, Vol. LXX.]
Thus was peaceful Arbitration repelled. All honor to the English
Government for proposing it!

The famous telegram put forward by France as the _gravamen_,
or chief offence, was not communicated to the Chamber. The Prime-
Minister, though hard-pressed, held it back. Was it from
conviction of its too trivial character? But it is not lost to the
history of the duel. This telegram, with something of the brevity
peculiar to telegraphic dispatches, merely reports the refusal to
see the French Ambassador, without one word of affront or boast.
It reports the fact, and nothing else; and it is understood that
the refusal was only when this functionary presented himself a
second time in one day on the same business. Considering the
interests involved, it would have been better, had the King seen
him as many times as he chose to call; yet the refusal was not
unnatural. The perfect courtesy of his Majesty on this occasion
furnished no cause of complaint. All that remained for pretext was
the telegram. [Footnote: See references, _ante_, p. 19, Note
1. For this telegram in the original, see Aegidi und Klauhold,
_Staatsarchiv_, (Hamburg, 1870,) 19 Band, S. 44, No. 1033.]


The scene in the Legislative Body was followed by the instant
introduction of bills making additional appropriations for the
Army and Navy, calling out the National Guard, and authorizing
volunteers for the war. This last proposition was commended by the
observation that in France there were a great many young people
liking powder, but not liking barracks, who would in this way be
suited; and this was received with applause. [Footnote: Journal
Officiel du Soir, 17 Juillet 1870.] On the 18th of July there was
a further appropriation to the extent of 500 million francs,---440
millions being for the Army, and 60 for the Navy; and an increase
from 150 to 500 millions Treasury notes was authorized. [Footnote:
Ibid., 20 Juillet.] On the 20th of July the Duc de Gramont
appeared once more in the tribune, and made the following speech:---

"Conformably to customary rules, and by order of the Emperor, I
have invited the _Charge d'Affaires_ of France to notify the
Berlin Cabinet of our resolution to seek by arms the guaranties
which we have not been able to obtain by discussion. This step has
been taken, and I have the honor of making known to the
Legislative Body that in consequence a state of war exists between
France and Prussia, beginning the 19th of July. This declaration
applies equally to the allies of Prussia who lend her the
cooperation of their arms against us." [Footnote: Ibid., 23

Here the French Minister played the part of trumpeter in the duel,
making proclamation before his champion rode forward. According to
the statement of Count Bismarck, made to the Parliament at Berlin,
this formal Declaration of War was the solitary official
communication from France in this whole transaction, being the
first and only note since the candidature of Prince Leopold.
[Footnote: Substance of Speech of Bismarck to the Reichstag, [July
20, 1870,] explanatory of Documents relating to the Declaration of
War,--Franco-Prussian War, No. 3, p. 29: Parliamentary Papers,
1870, Vol. LXX. Discours du Comte de Bismarck am Reichstag, le 20
Juillet 1870: Angeberg, [Chodzko,] Recueil des Traites, etc.,
concernant la Guerre Franco-Allemande, Tom. I. p. 215.] How swift
this madness will be seen in a few dates. On the 6th of July was
uttered the first defiance from the French tribune; on the 15th of
July an exposition of the griefs of France, in the nature of a
Declaration of War, with a demand for men and money; on the 19th
of July a state of war was declared to exist.

Firmly, but in becoming contrast with the "light heart" of France,
this was promptly accepted by Germany, whose heart and strength
found expression in the speech of the King at the opening of
Parliament, hastily assembled on the 19th of July. With
articulation disturbed by emotion and with moistened eyes, his
Majesty said:--

"Supported by the unanimous will of the German governments of the
South as of the North, we turn the more confidently to the love of
Fatherland and the cheerful self-devotion of the German people
with a call to the defence of their honor and their independence."
[Footnote: Aegidi und Klauhold, Staatsarchiv, 19 Band, S. 107, No.
4056. Parliamentary Papers, 1870, Vol. LXX.: Franco-Prussian War,
No. 3, pp. 2-3.]

Parliament responded sympathetically to the King, and made the
necessary appropriations. And thus the two champions stood front
to front.


Throughout France, throughout Germany, the trumpet sounded, and
everywhere the people sprang to arms, as if the great horn of
Orlando, after a sleep of ages, had sent forth once more its
commanding summons. Not a town, not a village, that the voice did
not penetrate. Modern invention had supplied an ally beyond
anything in fable. From all parts of France, from all parts of
Germany, armed men leaped forward, leaving behind the charms of
peace and the business of life. On each side the muster was
mighty, armies counting by the hundred thousand. And now, before
we witness the mutual slaughter, let us pause to consider the two
parties, and the issue between them.

France and Germany are most unlike, and yet the peers of each
other, while among the nations they are unsurpassed in civilization,
each prodigious in resources, splendid in genius, and great
in renown. No two nations are so nearly matched. By Germany
I now mean not only the States constituting North Germany, but
also Wurtemberg, Baden, and Bavaria of South Germany, allies
in the present war, all of which together make about fifty-three
millions of French hectares, being very nearly the area of France.
The population of each is not far from thirty-eight millions, and
it would be difficult to say which is the larger. Looking at
finances, Germany has the smaller revenue, but also the smaller
debt, while her rulers, following the sentiment of the people,
cultivate a wise economy, so that here again substantial equality
is maintained with France. The armies of the two, embracing
regular troops and those subject to call, did not differ much in
numbers, unless we set aside the authority of the "Almanach de
Gotha," which puts the military force of France somewhat vaguely
at 1,350,000, while that of North Germany is only 977,262, to
which must be added 49,949 for Bavaria, 34,953 for Wuertemberg, and
43,703 for Baden, making a sum-total of 1,105,867. This, however,
is chiefly on paper, where it is evident France is stronger than
in reality. Her available force at the outbreak of the war
probably did not amount to more than 350,000 bayonets, while that
of Germany, owing to her superior system, was as much as double
this number. In Prussia every man is obliged to serve, and, still
further, every man is educated. Discipline and education are two
potent adjuncts. This is favorable to Germany. In the Chassepot
and needle-gun the two are equal. But France excels in a well-
appointed Navy, having no less than 55 iron-clads, and 384 other
vessels of war, while Germany has but 2 iron-clads, and 87 other
vessels of war. [Footnote: For the foregoing statistics, see
_Almanach de Gotha, 1870, under the names of the several States
referred to,--also, for Areas and Population, _Tableaux
Comparatifs_, I., II., III., in same volume, pp. 1037-38.] Then
again for long generations has existed another disparity, to the
great detriment of Germany. France has been a nation, while
Germany has been divided, and therefore weak. Strong in union, the
latter now claims something more than that _dominion of the
air_ once declared to be hers, while France had the land and
England the sea. [Footnote: "So wie die Franzosen die Herren des
Landes sind, die Englaender die des groessern Meeres, wir die der
Beide und Alles umfassenden Luft sind."--RICHTER, (Jean Paul,)
_Frieden-Predigt an Deutschland_, V.: Saemtliche Werke,
(Berlin, 1828-38,) Theil XXXIV. s. 13.] The dominion of the land
is at last contested, and we are saddened inexpressibly, that,
from the elevation they have reached, these two peers of
civilization can descend to practise the barbarism of war, and
especially that the laud of Descartes, Pascal, Voltaire, and
Laplace must challenge to bloody duel the laud of Luther,
Leibnitz, Kant, and Humboldt.


Plainly between these two neighboring powers there has been
unhappy antagonism, constant, if not increasing, partly from the
memory of other days, and partly because Prance could not bear to
witness that German unity which was a national right and duty.
Often it has been said that war was inevitable. But it has come at
last by surprise, and on "a question of form." So it was called by
Thiers; so it was recognized by Ollivier, when he complained of
insensibility to a question of honor; and so also by the Due de
Gramont, when he referred it all to a telegram. This is not the
first time in history that wars have been waged on trifles; but
since the Lord of Frauenstein challenged the free city of
Frankfort because a young lady of the city refused to dance with
his uncle, nothing has passed more absurd than this challenge sent
by France to Germany because the King of Prussia refused to see
the French Ambassador a second time on the same matter, and then
let the refusal be reported by telegraph. Here is the folly
exposed by Shakespeare, when Hamlet touches a madness greater than
his own in that spirit which would "find quarrel in a straw when
honor's at the stake," and at the same time depicts an army

  "Led by a delicate and tender prince,
  Exposing what is mortal and unsure
  To all that Fortune, Death, and Danger dare,
  _Even for an egg-shall._"

There can be no quarrel in a straw or for an egg-shell, unless men
have gone mad. Nor can honor in a civilized age require any
sacrifice of reason or humanity.


If the utter triviality of the pretext were left doubtful in the
debate, if its towering absurdity were not plainly apparent, if
its simple wickedness did not already stand before us, we should
find all these characteristics glaringly manifest in that unjust
pretension which preceded the objection of form, on which France
finally acted. A few words will make this plain.

In a happy moment Spain rose against Queen Isabella, and, amidst
cries of "Down with the Bourbons!" drove her from the throne which
she dishonored. This was in September, 1868. Instead of
constituting a Republic at once, in harmony with those popular
rights which had been proclaimed, the half-hearted leaders
proceeded to look about for a King; and from that time till now
they have been in this quest, as if it were the Holy Grail, or
happiness on earth. The royal family of Spain was declared
incompetent. Therefore a king must be found outside,----and so the
quest was continued in other lands. One day the throne is offered
to a prince of Portugal, then to a prince of Italy, but declined
by each,----how wisely the future will show. At last, after a
protracted pursuit of nearly two years, the venturesome soldier
who is Captain-General and Prime-Minister, Marshal Prim, conceives
the idea of offering it to a prince of Germany. His luckless
victim is Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a Catholic,
thirty-five years of age, and colonel of the first regiment of the
Prussian foot-guards, whose father, a mediatized German prince,
resides at Duesseldorf. The Prince had not the good sense to
decline. How his acceptance excited the French Cabinet, and became
the beginning of the French pretext, I have already exposed; and
now I come to the pretension itself.

By what title did France undertake to interfere with the choice of
Spain? If the latter was so foolish as to seek a foreigner for
king, making a German first among Spaniards, by what title did any
other power attempt to control its will? To state the question is
to answer it. Beginning with an outrage on Spanish independence,
which the Spain of an earlier day would have resented, the next
outrage was on Germany, in assuming that an insignificant prince
of that country could not be permitted to accept the invitation,----
all of which, besides being of insufferable insolence, was in
that worst dynastic spirit which looks to princes rather than the
people. Plainly France was unjustifiable. When I say it was none
of her business, I give it the mildest condemnation. This was the
first step in her monstrous _blunder-crime_.

Its character as a pretext becomes painfully manifest, when we
learn more of the famous Prince Leopold, thus invited by Spain and
opposed by France. It is true that his family name is in part the
same as that of the Prussian king. Each is Hohenzollern; but he
adds Sigmaringen to the name. The two are different branches of
the same family; but you must ascend to the twelfth century,
counting more than twenty degrees, before you come to a common
ancestor. [Footnote: Conversations-Lexikon, (Leipzig, 1866,) 8
Band, art. HOHENZOLLERN. Carlyle's History of Friedrich II.,
(London, 1858,) Book III. Cli. 1, Vol. I. p. 200.] And yet on this
most distant and infinitesimal relationship the French pretension
is founded. But audacity changes to the ridiculous, when it is
known that the Prince is nearer in relationship to the French
Emperor than to the Prussian King, and this by three different
intermarriages, which do not go hack to the twelfth century. Here
is the case. His grandfather had for wife a niece of Joachim
Murat,[Footnote: Antoinette, daughter of Etienne Murat, third
brother of Joachim.--- Biographic Genemle, (Didot,) Tom. XXXVI.
col. 984, art. MURAT, note.] King of Naples, and brother-in-law of
the first Napoleon; and his father had for wife a daughter of
Stephanie de Beauharnais, an adopted daughter of the first
Napoleon; so that Prince Leopold is by his father great-grand-
nephew of Murat, and by his mother he is grandson of Stephanie de
Beauharnais, who was cousin and by adoption sister of Horteuse de
Beauharnais, mother of the present Emperor; and to this may be
added still another connection, by the marriage of his father's
sister with Joachim Napoleon, Marquis of Pepoli, grandson of
Joachim Murat.[Footnote: Almanach de Gotha, 1870, pp. 85-87, art.
HOHENZOLLERN-SIGMARINGEN.] It was natural that a person thus
connected with the Imperial Family should be a welcome visitor at
the Tuileries; and it is easy to believe that Marshal Prim, who
offered him the throne, was encouraged to believe that the
Emperor's kinsman and guest would be favorably regarded by France.
And yet, in the face of these things, and the three several family
ties, fresh and modern, binding him to France and the French
Emperor, the pretension was set up that his occupation of the
Spanish throne would put in peril the interests and the honor of


In sending defiance to Prussia on this question, the French
Cabinet selected their own ground. Evidently a war had been
meditated, and the candidature of Prince Leopold from beginning to
end supplied a pretext. In this conclusion, which is too obvious,
we are hardly left to inference. The secret was disclosed by
Rouher, President of the Senate, lately the eloquent and
unscrupulous Minister, when, in an official address to the
Emperor, immediately after the War Manifesto read by the Prime-
Minister, he declared that France quivered with indignation at the
flights of an ambition over-excited by the one day's good-fortune
at Sadowa, and then proceeded:---

"Animated by that calm perseverance which is true force, your
Majesty has known how to wait; but in the last four years you have
carried to its highest perfection the arming of our soldiers, and
raised to its full power the organization of our military forces.
_Thanks to your care, Sire, France is ready,_" [Footnote:
Address at the Palais de Saint-Cloud, July 50, 1870: Journal
Officiel du Soir, 18 Juillet 1870.]

Thus, according to the President of the Senate, France, after
waiting, commenced war because she was ready,--- while, according
to the Cabinet, it was on the point of honor. Both were right. The
war was declared because the Emperor thought himself ready, and a
pretext was found in the affair of the telegram.

Considering the age, and the present demands of civilization, such
a war stands forth terrific in wrong, making the soul rise
indignant against it. One reason avowed is brutal; the other is
frivolous; both are criminal. If we look into the text of the
Manifesto and the speeches of the Cabinet, it is a war founded on
a trifle, on a straw, on an egg-shell. Obviously these were
pretexts only. Therefore it is a war of pretexts, the real object
being the humiliation and dismemberment of Germany, in the vain
hope of exalting the French Empire and perpetuating a bawble crown
on the head of a boy. By military success and a peace dictated at
Berlin, the Emperor trusted to find himself in such condition,
that, on return to Paris, he could overthrow parliamentary
government so far as it existed there, and reestablish personal
government, where all depended upon himself,--thus making triumph
over Germany the means of another triumph over the French people.

In other times there have been wars as criminal in origin, where
trifle, straw, or egg-shell played its part; but they contrasted
less with the surrounding civilization. To this list belong the
frequent Dynastic Wars, prompted by the interest, the passion, or
the whim of some one in the Family of Kings. Others have begun in
recklessness kindred to that we now witness,---as when England
entered into war with Holland, and for reason did not hesitate to
allege "abusive pictures."[Footnote: Humo, History of England, Ch.
LXV., March 17, 1672.----The terras of the Declaration on this
point were,----"Scarce a town within their territories that is not
filled with abusive pictures." (Hansard's Parliamentary History,
Vol. IV. col. 514.) Upon which Hume remarks: "The Dutch were long
at a loss what to make of this article, till it was discovered
that a portrait of Cornelius de Witt, brother to the Pensionary,
painted by order of certain magistrates of Dort, and hung up in a
chamber of the Town-House, had given occasion to the complaint. In
the perspective of this portrait the painter had drawn some ships
on fire in a harbor. This was construed to be Chatham, where De
Witt had really distinguished himself," during the previous war,
in the way here indicated,----"the disgrace" of which, says
Lingard, "sunk deep into the heart of the King and the hearts of
his subjects." History of England, Vol. IX. Ch. III., June 13,
1667.]. The England of Charles the Second was hardly less
sensitive than the France of Louis Napoleon, while in each was
similar indifference to consequences. But France has precedents of
her own. From the remarkable correspondence of the Princess
Palatine, Duchess of Orleans, we learn that the first war with
Holland under Louis the Fourteenth was brought on by the Minister,
De Lionne, to injure a petty German prince who had made him
jealous of his wife.[Footnote: Briefe der Prinzessin Elisabeth
Charlotte von Orleans an die Gaugraefin Louise, 1676-1722, herausg.
von W. Menzel, (Stuttgart, 1843,)---Paris, 3) Mertz, 1718, s.
288.] The communicative and exuberant Saint-Simon tells us twice
over how Louvois, another Minister of Louis the Fourteenth, being
overruled by his master with regard to the dimensions of a window
at Versailles, was filled with the idea that "on account of a few
inches in a window," as he expressed it, all his services would be
forgotten, and therefore, to save his place, excited a foreign war
that would make him necessary to the King. The flames in the
Palatinate, devouring the works of man, attested his continuing
power. The war became general, but, according to the chronicler,
it ruined France at home, and did not extend her domain abroad.
[Footnote: Memoires, (Paris, 1829,) Tom. VII. pp. 49-51; XIII pp.
9-10.] The French Emperor confidently expected to occupy the same
historic region so often burnt and ravaged by French armies, with
that castle of Heidelberg which repeats the tale of blood,--and,
let me say, expected it for no better reason than that of his
royal predecessor, stimulated by an unprincipled Minister anxious
for personal position. The parallel is continued in the curse
which the Imperial arms have brought on France.


How this war proceeded I need not recount. You have all read the
record day by day, sorrowing for Humanity,--how, after briefest
interval of preparation or hesitation, the two combatants first
crossed swords at Saarbruecken, within the German frontier, and the
young Prince Imperial performed his part in picking up a bullet
from the field, which the Emperor promptly reported by telegraph
to the Empress,--how this little military success is all that was
vouchsafed to the man who began the war,--how soon thereafter
victory followed, first on the hill-sides of Wissembourg and then
of Woerth, shattering the army of MacMahon, to which the Empire
was looking so confidently,--how another large army under Bazaine
was driven within the strong fortress of Metz,--how all the
fortresses, bristling with guns and frowning upon Germany, were
invested,--how battle followed battle on various fields, where
Death was the great conqueror,--how, with help of modern art, war
showed itself to be murder by machinery,--how MacMahon, gathering
together his scattered men and strengthening them with reinforcements,
attempted to relieve Bazaine,--how at last, after long marches,
his large army found itself shut up at Sedan with a tempest
of fire beating upon its huddled ranks, so that its only
safety was capitulation,--how with the capitulation of the army
was the submission of the Emperor himself, who gave his sword to
the King of Prussia and became prisoner of war,--and how, on the
reception of this news at Paris, Louis Napoleon and his dynasty
were divested of their powers and the Empire was lost in the
Republic. These things you know. I need not dwell on them. Not to
battles and their fearful vicissitudes, where all is incarnadined
with blood, must we look, but to the ideas which prevail,--as for
the measure of time we look, not to the pendulum in its
oscillations, but to the clock in the tower, whose striking tells
the hours. A great hour for Humanity sounded when the Republic was
proclaimed. And this I say, even should it fail again; for every
attempt contributes to the final triumph.


The war, from the pretext at its beginning to the capitulation at
Sedan, has been a succession of surprises, where the author of the
pretext was a constant sufferer. Nor is this strange. Falstaff
says, with humorous point, "See now how wit may be made a Jack-a-
lent, when't is upon ill employment!"[Footnote: Merry Wives of
Windsor, Act V. Sc. 5.]--and another character, in a play of
Beaumont and Fletcher, reveals the same evil destiny in stronger
terms, when he says,--

"Hell gives us art to reach the depth of sin, But leaves us
wretched fools, when we are in." [Footnote: Queen of Corinth, Act
IV. Sc. 3.]

And this was precisely the condition of the French Empire. Germany
perhaps had one surprise, at the sudden adoption of the pretext
for war. But the Empire has known nothing but surprise. A fatal
surprise was the promptitude with which all the German States,
outside of Austrian rule, accepted the leadership of Prussia, and
joined their forces to hers. Differences were forgotten,--whether
the hate of Hanover, the dread of Wuertemberg, the coolness of
Bavaria, the opposition of Saxony, or the impatience of the Hanse
Towns at lost importance. Hanover would not rise; the other States
and cities would not be detached. On the day after the reading of
the War Manifesto at the French tribune, even before the King's
speech to the Northern Parliament, the Southern States began to
move. German unity stood firm, and this was the supreme surprise
for France with which the war began. On one day the Emperor in his
Official Journal declares his object to be the deliverance of
Bavaria from Prussian oppression, and on the very next day the
Crown Prince of Prussia, at the head of Bavarian troops, crushes
an Imperial army.

Then came the manifest inferiority of the Imperial army,
everywhere outnumbered, which was another surprise,--the manifest
inferiority of the Imperial artillery, also a surprise,--the
manifest inferiority of the Imperial generals, still a surprise.
Above these was a prevailing inefficiency and improvidence, which
very soon became conspicuous, and this was a surprise. The
strength of Germany, as now exhibited, was a surprise. And when
the German armies entered France, every step was a surprise.
Wissembourg was a surprise; so was Woerth; so was Beaumont; so was
Sedan. Every encounter was a surprise. Abel Douay, the French
general, who fell bravely fighting at Wissembourg, the first
sacrifice on the battle-field, was surprised; so was MacMahon, not
only at the beginning, but at the end. He thought that the King
and Crown Prince were marching on Paris. So they were,--but they
turned aside for a few days to surprise a whole army of more than,
a hundred thousand men, terrible with cannon and newly invented
implements of war, under a Marshal of France, and with an Emperor
besides. As this succession of surprises was crowned with what
seemed the greatest surprise of all, there remained a greater
still in the surprise of the French Empire. No Greek Nemesis with
unrelenting hand ever dealt more incessantly the unavoidable blow,
until the Empire fell as a dead body falls, while the Emperor
became a captive and the Empress a fugitive, with their only child
a fugitive also. The poet says:--

"Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy In sceptred pall come sweeping
by."[Footnote: Milton, II Penseroso, 97-98.]

It has swept before the eyes of all. Beneath that sceptred pall is
the dust of a great Empire, founded and ruled by Louis Napoleon;
if not the dust of the Emperor also, it is because he was willing
to sacrifice others rather than himself.


Twice before have French sovereigns yielded on the battle-field,
and become prisoners of war; but never before was capitulation so
vast. Do their fates furnish any lesson? At the Battle of
Poitiers, memorable in English history, John, King of France,
became the prisoner of Edward the Black Prince. His nobles, one
after another, fell by his side, but he contended valiantly to the
last, until, spent with fatigue and over-come by numbers, he
surrendered. His son, of the same age as the son of the French
Emperor, was wounded while battling for his father. The courtesy
of the English Prince conquered more than his arms. I quote the
language of Hume:-

"More touched by Edward's generosity than by his own calamities,
he confessed, that, notwithstanding his defeat and captivity, his
honor was still unimpaired, and that, if he yielded the victory,
it was at least gained by a prince of such consummate valor and
humanity. "[Footnote: History of England, (Oxford, 1826,) Cli.
XVI., Vol. II. p. 407.]

The King was taken to England, where, after swelling the triumphal
pageant of his conqueror, he made a disgraceful treaty for the
dismemberment of France, which the indignant nation would not
ratify. A captivity of more than four years was terminated by a
ransom of three million crowns in gold,--an enormous sum, more
than ten million dollars in our day. Evidently the King was
unfortunate, for he did not continue in France, but, under the
influence of motives differently stated, returned to England,
where he died. Surely here is a lesson.

More famous than John was Francis, with salamander crest, also
King of France, and rich in gayety, whose countenance, depicted by
that art of which he was the patron, stands forth conspicuous in
the line of kings. As the French Emperor attacked Germany, so did
the King enter Italy, and he was equally confident of victory. On
the field of Favia he encountered an army of Charles the Fifth,
but commanded by his generals, when, after fighting desperately
and killing seven men with his own hand, he was compelled to
surrender. His mother was at the time Regent of France, and to her
he is said to have written the sententious letter, "All is lost
except honor." No such letter was written by Francis,[Footnote:
Sismondi, Histoire des Francais, Tom. XVI. pp. 241-42. Martin,
Histoire de France, (genie edit.,) Tom. VIII. pp. 67, 68.] nor do
we know of any such letter by Louis Napoleon; but the situation of
the two Regents was identical. Here are the words in which Hume
describes the condition of the earlier:---

"The Princess was struck with the greatness of the calamity. She
saw the kingdom without a sovereign, without an army, without
generals, without money, surrounded on every side by implacable
and victorious enemies; and her chief resource, in her present
distresses, were the hopes which she entertained of peace, and
even of assistance from the King of England." [Footnote: History
of England, (Oxford, 1826,) Ch. XXIX., Vol. IV. p. 51.]

Francis became the prisoner of Charles the Fifth, and was conveyed
to Madrid, where, after a year of captivity, he was at length
released, crying out, as he crossed the French frontier, "Behold
me King again!" [Footnote: Sismondi, Tom. XVI. p. 277. Martin,
Tom. VIII. p. 90.] Is not the fate of Louis Napoleon prefigured in
the exile and death of his royal predecessor John, rather than in
the return of Francis with his delighted cry?


The fall of Louis Napoleon is natural. It is hard to see how it
could be otherwise, so long as we continue to "assert eternal
Providence, And justify the ways of God to men." [Footnote:
Paradise Lost, Book I. 25-26.]

Had he remained successful to the end, and died peacefully on
the throne, his name would have been a perpetual encouragement to
dishonesty and crime. By treachery without parallel, breaking
repeated promises and his oath of office, he was able to trample
on the Republic. Taking his place in the National Assembly after
long exile, the adventurer made haste to declare exultation in
regaining his country and all his rights as citizen, with the
ejaculation, "The Republic has given me this happiness: let the
Republic receive my oath of gratitude, my oath of devotion!"--and
next he proclaimed that there was nobody to surpass him in
determined consecration "to the defence of order and to the
establishment of the Republic." [Footnote: Seance du 26 Septembre
1848: Moniteur, 27 Septembre.] Good words these. Then again, when
candidate for the Presidency, in a manifesto to the electors he
gave another pledge, announcing that he "would devote himself
altogether, without mental reservation, to the establishment of a
Republic, wise in its laws, honest in its intentions, great and
strong in its acts"; and he volunteered further words, binding him
in special loyalty, saying that he "should make it _a point of
honor_ to leave to his successor, at the end of four years,
power strengthened, liberty intact, real progress accomplished."
[Footnote: A ses Concitoyens: OEuvres, Tom. III. p. 25.] How these
plain and unequivocal engagements were openly broken you shall

Chosen by the popular voice, his inauguration took place as
President of the Republic, when he solemnly renewed the
engagements already assumed. Ascending from his seat in the
Assembly to the tribune, and holding up his hand, he took the
following oath of office: "In presence of God, and before the
French people, represented by the National Assembly, I swear to
remain faithful to the Democratic Republic One and Indivisible,
and to fulfil all the duties which the Constitution imposes upon
me." This was an oath. Then, addressing the Assembly, he said:"
The suffrages of the nation and the oath which I have just taken
prescribe my future conduct. My duty is marked out. I will fulfil
it as _a man of honor_." Again he attests his honor. Then,
after deserved tribute to his immediate predecessor and rival,
General Cavaignac, on his loyalty of character, and that sentiment
of duty which he declares to be "the first quality in the chief of
a State," he renews his vows to the Republic, saying, "We have,
Citizen Representatives, a great mission to fulfil; it is to found
a Republic in the interest of all"; and he closed amidst cheers
for the Republic.[Footnote: Seance de 20 Decembre 1848: Moniteur,
21 Decembre.] And yet, in the face of this oath of office and this
succession of most solemn pledges, where he twice attests his
honor, he has hardly become President before he commences plotting
to make himself Emperor, until, at last, by violence and blood,
with brutal butchery in the streets of Paris, he succeeded in
overthrowing the Republic, to which he was bound by obligations of
gratitude and duty, as well as by engagements in such various
form. The Empire was declared. Then followed his marriage, and a
dynastic ambition to assure the crown for his son.

Early in life a "Charcoal" conspirator against kings, [Footnote: A
member of the secret society of the Ciram in Italy.] he now became
a crowned conspirator against republics. The name of Republic was
to him a reproof, while its glory was a menace. Against the Roman
Republic he conspired early; and when the rebellion waged by
Slavery seemed to afford opportunity, he conspired against our
Republic, promoting as far as he dared the independence of the
Slave States, and at the same time on the ruins of the Mexican
Republic setting up a mock Empire. In similar spirit has he
conspired against German Unity, whose just strength promised to be
a wall against his unprincipled self-seeking.

This is but an outline of that incomparable perfidy, which, after
a career of seeming success, is brought to a close. Of a fallen
man I would say nothing; but, for the sake of Humanity, Louis
Napoleon should be exposed. He was of evil example, extending with
his influence. To measure the vastness of this detriment is
impossible. In sacrificing the Republic to his own aggrandizement,
in ruling for a dynasty rather than the people, in subordinating
the peace of the world to his own wicked ambition for his boy, he
set an example of selfishness, and in proportion to his triumph
was mankind corrupted in its judgment of human conduct. Teaching
men to seek ascendency at the expense of duty, he demoralized not
only France, but the world. Unquestionably part of this evil
example was his falsehood to the Republic. Promise, pledge, honor,
oath, were all violated in this monstrous treason. Never in
history was greater turpitude. Unquestionably he could have saved
the Republic, but he preferred his own exaltation. As I am a
Republican, and believe republican institutions for the good of
mankind, I cannot pardon the traitor. The people of France are
ignorant; he did not care to have them educated, for their
ignorance was his strength. With education bestowed, the Republic
would have been assured. And even after the Empire, had he thought
more of education and less of his dynasty, there would have been a
civilization throughout France making war impossible. Unquestionably
the present war is his work, instituted for his imagined advantage.
Bacon, in one of his remarkable Essays, tells us that "Extreme
self-lovers will set an house on fire, and it were but to
roast their eggs." [Footnote: Of Wisdom for a Man's Self:
Essay XXIII.] Louis Napoleon has set Europe on fire to roast

Beyond the continuing offence of his public life, I charge upon
him three special and unpardonable crimes: first, that violation
of public duty and public faith, contrary to all solemnities of
promise, by which the whole order of society was weakened and
human character was degraded; secondly, disloyalty to republican
institutions, so that through him the Republic has been arrested
in Europe; and, thirdly, this cruel and causeless war, of which he
is the guilty author.


Of familiar texts in Scripture, there is one which, since the
murderous outbreak, has been of constant applicability and force.
You know it: "All they that take the sword shall perish with the
sword"; [Footnote: Matthew, xxvi. 52.] and these words are
addressed to nations as to individuals. France took the sword
against Germany, and now lies bleeding at every pore. Louis
Napoleon took the sword, and is nought. Already in that _coup
d'etat_ by which he overthrew the Republic he took the sword,
and now the Empire, which was the work of his hands, expires. In
Mexico again he took the sword, and again paid the fearful
penalty,--while the Austrian Archduke, who, yielding to his
pressure, made himself Emperor there, was shot by order of the
Mexican President, an Indian of unmixed blood. And here there was
retribution, not only for the French Emperor, but far beyond. I
know not if there be invisible threads by which the Present is
attached to the distant Past, making the descendant suffer even
for a distant ancestor, but I cannot forget that Maximilian was
derived from that very family of Charles the Fifth, whose
conquering general, Cortes, stretched the Indian Guatemozin upon a
bed of fire, and afterwards executed him on a tree. The death of
Maximilian was tardy retribution for the death of Guatemozin. And
thus in this world is wrong avenged, sometimes after many
generations. The fall of the French Emperor is an illustration of
that same retribution which is so constant. While he yet lives,
judgment has begun.

If I accumulate instances, it is because the certainty of
retribution for wrong, and especially for the great wrong of War,
is a lesson of the present duel to be impressed. Take notice, all
who would appeal to war, that the way of the transgressor is hard,
and sooner or later he is overtaken. The ban may fall tardily, but
it is sure to fall.

Retribution in another form has already visited France; nor is its
terrible vengeance yet spent. Not only are populous cities, all
throbbing with life and filled with innocent households, subjected
to siege, but to bombardment also,--being that most ruthless trial
of war, where non-combatants, including women and children, sick
and aged, share with the soldier his peculiar perils, and suffer
alike with him. All are equal before the hideous shell, crashing,
bursting, destroying, killing, and changing the fairest scene into
blood-spattered wreck. Against its vengeful, slaughterous descent
there is no protection for the people,--nothing but an uncertain
shelter in cellars, or, it may be, in the common sewers. Already
Strasbourg, Toul, and Metz have been called to endure this
indiscriminate massacre, where there is no distinction of persons;
and now the same fate is threatened to Paris the Beautiful, with
its thronging population counted by the million. Thus is the
ancient chalice which France handed to others now commended to her
own lips. It was France that first in history adopted this method
of war. Long ago, under Louis the Fourteenth, it became a
favorite; but it has not escaped the judgment of history.
Voltaire, with elegant pen, records that "this art, carried soon
among other nations, served only to multiply human calamities, and
more than once was dreadful to France, where it was invented."
[Footnote: Siecle de Louis XIV., Ch. XIV.: (Euvres, (edit. 1784-
89,) Tom. XX. p. 406.)

The bombardment of Luxembourg in 1683 drew from Sismondi, always
humane and refined, words applicable to recent events. "Louis the
Fourteenth," he says, "had been the first to put in practice this
atrocious and newly invented method of bombarding towns,....of
attacking, not fortifications, but private houses, not soldiers,
but peaceable inhabitants, women and children, and of confounding
thousands of private crimes, each one of which would cause horror,
in one great public crime, one great disaster, which he regarded
as nothing more than one of the catastrophes of war." [Footnote:
Histoire des Francis, Tom. XXV. pp. 452-53.] Again is the saying
fulfilled, "All they that take the sword shall perish with the
sword." No lapse of time can avert the inexorable law. Macbeth saw
it in his terrible imaginings, when he said,--

      "But in those cases
   We still have judgment here,--that we but teach
   Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
   To plague the inventor."

And what instruction more bloody than the bombardment of a city,
which now returns to plague the French people?

Thus is history something more even than philosophy teaching by
example; it is sermon with argument and exhortation. The simple
record of nations preaches; and whether you regard reason or the
affections, it is the same. If nations were wise or humane, they
would not fight.


Vain are lessons of the past or texts of prudence against that
spirit of War which finds sanction and regulation in International
Law. So long as the war system continues, men will fight. While I
speak, the two champions still stand front to front, Germany
exulting in victory, but France in no respect submissive. The duel
still rages, although one of the champions is pressed to earth, as
in that early combat where the Chevalier Bayard, so eminent in
chivalry, thrust his dagger into the nostrils of his fallen foe,
and then dragged his dead body off the field. History now repeats
itself, and we witness in Germany the very conduct condemned in
the famous French knight.

The French Emperor was the aggressor. He began this fatal duel.
Let him fall,--but not the people of France. Cruelly already have
they expiated their offence in accepting such a ruler. Not always
should they suffer. Enough of waste, enough of sacrifice, enough
of slaughter have they undergone. Enough have they felt the
accursed hoof of War.

It is easy to see now, that, after the capitulation at Sedan,
there was a double mistake: first, on the part of Germany, which,
as magnanimous conqueror, should have proposed peace, thus
conquering in character as in arms; and, secondly, on the part of
the Republic, which should have declined to wage a war of
Imperialism, against which the Republican leaders had so earnestly
protested. With the capitulation of the Emperor the dynastic
question was closed. There was no longer pretension or pretext,
nor was there occasion for war. The two parties should have come
to an understanding. Why continue this terrible homicidal,
fratricidal, suicidal combat, fraught with mutual death and
sacrifice? Why march on Paris? Why beleaguer Paris? Why bombard
Paris? To what end? If for the humiliation of France, then must it
be condemned.


In arriving at terms of peace, there are at least three conditions
which cannot be overlooked in the interest of civilization, and
that the peace may be such in reality as in name, and not an
armistice only,--three postulates which stand above all question,
and dominate this debate, so that any essential departure from
them must end in wretched failure.

The first is the natural requirement of Germany, that there shall
be completest guaranty against future aggression, constituting
what is so well known among us as "Security for the Future." Count
Bismarck, with an exaggeration hardly pardonable, alleges more
than twenty invasions of Germany by France, and declares that
these must be stopped forever. [Footnote: Circular of September
16, 1870: Foreign Relations of the United States,--Executive
Documents, 41st Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R., Vol. I. No. 1, Part 1,
pp. 212-13.] Many or few, they must be stopped forever. The second
condition to be regarded is the natural requirement of France,
that the guaranty, while sufficient, shall be such as not to wound
needlessly the sentiments of the French people, or to offend any
principle of public law. It is difficult to question these two
postulates, at least in the abstract. Only when we come to the
application is there opportunity for difference. The third
postulate, demanded alike by justice and humanity, is the
establishment of some rule or precedent by which the recurrence of
such a barbarous duel shall be prevented. It will not be enough to
obtain a guaranty for Germany; there must be a guaranty for
Civilization itself.

On careful inquiry, it will be seen that all these can be
accomplished in one way only, which I will describe, when I have
first shown what is now put forward and discussed as the claim of
Germany, under two different heads, Indemnity and Guaranty.


I have already spoken of Guaranty as an essential condition.
Indemnity is not essential. At the close of our war with Slavery
we said nothing of indemnity. For the life of the citizen there
could be no indemnity; nor was it practicable even for the
treasure sacrificed. Security for the Future was all that our
nation required, and this was found in provisions of Law and
Constitution establishing Equal Eights. From various intimations
it is evident that Germany will not be content without indemnity
in money on a large scale; and it is also evident that France, the
aggressor, cannot, when conquered, deny liability to a certain
extent. The question will be on the amount. Already German
calculators begin to array their unrelenting figures. One of these
insists that the indemnity shall not only cover outlay for the
German Army,--pensions of widows and invalids,--maintenance and
support of French wounded and prisoners,--compensation to Germans
expelled from France,--also damage suffered by the territory to be
annexed, especially Strasbourg; but it is also to cover indirect
damages, large in amount,--as, loss to the nation from change of
productive laborers into soldiers,--loss from killing and
disabling so many laborers,--and, generally, loss from suspension
of trade arid manufactures, depreciation of national property, and
diminution of the public revenues:--all of which, according to a
recent estimate, reach the fearful sum-total of 4,935,000,000
francs, or nearly one thousand million dollars. Of this sum,
1,255,000,000 francs are on account of the Army, 1,230,000,000 for
direct damage, 2,250,000,000 for indirect damage, and 200,000,000
for damage to the reconquered provinces. Still further, the Berlin
Chamber of Commerce insists on indemnity not only for actual loss
of ships and cargoes from the blockade, but also for damages on
account of detention. Much of this many-headed account, which I
introduce in order to open the case in its extent, will be opposed
by France, as fabulous, consequential, and remote. The practical
question will be, Can one nation do wrong to another without
paying for the damage, whatever it may be, direct or indirect,--
always provided it be susceptible of estimate? Here I content
myself with the remark, that, while in the settlement of
international differences there is no place for technicality,
there is always room for moderation.


Vast as may be the claim of indemnity, it opens no question so
calculated to touch the sensibilities of France as the claim of
guaranty already announced by Germany. On this head we are not
left to conjecture. From her first victory we have been assured
that Germany would claim Alsace and German Lorraine, with their
famous strongholds; and now we have the statement of Count
Bismarck, in a diplomatic circular, that he expects to remove the
German frontier further west,--meaning to the Vosges Mountains, if
not to the Moselle also,--and to convert the fortresses into what
he calls "defensive strongholds of Germany."[Footnote: Circular of
September 16,1870,--ubi supra, p. 49, Note 1.] Then, with larger
view, he declares, that, "in rendering it more difficult for
France, from whom all European troubles have so long proceeded, to
assume the offensive, we likewise promote the common interest of
Europe, which demands the preservation of peace." Here is just
recognition of peace as the common interest of Europe, to be
assured by disabling France. How shall this be done? The German
Minister sees nothing but dismemberment, consecrated by a Treaty
of Peace. With diplomatic shears he would cut off a portion of
French territory, and, taking from it the name of France, stamp
upon it the trade-mark of Germany. Two of its richest and most
precious provinces, for some two hundred years constituent parts
of the great nation, with that ancient cathedral city, the pride
of the Rhine, long years ago fortified by Vauban as "the strongest
barrier of France," [Footnote: Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XIV., Ch.
XIV: OEuvres, (edit. 1784-89,) Tom. XX. p. 403.] are to be
severed, and with them a large and industrious population, which,
while preserving the German language, have so far blended with
France as to become Frenchmen. This is the German proposition,
which I call the Guaranty of Dismemberment.

One argument for this proposition is brushed aside easily. Had the
fortune of war been adverse to Germany, it is said, peace would
have been dictated at Berlin, perhaps at Koenigsberg, and France
would have carried her frontier eastward to the Rhine, dismembering
Germany. Such, I doubt not, would have been the attempt. The
conception is entirely worthy of that Imperial levity with
which the war began. But the madcap menace of the French
Empire cannot be the measure of German justice. It is for Germany
to show, that, notwithstanding this wildness, she knows how to be
just. Dismemberment on this account would be only another form of
retaliation; but retaliation is barbarous.

To the argument, that these provinces, with their strongholds, are
needed for the defence of Germany, there is the obvious reply,
that, if cut off from France contrary to the wishes of the local
population, and with the French people in chronic irritation on
this account, they will be places of weakness rather than
strength, strongholds of disaffection rather than defence, to be
held always at the cannon's mouth. Does Germany seek lasting
peace? Not in this way can it be had. A painful exaction, enforced
by triumphant arms, must create a sentiment of hostility in
France, suppressed for a season, but ready at a propitious moment
to break forth in violence; so that between the two conterminous
nations there will be nothing better than a peace where each
sleeps on its arms,--which is but an Armed Peace. Such for weary
years has been the condition of nations. Is Germany determined to
prolong the awful curse? Will her most enlightened people, with
poetry, music, literature, philosophy, science, and religion as
constant ministers, to whom has been opened in rarest degree the
whole book of knowledge, persevere in a brutal policy belonging to
another age, and utterly alien to that superior civilization which
is so truly theirs?

There is another consideration, not only of justice, but of public
law, which cannot be overcome. The people of these provinces are
unwilling to be separated from France. This is enough. France
cannot sell or transfer them against their consent. Consult the
great masters, and you will find their concurring authority.
Grotius, from whom on such a question there can be no appeal,
adjudges: "In the alienation of a part of the sovereignty it is
required _that the part which is to be alienated consent to the
act._" According to him, it must not be supposed "that the body
should have the right of cutting off parts from itself and giving
them into the authority of another."[Footnote: De Jure Belli et
Pads, tr. Whewell, Lib. II. Cap. 6, S: 4] Of the same opinion is
Pufendorf, declaring: "The sovereign who attempts to transfer his
kingdom to another by his sole authority does an act in itself
null and void, and not binding on his subjects. To make such a
conveyance valid, the consent of the people is required, as well
as of the prince." [Footnote: De Jure Naturae et Gentium, Lib.
VIII. Cap. 5, Section 9.] Vattel crowns this testimony, when he
adds, that a province or city, "abandoned and dismembered from the
State, is not obliged to receive the new master proposed to be
given it." [Footnote: Le Droit des Gens, Liv. I. Ch. 21, Section
264.] Before such texts, stronger than a fortress, the soldiers of
Germany must halt.

Nor can it be forgotten how inconsistent is the guaranty of
Dismemberment with that heroic passion for national unity which is
the glory of Germany. National unity is not less the right of
France than of Germany; and these provinces, though in former
centuries German, and still preserving the German speech, belong
to the existing unity of France,--unless, according to the popular
song, the German's Fatherland extends

  "Far as the German accent rings";

and then the conqueror must insist on Switzerland; and why not
cross the Atlantic, to dictate laws in Pennsylvania  and Chicago?
But this same song has a better verse, calling that the German's

  "Where in the heart love warmly lies."

But in these coveted provinces it is the love for France, and not
for Germany, which prevails.


The Guaranty of Dismemberment, when brought to the touchstone of
the three essential conditions, is found wanting. Dismissing it as
unsatisfactory, I come to that other guaranty where these
conditions are all fulfilled, and we find security for Germany
without offence to the just sentiments of France, and also a new
safe-guard to civilization. Against the Guaranty of Dismemberment
I oppose the Guaranty of Disarmament. By Disarmament I mean the
razing of the French fortifications and the abolition of the
standing army, except that minimum of force required for purposes
of police. How completely this satisfies the conditions already
named is obvious. For Germany there would be on the side of France
absolute repose, so that Count Bismarck need not fear another
invasion,--while France, saved from intolerable humiliation, would
herself be free to profit by the new civilization.

Nor is this guaranty otherwise than practical in every respect,
and the more it is examined the more will its inestimable
advantage be apparent.

1. There is, first, its most obvious _economy_, which is so
glaring, that, according to a familiar French expression, "it
leaps into the eyes." Undertaking even briefly to set it forth, I
seem to follow the proverb and "show the sun with a lantern."
According to the "Almanach de Gotha," the appropriations for the
army of France, during the year of peace before the war, were
588,852, 970 francs, [Footnote: Almanach de Gotha, 1870, p. 599.]
or about one hundred and seventeen millions of dollars. Give up
the Standing Army and this considerable sum disappears from the
annual budget. But this retrenchment represents only partially the
prodigious economy. Beyond the annual outlay is the loss to the
nation by the change of producers into non-producers. Admitting
that in France the average production of a soldier usefully
employed would be only fifty dollars, and multiplying this small
allowance by the numbers of the Standing Army, you have another
amount to be piled upon the military appropriations. Is it too
much to expect that this surpassing waste shall be stopped? Must
the extravagance born of war, and nursed by long tradition,
continue to drain the resources of the land? Where is reason?
Where humanity? A decree abolishing the Standing Army would be
better for the French people, and more productive, than the
richest gold-mine discovered in every department of France. Nor
can imagination picture the fruitful result. I speak now only in
the light of economy. Relieved from intolerable burden, industry
would lift itself to unimagined labors, and society be quickened

2. Beyond this economy, winch need not be argued, is the positive
_advantage, if not necessity,_ of such change for France. I
do not speak on general grounds applicable to all nations, but on
grounds peculiar to France at the present moment. Emerging from a
most destructive war, she will be subjected to enormous and
unprecedented contributions of every kind. After satisfying
Germany, she will find other obligations at home,--some pressing
directly upon the nation, and others upon individuals. Beyond the
outstanding pay of soldiers, requisitions for supplies, pensions
for the wounded and the families of the dead, and other
extraordinary liabilities accumulating as never before in the same
time, there will be the duty of renewing that internal prosperity
which has received such a shock; and here the work of restoration
will be costly, whether to the nation or the individual. Revenue
must be regained, roads and bridges repaired, markets supplied;
nor can we omit the large and multitudinous losses from ravage of
fields, seizure of stock, suspension of business, stoppage of
manufactures, interference with agriculture, and the whole
terrible drain of war by which the people are impoverished and
disabled. If to the necessary appropriation and expenditure for
all these things is superadded the annual tax of a Standing Army,
and that other draft from the change of producers into non-producers,
plainly here is a supplementary burden of crushing weight.
Talk of the last feather breaking the back of the camel,--
but never was camel loaded down as France.

3. Beyond even these considerations of economy and advantage I put
the transcendent, priceless benefit of Disarmament in the
_assurance of peace_. Disarmament substitutes the constable
for the soldier, and reduces the Standing Army to a police. The
argument assumes, first, the needlessness of a Standing Army, and,
secondly, its evil influence. Both of these points were touched at
an early day by the wise Chancellor of England, Sir Thomas More,
when, in his practical and personal Introduction to "Utopia," he
alludes to what he calls the "bad custom" of keeping many
servants, and then says: "In France there is yet a more
pestiferous sort of people; for the whole country is full of
soldiers, that are still kept up in time of peace,--if such a
state of a nation can be called a peace." Then, proceeding with
his judgment, the Chancellor holds up what he calls those
"pretended statesmen" whose maxim is that "it is necessary for the
public safety to have a good body of veteran soldiers ever in
readiness." And after saying that these pretended statesmen
"sometimes seek occasion for making war, that they may train up
their soldiers in the art of cutting throats," he adds, in words
soon to be tested, "But France has learned, to its cost, how
dangerous it is to feed such beasts." [Footnote: Utopia, tr.
Burnet, (London, 1845,) Book I. pp. 29, 30.] It will be well, if
France has learned this important lesson. The time has come to
practise it.

All history is a vain word, and all experience is at fault, if
large War Preparations, of which the Standing Army is the type,
have not been constant provocatives of war. Pretended protectors
against war, they have been real instigators to war. They have
excited the evil against which they were to guard. The habit of
wearing arms in private life exercised a kindred influence. So
long as this habit continued, society was darkened by personal
combat, street-fight, duel, and assassination. The Standing Army
is to the nation what the sword was to the modern gentleman, the
stiletto to the Italian, the knife to the Spaniard, the pistol to
our slave-master,--furnishing, like these, the means of death; and
its possessor is not slow to use it. In stating the operation of
this system we are not left to inference. As France, according to
Sir Thomas More, shows "how dangerous it is to feed such beasts,"
so does Prussia, in ever-memorable instance, which speaks now with
more than ordinary authority, show precisely how the Standing Army
may become the incentive to war. Frederick, the warrior king, is
our witness. With honesty or impudence beyond parallel, he did not
hesitate to record in his Memoirs, among the reasons for his war
upon Maria Theresa, that, on coming to the throne, he found
himself with "troops always ready to act." Voltaire, when called
to revise the royal memoirs, erased this confession, but preserved
a copy;[Footnote: Brougham, Lives of Men of Letters, (London and
Glasgow, 1856,) p. 59,--_Voltaire_. See also Voltaire, _Memoires
pour servir a la Vie de, ecrits par lui-meme, (edit/ 1784-89,)
Tom. LXX. p. 279; also Frederic II., _Histoire de mini Temps_,
OEuvres Posthumes, (Berlin, 1789,) Tom. I. Part. I. p. 78.]
so that by his literary activity we have this kingly authority
for the mischief from a Standing Army. How complete a weapon
was that army may be learned from Lafayette, who, in a letter
to Washington, in 1786, after a visit to the King, described it thus:---

"Nothing can be compared to the beauty of the troops, to the
discipline which reigns in all their ranks, to the simplicity of
their movements, to the uniformity of their regiments..... All the
situations which can be supposed in war, all the movements which
these must necessitate, have been by constant habit so inculcated
in their heads, that all these operations are done almost
mechanically." [Footnote: Memoires, Tom. II. p. 133.]

Nothing better has been devised since the Macedonian phalanx or
the Roman legion. With such a weapon ready to his hands, the King
struck Maria Theresa. And think you that the present duel between
France and Germany could have been waged, had not both nations
found themselves, like Frederick of Prussia, with "troops always
ready to act"? It was the possession of these troops which made
the two parties rush so swiftly to the combat. Is not the lesson
perfect? Already individuals have disarmed. Civilization requires
that nations shall do likewise.

Thus is Disarmament enforced on three several grounds: first,
economy; secondly, positive advantage, if not necessity, for
France; and, thirdly, assurance of peace. No other guaranty
promises so much. Does any other guaranty promise anything beyond
the accident of force? Nor would France be alone. Dismissing to
the arts of peace the large army victorious over Slavery, our
Republic has shown how disarmament can be accomplished. The
example of France, so entirely reasonable, so profitable, so
pacific, and so harmonious with ours, would spread. Conquering
Germany could not resist its influence. Nations are taught by
example more than by precept, and either is better than force.
Other nations would follow; nor would Russia, elevated by her
great act of Enfranchisement, fail to seize her sublime
opportunity. Popular rights, which are strongest always in assured
peace, would have new triumphs. Instead of Trial by Battle for the
decision of differences between nations, there would be peaceful
substitutes, as Arbitration, or, it may be, a Congress of Nations,
and the United States of Europe would appear above the subsiding
waters. The old juggle of Balance of Power, which has rested like
a nightmare on Europe, would disappear, like that other less
bloody fiction of Balance of Trade, and nations, like individuals,
would all be equal before the law. Here our own country furnishes
an illustration. So long as slavery prevailed among us, there was
an attempt to preserve what was designated balance of power
between the North and South, pivoting on Slavery,--just as in
Europe there has been an attempt to preserve balance of power
among nations pivoting on War. Too tardily is it seen that this
famous balance, which has played such a part at home and abroad,
is but an artificial contrivance instituted by power, which must
give place to a simple accord derived from the natural condition
of things. Why should not the harmony which has begun at home be
extended abroad? Practicable and beneficent here, it must be the
same there. Then would nations exist without perpetual and
reciprocal watchfulness. But the first step is to discard the
wasteful, oppressive, and pernicious provocative to war, which is
yet maintained at such terrible cost. To-day this glorious advance
is presented to France and Germany.


Two personages at this moment hold in their hands the great
question teeming with a new civilization. Honest and determined,
both are patriotic rather than cosmopolitan or Christian,
believing in Prussia rather than Humanity. And the patriotism so
strong in each keeps still the early tinge of iron. I refer to
King William and his Prime-Minister, Count Bismarck.

More than any other European sovereign, William of Prussia
possesses the infatuation of "divine right." He believes that he
was appointed by God to be King--differing here from Louis
Napoleon, who in a spirit of compromise entitled himself Emperor
"by the grace of God and the national will." This infatuation was
illustrated at his coronation in ancient Konigsberg,--first home
of Prussian royalty, and better famous as birthplace and lifelong
home of Immanuel Kant,--when the King enacted a scene of
melodrama which might be transferred from the church to the
theatre. No other person was allowed to place the crown on his
royal head. Lifting it from the altar, where it rested, he placed
it on his head himself, in sign that he held it from Heaven and
not from man, and next placed another on the head of the Queen, in
sign that her dignity was derived from him. Then, turning round,
he grasped the sword of state, in testimony of readiness to defend
the nation. Since the Battle of Sadowa, when the Austrian Empire
was so suddenly shattered, he has believed himself providential
sword-bearer of Germany, destined, perhaps, to revive the old
glories of Barbarossa. His habits are soldierly, and, notwithstanding
his seventy-three winters, he continues to find pleasure in
wearing the spiked helmet of the Prussian camp. Republicans
smile when he speaks of "my army," "my allies," and "my people";
but this egotism is the natural expression of the monarchical
character, especially where the monarch believes that he
holds by "divine right." His public conduct is in harmony with
these conditions. He is a Protestant, and rules the land of
Luther, but he is no friend to modern Reform. The venerable system
of war and prerogative is part of his inheritance handed down from
fighting despots, and he evidently believes in it.

His Minister, Count Bismarck, is the partisan of "divine right,"
and, like the King, regards with satisfaction that hierarchical
feudalism from which they are both derived. He is noble, and
believes in nobility. He believes also in force, as if he had the
blood of the god Thor. He believes in war, and does not hesitate
to throw its "iron dice," insisting upon the rigors of the game.
As the German question began to lower, his policy was most
persistent. "Not by speeches and votes of the majority," he said
in 1862, "are the great questions of the time decided,--that was
the error of 1848 and 1849,--_but by iron and blood_." [Footnote:
"Nicht durch Reden und Majoritaetsbeschluesse werden die grossen
Fragen der Zeit entschieden,--das ist der Fehler von 1848 und
1849 gewesen,--sondern durch Eisen und Blut."--_Aeusserungen
in der Budgetkommission_, September, 1862.]

Thus explicit was he. Having a policy, he became its
representative, and very soon thereafter controlled the counsels
of his sovereign, coming swiftly before the world; and yet his
elevation was tardy. Born in 1815, he did not enter upon diplomacy
until 1851, when thirty-six years of age, and only in 1862 became
Prussian Minister at Paris, whence he was soon transferred to the
Cabinet at Berlin as Prime-Minister. Down to that time he was
little known. His name is not found in any edition of the bulky
French Dictionary of Contemporaries, [Footnote: Vapereau,
Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains.] not even its "Additions
and Rectifications," until the Supplement of 1863. But from this
time he drew so large a share of public attention that the
contemporary press of the world became the dictionary where his
name was always found. Nobody doubts his intellectual resources,
his courage, or strength of will; but it is felt that he is
naturally hard, and little affected by human sympathy. Therefore
is he an excellent war minister. It remains to be seen if he will
do as much for peace. His one idea has been the unity of Germany
under the primacy of Prussia; and here he encountered Austria, as
he now encounters France. But in that larger unity where nations
will be conjoined in harmony he can do less, so long at least as
he continues a fanatic for kings and a cynic towards popular

Such is the King, and such his Minister. I have described them
that you may see how little help the great ideas already
germinating from bloody fields will receive from them. In this
respect they are as one.


Beyond the most persuasive influence of civilization, pleading, as
never before, with voice of reason and affection, that the
universal tyrant and master-evil of Christendom, the War System,
may cease, and the means now absorbed in its support be employed
for the benefit of the Human Family, there are two special
influences which cannot be without weight at this time. The first
is German authority in the writings of philosophers, by whom
Germany rules in thought; and the second is the uprising of the
working-men: both against war as acknowledged arbiter between
nations, and insisting upon peaceful substitutes.


More than any other nation Germany has suffered from war. Without
that fatal gift of beauty, "a dowry fraught with never-ending
pain," which tempted the foreigner to Italy, her lot has been
hardly less wretched; but Germany has differed from Italy in the
successful bravery with which she repelled the invader. Tacitus
says of her people, that, "surrounded by numerous and very
powerful nations, they are safe, not by obsequiousness, but by
battles and braving danger"; [Footnote: "Plurimis ac valentissimis
nationibus cincti, non per obsequium, sed prutiis et periclitando
tuti sunt."--_Germania_, Cap. XL.] and this same character,
thus epigrammatically presented, has continued ever since. Yet
this was not without that painful experience which teaches what
Art has so often attempted to picture and Eloquence to describe,
"The Miseries of War." Again in that same fearless spirit has
Germany driven back the invader, while War is seen anew in its
atrocious works. But it was not merely the Miseries of War which
Germans regarded. The German mind is philosophical and scientific,
and it early saw the irrational character of the War System. It is
well known that Henry the Fourth of France conceived the idea of
Harmony among Nations without War; and his plan was taken up and
elaborated in numerous writings by the good Abbe de Saint-Pierre,
so that he made it his own. Rousseau, in his treatise on the
subject, [Footnote: J. J. Rousseau, Extrait du Projet de Paix
Perpetuelle de M. l'Abbe de Saint-Pierre; avec Lettre a M. de
Bastide, et Jugement sur la Paix Perpetuelle: Oeuvres, (edit.
1788-93,) Tom. VII. pp. 339-418.] popularized Saint-Pierre. But it
is to Germany that we must look for the most complete and
practical development of this beautiful idea. If French in origin,
it is German now in authority.

The greatest minds in Germany have dealt with this problem, and
given to its solution the exactness of science. No greater have
been applied to any question. Foremost in this list, in time and
in fame, is Leibnitz, that marvel of human intelligence, second,
perhaps, to none in history, who, on reading the "Project of
Perpetual Peace" by the Abbe de Saint-Pierre, pronounced this
judgment: "I have read it with attention, and am persuaded that
such a project is on the whole feasible, and that its execution
would be one of the most useful things in the world." [Footnote:
Observations sur le Projet d'une Paix Perpetuelle de M. l'Abbe de
Saint-Pierre: Opera, ed. Dutens, (Genevae, 1768,) Tom. V. p. 56.]
Thus did Leibnitz affirm its feasibility and its immense
usefulness. Other minds followed, in no apparent concert, but in
unison. I may be pardoned, if, without being too bibliographical,
I name some of these witnesses.

At Goettingen, renowned for its University, the question was
opened, at the close of the Seven Years' War in 1763, in a work by
Totze, whose character appears in its title, "Permanent and
Universal Peace in Europe, according to the Plan of Henry IV."
[Footnote: Der ewige und allgemeine Friede in Europa, nach dem
Entwurf Heinrichs IV.] At Leipsic, also the seat of a University,
the subject was presented in 1767 by Lilienfeld, in a treatise of
much completeness, under the name of "New Constitution for
States," [Footnote: 2 Neues Staatsgebaeude.] where, after exposing
the wretched chances of the battlefield and the expense of
armaments in time of peace, the author urges submission to
Arbitrators, unless a Supreme Tribunal is established to
administer International Law and to judge between nations. In 1804
appeared another work, of singular clearness and force, by Karl
Schwab, entitled "Of Unavoidable Injustice," [Footnote: Ueber das
unvermeidliche Unrecht.] where the author describes what he calls
the Universal State, in which nations will be to each other as
citizens in the Municipal State. He is not so visionary as to
imagine that justice will always be inviolate between nations in
the Universal State, for it is not always so between citizens in
the Municipal State; but he confidently looks to the establishment
between nations of the rules which now subsist between citizens,
whose differences are settled peaceably by judicial tribunals.

These works, justly important for the light they shed, and as
expressions of a growing sentiment, are eclipsed in the
contributions of the great teacher, Immanuel Kant, who, after his
fame in philosophy was established, so that his works were
discussed and expounded not only throughout Germany, but in other
lands, in 1795 crave to the world a treatise entitled "On
Perpetual Peace," [Footnote: Zum ewigen Frieden.] which was
promptly translated into French, Danish, and Dutch. Two other
works by him attest his interest in the subject, the first
entitled "Idea for a General History in a Cosmopolitan View,"
[Footnote: Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltburgerlicher
Absicht.] and the other, "Metaphysical Elements of Jurisprudence."
[Footnote: Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Rechtslehre.]
His grasp was complete. A treaty of peace which tacitly acknowledges
the right to wage war, as all treaties now do, according to
Kant is nothing more than a truce. An individual war may be
ended, but not the _state of war_; so that, even after cessation
of hostilities, there will be constant fear of their renewal,
while the armaments known as Peace Establishments will tend
to provoke them. All this should be changed, and nations should
form one comprehensive Federation, which, receiving other
nations within its fold, will at last embrace the civilized world;
and such, in the judgment of Kant, was the irresistible tendency
of nations. To a French poet we are indebted for the most
suggestive term, "United States of Europe"; [Footnote: Victor
Hugo, Discours d'Ouverture du Congres de la Paix a Paris, 21
1849: Treize Discours, (Paris, 1851,) p. 19.] but this is nothing
but the Federation of the illustrious German philosopher. Nor was
Kant alone among his great contemporaries. That other philosopher,
Fichte, whose name at the time was second only to that of Kant, in
his "Groundwork of the Law of Nature," [Footnote: Grundlage des
Naturrechts.] published in 1796, also urges a Federation of
Nations, with an established tribunal to which all should submit.
Much better for civilization, had the King at Konigsberg, instead
of grasping the sword, hearkened to the voice of Kant, renewed by

With these German oracles in its support, the cause cannot be put
aside. Even in the midst of war, Philosophy will be heard,
especially when she speaks words of concurring authority that
touch a chord in every heart. Leibnitz, Kant, and Fichte, a mighty
triumvirate of intelligence, unite in testimony. As Germany,
beyond any other nation, has given to the idea of Organized Peace
the warrant of philosophy, it only remains now that she should
insist upon its practical application. There should be no delay.
Long enough has mankind waited while the river of blood flowed on.


The working-men of Europe, not excepting Germany, respond to the
mandate of Philosophy, and insist that the War System shall be
abolished. At public meetings, in formal resolutions and
addresses, they have declared war against War, and they will not
be silenced. This is not the first time that working-men have made
themselves heard for international justice. I cannot forget, that,
while Slavery was waging war against our nation, the working-men
of Belgium in public meeting protested against that precocious
Proclamation of Belligerent Rights by which the British Government
gave such impulse to the Rebellion; and now, in the same spirit,
and for the sake of true peace, they declare themselves against
that War System by which the peace of nations is placed in such
constant jeopardy. They are right; for nobody suffers in war as
the working-man, whether in property or in person. For him war is
a ravening monster, devouring his substance, and changing him from
citizen to military serf. As victim of the War System he is
entitled to be heard.

The working-men of different countries have been organizing in
societies, of which it is difficult at present to tell the number
and extent. It is known that these societies exist in Germany,
France, Spain, Italy, and England, as well as in our own country,
and that they have in some measure an international character. In
France, before the war, there were 438,785 men in the organization,
and in Germany 150,000. Yet this is but the beginning. [Footnote:
La Solidarite, 25 Juin 1870,--as cited by Testu, _L' Internationale,
(me edit.,) p. 275.]

At the menace of the present war, all these societies were roused.
The society known as the International Working-Men's Association,
by their General Council, issued an address, dated at London,
protesting against it as a war of dynasties, denouncing Louis
Napoleon as an enemy of the laboring classes, and declaring "the
war-plot of July, 1870, but an amended edition of the _coup
d'etat_ of December, 1851." The address then testifies generally
against war, saying,--

"They feel deeply convinced, that, whatever turn the impending
horrid war may take, _the alliance of the working classes of all
countries will ultimately kill war_." [Footnote: The General
Council of the International Working-Men's Association on the War,
(London, July 23, 1870.) p. iv.]

At the same time the Paris branch of the International Association
put forth a manifesto addressed "To the Working-Men of all
Countries," from which I take these passages:--

"Once more, under the pretext of European equilibrium, of national
honor, political ambitions menace the peace of the world.

"French, German, Spanish working-men! _let our voices unite in a
cry of reprobation against war!_

       *       *       *       *       *       *

"War for a question of preponderance, or of dynasty, can, in the
eyes of working-men, be nothing but a criminal absurdity.

"In response to the warlike acclamations of those who exonerate
themselves from the impost of blood, or who find in public
misfortunes a source of new speculations, we protest,--we  who
wish for peace, work, and liberty.

       *       *       *       *       *       *

"Brothers of Germany!....our divisions would only bring about
_the complete triumph of despotism on both sides of the

       *       *       *       *       *       *

"Working-men of all countries! whatever may be the result of our
common efforts, we, members of the International Association of
Working-Men, who know no frontiers, we send you, as a pledge of
indissoluble solidarity, the good wishes and the salutations of
the working-men of France." [Footnote: Testu, L'Internationale,
pp. 279-80. The General Council of the International Working-Men's
Association on the War, p. ii.]

To this appeal, so full of truth, touching to the quick the
pretence of balance of power and questions of dynasty as excuses
for war, and then rising to "a cry of reprobation against war,"
the Berlin branch of the International Association replied:--

"We join with heart and hand in your protestation..... Solemnly we
promise you that neither the noise of drums nor the thunder of
cannon, neither victory nor defeat, shall turn us aside from our
work for the union of the proletaries of all countries."
[Footnote: Testu, pp. 284-85. The General Council, etc., p. iii.]

Then came a meeting of delegates at Chemnitz, in Saxony,
representing fifty thousand Saxon working-men, which put forth the
following hardy words:--

"We are happy to grasp the fraternal hand stretched out to us by
the working-men of France.... Mindful of the watchword of the
International Working-Men's Association, _Proletarians of all
countries, unite!_ we shall never forget that the working-men
of all countries are our friends, and the despots of all countries
our enemies." [Footnote: The General Council of the International
Working-Men's Association on the War, p. iii.]

Next followed, at Brunswick, in Germany, on the 16th of July,--the
very day after the reading of the war document at the French
tribune, and the "light heart" of the Prime-Minister,--a mass
meeting of the working-men there, which declared its full
concurrence with the manifesto of the Paris branch, spurned the
idea of national antagonism to France, and wound up with these
solid words:--

"We are enemies of all wars, but above all of dynastic wars"
[Footnote: Ibid.]

The whole subject is presented with admirable power in an address
from the Workmen's Peace Committee to the Working-Men of Great
Britain and Ireland, duly signed by their officers. Here are some
of its sentences:--

"Without us war must cease; for without us standing armies could
not exist. It is out of our class chiefly that they are formed."

"We would call upon and implore the peoples of France find
Germany, in order to enable their own rulers to realize these
their peace-loving professions, _to insist upon the abolition of
standing armies_, as both the source and means of war, nurseries
of vice, and locust-consumers of the fruits of useful industry."

"What we claim and demand--what we would implore the peoples of
Europe to do, without regard to Courts, Cabinets, or Dynasties--is
_to insist upon Arbitration as a substitute for war_, with
peace and its blessings for them, for us, for the whole civilized
world." [Footnote: Herald of Peace for 1870, September 1st, pp.

The working-men of England responded to this appeal, in a crowded
meeting at St. James's Hall, London, where all the speakers were
working-men and representatives of the various handicrafts, except
the Chairman, whose strong words found echo in the intense
convictions of the large assemblage:--

"One object of this meeting is to make the horror universally
inspired by the enormous and cruel carnage of this terrible war
the groundwork for appealing to the working classes and the people
of all other European countries to join in protesting against war
altogether, [_prolonged cheers_,] as the shame of Christendom,
and direst curse and scourge of the human race. Let the will
of the people sweep away war, which cannot he waged without
them. [_'Hear!'_] Away with enormous standing armies, [_'Hear!'_]
the nurseries and instruments of war,--nurseries, too, of
vice, and crushing burdens upon national wealth and prosperity!
Let there go forth from the people of this and other lands
one universal and all-overpowering cry and demand for the
blessings of peace!" [Footnote: Ibid., October 1st, p. 125.]

At this meeting the Honorary Secretary of the Workmen's Peace
Committee, after announcing that the working-men of upwards of
three hundred towns had given their adhesion to the platform of
the Committee, thus showing a determination to abolish war
altogether, moved the following resolution, which was adopted:---

"That war, especially with the present many fearful contrivances
for wholesale carnage an destruction, is repugnant to every
principle of reason, humanity, and religion; and this meeting
earnestly invites all civilized and Christian peoples to insist
upon the abolition of standing armies, and the settlement by
arbitration of all international disputes." [Footnote: Herald of
Peace for 1870, October 1st, p. 125.]

Thus clearly is the case stated by the Working-Men, now beginning
to be heard; and the testimony is reverberated from nation to
nation. They cannot be silent hereafter. I confidently look to
them for important cooperation in this great work of redemption.
Could my voice reach them now, wherever they may be, in that
honest toil which is the appointed lot of man, it would be with
words of cheer and encouragement. Let them proceed until
civilization is no longer darkened by war. In this way will they
become not only saviours to their own households, but benefactors
of the whole Human Family.


Such is the statement, with its many proofs, by which war is
exhibited as the Duel of Nations, being the Trial by Battle of the
Dark Ages. You have seen how nations, under existing International
Law, to which all are parties, refer their differences to this
insensate arbitrament,--and then how, in our day and before our
own eyes, two nations eminent in civilization have furnished an
instance of this incredible folly, waging together a world-
convulsing, soul-harrowing, and most barbarous contest. All ask
how long the direful duel will be continued. Better ask, How long
will be continued that War System by which such a duel is
authorized and regulated among nations? When will this legalized,
organized crime be abolished? When at last will it be confessed
that the Law of Right is the same for nations as for individuals,
so that, if Trial by Battle be impious for individuals, it is so
for nations likewise? Against it are Reason and Humanity, pleading
as never before,--Economy, asking for mighty help,--Peace, with
softest voice praying for safeguard,--and then the authority of
Philosophy, speaking by some of its greatest masters,--all
reinforced by the irrepressible, irresistible protest of working-
men in different nations.

Precedents exist for the abolition of this duel, so completely in
point, that, according to the lawyer's phrase, they "go on all
fours" with the new case. Two of these have been already
mentioned: first, when, at the Diet of Worms, in 1495, the Emperor
Maximilian proclaimed a permanent peace throughout Germany, and
abolished the "liberty" of Private War; and, secondly, when, in
1815, the German Principalities stipulated "under no pretext to
make war upon one another, or to pursue their differences by force
of arms." [Footnote: See, _ante_, p. 247.] But first in time,
and perhaps in importance, was the great Ordinance of St. Louis,
King of France, promulgated at a Parliament in 1260, where he
says: "_We forbid battles [i. e. TRIALS BY BATTLE] to all
persons throughout our dominions,... and in place of battles we
put proofs by witnesses_... AND THESE BATTLES WE ABOLISH IN OUR
DOMINIONS FOREVER." [Footnote: "Nous deffendons a tous les
batailles par tout, nostre demengne,.... et on lieu des batailles
nous meton prueves de tesmoins..... Et ces batailles nous ostons
en nostre demaigne a toujours."----_Recueil General des
Anciennes Lois Francaises_, par Jourdan, etc., (Paris, 1822-
33,) Tom. I. pp. 283-90.] These at the time were great words, and
they continue great as an example. Their acceptance by any two
nations would begin the work of abolition, which would be
completed on their adoption by a Congress of Nations, taking from
war its existing sanction.


The growing tendencies of mankind have been quickened by the
character of the present war, and the unexampled publicity with
which it has been waged. Never before were all nations, even those
separated by great spaces, whether of land or ocean, the daily and
excited spectators of the combat. The vast amphitheatre within
which the battle is fought, with the whole heavens for its roof,
is coextensive with civilization itself. The scene in that great
Flavian Amphitheatre, the famous Colosseum, is a faint type of
what we are witnessing; but that is not without its lesson. Bloody
games, where human beings contended with lions and tigers,
imported for the purpose, or with each other, constituted an
institution of ancient Rome, only mildly rebuked by Cicero,
[Footnote: "Crudele gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis
videri solet: et hand scio an ita sit, ut nunc fit."_--Tusculanae
Quaestiones_, Lib. II. Cap. XVII. 41.] and adopted even by
Titus, in that short reign so much praised as unspotted by the
blood of the citizen. [Footnote: Suetonius: _Titus_, Cap. IX.
Merivale, History of the Romans under the Empire, (London, 1862,)
Ch. LX., Vol. VII. p. 56.] One hundred thousand spectators looked
on, while gladiators from Germany and Gaul joined in ferocious
combat; and then, as blood began to flow, and victim after victim
sank upon the sand, the people caught the fierce contagion. A
common ferocity ruled the scene. As Christianity prevailed, the
incongruity of such an institution was widely felt; but still it
continued. At last an Eastern monk, moved only by report,
journeyed a long way to protest against the impiety. With noble
enthusiasm he leaped into the arena, where the battle raged, in
order to separate the combatants. He was unsuccessful, and paid
with life the penalty of his humanity. [Footnote: St. Telemachus,
A. D. 401. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed.
Milman, (London, 1846,) Ch. XXX., Vol. III. p. 70. Smith, Dict.
Gr. and Rom. Biog. and Myth., art. TELEMACHUS.] But the martyr
triumphed where the monk had failed. Shortly afterwards, the
Emperor Honorius, by solemn decree, put an end to this horrid
custom. "The first Christian Emperor," says Gibbon, "may claim the
honor of the first edict which condemned the art and amusement of
shedding human blood." [Footnote: Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire, _ubi supra_.] Our amphitheatre is larger than that of
Rome; but it witnesses scenes not less revolting; nor need any
monk journey a long way to protest against the impiety. That
protest can be uttered by every one here at home. We are all
spectators; and since by human craft the civilized world has
become one mighty Colosseum, with place for everybody, may we not
insist that the bloody games by which it is yet polluted shall
cease, and that, instead of mutual-murdering gladiators filling
the near-brought scene with death, there shall be a harmonious
people, of different nations, but one fellowship, vying together
only in works of industry and art, inspired and exalted by a
divine beneficence?

In presenting this picture I exaggerate nothing. How feeble is
language to depict the stupendous barbarism! How small by its side
the bloody games which degraded ancient Rome! How pygmy the one,
how colossal the other! Would you know how the combat is
conducted? Here is the briefest picture of the arena by a looker-

"Let your readers fancy masses of colored rags glued together with
blood and brains, and pinned into strange shapes by fragments of
bones,--let them conceive men's bodies without heads, legs without
bodies, heaps of human entrails attached to red and blue cloth,
and disembowelled corpses in uniform, bodies lying about in all
attitudes, with skulls shattered, faces blown off, hips smashed,
bones, flesh, and gay clothing all pounded together as if brayed
in a mortar extending for miles, not very thick in any one place,
but recurring perpetually for weary hours,--and then they cannot,
with the most vivid imagination, come up to the sickening reality
of that butchery." [Footnote: Scene after the Battle of Sedan:
Herald of Peace for 1870, October 1st, p. 121] Such a sight would
have shocked the Heathen of Rome. They could not have looked on
while the brave gladiator was thus changed into a bloody hash;
least of all could they have seen the work of slaughter done by
machinery. Nor could any German gladiator have written the letter
I proceed to quote from a German soldier:--

"I do not know how it is, but one wholly forgets the danger one is
in, and thinks only of the effect of one's own bullets, rejoicing
like a child at the sight of the enemy falling like skittles, and
having scarcely a compassionate glance to spare for the comrade
falling at one's side. One ceases to be a human being, and turns
into a brute, a complete brute."

Plain confession! And yet the duel continues. Nor is there death
for the armed man only. Fire mingles with slaughter, as at
Bazeilles. Women and children are roasted alive, filling the air
with suffocating odor, while the maddened combatants rage against
each other. All this is but part of the prolonged and various
spectacle, where the scene shifts only for some other horror.
Meanwhile the sovereigns of the world sit in their boxes, and the
people everywhere occupy the benches.


The duel now pending teaches the peril from continuance of the
present system. If France and Germany can be brought so suddenly
into collision on a mere pretext, what two nations are entirely
safe? Where is the talisman for their protection? None, surely,
except Disarmament, which, therefore, for the interest of all
nations, should be commenced. Prussia is now an acknowledged
military power, armed "in complete steel,"--but at what cost to
her people, if not to mankind! Military citizenship, according to
Prussian rule, is military serfdom, and on this is elevated a
military despotism of singular grasp and power, operating
throughout the whole nation, like martial law or a state of siege.
In Prussia the law tyrannically seizes every youth of twenty, and,
no matter what his calling or profession, compels him to military
service for seven years. Three years he spends in active service
in the regular army, where his life is surrendered to the trade of
blood; then for four years he passes to the reserve, where he is
subject to periodic military drills; then for five years longer to
the _Landwehr_, or militia, with liability to service in the
_Landsturm_, in case of war, until sixty. Wherever he may be
in foreign lands, his military duty is paramount.

But if this system be good for Prussia, then must it be equally
good for other nations. If this economical government, with
education for all, subordinates the business of life to the
military drill, other nations will find too much reason for doing
the same. Unless the War System is abandoned, all must follow the
successful example, while the civilized world becomes a busy camp,
with every citizen a soldier, and with all sounds swallowed up in
the tocsin of war. Where, then, are the people? Where are popular
rights? Montesquieu has not hesitated to declare that the peril to
free governments proceeds from armies, and that this peril is not
corrected even by making them depend directly on the legislative
power. This is not enough. The armies must be reduced in number
and force. [Footnote: De l'Esprit des Lois, Liv. XI. Ch. 6.] Among
his papers, found since his death, is the prediction, "France will
be ruined by the military." [Footnote: "La France se perdra par
les gens de guerre."_--Pensees Diverses,--Varietes_: (Oeuvres
Melees et Posthumes, (Paris, 1807, Didot,) Tom. II. p. 138.)]
It is the privilege of genius like that of Montesquieu to lift the
curtain of the future; but even he did not see the vastness
of suffering in store for his country through those armies
against which he warned. For years the engine of despotism
at home, they became the sudden instrument of war abroad. Without
them Louis Napoleon could not have made himself Emperor, nor could
he have hurried France into the present duel. If needed in other
days, they are not needed now. The War System, always barbarous,
is an anachronism, full of peril both to peace and liberal


An army is a despotism; military service is a bondage; nor can the
passion for arms be reconciled with a true civilization. The
present failure to acknowledge this incompatibility is only
another illustration how the clear light of truth is discolored
and refracted by an atmosphere where the cloud of war still
lingers. Soon must this cloud be dispersed. From war to peace is a
change indeed; but Nature herself testifies to change. Sirius,
brightest of all the fixed stars, was noted by Ptolemy as of
reddish hue, [Footnote: Almagest, ed. et tr. Halma, (Paris, 1816-
20,) Tom. II. pp. 72, 73.] and by Seneca as redder than Mars;
[Footnote: Naturales Quaestiones, Lib. I. Cap. 1.] but since then
it has changed to white. To the morose remark, whether in the
philosophy of Hobbes or the apology of the soldier, that man is a
fighting animal and that war is natural, I reply,--Natural for
savages rejoicing in the tattoo, natural for barbarians rejoicing
in violence, but not natural for man in a true civilization, which
I insist is the natural state to which he tends by a sure
progression. The true state of Nature is not war, but peace. Not
only every war, but every recognition of war as the mode of
determining international differences, is evidence that we are yet
barbarians,--and so also is every ambition for empire founded on
force, and not on the consent of the people. A ghastly, bleeding,
human head was discovered by the early Romans, as they dug the
foundations of that Capitol which finally swayed the world.
[Footnote: Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Antiquitates Romanae, Lib.
IV. Capp. 59-61.] That ghastly, bleeding, human head is the fit
symbol of military power.

Let the War System be abolished, and, in the glory of this
consummation, how vulgar all that comes from battle! By the side
of this serene, beneficent civilization, how petty in its
pretensions is military power! how vain its triumphs! At this
moment the great general who has organized victory for Germany is
veiled, and his name does not appear even in the military
bulletins. Time is the glory of arms passing from sight, and
battle losing its ancient renown. Peace does not arrest the mind
like war. It does not glare like battle. Its operations, like
those of Nature, are gentle, yet sure. It is not the tumbling,
sounding cataract, but the tranquil, fruitful river. Even the
majestic Niagara, with thunder like war, cannot compare with the
peaceful plains of water which it divides. How easy to see that
the repose of nations, like the repose of Nature, is the great
parent of the most precious bounties vouchsafed by Providence! Add
Peace to Liberty,--

 "And with that virtue, every virtue lives."

As peace is assured, the traditional sensibilities of nations will
disappear. Their frontiers will no longer frown with hostile
cannon, nor will their people be nursed to hate each other. By
ties of constant fellowship will they be interwoven together, no
sudden trumpet waking to arms, no sharp summons disturbing the
uniform repose. By steam, by telegraph, by the press, have they
already conquered time, subdued space,--thus breaking down old
walls of partition by which they have been separated. Ancient
example loses its influence. The prejudices of another generation
are removed, and the old geography gives place to a new. The
heavens are divided into constellations, with names from beasts,
or from some form of brute force,--as Leo, Taurus, Sagittarius,
and Orion with his club; but this is human device. By similar
scheme is the earth divided. But in the sight of God there is one
Human Family without division, where all are equal in rights; and
the attempt to set up distinctions, keeping men asunder, or in
barbarous groups, is a practical denial of that great truth,
religious and political, the Brotherhood of Man. The Christian's
Fatherland is not merely the nation in which he was born, but the
whole earth appointed by the Heavenly Father for his home. In this
Fatherland there can be no place for unfriendly boundaries set up
by any,--least of all, place for the War System, making nations as
hostile camps.

At Lassa, in Thibet, there is a venerable stone in memory of the
treaty between the courts of Thibet and China, as long ago as 821,
bearing an inscription worthy of a true civilization. From Eastern
story learn now the beauty of peace. After the titles of the two
august sovereigns, the monument proceeds: "These two wise, holy,
spiritual, and accomplished princes, foreseeing the changes hidden
in the most distant futurity, touched with sentiments of
compassion towards their people, and not knowing, in their
beneficent protection, any difference between their subjects and
strangers, have, after mature reflection and by mutual consent,
resolved to give peace to their people... In perfect harmony with
each other, they will henceforth be good neighbors, and will do
their utmost to draw still closer the bonds of union and
friendship. Henceforward the two empires of Han (China) and Pho
(Thibet) shall have fixed boundaries... In preserving these
limits, the respective parties shall not endeavor to injure each
other; they shall not attack each other in arms, or make any more
incursions beyond the frontiers now determined." Then declaring
that the two "must reciprocally exalt their virtues and banish
forever all mistrust between them, that travellers may be without
uneasiness, that the inhabitants of the villages and fields may
live at peace, and that nothing may happen to cause a misunderstanding,"
the inscription announces, in terms doubtless Oriental: "This
benefit will be extended to future generations, and the voice
of love (towards its authors) will be heard wherever the
splendor of the sun and the moon is seen. The Pho will be
tranquil in their kingdom, and the Han will be joyful in their
empire." [Footnote: Travels of the Russian Mission through
Mongolia to China, and Residence in Peking, in 1820-21, by George
Timkowski, Vol. I. pp. 460-64.] Such is the benediction which from
early times has spoken from one of the monuments erected by the
god Terminus. Call it Oriental; would it were universal! While
recognizing a frontier, there is equal recognition of peace as the
rule of international life.


In the abolition of the War System the will of the people must
become all-powerful, exalting the Republic to its just place as
the natural expression of citizenship. Napoleon has been credited
with the utterance at St. Helena of the prophecy, that "in fifty
years Europe would be Republican or Cossack." [Footnote: See the
_New York Times_ of August 11, 1870, where the reputed prophecy
is cited in these terms, in a letter of the 27th July from the
London correspondent of that journal, with remarks indicating
an expectation of its fulfilment in the results of the present war.]
This famous saying has been variously represented; but the
following are its original terms, as recorded at the time by Las
Cases, to whom it was addressed in conversation, and as
authenticated by the Commission appointed by Louis Napoleon for
the collection and publication of the matters now composing the
magnificent work entitled "Correspondance de Napoleon Ier":---

_"Dans Petat actuel des choses, avant dix ans_, toute
l'Europe peut etre cosaque, ou toute en republique."--LAS CASES,
_Memorial de Sainte-Hellene_, (Reimpression de 1823 et 1824,)
Tom. III. p. 111,--Journal, 18 Avril 1816. _Correspondence de
Napoleon I_, (Paris, 1858-69,) Tom. XXXIL p. 326.] Evidently
Europe will not be Cossack, unless the Cossack is already changed
to Republican,--as well may be, when it is known, that, since the
great act of Enfranchisement, in February, 1861, by which twenty-
three millions of serfs were raised to citizenship, with the right
to vote, fifteen thousand three hundred and fifty public schools
have been opened in Russia. A better than Napoleon, who saw
mankind with truer insight, Lafayette, has recorded a clearer
prophecy. At the foundation of the monument on Bunker Hill, on the
semi-centennial anniversary of the battle, 17th June, 1825, our
much-honored national guest gave this toast: "Bunker Hill, and the
holy resistance to oppression, which has already enfranchised the
American hemisphere. The next half-century Jubilee's toast shall
be,--To _Enfranchised Europe_."[Footnote: Columbian Centinel,
June 18, 1825.] The close of that half-century, already so
prolific, is at hand. Shall it behold the great Jubilee with all
its vastness of promise accomplished? Enfranchised Europe,
foretold by Lafayette, means not only the Republic for all, but
Peace for all; it means the United States of Europe, with the War
System abolished. Against that little faith through which so much
fails in life, I declare my unalterable conviction, that
"government of the people, by the people, and for the people"--
thus simply described by Abraham Lincoln [Footnote: Address at the
Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19,
1863: McPherson's Political History of the United States during
the Great Rebellion, p. 606.]--is a necessity of civilization, not
only because of that republican equality without distinction of
birth which it establishes, but for its assurance of permanent
peace. All privilege is usurpation, and, like Slavery, a state of
war, relieved only by truce, to be broken by the people in their
might. To the people alone can mankind look for the repose of
nations; but the Republic is the embodied people. All hail to the
Republic, equal guardian of all, and angel of peace!

Our own part is simple. It is, first, to keep out of war,--and,
next, to stand firm in those ideas which are the life of the
Republic. Peace is our supreme vocation. To this we are called. By
this we succeed. Our example is more than an army. But not on this
account can we be indifferent, when Human Rights are assailed or
republican institutions are in question. Garibaldi asks for a
"word," [Footnote: "The cause of Liberty in Italy needs the word
of the United States Government, which would be more powerful in
its behalf than that of any other."--Message to Mr. Sumner from
Caprera, May 24,1869.] that easiest expression of power. Strange
will it be, when that is not given. To the Republic, and to all
struggling for Human Rights, I give word, with heart on the lips.
Word and heart I give. Nor would I have my country forget at any
time, in the discharge of its transcendent duties, that, since the
rule of conduct and of honor is the same for nations as for
individuals, the greatest nation is that which does most for

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