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the ideas they inspire, are insatiable. It may be always glorious to conquer, whatever be the justioe of the war, or the price of the victory. The dignity of a sovereign may not permit him to recede from claims of homage and respect, at whatever expense of national peace and happiness they are to be maintained; however unjust they may have been in their original, or in their continuance however useless to the possessor, or mortifying and vexatious to other states. The pursuit of honour, when set loose from the admonitions of prudence, becomes in kings a wild and romantic passion: eager to engage, and gathering fury in its progress, it is checked by no difficulties, repelled by no dangers ; it forgets or despises those considerations of safety, ease, wealth, and plenty, which, in the eye of true public wisdom, compose the objects to which the renown of arms, the fame of victory, are only instrumental and subordinate. The pursuit of interest, on the other hand, is a sober principle; computes costs and consequences; is cautious of entering into war ; stops in time: when regulated by those universal maxims of relative justice, which belong to the affairs of communities as well as of private persons, it is the right principle for nations to proceed by; even when it trespasses upon these regulations, it is much less dangerous, because much more temperate, than the other.
II. The conduct of war.—If the cause and end of war be justifiable; all the means that appear necessary to the end, are justifiable also. This is the principle which defends those extremities to which the violence of war usually proceeds: for since war is a contest by force between parties who acknowledge no common superior, and since it includes not in its idea the supposition of any convention which should place limits to the operation of force, it has naturally no boundary but that in which force terminates, —the destruction of the life against which the force is directed. Let it be observed, however, that the license of war authorizes no acts of hostility but what are necessary or conducive to the end and object of the war. Gratuitous barbarities borrow no excuse from this plea: of which kind is every cruelty and every insult that serves only to exasperate the sufferings, or to incense the hatred of an enemy, without weakening his strength, or in any manner tending to procure his submission; such as the slaughter of captives, the subjecting of them to indignities or torture, the violation of women, the profanation of temples, the demolition of public
buildings, libraries, statues, and in general, the destruction or defacing of works that conduce nothing to annoyance or defence. These enormities are prohibited not only by the practice of civilized nations, but by the law of nature itself; as having no proper tendency to accelerate the termination, or accomplish the object, of the war; and as containing that which in peace and war is equally unjustifiable,—ultimate and gratuitous mischief.
There are other restrictions imposed upon the conduct of war, not by the law of nature primarily, but by the laws of war first, and by the law of nature as seconding and ratifying the laws of war. The laws of war are part of the law of nations; and founded, as to their authority, upon the same principle with the rest of that code, namely, upon the fact of their being established, no matter when or by whom; upon the expectation of their being mutually observed, in consequence of that establishment; and upon the general utility which results from such observance. The binding force of these rules is the greater, because the regard that is paid to them must be universal or none. The breach of the rule can only be punished by the subversion of the rule itself: on which account, the whole mischief that ensues from the loss of those salutary restrictions which such rules prescribe, is justly chargeable upon the first aggressor. To this consideration may be referred the duty of refraining in war from poison and from assassination. If the law of nature simply be consulted, it may be difficult to distinguish between these and other methods of destruction, which are
fractised without scruple by nations at war. f it be lawful to kill an enemy at all, it seems lawful to do so by one mode of death as well as by another; by a dose of poison, as by the point of a sword; by the hand of an assassin, as by the attack of an army: for if it be said that one species of assault leaves to an enemy the power of defending himself against it, and that the other does not; it may be answered, that we possess at least the same right to cut off an enemy's defence, that we have to seek his destruction. In this manner might the question be debated, if there existed no rule or law of war upon the subject. But when we observe that such practices are at present excluded by the u&tage and opinions of civilized nations; that the first recourse to them would be followed by instant retaliation ; that the mutual License which such attempts must introduce, would fill both sides with the misery of continual dread and suspicion, without adding to the strength or success of either ; that when the example came to be more generally imitated, which it soon would be, after the sentiment that condemns it had been once broken in upon, it would greatly aggravate the horrors and calamities of war, yet procure no superiority to any of the nations engaged in it: when we view these effects, we join in the public reprobation of such fatal expedients, as of the admission amongst mankind of new and enormous evils without necessity or advantage. The law of nature, we see at length, forbids these innovations, as so many transgressions of a beneficial general rule actually subsisting.
The license of war then acknowledges two limitations: it authorizes no hostilities which have not an apparent tendency to effectuate the object of the war; it respects those positive laws which the custom of nations hath sanctified, and which, whilst they are mutually conformed to, mitigate the calamities of war, without weakening its operations, or diminishing the power or safety of belligerent states.
Long and various experience seems to have convinced the nations of Europe, that nothing but a standing army can oppose a standing army, where the numbers on each side bear any moderate proportion to one another. The first standing army that appeared in Europe after the fall of the Roman legion, was that which was erected in France by Charles VII. about the middle of the fifteenth century: and that the institution hath since become general, can only be attributed to the superiority and success which are every-where observed to attend it. The truth is, the closeness, regularity, and quickness, of their movements ; the unreserved, instantaneous, and almost mechanical, obedience to orders; the sense of personal honour, and the familiarity with danger, which belong to a disciplined, veteran, and embodied soldiery, give such firmness and intrepidity to their approach, such weight and execution to their attack, as are not to be withstood by loose ranks of occasional and newly levied troops, who are liable by their inexperience to disorder and confusion, and in whom fear is constantly augmented by novelty and surprise. It is possible that a militia, with a great excess of numbers, and a ready supply of recruits, may sustain a defensive or a flying war against regular troops: it is also true that any service, which
keeps soldiers for a while together, and inures them by little and little to the habits of war and the dangers of action, transforms them in effect into a standing army. But upon this plan it may be necessary for almost a whole nation to go out to war to repel an invader; beside (hat a people so unprepared must always have the seat, and with it the miseries of war, at home, being utterly incapable of carrying their operations into a foreign country.
From the acknowledged superiority of standing armies, it follows, not only that it is unsafe for a nation to disband its regular troops, whilst neighbouring kingdoms retain theirs; but also that regular troops provide for the public service at the least possible expense. I suppose a certain quantity of military strength to be necessary, and I say, that a standing army costs the community less than any other establishment which presents to an enemy the same force. The constant drudgery of low employments is not only incompatible with any great degree of perfection or expertness in the profession of a soldier, but the profession of a soldier almost always unfits men for the business of regular occupations. Of three inhabitants of a village, it is better that one should addict himself entirely to arms, and the other two stay constantly at home to cultivate the ground, than that all the three should mix the avocations of a camp with the business of husbandry. By the former arrangement, the country gains one complete soldier, and two industrious husbandmen; from the latter, it receives three raw militiamen, who are at the same time three idle and profligate peasants. It should be considered also, that the emergencies of war wait not for seasons. Where there is no standing army ready for immediate service, it may be necessary to call the reaper from the fields in harvest, or the ploughman in seed-time; and the provision of a whole year may perish by the interruption of one month's labour. A standing army, therefore, is not only a more effectual, but a cheaper, method of providing for the public safety, than any other, because it adds more than any other to the common strength, and takes less from that which composes the wealth of a nation, —its stock of productive industry.
There is yet another distinction between standing armies and militias, which deserves a more attentive consideration than any that has been mentioned. When the state relies, for its defence, upon a militia, it is necessary that arms be put into the hands of the peopie at large. The militia itself must be numerous, in proportion to the want or inferiority of its discipline, and the imbecilities or defects of its constitution. Moreover, as such a militia must be supplied by rotation, allotment, or some mode of succession whereby they who have served a certain time are replaced by fresh draughts from the country, a much greater number will be instructed in the use of arms, and will have been occasionally embodied together, than are actually employed, or than are supposed to be wanted, at the same time. Now what effects upon the civil condition of the country may be looked for from this general diffusion of the military character, becomes an inquiry of great importance and delicacy. To me it appears doubtful whether any government can be long secure, where the people are acquainted with the use of arms, and accustomed to resort to them. Every faction will find itself at the head of an army; every disgust will excite commotion, and every commotion become a civil war. Nothing, perhaps, can govern a nation of armed citizens but that which governs an army,— despotism. I do not mean that a regular government would become despotic by training up its subjects to the knowledge and exercise of arms, but that it would ere long be forced to give way to despotism in some other shape; and that the country would be liable to what is even worse than a settled and constitutional despotism,—to perpetual rebellions, and to perpetual revolutions; to short and violent usurpations; to the successive tyranny of governors, rendered cruel and jealous by the danger and instability of their situation.
The same purposes of strength and efficacy which make a standing army necessary at all, make it necessary, in mixed governments, that this army be submitted to the management and direction of the prince: for, however well a popular council may be qualified for the offices of legislation, it is altogether unfit for the conduct of war; in which success usually depends upon vigour and enterprise; upon secrecy, despatch, and unanimity; upon a quick perception of opportunities, and the power of seizing every opportunity immediately. It is likewise necessary that the obedience of an army be as prompt and active as possible; for which reason it ought to be made an obedience of will and emulation. Upon this consideration
is founded the expediency of leaving to the prince not only the government and destination of the army, but the appointment and promotion of its officers: because a design is then alone likely to be executed with zeal and fidelity, when the person who issues the order, chooses the instruments, and rewards the service. To which we may subjoin, that, in governments like ours, if the direction and officering of the army were placed in the hands of the democratic part of the constitution, this power, added to what they already possess, would so overbalance all that would be left of regal prerogative, that little would remain of monarchy in the constitution, but the name and expense; nor would these probably remain long.
Whilst we describe, however, the advantages of standing armies, we must not conceal the danger. These properties of their constitution,—the soldiery being separated in a great degree from the rest of the community, their being closely linked amongst themselves by habits of society and subordination, and the dependency of the whole chain upon the will and favour of the prince,—however essential they may be to the purposes for which armies are kept up, give them an aspect in no wise favourable to public liberty. The danger, however, is diminished by maintaining, on all occasions, as much alliance of interest, and as much intercourse of sentiment, between the military part of the nation and the other orders of the people, as are consistent with the union and discipline of an army. For which purpose, officers of the army, upon whose disposition towards the commonwealth a great deal may depend, should be taken from the principal families of the country, and at the same time also be encouraged to establish in it families of their own, as well as be admitted to seats in the senate, to hereditary distinctions, and to all the civil honours and privileges that are compatible with their profession: which circumstances of connection and situation will give them such a share in the general rights of the people, and so engage their inclinations on the side of public liberty, as to afford a reasonable security that they cannot be brought, by any promises of personal aggrandizement, to assist in the execution of measures which might enslave their posterity, their kindred, and their country.