« AnteriorContinua »
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 çonduce nothing to annoyance or defence.
Th se 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--ulti
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 feconding 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 obfervance. 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 aflaffination. If the law of nature simply be consulted, it may be difficult to distinguish between these and other methods of destruction, which are practised without scruple by nations at war.
If 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 fpecies of assault leaves to an enemy
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 çut 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 usage and opinions of civilized nations; that the first recourse to them would be followed by
instant retaliation; that the mutual licence which such attempts must introduce, would fill both fides 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 transgres: fions of a beneficial general rule actually subfifting
The licence of war then acknowledges two limitations : it authorises no hoftilities which have not an apparent tendency to effectuate the object of the war; it respects those positive laws which the custom of nations hath fanctified, 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 fianding 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 clofenefs, 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 who'n fear is constantly augmented by novelty and surprisi. It is poslīble that a militia, with a great exce's of numbers, and a ready supply of recruits, may sustain a
defensive this plan it may
defensive or a flying war against regular troops ; it is also true that any service, which keep fóldiers 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 ftanding army. But upon this plan be necessary for almost a whole nation to go out to war to repel an invader; beside that, 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 difband its regular troops, whilst neighbouring kingdoms retain theirs; but also that regular troops provide for the public service at the least possible expence, 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 fame force. The constant drudgery of low employments is not only incompatible with any great degree of perfeâion or expertness in the profeffion of a soldier, but the profession of a foldier almost always unfits men for the business of regular occupations. Of three inhabitants of.