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10. From the most careful calculations that can be made, it would appear that upwards of six hundred and fifty thousand men, French and Russians, invaders and defenders, perished in this most disastrous campaign. All estimates of the loss of life, and also of property, must, however, fall short of the truth. Many thousands of Russians perished obscurely, murdered in defence of their homes; thousands died of fatigue, hunger, and other privations. Innumerable villages, towns, and cities, were sacked, burnt, and destroyed; and many years of dire suffering elapsed before the general distress was allayed, or the marks of disaster were obliterated. What outrages were committed during the progress of the war, what hearts were broken, what grief was endured for the loss of fathers, brothers, and other relatives, what tears were «hed, must all be left to the imagination of the reader. Such is war! From Chambers Ann Others.
CLIV. — DUELLING.
1. If two boys, who disagreed about a game of marbles or a penny tart, should therefore walk out by the river side, quietly take off their clothes, and, when they had got into the water, each try to keep the other's head down until one of them was drowned, we should doubtless think that these two boys were mad. If, when the survivor returned to his schoolfellows, they patted him on the shoulder, told him he was a spirited fellow, and that if he had not tried the feat in the water they would never have played at marbles or any other game with him again, we should doubtless think that these boys were infected with a most revolting and disgusting depravity and ferociousness. We should instantly exert ourselves to correct their principles, and should feel assured that nothing could ever induce us to tolerate, much less to encourage, such abandoned conduct.
2. And yet we do both tolerate and encourage such depravity every day. Change the penny tart for some other trifle, instead of boys put men, and instead of a river a pistol, and we encourage it all. We virtually pat the survivor's shoulder, tell him he is a man of honor, and that if he had not shot at his acquaintance we would never have dined with him again. "Revolting and disgusting depravity" are at once excluded from our vocabulary. We substitute such phrases as " the course which a gentleman is obliged to pursue," "it was necessary to his honor," "one could not have associated with him if he had not fought." We are the schoolboys grown up; and by the absurdity, and more than absurdity, of our phrases and actions, shooting or drowning (it oiatters not which) becomes the practice of the national school.
3. It is not a trifling question that a man puts to himself when he asks, What is the amount of my contribution to this detestable practice? It is by individual contributions to the public notions respecting it that the practice is kept up. Men do not fire at one another because they are fond of risking their own lives or other men's, but because public notions are such as they are. Nor do I think any deduction can be more manifestly just than that he who contributes to the misdirection of these notions is responsible for a share of the evil and the guilt.
4. When some offence has given probability to a duel, every man acts immorally who evinces any disposition to coolness with either party until he has resolved to fight; and if, eventually, one of them falls, he is a party to his destruction. Every word of unfriendliness, every look of indifference, is positive guilt; for it is such words and such looks that drive men to their pistols. It is the same after a victim has fallen. "I pity his family, but they have the consolation of knowing that he vindicated his honor," is equivalent to urging another and another to fight. Kvery heedless gossip who asks, " Have you heard of this affair of honor ?" and every reporter of news who relates it as a proper and necessary procedure, participates in the general crime.
CLV. — BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
I. His Predominant Traits. — His predominant passion neerus to have been the love of the useful. The useful was to him the summw.n bamtm^' the supremely fair, the sublime and beautiful, which it may not, perhaps, be extravagant to believe he was in quest of every week for half a century. No department was too plain or humble for him to occupy himself in for this purpose; and, in affairs of the most unambitious order, this was still systematically his object. Whether in the construction of chimneys or of constitutions, lecturing on the saving of candles or on the economy of national revenues, he was still intent Od the same end; the question always being how to obtain the most it solid, tangible advantage, by the plainest and easiest means.
There has rarely been a mortal of high intelligence and flattering fame on whom the pomps of life were so powerless. On bim were completely thrown away the oratorical and poetical heroics about glory, of which heroics it was enough that he easily perceived the intention or effect to be, to explode all sober truth and substantial good, and to impel men, at the very best of the matter, through some career of vanity, but commonly through mischief, slaughter, and devastation, in mad pursuit of what amounts at last, if attained, to some certain quantity of noise, and empty show, and intoxicated transient elation. He was so far an admirable spirit for acting the Mentor'2 to a young republic.
It will not be his fault if the citizens of America shall ever become so servile to European example as to think a multitude of supernumerary places, enormous salaries, and a privileged order, a necessary security or decoration of that political liberty which they enjoy in preeminence above every other nation on earth. In the letters of their patriarch and philosopher, they will be amply warned, by repeated and emphatic representations, of the desperate mischief of a political system in which the public resources shall be expended in a way to give the government both the interest and the means to corrupt the people. — John Foster.
2. His Colloquial Powers. — His cheerfulness and his colloquial powers spread around him a perpetual spring. Of Franklin no one ever became tired. There was no ambition of eloquence, no effort to shine, in anything which came from him. There was nothing which made any demand either upon your allegiance or your admiration. His manner was as unaffected as infancy. It was nature's self. He talked like an old patriarch; and his plainness and simplicity put you at once at your ease, and gave you the full and free possession and use of all your faculties. His thoughts were of a character to shine by their own light, without any adventitious aid. They required only a medium of vision like his pure and simple style to exhibit, to the highest advantage, their native radiance and beauty. His cheerfulness was unremitting. It seemed to be as much the effect of the systematic and salutary exercise of the mind as of its superior organization.
His wit was of the first order. It did not show itself merely in occasional coruscations; but, without any effort or force on his part, it shed a constant stream of the purest light over the whole of his discourse. Whether in the company of commons or nobles, he was always the same plain man; always most perfectly at his ease, his faculties in full play, and the full orbit of his genius forever clear and unclouded. And then the stores of his mind were inexhaustible. He had commenced life with an attention Bo vigilant that nothing had escaped his observation, and a judgment so solid that every incident was turned to advantage His youth had not been wasted in idleness, nor overcast by intemper> ance. He had been a)] his life a close and deep reader, as well as thinker; and, by the force of his own powers, had wrought up the raw materials, which he had gathered from books, with such exquisite skill and felicity, that he had added a hundred-fold to their original value,' and justly made them his own. — Wm. Wirt.
3. Tributes To His Memory. — Brave, benevolent, wonderful old man! Well did our Congress declare of him, in the resolutions adopted on his death, on motion of James Madison, that "his native genius was not more an ornament to human nature, than his various exertions of it have been precious to science, to freedom, and to his country." Well, too, was it said by that matchless French orator, Mirabeau, in announcing the event to the National Assembly of France, which went into mourning on the occasion, that "antiquity would have raised altars to this mighty genius, who, to the advantage of mankind, compassing in his mind the heavens and the earth, was able to restrain alike thunderbolts and tyrants." — R. C. Winthrop.
CLVI. — A STORM ON THE MOUNTAINS.
1. The sky is changed ! —and such a change! O, night.
Of a dark eye in woman! far along,
2. And this is in the night:— Most glorious night!
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight, —
3. The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom
And glowing into day: we may resume
CLVn. — A WTSHED-FOR RETREAT.
1. Give me, O, indulgent Fate,
A sweet but absolute retreat,—
2. No intruders thither come,
Who visit but to be from home, —
3. Courteous Fate! afford me there
With what the neighboring fields impart,
Whose cleanliness be all its art. —
Fruits, indeed (would Heaven bestow),
All that did in Eden grow
(All but the forbidden tree)
Would be coveted by me ; —
Grapes, with juice so crowded up.
As breaking through their native cup;
Cherries, with the downy peach,—
All within my easy reach!
Whilst, creeping near the humble ground,
Should the strawberry be found,
Springing wheresoe'er I strayed,
Through those windings and that shade!
4. Give me there (since Heaven has shown
A partner suited to my mind, —