Home > Uncategorized > Samuel Johnson: War is heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved

Samuel Johnson: War is heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved

====

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Samuel Johnson: I to nobler themes aspire

Samuel Johnson: War is the extremity of evil

====

Samuel Johnson
From The Patriot (1774)

images

As war is one of the heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved; as it sets the general safety to hazard, suspends commerce, and desolates the country; as it exposes great numbers to hardships, dangers, captivity, and death; no man, who desires the publick prosperity, will inflame general resentment by aggravating minute injuries, or enforcing disputable rights of little importance.

It may, therefore, be safely pronounced, that those men are no patriots, who, when the national honour was vindicated in the sight of Europe, and the Spaniards having invaded what they call their own, had shrunk to a disavowal of their attempt, and a relaxation of their claim, would still have instigated us to a war, for a bleak and barren spot in the Magellanick ocean, of which no use could be made, unless it were a place of exile for the hypocrites of patriotism.

Yet let it not be forgotten, that, by the howling violence of patriotick rage, the nation was, for a time, exasperated to such madness, that, for a barren rock under a stormy sky, we might have now been fighting and dying, had not our competitors been wiser than ourselves; and those who are now courting the favour of the people, by noisy professions of publick spirit, would, while they were counting the profits of their artifice, have enjoyed the patriotick pleasure of hearing, sometimes, that thousands have been slaughtered in a battle, and, sometimes, that a navy had been dispeopled by poisoned air and corrupted food.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: