Samuel Johnson: War is heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved
From The Patriot (1774)
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.