James Fenimore Cooper: Is there a star where war and bloodshed aren’t known?
James Fenimore Cooper
From The Spy (1821)
“Archibald, do you deem that moon to be a world like this, containing creatures like ourselves?”
“Nothing more probable, dear John; we know its size and, reasoning from analogy, may easily conjecture its use. Whether or not its inhabitants have attained to that perfection in the sciences which we have acquired, must depend greatly on the state of its society, and in some measure upon its physical influences.”
“I care nothing about their learning, Archibald; but ’tis a wonderful power that can create such worlds, and control them in their wanderings. I know not why, but there is a feeling of melancholy excited within me as I gaze on that body of light, shaded as it is by your fancied sea and land. It seems to be the resting place of departed spirits!”
“‘Tis a glorious heaven to look upon,” continued the trooper, in the same tone, disregarding the offer of Betty, “and ’tis a thousand pities that such worms as men should let their vile passions deface such goodly work.”
“You speak the truth, dear John; there is room for all to live and enjoy themselves in peace, if each could be satisfied with his own. Still, war has its advantages; it particularly promotes the knowledge of surgery; and – ”
“There is a star,” continued Lawton, still bent on his own ideas, “struggling to glitter through a few driving clouds; perhaps that too is a world, and contains its creatures endowed with reason like ourselves. Think you that they know of war and bloodshed?”
“The savages!” exclaimed the divine, instinctively placing the trooper in the rear.
“More than savages; men who, under the guise of patriotism, prowl through the community, with a thirst for plunder that is unsatiable, and a love of cruelty that mocks the ingenuity of the Indian – fellows whose mouths are filled with liberty and equality, and whose hearts are overflowing with cupidity and gall…”
“…Ah! here are those monsters, who have come to witness the death of a fellow creature, moving around yon field, as if life was, to them, nothing but a military show.”
“It is but little more to the hireling soldier,” said Henry, endeavoring to forget his uneasiness.