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James Boswell: Who profits by war?


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

James Boswell: On War


James Boswell
From London Journal (1762)


PHYSICIAN: Lord, Sir! We could not raise men for another campaign. Consider how the country has been drained. Ay, ay, it is easy for a merchant in London to sit by his warm fire and talk of our army abroad. They imagine we have got a hundred thousand stout soldiers ready to march up against the enemy. Little do they know what the severities they have suffered produce. Indeed we have a very thin army. And those that remain, what are they? Why, like Falstaff’s scarecrows. No, no, no more war! Let us not sink ourselves so many millions more in debt, and let our contractors, like Dundas, bring home a couple of hundred thousand pounds. We are now making a very good peace; let us be content.


I consider mankind in general, and therefore can not take a part in their quarrels when divided into states and nations. I can see that after a war is over and a great quantity of cold and hunger and want of sleep and torment endured by mortals, things are upon the whole just as they were.

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