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Horace Walpole: We peaceable folks are now to govern the world


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

British writers on peace and war

Horace Walpole: Selections on war and peace


Horace Walpole
From his correspondence (1761)

You may frown if you please at my imprudence, you who are gone with all the disposition in the world to be well with your commander; the peace is in a manner made, and the anger of generals will not be worth sixpence these ten years. We peaceable folks are now to govern the world, and you warriors must in your turn tremble at our Subjects the mob, as we have done before your hussars and court-martials.

Good night! mine is a life of letter-writing; I pray for a peace that I may sheath my Pen.

In spite of you, and all the old barons our ancestors, I pray that we may have done with glory, and would willingly burn every Roman and Greek historian who have don nothing but transmit precedents for cutting throats.

I am writing, I am building – both works that will outlast the memory of battles and heroes!

If it produces a peace, I shall be happy for mankind – if not, shall content myself with the single but pure joy of Mr. Conway’s being safe.

You have heard our politics; they do not mend, sick of glory, without being tired of war, and surfeited with unanimity before it had finished its work, we are running into all kinds of confusion. The city have bethought themselves, and have voted that they will still admire Mr. Pitt; consequently, be, without the cheek of seeming virtue, may do what he pleases. An address of thanks to him has been carried by one hundred and nine against fifteen, and the city are to instruct their members; that is, because we are disappointed of a Spanish war, we must have one at home.

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