Home > Uncategorized > Horace Walpole: Stuffing hospitals with maimed soldiers, besides making thousands of widows!

Horace Walpole: Stuffing hospitals with maimed soldiers, besides making thousands of widows!


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

As it is a persecution of animals, I do not love hunting; and what old writers mention as a commendation makes me hate it the more, its being an image of war. Mercy on us! that destruction of any species should be a sport or a merit! What cruel unreflecting imps we are! Everybody is unwilling to die; yet sacrifices the lives of others to momentary pastime, or to the still emptier vapour, fame! A hero or a sportsman who wishes for longer life is desirous of prolonging devastation. We shall be crammed, I suppose, with panegyrics and epitaphs on the King of Prussia; I am content that he can now have an epitaph. But, alas! the Emperor will write one for him probably in blood! and, while he shuts up convents for the sake of population, will be stuffing hospitals. With maimed soldiers, besides making thousands of widows!

I have just been reading a new published history of the Colleges in Oxford, by Anthony Wood; and there found a feature in a character that always offended me, that of Archbishop Chicheley, who prompted Henry the Fifth to the invasion of France, to divert him from squeezing the overgrown clergy. When that priest meditated founding All Souls, and “consulted his friends (who seem to have been honest men) what great matter of piety he had best perform to God in his old age, he was advised by them to build an hospital for the wounded and sick soldiers that daily returned from the wars then had in France.” I doubt his grace’s friends thought as I do of his artifice “but,” continues the historian, “disliking those motions, and valuing the welfare of the deceased more than the wounded and diseased, he resolved with himself to promote his design, which was, to have masses said for the King, Queen, and himself, etc. while living, and for their souls when dead.” And that mummery the old foolish rogue thought more efficacious than ointments and medicines for the wretches he had made!


I wish for peace and tranquillity, and should be glad to pass my remaining hours in the idle and retired amusements I love, and without any solicitude for my country.


It was not six days ago, that in the midst of four raging wars I saw in the papers an account of the Opera and of the dresses of the company; and thence the town, and thence of course the whole nation were informed that Mr. Fitzpatrick had very little powder in his hair.

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