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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 7
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    People do not Try to Remove the Contradiction between Life and
    Conscience by a Change of Life, but their Cultivated Leaders Exert
    Every Effort to Obscure the Demands of Conscience, and justify
    their Life; in this Way they Degrade Society below Paganism to a
    State of Primeval Barbarism--Undefined Attitude of Modern Leaders
    of Thought to War, to Universal Militarism, and to Compulsory
    Service in Army--One Section Regards War as an Accidental
    Political Phenomenon, to be Avoided by External Measures only--
    Peace Congress--The Article in the REVUE DES REVUES--Proposition
    of Maxime du Camp--Value of Boards of Arbitration and Suppression
    of Armies--Attitude of Governments to Men of this Opinion and What
    they Do--Another Section Regards War as Cruel, but Inevitable--
    Maupassant--Rod--A Third Section Regard War as Necessary, and not
    without its Advantages--Doucet-Claretie-Zola-Vogüé.

    The antagonism between life and the conscience may be removed in
    two ways: by a change of life or by a change of conscience. And
    there would seem there can be no doubt as to these alternatives.

    A man may cease to do what he regards as wrong, but he cannot
    cease to consider wrong what is wrong. Just in the same way all
    humanity may cease to do what it regards as wrong, but far from
    being able to change, it cannot even retard for a time the
    continual growth of a clearer recognition of what is wrong and
    therefore ought not to be. And therefore it would seem inevitable
    for Christian men to abandon the pagan forms of society which they
    condemn, and to reconstruct their social existence on the
    Christian principles they profess.

    So it would be were it not for the law of inertia, as immutable a
    force in men and nations as in inanimate bodies. In men it takes
    the form of the psychological principle, so truly expressed in the
    words of the Gospel, "They have loved darkness better than light
    because their deeds were evil." This principle shows itself in
    men not trying to recognize the truth, but to persuade themselves
    that the life they are leading, which is what they like and are
    used to, is a life perfectly consistent with truth.

    Slavery was opposed to all the moral principles advocated by Plato
    and Aristotle, yet neither of them saw that, because to renounce
    slavery would have meant the break up of the life they were
    living. We see the same thing in our modern world.

    The division of men into two castes, as well as the use of force
    in government and war, are opposed to every moral principle
    professed by our modern society. Yet the cultivated and advanced
    men of the day seem not to see it.

    The majority, if not all, of the cultivated men of our day try
    unconsciously to maintain the old social conception of life, which
    justifies their position, and to hide from themselves and others
    its insufficiency, and above all the necessity of adopting the
    Christian conception of life, which will mean the break up of the
    whole existing social order. They struggle to keep up the
    organization based on the social conception of life, but do not
    believe in it themselves, because it is extinct and it is
    impossible to believe in it.

    All modern literature--philosophical, political, and artistic--is
    striking in this respect. What wealth of idea, of form, of color,
    what erudition, what art, but what a lack of serious matter, what
    dread of any exactitude of thought or expression! Subtleties,
    allegories, humorous fancies, the widest generalizations, but
    nothing simple and clear, nothing going straight to the point,
    that is, to the problem of life.

    But that is not all; besides these graceful frivolities, our
    literature is full of simple nastiness and brutality, of arguments
    which would lead men back in the most refined way to primeval
    barbarism, to the principles not only of the pagan, but even of
    the animal life, which we have left behind us five thousand years

    And it could not be otherwise. In their dread of the Christian
    conception of life which will destroy the social order, which some
    cling to only from habit, others also from interest, men cannot
    but be thrown back upon the pagan conception of life and the
    principles based on it. Nowadays we see advocated not only
    patriotism and aristocratic principles just as they were advocated
    two thousand years ago, but even the coarsest epicureanism and
    animalism, only with this difference, that the men who then
    professed those views believed in them, while nowadays even the
    advocates of such views do not believe in them, for they have no
    meaning for the present day. No one can stand still when the
    earth is shaking under his feet. If we do not go forward we must
    go back. And strange and terrible to say, the cultivated men of
    our day, the leaders of thought, are in reality with their subtle
    reasoning drawing society back, not to paganism even, but to a
    state of primitive barbarism.

    This tendency on the part of the leading thinkers of the day is
    nowhere more apparent than in their attitude to the phenomenon in
    which all the insufficiency of the social conception of life is
    presented in the most concentrated form--in their attitude, that
    is, to war, to the general arming of nations, and to universal
    compulsory service.

    The undefined, if not disingenuous, attitude of modern thinkers to
    this phenomenon is striking. It takes three forms in cultivated
    society. One section look at it as an incidental phenomenon,
    arising out of the special political situation of Europe, and
    consider that this state of things can be reformed without a
    revolution in the whole internal social order of nations, by
    external measures of international diplomacy. Another section
    regard it as something cruel and hideous, but at the same time
    fated and inevitable, like disease and death. A third party with
    cool indifference consider war as an inevitable phenomenon,
    beneficial in its effects and therefore desirable.

    Men look at the subject from different points of view, but all
    alike talk of war as though it were something absolutely
    independent of the will of those who take part in it. And
    consequently they do not even admit the natural question which
    presents itself to every simple man: "How about me--ought I to
    take any part in it?" In their view no question of this kind even
    exists, and every man, however he may regard war from a personal
    standpoint, must slavishly submit to the requirements of the
    authorities on the subject.

    The attitude of the first section of thinkers, those who see a way
    out of war in international diplomatic measures, is well expressed
    in the report of the last Peace Congress in London, and the
    articles and letters upon war that appeared in No. 8 of the REVUE
    DES REVUES, 1891. The congress after gathering together from
    various quarters the verbal and written opinion of learned men
    opened the proceedings by a religious service, and after listening
    to addresses for five whole days, concluded them by a public
    dinner and speeches. They adopted the following resolutions:

    "1. The congress affirms its belief that the brotherhood of man
    involves as a necessary consequence a brotherhood of nations.

    "2. The congress recognizes the important influence that
    Christianity exercises on the moral and political progress of
    mankind, and earnestly urges upon ministers of the Gospel and
    other religious teachers the duty of setting forth the
    principles of peace and good will toward men. AND IT RECOMMENDS

    "3. The congress expresses the opinion that all teachers of
    history should call the attention of the young to the grave
    evils inflicted on mankind in all ages by war, and to the fact
    that such war has been waged for most inadequate causes.

    "4. The congress protests against the use of military drill in
    schools by way of physical exercise, and suggests the formation
    of brigades for saving life rather than of a quasi-military
    character; and urges the desirability of impressing on the
    Board of Examiners who formulate the questions for examination
    the propriety of guiding the minds of children in the
    principles of peace.

    "5. The congress holds that the doctrine of the Rights of Man
    requires that the aboriginal and weaker races, their
    territories and liberties, shall be guarded from injustice and
    fraud, and that these races shall be shielded against the vices
    so prevalent among the so-called advanced races of men. It
    further expresses its conviction that there should be concert
    of action among the nations for the accomplishment of these
    ends. The congress expresses its hearty appreciation of the
    resolutions of the Anti-slavery Conference held recently at
    Brussels for the amelioration of the condition of the peoples
    of Africa.

    "6. The congress believes that the warlike prejudices and
    traditions which are still fostered in the various
    nationalities, and the misrepresentations by leaders of public
    opinion in legislative assemblies or through the press, are
    often indirect causes of war, and that these evils should be
    counteracted by the publication of accurate information tending
    to the removal of misunderstanding between nations, and
    recommends the importance of considering the question of
    commencing an international newspaper with such a purpose.

    "7. The congress proposes to the Inter-parliamentary Conference
    that the utmost support should be given to every project for
    unification of weights and measures, coinage, tariff, postage,
    and telegraphic arrangements, etc., which would assist in
    constituting a commercial, industrial, and scientific union of
    the peoples.

    "8. The congress, in view of the vast social and moral
    influence of woman, urges upon every woman to sustain the
    things that make for peace, as otherwise she incurs grave
    responsibility for the continuance of the systems of

    "9. The congress expresses the hope that the Financial Reform
    Association and other similar societies in Europe and America
    should unite in considering means for establishing equitable
    commercial relations between states, by the reduction of import
    duties. The congress feels that it can affirm that the whole
    of Europe desires peace, and awaits with impatience the
    suppression of armaments, which, under the plea of defense,
    become in their turn a danger by keeping alive mutual distrust,
    and are, at the same time, the cause of that general economic
    disturbance which stands in the way of settling in a
    satisfactory manner the problems of labor and poverty, which
    ought to take precedence of all others.

    "10. The congress, recognizing that a general disarmament would
    be the best guarantee of peace and would lead to the solution
    of the questions which now most divide states, expresses the
    wish that a congress of representatives of all the states of
    Europe may be assembled as soon as possible to consider the
    means of effecting a gradual general disarmament.

    "11. The congress, in consideration of the fact that the
    timidity of a single power might delay the convocation of the
    above-mentioned congress, is of opinion that the government
    which should first dismiss any considerable number of soldiers
    would confer a signal benefit on Europe and mankind, because it
    would, by public opinion, oblige other governments to follow
    its example, and by the moral force of this accomplished fact
    would have increased rather than diminished the conditions of
    its national defense.

    "12. The congress, considering the question of disarmament, as
    of peace in general, depends on public opinion, recommends the
    peace societies, as well as all friends of peace, to be active
    in its propaganda, especially at the time of parliamentary
    elections, in order that the electors should give their votes
    to candidates who are pledged to support Peace, Disarmament,
    and Arbitration.

    "13. The congress congratulates the friends of peace on the
    resolution adopted by the International American Conference,
    held at Washington in April last, by which it was recommended
    that arbitration should be obligatory in all controversies,
    whatever their origin, except only those which may imperil the
    independence of one of the nations involved.

    "14. The congress recommends this resolution to the attention
    of European statesmen, and expresses the ardent desire that
    similar treaties may speedily be entered into between the other
    nations of the world.

    "15. The congress expresses its satisfaction at the adoption by
    the Spanish Senate on June 16 last of a project of law
    authorizing the government to negotiate general or special
    treaties of arbitration for the settlement of all disputes
    except those relating to the independence or internal
    government of the states affected; also at the adoption of
    resolutions to a like effect by the Norwegian Storthing and by
    the Italian Chamber.

    "16. The congress resolves that a committee be appointed to
    address communications to the principal political, religious,
    commercial, and labor and peace organizations, requesting them
    to send petitions to the governmental authorities praying that
    measures be taken for the formation of suitable tribunals for
    the adjudicature of international questions so as to avoid the
    resort to war.

    "17. Seeing (1) that the object pursued by all peace societies
    is the establishment of judicial order between nations, and (2)
    that neutralization by international treaties constitutes a
    step toward this judicial state and lessens the number of
    districts in which war can be carried on, the congress
    recommends a larger extension of the rule of neutralization,
    and expresses the wish, (1) that all treaties which at present
    assure to certain states the benefit of neutrality remain in
    force, or if necessary be amended in a manner to render the
    neutrality more effective, either by extending neutralization
    to the whole of the state or by ordering the demolition of
    fortresses, which constitute rather a peril than a guarantee
    for neutrality; (2) that new treaties in harmony with the
    wishes of the populations concerned be concluded for
    establishing the neutralization of other states.

    "18. The sub-committee proposes, (1) that the annual Peace
    Congress should be held either immediately before the meeting
    of the annual Sub-parliamentary Conference, or immediately
    after it in the same town; (2) that the question of an
    international peace emblem be postponed SINE DIE; (3) that the
    following resolutions be adopted:

    "a. To express satisfaction at the official overtures of the
    Presbyterian Church in the United States addressed to the
    highest representatives of each church organization in
    Christendom to unite in a general conference to promote the
    substitution of international arbitration for war.

    "b. To express in the name of the congress its profound
    reverence for the memory of Aurelio Saffi, the great Italian
    jurist, a member of the committee of the International
    League of Peace and Liberty.

    "(4) That the memorial adopted by this congress and
    signed by the president to the heads of the civilized states
    should, as far as practicable, be presented to each power by
    influential deputations.

    "(5) That the following resolutions be adopted:

    "a. A resolution of thanks to the presidents of the various
    sittings of the congress.

    "b. A resolution of thanks to the chairman, the secretaries,
    and the members of the bureau of the congress.

    "c. A resolution of thanks to the conveners and members of
    the sectional committees.

    "d. A resolution of thanks to Rev. Canon Scott Holland, Rev.
    Dr. Reuen Thomas, and Rev. J. Morgan Gibbon for their pulpit
    addresses before the congress, and also to the authorities
    of St. Paul's Cathedral, the City Temple, and Stamford Hill
    Congregational Church for the use of those buildings for
    public services.

    "e. A letter of thanks to her Majesty for permission to
    visit Windror Castle.

    "f. And also a resolution of thanks to the Lord Mayor and
    Lady Mayoress, to Mr. Passmore Edwards, and other friends
    who have extended their hospitality to the members of the

    "19. The congress places on record a heartfelt expression of
    gratitude to Almighty God for the remarkable harmony and
    concord which have characterized the meetings of the assembly,
    in which so many men and women of varied nations, creeds,
    tongues, and races have gathered in closest co-operation, and
    for the conclusion of the labors of the congress; and expresses
    its firm and unshaken belief in the ultimate triumph of the
    cause of peace and of the principles advocated at these

    The fundamental idea of the congress is the necessity (1) of
    diffusing among all people by all means the conviction of the
    disadvantages of war and the great blessing of peace, and (2) of
    rousing governments to the sense of the superiority of
    international arbitration over war and of the consequent
    advisability and necessity of disarmament. To attain the first
    aim the congress has recourse to teachers of history, to women,
    and to the clergy, with the advice to the latter to preach on the
    evil of war and the blessing of peace every third Sunday in
    December. To attain the second object the congress appeals to
    governments with the suggestion that they should disband their
    armies and replace war by arbitration.

    To preach to men of the evil of war and the blessing of peace!
    But the blessing of peace is so well known to men that, ever since
    there have been men at all, their best wish has been expressed in
    the greeting, "Peace be with you." So why preach about it?

    Not only Christians, but pagans, thousands of years ago, all
    recognized the evil of war and the blessing of peace. So that the
    recommendation to ministers of the Gospel to preach on the evil of
    war and the blessing of peace every third Sunday in December is
    quite superfluous.

    The Christian cannot but preach on that subject every day of his
    life. If Christians and preachers of Christianity do not do so,
    there must be reasons for it. And until these have been removed
    no recommendations will be effective. Still less effective will
    be the recommendations to governments to disband their armies and
    replace them by international boards of arbitration. Governments,
    too, know very well the difficulty and the burdensomeness of
    raising and maintaining forces, and if in spite of that knowledge
    they do, at the cost of terrible strain and effort, raise and
    maintain forces, it is evident that they cannot do otherwise, and
    the recommendation of the congress can never change it. But the
    learned gentlemen are unwilling to see that, and keep hoping to
    find a political combination, through which governments shall be
    induced to limit their powers themselves.

    "Can we get rid of war"? asks a learned writer in the REVUE DES

    "All are agreed that if it were to break out in Europe, its
    consequences would be like those of the great inroads of
    barbarians. The existence of whole nationalities would be at
    stake, and therefore the war would be desperate, bloody,

    "This consideration, together with the terrible engines of
    destruction invented by modern science, retards the moment of
    declaring war, and maintains the present temporary situation,
    which might continue for an indefinite period, except for the
    fearful cost of maintaining armaments which are exhausting the
    European states and threatening to reduce nations to a state of
    misery hardly less than that of war itself.

    "Struck by this reflection, men of various countries have tried
    to find means for preventing, or at least for softening, the
    results of the terrible slaughter with which we are threatened.

    "Such are the questions brought forward by the Peace Congress
    shortly to be held in Rome, and the publication of a pamphlet,
    Sur le Désarmement.'

    "It is unhappily beyond doubt that with the present
    organization of the majority of European states, isolated from
    one another and guided by distinct interests, the absolute
    suppression of war is an illusion with which it would be
    dangerous to cheat ourselves. Wiser rules and regulations
    imposed on these duels between nations might, however, at least
    limit its horrors.

    "It is equally chimerical to reckon on projects of disarmament,
    the execution of which is rendered almost impossible by
    considerations of a popular character present to the mind of
    all our readers. [This probably means that France cannot
    disband its army before taking its revenge.] Public opinion is
    not prepared to accept them, and moreover, the international
    relations between different peoples are not such as to make
    their acceptance possible. Disarmament imposed on one nation
    by another in circumstances threatening its security would be
    equivalent to a declaration of war.

    "However, one may admit that an exchange of ideas between the
    nations interested could aid, to a certain degree, in bringing
    about the good understanding indispensable to any negotiations,
    and would render possible a considerable reduction of the
    military expenditure which is crushing the nations of Europe
    and greatly hindering the solution of the social question,
    which each individually must solve on pain of having internal
    war as the price for escaping it externally.

    "We might at least demand the reduction of the enormous
    expenses of war organized as it is at present with a view to
    the power of invasion within twenty-four hours and a decisive
    battle within a week of the declaration of war.

    "We ought to manage so that states could not make the attack
    suddenly and invade each other's territories within twenty-four

    This practical notion has been put forth by Maxime du Camp, and
    his article concludes with it.

    The propositions of M. du Camp are as follows:

    1. A diplomatic congress to be held every year.

    2. No war to be declared till two months after the incident
    which provoked it. (The difficulty here would be to decide
    precisely what incident did provoke the war, since whenever war
    is declared there are very many such incidents, and one would
    have to decide from which to reckon the two months' interval.)

    3. No war to be declared before it has been submitted to a
    plebiscitum of the nations preparing to take part in it.

    4. No hostilities to be commenced till a month after the
    official declaration of war.

    "No war to be declared. No hostilities to be commenced," etc.
    But who is to arrange that no war is to be declared? Who is to
    compel people to do this and that? Who is to force states to
    delay their operations for a certain fixed time? All the other
    states. But all these others are also states which want holding
    in check and keeping within limits, and forcing, too. Who is to
    force them, and how? Public opinion. But if there is a public
    opinion which can force governments to delay their operations for
    a fixed period, the same public opinion can force governments not
    to declare war at all.

    But, it will be replied, there may be such a balance of power,
    such a PONDÉRATION DE FORCES, as would lead states to hold back of
    their own accord. Well, that has been tried and is being tried
    even now. The Holy Alliance was nothing but that, the League of
    Peace was another attempt at the same thing, and so on.

    But, it will be answered, suppose all were agreed. If all were
    agreed there would be no more war certainly, and no need for
    arbitration either.

    "A court of arbitration! Arbitration shall replace war. Questions
    shall be decided by a court of arbitration. The Alabama question
    was decided by a court of arbitration, and the question of the
    Caroline Islands was submitted to the decision of the Pope.
    Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, and Holland have all declared that
    they prefer arbitration to war."

    I dare say Monaco has expressed the same preference. The only
    unfortunate thing is that Germany, Russia, Austria, and France
    have not so far shown the same inclination. It is amazing how men
    can deceive themselves when they find it necessary! Governments
    consent to decide their disagreements by arbitration and to
    disband their armies! The differences between Russia and Poland,
    between England and Ireland, between Austria and Bohemia, between
    Turkey and the Slavonic states, between France and Germany, to be
    soothed away by amiable conciliation!

    One might as well suggest to merchants and bankers that they
    should sell nothing for a greater price than they gave for it,
    should undertake the distribution of wealth for no profit, and
    should abolish money, as it would thus be rendered unnecessary.

    But since commercial and banking operations consist in nothing but
    selling for more than the cost price, this would be equivalent to
    an invitation to suppress themselves. It is the same in regard to
    governments. To suggest to governments that they should not have
    recourse to violence, but should decide their misunderstandings in
    accordance with equity, is inviting them to abolish themselves as
    rulers, and that no government can ever consent to do.

    The learned men form societies (there are more than a hundred such
    societies), assemble in congresses (such as those recently held in
    London and Paris, and shortly to be held in Rome), deliver
    addresses, eat public dinners and make speeches, publish journals,
    and prove by every means possible that the nations forced to
    support millions of troops are strained to the furthest limits of
    their endurance, that the maintenance of these huge armed forces
    is in opposition to all the aims, the interests, and the wishes of
    the people, and that it is possible, moreover, by writing numerous
    papers, and uttering a great many words, to bring all men into
    agreement and to arrange so that they shall have no antagonistic
    interests, and then there will be no more war.

    When I was a little boy they told me if I wanted to catch a bird I
    must put salt on its tail. I ran after the birds with the salt in
    my hand, but I soon convinced myself that if I could put salt on a
    bird's tail, I could catch it, and realized that I had been

    People ought to realize the same fact when they read books and
    articles on arbitration and disarmament.

    If one could put salt on a bird's tail, it would be because it
    could not fly and there would be no difficulty in catching it. If
    the bird had wings and did not want to be caught, it would not let
    one put salt on its tail, because the specialty of a bird is to
    fly. In precisely the same way the specialty of government is not
    to obey, but to enforce obedience. And a government is only a
    government so long as it can make itself obeyed, and therefore it
    always strives for that and will never willingly abandon its
    power. But since it is on the army that the power of government
    rests, it will never give up the army, and the use of the army in

    The error arises from the learned jurists deceiving themselves and
    others, by asserting that government is not what it really is, one
    set of men banded together to oppress another set of men, but, as
    shown by science, is the representation of the citizens in their
    collective capacity. They have so long been persuading other
    people of this that at last they have persuaded themselves of it;
    and thus they often seriously suppose that government can be bound
    by considerations of justice. But history shows that from Caesar
    to Napoleon, and from Napoleon to Bismarck, government is in its
    essence always a force acting in violation of justice, and that it
    cannot be otherwise. Justice can have no binding force on a ruler
    or rulers who keep men, deluded and drilled in readiness for acts
    of violence--soldiers, and by means of them control others. And
    so governments can never be brought to consent to diminish the
    number of these drilled slaves, who constitute their whole power
    and importance.

    Such is the attitude of certain learned men to the contradiction
    under which our society is being crushed, and such are their
    methods of solving it. Tell these people that the whole matter
    rests on the personal attitude of each man to the moral and
    religious question put nowadays to everyone, the question, that
    is, whether it is lawful or unlawful for him to take his share of
    military service, and these learned gentlemen will shrug their
    shoulders and not condescend to listen or to answer you. The
    solution of the question in their idea is to be found in reading
    addresses, writing books, electing presidents, vice-presidents,
    and secretaries, and meeting and speaking first in one town and
    then in another. From all this speechifying and writing it will
    come to pass, according to their notions, that governments will
    cease to levy the soldiers, on whom their whole strength depends,
    will listen to their discourses, and will disband their forces,
    leaving themselves without any defense, not only against their
    neighbors, but also against their own subjects. As though a band
    of brigands, who have some unarmed travelers bound and ready to be
    plundered, should be so touched by their complaints of the pain
    caused by the cords they are fastened with as to let them go

    Still there are people who believe in this, busy themselves over
    peace congresses, read addresses, and write books. And
    governments, we may be quite sure, express their sympathy and make
    a show of encouraging them. In the same way they pretend to
    support temperance societies, while they are living principally on
    the drunkenness of the people; and pretend to encourage education,
    when their whole strength is based on ignorance; and to support
    constitutional freedom, when their strength rests on the absence
    of freedom; and to be anxious for the improvement of the condition
    of the working classes, when their very existence depends on their
    oppression; and to support Christianity, when Christianity
    destroys all government.

    To be able to do this they have long ago elaborated methods
    encouraging temperance, which cannot suppress drunkenness; methods
    of supporting education, which not only fail to prevent ignorance,
    but even increase it; methods of aiming at freedom and
    constitutionalism, which are no hindrance to despotism; methods of
    protecting the working classes, which will not free them from
    slavery; and a Christianity, too, they have elaborated, which does
    not destroy, but supports governments.

    Now there is something more for the government to encourage--
    peace. The sovereigns, who nowadays take counsel with their
    ministers, decide by their will alone whether the butchery of
    millions is to be begun this year or next. They know very well
    that all these discourses upon peace will not hinder them from
    sending millions of men to butchery when it seems good to them.
    They listen even with satisfaction to these discourses, encourage
    them, and take part in them.

    All this, far from being detrimental, is even of service to
    governments, by turning people's attention from the most important
    and pressing question: Ought or ought not each man called upon for
    military service to submit to serve in the army?

    "Peace will soon be arranged, thanks to alliances and congresses,
    to books and pamphlets; meantime go and put on your uniform, and
    prepare to cause suffering and to endure it for our benefit," is
    the government's line of argument. And the learned gentlemen who
    get up congresses and write articles are in perfect agreement with

    This is the attitude of one set of thinkers. And since it is that
    most beneficial to governments, it is also the most encouraged by
    all intelligent governments.

    Another attitude to war has something tragical in it. There are
    men who maintain that the love for peace and the inevitability of
    war form a hideous contradiction, and that such is the fate of
    man. These are mostly gifted and sensitive men, who see and
    realize all the horror and imbecility and cruelty of war, but
    through some strange perversion of mind neither see nor seek to
    find any way out of this position, and seem to take pleasure in
    teasing the wound by dwelling on the desperate position of
    humanity. A notable example of such an attitude to war is to be
    found in the celebrated French writer Guy de Maupassant. Looking
    from his yacht at the drill and firing practice of the French
    soldiers the following reflections occur to him:

    "When I think only of this word war, a kind of terror seizes
    upon me, as though I were listening to some tale of sorcery, of
    the Inquisition, some long past, remote abomination, monstrous,

    "When cannibalism is spoken of, we smile with pride,
    proclaiming our superiority to these savages. Which are the
    savages, the real savages? Those who fight to eat the
    conquered, or those who fight to kill, for nothing but to kill?

    "The young recruits, moving about in lines yonder, are destined
    to death like the flocks of sheep driven by the butcher along
    the road. They will fall in some plain with a saber cut in the
    head, or a bullet through the breast. And these are young men
    who might work, be productive and useful. Their fathers are
    old and poor. Their mothers, who have loved them for twenty
    years, worshiped them as none but mothers can, will learn in
    six months' time, or a year perhaps, that their son, their boy,
    the big boy reared with so much labor, so much expense, so much
    love, has been thrown in a hole like some dead dog, after being
    disemboweled by a bullet, and trampled, crushed, to a mass of
    pulp by the charges of cavalry. Why have they killed her boy,
    her handsome boy, her one hope, her pride, her life? She does
    not know. Ah, why?

    "War! fighting! slaughter! massacres of men! And we have now,
    in our century, with our civilization, with the spread of
    science, and the degree of philosophy which the genius of man
    is supposed to have attained, schools for training to kill, to
    kill very far off, to perfection, great numbers at once, to
    kill poor devils of innocent men with families and without any
    kind of trial.


    "Ah! we shall always live under the burden of the ancient and
    odious customs, the criminal prejudices, the ferocious ideas of
    our barbarous ancestors, for we are beasts, and beasts we shall
    remain, dominated by instinct and changed by nothing. Would
    not any other man than Victor Hugo have been exiled for that
    mighty cry of deliverance and truth? 'To-day force is called
    violence, and is being brought to judgment; war has been put on
    its trial. At the plea of the human race, civilization
    arraigns warfare, and draws up the great list of crimes laid at
    the charge of conquerors and generals. The nations are coming
    to understand that the magnitude of a crime cannot be its
    extenuation; that if killing is a crime, killing many can be no
    extenuating circumstance; that if robbery is disgraceful,
    invasion cannot be glorious. Ah! let us proclaim these
    absolute truths; let us dishonor war!'

    "Vain wrath," continues Maupassant, "a poet's indignation. War is
    held in more veneration than ever.

    "A skilled proficient in that line, a slaughterer of genius,
    Von Moltke, in reply to the peace delegates, once uttered these
    strange words:

    "'War is holy, war is ordained of God. It is one of the most
    sacred laws of the world. It maintains among men all the great
    and noble sentiments--honor, devotion, virtue, and courage, and
    saves them in short from falling into the most hideous

    "So, then, bringing millions of men together into herds,
    marching by day and by night without rest, thinking of nothing,
    studying nothing, learning nothing, reading nothing, being
    useful to no one, wallowing in filth, sleeping in mud, living
    like brutes in a continual state of stupefaction, sacking
    towns, burning villages, ruining whole populations, then
    meeting another mass of human flesh, falling upon them, making
    pools of blood, and plains of flesh mixed with trodden mire and
    red with heaps of corpses, having your arms or legs carried
    off, your brains blown out for no advantage to anyone, and
    dying in some corner of a field while your old parents, your
    wife and children are perishing of hunger--that is what is
    meant by not falling into the most hideous materialism!

    "Warriors are the scourge of the world. We struggle against
    nature and ignorance and obstacles of all kinds to make our
    wretched life less hard. Learned men--benefactors of all--
    spend their lives in working, in seeking what can aid, what be
    of use, what can alleviate the lot of their fellows. They
    devote themselves unsparingly to their task of usefulness,
    making one discovery after another, enlarging the sphere of
    human intelligence, extending the bounds of science, adding
    each day some new store to the sum of knowledge, gaining each
    day prosperity, ease, strength for their country.

    "War breaks out. In six months the generals have destroyed the
    work of twenty years of effort, of patience, and of genius.

    "That is what is meant by not falling into the most hideous

    "We have seen it, war. "We have seen men turned to brutes,
    frenzied, killing for fun, for terror, for bravado, for
    ostentation. Then when right is no more, law is dead, every
    notion of justice has disappeared. We have seen men shoot
    innocent creatures found on the road, and suspected because
    they were afraid. We have seen them kill dogs chained at their
    masters' doors to try their new revolvers, we have seen them
    fire on cows lying in a field for no reason whatever, simply
    for the sake of shooting, for a joke.

    "That is what is meant by not falling into the most hideous

    "Going into a country, cutting the man's throat who defends his
    house because he wears a blouse and has not a military cap on
    his head, burning the dwellings of wretched beings who have
    nothing to eat, breaking furniture and stealing goods, drinking
    the wine found in the cellars, violating the women in the
    streets, burning thousands of francs' worth of powder, and
    leaving misery and cholera in one's track--

    "That is what is meant by not falling into the most hideous

    "What have they done, those warriors, that proves the least
    intelligence? Nothing. What have they invented? Cannons and
    muskets. That is all.

    "What remains to us from Greece? Books and statues. Is Greece
    great from her conquests or her creations?

    "Was it the invasions of the Persians which saved Greece from
    falling into the most hideous materialism?

    "Were the invasions of the barbarians what saved and
    regenerated Rome?

    "Was it Napoleon I. who carried forward the great intellectual
    movement started by the philosophers of the end of last

    "Yes, indeed, since government assumes the right of
    annihilating peoples thus, there is nothing surprising in the
    fact that the peoples assume the right of annihilating

    "They defend themselves. They are right. No one has an
    absolute right to govern others. It ought only to be done for
    the benefit of those who are governed. And it is as much the
    duty of anyone who governs to avoid war as it is the duty of a
    captain of a ship to avoid shipwreck.

    "When a captain has let his ship come to ruin, he is judged and
    condemned, if he is found guilty of negligence or even

    "Why should not the government be put on its trial after every
    declaration of war? IF THE PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD THAT, IF THEY
    WILL NEVER COME" [Footnote: "Sur l'Eau," pp. 71-80].

    The author sees all the horror of war. He sees that it is caused
    by governments forcing men by deception to go out to slaughter and
    be slain without any advantage to themselves. And he sees, too,
    that the men who make up the armies could turn their arms against
    the governments and bring them to judgment. But he thinks that
    that will never come to pass, and that there is, therefore, no
    escape from the present position.

    "I think war is terrible, but that it is inevitable; that
    compulsory military service is as inevitable as death, and that
    since government will always desire it, war will always exist."

    So writes this talented and sincere writer, who is endowed with
    that power of penetrating to the innermost core of the subjects
    which is the essence of the poetic faculty. He brings before us
    all the cruelty of the inconsistency between men's moral sense and
    their actions, but without trying to remove it; seems to admit
    that this inconsistency must exist and that it is the poetic
    tragedy of life.

    Another no less gifted writer, Edouard Rod, paints in still more
    vivid colors the cruelty and madness of the present state of
    things. He too only aims at presenting its tragic features,
    without suggesting or forseeing any issue from the position.

    "What is the good of doing anything? What is the good of
    undertaking any enterprise? And how are we to love men in
    these troubled times when every fresh day is a menace of
    danger?...All we have begun, the plans we are developing, our
    schemes of work, the little good we may have been able to do,
    will it not all be swept away by the tempest that is in
    preparation?...Everywhere the earth is shaking under our feet
    and storm-clouds are gathering on our horizon which will have
    no pity on us.

    "Ah! if all we had to dread were the revolution which is held
    up as a specter to terrify us! Since I cannot imagine a
    society more detestable than ours, I feel more skeptical than
    alarmed in regard to that which will replace it. If I should
    have to suffer from the change, I should be consoled by
    thinking that the executioners of that day were the victims of
    the previous time, and the hope of something better would help
    us to endure the worst. But it is not that remote peril which
    frightens me. I see another danger, nearer and far more cruel;
    more cruel because there is no excuse for it, because it is
    absurd, because it can lead to no good. Every day one balances
    the chances of war on the morrow, every day they become more

    "The imagination revolts before the catastrophe which is coming
    at the end of our century as the goal of the progress of our
    era, and yet we must get used to facing it. For twenty years
    past every resource of science has been exhausted in the
    invention of engines of destruction, and soon a few charges of
    cannon will suffice to annihilate a whole army. No longer a
    few thousands of poor devils, who were paid a price for their
    blood, are kept under arms, but whole nations are under arms to
    cut each other's throats. They are robbed of their time now
    (by compulsory service) that they may be robbed of their lives
    later. To prepare them for the work of massacre, their hatred
    is kindled by persuading them that they are hated. And
    peaceable men let themselves be played on thus and go and fall
    on one another with the ferocity of wild beasts; furious troops
    of peaceful citizens taking up arms at an empty word of
    command, for some ridiculous question of frontiers or colonial
    trade interests--Heaven only knows what...They will go like
    sheep to the slaughter, knowing all the while where they are
    going, knowing that they are leaving their wives, knowing
    that their children will want for food, full of misgivings, yet
    intoxicated by the fine-sounding lies that are dinned into
    barbarous trickery of diplomacy. They will march to battle so
    deluded, so duped, that they will believe slaughter to be a
    duty, and will ask the benediction of God on their lust for
    blood. They will march to battle trampling underfoot the
    harvests they have sown, burning the towns they have built--
    with songs of triumph, festive music, and cries of jubilation.
    And their sons will raise statues to those who have done most
    in their slaughter.

    "The destiny of a whole generation depends on the hour in which
    some ill-fated politician may give the signal that will be
    followed. We know that the best of us will be cut down and our
    work will be destroyed in embryo. WE KNOW IT AND TREMBLE WITH
    RAGE, BUT WE CAN DO NOTHING. We are held fast in the toils of
    officialdom and red tape, and too rude a shock would be needed
    to set us free. We are enslaved by the laws we set up for our
    protection, which have become our oppression. WE ARE BUT THE

    "And if it were only a generation that must be sacrificed! But
    there are graver interests at stake.

    "The paid politicians, the ambitious statesmen, who exploit the
    evil passions of the populace, and the imbeciles who are
    deluded by fine-sounding phrases, have so embittered national
    feuds that the existence of a whole race will be at stake in
    the war of the morrow. One of the elements that constitute the
    modern world is threatened, the conquered people will be wiped
    out of existence, and whichever it may be, we shall see a moral
    force annihilated, as if there were too many forces to work for
    good--we shall have a new Europe formed on foundations so
    unjust, so brutal, so sanguinary, stained with so monstrous a
    crime, that it cannot but be worse than the Europe of to-day--
    more iniquitous, more barbarous, more violent.

    "Thus one feels crushed under the weight of an immense
    discouragement. We are struggling in a CUL DE SAC with muskets
    aimed at us from the housetops. Our labor is like that of
    sailors executing their last task as the ship begins to sink.
    Our pleasures are those of the condemned victim, who is
    offered his choice of dainties a quarter of an hour before his
    execution. Thought is paralyzed by anguish, and the most it is
    capable of is to calculate--interpreting the vague phrases of
    ministers, spelling out the sense of the speeches of
    sovereigns, and ruminating on the words attributed to
    diplomatists reported on the uncertain authority of the
    newspapers--whether it is to be to-morrow or the day after,
    this year or the next, that we are to be murdered. So that one
    might seek in vain in history an epoch more insecure, more
    crushed under the weight of suffering" [footnote: "Le Sens de
    la Vie," pp.208-13].

    Here it is pointed out that the force is in the hands of those who
    work their own destruction, in the hands of the individual men who
    make up the masses; it is pointed out that the source of the evil
    is the government. It would seem evident that the contradiction
    between life and conscience had reached the limit beyond which it
    cannot go, and after reaching this limit some solution of it must
    be found.

    But the author does not think so. He sees in this the tragedy of
    human life, and after depicting all the horror of the position he
    concludes that human life must be spent in the midst of this

    So much for the attitude to war of those who regard it as
    something tragic and fated by destiny.

    The third category consists of men who have lost all conscience
    and, consequently, all common sense and feeling of humanity.

    To this category belongs Moltke, whose opinion has been quoted
    above by Maupassant, and the majority of military men, who have
    been educated in this cruel superstition, live by it, and
    consequently are often in all simplicity convinced that war is not
    only an inevitable, but even a necessary and beneficial thing.
    This is also the view of some civilians, so-called educated and
    cultivated people.

    Here is what the celebrated academician Camille Doucet writes in
    reply to the editor of the REVUE DES REVUES, where several letters
    on war were published together:

    "Dear Sir: When you ask the least warlike of academicians
    whether he is a partisan of war, his answer is known

    "Alas! sir, you yourself speak of the pacific ideal inspiring
    your generous compatriots as a dream.

    "During my life I have heard a great many good people protest
    against this frightful custom of international butchery, which
    all admit and deplore; but how is it to be remedied?

    "Often, too, there have been attempts to suppress dueling; one
    would fancy that seemed an easy task: but not at all! All that
    has been done hitherto with that noble object has never been
    and never will be of use.

    "All the congresses of both hemispheres may vote against war,
    and against dueling too, but above all arbitrations,
    conventions, and legislations there will always be the personal
    honor of individual men, which has always demanded dueling, and
    the interests of nations, which will always demand war.

    "I wish none the less from the depths of my heart that the
    Congress of Universal Peace may succeed at last in its very
    honorable and difficult enterprise.

    "I am, dear sir, etc.,

    The upshot of this is that personal honor requires men to fight,
    and the interests of nations require them to ruin and exterminate
    each other. As for the efforts to abolish war, they call for
    nothing but a smile.

    The opinion of another well-known academician, Jules Claretie, is
    of the same kind.

    "Dear Sir [he writes]: For a man of sense there can be but one
    opinion on the subject of peace and war.

    "Humanity is created to live, to live free, to perfect and
    ameliorate its fate by peaceful labor. The general harmony
    preached by the Universal Peace Congress is but a dream
    perhaps, but at least it is the fairest of all dreams. Man is
    always looking toward the Promised Land, and there the harvests
    are to ripen with no fear of their being torn up by shells or
    crushed by cannon wheels...But! Ah! but----since philosophers
    and philanthropists are not the controlling powers, it is well
    for our soldiers to guard our frontier and homes, and their
    arms, skillfully used, are perhaps the surest guarantee of the
    peace we all love.

    "Peace is a gift only granted to the strong and the resolute.

    "I am, dear sir, etc.,

    The upshot of this letter is that there is no harm in talking
    about what no one intends or feels obliged to do. But when it
    comes to practice, we must fight.

    And here now is the view lately expressed by the most popular
    novelist in Europe, Émile Zola:

    "I regard war as a fatal necessity, which appears inevitable
    for us from its close connection with human nature and the
    whole constitution of the world. I should wish that war could
    be put off for the longest possible time. Nevertheless, the
    moment will come when we shall be forced to go to war. I am
    considering it at this moment from the standpoint of universal
    humanity, and making no reference to our misunderstanding with
    Germany--a most trivial incident in the history of mankind. I
    say that war is necessary and beneficial, since it seems one of
    the conditions of existence for humanity. War confronts us
    everywhere, not only war between different races and peoples,
    but war too, in private and family life. It seems one of the
    principal elements of progress, and every step in advance that
    humanity has taken hitherto has been attended by bloodshed.

    "Men have talked, and still talk, of disarmament, while
    disarmament is something impossible, to which, even if it were
    possible, we ought not to consent. I am convinced that a
    general disarmament throughout the world would involve
    something like a moral decadence, which would show itself in
    general feebleness, and would hinder the progressive
    advancement of humanity. A warlike nation has always been
    strong and flourishing. The art of war has led to the
    development of all the other arts. History bears witness to
    it. So in Athens and in Rome, commerce, manufactures, and
    literature never attained so high a point of development as
    when those cities were masters of the whole world by force of
    arms. To take an example from times nearer our own, we may
    recall the age of Louis XIV. The wars of the Grand Monarque
    were not only no hindrance to the progress of the arts and
    sciences, but even, on the contrary, seem to have promoted and
    favored their development."

    So war is a beneficial thing!

    But the best expression of this attitude is the view of the most
    gifted of the writers of this school, the academician de Vogüé.
    This is what he writes in an article on the Military Section of
    the Exhibition of 1889:

    "On the Esplanade des Invalides, among the exotic and colonial
    encampments, a building in a more severe style overawes the
    picturesque bazaar; all these fragments of the globe have come
    to gather round the Palace of War, and in turn our guests mount
    guard submissively before the mother building, but for whom
    they would not be here. Fine subject for the antithesis of
    rhetoric, of humanitarians who could not fail to whimper over
    this juxtaposition, and to say that 'CECI TUERA CELA,'
    [footnote: Phrase quoted from Victor-Hugo, "Notre-Dame de
    Paris."] that the union of the nations through science and
    labor will overcome the instinct of war. Let us leave them to
    cherish the chimera of a golden age, which would soon become,
    if it could be realized, an age of mud. All history teaches us
    that the one is created for the other, that blood is needed to
    hasten and cement the union of the nations. Natural science
    has ratified in our day the mysterious law revealed to Joseph
    de Maistre by the intuition of his genius and by meditation on
    fundamental truths; he saw the world redeeming itself from
    hereditary degenerations by sacrifice; science shows it
    advancing to perfection through struggle and violent selection;
    there is the statement of the same law in both, expressed in
    different formulas. The statement is disagreeable, no doubt;
    but the laws of the world are not made for our pleasure, they
    are made for our progress. Let us enter this inevitable,
    necessary palace of war; we shall be able to observe there how
    the most tenacious of our instincts, without losing any of its
    vigor, is transformed and adapted to the varying exigencies of
    historical epochs."

    M. de Vogüé finds the necessity for war, according to his views,
    well expressed by the two great writers, Joseph de Maistre and
    Darwin, whose statements he likes so much that he quotes them

    "Dear Sir [he writes to the editor of the REVUE DES REVUES]:
    You ask me my view as to the possible success of the Universal
    Congress of Peace. I hold with Darwin that violent struggle is
    a law of nature which overrules all other laws; I hold with
    Joseph de Maistre that it is a divine law; two different ways
    of describing the same thing. If by some impossible chance a
    fraction of human society--all the civilized West, let us
    suppose--were to succeed in suspending the action of this law,
    some races of stronger instincts would undertake the task of
    putting it into action against us: those races would vindicate
    nature's reasoning against human reason; they would be
    successful, because the certainty of peace--I do not say PEACE,
    I say the CERTAINTY OF PEACE--would, in half a century,
    engender a corruption and a decadence more destructive for
    mankind than the worst of wars. I believe that we must do with
    war--the criminal law of humanity--as with all our criminal
    laws, that is, soften them, put them in force as rarely as
    possible; use every effort to make their application
    unnecessary. But all the experience of history teaches us that
    they cannot be altogether suppressed so long as two men are
    left on earth, with bread, money, and a woman between them.

    "I should be very happy if the Congress would prove me in
    error. But I doubt if it can prove history, nature, and God in
    error also.

    "I am, dear sir, etc.
    "E. M. DE VOGÜÉ."

    This amounts to saying that history, human nature, and God show us
    that so long as there are two men, and bread, money and a woman--
    there will be war. That is to say that no progress will lead men
    to rise above the savage conception of life, which regards no
    participation of bread, money (money is good in this context) and
    woman possible without fighting.

    They are strange people, these men who assemble in Congresses, and
    make speeches to show us how to catch birds by putting salt on
    their tails, though they must know it is impossible to do it. And
    amazing are they too, who, like Maupassant, Rod, and many others,
    see clearly all the horror of war, all the inconsistency of men
    not doing what is needful, right, and beneficial for them to do;
    who lament over the tragedy of life, and do not see that the whole
    tragedy is at an end directly men, ceasing to take account of any
    unnecessary considerations, refuse to do what is hateful and
    disastrous to them. They are amazing people truly, but those who,
    like De Vogüé and others, who, professing the doctrine of
    evolution, regard war as not only inevitable, but beneficial and
    therefore desirable--they are terrible, hideous, in their moral
    perversion. The others, at least, say that they hate evil, and
    love good, but these openly declare that good and evil do not

    All discussion of the possibility of re-establishing peace instead
    of everlasting war--is the pernicious sentimentality of
    phrasemongers. There is a law of evolution by which it follows
    that I must live and act in an evil way; what is to be done? I am
    an educated man, I know the law of evolution, and therefore I will
    act in an evil way. "ENTRONS AU PALAIS DE LA GUERRE." There is
    the law of evolution, and therefore there is neither good nor
    evil, and one must live for the sake of one's personal existence,
    leaving the rest to the action of the law of evolution. This is
    the last word of refined culture, and with it, of that
    overshadowing of conscience which has come upon the educated
    classes of our times. The desire of the educated classes to
    support the ideas they prefer, and the order of existence based on
    them, has attained its furthest limits. They lie, and delude
    themselves, and one another, with the subtlest forms of deception,
    simply to obscure, to deaden conscience.

    Instead of transforming their life into harmony with their
    conscience, they try by every means to stifle its voice. But
    it is in darkness that the light begins to shine, and so the
    light is rising upon our epoch.
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