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Tactics! said I. Alas! to this day I have been ignorant of the meaning of this learned noun substantive.
It is a word, answered my bookseller, that is descended to us from the Greeks. It signifies the great art, or THE art by way of eminence. The sanguine wishes of the most daring genius find themselves here fully gratified.
I bought his Tactics, and rejoiced in the pur chase. I hoped to find in this divine work, the art of lengthening my life; of surmounting the miseries with which it is infested; of cultivating my taste; of subduing my passions; of subjecting my desires to the yoke of reason; of being just towards all men, without ever being their dupe. I shut myself up in my study, I read, I devour, digest every word of so admirable a work. Great gods! the object of this art was to instruct men to cut each others throats.
I learned that formerly, in Germany, a guileless monk, to amuse his leisure, invented a certain composition of brimstone and saltpetre; that a large leaden ball, thrown out with a terrible report, ought to be directed to a certain height in order to descend to a certain level: and that this rule being attended to, death infallibly flies out from a brass cylinder in a certain curve called a parabola, and overturns, being once repeated and managed 340
+ It is derived from a Greek word which signifies to arrange or put in order.
with sufficient skill, a hundred blue automata standing all in a row. In a word, musket, dagger, sword with a sharp edge or a sharp point, are all good, all worthy of honour, provided that they kill. !?v©
In another chapter, the author describes a set of highwaymen prepared for nightly depredation, who, having taken their stand in a hollow way, and being properly furnished with sabres and scaling ladders, proceed in the first place without sound of trumpet or drum, to the assassination of five or six centinels; afterwards, having dextrously climbed the walls of a city, while each honest trader was sleeping securely in his bed, they spread from street to street fire and sword, stab the men, ravish their wives, knock out the brains of the young children, and at length, exhausted with so many efforts, carouse the wine of another in the midst of bleeding bodies. The next morning they proceed, as in duty bound, to return thanks to God for their heroical enterprize; to tell him in Latin with a nasal twang, that he alone is their protector; that while the town was in flames, they could do nothing without him, that one can neither rob nor ravish to one's hearts.content, nor massacre the defenceless, without God to second our undertakings.
Surprised as I was at the discovery of this boasted art, I hastened once more to my bookseller, out of breath with horror and amaze, returned to him Y 4
his volume, and exclaim, my eyes flashing with
276h 15910 odten Begone, accursed bookseller of Belzebub !s carry your Tactics to the Chevalier de Tot. He teaches the Turks to march in the name of the Lord; he instructs unbelievers to cover the Danda nelles with their cannon, and kill the inhabitants of the Christian world. Begone! address yourself to the Count de Romanzow; to the pitiless conqueror of Azof and Bender; but chiefly offer this admirable performance to the great Frederic. He knows more of this art than your author, and is upon more confidential terms with Lucifer. He is consummate master of this horrible science, more perfect in it than either Gustavus or Eugene. Begone ! I will never believe that human nature came out (God knows when) from the hands of its creator, thus to insult its omnipotent benefactor, to be guilty of so much extravagance, and so much insanity. Man, with his ten fingers, unarmed either for attack or defence, was never formed violently to abridge a life which necessity has already rendered so short. The gout with its chalk-stones, and the hardened slime which forms itself into pebbles at the bottom of the bladder, the fever, the catarrh, and a hundred diseases more dreadful; a hundred mountebanks in ermine, still more the foes of our peace, would have been sufficient to render this globe a valley of tears, without its being necessary to invent this sublime art of war.
The whole race of heroes are my aversion; from Cyrus the Great down to that illustrious prince* that taught Lentulus to conquer. Talk to me as you please of their conduct, sagacity, and general ship, I fly from them all, and give them to the devils. 3DT ov vidass Pipesto, ad & bro.l
* Frederick II. King of Prusia,
CAUSES OF WAR.
How various and how dreadful are the miseries of war! what horrid infatuation impels mankind! Their days upon the earth are few, and those few are evil why then should they precipitate death, which is already near? Why should they add bit. terness to life that is already bitter? All men are brothers, and yet they hunt each other as prey. The wild beasts of the desart are less cruel: lions wage not war with lions; and to the tiger the tiger is peaceable; the only objects of their ferocity are animals of a different species. Man does, in opposition to reason, what, by animals that are without reason, is never done. And for what are these wars undertaken ?
Some tyrant sighs for a new appellation: he would be called a conqueror; and for this he kindles a flame that would desolate the earth. Ruin must spread, blood must flow, fire must consume, and he who escapes from the flames and the sword, must perish by famine with yet more anguish and horror, that one man, to whom the miseries