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From the wars which had wasted Sicily and the Grecian colonies on the Italian coaft, the writer conducts us, by a rapid, yet eafy tranfition, to the great fcene which established the Roman empire, and formed the grand catastrophe of the ancient drama. "This empire," fays he, "whilft in its infancy, began by an effufion of human blood fcarcely credible. The neighbouring little ftates teemed for new destruction: the Sabines, the Samnites, the Æqui, the Volfci, the Hetrurians, were broken by a series of flaughters, which had no interruption for fome hundreds of years ;---flaughters, which upon all fides confumed more than two millions of the wretched people. The Gauls rushing into Italy about this time, added the total destruction of their own armies to thofe of the ancient inhabitants. In fhort, it were hardly poffible to conceive a more horrid picture, if that which the Punic wars that enfued foon after did not present one, that far exceeds it. Here we find that climax of devastation and ruin, which feemed to shake the whole earth. The extent of this war which vexed fo many nations, and both elements, and the havoc of the human species caused in both, really astonishes beyond expreffion, when it is nakedly confidered, and those matters which are apt to divert our attention from it, the characters, actions, and defigns of the perfons concerned, are not taken into the account. Thefe wars, I mean thofe called the Punic wars, could not have ftood the human race in less than three millions of the fpecies: and yet this forms but a part only, and a very small part, of the havoc caufed by the Roman ambition. The war with MITHRIDATES was very little lefs bloody: that prince cut off at one ftroke 150,000 Romans by a maffacre. In that war SYLLA deftroyed 300,000 men at Cheronea. He defeated MITHRIDATES' army under DORILAUS, and flew 300,000. This great and unfortunate
fortunate prince loft another 300,000 before Cyzicum. In the course of the war he had innumerable other loffes; and having many intervals of fuccefs, he revenged them severely. He was at last totally overthrown; and he crushed to pieces the king of Armenia his ally by the greatness of his ruin. All who had connections with him shared the same fate. The merciless genius of SYLLA had its full scope; and the streets of Athens were not the only oneswhich ran with blood. At this period, the sword, glutted with foreign flaughter, turned its edge upon the bowels of the Roman republic itfelf; and presented a scene of cruelties and treasons enough almost to obliterate the memory of all the external devaftations."
It would not be easy to point out, even in the works of IsoCRATES, a finer ftroke of artificial eloquence than Mr. BURKE introduced with happy effect into this part of his letter. He knew the reader would foon grow tired of the melancholy fubject, and that it was necessary to abridge the farther furvey of affliction, without weakening the force of his main argument. Stopping fhort, therefore, as if feized with horror at the task he had undertaken, and turning to the noble lord, or imaginary object of his address," I intended," fays he, "to have proceeded in a fort of method in estimating the numbers of mankind cut off in these wars which we have on record. But I am obliged to alter my defign. Such a tragical uniformity of havoc and murder would disgust your lordship as much as it would me; and. I confess I already feel my eyes ache by keeping them fo long, intent on fo bloody a profpect.”
Being relieved by this ingenious apology from the trouble of minute details, he haftily paffes over the Servile, the Social, the Gallic and Spanish wars, thofe with JUGURTHA, with ANTI
OCHUS, and many others carried on with equal fury, among which he observes that the butcheries of JULIUS CAESAR alone had been reckoned by somebody elfe at one million, two hundred thousand. He then dwells a little longer on the history of Judea, which he proposes as a standard for measuring in fome degree the widefpread havoc of other countries. He does not take into his account the extirpation of the former inhabitants by the Jews, the vast multitudes of the latter confumed in their own civil wars, nor the immense ravages made among them by the kings of Babylon and Affyria; but he confines himself to the decifive blow that terminated their existence as a nation,-a blow which is allowed to have cut off two millions of people. He then asks, if, in so inconfiderable a part of the globe, such a carnage has been made in two or three short reigns, what shall we judge of countries more ex-tended, and which have waged wars of far greater importance and duration? Instances of this fort, he adds, compose the uniform of history. But there have been periods when no less than univerfal deftruction to the race of mankind feems to have been threatened. Here he notices the irruptions of the Goths, Vandals, and other barbarians, pouring alternately from the north and fouth, carrying deftruction before them as they advanced, and leaving horrid defarts every where behind them. where behind them. He alfo mentions the conquefts of the Spaniards in the New World, where, at the lowest estimate, ten millions of the fpecies must have fallen: victims to the avarice and bigotry of the invaders. He concludes that the total of thofe killed in battle from the beginning of the. world to the time in which he wrote may be modeftly put at a thousand times more than he has particularized, that is, about. thirty-fix thousand millions. To juftify his calculations from the charge of extravagance, he fays he need not enlarge on the torrents
of filent and inglorious blood which have glutted the thirsty fands of Afric, or difcoloured the polar fnow, or fed the favage forefts ofAmerica for fo many ages; nor fhould he inflame the account by those general maffacres which have devoured whole cities and nations,—those wafting peftilences,-those consuming famines,→→ and all thofe furies that follow in the train of war. If then, the prefent population of the whole earth be computed at five hundred millions at the moft, the flaughter of mankind, as he states it, amounts to upwards of feventy times the number of fouls this day on the globe.
When he comes to draw his inferences from thefe facts, and pretends to charge the greatest part of so much deftruction of the fpecies on civil policy, the under-plot is feen through the fine web of fpecious argument. "To give," he says, "the fairest play to every fide of the question, I will own that there is a haughtiness and fiercenefs in human nature, which will caufe innumerable broils, place men in what fituation you please; but owning this, I still infift in charging it to political regulations, that thefe broils are fo frequent, fo cruel, and attended with confequences fo deplorable. In a state of nature, it had been impoffible to find a number of men, fufficient for fuch flaughters, agreed in the fame bloody purpofe; or allowing that they might have come to fuch an agreement, (an impoffible fuppofition) yet the means that fimple nature has fupplied them with, are by no means adequate to fuch an end: many scratches, many bruises undoubtedly would be received upon all hands; but only a few, a very few deaths. Society and politics, which have given us these deftructive views, have given us also the means of fatisfying them. From the earliest dawnings of policy to this day, the invention of men has been sharpening and improving the mystery of mur
der, from the first rude effays of clubs and ftones, to the prefent perfection of gunnery, cannoneering, bombarding, mining, and all these species of artificial, learned, and refined cruelty, in which we are now fo expert, and which make a principal part of what politicians have taught us to believe is our principal glory."
A fhew of reafoning by analogy from the little havoc made: by the fiercest of the brute creation is next affumed; and the writer affects to prove, that the evils which man alone endures in the focial ftate, are not accidental, but the neceffary refult of the very conftitution of society. "For as fubordination, or, in other words, the reciprocation of tyranny and flavery, is neceffary to fupport these focieties, the intereft, the ambition, the. malice, or the revenge, nay even the whim or the caprice of one: ruling man among them is enough to arm all the reft, without any private views of their own, to the worst and blackest purposes; and what is at once lamentable and ridiculous, these wretches engage under those banners with a fury greater than if they were animated by revenge for their own proper wrongs."
In the fame strain he goes on with obferving, that the divifion: of mankind into feparate focieties is in itfelf a perpetual fource of diffention;---that the very names which diftinguish them are. fufficient to blow up envy and malice ;---and that we need no other proof of the outrage thus offered to nature than the instruments of violence with which every fociety is abundantly stored, for the fole purpofe of fupporting a dozen or two in pride and folly, and millions in abject fervitude. He paints in glowing colours the severity and rigor of defpotifm, the more grievous exceffes of ariftocratical oppreffion, and the confufion, giddinefs,. and madness of democracy. We can only make room for his