Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/7

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PREFACE.


It is an honourable characteristic of the Spirit of this Age, that projects of violence and warfare are regarded among civilized states with gradually increasing aversion. The Universal Peace Society certainly does not, and probably never will, enrol the majority of statesmen among its members. But even those who look upon the Appeal of Battle as occasionally unavoidable in international controversies, concur in thinking it a deplorable necessity, only to be resorted to when all peaceful modes of arrangement have been vainly tried, and when the law of self-defence justifies a State, like an individual, in using force to protect itself from imminent and serious injury. For a writer, therefore, of the present day to choose battles for his favourite topic, merely because they were battles; merely because so many myriads of troops were arrayed in them, and so many hundreds or thousands of human beings stabbed, hewed, or shot each other to death during them,