calamity, war is in certain circumstances to be defended as a necessity; but those who make it a business are rarely contented to leave it on this ground. The brutal bluntness of the member of Parliament who advocated war in a distant English province, and, upon being pressed for his reasons, replied, "Why, d—n it, I have two sons in the army!" is not often emulated; even those who are interested in it as a vocation seek plausible excuses for it.
Lieutenant-Commander Goodrich, of the United States Navy, for example, writes, in the "Century Magazine": "I am not sure, however, that it is not well once in a while to assert ourselves as standing on a right because it is right, and as prepared to maintain it at any cost." It would seem the dictate of a wise statesmanship, on a matter of such supreme importance, to lay down the principles that should govern a nation, in resorting to war, as an established and inflexible policy. But Lieutenant Goodrich seems to think that war may be desirable, once in a while, anyhow or on its own account, or as a display of power, without reference to its usual provocations.
War is generally regarded as a last brutal resort, when the higher agencies of reason and diplomacy have failed, and the resources of civilization to keep the peace have broken down; but Von Moltke maintains that war is itself a natural and permanent element of civilization, and that the hope of ending it is equally illusive and undesirable.
But the most curious attempt to throw a glamour over the intrinsic abominations of war, and make it seem a thing worthy of admiration, is made by the "Spectator," which maintains that, in the systematic and professional killing of men on a vast scale, which constitutes war, there is a peculiar "intellectual charm." The "Spectator" intimates that Christians of the feminine type, and sentimental people who vividly realize the horrors of battle, may
shrink from the system; but it says that "war, as such, has for cultivated mankind a distinct intellectual charm." The terrible fascination is admitted, but how its charm can be qualified as distinctly intellectual does not appear. The "Spectator" expatiates on the tremendous interests staked in war, which may involve the national fate, and be of immense moment to citizens; but, then, it goes on to say, "Wars which are not ours interest us nearly as much as those which are." The truth is, war appeals not so especially to the intellect as to the deeper life-instincts of humanity. Men are thrilled by the excitement of war with no regard to their culture. There is no more "intellectual charm" in war than in any great crime or catastrophe or the coming of cholera. It is probable, indeed, that the "Spectator" has here committed itself to the very opposite of what is true. It is impossible to think of the intellectual classes as such, people of cultivated sensibilities, except as repelled and shocked instead of being charmed by war; while, on the contrary, the distinctively uncultivated classes are most profoundly stirred and attracted by it. The admiration of war is indeed the deepest among savages and barbarians, with whose undeveloped natures it is in harmony. The recent war experiment of the "Century Magazine" is said to have doubled its circulation; will it be claimed that the hundred thousand new patrons that have been found in addition to its former readers, are to be ranked as especially intellectual and cultivated, or are they not probably quite of the opposite kind?
Transactions of the New York State Medical Association for the Year 1884. Edited, for the Association, by Dr. Austin Flint, Jr. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 654. Price, $5.
The first meeting of the Association was held in the city of New York on the 18th,