If I had my choice, I would rather live in Moscow than in St. Petersburg.
Peter the Great found an island without any seacoast. He could look upon the Black Sea or the Baltic as a communication with the civilized world; but one or the other must first be conquered. The hot-headed King of Sweden pressed him to a Northern war, and, besides, the Southern Sea was inhabited by barbarians. His original intention, it is said, was to build his new capital on the Pontus, and that he even had selected the spot. The one coast, indeed, is not much farther from the centre of the empire than the other.
How would it have been had he built his St. Petersburg on the beautiful harbor of Sebastopol, close to the paradisiac heights of the Tschadyr Dagh, where the grape grows wild and everything flourishes in the open air that is forced through a greenhouse on the Neva; where no floods threaten destruction; where the navy is not frozen fast during seven months of the year; and where steam power makes an easier communication with the most beautiful countries of Europe than the Gulf of Finland does?
What a city would St. Petersburg have been, did her wide streets extend to Balaklava and did the Winter Palace face the deep blue mirror of the Black Sea; if the Isaac Church stood at the height of Malakoff; if Aluschta and Orianda were the Peterhof and Gatschina of the Imperial family!
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND VON MACH, PH.D.
[Professor Bluntschli had sent the manual of the Institute of International Law to Count Moltke, and expressed the hope, in a letter dated November 19, 1880, that it would meet with his approval. Count Moltke replied as follows:]
My dear Professor:
You have been good enough to send me the manual published by the Institute of International Law, and you ask for my approval. In the first place, I fully recognize your humane endeavors to lessen the sufferings which war brings in its train.
Eternal peace, however, is a dream, and not even a beautiful dream, for war is part of God’s scheme of the world. In war the noblest virtues of man develop courage and renunciation, the sense of duty and abnegation, and all at the risk of his life. Without war the world would be swallowed up in the morass of materialism.
With the principle stated in the preface, that the gradual advance of civilization should be reflected in the conduct of war, I fully agree; but I go further, and believe that civilization alone, and no codified laws of warfare, can have the desired result.
Every law necessitates an authority to watch over it and to direct its execution, but there is no power which can enforce obedience to international agreements. Which third state will take up arms because one—or both—of two powers at war with each other have broken the loi de la guerre? The human judge is lacking. In these matters we can hope for success only from the religious and moral education of the individuals, and the honor and sense of right of the leaders, who make their own laws and act according to them, at least to the extent to which the abnormal conditions of war permit it.