One word more, and we must leave this subject. It has been said by some that the duties of patriotism are less binding upon us than upon our ancestors; that, whatever may have been the practice in years that are past the present generation can in no manner bear arms in their country’s cause, such a course being not only dishonorable, but in the eye of the Christian, wicked, and even infamous! It is believed, however, that such are not the general opinions and sentiments of the religious people of this country. Our forefathers lighted the fires of Religion and Patriotism at the same altar; it is believed that their descendants have not allowed either to be extinguished, but that both still burn, and will continue to burn, with a purer and brighter flame. Our forefathers were not the less mindful of their duty to their God, because they also faithfully served their country. If we are called upon to excel them in works of charity, of benevolence, and of Christian virtue, let it not be said of us that we have forgotten the virtue of patriotism.
[Footnote 2: For further discussion of this subject the reader is referred to Lieber’s Political Ethics, Part II., book vii. chap. 3; Paley’s Moral and Political Philosophy; Legare’s Report of June 13, 1838, in the House of Representatives; Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution of 1688, chap. x.; Bynkershock; Vatel; Puffendorf; Clausewitz; and most other writers on international law and the laws of war.
Dr. Wayland’s view of the question is advocated with much zeal by Dymond in his Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity; Jay’s Peace and War; Judd’s Sermon on Peace and War; Peabody’s Address, &c.; Coue’s Tract on What is the Use of the Navy? Sumner’s True Grandeur of Nations.]
War has been defined, “A contest between nations and states carried on by force.” But this definition is by some considered defective, inasmuch as it would exclude all civil wars.
When war is commenced by attacking a nation in peace, it is called offensive, and when undertaken to repel invasion, or the attacks of an enemy, it is called defensive. A war may be essentially defensive even where we begin it, if intended to prevent an attack or invasion which is under preparation. Besides this general division of war, military writers have made numerous others, such as—
Wars of intervention, in which one state interferes in favor of another. This intervention may either have respect to the internal or to the external affairs of a nation. The interference of Russia in the affairs of Poland, of England in the government of India, Austria and the allied powers in the affairs of France during the Revolution and under the empire, are examples under the first head. The intervention of the Elector Maurice of Saxony against Charles V., of King William against Louis XIV., in 1688, of Russia and France in the seven years’ war, of Russia again between France and Austria, in 1805, and between France and Prussia, in 1806, are examples under the second head. Most liberal-publicists consider intervention in the internal affairs of nations as indefensible; but the principle is supported by the advocates of the old monarchies of Europe.