The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, June 01, 1899, Image 4

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    and yet they had many arts and customs which it were well for
civilization to know to-day. We have now no peace keeping
appliance similar to the sacred order of Fetiales in Rome. These
priests acted as a court or board to whom must be submitted all
international quarrels, and whose duty it was to use every effort
to bring about a peaceable solution of difficulties. Failing in
that, they, as a last resort, declared war and only then could
Rome begin hostilities. Earlier yet we read that Sparta and
Argos, in making a treaty of alliance, inserted the clause, "In
case a difference arises between the two contracting nations, the
parties shall have recourse to the arbitration of a neutral city ac
cording to the custom of their ancestors." Thucidydes declares
it to be a crime to treat as an enemy one who is willing to
To-day, as an eminent Russian statesman has well expressed it,
nations are like rowdies in a mining camp. Two men quarrel
and that one is justified who can soonest draw his revolver and
shoot his opponent.
Some statesmen tell us that war is necessary; that it has a civ
ilizing and an enlightening influence; that it arouses the slumber
ing energies of a nation, and gives to it new life and vigor. It
seems true that war has at times seemed to bring a nation out of
a wilderness of sin, to wash away some national crime, or to
unite some disintegrating nation. The bigotry and intolerance
of the middle ages needed its thirty years war before anything
like freedom of conscience could prevail. Our own country had
to go through four years of awful agony before the curse of
slavery could be fully eradicated and the perpetuity of the union
What is war ? Ask the battle scarred veteran who has passed
through blood and fire; who has, stood in the thick of the fight
and, amid the awful carnage, has seen his comrades falling on all
sides, has heard the groans and cries of the wounded and dying,
and has, perhaps, become the bearer of last sad messages from
dying lips to dear ones at home. Ask the widow, the orphan,
the mother, who parted with dear ones when war called, and
who have waited and watched and hoped and prayed through
long weary years only to learn that the next meeting must be in
another world, or perhaps to see that loved form which departed
so full of life and vigor return shattered and torn and bleeding