War, a contest between two sovereigns, states, or large bodies of people: and as these are unwilling to submit the decision of their differences to arbitration, or equity, they generally resort to arms for that purpose.
War is always a national evil; and is justifiable only in cases of self-defence; though, by proper remonstrances, it might doubtless in many instances be avoided, together with all its horrors. - Like the duels between private individuals, which disgrace civilized Europe, war may for a short lime gratify the rage of hatred, but it uniformly fails to answer the end for which it was commenced ; - disappointing the wishes or" the ambitious ; betraying the interests of society ; in short, being equally useless and distressing.
Defensive wars, however, may be justified by dire necessity; so that the good wishes of the moderate and pacific, must ever attend such exertions. In this point of view, the art of war is an useful and necessary pursuit; as its object is to defend persecuted virtue; to punish the daring aggressor; to curb ambition ; and to oppose the unjust claims of turbulent neighbours : but, when warfare is wantonly courted, for contrary purposes, it deserves to be branded with infamy ; and, as Count Turpin (" Essay on the Art of War, ") has justly observed, if he, who first reduced to rides the art of destroying his fellow-creatures, had no object in view but to gratify the passion of Princes, he was a monster, whom it would have been a duty to smother at his birth.