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contradiction in itself; that, as such, it cannot follow its own laws, but must be looked upon as a part of another whole—and this whole is policy. .
There is, upon the whole, nothing more important in life than to find out the right point of view from which things should be looked at and judged of, and then to keep to that point; for we can only apprehend the mass of events in their unity from one standpoint; and it is only the keeping to one point of view that guards us from inconsistency.
If, therefore, in drawing up a plan of a War, it is not allowable to have a two-fold or three-fold point of view, from which things may be looked at, now with the eye of a soldier, then with that of an administrator, and then again with that of a politician, etc., then the next question is, whether policy is necessarily paramount and everything else subordinate to it.
That policy unites in itself, and reconciles all the interests of internal administrations, even those of humanity, and whatever else ar rational subjects of consideration is presupposed, for it is nothing in itself, except a mere representative and exponent of all these interests towards other States. That policy may take a false direction, and may promote unfairly the ambitious ends, the private interests, the vanity of rulers, does not concern us here; for, under no circumstances can the Art of War be regarded as its preceptor, and we can only look at policy here as the representative of the interests generally of the whole community.
The only question, therefore, is whether in framing plans for a War the political point of view should give way to the purely military (if such a point is conceivable), that is to say, should disappear altogether, or subordinate itself to it, or whether the political is to remain the ruling point of view and the military to be considered subordinate to it.
That the political point of view should end completely when War begins is only conceivable in contests which are Wars of life and death, from pure hatred: as Wars are in reality, they are, as we before said, only the expressions or manifestations of policy itself. The subordination of the political point of view to the military would be contrary to common sense, for policy has declared the War; it is the intelligent faculty, War only the instrument, and not the reverse. The subordination of the military point of view to the political is, therefore, the only thing which is possible...
At all events from this point of view there is no longer in the nature of things a necessary conflict between the political and military interests, and where it appears it is therefore to be regarded as imperfect knowledge only. That policy makes demands on the War which it cannot respond to, would be contrary to the supposition that it knows the instrument which it is going to use, therefore, contrary to a natural and indispensable supposition. But if policy judges correctly of the march of military events, it is entirely its affair to determine what are the events and what the direction of events most favourable to the ultimate and great end of the War.
In one word, the Art of War in its highest point of view is policy, but, no doubt, a policy which fights battles instead of writing notes.
According to this view, to leave a great military enterprise or the plan for one, to a purely military judgement and decision is a distinction which cannot be allowed, and is even prejudicial; indeed, it is an irrational proceeding to consult professional soldiers on the plan of a War, that they may give a purely military opinion upon what the Cabinet ought to do; but still more absurd is the demand of Theorists that a statement of the available means of War should be laid before the General, that he may draw out a purely military plan for the War or for a campaign in accordance with those means. Experience in general also teaches us that notwithstanding the multifarious branches and scientific character of military art in the present day, still the leading outlines of a War are always determined by the Cabinet, that is, if we would use technical language, by a political not a military organ.
This is perfectly natural. None of the principal plans which are required for a War can be made without an insight into the political relations; and, in reality, when people speak, as they often do, of the prejudicial influence of policy on the conduct of a War, they say in reality something very different to what they intend. It is not this influence but the policy itself which should be found fault with. If policy is right, that is, if it succeeds in hitting the object, then it can only act with advantage on the War. If this influence of policy causes a divergence from the object, the cause is only to be looked for in a mistaken policy.
[From Krylov's Fables, Translated by Bernard Pares, Harcourt, Brace and
Company, New York, 1927]
LION AND LEOPARD
By Ivan Krylov
IN times long out of mind,
In questions of this kind,
The strong are often blind,
The one that wins has all the rights.
You'll wear your claws away!
All issues disentangle,
Till next they wrangle.
Let's each appoint a secretary,'
So let it be!
I guarantee in short,
Of cattle there are few so dignified as he;
Won't half be worth his hoof, you'll see.
To act for him in this debate;
[From The Writings of Albert Gallatin, edited by Henry Adams, Vol. I, J. B.
Lippincott and Co., London, 1879]
LETTER FROM SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY GALLATIN
TO PRESIDENT JEFFERSON
21st October, 1807. DEAR SIR,- I have kept your message longer than usual, because my objections being less to details than to its general spirit, I was at a loss what alterations to submit to your consideration.
Instead of being written in the style of the proclamation, which has been almost universally approved at home and abroad, the message appears to me to be rather in the shape of a manifesto issued against Great Britain on the eve of a war, than such as the existing undecided state of affairs seems to require. It may either be construed into a belief that justice will be denied,-a result not to be anticipated in an official communication,-or it may be distorted into an eagerness of seeing matters brought to issue by an appeal to arms. Although it be almost certain that the expected answer will decide the question, yet unforeseen circumstances may protract its discussion; or the British government may, without acceding precisely to your ultimatum, take some new admissible ground which will require your sanction and delay the final arrangement. So long as any hope, however weak, remains of an honorable settlement, it is desirable that no act of the Executive may, by widening the breach, or unnecessarily hurting the pride of Britain, have a tendency to defeat it. Unless, therefore, some useful and important object can be obtained by the message in its present form, I would wish its general color and expression to be softened; nothing inserted but what is necessary for assisting Congress in their first deliberations, and to account for their early meeting; no recapitulation of former outrages further than as connected with the unratified treaty; no expression of a belief that war is highly probable, which seems either to presuppose absolute injustice on the part of Great Britain, or to acknowledge high pretensions on ours. For, unless some important object be in view, those may do harm, and cannot be productive of any substantial benefit.
If the object be to urge Congress to make the necessary preparations for war, this may be attained by a direct and strong recommendation, founded not on the probability but on the uncertainty of the issue. If it be to incite them to a speedy declaration of war, this also seems premature, and may as effectually be done at its proper time when the answer of the British government will be communicated. It may be added that recommendations or incitements to war should not, under our Constitution, be given by the Executive without much caution; and, above all, that the precise manner and time of acting which Congress should adopt are subjects which have not yet been sufficiently examined.
That the choice of the manner will not probably be left to us is true. That Great Britain will prefer actual war to any system of retaliation short of war which we might select, I do believe. Yet how far it may be proper to leave the choice to her deserves, at least, consideration. Public opinion abroad is to us highly valuable; at home it is indispensable. We will be universally justified in the eyes of the world, and unanimously supported by the nation, if the ground of war be England's refusal to disavow or to make satisfaction for the outrage on the Chesapeake. But I am confident that we will meet with a most formidable opposition should England do that and we should still declare war because she refuses to make the proposed arrangement respecting seamen. It is in that case that measures short of war may become proper, leaving to England, if she chooses, the odium of commencing an actual war. But although that policy may be questionable, and decisive measures, even under that contingency, be thought preferable, the question of time requires most serious consideration.
Under an impression that this month would decide the question of war or peace, it was thought prudent to contemplate (rather than to prepare) immediate offensive operations. To strike a blow the moment war is begun is doubtless important; but it does not follow that war ought to be commenced at this very moment. So far as relates to Canada, it may as easily, and, considering the state of our preparations, I might say more easily be invaded and conquered in winter, or even early in the spring, than this autumn. European reinforcements cannot in the spring reach Montreal, much less Upper Canada, before they shall have been occupied by us. Quebec will certainly be reinforced before the season shall permit regular approaches. No advantage, therefore, will result in that respect from an immediate attack; no inconvenience from the declaration of war being somewhat delayed. In every other respect it is our interest that actual war should not be commenced by England this autumn; and as for the same reason it is her interest to commence it if she thinks it ultimately unavoidable, I wish not only that we may not declare it instantaneously, but that she and her government and her officers in America may, until the decision takes place, still consider the result as uncertain.
The operations of war on the part of Great Britain will consist in the capture of our vessels, attacks on our most exposed seaports, and defence of Canada. On our part, unable either to protect our commerce or to meet their fleets, our offensive operations must, by sea, be confined to privateers; we must as far as practicable draw in those vessels we cannot defend; place our ports in a situation to repel mere naval aggressions; organize our militia for occasional defence; raise troops or volunteers for permanent garrisons or attack.
Those essential preparations are in some points hardly commenced, in every respect incomplete; our China and East India trade
to an immense amount yet out; no men raised; and, indeed, nothing more was practicable beyond a draft of militia; but whatever relates to its better selection or organization, or to the raising of regulars or volunteers, wanting the authorization of Congress, and requiring time for executing; the batteries contemplated at New York not yet commenced; not even a temporary rampart in any part of the city; and hardly a cannon mounted on Governor's Island. How far the works of the two other seaports, mentioned in the message as particularly exposed, have progressed, I do not know: further appropriations stated to be necessary for the contemplated batteries of every other harbor. It seems essentially necessary that we should, if we are permitted, provide such rational and practicable means of defence as we think may be effected within a short time, before we precipitate the war. Is it not probable that England will, if she presumes that her answer may lead to a war, immediately despatch a few ships with contingent orders? And if Congress were to declare war in November, what would prevent their naval force here, even if not reinforced, to lay New York under contribution before winter? Great would be the disgrace attaching to such a disaster. The Executive would be particularly liable to censure for having urged immediate war whilst so unprepared against attack; nor need I say that as a prosperous Administration is almost invulnerable, adverse events will invariably destroy its popularity. Let it be added that, independently of immense loss to individuals, three millions at least of next year's revenue rest on bonds due by the merchants of that city.
In every view of the subject I feel strongly impressed with the propriety of preparing to the utmost for war, and carrying it with vigor, if it cannot be honorably avoided; but in the mean while persevering in that caution of language and action which may give us some more time and is best calculated to preserve the remaining chance of peace and most consistent with the general system of your Administration. ..
[From Andersen's Fairy Tales, The McMillan Company, New York, 1963]
By Hans Christian Andersen
(1805-1875) A ROSE tree stood in the window. Only a short time
it was green and fresh, and now it looked sickly-no doubt it was in poor health. A whole regiment was quartered on it and was eating it up. But notwithstanding this greediness, the regiment was a very decent and respectable one. It wore bright green uniforms. I spoke to one of the “Greenies." He was only three days old, and yet he was already a grandfather! Do you know what he said? It is all true—he spoke of himself and of the rest of the regiment. Listen!
“We are the most wonderful creatures in the world. We are engaged at a very early age, and immediately have the wedding. When the cold weather comes, we lay our eggs; the little ones lie snug and warm. The wisest of creatures, the ant (we have the greatest respect for him!) understands us. He appreciates us, you may be sure. He does not eat us up at once. He takes our eggs, lays them in the family