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A private should preserve a respectful attitude toward his superiors, and should seldom or never proceed so far as to offer suggestions to his general in the field. If the battle is not being conducted to suit him, it is better for him to resign. By the etiquette of war, it is permitted to none below the rank of newspaper correspondent to dictate to the general in the field.
But Lincoln also understood that after such a decision, a democracy should seek peace through a new unity. For a democracy can keep alive only if the settlement of old difficulties clears the ground and transfers energies to face new responsibilities. Never can it have as much ability and purpose as it needs in that striving; the end of battle does not end the infinity of those needs. That is why Lincoln—commander of a people as well as of an army—asked that his battle end "with malice toward none, with charity for all."
For the first time in my life, I took part in a real battle between men. The dead did not come to life again, the vanquished fled in disorder; every thrust of my lance helped save Carmona. That day, I would have died with a smile on my lips, certain of having contributed to a triumphant future for my city.
A second way that oppressed people sometimes deal with oppression is to resort to physical violence and corroding hatred. Violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem; it merely creates new and more complicated ones.
It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables... I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.
With malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
In a time of war the nation is always of one mind, eager to hear something good of themselves and ill of the enemy. At this time the task of the news-writer is easy; they have nothing to do but to tell that a battle is expected, and afterwards that a battle has been fought, in which we and our friends, whether conquering or conquered, did all, and our enemies did nothing.
Even the children of Carmona were divided into two camps, and below the ramparts, among the brushwood and rocks, we battled with stones shouting "Long live the duke!" and others, "Down with the tyrant!" We fought viciously, but I was never satisfied with this game — the fallen enemy rose again, the dead came back to life. The day after a battle, victors and vanquished both found themselves unharmed.
I met [Meyerbeer] at the performance of my "Battle." Most of the composers then in Vienna were kind enough to undertake something or other in my orchestra, and the young man played the big drum. Ha! ha! ha! (a peal of laughter). I had reason not to be very well satisfied with him. He was always behindhand, and I had to give it him roundly. (New peal of laughter.) He must have felt mortified by my observations; but there is no reliance to be placed in him; he has not the courage to raise his arm at the proper moment.
Therefore I say: know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.
Wise statesmen... established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity should look up again at the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began....
Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let the villans be soundly killed at the end of the book. I think it is possible that by confining your child to the blameless stories of life in which nothing at all alarming ever happens, you would fail to banish the terrors, and would succeed in banishing all that can ennoble them or make them endurable.