Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don't know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable --which I need not discuss today--it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarians uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street.
Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since then? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were daily growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and rejoiced in it--if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell your honor this, because you know; I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy--what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. I know this, that after the Civil War in 1865, crimes of this sort increased marvelously.