No Comment, Quotation — June 21, 2007, 12:00 am

Johnson on the Humane Treatment of Prisoners

That charity is best of which the consequences are most extensive: the relief of enemies has a tendency to unite mankind in fraternal affection; to soften the acrimony of adverse nations, and dispose them to peace and amity: in the mean time, it alleviates captivity, and takes away something from the miseries of war. The rage of war, however mitigated, will always fill the world with calamity and horror: let it not then be unnecessarily extended; let animosity and hostility cease together; and no man be longer deemed an enemy than while his sword is drawn against us…

The effects of these contributions may, perhaps, reach still further. Truth is best supported by virtue: we may hope from those who feel or who see our charity that they shall no longer detest as heresy that religion which makes its professors the followers of Him who has commanded us to do good to them that hate us.

Samuel Johnson, Introduction to Proceedings of the Committee Appointed to Manage the Contributions…for Clothing French Prisoners of War (1760).

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