"War is Hell"

Fri Jan 16 01:17:33 UTC 2009

        Google Books has this example, which pushes the attribution to
Napoleon back to 1835, or at any rate to 1854.  This is from an essay on
the life of the Rev. Charles Brooks, of Massachusetts (1795-    ), in
John Livingston, Portraits of Eminent Americans Now Living 483 (1854):

        <<In 1835, he published his views of war and the means of
preventing it.  His statement was this--". . . . Bonaparte said,--'War
is hell.'  It surely is a suspension of the laws of God.">>

        The text doesn't seem to give any further indication of where
and how Brooks published his views in 1835.  Incidentally, what Brooks
sought was a high Court of Nations to resolve disputes.

        Google Books also has an 1850 example, not referring to
Napoleon, in George McHenry, The Helleniad, An Epic Poem 66 (1850):

        <<Preferring hell to heaven: for war is hell,
          And peace is heaven even in this world.>>

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:41 AM
Subject: Re: "War is Hell"

FWIW, I have found no online evidence that Napoleon Bonaparte ever wrote
or said the words, "La guerre, c'est l'infer."

Ah, well; as one might have expected.


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