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106 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. March quence the soldiers, ' by being so be advanced by the colonel to be a long kept, under absolute power, corporal or serjeant in the regiment, began soon to lose their talte forli. I hould much' fufpect, that it proberty, and in little more than a ceeded from what the Hon. gentlecentury were made the instruments man seems to be afraid of; and that for oppressing the liberties of their the soldier had by fonie means or ocountry; which would probably A ther procured a purse of gold to be have happened much fooncr, if the given to his colonel for his advancemisfortunes of the second Punick ment; but this could so feldom hapwar had not given a check to the pen, and it would be so very diffiluxury, and a fillip to the virtue of cult to keep such a traffick concealthe Roman people. No custom of ed, that I do not think there would the Romans can therefore be plead., be the least ground for apprehending ed for any sort of military law in
such a consequence, should this clause time of peace ; but the inisfortune be agreed to, and all our staff-offi. of that people, the overthrow of cers thereby secured in the enjoythat glorious commonwealth ought ment of their posts quamdiu se bene to be a warning to us, to let our geserint; which is a security every soldiers have as often, and as much officer in the army ought to have, as poftible, a talte of living under the fo far as it is confiftent with the nalimited power of a free government,
ture of military service ; therefore I and of the difference between that think, the power of arbitrarily takand living under the absolute power ing from a man that commission or of a military commander ; aid for rank în the army, which he has pur. this reason, as the military laws we chased by his service, is a power make, can relate to nothing but the that ought to be lodged no where government of our army in time of but in the crown alone ; and tho.. peace, we should be as sparing as the power of thus fufpending, till possible with respect to every thing, the pleasure of the crown can be that may look like vesting an abso- known, may be delegated to a comlute power in the commander over all, mander in chief, the power of arbi. or any of those under his command. trarily cashiering neither ought nor
I cannot pretend, Sir, that I per- can be delegated to any subject feally understand the duties of a ser, whatsoever. jeant or corporal, but I cannot think
In time of peace therefore, Sir, there is any mystery in the affair, nor 'there can be no danger in preventcan I comprehend how a ferjeant or ing a staff-officer or soldier's being corporal can be guilty of any failure punished, unless by the sentence of a of duty, which cannot be explained court-martial; but this arbitrary pow. or proved before a court martial. er of punishing soldiers, or reducing As it does not require any very great staff-officers, if continued in time of brightness of parts, or any extraor
peace, may be of the most dangerdinary qualifications, to be a corpo ous consequence to our liberties both ral, surely, if a soldier were by na- in a military and civil respect. In a ture to remarkably stupid, as not military, because men subject to fuch to be fit to be a corporal, it could an arbitrary power must be considernot fail of being known to the offi- ed, thcy must consider themselves, as cers of the company in which he in a state of flavery: They are realferved ; and without a recommenda- ly in the same condition with the
G tion from some of them at least, no Negroes in the Wett Indies ; for tho* foldier is, I am sure, no soldier by the laws in that part of the world onght to be advanced to be a corpo. a matter be allowed, by his own au. ral or ferjeant ; for if without such thority, to punish his Negro Nave as a recommendation any foldier should
1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 107 often, or with as much severity, as of their city, were almost continualhe pleases, he is not allowed to ex- ly engaged in wars, yet those wars tend that punishment to life or limb; were always, for the first 500 years, and if our foldiers be for a long time carried on by fresh armies, so that it continued in this state of slavery, like seldom happened that any number the Roman soldiers of old, they will of their troops were above a year Jose all taste for liberty, and may A without returning to enjoy the hapthen be induced to affift their com- piness of freedom and liberty. By mander in destroying the liberties of this custom their citizents continued their country. But this, Sir, is not all to be soldiers, and their foldiers the only danger; for even in a civil to be citizens ; but foon after they respect this power of reducing ftaff- began to keep up, and to carry on officers may be of dangerous conse. their wars by ftanding armies, their quence to our liberties, because ma- B citizens loft'that warlike fpirit
, and ny of them are house-keepers, and their soldiers that love of liberty, by as such have a right to vote for mem
which alone the freedom of governbers of parliament in some of our ci. ment can be preferved! ties or boroughs. Can such men vote For this reason, Sir, we ought to with freedom at an election ? Can be careful not to give the meanet they refuse to vote for any candidate soldier of our army an occafion to that comes recommended to them by C think, that he is in a state of Navetheir colonel ? And as to every such ry : On the contrary, we Mould, as recommendation, it may be suppo. far as is consistent with the nature of fed, that the colonel will follow the military service, 'furnish them with directions he receives from the chief reasons for rejoicing in their being general of our army.
English foldiers, and consequently in 'Thus, Sir, the commander in à condition much fuperior to that of chief of our army may make him D'the slavilh armies upon the continent; self matter of many of our elections ; and as this of indieting punifr.ments, and where he cannot by such means by the sole and arbitrary will of a make himself master, he may do as commander, is a power that has been Caius Marius did at Rome, he may very seldom exercised in time of war, give private orders to his foldiers to it cannot, I think, be necessary in murder any one that hall dare to set time of peace ; consequently I muit, himself up as a candidate against the e for the fake of my country, as well man he has recommended for the as for the sake of the faff officers first attempt that great and wicked' and soldiers of our army, agree to Roman made against the liberties of' have this clause made part of the his country, was to get his foldiers' bill now under our confideration. to murder the man who stood candidate for the tribunelhip in opposition
i be next that spoke was Cn. Fulvius, to the person he patronised; and the fauhefe Speech was to this Effect; Roman soldiers were even by thật
Mr. Prefident, time become so abandoned, so lost: S. IR,
sense or that HE , they readily obeyed their general's orders, tho' he was then out of com- is of late grown so very warm, that I mand, and tho it was but 100 years with we may not, in the heat of our after the end of the second Púnick G zeal, do as "Jack did with his father's war, and not abovc 1 50 years after the coat ; I wish we may not tear the Romans first began to keep the fame fubitance to pieces by too rafhly reararmy under military law for a num.! ing away the ornaments. ber of years together; for cho' the
OWE" Romans, from the very first origin
198 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. March own part, I shall never be for intro- alteration in the opinion of our lawducing a new law to prevent a yers, I believe, there are many sergrievance that was never felt, nor jeants and corporals in the army, Tall I be for abolishing an old custom who would have very little reason from whence no inconvenience ever to thank you for the favour you inensued, of which no bad use has tended them by adding such a clause. ever been made. When I say this, A In short, Sir, you may, I think, as no gentleman can expect, that I properly take from a captain the should be for adding this clause to the power of removing a soldier from bill now under our confideration, the front to the rear rank, or from since it has not been so much as the right to the left, of his company, insinuated, that any wrong use has as to take from a colonel the power ever been made of the power, of removing a halbert from one man's which the colonel has to reduce B hand to another's, as often as he finds a ferjeant or corporal to a private it may be for the benefit of his recentinel, when he finds it necessary giment. for the service. Nay, I do not Then, Sir, as to the punishment know how a wrong use can be made of soldiers, I do not know that any of it ; for, to reduce a serjeant to a thing properly called punishment private centinel is so far from being was ever inflicted upon any of them, a punishment, that it cannot properly Cbut in pursuance of the sentence of be called degrading him ; because, a court-martial ; for if the major or tho' he be called ferjeant, and has adjutant of a regiment should give a sort of command, he is still but a a soldier a tap with his cane, for not common foldier, as was some years having clean linen, or for carrying fince determined after a solemn ar. his armis in a slovenly manner, I gument at common law, on occanon
hope, you would not call such a of a ferjeant's being arrested, and D necessary correction a punishment; carried to prison to the Marshalsea and yet if this clause should be pas. for a debt under sol. To this ac- sed into a law, I do not know but tion, or at least in bar of the arrest, that our soldiers may take it into he pleaded that clause in the mutiny their heads, that this sort of coract, which provides, that no Soldier section has been declared illegal, and shall be taken out of his majesty's that the officer who makes use of service by any process or execution E any such is liable to an action of for a debe under rol. and upon this assault and battery, Nay, I do not plea, after a solemn hearing, he was know but that our judges might be discharged ; because it was truly of the same opinion ; for tho' we said, that his colonel's putting a may make laws, it is they that are halbert into his hand instead of a to interpret them ; and we cannot musket, did not alter his condition, always foresee what sort of interpre: or give him any legal rank in the F tation they will put upon the laws army above that of a common soldier; we make. This I am very sure of, for that the colonel might next day that they have sometimes put an intake the halbert from him, and terpretation upon a law, that was put the musket again into his hand. never so much as dreamt of by any
This, Sir, was the manner in one concerned in making it. which chat question was then deter- for this reason among many others, mined; but if such a clause as this G Sir, we ought to be cautious of adnow proposed had then been in the ding any new and unprecedented mutiny act, perhaps the question clautes to the bill now before us ; might have been otherwise deter- and as to ransacking all the military mined ; and if the adding of this laws of Europe tor feverities, I do not clause Mould hereafter produce an
know 1951. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 109 know what the noble lord means by Upon this C. Trebonius ftood up again, it: I know of no severities that have and spoke in Substance as follows, been lately introduced into this bill, viz. nor has any alterations or amend:
Mr. President, ments been made to the articles of war, but in order to give people a
SIR, true notion of what is meant by dif. A ALWAYS thought, Sir, that a cipline, or to describe clearly and fully the offence, the punishment, mischief was fufficient for inducing or the method of proceeding intend- this house to agree to a new regulaed. And as to any new regulations, tion, or to abolith an old and useless no one has been introduced but what custom ; but the Hon. gentleman was before, established by custom in who spoke last, it seems, thinks, our army ; upon the whole of which B that we cught not to stop up the I will say, that no army in the world hole in a bridge till fome person has is better regulated, nor are the sol. fallen through and been drowned : diers in any country less severely We ought not to abolish that ab. dealt with, or better secured against solute power, which the colonel has injustice or oppression. They are assumed over the staff officers of his so far from being in a state of flavery, regiment, till an instance be given of that they are, in my opinion, less lia. Cits having been egregiously abused. ble to be rigorously dealt with when I confess, Sir, I always thought guilty, than those criminals are that otherwise, and for this reason, when are to be tried by common law; for I opened this clause to you, I endeacourts-martial are always more in- voured only to fhew, that this power clined to lenity than severity, and was in itself dangerous and useless. are but too shy of declaring a man that it might be very much abused, guilty, when there is not the Itrongest D and that it never could be necessary evidence against him.
for any good purpose; but now I am We have not therefore, Sir, the called upon, I think myself obliged least cause to apprehend, that our to give an instance of its having been foldiers will ever look upon them- abused, which I do with reluctance, selves as slaves, or that they will because I do not like to rake into enable any commander to overturn the misconduct of officers, either of a that constitution, under which they E high or low degree; and I mutt say, enjoy so much security, and from I am so far from being of opinion, which they reap so much benefit. that this power never was abused, With respect to our army, we have that I believe, it would be found, upnothing to fear but a relaxation of on inquiry, that hardly any use was discipline, which might render them ever made of it, but what was an unfit for defending us against our abuse. foreign enemies, and too ape to be F Now, Sir, as to the facts I am troublesome not only in their quar- going to mention, I must premise, ters, but in every country they pass that I do not affert them from my through ; and as a relaxation of own knowledge : I had them only discipline might probably be the ef- by information ; and therefore all i fect of the clause now offered, I mall say is, that I shall faithfully must be against making it a part of the relate them, and exa&tly as they have bill, especially as the Hon. gentle. been told to me.
During the heat man who offered it, did not attempt G of the Westminster election, a serjeant to shew, that in any one instance an and corporal had the misfortune ( I unjust use had been made of the call it a misfortune, from what after. power, which the colonel has over
wards the staff oficers in his regiment.
110 PROCEEDINGś of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. March wards happened) to be marching a. I must fill look upon it as a very selong the streets with a party, going, vere punishment ; and I shall contiI suppose, to the playhouse, or upon nue in that opinion, unless the Hon. some other duty ; and as they were gentleman could convince me, that upon their march, some of the sol. There is no difference between 10s. diers behind them joined in the po- 4 d. per week, and, 4s. 6 d. per pular cry then reigning in the streets, A week, or between commanding and and called out, Vandeput for ever. being commanded. This I believe These uncourtly words, for tho' he will never be able to convince me they were popular, they were cer- of ; and while I continue in this otainly at that time uncourtly, neither pinion, I must think, that this was the serjeant nor corporal took any very great abuse of the power notice of; but after their duty was which the colonels in our army have over, returned to the .parade, and B by custom alumed, of reducing dismissed their party, without making ftaf officers to the rank of private any report of this accident to the
centinels, whenever they please. commanding officer.
officer. The acci. The Hon, gentleman, Sir, may dent was however taken notice of, . talk of the happy condition of the and related by some busy tale-bearer: , soldiers of our army, and of its beThe ferjeant and corporal were fenting preferable to that of the soldiers for and examined : They confessed Cof any other army ; but no man that they had heard some such words reflects can think himself happy, from some of the soldiers in their . whilft he is liable to be severely purear; and because they could not fix nished at the niere whim of any man upon the man who had committed whatsoever. And tho' I shall althis heino's trespass, nor had made, low, that a little manual correction any report of it to the commanding may now and then be neceslary: yet, officer upon guard, they and their D it is what a good officer will always whole party were sent prisoners to be very sparing of, and will never the Savoy, and both the lerjeant and make use of it, till he finds that no corporal were reduced into the ranks, amendment can be expected without where they have ever fince served, it. But this is not what is now com. and are like to serve for years to plained of, or proposed to be remecome, as common soldiers.
died by the clause I have offered to These, Sir, are the facts as they E. your conlideration. It is to prevent have been related to me ; but that any military commander's taking upyou may not entirely depend upon on him io subject a soldier to such as my relation, I must inform you, that have always been decmed military the two men are now at your door, punishments, by his own sole authoand ready to attest what I have told ricy; for that this is sometimes done, you, if you will please to call them
every gentleman knows, that knows in for that purpose. And now I F any thing of our army; and that must appeal to gentlemen, whether this should ever be permitted, I can this was any military crime, or in- never think neceffary, considering deed a crime of any kind, much less : how soon a court martial may be a crine which deserved such a severe held, and the proper punishment inpunishment, as that of reducing a ; filted, after due proof of the crime, Terjeant and corporal to private cen., by the authority of their fentence. tinels ; for notwithftanding what has As to courts-martial, Sir, I be. been said as to its being no punish G lieve it may be true, that they have ment, and notwithitanding the trial generally a bias to lenity, when un. at law, which the Hon. gentleman influenced by any particular resentwas pleased to give us an account of, ment, and when they ft upon the