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fion, the action was wicked : If For this reason, Sir, I think, we there was no such design, if the pu. cannot avoid making some inquiry nishment was inflicted only with a into this affair; but I agree with the design to make staff and other offi. noble lord who spoke laft, in being cers more exact in their report, and of opinion, that we should not hear more observant of the behaviour of the complaint of any foldier against every soldier under their command, A his officer, without giving the officer it was by much too severe. But says at the same time an opportunity to the noble lord, the men might have justify himself; for tho' no one can had relief by applying to a board suppose, that we should proceed to of general officers : Sir, I have as a censure upon any man's conduct, good an opinion of the officers, before we had given him time for especially the generals of our army, his . vindication, yet, I think, we as of any set of men whatever ; but B should not proceed in any formal I have some little knowledge of man- manner even to hear the accufation, kind ; and as all or most of our without the presence of the person general officers are colonels of regi. accused, because an accusation leaves inents, I must from the nature of a sort of ftigma upon a man's chamankind suppose, that a staff officer racter, which he must labour under could hardly expect relief from them, till he has an opportunity to wipe it upon a complaint against the rigour Coff. I hall therefore conclude with and severity of his colonel, who had moving, that this debate may be ad. exercised no power but what was ex- journed but till Friday next ; and pressly given him by the articles of
when you have agreed to that, I war.
Thall move, that these two soldiers Therefore, Sir, if these men and the commanding officer of the have been injured, or too severely regiment, may then be ordered to punished, they can expect no relief D attend ; both which motions will, I but from the juttice of parliament, hope, be agreeed to, as we need be where, I hope, the oppressed thall in no hurry about palling the bill never apply in vain ; and the uncer- now before us, having time enough tainty we may be under as to the for that purpose between this and Lamotives which induced the colonel dy-day next, so that two days delay to reduce these two staff ofiicers, can be of no manner of consequence can be no reason for our not inqui. E with regard to the pasing of the bill; ring into this affair ; for we may ob- but a thorough insight into this af. lige the colonel to declare his mo- fair, is certainly of the greatest im. tives, and to prove the facts upon portance, with regard to the questi. which they were founded ; and be- on, whether we hould agree to the fides, it is in this case highly proba. clause now offered to be added to the ble, inat the causes or motives for
bill. the punishment were declared, be- F fore che punishment was inflicted Upon this Julius Florus food up and and we may discover that the true
Spoke to this Efíet : motive was, as I have suggested, to direct the vote of every man belong
Mr. President, ing to the army, with respect to the
SIR, election then depending, which HE question as to the claufe would be a discovery of the utmost now offered to be added to consequence to the freedom of elec. G this bill, I thought a question of so tions, and to the preservation of our little importance, that I was resolved present happy constitution.
1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 155 not to have given you the trouble of which would make them in a short hearing my sentiments upon the oc- time conceive a detestation for parcafion ; but the debate has now taken liament, and the officers would eia different curn, and a curn which I ther conceive a contempo for it, or think of the utmost importance. by being so often put to trouble and What! would you call officers and expence by such inquiries, they would soldiers to traduce and impeach one A generally desire to get rid of it; another at your bar ? This, Sir, which would make it easy for some might be of the most dangerous con- ambitious prince or general to put an sequence to the very existence of this end to the very being of parliament. auguit assembly. I hope neither will Therefore, Sir, whatever you ever learn the way to this house. If may do with the clause proposed to they should once learn the way of be added to this bill, I hope, you coming here with their complaints, B will not give yourself the trouble we may expect that they will soon to make any inquiry into the comlearn the way of coming here with plaint now laid before you ; for there their petitions and remonftrances, as cannot, I think, be the least pre. they did about a century ago ; and tence for saying, that it any way rethe consequence at that time I need lates to the freedom of elections, not desire gentlemen to recollect. or to the election now depending
Our business, Sir, is to consider C for Westminster. It relates wholly what number of regular forces may to the duty of a serjeant sent out with be necessary for the defence of the a party upon a command, who cernation, and to grant money for main- tainly ought to be very minute and taining that number ; but we have circumstantial in his report. It is no bufiness with the conduct of the not for him to judge, nor can he army, or with their complaints against know what incidents may be worth one another, which belongs to the D or not worth reporting : He is to king alone, or such as shall be com- leave that to his commanding officer; missioned by him. If we ever give therefore he ought to report every ear to any such complaints, it will incident that happens, even tho' it certainly produce one of these two may to him appear trifling; and as consequences : It will either destroy dangerous mutinies and seditions all manner of discipline and subordi. have often arose from a very trifling nation in the army, or it will render E circumstance, I must think, it was this house despised by the officers, very impudent in a soldier under and detested by the common soldiers command to join in any popular cry of the army; and either of these he heard in the streets, it was negli. consequences would be fatal to che gent in the serjeant to take no notice nation. If the common soldiers of him, and a much more heinous hould be encouraged to come here neglect of duty to take no ríorice with their complaints against their F of this in his report, especially at a officers, and should, upon every oc- time when there was such mobbing casion, find redress, it would soon in the streets, and such a seeming put an end to their having any de- inclination in the populace to be riopendence upon, or regard for their tous. But whether the punishment commanding officers, without which was too severe, is a question which I no discipline can be preserved. On shall not take upon me to determine, the other hand, if the soldiers should and I must say, that I do not think come here with their complaints, G it a queftion proper for this house to most of them would be found to be determine : I think it belongs much unjuft, so that they would very fel- more properly to a court martial, or dom find the redress they expected, to a board of general officers, and
to them we ought to leave the de. who favour the motion are never put termination ; therefore I hope this to prove an abuse: It has always been affair will be entirely dropt, and the deemed fufficient for them to Thew, question put upon the clause now that the power is liable to be abused, þefore us, which, I think, has no. in order to induce the house to abolish thing to do with this affair ; for that power, or to put it upon some whether the power which the colo. A such new establishment as may prenel has over the staff officers of his
vent, as much as posible, its being any segiment, was made a good or a bad longer liable to be abused. For this use of upon any particular occasion, reason I do not think the complaint is not surely to determine our judg- now before us of any very great imment as to the continuance or abo- portance to the principal question lition of that power, but whether under consideration ; but at the same it is a power that is necessary even B time I must declare againit the prinin time of peace for preserving dis- ciple laid down, that this house is cipline in our army, and rendering never to take notice of the com. it useful in time of war.
plaints made by the army, or by any If for these purposes, Sir, the con- man, or any sort of men, in the tinuance of this power be thought army. I hope both the officers and necessary, I am sure, we have no soldiers of the army are all subjects occasion 'to frighten ourselves with Cof Great Britain ; and it is our duty the influence that staff-officers may to take notice of every complaint have in elections ; for unless it be made to us by any British subject, in Westminster, I hardly believe unless upon the face of it, it appears there is any place in the kingdom to be frivolous or unjust. Nay farwhere a staff officer has a vote for ther, as we are the great inquest of members of parliament ; and in the nation, it is our duty to inquire Westminster, where there are foD diligently if any of the subjects of many thousand electors, surely the Great Britain be exposed to, or lavotes of three or four score serjeants bouring under any, and what oppref. can never be of any great weight in fions, and to take the most effec. either scale. To this I must add, tual method for procuring them re. Sir, that as a colonel's life as well as
lief. character very
often in time of war This, I say, Sir, is our duty, and depends upon the behaviour of his E I wish we would attend to this part tegiment, I believe, every colonel of our duty more frequently than we will chuse to have a regiment of do, especially with regard to that brave and well disciplined soldiers, part of the British subjects who serve tather than a regiment of voters at in our armies either by sea or land; any election.
for they are by the nature of the
service more exposed to oppression, The loft Speech I shall give you in F than any other part of his majesty's
this Debate, was that made by subjects, and it is likewise much M. Ogulnius, the Purport of which more dangerous for them to comwas as follows, viz.
plain. I am far from apprehending, Mr. Prefident,
Sir, that our giving ear to com
plaints, or inquiring into oppresSIR,
sions, will ever bring parliaments inta BELIEVE every gentleman G contempt or deteitation with any
part of the people ; but if we enmade for repealing any law, or for tirely neglect this part of our duty, abolishing any, power that has been parliaments may become contempestablished by law or cusom, those tible, and, on account of the taxes GO
, that when"ya amation as
1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 157 they impose, detestable, to much the jured by his colonel, he may have greatest part of the people both in interest enough to obtain such an and out of the army. As it is not a' order ; but how shall a
poor soldier very long time since we had a stand. obtain it, when he has been injured ing army, there cannot be many ex- by his colonel ? A regimental courtamples of complaints being brought martial he cannot truft to for relief, by officers or soldiers before par. A even fuppofing that the colonel should liament; but in K. William's time, order one at his requelt ; and a gewhen standing armies were first kept neral court-martial he cannot obup by authority of parliament, tain, because it is so difficult for him there were several inquiries and com- to get access, either to the crown, or plaints, and not only soldiers but the commander in chief ; but to a' cven recruits were examined at the member of this house he may get bar of this house in relation to the be. B access : By means of that member haviour of the officers towards them. he may get justice done him by parEven but very lately, as every gen- liament ; and now and then an in-: tleman must remember, there was stance of this kind would attach all
committee appointed by this house the soldiers to the parliament, and to inquire into several things relating would be a continual check upon to the army, and tho' the power of those officers that are apt to oppress that committee was, by the order, C and tyrannize over the soldiers, that very much confined, yet their in- have the misfortune to be under quiry produced a very good effect, their command; for tho' I have the and gained the applause of every pleasure to think, that there are few man in the army. Suppose we mould such officers in our army, there mus now and then reject a frivolous, or always be fome, and nothing can be punish an unjust complaint, can we a more effectual check upon their imagine that this would bring upon D conduct, than the parliament's givparliament che detestation of the ing ear to every soldier's complaint, soldiers ? No, Sir, a common sol- that appears to be just and well dier has common understanding as founded. well as other men ; and every one
That this would be of any preju. of them not concerned in the com- dice to the discipline of our army, plaint, would judge impartially and there is not, Sir, the least ground to approve what the parliament had E apprehend ; Can oppression and tydone. Nothing can bring us into ranny be necessary for preserving contempt but our refusing to hear a discipline and subordination in an ar. just complaint when properly brought my? Shall such a doctrine ever be before us, or our neglecting to give adopted by a British house of com. redress to the party injured, when the mons ? On the contrary, do not we facts have been fully proved ; and know, that discipline, subordination, , in particular, we ought to be atten. F and what is of ftill more consequence, tive to the complaints of the com- the courage of the soldiers, are premon soldiers, because it is very dif- served by juft and gentle usage ? ficult for them to obtain redress And this I take to be the chief rea.. by any other method.
fon, why the common soldiers of the Let us consider, Sir, that a board British army face danger with more of general officers, or a general intrepidity, and with more alacrity, court martial, must be appointed by G than the common soldiers of any na. an order from the crown, or the tion under the sun. Do not, there. commander in chief, when there is fore, let us encourage brutal officers, one appointed by the crown: When if any such there are, or should ever a commissioned officer has been in. be in our army, to use the soldiers
ill, by laying it down as a maxim, London against stockjobbing; and that the parliament must never in- every one knows what opposition he termeddle in any disputes or diffe- met with within doors, what re. rences, that happen in our army, proaches without, before he could
To refute this doctrine, Sir, which get that bill passed into a law. It is I thought of such dangerous conse- true, Sir, we have, thro' complaiquence, was the only end of my A fance, or for satisfying a filly popustanding up, and therefore I fall lar clamour, given our consent to not take up your time with giving several fuch bills ; but I hope we you my opinion upon any of the It all at last put an end to this com. other points now under our conside-plaisance ; for I do not think there ration, but conclude with observing was ever a more ridiculous bill sent in general, that I shall always be up to us, than the bill now under jealous of a power, the exercise B consideration. whereof is trusted to the absolute There is no man, Sir, that more and arbitrary will of a single man; heartily wilhes the improvement of nor do I think, that any such power the British fishery than I do : There can ever be necessary in time of is no man more sensible of the bene. peace ; for tho' in time of war such
fits that might accrue to this nation a power must often be granted, yet by extending our fisheries, especially even then it ought to be as little C that of white herrings, upon the made use of as polble.
coasts of our own island ; and there
is no man more forry than I am, The next Debate I shall give you, is that proper expedients have not been
one we had in our Club upon the found, for turning to the best ada famous Bill palled last Sefion, in.
vantage, the spirit that at present titled, An Act for the Encourage prevails among the people for the ment of the British White Her- D improvement, or rather, I should say, ring Fishery ; which Debate was the introduction of that fithery. I opered by C. Claudius Nero, who, am from information, as well as ftuupon that Occasion, spoke in Sub- dy, fully apprised of the riches that fance thus :
might accrue to this nation from a Mr. President,
due improvement of that fishery, of
the numbers of poor people that SIR,
E might thereby be usefully employed, T is very surprising, that of all and above all, of the vast addition
the bilís sent up to us of late that might thereby be made to the years from the other house for a. number of our seamen, which is the mending the law, improving trade, natural strength and the true glory of or removing any grievance publickly this kingdom ; therefore, I cannot complained of, most of them were but desire above all things to see this such as were apparently ineffectual F trade put upon a proper foundation ; for the end proposed, or such as and for this very reason I must be tended to introduce a greater griev. against the bill now under consideance than that they intended to re- ration ; because, from such regulamove. Such were their bills against tions, I am sure, we can meet with the use of spirituous liquors, their no success, and a failure in the atbills against vagabonds, and many tempt will throw such a damp upon others I could mention. In short, the present laudable spirit, that it
G I can think but of one bill that has will not for many years be pollible to fully answered what was expected revive it. from it, which was that brought in Did we ever hear, did we ever by a worthy magistrate of the city of read of a company, that carried on a
E- of W.