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occasion chose for his motto, or text, a bad nota tendency to these consequences; statement of the circumstance from the for what could tend to that end more news-papers; to which he subjoined a directly than to represent the inilitary libel of extreme malignity, upbraiding code as critel and oppressive, and admithose who endeavoured to suppress the nistered with unnecessary severity? mutiny, and insulting those who stood Could such a representation as this bo by to see it `punished. On that occa- exceeded in atrocity? Yes, it could. sión, ton, the defendants took an oppor The English army could be brought into tunity of speaking of the manner in which comparison with the French army, and Bonaparte was supposed to recruit his the preference given to the latter. Haarmy, taunting and reviling those who ving thus opened the principles, upon talked of his severity, and telling them which the Attorney-General was sure it was ridiculous to animadvert on bis the jury would decide this publication cruelty while so much greater existed in to be a libel, he proceeded to read and our own army. After observing in that comment upon it as follows:--case upon the mild sentence and still ONE THOUSAND LASHES. milder infliction which attended the mue. - - (From the Stamford News.) tiny of those men who had risen upon « The aggressors were not dealt with their officers, the Attorney General sup- as Buonaparté would have treated his posed he did use the sentence which the "refractory troops."-Speech of the Atpresent defendants had selected for the torney-General. motto of their libel" The aggressors This was the first motto, and impliwere pot dealt with as Bonaparte would cated the libel which followed it so have treated his refractory troops." closely, that the Attorney General took (Speech of the Attorney General.) He it to be a continuance of that libel for repeated this assertion now; he verily which Mr. Cobbett had received the believed it: in Bonaparte's army the of- sentence of the court. The second fenders would not have escaped with motto consisted of the reports of militheir lives. Mr. Cohbett having been tary punishments, collected froin all the convicted for this libel the present pub- London newspapers (of which it might Jishers took up the subject; and, whereas be necessary to inform some of the jury, Mr. Cobbett took up a particular in- that 60 different ones were published stance of military punishment upon which every week) and represented in one mass. to comment, the present writers took The number of troops subject to these all they could collect from all the papers punishments consisted of 180,000 local and presented them in a mass in the militia, and 90,000 original militia, in most aggravating manner, evidently for all 270,000, besides all the regular troops the purpose of inflaming the minds of the in the service; and was it fair to pick soldiers, rendering them disaffected to out all the punishments which had been the service, and subjecting the public to sentenced on the soldiery, without reall those calamities which would follow porting, at the same time, the number the effect which this publication was cal- of offenders who had been pardoned, culated to produce." The Attorney Ge- and the number of persons subject to neral assumed it as a fact, that wherever commit the offence? Was this the there was an army, it was absolutely course of proceeding of a fair discusser necessary that that ariny should be go- of the policy of military fogging ? verned by laws which were not applica- “ Corporal Curtis was sentenced to reble to the rest of society. In families, “ceive ONE THOUSAND LASHES; but, it was necessary that children should be “after receiving two hundred, was, on obedient to their parents, servants to “his own petition, permitted to volantheir masters; and where this obedience " teer into a regiment on foreign serdid not obtain, the most serious domes- " vice.-William Clifford, a private in tic evils were found to ensue. But there " the 7th royal veteran battalion, was the evil ended. In the army it was “ lately sentenced to receive ONE THOUotherwise. ff once the army were let “SAND LASHES, for repeatedly striking Joose from its code of laws, not only " and kicking his superior officer. He would follow the destruction of the mi So underwent part of the sentence, by litary system, but the downfal of the “ receiving seven hundred and fifty lashes, whole state. It was unnecessary to state "at Canterbury, in presence of the the consequences which would ensue. « whole garrison. - A garrison courtIt could not be said, that this publication “ martial has been held on board the .
* Metcalf transport, at Spithead, on “ parte's soldiers cannot form any notion " some men of the 4th regiment of foot, " of that most heart-rending of all exhi. “ for disrespectful behaviour to their offi- ' tions on this side hell-AN ENGLISH “cers. Two THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED “MILITARY FLOGGING !"--Now, why, "LASHES were to be inflicted among in his outset, did this writer compare "them.-Robert Chilman, a private in the treatment of our soldiers with that " the Bearstead and Malling regiment of Bonaparte's? Did he mean to re" of local militia, who was lately tried commend our government to abolish the " by a court-martial for disobedience of present military code, and substitute “ orders, and mutinous and improper that of Bonaparté ? Did our system “ behaviour while the regiment was em- drag men from their homes, and oblige « bodied, has been found guilty of all them, to enter the army against their "the charges, and sentenced to receive will, as that of Bonaparté does? If it “ EIGHT HUNDRED LASHES, which are did, the Attorney-General could not " to be inflicted on him at Chatham, to have dared to stand up this day against " which garrison he is to be marched for any publication which execrated such a " that purpose."--London Newspapers. plan. Military punishments were se
This was the second motto ; and now vere : but was it the interest of the ine the libel commences at once: flicters of them to render them more so " The Attorney General said what was than was necessary? And was it not “ very true;-chese aggressors have cer- necessary to insure prompt obedience, “ tainly not been dealt with as Buuna: by prompter justice than could be sought "parté would have terated his refrac- for in any other than the military code? "tory troops ;-nor indeed as refractory The whole of the above paragraph was “ troops would have been treated in any comparison with the French; and the "civilized country whatever, save and obvious tendency of it was to elevate “except only this country. -Here alone, their conduct, and to debase our own. "in this land of liberty, in this age of - Let it not be supposed that we in"refinement-by a people who, with “ tend these remarks to excite a vague “their usualconsistency, have been in the" and indiscriminating sentiment against " habit of reproaching their neighbours" punishment by military law :-00: “ with the cruelty of their punishments-- “ when it is considered that discipline " is still inflicted a species of torture, at “ forms the soul of an army, without " least as exquisite as any that was ever " which it would at once degenerate “ devised by the infernal ingenuity of “into a mob; when the description of "the inquisition.-No, as the Attorney " persons which compose the body of “General justly says, Buonaparté does “ what is called an army, and the situa“ not treat bis refractory troops in this 6 tions in which it is frequently placed, "manner; there is not a man in his “are also taken into account, it will, " ranks whose back is seained with the “ we are afraid, appear but too evident, " lacerating cat-o'-nine tails ;-his sol- “ that the military code must still be “ diers bave never yet been brought up « kept distinct from the civil, and dis" to view one of their comrades stripped “ tinguished by greater promptitude and “naked, his limbs tied with ropes to a “ severity.--Buonaparié is no favourite " triangular machine,--his back torn to “ of ours, God wot; but it we come to " the bone by the merciless cutting whip- “ balance accounts with him on this “cord, applied by persons who relieve “particular head, let us see how mat" each other at short intervals, that they “ters will stand.”—The Attorney-Ge" may bring the full unexhausted strength neral then pointed out with what ex" of a man to the work of scourging. treme reluctance the enormities of the " Buonaparte's soldiers have never yet, French system were mentioned. " He " with tingling ears, listened to the “ recruits bis ranks by force---so do "piercing screams of a human creature "we:" as if by the same degree of force! "so tortured: they have never seen the The imprisonments and deaths to which "blood oozing from his rent flesh ;--- he has recourse were slightly passed " they have never beheld a surgeon, with over." We flog those whom we have "dubious look, pressing the agonized “ forced-he does not. It may be said " victim's pulse, and calmly calculating, “he punishes them in some manner; "to an odd blow, how far suffering muy " that is very true. He imprisons bis "be extended, until, in its extremity, it “ refractory troops, occasionally, in "encrouch upon life. In short, Bonu- “ chains; and in aggravated cases, he
" puts them to death. But any of these « barbarity), is the military character “severities is preferable to tying a “so degraded. We have heard of an “human creature up like a dog, and “ army of slaves, which had bravely he cutting his Aesh to pieces with whip- “ withstood the swords of their masters, “cord. Who would not go to prison “ being defeated and dispersed by the " for two years," sas Buonaparté sent " bare shaking of the instrument of fiahis military offenders, the Attorney-Ge- “ gellation in their faces. This brought Deral supposed.]" or indeed for almost « so forcibly to their minds their former
any term, rriher than bear the exqui- “ state of servitude and disgrace, that "site, ibe almost insupportable tor- “ every honourable impulse at once for“me'ni, nocasioned by the infliction of “sook their bosoms, and they betook "seren kundred or a thousand lashes ? " themselves to fight and to howling. “ Death is mercy compared with such “ We entertain no anxiety about the “ sufferings. Besides, what is a man « character of our countrymen in Por** good for after he has liad the cat-o'- "tugal, when we contemplate their " nine-tails across his back? Can he meeting the bayonets of Massena's ti ever again hold' up his head among « troops ; but we must own that we * his fellows! One of the poor wretches « should trenible for the result, were “ executed at Lincoln last Friday, it is "the French general to dispatch against “siated, had been severely punished in « them a few hundred drummers, each “ some regiment. The probability is, "brandishing a cat-o'-nine-tails." - It " that to this odious, ignominious flog- there were to be made any alteration “ ging, may be traced bis sad end ; and in our military code, it must be by in" it cannot be doubted that he found creasing the number of those offences " the gallows less cruel than the hal punishable by death; and if a proposal " berts. Surely, then, the Attorney, were made to this effect, the Attorney“ General ought not to stroke his chin General should like to know in what “ with such complacency, when he rea. terms of severity the writer of this libel “"fers to the manner in which Buona- would attack the proposer of such a " parté treats his soldiers. We despise measure. The writer struck his balance “ and detest those who would tell us between the supposed hardships of our " that there is as much liberty now en- army and the real ones of Buonaparté's, "joyed in France as there is left in this and gave the final preference to the Cor“ country. We give all credit to the sican. Could the jury hear this without “ wishes of some of our great men; yet indignation? Was it possible not to “ while any thing remains to us in the see that the tendency of the libel was " shape of free discussion, it is impos- to alienate the soldier's love of his pro“sible that we should sink into the ab- fession, and disincline every body else “ ject slavery in which the French peo- from embracing it? Could any thing “ ple are plunged. But although we be more pointedly mischievous? The “ do not envy the general condition of whole libel was equally offensive: every “ Buonaparlé' subjects, we really (and sentence had the same tendency. Of " we speak the honest conviction of our this tendency there could be no doubt; e hearts) see nothing pecularly pitiable and the jury would therefore hear from li in the lot of his soldiers when com- his lordship that this was a most mis“ pared with that of our own. Were we chievous and seditious libel. « called upon to make our election be- Mr. Brougham then addressed the 6 tween the services, the whipcord would court and the jury on behalf of the de6. at once decide us.-No advantage fendants, to the following effect:-" In 6 whatever can compensate for, or ren- rising to support the cause of these de“ der tolerable to a mind but one degree fendants, I am abundantly sensible of " removed from brutality, a liability to the difficulties under which I labour, not “ he lashed like a beast. It is idle to merely on the score of unequal talents “ talk about rendering the situation of and learning, or on account of the high « a British soldier pleasant to himself, influence of the office of the Attorney“ or desirable, far less honourable, in General; vot merely because I am de" the estimation of others, while the fending the cause of those prosecuted by " whip is held over his head and over the crown, a circumstance which throws “his bead alune, for in no country in an odivin opon defendants, in whose fa“ Europe (with the exception, perhaps, vour, in civil prosecutions, the presump
of Russia, which is yet in a state of tion is; but because chis charge of libe! is brought forward at a time when the the present case is from all and each of licentiousness of the press has reached those that preceded it. The consea height, which it certainly has not at- quence, however, of all these prejudices tained at any fornier time even in this is excessively hurtful to my case; and, country; a licentiousness, whereby every indeed, I have to withstand a tide and boundary is removed, and every obstacle torrent of prejudice directed now-a-days overwhelmed. I will not say that no to alınost every thing which comes in character is so exalted, because it is not the suspicious shape of being printed.-of the attacks upon exalted characters But I should not have counselled the that I complain; but I will say, that no present defendants to make a struggle character is so humble and so private, to-day, unless their case had merits of as to have escaped the libels of those an individual nature, and of such a nawho seek to gratify an idle curiosity, or ture as will, I trust, induce the court to flatter a still less excusable malignity. to stretch forth their friendly hand to To point out as an object for the tongue prevent them from utterly sinking. If of slander tbe man who is endeavouring I can sbew that the intention of the deto enter into private life, is with some fendants was good (whether it were lauthe road to popularity--with hundreds dable or not is another question,) then the means of a base subsistence. It is are they innocent and not blameable. unnecessary for me to state the nature, In whatever light the composition may consequences, and grounds of this licen- be considered critically, and as a piece tiousness of the press'; and I am far of writing, although it be not an original from saying there is nothing to extenuate article belonging to the paper, I am conit. It arises in a great degree from that tent to consider the defendants on the love of publicity with which inany are footing of its authors; and if you should seized, to a degree which leads them to not attribute guilty intentions to them as value their existence only in proportion its composers, it will be your duty to as it is passed before the gaze of the acquit them. This will be the question world, and to care not what they do, so you will have to decide; but at the same as they be but talked nf. In this parti- time, I will not disguise to you that you cular the public at least are liberal, and have now to try a more important quesnever fail to reward him who panders to tion-whether from this time an Entheir gluttonous appetite. The conse- lishman shall have the privilege of free quences, however, are fatal to the press discussion, and, if discussion, of expresitself, tending to alienate the minds of sion of his opinions against, as well as the fastest friends to its freedom, and to for any political measure, or statistical lead them to doubt whether its abuse system. The present is not an instance were not greater than its use; till at of the canvass of individual character, last, instead of blessing its light, they of a particular error of policy, or abuse come to consider it as a source of cer- of system; (I do not deny that an Engtain mischief and of doubtful good. In- lishman has that privilege of discussion, stead of confining public discussion to the too; but that is not now the question ;) characters of great men, and of public the present question is as to his right of actions, the press is occupied in private discussing a general, I had almost said, scandal, and in ripping up the secret an abstract, question, of giving his own histories of humble individuals. It is no opinion as to a particular cast of policy, small hardship in the present case, too, which it brus pleased the legislature to that the defendants come into court af- adopt. It is a question whether we have ter the judgment of several general li a right to endeavour to make that perbels; because, the subject of the libel fect, wbich we all so greatly adinire; the beag only stated, it is natural to con- constitution of our army; it is a quesclude, that this is of the same species . tion, whether a man, vehemently anxious with that of which Mr, Cobbett, or Mr. for the glory of the army, may promote Any-body-else has been convicted. The the good of the service, by shewing Attorney General has endeavoured, in- wherein its system is hurtful, and by deed, to draw a parallel between this pointing out those flaws which prevent case and that of Mr. Cobbert, in which its attainment of a greater degree of perit is unnecessary to follow him; for I section. Upon the soldier's feelings of trust I shall not proceed far before I honour depend the safety of these kingshall have convinced you that the light doms; and, with this consideratiop be. is not more different from darkness than fore him, is not that man the benefac
tor of his country who endeavours to re- any such intention to him. This is the fine those notions of honour to the ulter- language of free discussion, and the galo. most pitch of perfection? These are the lant writer speaks warmly because he questions in this case; and these your thinks strongly, Honour is the nature verdict will decide. It is well known of the tenure by which the soldier holds that for many years the attention of the his sword; and upon the subject of milegislature has been almost exclusively litary punishinents, the writer enters at called to the importance of military po- once in language certainly not weaker licy. It is not necessary for me to go than that of the publication before you. into a detail of all the plans which have “ The second and equally strong check been at different times proposed; it is "milkary enlistment," says he, “ is the sufficient to state, that all of them have “ frequency of military punishment.”—had one object in view that of better- “ The late Sir R. Abercrombie,” he adds ing the condition of the soldier. To in a note, “ was an enemy to it for light some of these plans it is, however, ne- “ offences; and Lord Moira, and almost cessary that I should direct your atten- " every general in the service, are unition. The first I shall mention is that "versal enemies to it." And how is of shortening the term of military service. there any chance of subverting the sysUpon this subject, Sir Robert Wilson, tem, unless, by facts and reasoning, the whose presence in court prevents me country and the legislature are convinced from saying, that, as there is not one of its error? Sir R. Wilson does not reofficer in the service more distinguished present a picture of military punishinent, for gallantry and skill, so there is none too frightful as it is for patient examinamore distinguished by an ardent, almost tion; but he does say that there is no amounting to a romantic attachment to mode so disgraceful as that of punishthe profession of arms; not one in whom ment by flogging, and more inconsistent Bonaparte has a deadlier (I had nearly with the military character; and is justly said a more personal) enemy, or this coun- severe when he sees that punishment, try and its allies a faster friend. This which should be awarded only to crimes of gallant officer, in the year 1804, publish the blackest die, inflicted upon petty ed a tract upon the subject of improving breaches of the military law. He attriand re-organising the military system. It butes his early respect for the army to was addressed to Mr. Pitt, whose atten- the circumstance of his having been edutention was then directed to the subject; cated in a regiment, in the face of which and mentions, among a variety of causes the triangles were never planted, and of operating to deter men from military en- which every man therefore walked erect listment, the length of the term of that en- and conscious of the dignity of a soldier. Jistment. The writer is, perhaps, warm “ There is no maxim," (be observes,) in much of his language; and I should " more true, than that cruelty is a mark have held that author cheap indeed, who “ of cowardice-humanity of bravery. could have touched upon such a subject “ To a commanding officer possessing with all the coldness of a regimental re- « the latter qualities, a thousand methods turn. “Is not this enlistment for life," “ of commuting the punishment of flog. the gallant writer asks,“ declaring to the “ ging for a better mode of punishment " world that the military service is so un- " would suggest themselves." He then “ gratelul, that it is necessary to secure proceeds to say, that if a return were “the soldier, otherwise he would never made of the number of soldiers punished, « stay in it?" He then talks of the lia- the astonishment of the public would be bility to service in the West India islands excited ; and relates an instance of an as another great drawback to enlistment. Irish commander who once flogged 70 I may not agree with the writer in every men in one day, and resumed the emone of his arguments; but God forbid ployment the next morning. “ Corporal that I should impute a libel to the gallant is punishments" (he concludes) “ never officer. He proposes that the West In- « reform a corps; they break the soldies should be given up: “ that charnel- “ dier's spirit, without mending his dis$ house," says he, “ must be closed for “ position ; tbe cat-o'-nine-tails defeals “ ever against British troops.” Did Sir “every end of punishment, only reuderRobert Wilson mean by all this to dis- "ing the soldier despicable in his own incline the regiments already there, or .. eyes, and the object of opprobrium in about to embark thither, from the mili- “ those of others." I admit that this is tary service: far be it from me to impute a topic of delicacy; but it was tbe gal