« VorigeDoorgaan »
lant officer's duty to touch upon it, from that circumstance would be only an agwhich, as an upright man, he was not gravation of the offence. No, gentledeterred by the fear of having attributed men ; I quote the words of these gallant to him motives, by which he was never officers to you, because you and I must actuated. He afterwards remarks the hold them incapable of sowing dissenmelancholy truth, that military punish- sions among their men, or deterring others ments subdue every amiable disposition, from entering the army. Of all men in and familiarize gentleinen by every right the country, there were no two who of education and birth, to scenes with more eminently adorned their profession, which no other civilized nation is ac or were more enthusiastically fond of it; quainted. “Why (he asks,) should Eng- and there cannot be a natural pretext for “ land be the last to adopt the humane charging them with a libellous iutention “system? France allows of flogging in the publication of their respective “only in her marine; and in no other pamphlets; and it is, therefore, I argue, "country, save and except England (with great submission to his lordship) " alone, is that system constantly re that if these gallant officers could pub“sorted to." It is not by the writings lish wbat they had published without any of Sir Robert Wilson only, that I defend libellous intention, the mere fact of the the opinions of the paper before me: I publication of my client's paper is no evihave others on the same side ; but I dence of a libellous intention. With shall only mention one more, that of this statement of my argument, I shall Brigadier General Stuart, the object of now proceed to the consideration of the whose publication (dated 1806) is to alleged libel itself. Upon its first motto shew the defects in our present military I shall not detain you long. Nothing establishment, and to urge the necessity surely can be made of a fashion, which of its reform. “Without a radical has been the commonest device of an "change, (he says, the British army author, at least from the time of the I will never continue formidable abroad, Spectator; and it surely is too much, be" and respected at home;" and he then cause a quotation is made from the Atmentions the very same defects, which torney General's speech upon a former are pointed out by Sir Robert Wilson. trial, to implicate the quoter in the libel He too has recourse to that topic, which of whicb that was the trial. In case, it seems no man can write upon this sube then, it should be said that the present ject without adverting to the system of writer proceeded upon no facts, he colFrance. The French soldiers, he says, lects a body of such facts, and places are often shot, but seldom punished cor- . them at the head of his argument, as so porally; and in no service have I seen much the stronger ground for agitating discipline preserved upon truer princi- the question. It had beeu enough for ples. Gentlemen, I like not an over- his argument to have said, that “ Core proneness to praise every thing French: “poral Curtis was sentenced to receive but in men who have beaten the French, “one thousand lashes ;" but he fairly there is an additional merit in giving their adds, “but, after receiving two hunadversaries their due praise; it adds the “dred, was permitted to volunteer on grace of liberality to the value of truth it " foreign service ;" and in the same spishews them to be above little petty, paltry rit of candour, he staies that the offence feuds, and that their way of fighting their of William Clifford was that of " reenemies is in the field, and not by up- “ peatedly striking and kicking his supebraidings. This gallant general has seen "rior officer.” It is thus through the other service; he has served with Aus- article, he qualifies and guards bis extrians, Russians, and Swedes; but in no pressions, in the true temper of an imservice did be see discipline preserved on partial arguer. After some warm and truer principles than in the French. Do yehement writing on the subject of these I mean, gentlemen, to argue from all this floggings, equally warm with that of Sir that because these gallant officers have Robert Wilson, (and who will say the done improperly, the defendants have a writer, feeling warmly, was not to exright to do so too? Do I know so little press himself so ?} he is afraid that his of your understandings, or have I so readers may be led into the mistake, into little regard for the interruptions of the which it seems the Attorney-General has learned judge, as to offer the absurd, the actually fallen, and therefore cautions insane proposition, that the fault of one them lest they should suppose he was man excuses that of another ? Did I too generally fond of French systems. bring forward one libel to screen another, The learned counsel then read the beginning of the second paragraph of the comparison might make upon him; and libel.] It bas been objected, that the I pray you, gentlemen, not to be led writer has not sufficiently guarded his away by any appearance of warmth or military reader (supposing him to have violence, with which his remarks may one) from an idea that there was no dif- be made. He might have made these ference between the English and the remarks without the qualification which French military codes; but the writer he has annexed to tbem, and yet I should expressly states that “ Buonaparté im not have been afraid of his defence; he “ prisons his refractory troops, occa- hus qualified then, and his defence is “ sionally in chains; and in aggravated sure. The points he has urged he had a " cases he puts them to death." Is this right to press, unless free discussion not stating both sides fairly? Is this mean a free choice of topics, but a ferkeeping out of sight the severities of tered use of them, a selection of subject, Buonaparté ? Had the writer any rea- but a restriction of language. If there son to mention the French punishments is one subject upon which we may be But though the conduct of his argument allowed to think more strongly than ano. does not demand it, he admits that ther, it is the present; and every body Buonaparté punishes with chains and above the level of a stock or a stone will death. Many of our first statesmen on write in proportion to his feelings on the the agitation of the question, have main- subject. If he have not the power to tained that the punishment of death do this, to what is the privilege of disshould supersede that of flogging in our cussion reduced ? To something like a army; and it is not out of compassion free selection of what another prescribes to the soldier, that the argument in the to a rule eaten up with exceptions; paper before me is held, as much as to and he who tells you you have the pri. say to him, " Mutiny! that's right! You vilege, has either a small acquaintance " are liable to have your back tortured, with the language, or a slight regard to and your revolt is justifiable !” The ar- truth. The present writer has stated goment is, that the punishment of death facts; a system itself is impeached, and is less horrible and disgraceful than that it is part of his argument that that sysof whipping; and the writer's address to tem leads to unavoidable cruelty, and the soldier is, “ don't think you are to cruelty which cannot fail to be exerget off for your offences; my notion is, cised." He who has a right to hold this that instead of being flogged, you should opinion, has a duty to communicate it; be chained for life, or put at once to and as for the fear of exciting mutiny in death." The writer's tenderness was ex- the soldiers, it is idle and chimerical. ercised towards the military character But laying out of your view, gentlemen, in general, and not to the soldier, in par- ny former argument and the high authoticular; and, instead of exciting them to rities upon which I grounded, namely, mutiny, be addressed them in the lan that evil intention was no more imputaguage of severity ; he was aware of the ble to my clients, than to the gallant offistrictness necessary in military discipline, cers I have quoted to you, is there any and where others would flog he would visible limit to the attorney-general's arshoot the soldier. “ We despise and gument? Is there any safe subject for detest those who would tell us, that discussion, if we are to be told that our there is as much liberty now enjoyed in arguments tend to excite revolt? What France, as there is left in this country." are the inost common of all political subIs this the language of him who would jects? Taxes, wars, and expeditions. If fix the eye of blame only upon what I object to the imposition of taxes, the happens at home? The whole gist of attorney-general says to me, “what are the argument is, that the French disci- you about? you are exciting a resistance pline being superior to ours, as Sir Ro- to the imposts of your country. Can hert Wilson and Gen. Stuart had testi- any thing be more dangerous ?" If I fied it was, we ought to suffer ourselves were to complain that our expeditions in that particular to be taught even by send armies to perish, not by the sword our enemies. The topic of comparison of the enemy, but by the yellow fever; with the French, delicate as it is, was not by the cannon, but by the pestilence necessary to his argument, which could . of Walcheren, would any body dream not be conducted without it. At the that my intention was tu excite mutiny? same time he guards his reader against Must an Englishman have the privilege any erroneous impression which the pre- of parliament before he can discuss pubference he was compelled to give in this lic measures ! Wys such a thought ever
entertained? I shall only advert to one sure; and that its arguments were jusother subject; I mean, the eloquent efa tified by the example of two gallant of forts which were made on behalf of the ficers : but to rank Sir Robert Witson West India slaves.' Could there be a aud Brigadier-General Stuart, with the more delicate subject than that, or one proprietors of the Examiner, was laugh which required to be more cautiously able. It might be a question whether handled? Were not all the masterly it was adviseable in these officers to speeches of Mr. Pitton that subject, make their thoughts on the army (which pictures of horrors from beginning to the Attorney-General had not before end; and did any one impute a wish to seen) public, when they had a private excite insurrection in him, although he opportunity of communicating' them was addressing islands peopled with where they might have been more effiblacks? This privilege if it is good for cacious; and it might be also a quese any thing, is good for all; and I have a tion whether it was prudent in one of right to discuss any subject. But is these gallant officers to enlarge upon there no danger of mutiny to be appre the corporal punishment of the soldiery, hended from the infliction of these mili- in such ardent and glowing language. tary floggings, in the sight and hearing But the officers could have no other obof thousands of soldiers and peasantry, ject in view. Not so the defendants : although the danger which the mere and the question was, what was the narrative of them is to produce be great? object of Messrs. Hunt, proprietors of Is this fund of peasantry, out of which the Examiner? He protested against your future soldiers are to be drawn, to any invasion of the liberty of the press! hear with their own ears, and see with Lord Ellenborough then charged the their own eyes, the horrors of a military Jury. It had been stated by the counfogging, without thinking twice before sel for the defendants, in a speech of they enter this army? All this is a chi- great ability, eloquence and manliness, merical fear; let their eyes feast on the that the question was, whether it were sight, let their ears be glutted with the lawful to an Englishman to comment on sound; all is safe, there is no fear of any particular policy. Of this there their being moved; but have a care how could be no doubt, and that whether you describe or comment upon all this privately or through the press, provided (we have scarcely or very inadequately it were done decently and with a true done either the one on the other), but of regard to public and private interests. all things take care how you argue on This was an anxious and awful moment, the policy, of this system; for a single when the personal liberty of every man word of argument will occassion those depended upon our resistance to Buotroops to revolt, and that peasantry to naparte, and all the powers of Europe turn their attention to soine other way who were combined with that formida. of life, who saw and heard a military ble foe. It therefore became doubly fogging with the coolest satisfaction, necessary to see that he had no auxiliaGentlemen, I have done; the whole ry from within us, and that he had not case is before you; and you will now the aid to his ambitious tyranny of the decide, whether an Englishman has any British press. The freedom of discussion longer the privilege of discussing public was in proportion to its delicary; and measures !
he could not help thinking, that the The Attorney-General replied: he gallant officer on the Bench would have agreed with the learned gentleman in his done better to have made a conimuniremarks upon the licentiousness of the cation of his sentiments in a more prepress; and perhaps it fell more in the vate form. The soldiery were now a Attorney-General's way than in that class of men upon whose fidelity to the gentleman's to know the number of weak banners of their country every thing denerves which were affected by this dread pended ; and it could not be supposed of libel. It was now a question with that the subject of their punishment had publishers, not whether this or that line not undergone che consideration of those of opinion was the result of their convic- who were supposed to be full of ull hotion, but whether it would sell their pa- nourable feeling.--His lordship then per best, and the court had an affiduvit read, and commented upon the libel, to this effect upon its records, (alluding The title, “ One thousand Lashes," was to the late case of The Day newspaper.) printed in capitals to catch the eye: It had been said, that this was a free and lhe la-hes were in one instance ada. and liberal discussion of a public mea- ded together, and not apportioned to
each offence, for the purpose of aggra- observations headed “ONE TROUSAND vation. The words, is with their usual LASHES !” tending to create disaffecconsistency," were a fling at the country. tion amongst the soldiers, to alienate Was this fair discussion? Do we use their regard from their officers, and to force to recruit our armies? The duty occasion a general prejudice to the miliof being balloted for the militias played tary service of the country, by holding upon every body alike, with certain ex- up the discipline of the army to abhorceptions; and yet it was meant to be rence, and deterring his Majesty's subrepresented that equal force was used in jects from entering therein. The public recruiting our army with what was em- cation, Mr. Clarke stated, was of a naployed in France, where every man was ture so infamous, so seditious and dandrawn out and sent from Holland to gerous, that no good man who heard it Spain, fighting for a territory to which read, could restrain his resentment or he had no title, and merely subserving hesitate in bis judgment upon it; and the views of a tyrant. By the French he thought the attorney-general would code of conscription, the punishments have been grossly derelict of his duty, inflicted on those relatives who conceal- had he not proceeded to prosecute the edobjects of conscription were truly hor- author and publisher of venoin so foul as rible; they were condemned to linger that contained in the libel. He then out their lives in the gallies, and to other read various passages of the libel comseverities. If the writer had been really plained of, the tendency and object of actuated by a feeling for the soldiery, which, he maintained, could only be to why did he not make a private represen- breed mutiny, subvert the military estatation to some member of the legislature, blishment of the country, and make us, instead of drawing a picture calculated by the disaffection of our soldiery, an to harrow up the souls of his readers, easy conquest to our implacable enemy; and to attract the attention of the inili- and he called upon the jury by their vertary, and render them disgusted with dict to pronounce their sense of the the service. In the conscientious dis- heinousness of the publication laid becharge of his duty, his lordship had no fore them. hesitation in pronouncing this a seditious The printing and publishing of the lie libel.
bel were then proved by the production The jury, after some consultation, of a copy of the paper of the 24th, of withdrew for an hour and an half, and August delivered to the stamp-office. then returned their verdict
Mr. Brougham (who had been brought NOT GUILTY.
from the York circuit) then rose, and on
behalf of the defendint, addressed the TRIAŁ AT LINCOLN FOR AN jury in a speech of two hours and a quarARTICLE ON MILITARY FLOGCING. ter, distinguished by a very rare degree TILE KINC O. DRAKARD.
of eloquence and animation. At nine o'clock on Wednesday the 13th. This speech we intend giving in our inst.the trialof this traverse or indictment next.] came on, before the hon. Baron Wood Mr. Clarke, in reply, enlarged on what and a special jury; the grand jury, be he termed the malignity of the libel. fore whom the indictment was laid, ha- The judge, in his address to the jury, ving on Tuesday afternoon found a true enlarged on the licentiousness of the bill. It had been expected that the press, and on the presumption of the proceedings would be carried on in the people in discussing even the laws of the nature of an information,ex officio by the country! If the jury could be of opinion attorney-general, but the trial was pro- that any thing but mischief was meant ceeded on in the common way of indict by the publication under their considement.- Only six special jurymen of the ration, they would acquit the defendant; pannel answered to their names.
but he (the learned judge) in the conThe pleadings were opened by Mr. scientious discharge of his duty, had no Reynolds, and the case was stated by hesitation in saying, that he considered Mr. Clarke, who, with Serjeant Vaughan it a most wicked libel. and Mr. Reader, conducted the prosta The jury withdrew for about ten micution. The libel was stated to have nutes, and brought in a verdictoi Guilty! been published in the paper cailed Dra- Judgment on the defendant will be kard's Stamford News. of the 24th. of delivered in the court of King's Bench August last, and to be embodied in some next ierim,
(B. Flower, Printer, Hiarlow.de
HAD our countrymen seriously put the question to themselves, at any period during the late and present war-What is the object of the contest ? It would have been difficult for thein to have given a rational answer. The objects held up by their authors and promoters have been so various, and so uniformly yielded, that the nature of the contest has been perpetually changing; and the only advantages we have gained, in return for the niany thousands of lives sacrificed, for hundreds of millions lavished, and for those complicated calamities, the natural result of rapidly in. creasing debts, and grievously oppressive taxation, are a few occa. sional victories, which in their consequence have been followed with increasing infatuation on the part of our rulers, and the people at large, impelling them to a farther prosecution of the war; thus setting the invaluable blessing of peace at a still greater distance, and involving the nation in new, and still more complicated calamities.
The chapter of accidents has for years past, contained all the hopes of ministers, their supporters, and the friends of war in general, tbroughout the nation: the chance of success in the retreat of the French armies, the earnest desire for new coalitions, and new insurrections on the continent, and that by these means the power of France might be diminished, if not the government of NAPOLEON be overthrown :- these are the visionary prospects which have deluded our rulers and the people at large, and are now afresh deluding, and hurrying them to the more speedy accomplishment of an object they have nearly attained — NATIONAL RUIN!
It is melancholy to observe the great increase of this general delusion, in consequence of the retreat of the French armies from Portugal; an event so far from being expected, that all parties şvere prepared for the return of Lord Wellington and the British