offence is committed, what must be that, as he often possessed extensive done with colonial delinquents, what territories abroad, where the notions with those who may be dexterous e of civil liberty were little understood, nough to conceal their frauds for years, the best instruments which he could and what with libellers, whom it employ for the purposes of tyranny, might be inexpedient or dangerous to were foreigners, whom his independent try while the public mind is yet in a revenue, not then subject to the constate of ferment produced by the very troul of parliament, might enable him libel for which punishment is to be in- to take into pay: How great has flicted? The bill, in short, even if its been the change in all these particu. principle had been good, was altoge- lars, every one must be satisfied who ther defective in its provisions; while is capable of the slightest reflection. the changes which it did propose were The government is no longer a despohighly absurd and mischievous.-

The tism as in former times; the king, whatbill was thrown out by a very large ma ever interest a bad prince might supjority.

pose himself to have in secret attacks The employment of foreigners in the on national liberty, will no longer dare British service had occasioned much to make such encroachments by vio. clamour, and had furnished an excel- lence ; the revenue which supports the lent topic for the tribe of libellers, now very considerable military establish. so numerous in the metropolis.-Thement of England, is not hereditary to various acts by which the crown is the sovereign, but is annually controulempowered, under certain limitations, ed by parliament; and, above all, the to avail itself of the assistance of fo. army is so numerous, and the proporreigners, were severely reprobated ; and tion of British soldiers in it so great, it was strongly insinuated, that, dan- that a small admixture of foreigners gerous as were the powers conferred can never excite alarm for the liberties by these statutes to the liberties of the of the country, but in the minds of the country, the ministers had contrived to most fanatical politicians.-The po. exceed them, and had thus very gross. pulation of the British empire is much ly betrayed their high trust. Decla more limited than that of her most mations on this subject were well suit- powerful neighbours ; and, although it ed to the taste of the lower orders, might justly excite alarm were the mi. who were carefully reminded of the litary spirit of the English so much jealousy which, at an early period, reduced, that the ranks of their army had been entertained against foreign- were filled by foreigners in very large ers, and of the dangerous attempts numbers, there seems not to be any upon the liberties of the people, of reason, in the present circumstances of which strangers had been made the in- the world, for adhering to a system of struments. The authors of such in- utter exclusion. The enemies of EngAammatory discourses were either una- land were, at this very moment, fight. ble or unwilling to make the proper ing her, not with their own populadistinction betwixt the past and pre- tion alone, but with the assistance of sent condition of England ; they for- almost all the other states of Europe ; got, or concealed the fact, that, in an- and, if among the people of those cient times, the sovereign possessed an conquered countries, some were to be authority almost despotic; that he was found too high-minded to bend their continually attempting encroachments necks under the yoke of oppression, on the slender privileges which had would it not have been absurd in the been extorted from his predecessors ; British government to have refused

that aid which they willingly proffer- had lately occurred. That a practice ed, and of which the empire and Eu. had also crept in of admitting foreigners rope stood at this time so much in into our own native corps,-a practice need ?-Such were the considerations which outraged the best feelings of which led to the passing of the acts the country, and which, in cases where of the 36th, 39th, 40th, and 46th, of the interference of the military might the king, by which the employment be required to suppress disorders in of foreigners in the British service is the interior, exposed the persons and regulated; and, when their provisions liberties of the people to the mercy of are well understood, they will not on men who have no sympathies and no ly appear to be founded in a wise po- feelings in common with them. Ree licy, but to have been faithfully exe ference was made to the terms of Magcuted by the ministers of the crown. na Charta, and to some transactions in

Such, however, was not the opinion the reigns of Elizabeth and Charles the of some members of opposition ; and First, from which it appeared, that Lord Folkestone, with the view of the strongest jealousy of foreigners founding charges against the govern- had been entertained and acted upon ment, moved in the House of Com- by the government and the people; mons for a return of all foreigners and it was added, that however periserving in the army, with the


lous the situation of the country might tion of those serving in foreign corps. be, it was better to trust to the constiThe employment of foreigners in tution and to the native energies of the the British army was said to be un- people, than to the mercenary soldiers constitutional, and had been consider- of other countries, which had been ed as unlawful, until special statutes conquered almost without a struggle, were made, authorising his majesty, un- because the people had exhibited nei. der certain limitations, to take them ther valour nor patriotism in defence into British pay. That there seems to of their independence. have been at all times a desire on the It was maintained on the other side, part of government to introduce fo- that all discussion and enquiry must reign soldiers into England ; that mi- be superfluous in this instance, since nisters had, on a former occasion, been the subject had been already, on vaindemnified for bringing no less than rious occasions, under the considera. 16,000 of them into this country; and tion of the legislature, and solemnly it was not improbable, that, if circum determined–That no inference could stances should occur to render it ex be safely drawn from periods of Engpedient to withdraw the foreign troops lish history, which bore little resemthen in the British service from the blance to the present; and that every places where they were stationed, ano, thing which had been done by governTher bill would be proposed to indem ment was amply justified by the stanify ministers for bringing in a much tute 46th of the king, the provisions larger number. That this is an alarm- of which had altogether escaped the ing consideration to all those who are supporters of the motion. By this concerned about the liberties of their statute, it was enacted, that it should country ; that the act of the 36th of be lawful to admit into the British serthe king, did not justify the employing vice such foreigners as should be deforeign soldiers, except in foreign sirous to enlist ; and a power was also corps, and did not warrant the appoint- given to grant commissions and letters ment of German generals to British of service to foreign officers and enregiments ; yet instances of this kind gineers. It followed, from this enact:

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ment, that if such persons should dis- punishment of flogging is both severe tinguish themselves, they might be and degrading, would have been adpromoted according to their deserts,— mitted by all, even without those un. a principle which could not be aban- necessary exaggerations in which Sir doned without the grossest injustice. Francis Burdett is apt to indulge ; - That the foreigners admitted into and the only question, therefore, on the British service could never exceed which the parties were at issue, was a the number of 16,000; and of these question not of declamation, but of a large proportion were employed a- reasoning, which might well have been broad ; that when this number was referred to the understanding, withcompared with the aggregate amount out any

aid from the passions. It was of the whole British army, it seemed simply this: Whether, from the known quite whimsical to talk of danger to habits of soldiers, it would be possible the liberties of the people ; that, at to preserve discipline without a puall events, as the law stood, the mi- nishment of this character and sevenisters were perfectly justified in what rity; and whether any other punishthey had done to fulfil its provisions; ment could be devised of equal efficaand if the act itself were really consi- cy, and less repugnant to the feelings dered to be dangerous or impolitic, of humanity ? Sir Francis Burdett, the proper course would be to move however, and his friends, said very little for its repeal, and not to throw an on this topic ; they disdained to think unjust censure on those who had done or talk of any substitute for a punishtheir duty by executing it, so long as ment which they contemplated with it continued to be a part of the law of abhorrence; they declaimed at great the land.—The motion was negatived length on points about which there without a division.

could be no dispute, and repeated all The subject of corporal punish. the stories respecting the practice of ment in the army,—a subject of great flogging, which their zeal and

industry delicacy and deep interest, was twice had enabled them to collect. They did brought forward in the course of this not care much for examining the ausession ; in the first instance by Sir thority on which such stories were cirFrancis Burdett, on the third reading culated ; it was enough that they were of the mutiny bill ; and again by Mr such as to raise a strong feeling of disBennet, in a specific motion for offi- gust in the mind of the hearer, and cial returns, to shew the frequency of to impress a general belief that the its infiction. That the practice of British army is governed by a tyranny flogging soldiers is disagreeable and more fierce and capricious than has ever disgusting to all who are connected before existed in the world. Every with the army, and that the continu man who sincerely wishes to see the ance of such a punishment is an evil panishment of flogging abolished, or which nothing but extreme necessity who is desirous to have it put under can justify, were freely admitted on such regulations as may alleviate the all sides ; and upon this, as on many sufferings of the soldier, must regret, other occasions, much of the declama. that a question so delicate, with refetion of the reformers might have been rence to the discipline of the army and spared, since it was exhausted on to the stability of government, and, above pics on which there was no difference all, so interesting to humanity, should of opinion.—That it must always be . have fallen into the hands of Sir Frandisagreeable to recur to the lash in cis Burdett, the warmth of whose feelthe discipline of the army; that the ings so frequently overpowers the


higher faculties of his mind.-He be- been presented :That even if it were gan, by stating, that he was about to impossible to dispense altogether with deliver his sentiments on the practice the punishment, its infliction ought to of " flogging," --for he did not choose be regulated, and the offences on which to denominate the punishment by a it may be visited ought to be pointcircumlocution, and to call it " corpo. ed out with precision : That it ought ral punishment,” as those persons are never to be inflicted in the army exaccustomed to do who are ashamed to cept for crimes, which, by the civil give it its proper name, although they law, would bring on the offender the are not ashamed to defend and prac same suffering and ignominy :- That tise it :- That any other punishment, 80 degrading a punishment ought not short of death, might be inflicted with to be inflicted upon men who have much greater advantage than that of so lately astonished the whole world flogging ; and even death itself would by their valour: That the best regi. be to many less severe :--That the pu- ments in the service are those in which nishment of flogging is stamped with flogging has been discontinued : That peculiar infamy by the civil law of the much might be done towards renderJand, which places those who have suf- ing it unnecessary by the care of the fered it on a footing with persons who officers to check offences on their first have been convicted of the most dis- appearance; and, above all, that the graceful crimes, and considers them as British soldier ought to be encouraso infamous that they are unst for the ged by high rewards, rather than in. discharge of the most important func- timidated by cruel punishments : tions of citizens :- How the practice Even the punishment of death would of fogging had first been introduced be attended with this advantage into the army, it is difficult to ascer- flogging, that men would not contain; but, like all other bad punish- demn their fellow-creatures to the loss ments, it had gradually become more of life on light and insufficient grounds; and more severe, till at last it was car whereas they may often condemn a ried to extremities at which humanity man to be lashed without giving his shudders: That the practice, how the

grave consideration which it ever, is not ancient ; since, in the time merits :- That it is singularly barba. of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, rous to continue the flogging, as is ofmilitary offences were tried by the same ten done, from time to time, and that tribunals, and were punished in the the amount and degree of the punishsame manner with other offences : ment frequently depend on the caThat it had formerly been usual to price of the commanding officer, or the dismiss delinquents from the service officers composing the court martial; as a disgrace; but this is no longer that it is an insult on the army done, since it is considered as an ad. to say that this punishment cannot be vantage to get out of the army. Par. dispensed with: That the loss of liament had been told, that the pu

men, which would be sustained by the nishment of flogging was now less fre more frequent infliction of capital puquently inflicted; and, in proof of this, nishments, is far more than compena list had been laid befor: the house of sated by the horror which the practhe punishments awarded by general tice of Aogging diffuses throughout courts-martial; but there was no proof the country, to the great prejudice of that flogging had not been frequently the recruiting service :-That the rein Aicted by regimental courts-martial, giment of his royal highness the Duke of whose proceedings no accounts had of Gloucester, which is one of the fi


nest in the service, although the prac. and, uninformed as he was, broadly tice of Alogging has been for some stating, that punishment was invaritime abolished in it, affords a practi. ably followed by the self-abandoncal refutation of the arguments urged ment of the soldier on whom it had against the proposed alteration of the been inflicted.---Nothing could be law; and that many excellent officers, more ridiculous than to suppose, that such as Generals Stewart, Money, Sir after the house had read, for the third Robert Wilson, and Lords Moira and time, a bill, which recited corporal Hutchinson, all men of great expe. punishment as intimately connected rience, had expressed their marked dis- with its provisions, they would agree approbation of this mode of punish- to tack to it a clause, by which cor. ment,

poral punishments should be wholly The members who spoke on the abolished. That the statements made other side, were anxious to confine relative to punishments actually inthemselves to the topics more imme- Aicted, had been grossly exaggerated. diately connected with the question That it was necessary to confide in the before the house, as they justly con discretion of the courts-martial; that ceived that the extreme delicacy of the best security the soldier could the subject called for more than usual have was in the humanity of his supecircumspection. It was well observed riors; as it was owing to that highthat an appeal had been made to the minded and liberal feeling which guidhearts rather than to the understand- ed the conduct of officers, that the ings of members; to their passions ra condition of the men had been so much ther than their reason. That how improved.In foreign armies, where ever conscientious the motives of the corporal punishment was not inflicted, honourable baronet, there

there existed what was still more degra. proach which the British army would ding to the men-a system of wanton repel with more disgust and impa- and capricious ill-usage.-Trial by tience, than the description which he courts-martial was governed by the had been pleased to give of the situ- strict principles of justice, and thereation of the soldier. What! was it fore could not be said to destroy the true that a British soldier was subject energies of the men; and corporal puonly to punishment ? Was he entitled nishment was not coeval with the preto no reward? Was he in a worse state sent war, as had been asserted, but had than an African slave ? There were no always existed when the army was callassertions so untrue, nor so much cal- ed into action. The soldiers in our culated to incense the feelings of the service had great rewards to look up British

army. Opinions had been ha- to; not only might they rise to be zarded not founded on any enquiry. non-commissioned officers, and after. It had been said, that no soldier who wards be advanced to the rank of enunderwent corporal punishment could signs, but they might even rise from ever raise his head again among his the ranks to be generals; and, instead friends and companions ; but it would of being in a miserable condition, were be found, that in many regiments sol- better paid, clothed, and attended to, diers who had suffered proper corporal than the soldiers of any other country correction, so far from having become in the world. That the continuance worthless, had afterwards conducted of corporal punishment was a necessathemselves in a most exemplary man

ry evil; and although the disseminaner. That the hon. baronet was not tion of truth was not

dreaded, the mis« justified in coming down to the house, representations that had been employed


as no re

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