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For the purpose of messing, soldiers are very properly divided into classes, and the officers at the hour of dinner inspect their food, &c. &c. as each man is expected to consume his quota of meal, three quarters of a pound; those inspections cannot, however, always take place; if in barracks, it may be tolerably well regulated : but, supposing three thousand men are quartered in a populous city, dispersed in every direction, some two and three miles apart, and subdivided to two's and three's; many lodged individually, being paid out by the people on whom they are billetted. It is then impossible for their officers to visit them regularly. Each man is to receive the above-mentioned portion of meat. Is that quantity sufficient to subsist a man, his wife, and possibly children? Can the man, thus situated, be expected to preserve his health? the allowance is barely competent to subsist himself, and when his officer is not present, his feelings will not allow him to reserve but a small share for his own benefit. Three quarters of a pound of meat to serve a family! Can there be a stronger argument to prevent soldiers' marriages? Again, the man fond of his wife, and loving his babes, will he suffer them to be starved by hunger and cold? Is he morally culpable, though legally wrong, if he pilfers to support such dear objects from want? No, the fault is in the Legislature : prevent their marrying, and indiscribable calamities are avoided. Let the regulated number of six wives to a company be attended to, and then those heart-rending scenes that arise, when a regiment embarks for foreign service, will no longer exist.
Moreover, this recommendation, if adopted, would be a considerble diminution of expense to government, who defray in part, the travelling charges of the supernumerary wives, in their journeying home. It may appear tyrannical to prevent the soldier from enjoying those comforts the matrimonial state may afford, but, when the numberless calamities and miseries, attendant on that act, are considered, it will be obvious, that the controul I have recommended, is dictated by a real feeling of humanity.
Truly honourable is that noble edifice, the Royal Military School, to the feelings of its illustrious founder, the present Commander-inChief, under whose protection this asylum has been instituted, for the education of the children of soldiers. The prayers and blessings of thousands must be daily and hourly offered up in gratitude to His Royal Highness, for so glorious an effort of humanity. To behold hundreds of healthy children, warmly clad, well fed, instructed, and every possible care paid both to their bodily and mental benefit; educated in the sound principles of religion and morality : the boys a rising generation of good and honest men; the girls virtuous and industrious women: and these, the children of soldiers, is a sight most grateful to our hearts, and glorious to the country.
If an establishment of this nature had been neglected, what a host of unfortunates would have been let loose on the world.
But I must now beg pardon for having trespassed to such an extent on your time, and hope the importance of the subject will be deemed a sufficient excuse.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
FORFEITURE OF HONOR BY BREACH OF PAROLE.
Lisbon, July 30th, 1812. Sir, I HAVE read, with the highest gratification, the Prospectus of your work, and cannot avoid, previous to entering upon the particular subject of this letter, expressing my hopes that so necessary an undertaking will be conducted on the principles proposed, by which it will become entitled to receive that approbation and support from our numerous body, which you are anxious to acquire.
The subject I wish to state my ideas upon, is of the bighest importance; viz. The frequent breaches of Parole ' by French Officers. The numbers who have broken their parole, during the present war, reflects a very heavy disgrace on our enemy, for were those steps adopted, which a truly honorable nation should pursue, men, however base their inclinations may be, could not exhibit them in breaches of honor, when they found them neither countenanced or forgiven, by friends or enemies. An officer who is allowed the privilege of liberty, on condition of a promise of honor, not to abuse the same, should esteem that promise most rinviolable, both on the principle of self-regard, the character of his
THE MILITARY PANORAMA, [Oct. profession, and the honor of his country. It is a national duty to support it on these grounds, and with the most rigid exactitude. Men, who are capable of sacrificing promises, made and received for their own personal acconmmodation, cannot be proper persons for even friends to place corfidence in: treachery and other base passions, are the sole occupants of their breasts, and the earlier they receive that punishment, which their conduct merits, the greater advantage is rendered to society.
The man who countenances a breach of parole, who lends his assistance to the escape of an enemy whose capture has been achieved by the valour and blood of our gallant countrymen, I consider alike guilty with the wretch who commits it, and both equally deserving of the severest judgment of our laws.
I am happy in viewing the conduct of our government, which will not allow promotion or employment to any officer guilty of such disgraceful conduct; and it is essentially necessary on the part of government, that a plan more certain than that now practised should be adopted to prevent the continuance of such infamous conduct by French officers, in repeated violations of the laws of honor and civilized warfare. It appears absolutely demanded, from the very rapid increase during last year* of breaches of parole, that the accommodations which are so liberally afforded to French officers, prisoners of war, should be abridged, and that they should be guarded with a degree of strictness, that may put the further repetition of such ignominious transactions out of their power.
I hope some of your correspondents will be induced to submit their opinions on this important subject, and to suggest plans which may answer the purpose so much to be desired by all friends to strict honor and the law of nations.
I subjoin an account of the number of French Commissioned Officers, prisoners of war on parole, in Great-Britain, on the 5th June 1810, 1811, and 1812 respectively, distinguishing the number that have broken their parole; the number that have been retaken; and the number that have effected their escape in each year, ending at the above-mentioned periods.
Vide Statement annexed.
Besides the above
Commissioned Officers, other French prisoners, such as Masters
and Mates of merchant vessels, Captains, 2dCaptains, and Lieutenants of privateers, Civilians holding situations connected with the army and navy, passengers, and other persons of respectability, have broken their palole in thethree years abovementioned
N. B. The numbers stated in this account include those persons only who have actually absconded from the places appointed for their residence.
A considerable number of officers have been ordered into confinement for various other breaches of their parole engagements. (Signed)
T. J. DOUGLAS. Jan From the above return it will be seen that the average number of French prisoners who have broken their parole during the last three years, amounts to 227, and during the year ending 5 June 1812, that
number has been exceeded by 88; an increase which would warrant the legislature in the strongest measures they can resort to.
I am, sir, your's, &c.
A FRIEND TO THE UNDERTAKING.
Since the receipt of our correspondent's letter, a Bill for the better, preventing the escape of Prisoners of War, has been passed in parliament. We cannot help noticing the excellence of Lord Sidmouth's opinions on the second reading in the House of Lords, and we extract the following paragraph therefrom, as it most fully coincides with our ideas of the question.
“ The long list of French Prisoners who had recently broken their parole of honor, was disgraceful to the individuals themselves to the government which they served—and to the country to which they belonged. The splendid contrast afforded by English officers placed in a similar situation, must be matter of pride to every Briton. With feelings equally alive to the enjoyment of liberty, of which many of them had been so long deprived, they yet felt there was something dearer to them than their homes—the preservation of their personal honor, and that of their sovereign, and of their country. Hardly an individual of them had been found to break his parole of honor, and thus palliate in some degree the very different conduct of the French prisoners."
ON THE GUERILLA TROOPS.
LISBON, July 16th, 1812. WHEN the Guerilla Troops become organized, that is, accepted as a corps of the army, they will be a most important force to the Spaniards. At this moment they are of infinite service, by the mode of warfare they maintain against the French. This undisciplined body intercepts all the provisions and stores which are sent from France, over the Pyrenees. Mina, a chief, possessing great authority and ability, has under his command 3000 of these men, who, divided into small parties, from their knowledge of the country, disperse and assemble in a few hours time. One instance of their activity and courage is sufficient to furnish an idea of what they may accomplish, when regularly organized. Mina was a