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153 JOURNAL of the Proceedings and DEBATES
in the POLITICAL CLUB, continued from p. 112. In the Debate continued in your last, army are or may be householders
the next that spoke was C. Popilius or freemen of some of our cities or Lænas, whose Speech was in Sub. boroughs, we ought to make them fance as follows:
as independent of their commanders
as is consistent with the nature of Mr. President,
military discipline in time of peace, SIR,
A which certainly does not then stand Hatever the noble lord in need of being so strict as in time who spoke last may think,
Nay, if peace continues I am far from
any long time, and this power which opinion, that the punishment of this colonels have assumed over the staffserjeant and corporal proceeded officers of their regiment be likewise purely from a regard for the free. continued, I do not in the least quesdom of our elections. On the con- B tion but chat a soldier having a vote trary, when I consider what a num for a member of parliament will be .ber of the officers and soldiers of the a more powerful recommendation guards have houses in Westminster, for his being made a corporal or and consequently a righe to vote for serjeant, than any military qualifi. representatives of that city in par cation he can acquire or be indued liament, I am ap to think, that this with ; and if this should ever be the
severe punishment was inflicted on cconsequence, I am afraid, our army purpose to shew to all such officers would make but a sorry appearance and soldiers, what they were to ex in the next war the nation might be pect if they voted for that candidate, engaged in. in whose favour the poor soldier I ħall admit, Sir, that we cannot seemed wantonly to declare himself; certainly judge of a man's motives for therefore I must conclude, that any action or any instance of behavi. the exercise of this power, at that Dour, but from the action or instance particular time, proceeded not from icielf, and from concurrent circum. a regard for the freedom, but from ftances, we may pretty confidently a design to destroy the freedom of guess at them; and when the action the Westminster election ; and for appears in itself to be bad, or unjust, the same reason I am apt to suspect, we must presume that the motives that if the whole party, with the were not good, which presumption ferjeant at their head, had joined in E is so strong, that it throws the burden the opposite cry, no report of it of the proof upon the person guilty; wo have been made to the officer for if he cannot fhew ar
prove, upon guard, nor would the omis. that his motives were good, he must fion have ever been termed a neg. stand condemned in the eye of every leet of military duty.
impartial judge. Now the action But, Sir, les this be as it will, it under consideration, that is to say, is evidently an affair that relates to F punishment inflicted upon this serthe freedom of our elections, and as jeant and corporal, is, in my opi. it does, we are in duty bound to nion, either wicked, or at least the inquire into it ; for if soldiers should punishment was too severe, and conbe guilty of any illegal practices at sequently unjust. If this punishment an election, they are to be punished was indicted, as I have already hintby the civil magistrate and not by ed, with a design to influence the their commanding officer ; and as Weitminster election, by directing many of the staff officers of the G all the officers and soldiers of the Lunds
guards how to vote upon chat occaa April, 1751.
154 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. April 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 lait, 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 accusation, 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 ments, 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 shall 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.
fhall 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 jultice of parliament, hope, be agreeed to, as we need be where, I hope, the oppressed thall in no hurry about passing 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 Itaff.oficers, can be of no manner of consequence can be no reason for our not inqui. E with regard to the passing 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, that the causes or motives for bill. the punishment were declared, be- F fore the punishment was inflicted; Upon this Julius Florus food up and and we may discover that the true Spoke to this Effect : 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 clause 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 mort 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 turn, and a turn 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 foldiers 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 ferjeant sent out with be necessary for the defence of the a party upon a command, who cer. nation, 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 bufness 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 feditions 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 the gent in the serjeant to take no notice nation. If the common soldiers of him, and a much more heinous Tould 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 question proper for this house to most of them would be found to be determine : I think it belongs much unjuft, so chat they would very sel more properly to a court martial, or dom find the redress they expected to a board of general officers, and
156 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL Club, &c. April 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 shew, question put upon the clause now that the power is liable to be abused, before 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 pomble, its being any regiment, was made a good or a bad Jonger liable to be abused. For this use of upon any particular occasion, reason I do not think the complaint is not surely to determine ou: judg now before us of any very great ima ment 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 against the prinin time of peace for preserving dif ciple laid down, that this house is cipline in our army, and rendering never to take notice of the comit 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 foldiers 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 unjuft. Nay farwhere a staff officer has a vote for ther, as we are the great inqueft 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 oppres. 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 lajt Speech I fall give you in F than any other part of his majesty's
this Dibate, was that made by subjects, and it is likewise much M. Ogulnius, the Purport of wbicb 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 oppresŞIR,
sions, will ever bring parliaments inta BELIEVE every gentleman G contempt or detestation with any
knows, that when a motion is 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 custom, those tible, and, on account of the taxes GO-104
1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 159
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 commiffioned officer has been in. be in our army, to use the soldiers