Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

every other member. With respect to another way, as, in consequence of the the first speech of the right hon. the se- excessive tumult of the populace, it would cretary of state, he had been provoked by be necessary to fire. He then got out of the doctrines laid down in that speech to the carriage, and proceeded towards an make the observations he had done, and alley, when he heard a pistol discharged, when he was stopped in proceeding in those and from the sound of the report, he had observations, he had had recourse to that no doubt that it had been charged with mode which the case itself justified him in blank cartridge. Shortly after he heard resorting to, independent of such interrup- a shot from a musket, and he thought, tion. From the time when be first became from the quarter from which the noise is. a member of Parliament a case had not sued, that the shot had been fired from before occurred in which he would have some window in the range of houses opthought it necessary to exercise that dis- posite, and not from the military then cretion till that day, and in that instance passing (Hear, hear!). He was at the he had acted up to the best of his judg- entrance of the alley, and on hearing the ment; the occasions of doing so could be shot, and observing the direction, he made but very rare. With respect to the gal- the best of his way down the alley [A lant officer under the gallery, he gave laugh): He hoped that the man who him and his brother officers every credit fired the fatal shot, if any of the military for their manly and judicious forbearance bad done so, would surrender himself to and moderation in the recent disturbances; justice, as, under all the circumstances of still, however, it was no reason if among a the case, there could be little doubt that thousand of the soldiers, with the excep. he would be acquitted by a British Jury tion of one man, they had all conducted (Hear!) themselves with temper, and that that one Captain Agar observed, that a question man had been guilty of murder; there was had been put to the right honourable gen. no reason why that one man should escape | tlemen opposite, whether they knew who with impunity. He asked the chancellor the man was that fired the unfortunate of the exchequer, as a lawyer, if the ver- shot. He said that several other shots dict of a coroner’s inquest was not sufficient had been fired at the same time, and he to dispense with the sending a bill before doubted very much, if the man himself a grand jury? The whole of the evidence who fired the unfortunate shot knew that taken before an inquest was taken upon he had fired it. It was also to be observed, oath. He thought, therefore, it indispen- that the military did not fire till ordered sible that this man should be put upon his by the magistrates (Hear, hear, hear!). trial. , He would ask the chancellor of the The motion was then negatived without exchequer, if he or any of his colleagues a division. knew who this man was? If they did, (CAPTAIN Foskett's Petition.] Mr. ought they not to give him up to trial Lyttleton rose to present a Petition from a this would put an end to further proceed. Mr. Foskett, a captain in the 15ih regiings. He did not complain of the conduct ment of dragoons, praying relief from the of the soldiers in general; on the con- pressure of severe and long-continued trary, he understood that their conduct grievances, suffered by him in conseand moderation had been praiseworthy ; quence of that redress having been destill, however, he would say, that in cases ferred and ultimately denied to him, to of as great emergency, the peace of the which, by the articles of war, he felt him.' city had been preserved by the wisdom, self entitled. The person by whom the firmness, and clemency of an honourable petitioner alleged himself to be in the first member of that House—the then chief instance, and principally, aggrieved, was magistrate, and that without calling in the the colonel of the regiment, his royal aid of the military. Under all the circum-highness the Duke of Cumberland; and a stances of the case, he 'felt that he was further allegation was, that the petitioner justified in making the motion he had had been obstructed in his due course of made, and that he could not consistently seeking for his remedy against such alconsent to withdraw it.

leged grievances, and that such obstrucMr. M. A. Taylor stated, that he was tion was in direct violation of an article of coming down Sackville-street when the war, which article left no discretion in the unfortunate shot was fired. The carriage commander in chief, but to forward the in which he and a noble friend of his were, complaint and lay it before bis majesty, was stopped by the guards, and directed taking his majesty's pleasure thereupon,

and acting accordingly. Now, with re- j the commander in chief of a discretionary spect to the statement of facts contained power. He then argued generally against in that petition, he (Mr. L.) would not as the dangerous consequences resulting from sume that statement to be true. He would insubordination in the army. If that not say that the commander in chief had House was to be thrown open to such actually given the refusal complained of complaints; if one officer might petition, He had, however, felt it his duty to pre- why not a regiment? If his petition was sent the petition, and if the House should received, they would have forty more of think proper to receive it, he should fol. a similar nature, before the end of the-seslow up that motion with such ulterior pro- sions; and then what a ferment, what ceeding as might best suit the general irregular convulsions, what factious diviwishes of the House. He should be glad sions attaching themselves to the different to be enabled to ascertain those wishes, parties in that House would arise and and to act according to thein; or if the spread through the army; they would mode for obtaining the redress sought for, have a petitioning army, a parliamentary adopted subsequently by him, should not arıny, and who could foretell the consebe approved of, he would be willing to quences ? He repeated his conviction, that acquiesce in any other that might be ge- the commander in chief had done nothing nerally thought less exceptionable. He more than exercise a discretion vested in then moved that the petition be brought him, and that that House should be can. up.

tious in submitting the military governGeneral Craufurd said, that he must ment of the army, which was a part of positively protest against such a petition the undoubted prerogative of the crown, to being received by that House. He thought the controul of the many-headed monster. it would be establishing a dangerous pre

Mr. Whitbread said, that he and many of cedent; they could not be too cautious in those sitting near the gallant officer could interfering with the military government ease his apprehensions of any alarming of the army, which was exclusively vested consequences resulting from a discussion in the crown.

As for the article of war of this sort. He (Mr. W.) had in 1808 alluded to, it was never understood to be presented a petition from Mr. Cochrane imperative and positively obligatory on Johnstone, and yet forty niore had not the commander in chief. ' If it were so, it been presented that session, nor one more. would give rise to great confusion, as if A motion had been made in the course of every imaginary grievance of officers were last session, respecting what was thought to be so disposed of, there would be 30 or the improper promotion of a certain off40 courts-martial and courts of inquiry in cer, lord Burghersh, and that motion was a month, a circumstance that would be ut- not only acceded to, but had such effect, terly subversive of all military discipline, that that promotion was revoked; and yet and ruinous to the army. It was, iliere. there were not forty other motions in the fore, necessary that the commander in same session, nor one other motion of a chief should have a discretionary power similar tendency. So much for the ima. to resist, in fuis own person, all such muga- ginary fears of the gallant officer. He tory applications as this was. He would knew well the necessity of due subordinapledge himself to prove that the com- tion to the preservation of discipline; but plaint of this officer was not only suga- he thought that discipline was in no intory, but vexatious; and, like many other considerable degree maintained by the cases of complaint, proceeded from one of power of remonstrance vested in every the most remiss officers of the regiment junior officer against the injustice of bis against his colonel.

superior.

He knew also, that nothing Mr. Whitbread rose to order. The ques. could be more foolish in principle, or tion was upon bringing up the petition, mischievous in practice, than the taking and it was out of order to enter upon a the army out of the hands of the crown; discussion of the petition itself, with but how had the motion before them any which, not yet being before the House, such tendency? it was to receive a petimembers were unacquainted.

tion, that complained of the course of reGeneral Cruufurd resumed. He could monstrance between the officer and the not comment upon the petition, though he crown having been obstructed. It had felt himself bound to oppose its being been stated that the commander in chief received, but he would contend that the had a discretion vested in him by law, article of war in question did not deprive which discretion he had only exercised in

the case before them; but the fact was, | lant friend would be prevailed upon ito
that the article of war gave no such dis- withdraw 'his opposition : at the same
cretion. [Here he read it to the Housem time he thought that the petitioner might
It stated in substance, that the officer ag- have taken an opportunity of personally
grieved should prefer his remonstrance to presenting his remonstrance to the King.
the colonel of the regiment, to be by him He thought the commander in chief had
forwarded to the commander in chief, who shewn capt. Foskett great kindness, if,
was thereupon to examine into, and report forbearing to make a report of that which
upon, the merits of the case to his Ma- might have been prejudicial to his cha-
jesty:] Here the words were “ lo exa- racter, he had offered him a majority in
mine into and report upon"-report upon; another regiment. That he thought might
not to determine, but to report-according be the case. The article of war which
to these words, and none could be plainer, had been spoken of was.generally under-
there was no option whatever. Sir David stood to refer to pecuniary matters. He
Dundas did not report-he determined. however, was not against the petition,
But the gallant officer said that he knew being brought up:
the contents of the petition, and that he Mr. Lockhart also opposed the petition;
believed the grievances alledged therein as receiving petitions from the army
to be imaginary. Why, really, he thought would, in his opinion, be highly injurious
the sufferer the best judge whether they to its welfare and efficiency. The House
were so or not. Against that opinion of ought not to be applied to but when there
the gallant, officer there was opposed his was no other source of redress open to the
(Mr. W.), who had read the statement of subject.
them, and thought them heart-breaking. Mr. Lyttleton observed, that in the an-
He doubted if he himself could have sur- swer of the military secretary of the com-
vived them. But it was said that they mander in chief, to the letter of the peti-
could be proved to be imaginary-it was tioner; no ground was stated why the re-
to that proof they challenged them monstrance was not duly forwarded. He

General Craufurd' here interposed, and should not advert to the ornamental parts said, that the epithet he had used was of a gallant officer's speech, they had nugatory.'

been already so adequately answered. It Mr. Whitbread in continuation said, that had been said that the petitioner should if they were indeed nugatory that would have gone and made his bow at the levee, be best proved by receiving the petition; and presented his remonstrance; that he they could not be warranted in presuming thought would have been an irregular and them to be so before they heard them disrespectful proceeding. The petitioner But did the gallant officer know that sir had taken a better and more regular David Dundas had offered to capt. Foskett

He could not adopt the explanasince he had presented his "remonstrance, tion that had been given by the judge ada majority in another regiment? Did this vocate, nor, if he could, did he think that Jook as if the commander in chief had it solved the difficulty, He had not the conceived the complaint of Mr. Foskett smallest notion that this motion would to have been either frivolous, vexatious, have been opposed. He only asked of the or nugatory? He thought that an oppo- House to hear the petition, and put the site conclusion was to be inferred from that case into a proper train for investigation. offer. As to putting the army under the He was not acquainted with eapt. Foskett, controul of the many-headed monster- and when that gentleman applied to him that that House was a many-headed mon- to present his petition, he frankly told him ster could no doubt be easily proved, but his reluctance, that it was very little his that it assumed any share in the military disposition to institute any accusatory government by inquiring into abuses whe- measures against a prince of the blood, ther military or other, was not so clear, and more particularly so, on account of He should vote for bringing up the peti- the inquiry proceeded in during last sestion, not thinking that it would tend to sions, respecting the duke of York; and zhose irregular convulsions (though, by also from having observed, that the House the way, he had not heard of regular con- were by, no means disposed to entertain vulsions) of which the gallant officer was questions tending to an interference with so apprehensive.

the military government of the army. Mr. Manners Sutton was for the petition This, however, was mere matter of feelbeing received, and trusted that his galing, and ought not to be allowed to inter,

[ocr errors]

course,

fere with a principle of public duty. If all the captains and subalterns of the corps, that House was to be deterred from the whose promotion has thereby been, and steady performance of its duty; either by still is, entirely stopped. the influence of the crown upon the one “ That, in the year 1808, when the 15th hand, or popular tumult on the other, it Light Dragoons was ordered upon foreign signified very little whether they sat or service, in Spain, your petitioner, though not-what they did or what they omitted senior captain, was directed, by his royal to do.

highness the duke of Cumberland, to reMr. Secretary Ryder observed, that main at home with the recruiting squawhen he was judge advocate it was al. dron. That upon complaining to the ways considered discretionary with the commanding officer of the regiment, of commander in chief to lay the memorial | a management so inconsistent with the of any officer before the King or not. established custom of the army, and fraught

The Petition was then brought up, and with such extreme hardship to your petiread, as follows:

tioner, he (the commanding officer) dis"To the Honourable the House of Com. daining all participation in the transacmons , in Parliament assembled:- The officially to his royal highness the duke of

tion, referred your petitioner's complaint

, Captain in the 15th Regiment of and who declared the arrangement to be

Cumberland, by whom it was dismissed, Light Dragoons :

unalterable. “ Sheweth; That your Petitioner has “That your petitioner thereupon thought been an officer in the 15th light dragoons, himself bound to solicit the interference of above 13 years, and senior captain in that the commander in chief, when the duke regiment above four years. That, during of Cumberland, in explanation of his own the last mentioned space of time, he has, conduct, permitted himself to cast on in various ways, been made to suffer, from your petitioner's character the most injuhis colonel, his royal highness the duke rious aspersions, which, notwithstanding of Cumberland, the most injurious treat the authority from whence they came, ment, amounting to no less than a course of were soon proved to be utterly unfounded; systematic oppression. That, in the year as the commander in chief, though at 1806, in a manner contrary to the ac- first induced by them to sanction the arknowledged custom and constitution of the rangement of which they were the as. army, his royal highness endeavoured to signed cause, yet, upon further remonspromote an officer of the 15th Light trance on the part of your petitioner, and Dragoons, and junior to your petitioner, on further consideration of the case, his in preference to him, to a majority in the royal highness was graciously pleased regiment, which purpose he was prevent to revoke his consent to the arrangement ed from effecting, solely by the interposi- in question, and to direct that a captain tion of his royal highness the duke of should be sent home from the regiment in York, at that time the commander in chief. Spain, upon wbose arrival the petitioner That your petitioner having, on the above was to be at liberty to join ; a permission, occasion, solicited a week's leave of ab. however, of which, gracious and accepta. sence, in order the more certainly to obble as it was, your petitioner was not able tain such interposition, by means of a per- to take advantage, as the regiment soon sonal appeal, in support of a memorial afterwards returned home; and thus your transmitted to the commander in chief, he petitioner was oppressively made to sustain was, for five successive months, most the irreparable loss of an opportunity, so vexatiously refused that indulgence, al-anxiously desired by every British officer, though he was, at that very time, entitled, of serving his sovereign and his country, under general orders, to leave of absence against their foreign enemies. for two or three months, and although “That your petitioner having suffered, junior officers were then actually allowed during so long a time, such heavy and that permission. That your petitioner, complicated injuries, finding himself shut notwithstanding his final success, in thus out from all hopes of advancement in his preventing a junior officer from being profession, by the avowed determination faised above him, has, from that time, of his commanding officer (expressed in been unjustly deprived of promotion, in terms the most injurious) not to recomthe usual course of his regiment, to the mend him for promotion ; and at the same injury not only of your petitioner, but of time, rendered an insurmountable obstacle to the advancement of every officer, junior him redress) to make his report to his to himşelf, in the regiment; having in Majesty thereupon. That this request; vain repeatedly and earnestly called for being attended with no other effect than the strictest investigation of his, conduct, an offer of promotion in a regiment of inand declared his, readiness, and even his fantry, which your petitioner could not anxiety, to meet any charge that could be accept, consistently either with his own brought against him, and perceiving that just claims, his wounded feelings, and his fresh complaints of ill-treatment only aspersed character, or, in the situation in served to subject him to fresh aspersions; which he was placed, with what was due your petitioner saw that he had no chance from him to the army, he has since, in two, for redress, but from the justice of the subsequent letters, explicitly repeated his commander in chief.—That he, therefore, request, that the commander in chief would in the month of July, 1809, laid his case investigate his complaints, and report to before his excellency, imploring his in- his majesty thereupon; to which request terference and protection. That ihis com- he at length received an official answer munication was accompanied with testi- from the military secretary,dated February monials to the undeviating good conduct the 12th, 1810, and couched in the followof your petitioner, om almost every | ing terms :commanding officer of the regiment, under * Sir ;-I have not failed to lay before whom your petitioner had served ;'and the commander in chief your letter of who must have had far better opportuni- "the 10th instant, and I am directed to ties of observing his general deportment, acquaint you, that sir David Dundas does than his röyal highness the duke of Cum- not see sulficient grounds for complying berland. - That while your petitioner's' with your request. (Signed.) complaints were before the commander in

H. TORRENS. chief, his just claims to promotion were “ That, by this refusal, on the part of again defeated, by the introduction of of the commander in chief, to comply with ficers from other regiments, to fill up the your petitioner's request, as above stated, two majorities of the 15th Light Dragoons, unless your honourable House shall be which were then vacant:-Then seeing pleased to afford him relief, he has no himself thus excluded from all prospect means of redress for the wrongs which of relief, in the ordinary course, your pe- have been heaped upon bim, in his milititioner was reduced to the necessity of tary character; in as much as the 12th soliciting, from the commander in chief, section of the articles of war, afford the an application in his favour, of the 12th only remedy, of which an officer of the section of the articles of war, which slates army, who has been wronged by his colothat, · If any officer shall think himself to nel, and by him refused redress, can avail • be wronged by his colonel, or the com- himself; and that, therefore, the denial of • manding officer of the regiment, and justice in your petitioner's case, by the • shall, upon due application made to him, commander in chief, in direct violation of • be refused to be redressed, he may com. the articles of war, is a most serious in. • plain to the general commanding injury, not only to your petitioner but also • chief our forces, in order to obtain jus. to the whole army, by rendering nugatory • tice; who is thereby required to examine the only remedy afforded to officers • into such complaint, and either by him against the acts of their superiors, and by • self, or by our secretary at war, to make thus depriving them of the inestimable • bis report to us thereupon, in order to right, so amply secured to every other « receive our farther directions.'

class of British subjects, that of employing “ That your petitioner accordingly on the means provided by the law and conthe 26th of September, 1809, addressed a stitution, for the redress of oppression and letter to colonel Gordon, military secre- injustice. tary, for the consideration of the com- “ All which your petitioner most hummander in chief, in which, after briefly bly submits to the consideration of your recapitulating the injuries, of which he honourable House, being ready to verify had ineffectually complained, he express the same. And he implores your honourly requested the commander in chief, in able House, to afford him such relief, as to conformity with the 12th section of the its wisdom shall seem meet.-And your articles of war, to examine into the com- petitioner shall ever pray, &c. plaints which he had laid before him, and (Signed)

Henry Foskett. (unless he was graciously pleased to afford

Capt. 15th Lt. Dragoons, VOL. XVI.

3 C

« AnteriorContinuar »