Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

tion ?-A. I desired a man of the guard to take him up to Lieut. Dawson on the 9th. The same man came back on the 10th; and he wished us to put off the salute to a quarter past eleven o'clock, as it was ordered to be fired at half past ten.

Q. Had you any thing particular to do relative to the salutes ordered to be fired at the time of the procession ?-A. Yes, I had to send a man to ascertain the time the procession went out.

Q. Was the Castle bell tolled during the firing of salutes on the 9th and 10th of August ?—[This question was rejected by the Court. The reason given was, that it did not refer to the matter contained in the charge against ine. I was directed to confine myself to the charge.-T. A.]

Q. Was there any other service performed by the artillery out of the usual routine, besides the firing of the salutes on the 9th and 10th of August ?--A. The Castle bell was tolled on the 10th. The flag was hoisted during the salutes.

Q. What signal was to be given from the church for you to begin firing your salute?-A. It appeared to me a few shots to be fired, and the bells to commence ringing.

Q. What description of ordnance was used in firing these salutes : A. Petards.

Q. Did you ever see the same used within your district by other classes of people ?-A. I observed in front of one of the churches in Isola six, but they were of a smaller sort.

Q. How long is it since I was quartered in Fort St. Angelo ?—A. Better than seventeen months.

By Officiating Judge Advocate,

Q. You have stated in your answer to the fourth question from Capt. Atchison that the flag was hoisted during the salutes on the 9th and 10th; -was that flag hoisted for those salutes only, or is the flag hoisted at all salutes ?--A. It is hoisted at all salutes. The Witness withdraws.

The Prosecution is closed. On the Prisoner being asked if he is prepared to go on with his Defence, he requests to be indulged until Wednesday next the 31st day of March, 1894, to prepare himself, which the Court grants in consequence of his indisposition.

The Court adjourns to Wednesday next, the 31st insty, at eleven o'clock, A. M.

Wednesday, 31st March, 1824. The Court meets, pursuant to adjournment, at eleven o'clock, A. M.

The Prisoner asks permission to read his written Defence, and commences. After he had read for upwards of an hour, the Court found it necessary to interrupt him, as he was entering on religious subjects.

The Court clears, and deliberates on the line of defence the Prisoner now pursues.

The Court re-opens, and the Officiating Judge Advocate reads the following Decision of the Court:

“ The Court decides that so much of your Defence, beginning with “To make images and publicly set them up, &c. &c.' at page 36 ; and ending with the words — most damnable to men,' at page 37, shall be expunged.”

"The Prisoner expunges the thirty-four lines objected to by the Court, and proceeds with his Defence after stating to the Court that he should reserve to himself the liberty of referring to higher authority.

The Court again interrupts the Prisoner, and clears.

The Court re-opens, and directs several sheets containing religious matter to be expunged, as being quite foreign to the charge; which the Prisoner accedes to, and proceeds.

[The official copy of the proceedings enters at this place only those parts of my Defence which the Court Martial retained and forwarded to England on the first trial. It afterwards, with the revised proceedings, gives the entire Defence as it returned from Mr. Beckett, Judge Advocate General, and as it was read in Court prior to their last judge ment.

What follows is the entire Defence, having a line on the margin of those passages which the Court expunged before they pronounced their first judgment. This mode of distinguishing the two documents renders the insertion of the altered Defence by itself unnecessary.]

DEFENCE.

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN, Previously to entering on the main object of my Defence, it is necessary to make a few remarks, drawn forth by the Prosecutor's address and the circumstances connected with this trial, which bear upon the charge. The Prosecutor pleads custom in his opening address to strengthen the charge against me. Allow me to shew you this has no force in the present case.—Custom in the Army, as well as in civil affairs, has the force of law, only when there is no law on the subject; and, that custom is not an obligatory rule, when the law is OPPOSED to custom ; as I trust I shall make perfectly satisfactory to the Court. For example: If, when the Prosecutor came to this station, he had found it was a custom to demand from him the surrender of part of his pay, or some other private right more dear to him, to carry into effect some political object ;-would not he think himself justified in remonstrating in the first instance against the order, and in supporting his claim of being exempted from this custom, by that birthright of every Englishman, the law of his country? I trust I shall make it appear to the Court, that this custom has no more obligation over me than such a supposed custom would have over the Prosecutor in the case here mentioned.

With respect to that part of the Prosecutor's address which charges me with having encouraged Lieut. Dawson in his conduct, when I ought to have endeavoured to remove his errors ;-writing my letters in his quarters, &c. &c. I beg the Court will particularly attend to the contents of the letters which have been read in evidence, by which it will appear that I was not sent to reprimand Lieut. Dawson for his conduct, or to enforce obedience to the orders, by seeing that he executed them, and being answerable if he did not. I was ordered to apply to him for the letter of instructions, and to execute the service myself, at a time when it was a matter of notoriety that Lieut. Dawson had requested to be exonerated from executing these orders. Not having a word of disapprobation to convey to Lieut. Dawson by word or letter; Lieut. Dawson being left at large, after his orders were countermanded ; and having evidence, by the orders in my hand, that his request was attended to, by our superiors;-was not this the strongest mark to me, that public measures could shew, that Lieut. Dawson's conduct was considered allowable. I appeal to the feelings of every military man, if this was not the case, especially if we reflect, that if my Superior had considered Lieut. Dawson's conduct in writing his letters in so culpable a light as has been represented, he certainly would either have put him in arrest at the moment, or sent me to enforce the order, and not to take the order from him and execute it myself. Moreover, as the Prosecutor knows there was no other officer in the Fort,—did he expect that I should go to a serjeant's or a private's quarters under the circumstances mentioned, to write my letter, especially when so pressed for time? How then can he, with such strong facts before his eyes, for they are all in his own evidence, illegally attempt to aggravate the charge, making as it were a new Count, with such assertions and insinuations as those contained in his address ?

I consider this conduct unjustifiable in the highest degree; and doubt not the Court will appreciate his conduct, and protect me from it.

But let me be understood in saying that I heartily receive his assertions, that he has no personal ill will against me, and that he grieves to see me in this situation ;-I am sure of all this, and more too ;-I look upon him only as a public prosecutor.

It is in evidence on Lieut. Somerville's letter, marked Number II. and Mr. Greig's letter, marked Number I. also by my own letter marked Number III., that I was ordered to fire salutes, according to a letter of instructions which I had to procure from Lieut. Dawson, which letter shewed, that the object of the service was a religious one, and that the tolling of the Castle Bell was as much a part of my order, as firing the salutes. These letters also shew, that I requested to be exonerated from the execution of this service on the score of its idolatrous nature, and on that alone.

Now the charge which is preferred against me, before this Court, makes it appear, that I had objected to the salutes, abstractedly from the very peculiar circumstances which attended the service mentioned in the order, as if I had objected to fire a common military salute, and in ordinary circumstances. Now, is this the truth? Is it not also an act of very great injustice? The Court, I trust, will remedy this, by inserting in their sentence, whatever it may be, the nature of the duty which I objected to, as enforced in Mr. Greig's letter; and not let me be set forth to the army, and to the world, misrepresented as I now am.—But I have a much more serious complaint than this to prefer in regard to this measure, by publicly departing from the acknowledged rules of the Service, in the framing of my charge; mentioning only one part of the order said to be disobeyed and remonstrated against, instead of all its parts, namely, firing salutes, tolling of the castle bell, and excluding the object to be saluted, according to the terms of the government's own order and instructions, which I had to carry into effect ; when every principle of justice required them to be inserted, in order to give me a fair trial; and when keeping out the circumstances from the charge might have had the effect of preventing me bringing forward evidence on the nature and circumstance of the service I was ordered to execute, and even to injure my defence by the plea that my grounds of defence or extenuation had nothing to do with the charge.

I trust these circumstances will not be lost on the Court; but will incline them to give every possible advantage to me, the weaker party, which is consistent with substantial justice.

But as the manner in which the charge has been made against me, has given me a decidedly advantageous position towards an acquittal, I ought not to be very angry at this want of justice towards me, in refusing the request which I preferred, through the Judge Advocate, to have all the orders I received mentioned in the chargé.

If instead of having objected to being a party in an idolatrous act of worship, I had objected to a real military duty, on a false religious account, such as, for instance, objecting to being ordered to fire a military salute on a Sunday,--would not the Prosecutor have made it, and justly made it, a prominent part of the charge, that I had objected to a military duty, upon a false plea of religion ; (for all necessary works are permitted by our Lord to be done on the Sabbath ;) and he would have set the circumstances fully in the charge to aggravate the crime, and teach and warn others, by my evil example and punishment. Now if these were necessary in the case I have supposed, it is equally so in the one under your notice.

I beg the Court's most particular attention to what this omission lays down in my favour. It proves, first, that the duty ordered was illegal ; and, secondly, it justifies my remonstrance.

If all the duties mentioned in my instructions were legal and military, and the objects of the duties were legal and military, it was the bounden duty of the Prosecutor to have arraigned me for remonstrating against all the duties as well as for one. It was also his bounden duty to have arraigned me for remonstrating against the object of the service, as much as for the acts I had to perform in it.

Now, by his arraigning me only on the one duty mentioned in the order, and leaving out the others, and by his not arraigning me on the nature of the service set forth in the orders, does it not prove that the authorities in this place had ordered what they felt they had no right to order; seeing they dare not attempt to enforce it, either by authority at the time when the order was disputed; or now, through the means of charges before this Court. What then can more strongly prove to the Court the illegality of the act ordered to be executed, or the conviction of the prosecuting party, that they have acted illegally, than these their own measures ? For, by every principle and obligation of public duty, and personal responsibility to enforce every proper military service; they were as much bound to prosecute me for objecting to bell-tolling, and celebrating a tutelar saint, if these things were right, as for the part selected as a ground of charge against me; and their not doing it proves that they knew the object of the order was illegal, and could not be enforced on an English Protestant.

This also proves that I was authorized in remonstrating against the act, and that my view of its illegal nature was correct at the time I wrote my letter.

« НазадПродовжити »