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me to be brought to this trial, I cannot but notice the circumstance that a Roman Catholic officer should have been appointed to preside, seeing that he must naturally want that just view of Protestant PRINCIPLES and PRIVILEGES for which I have to contend, to do justice to the service or to myself. I did not think it expedient, for various reasons, to challenge this officer, as I might justly have done, being convinced, from the known honour and uprightness of his character, I might depend, that however we may differ in religious principles, if I succeeded in convincing him of my right to have my Protestant principles respected in the service, I could confidently rely that his sense of justice and honour would support my right as firmly as if he were a Protestant himself.
The Prosecutor's main strength lies in his assertion that “implicit, prompt, unhesitating obedience (not to military orders observe, but TO EVERY THING,) is our military law, and our chief military virtue.” Am I to obey an order to join a mutiny ? Am I to obey an order to sign a return known to be false ? Could I as a member of a Court Martial obey an order to give a sentence contrary to an express provision of the Mutiny Act or Articles of War, by which I am sworn to decide ? No, Mr. President and Gentlemen, we cannot do such things. The Mutiny Act and Articles of War fix the penalty on the disobedience of lawful orders,*—and who is there that does not feel that this word lawful is the most important word in the whole book. Observe, first, that it is to preserve the military code itself from the sad effects which ignorance or bad principles might effect through its own means ; for, without this word lawful, a code of discipline would prove its own destruction : none of those wise laws and regulations . which have been collected from the experience and wisdom of ages
* The Mutiny Act, cl. 1., and the Articles of War, sect. 2. art. 5.:-“ Any officer, “ non-commissioned officer, or soldier, who shall, &c. &c. or shall disobey any law“ ful command of his superior officer, shall suffer death or such other punishment as “ by a general Court Martial shall be awarded.”
I wish this enactment may be kept in view as well as the one in the last part of my Defence, which contains that fundamental principle of the Constitution, that our Sovereign must govern, and all his ministers and officers must serve him according to the existing rights and laws of the nation; that the difference between the lawful command of a superior officer and the command of a lawful superior may be observed when reading the Prosecutor's reply, and the document which confirms my dismissal from the army. A lawful magistrate or superior may command an illegal act to be done, or commit an aggression on the rights of his fellow-subjects, like other fallible men; and there is a wide difference in his legal power when he is found in his office giving a lawful command, and when giving an unlawful order or committing an aggression on the rights he is appointed to protect, let his motives be what they may.
would have any binding power on the service. The intentions of the Legislature, the will, the wisdom, the honour aud kindness which distinguish the regulations springing from our great head, the King, might all be outraged, set at defiance, and held in contempt by any petty officer, down to the lance-corporal ; were it not for the majestic power of that word lawful in the connexion I have mentioned : for whatever a corporal ordered to be done, however bad, it must be done, according to the prosecutor's doctrine. Am I not right? Every mind will picture to itself the anarchy, insubordination, defeat, and misery, in the service to which such a doctrine as that which the Prosecutor has advanced against me would produce. “Many wills, many ways," is an old adage ; and no one would know what he would have to obey the next minute, were it not that our Code has fixed one great and paramount will, the Military Law, to which all must submit. A soldier learns the Military Law to be prepared to obey it; and he learns first to obey, that he may know afterwards what to command and enforce.
There could not be a stronger illustration brought before the Court for the necessity of the principle for which I contend, than what has occurred here. An order has been given and remonstrated against :—three months elapse without blame being expressed; and now that the remonstrance is made the subject of a trial, the parties giving the orders shew by their whole conduct they have no authority to enforce the order. Whereas, if authority would confine itself to the giving of lawful orders, discipline would always shew itself in its vigour. Then every thing would be enforced with that spirit and decision which a military service so absolutely demands.
Who does not see that by limiting authority, the authority of all superiors is upheld and enforced; and that if authority were not limited to the giving of lawful orders, authority, in the hands of ignorance or evil principles, would destroy every right dear to the state, to the army, and to the soldier himself. Who is there that does not also feel that it is the word lawful which gives to our army its true dignity and honour, making its services the services of the State and of the King, which it would not be if any individual, however high in authority, could give an unlawful order. We then should be but the servants of a servant.
As the expression lawful is of such immense consequence to the army, it is not less so to the dearest objects which belong to us, our families, our friends, our homes. Fancy to yourselves a detachment in their neighbourhood without the restraint which this word lawful fixes on the commands of every one in authority in that detachment. Without this word, nothing that is most dear to them would be safe, nothing secure;
unless military authority were confined, not only against itself, but to its proper objects,—to its own, and proper service. .
I have said before, this word gives to our service all its dignity; it gives to all classes in it those sacred personal rights which belong to them as Englishmen:--and while it secures to the State all the devotedness of life and exertion which military law demands, it secures to every individual in the service his personal undisturbed enjoyment and right in what the service has not demanded ;-it secures to me the enjoyment of my religious principles as well as of my property ; it protects my honour and respectability under all circumstances :—for without it I might be ordered on any political job, however repugnant to the feelings of a gentleman: I might, if local circumstances admitted, be arraigned for not assisting in the rites paid to the idol Juggernaut for the public service; or for not descending to the lowest menial office, if political expediency required it.
I shall first shew, that by my letter of instructions, it was evident I was not sent to perform a military service, but a religious service.
It will be admitted by all parties that it is not the circumstances of the mere use of a soldier and the burning of powder which constitutes military duty; but it is the business on which a man is employed, the aim or end of the work in hand, which truly defines the nature of the service,
If, on the occasion of a siege, or some grand military compliment, the general were to obtain from the bishop the assistance of those ecclesiastics who are accustomed to fire their church salutes, those persons, though ecclesiastics, would be employed on a military service, the object or end of their exertions being military : but if, on the occasion of a saint's anniversary, the bishop applies for the assistance of the military, those soldiers who are so employed are employed on a religious service.
My present object will be to shew that the service on which I was ordered was a religious service entirely; that I was sent to co-operate with the priests in their functions; and that I had to perform the usual acts of their religious service; and that all these points were sufficiently obvious in the letter of instructions handed to me, for me to act on it as I have done.
Nothing can be more explicit on all these points than the evidence which Mr. Greig's letter furnishes to the Court. It first shews that an application had been made to Government for its assistance, and by direct inference, who were the applicants. It points out the object or service which was to be carried into effect with this assistance, namely, the celebration of the anniversary of St. Lorenzo, the TUTELAR saint of
Vittoriosa. The instructions in this letter mention a procession, with which I was ordered to act, by firing a salute, and having the Castle bell tolled during the progress of its ceremonies; and no hour being fired when these services were to be performed, I was necessarily obliged to concert with the priesthood when to commence my part in the service.
Few things will serve to define the nature of a service to be performed better than the profession of the individuals who apply for its execution ; they whose interests, intentions, and wishes, are to be carried into effect, and who are the directing parties, from whom every co-operating body must get instructions.
It is a well-known fact that firing these salutes is a common Roman Catholic religious usage : they are fired in front of their churches with patteraroes, by their own ecclesiastics, on many of their grand festas. These church-salutes are common in all Roman Catholic countries ; they often take place at churches in different parts of this island. I have frequently heard them fired in the cities within the Cottonera district :this is matter of notoriety, and it shews that the firing of salutes is not a military service exclusively. Patteraroes are not military ordnance, they are not included in our military lists of ordnance, nor in the lists of military ordnance of other nations. I never saw one until I came here.*
* These pieces of ecclesiastic artillery are made of brass, a foot or fifteen inches long, and about the thickness of a boy's arm, and are without trunnions. It is evident they are constructed only for noise, and not for attack or defence. They are apparently cast by common brass-smiths, having no military appearance. An ounce or two of powder is the charge; only they are rammed full of clay or earth to add to the effect. Not having carriages, they are placed when to be fired on the ground, with their muzzles propped up on a loose stone, or any thing at hand. The artillerymen fire these patteraroes with a long stick, as their legs are somewhat in danger from the manner in which they fly about.
Sixty patteraroes by reloading are fired for the host or an image in procession, and thirty for the host when elevated in church.
In itself this service may be considered the same as if the priests had got a set of pistols made for their own purposes, and had them sent through their civil government to some British regiment of the line, which had to turn out and fire powder and clay for them, whenever required, to promote their religious objects.
As the requisitions of the priests at Malta were sometimes not forwarded until the time for firing the salutes had arrived, the artillerymen in these cases were sent off to the battery in much hurry, to the disarrangement and hindrance of their own duties. About forty of these salutes were fired in the year 1823 at Malta, and thirteen in the island of Goza; sometimes two in a day. These could not be attended to without seriously impeding and injuring the artillery department, which had not men enough to discharge the public duties properly, and enable the officers to attend to every thing for which they were responsible.-An additional company was applied for last year.
When I was doing duty at Malta, there were two companies of artillery, amounting to about one hundred and twenty men; as the detachment took a considerable proportion of the garrison guards, the remainder, after deducting the employed men
I humbly submit that the tolling of the Castle bell for a procession is entirely a religious means for a religious service, and in no respect a part of an artilleryman's duty, or of any other soldier's duty.
If, then, saluting with gunpowder is a - Roman Catholic religious service as much as a military service, the intent and object of the principal party who applied to have the salute fired for them, with the object saluted, must define whether it was a military or a religious salute; whether it was a military or a religious service.
And if the Court will bear in mind that it was not military but ecclesiastic ordnance I had to use, and that I had to toll the bell, an act purely religious, for these solemnities, they must come to the same conclusion which impressed my mind when I saw my letter of instructions ;—that I was called upon to perform a service that was entirely religious, and in no one respect military; and therefore they will not be surprised that I should remonstrate * against being obliged to take a part in it, especially when, as I have asserted, I felt that my most conscientious principles, as a Christian and a Protestant, would have been violated by so doing. · All the points drawn from Mr. Greig's letter are substantiated in the evidence from my Commanding Officer and Serjt. M'Clelland's testimony. The former deposes, —
That the salutes are called Maltese, or church-salutes, and that they are applied for by the Catholic churches ; that he had not seen the ordnance used before he came here, and that they are used in Malta only for the church salutes ; that it is not usual in the service to fire military com
and casualties, were apportioned to the duties of the department, which had about six hundred pieces of heavy ordnance mounted on the works, with the war proportion of ammunition and stores to take care of, with other attendant duties. The batteries and magazines are dispersed over a line of rampart which cannot measure less than ten miles.
Having mislaid my memoranda, I judge these latter particulars from data which I can remember.
* The following are the provisions of the Articles of War, Sect. 12, art. 1, 2.
“ If any officer shall think himself wronged by his colonel or the commanding "S officer of the regiment, and shall, upon due application made to him, be refused to “ be redressed, he may complain to the General, commanding in chief our forces, in “ order to obtain justice ; who is hereby required to examine into such complaint ; “ and either by himself or by our Secretary at War to make his report to us there" apon, in order to receive our further directions.
“ If any inferior officer, non-commissioned officer, or soldier, shall think himself “ wronged by his captain, or other officer commanding the troop or company to “ which he belongs, he is to complain thereof to the commanding officer of the regi“ ment, who is hereby required to summon a regimental court martial for the doing “ justice to the complainant; from which regimental court martial either party may, “ if he thinks himself still aggrieved, appeal to a general court martial. But if, upon “ a second hearing, the appeal shall appear vexatious and groundless, the person so " appealing sball be punished at the discretion of the said general court martial."