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I have given in the Appendix a number of the Orders received by the Royal Artillery in the year 1823, specifying the canons, monks, and friars, who make those requisitions for the attendance of the British troops at their Church service, and for salutes for their objects of worship, which occasion the Orders.And I have added those particulars concerning the Religious Rites mentioned in the Orders, issued to the troops in the Mediterranean, which are well known and obvious to those on the station, who reflect on what he daily sees or hears of, and on what he knows he may at any time be called on to join or assist. These particulars will enable the Reader to understand the true nature and extent of that assistance which the troops, infantry as well as artillery, were ordered to give to the most offensive rites of the Roman Catholic Functionaries; and enable him also to judge what will be on the mind and feelings of any one on the spot, who cares for such things, when receiving one of the Priest's requisitions to execute.
I have also given some public garrison Orders at Malta and Corfu relating to this subject; also some Notices, which appeared in the Malta GOVERNMENT Gazette concerng in the subjects of the Orders.
THOMAS ATCHISON. LONDON, 5th October, 1825.
ON receiving from the Officiating Judge Advocate a copy of the charge preferred against me, (see p. 3.) I sent him the following letter, to which the reply annexed was returned :
Malta, 21st March, 1824.
I have respectfully to state for the information of Major-General Sir Manley Power, that I consider the charge which you have forwarded to me yesterday is made out in a manner which will prevent me obtaining justice at the ensuing trial, in consequence of the nature and circumstances of the service to which I objected not being inserted in the charge according to the terms of the letter, and the instructions upon which I was required to act. This omission having the effect of preventing me from bringing evidence as to the illegal nature and circumstances of the service I have objected to; and, according to a decision of a recent Court, the omission will also operate to prevent me from framing my defence on those legal grounds and motives which actuated me at the time, as I am legally entitled to do: thereby virtually taking from me all my legal means of defence when put on my trial.
I have therefore to request that all the essential points of Lieutenant Somerville's letter, with the whole of the instructions I received to which that letter referred me, may be inserted in my charge, that I may have an opportunity of bringing before the Court that evidence I feel to be necessary for my exculpation.
With a view of shewing that this request is founded on principles of the service, I have to add, that whenever a salute is ordered to be fired, the object saluted is invariably mentioned, in the military service, in the orders or directions given to the officer who has to execute the order ; and that in the framing of charges it is also an acknowledged principle of the service that a full specification of the circumstances attending the alleged crime is indispensably necessary for attaining the ends of justice, by enabling a prisoner to bring forward any evidence which may set his conduct in its true light.
I beg leave to refer to M'Arthur, Vol. ii. p. 10., and Tytler, p. 210, in the old edition; also to the Articles of War, sect. 16. art. 30. In the latter it is directed that the fact or facts on which a charge is grounded shall be clearly specified.
It is evident that my charge is founded on only one fact in the Order mentioned, as having been remonstrated against ; and that if this one fact only is to he brought before the Court, my conduct will appear to them and to the army (whatever the sentence may be) in a most erroneous point of view, and consequently justice will be debarred from me by the manner in which the charge is framed.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Capt. R. Art.
0. D. J. Advocate,
Military Secretary's Office,
Malta, 22d March, 1824. SIR, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day's date, forwarded under cover addressed to me, which letter I have submitted to Major-General Sir Manley Power; and in reply I am directed to acquaint you that the Major-General sees no reason for altering the charge already transmitted you; therefore, the trial will commence on Wednesday morning next, at Ten o'clock, as has, by my letter of yesterday, been notified to you.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
M. S. Capt. Atchison, RI. Artillery, &c. &c. &c.
(Copy.) PROCEEDINGS of a General Court Martial
held at La Valetta, in the Island of Malta, on the 24th day of March, 1824, by order of Major-General Sir Manley Power, K.C.B. and K. T. S., commanding His Majesty's Forces in the Mediterranean, and by virtue of a Warrant under the Sign Manual, bearing date 25th March, 1823.
PRESIDENT. Color:el FRANCIS Rivarola of the late Sicilian Regiment and Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Malta Fencibles.
18th Rgt. Lt. Col. Hon. W. H. GARDNER RI. Artlry. Capt. JAMES WINNIETT NUNN 80th Rgt. Major Robert PERCIVAL 18th (R. I.) Rgt. Capt. John DORAN
18th Rgt. Bret. Maj. EYRE Evans Kenny 80th Rgt. Capt. THOMAS BUNBURY 80th Rgt. Major W. PLUNKETT De BATHE 85th Rgt. Capt. JAMES BUTLER
80th Rgt. Major JAMES MACLEAN 80th Rgt. Capt. FREDERICK MAUNSELL 85th Rgt. Capt. RICHARD WELD
18th Rgt. Capt. MATTHEW FORSTER 85th Rgt. Captain CHARLES ANDREWS BAYLEY of the 36th Regt. (and Military I Secretary in the Mediterranean) Officiating Judge Advocate.
The Court being assembled, and the warrants for appointing the President and Officiating Judge Advocate having been read, —
Captain Thomas ATCHISON, of the Royal Artillery, brought before it a prisoner to be tried, declines challenging any of the members.
The President, Members, and Officiating Judge Advocate, were then sworn.
CHARGE:For disobedience of orders, insubordinate and unofficerlike conduct, in not carrying into execution the orders that were conveyed to him by Acting Adjutant Somerville, on or about the 9th of August last, desiring that he would give directions for firing salutes at Fort St. Angelo on the 9th and 10th of that month;—and for writing a letter dated the 9th of August, addressed to Major Addams, his commanding officer, hesitating and remonstrating against carrying the said orders into effect.
The above conduct being highly subversive of military discipline, a holding forth a most dangerous example to the British army.
(Signed) GEORGE RAITT, D. A. G
Lieutenant-Colonel Raitt, Deputy-Adjutant General, appears as pre secutor, and requests the Officiating Judge Advocate may be permitted to read his Statement, in consequence of indisposition.
STATEMENT. Mr. PRESIDENT and GENTLEMEN,
The duty of Prosecutor in support of the charge of which the Prisoner is arraigned having devolved upon me, in my official situation, I proceed to narrate to the Court, as briefly as may be, the circumstances out of which the charge against the Prisoner has arisen, in regard to whom the Court must rest assured that I am not actuated by any feeling of a personal nature ;-on the contrary, I regret to see him, as I alway must regret to see any officer, placed in his present situation.
It has been the custom in this island that salutes should be fired from various parts of the public works on certain festivals celebrated by the inhabitants ;-and these salutes, since British forces have been stationed in Malta, have been invariably fired by the Royal Artillery, under orders issued by the General commanding, to whom previous application is made by the civil government.
On the 4th of August last year, a letter was addressed, as customary, by the Acting Chief Secretary to Government to the Military Secretary, stating that application had been made to Government for salutes from Castle St. Angelo and St. Michael's Tower on the 9th and 10th of that month, which His Honour the Lieut. Governor had been pleased to grant on the 9th at noon, and on the day following at half past ten in the forenoon and also in the evening ; and which His Honour required should be carried into effect.
Major Addams, commanding the Royal Artillery, conveyed his order on the subject to Lieut. Dawson, commanding the detachment in Fort St. Angelo, with whom a correspondence arose which I need not here detail.
It is sufficient, in reference to the charge before the Court, to state that on the 9th of August, the day on which the first salute was to be fired at noon, Lieutenant and Adjutant Somerville addressed the letter to the Prisoner which is mentioned in the charge. In this letter he states that he is desired by Major Addams to inform him that he (Capt. Atchison) was to proceed to Fort St. Angelo with as little delay as possible ;-that on his arrival he was to apply to Lieut. Dawson for the let