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can be supposed, that the last paragraph conveys the sense of a declaration of adherence to one another by the subscribing parties, the spirit of it, it must be understood, is confined to a particular case, of an officer suspended for obeying the orders of his Commander in Chief, and such could not be expected very often to occur. The adherence cannot be tortured to a greater extent—and the guilt of it, if any, must depend on the justice of the Act of Suspension, which is not to be taken as defined by the mere exercise of the act, but is to be declared by the decision it is afterwards to receive. The act is even now sub-judice, and may be affirmed or not by the power to which it is referred, as well by the Government itself, as by the parties suspended. The first blush of the paragraph shews an anxiety in the writer or writers of it, to make the bounty tendered agreeable to the object of it; by stating, that it is such a relief that ought to be accepted, and that is claimable under like circumstances, by every member of the army of his common brethren. It is scarcely possible to put another construction on it, unless it be taken in a most illiberal sense. It appears to be an effort and expression of delicate and refined benevolence; it might have been made and uttered, perhaps, in a way less liable to exception. But the intent must be examined, and not merely the deed. It was not resorted to, as has been explained, as a weapon of annoyance to the Government or any other, but as an instrument of peace and comfort to an individual; not meditated as an act of public wrong, but an exertion of private good-will; a manifestation of a kindly attention to a comrade struck off from their society, and thrown helpless, without any acknowledged or investigated crime, on the charity of the wide world ! The intention of rectitude will not be refused here, when it is willingly granted to those, who urge, with a boastful ostentation, daily subscriptions for suspected Patriots, who are smarting, horrible to relate under the cruel and overwhelming pressure of the successive and unsparing verdicts of their country. At the time that the letter to Major Boles was in circulation, it appears, that a memorial,” stating the aggregate grievances of the army, intended ultimately to be presented to the Supreme Government, was also submitted and proposed for general signature. Whether this paper might have * Appendix I.
received the approbation of the great body of the army, or have been stayed in its progress by the expression of dissent on the part of numbers, to whom it might have been afterwards offered for signature, cannot now be ascertained. It was interrupted in its inchoate state, and no place of repentance was allowed between the time of the intent, and the proposed point for the execution of it. This paper was put into the possession of the local Government in an imperfect form, and without a single subscription appearing at the foot of it; and was forwarded in that condition to the supreme Government of India. These acts, or half-perfected acts, occasioned, as has been intimated, the suspension of several officers from the service, and of many more from their staff and army appointments. As these removals, like the former, took place without any formal or known investigation, they served, of course, to swell the breath of discontent. The orders, directing these suspensions, were published on the 1st of May;” and state the causes, though not very distinctly, why the respective parties, the * Appendix M.
exercised the right, to reside in the original power delegated to the Company by the Legislature, to raise and maintain an army; which would seem of itself to infer, that all the necessary means, calculated to insure the objects of the grant, were at the same time intended, and by implication given. This would have been more clear to common capacities, if there had not been any laws or rules prescribed by the Legislature and his Majesty to the Company, for themaintenance and discipline of their armies, which appear in some sort to repel the implication, more especially as the signa superioritatis are reserved to his Majesty, in the privilege declared by the act, of framing the articles of war, to be established for the government of the Company's forces. Some jealousy might have been reasonably entertained as to the grant of so vast a power to a private body of men, and as it might by possibility be abused, and become detrimental to the King's subjects, this reservation probably was introduced. It is a power, it is to be observed, to be exercised by one description of his Majesty's subjects over another, without any communion with, or reference to, the Executive organ, or the common laws of the realm. That it should, therefore, be subjected to some controul, or superintendance, and that it was meant to be so subjected, by the act of Geo. II. and the articles of war, is no very irrational supposition. It is true, that in the act and articles there is no provision for the dismissal of an officer, but by the sentence of a courtmartial. So often as cashiering is mentioned in the articles of war, as often is it declared, that it is to be effected by the sentence of a court-martial, which would favour an inference, that so penal an act could not be carried into execution, on whatsoever account, unless under the sanction prescribed by the articles of war, in a like case. Yet cases might occur, where it would be desirable to use more immediate means for the discharge of a most dangerous individual. Such a prompt and sudden remedy is vested in his Majesty, in relation to his supreme command of the national force; and it has been therefore argued, by analogy, that the right of dismissal is inseparable from the supreme command of an army. But is there no difference in the two cases The power vested in his Majesty is of the essence of the constitution, whereas that of the Company depends on particular