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military men as referable to the standard of right and wrong, which has been established by the legislature for the controul of their body, cannot discover any relation between the orders of government, and the rules of discipline and subordination, equally subversive of the foundation of authority, as that resolution of government, by which the adjutant-general and his deputy are ignominiously suspended from the service, for having obeyed the orders of their commander in chief, which obedience is stated to be a direct violation of the duty of those officers towards the government.
It must be painful to your lordship, as it is to your memorialists, to contemplate the possible consequences of a procedure equally unprecedented as it is unaccountable, by any other rules than those of blind prejudice, or deluded infatuation.
Your memorialists perceive a commander in chief, who had lived among them, who was personally beloved by many, and who was known by all, to have manifested great forbearance, under circumstances extremely mortifying, from the conduct which government observed towards him, they perceive the character of such a man grossly calumniated, while their regret for his departure was yet fresh; they perceive two officers of high rank, character, and respectability publicly degraded, deprived of their rank, and suspended from the service, for having obeyed their commander in chief, in signing and publishing an order written by himself, for the purpose of vindicating the dignity of his military authority, which had been flagrantly violated by one of his own staff, who openly defied and disregarded the supreme military commission; they perceive this officer, who had been publicly impeached, under charges of a serious nature, and who had insulted his commander in chief, sheltered from the natural effect of such misconduct, by the interference of government. Your memorialists cannot avoid declaring, that they see, in this evasion of the fundamental laws of discipline, a most dangerous infringement of the military code; that bulwark which protects the state from the licentiousness of an armed rabble, a power subject to no controul, except the caprice or prejudice of an individual; and your memorialists feel a just alarm, lest the repetition of acts, which are not guided by any rule, may tend to wean their affections, and dispose them to consider as enemies those whose situations should make them. their friends.
Your memorialists have learned, with indignant regret, that their enemies, and the enemies of their country, have represented a public disaffection the discontent produced by local and partial injuries, arising from the present rupture, but they con
fidently appeal to the zeal and ardour with which a large proportion of them are now discharging the most arduous duties in the service of the state; they appeal to the moderation with which they have stifled their feelings, that the recent conduct of the Madras government was calculated to inspire ; and while they declare their inviolable attachment to the Mate under which they serve, and to their profession, as regulated by its own law, they cannot suppress the expression of their concern, at the manner in which the exclusive rights of the army have recently been violated, and their sanguine hopes and earnest entreaty that the supreme government may, in its wisdom, be induced to appease their just alarms, and to anticipate the extreme crisis of their agitation, by relieving them from the controul of a ruler, whose measures, guided by their enemy, are equally detrimental to the interest of the state, as they are injurious to the feelings of a loyal and patriotic army."
[ K- I
"TO MAJOR BOLES.
Sir,—The officers of the Madras army whose names are hereunto annexed, can no longer abstain from expressing to you their surprize and concern at the severe and unmerited punishment inflicted on you, by an act of the civil government of Fort St. George, for no reason that is stated, but that you obeyed the orders of the commander in chief, in a case purely military.
Feeling the question to involve circumstances essential to their best interests, and fundamental to the character and respectability of the army, no less than to the principles of martial law, they consider themselves called upon to signify to you their marked approbation of your conduct as an officer on the general staff on that occasion.
Whilst your brother officers seize this opportunity to express their sense of the propriety of your conduct, they fully appreciate the personal inconvenience to which you are exposed by suspension from office, and the service. With these feelings they request the honour of repairing your injuries, in the mean time, as far as lays within their power, by subscribing and paying to your order, monthly, the full amount of that pay, and .staff allowance, of which you have been in this extraordinary manner deprived.
"As your conduct on the occasion alluded to, is exactly conformable to what the undersigned, if placed in your situation. would have pursued, they cannot avoid making your cause their own, and, under existing circumstances, such mutual support must be expected, and accepted by all who, like yourself, have or may become sufferers, through any such exceptionable measures on the part of the civil government of Fort St. George, as have rendered necessary the painful step we have now taken.
"TO THE OFFICER COMMANDING THE FORCES SERVING IN TRAVANCORE.
Sir,-—It having come to my knowledge that papers of a very improper nature are in circulation among the officers of the army, regarding the suspension of major Boles from the situation of deputy-adjutant-general of the army, in consequence of having applied his signature to the general order of the 2Sth e)f January last; as this circumstance has not coma before me in any public or authenticated form, I am induced to notice it to you in this way, rather than through the channel of a general order.
The paper in question, if I am rightly informed, has, for One of its objects, the collection of a subscription for the relief of major Boles, a circumstance which, as commander of the army, I could take no interest in, as officers may apply their money for the benefit of whom they please, did it not, at the Same time, if I am rightly informed, intimate an intention of supporting ali others who may, in like manner, fall under the displeasure of government, and imply also a justification of the principle upon which major Boles acted.
It is impossible for the commander of an English army to take a passivq part, whilst such things are transacting among those under his command; as these officers, by placing their principles in direct opposition to that of government, and holding out a security and indemnity, in fact encouraging disobedience and revolt, as far as it is possible for them to do.
It were needless for me to explain, to a person of your experience, that an officer, under an English government, can only be justifiable in obeying a legal order, and that the order in question was of a nature calculated to excite sedition in the army, and, as such, unjustifiable and illegal on the face of it, and ought accordingly to have been declined by every wellinformed officer. Major Boles must, from his situation, be supposed to have known, that the governor and council of Fort St. George are not only the civil, but, by the express enactment of the British legislature, the military government also of the country ; the whole of the civil and military government of the presidency of Fort St. George being vested in a governor and three counsellors, by the act of J 793.
Although it can never be proper to accustom officers to hesitateasto obeying the usual commands of their superiors, yet this principle, if not limited by law, would, in its operation, tend to the subversion of all government, and put it in the power of any desperate leader, by indemnifying all under him to issue what orders, and do what act he chose. But, fortunately, the principle is sufficiently understood in an English army, that the military state is subordinate to the civil, and that where there is command, there can be no duty but to obey.
As I depreciate the discussion in public orders of odious and delicate questions, and as I am unwilling to publish any general order on a subject so perfectly understood, (and which, but for the prejudice of the moment, could never be mistaken) I choose rather to trust to your discretion, that yofl will exercise the influence of your situation in explaining to those under your command, the impropriety of their conduct, in thus gving circulation to sentiments ot such unfounded and pernicious tendency, as are said to be found in that paper regarding major Boles, and which, I -am much afraid, will be attended with very serious consequences to those who have been so ill advised as to fix their signatures to it; for when a paper of this, or any other factious nature, comes before me, I can have no difficulty in advising government how to dispose of the authors of it.
As compassion for major Boles may have drawn in the officers to this measure, I think it proper here to explain, that major Boles has, in my opinion, deprived himself of any particular claim to feelings of that nature. It had never been, I was persuaded, the intention of government to deal severely with that officer, but only to vindicate that respect due to'their own authority, which every government must be anxious to maintain. And, accordingly, (but without any instructions to that effect) soon after my succeeding to the command, I took the occasion to signify to major Boles, that if he would express any adequate regret for what he had done, as that when he had offered his signature to the order he was not aware of the consequence, and thought he was acting right, without meaning any offence to government, but was now sorry for what had happened, I would make it my business to get him reinstated in his rank and official situation. But this explanation, so natural to have been expected, and which included in it no personal concession of character, was rejected, (and not without some warmth) by his exclaiming that he was sorry for nothing that had happened, or words to that effect.
I beg to call your attention to the following extract of a general order, by this government, of the 30th of December, 1799) by which you will perceive the restrictions to which the circulation of addresses to the army has been limited.
His lordship in council also prohibhs, under the strongest injunctions, the publication in future of any addresses to the army, or to any division of it, by any person or persons whatever, without the previous sanction of his lordship, or of the governor general in council.'
4 have to rely on your discretion that you will adopt the means suitable to the occasion for the discouragement and prevention of the address above alluded to, or of any other of a similar description, with the division under your command.
(Signed) "F. GOWDIE,
Commander in Chief's Office, 10th April, 1809."
« G. O. BY THE HONOURABLE THE GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL.
« Fort St. George, May 1, 1809.
The zeal and discipline, by which the military establishment of Fort St. George had long been distinguished, induced the governor in council to expect that the measures which the violent and intemperate acts of the late commander in chief had imposed on the government, would be received by all the officers of the army with the sentiments of respect and obedience prescribed by the principles of military subordination, and due to the government by which those measures were adopted, as well as to the authorities to which they were ultimately referred. The governor in council has, however, learnt, with a degree of surprise proportionate to the confidence which he reposed in the discipline of the army, that soon after the departure of the late commander in chief, proceedings of the most unjustifiable nature, and correspondent to the example which he had afforded, were pursued by certain officers of the army.
The most reprehensible of those proceedings consisted in the preparation of a paper, addressed to the right honourable the governor general, purporting to be a remonstrance, in the name