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Chief. If this be law, it is probable that the Romans did not practice such, at the period that they decreed, “Let there be no “ appeal in military cases; let the order “ of the General, who commanded, be taken “ for just, and ratified.” It is more likely to have been their practice when they were hurrying rapidly down the stream of corruption. “ Facilis descensus averni.” To the plain reason of military men the inconsistency appears great. The violent agitation, that prevailed throughout the army, on perceiving, by the Government orders of the 31st January, and 1st February, that Commissions were held merely at the caprice of an individual, could not escape the notice of Government. Every principle, which cherishes the honorable feelings of an officer, was violated. The impossibility of conducting the ordinary duties of the military profession, without the regular advice of counsel, was proclaimed; consequently, the rigid controul, which should pervade the progressive ranks in the army, was declared to be at an end. And on what account is all this convulsion produced Merely for the purpose of extinguishing, by force, the just indignation, pagodas 1,000, for passage money, &c. and that he should be permitted to proceed to England by the first opportunity. Unhappily, however, it was soon perceived, that the measure of conciliation, which apparently proceeded from a sense of justice, was not the effect of a disposition to tranquillize the ferment that existed, but of a reluctant compliance with necessity. It was accordingly succeeded by rigid proceedings, from which there does not at present appear to be any immediate prospect of relief; the supreme authority in India having given sanction to them. That this sanction has been obtained through misrepresentation, and misstatement, is evident from a passage in the letter of the supreme Government, which was circulated on the coast. That passage states, that the officers, who signed the charges against Lieutenant Colonel Munro, had consented to their being withdrawn, than which nothing can be more unfounded. On the contrary, a letter from one of those officers, appealing to the articles of war, against the opinion of the Judge Advocate General, was one of the immediate causes of the arrest of Lieutenant Colonel Munro, on the 21st of January. The removal of several officers from their situations at Madras, for which removal no other reason can be assigned, than their objection to hold any unofficial intercourse with Lieutenant Colonel Munro —the removal of battalions from Madras for reasons of the same description—the means by which Sir John Sinclair procured the situation of Commissary at the Arsenal —and various other occurrences which have marked the unhappy interval between the beginning of February and the present eventful period—will form subjects for future communications. This one shall be concluded with an earnest prayer, that a consciousness of their own right, and a firm reliance on the justice and equity of their superiors in England, may enable the officers of the Coast army to bear with fortitude the trial, to which they are exposed, only for a time. Let them reflect, that they have a character already high, and worth preserving by any temporary sacrifice of their personal feelings; and that whatever may be the extent of their just indignation against the individuals, who are the immediate instruments of their oppression, duty to their country requires that it should, for the time, be restrained within those limits, beyond which is nothing but crime, anarchy, and confusion.
- Madras, 20th june, 1809. DEAR SIR,
As the narrative addressed to you is intended to convey a simple and correct view of the whole of the circumstances which have conduced to bring the public affairs of this Government to the critical predicament that they are now in, it will be proper, not only that the various events should be detailed in the order in which they occurred, but that the connection between them should be distinctly shewn, as well as the effect which they produced on the public mind. The transactions of any given period, during this unhappy dissension, cannot, with propriety, be considered, of themselves, to possess any particular character or feature. No correct judgment can be formed respecting them, unless they be combined with the circumstances in which the parties concerned were placed ; because from those circumstances alone were they produced, and to them alone were they applicable. From what has been detailed, in the preceding letter, it will be perceived, that a considerable degree of animosity subsisted in the beginning of February. Lieutenant Colonel Munro either had (or was supposed to have) falsely traduced the characters of the officers commanding Native corps in the honourable Company's service; and, although his insinuations did not immediately affect the other officers, it was well known that an acute sense of injury was felt by almost every officer of every rank. Even supposing the relative situation of the army in the State to be very low, still the profession is deemed honourable, and officers are usually treated as gentlemen. It might, therefore, be reasonably supposed, that some consideration would be shewn towards the feelings of those who supposed themselves to be falsely calumniated; and, as Lieutenant Colonel Munro had not, during six months, disavowed the calumny, that Government would not have interrupted a public inves