THE EVIDENCE IN SOMERVILLE'S CASE.
We noticed the arguments of the Court-Martial on the case of Somerville the week before last. We now give an extract from the evidence upon which the arguments may be supposed to have been mainly grounded. The following is Major Wyndham's evidence in thief- " When Somerville was brought to you, what passed between you and him ?"— -"." I found him in the passage. and I had been in the room probably a minute when I gent for him. Lieutenant Rieketts was in the room, and the Sergeant-Major brought hxm in by my order. I preseuted the crime to him ; and I said, ' Somerville, this is Tour crime—I am sorry it should have appeared.' That was the commencement of the conversation. I said, I did not expect it of so young a soldier : he looked at me, and I Stank the words he said were, • I am sorry for it.' I" do not think he said any thing snore, except that he mentioned something about his horse being unruly : I think Ile said*, could not manage the horse; those were the words. I said, • It is highly im- proper conduct, a high disobedience of orders, and I regret it very much.' I was sorry to see he did not express some contrition ; I thought a soldier would have said more. My object in seeing him was, if he should have spoken well for himself, to have released lira he did not say that which I expected. I said it was an act of insubordination ; and as near as I recollect, I said, ' It cannot be overlooked he said nothing more. The Weekly Dispatch was lying on the table ; I took it up and said, Somerville, I am afraid, my lad,'—I think that was the expression.—' you are fond of writing the news- -papers.' He seemed surprised. I then said, 'Is this letter from you .' He then etopped a short time, and said it was he that had written the letter. I then read the letter, or extracts from it ; and I think I commented on the letter, say lug. I was sorry to see a young soldier writing in a newspaper, and particularly on political subjects, which I considered was not a soldier's duty. He then said he did not know, he believed Ire had a right to write in the newspapers. I said, • You-have no right to comment upon the conduct of your regiment, and say what is not the fact : you. have written a libel on the regiment.' I said thin was not the business of a soldier. I read some more lines, -and came to a passage about what the Scotch Greys would do in case they were called slut to act. It is a long time shire. I cannot recollect the words, but they were to this elfect,—that to quell a mob they would do so, but would not lift up their arms " the people. I said, "fhis is strong conversation ;' and asked him what Ile meant by it. X said, • You ought to know lour duty better than to express any such tibel on the iniment ;' and I asked him what he meant by it. Then I said,' Do you recollect, my pod fellow, you have sworn allegiance to the King, and you are paid by the King?' Then that begat a conversation, the words of which I do not recollect, except having siten them in the paper,—something about his being paid by the King, and that ouly as llbng as he was for the people, or words to that effect." "Is that your own recollection, having been refreshed in any manner, that he did nee those words in lenticular? "—•• Tes ; he said he was bound to the King as long as .he went with the people, or- words to that effect. I then told him again that I was storey to see so young a soldier commence in that manner. Again I said that it was !lot the business of any soldier to meddle with politics, and I regretted very much that lie had libelled the whole regirt eat ; that, I think, ended the conversation. I then (leaked the Sergeant-Major to take him bank to the guard-house, which was instantly alone."
"You have stated that you commented on the extracts which you read from the Dis- pitcht"—"I did."
"To whut effect did you comment on them ?"—" To the effect that I was surprised. lbtul been twenty years in the regiment, and never heard of a soldier-using such lan- guage, making use of all our names in that kind of way. It bad been a conversation. throughout the whole of theharrack-yard ever since Sunday. The Dispatch was shown to me along with other people; no one could make out how it was. Various people *ere suggested,—one man in particular, and everybody believed it was him but myself. Illy opinion is, that when a man will write on one subject in a-paper, he will write en another ; and I fixed on private Somerville as the writer, having then in my possession, *my room, a manuscript piece of poetry, which I sent up that evening, as-any one was challenged in the Dispatch to see the letter at the Dispatch office. L sent it up to kit! ArthurHill, and said, 'Will you do me the favour to compare this with the letter y have challenged the public to see.' I got no answer to my letter on Tuesday. We were still in doubt as to the writer, until the man confessed that lie had written the 3etfer in my rooin. I had not received: Lord Arthur Hill's letter, which rather sur- prised me, for there was time for it, and I was in doubt up to that time. My idea was, that it was too well written for a soldier. One part I thought might have been written liy a-soldier, the rest I said could not have been written by a soldier. That was the Med remark I made."
Had you known of Somerville's-writing in the papers before this period?"—" No, Zhave no reason to think so." "What do you mean by the remark that you thought a man who would write one Alltbig in a paper would write another? "—" My idea was, that the soldier would be to correspond with the papers."
"You mentioned,mentioned pieces of poetry? "—"They were a few lines of poetry ; and I thought if the handwriting of Somerville was in the office, the comparison might be Ziade."
"Did you, in commenting on the letter in the Dispatdt, apply to it the epithets sesii- lins. and treasonable,.or either of them, and which. "—"No; I used the word 'libel,' zed, I think, afterwards in the school, when I spoke to the men." "For any thing you could say, you might have used the words 'seditious' and" tree- memble,' or either of them? " —" No ; I think I said, 'libel upon the whole regiment.' lithad been commented on throughout the yard, and a great deal of vexation caused by * letter ; the ton u was in a state of confusion; the barrack-yard gates kept con- stantly shut; we were spoken of as Unionists ; one report was, that I was dismissed; that the commander was coming down; and- that at one place they had nearly pulled Ailla out of his carriage. Altogether I Was elicited, and I believe every man Lithe Mgt"-
Was made the scene of an outrage such as has not been committed in meet was excited. banners we e flying and drums beating; the gates of the barraelis
were locked; cud what with ther gates being locked, and the other circumstances that , Inn; written." one cannot 'be surprised at there being angry feeling about the letter being and it unfortunately happened, that whilst the company were enjoying , "Afte'r Somerville as lakek,redsoN/ndiri,d taken away, do you recollect addressing the men thereassemble.d? "Will you state to what effect ?4—" It is so long,asnihycea,ntalitaathIetcaaannoet recollect, but ef this cause has been so often celebrated in every corner of the countr last to mentionto son relating to us all.' I think I said,.'10iveelcioltil A disposition to riot was consequently soon manifested by the populace': :Lnell.: the letter in the Weekly Dispatch.' II think think innkk Ii. said,' iedn, t ' olna to it and in the evening, when the carriages of some of the neighbouring happy for it, because t3;',..o!laum cannot fall on any other person.' b say. 'I regret it very much, nd I am sorry to see any body write in the newspapers or gentlemen were passing through the town, they were assaulted withmud ppuunblisishtda.libell on the regiment, and particularly so young a soldier as the man just and stones, in the most outrageous manner. The carriage of Mr. Bruce parTiteilli,laitiis not a sold ier's duty to meddle with politics or to write in the of Langlee,.was literally broken to pieces by the violence of the mob; papers, and who can a aannelsknows well our sentiments.' I , think I said, • I deny tficafameta;nh1.11:' know says rt.
and his lady, who was sitting in it along with him, narrowly escaped :ianae‘ntstiolaftaitiollutegiment
ten he has never heti, with above half?' I then went :Mtn severe injury from a large stone which was thrown through the window, : jeinnitoonsonantlAeosuurbleet.of the state or the regiment, as much had been said about P-onlitrireiatl and grazed her head. The two carriages which preceded it, with the liaid and nwrote back in return that you would ever find the Greys steaadvymaitto l'isremd, them; c ladies and gentlemen who sat in them, met with similar treatment; and d Tremember bringing back to their re- collection, two winters ago, when I had them in London, when we were up three nights In the riding-school, I brought to their recollection a circumstance that was asked me there, and I said the Greys would ever be firm and do their duty. I then closed the thing by saying I related these circumstances from the situation of the town, as I lind Iseown the regiment twenty years, been brought up with them, and had been very little away from them, certainly not for the last three years ; that I knew every man's senti- ments, or nearly so, in the regiment ; and I knew they would always act the part of good soldiers. I think that was all that I said."
" Was that all that passed that was material ?"—" That was all that passed, I think.. as far as I can recollect."
" Did you make any allusion to the offence of which private Somerville had been con- victed ?"—" None, I did not think it necessary ; I think I said the person who had been punished."
The cross-examination by Somerville and Mr. Grant comprehends pertinent. The questions of the Judge-Advocate are put in to enable the Major to explain himself more satisfactorily to the Court; Mr. Grant acts throughout as counsel for the accused party.
" What induced you to connect in any way the writing of the letter in the Dispatch with the offence I had committed in the riding-school ?"—" I did not connect it." " How came you to mention the letter in the Dispatch when was brought before you on a charge of disobedience of orders ?"—" I found the paper was. on my table, and I thought it a very good opportunity to ask the man whether he was the writer of the letter. I wished to get the matter explained."
" Did you conceive the writing of the letter to be a military offence ?"—" I did not consider it a military offence, but I considered it a libel on the regiment." " If you did not consider it a military offence, what reason, as a military officer, could. you have for taking notice ofit at all?' —" To satisfy the officers and soldiers." " Had either officers or soldiers complained to you about the contents of the letter?" —"Not complained. but there had been some conversation about the letter." " Was it by the officers, or did you hear any complaint from the soldiers?"—" With the soldiers I had no communication; what I cenceiveil the officers knew. the soldiem knew ; it came to my knowledge from having seen the paper in which it was writ ten." " Did the officers with whom you conversed on the subject approve or disapprove of the letter ?"—" Disapprove very much." " Were those officers who so much disapproved of the letter the officers who formed the Court-Martial that tried Somerville, or any or them ?"—" I am not aware; they might have been."
" Were there any other officers at the quarters than those who formed the Court-Mar- tie). and its assistants ?"—'• Yes, there were." What other officers were there at the quarters?"—" One or two." " Will you name them ?"—" Cornet Stewart."
" ere there not some of the staff?"—" Yes : Paymaster Crawford, Surgeon Emsley,. Quarter-master Perry. Lieutenant Surgeon Watts, and Adjutant Ricketts.' " Had you conversation with all or any of the persons you have named on the subject of the letter in the Dispatch im —" It was the subject of general conversation in the mess-room ; I did not converse with any of them individually."
By the Judge-Advocate—" Do you mean to say that there was a general conversa- tion on the subject in the mess-room, but that you did not converse with the officers in- dividually ?"—"Xes, it was a general conversation through the regiment." By private Somerville—" Do you mean to say that the subject of the letter was mat- ter of general conversation with the officers previous to the offence which I committed in the riding-school ?"—" Certainly." " When did you first suspect Somerville to be the author of the letter ?"—" On Sunday afternoon, when the paper was put into.my bands."
" When-did you first communicate to any other person that suspicion ?"—" I am not aware that I communicated it to any body. I sent off a letter that night with the scrap of poetry I mentioned."
" In file general conversation which took place about the contents of the letter amongst the officers, was not my name mentioned as the probable author ?"—" No, L do not think it was; he was not the man suspected at the time." "Did you not mention it yourself?"—" No, not that I am aware of." By the Judge-Advocate—" Was the other person suspected a member of the regi- ment? "—" He was."
"Do you recollect the name of the other person suspected ? "—" do." all the material points. The questions of the former are exceedingly "Do you recollect the name of the other person suspected ? "—" do." By private Somerville—" Had you never heard me mentioned as the author, or said. I was the author, before you questioned. me about it on the 29th of May last ? "—" I am not aware of it ; I think so." What induced you to ask me if I was the author of the letter on the 29th of May for the first time?"—" Because I thought it was a fit opportunity, his being in ray room." "Did you yourself approve or disapprove of the contents or the letter alluded to ?"- —"Disapprove very much."
" Do you believe that asoldier has norightto hold or to express any political opinions?"' —" He may hold any, but I think he ought not to express them, certainly not in the- way as he did in the newspaper."
"Is it your-opinion, then, that a soldier has no right to express a political opinion?" —"Not publicly in the newspapers." "If a soldier. has, in your opinion, a right to hold or to express a political opinion,. does it not follow that he has a right to express it in any way or manner be pleases ?" —"I think so, except in the wny I saw it in the newspaper ; do not think how I could. well prevent a soldier. doing that." "Then, though. you disapprove of the opinions. r expressed in the letter alluded to, and of the medium through which they were conveyed, can youpoint out any authority by which you could legitimately censure them?"—" I censured what 'saw; because it seemed . to me a libel, unbecoming a soldier to relate such a history." "Are you aware that persons publishing libels are responsihkOto the cite tribunalst of the country?"—" I should suppose they were." "Then what indneed'you, when I Was in custody on a charge of militarydisobedience, to advert in such strong-terms to au offence which could only be legally-noticedby- a. civil tribunal ?"—"To-satisfy the regiment who wasthe vrriterof the letter." By the Judge-AcIvocate—" That was your reason for asking him if he was the author of the letter, but you were asked what induced.you to take that opportunity of express- ing such strong disapprobation of the letter?"—" From the man being than in my room."' By private Somerville—" Did you give the-orders for the-Court-Martial and the half-. pastiour &clock parade at the same time?"—" I gave thesrdersforthe parade when I was getting into the carriage, and.for. the Court-Martial in my room; I should think rt quarter of an hour or twenty minutes before."
"Were both-the ordersgiven within-a quarterof an hour oVeach otiter?"—"OrtwcutY minutes."
wore the orders given-to Adjutant Rickette?"—" Yee; bath. orders were. givegi to- thee Adjutant."
"Were they given at the same interview with that gentleman ?"—"No."
"Where did you meet Adjutant Ricketts after giving the orders for the Court-Mar- tial, when you. gave him directions for the afternoon parade?"—" I met him in the pas, sage, or on the steps of the door, as I was-going out."
"Had Adjutant Ricketts left the vicinity of your room before he reeelvedbottord&,#?". —"Ishonld think he had, for I found him in the passage."
By the Judge-Admeate—" Hattie bear either In the roommornitsr-aboist W.:di:that time?"—" I should think not. certainly."-
"Was your meeting withliim on the steps, or aceidelitair—"
"-If you hadasot met him, to Whom wetild giten tkorditeetionibt. the-after. • .noon patader—" I should bawi v1.2**,11410
'" Should you have delayed getting into the catiiagc till you had sent for him ?"—" I
Ey private Somerville—" If you had not met the Adjutant accidentally, would you have given any orders at all for the quarter past four parade?"—" I think I should have Waited. till I had seen him." Were you in any expectation that he would call on you after you had given the order for the Court-Martial?"—" I lost sight of him ; I did not expect to see him again." By the Judge-Advocate-7" The question is, whether, as you had .given him the one order to convene the Court-Martial, you expected him to come back if you had further orders to give?"—" I expected to see him again before I left." "Do you mean that he would come to see you, or that you would make a point of seeing him ?"—" That I would make a point of seeing him."
By private Somerville—" Did you direct the Adjutant to see that I was duly apprized of the Court-Martial, and properly provided with any defence I might have to make ?" —"I did not see him on the subject ; it depended on the orders I gave him to convene the court-Martial; it would be a matter of course in the Adjutant to do so."
"Is it usual in the regiment to hold regimental courts-martial at so short a notice ?" —"Yes ; it happens constantly." "Can you recollect any recent instance in which a court-martial was convened in so short a period, before the Court-Martial which tried Somoville ?"—" I cannot." "After the punishment, what induced you to advert again to the subject of the letter, when you addressed the men ?"—" To convince the men who the person was who wrote the letter." By the Judge-Advocate—" Why did you take that opportunity?"—" Because the men were all present. I could not take a better."
Br private Somerville—" Did it not appear, by your addressing me on the subject of time letter before I was tried and punished for another offence, and your-again making the letter the subject of your comment afterwards, that writing the letter was-to be con- sidered a part of my offence?"—" Certainly not."
"Wilt you state to the Court any reason why you should, on either two occasions, have so coupled the fact of my having written the letter with the offence for which I was punished ?"—" I did not couple the fact in the room."
The Times remarks, and the Globe echoes the sentiment, "that there had never occurred a legal proceeding either civil or military, in any age or country, which evinced more strikingly the influence of the public press, and the benefits of legislative interference, in protecting the weak against the powelful, or in procuring redress to the oppressed against the oppressor, than the inquiry into the conduct of Major Wyndham, at the instance of the private Somerville." We confess that nothing in the ease has struck us more forcibly than the entire contentment with which the Times and Globe seem disposed to view it. The simple- mindedness of the leading Morning and Evening journals is quite de- lightful. We folks of the press are looked upon for the most part as a carping, dissatisfied race; but let no man in future attempt to fix so false an imputation upon us, after such a specimen of the charity that thinketh no evil. Private Somerville received a cruel and degrading punishment, fit only to be inflicted on the most abandoned criminals for the most infamous crimes. He complained to the Press, that he had been punished, not for the crime because of which he was tried, but for his political opinions. The Press believed his statement, and called for investigation. His complaint has been substantiated, as to its es- sentials. There are not, we believe, two men in England whom the investigation has not convinced that his complaint was well-founded. Major Wyndham, the person complained of, has been honourably ac- quitted by his fellow-officers, and has been honoured with the congratu- lations of his Sovereign on his acquittal. He stands at this moment higher, with all whom it is his interest to stand high, than he did before the inquiry commenced. Private Somerville has got his punishment, and, fin- payment of the customary sum, he has been .allowed to get his discharge. He quits the service, a degraded man, without compensa- tion, without justification. And this is what the Times calls "protect- ing the weak against the powerful, and procuring redress for the op- pressed against the oppressor ! " Such are the triumphs of the Press ! Most mighty, puissant, and illustrious chroniclers—of small beer !
The Standard, noticing the discharge of Somerville, gives the fol- lowing memorandum, by which it was accompanied- " Lord Hill makes Somerville an exception to the regulation which limits the grant of discharge to the well-conducted soldier, from a wish to rid the _Army of a man whose habits and principles are calculated to foment dissatisfaction in its ranks."
Our contemporary remarks, that this sets the character of Somer- ville in its true light. We think it sets the character of Lord Hill in its true light also. His "habits and principles" have been complained of quite as much as those of the poor man, whom he cannot dismiss without a pitiful attempt to add insult to injustice; • and we are much deceived if he do not in a few months receive his discharge from the office he holds, with the same recommendation from the People of Eng- land that he gives to Major Wyndham's victim.