18 SEPTEMBER 1880, Page 2

After a trial of twenty-six days before a court-martial, Ser-

jeant Marshman has been acquitted of the charge of taking bribes to falsify the markings at Wimbledon. The length of the trial, which is due to the antiquated mode of procedure still maintained in Military Courts, is preposterous, and has excited the Times to a singular suggestion. Why not abolish courts- martial, except upon active service, and send up an accused soldier to be tried magistrates or by regular Courts ? They could carry out military law, and they already try soldiers for serious offences, such as murder, oven when the victims are soldiers also. The suggestion is plausible, but three objections at least would be very strongly felt in the Army. Ordinary juries could not be trusted to perceive the necessity of discipline, or to reject, as court-martinis must reject, provocation as ex- tenuating mutiny. Their verdicts would not be quite sufficiently alike to keep up the steady terror which, disguise it as we like, is the basis of discipline to-day, as in the Roman time. And lastly, the authority of officers, always so difficult to maintain in a country like this, might receive a very dangerous shock, every trial being in some degree an appeal from them to civil opinion. The suggestion may, however, be commended to the Military Departments, as indicating what may happen, if they cannot im- prove their ridiculous procedure. What is the object of trying

a-soldier by a sort of Chancery procedure, with everything in writing ?