31 OCTOBER 1840, Page 11


Tun proceedings and ,sentence of the Court martial on Captain Rev:iambs afford an instructive illustration of the manner in which justice is administered and discipline enforced in the British Army. It might be made an irresistible argument for inquiry into the condition and organization of the Army with a view to place it on a better footing. But the opportunity will be lost. Sir WIL- LIAM MOLESWORTII OF some other independent Member may move in the House of Commons next session; but indolence and private solicitations will render the bulk of that Honourable House imper- vious to argtunent, unless the mover be backed by an unequivocal expression of public feeling. Of this we see at present little prospect.

The public at large is indulging in its favourite amusement—a fit of enthusiasm. It is hissing Lord CARDIGAN Ma of the theatre, and giving three cheers for Captain REYNOLDS. ThiS IS so fin' good as it shows a healthy state of public sentiment—a love of fair pins- amid a hatred of oppression. But what good will it do ? Will it take from the horse Guards and high-grade officers the power ot wantonly outraging the feelings of' subordinates, and of denying theiii justice? Will it furnish subordinates with the means of obtaining fair play in future ? Again, are these hootings and plaudits cre- ditable to the titterers of' them, so long as the matter ends there ? Such noisy ebullitions of teehng are indulged in by many for the mere pleasure of exercising their most sweet voices ; by the rest with a self-lauding reflection, How good we are to feel these sym- pathies and antipathies ! Unless our " sympathizers" exert them- selves, as far as in them lies, to procure equal-handed justice in the present case and security for its impartial distribution in time coming, they are merely indulging themselves with en agreeable sensation—practising A kind of refined selfishness. Nor can we compliment the press so far as to say that it has evinced more judgment in its manlier of treating this question than the general public. The sllin'aing. Chriatiele, along with the majo- rity of the journals, is railing at Lords HILL and CAR DIG A N, and puffing subscriptions and demonstrations in favour of Cap- tain REYNOLDS. The Times, on the other hand, admitting that Captain REYNOLDS has been harshly dealt with, argues that Lord CARDIGAN ought to be allowed "the opportunitiof relieving the regiment of his presence by a quasi voluntary act,"—in other words, that justice ought to be doiee. but to be done quietly. We dissent front both parties, and for the Tolloning reasons. In the first place, as to the Morning. Chronicle's plan—(we refer to the journal merely as the shortest way of denoting the class of opinions it represents)--;We think public " demonstrations" I II fitvour of Captain Resosotais sheer humbug, and calculated to do harm. What in the proceedings of the Court-martial was cal-

culated to excite indignation was, first, the stepping of the ac- cused's evidence in 'extenuation ; second, the browbeating given in the "General Orders" to his witnesses to character. These two

acts were part of a system, deliberately acted upon by the Horse Guards, tending to perpetuate injustice in the Army, and by

justifying feelings of insubordination (we hope civilians may ven- (ure to use such language) to destroy discipline. Injustice

has been perpetrated in the CARDIGAN case bv this system—to look no further. Captain REYNOLDS, the minor offender, has been

disproportionately punished ; and Lord (7 %Rim:AN, the greater offender, escapes with an oblique or implied reprimand. Captain IlErNotns is entitled so far to sympathy and to assistance in any efforts be may make to obtain redress ; but it does not necessarily follow that he is entitled to the apotheosis of a martyr. Did

Captain REYNOLDS try any legitimate way of obtaining redress before he wrote his. second letter? IS that letter one which under any circumstances a very high-minded, iustly-feeling man could have written ? We do not speak of the bitterness of the letter— we could tolerate even more of that quality—but or the kind of taunts used by Captain B isysoLns as indicating his habitual character a thought and sentiment. The sneer at Lord CAW- -1)163.N regarding the Canterbury transaction is bad, considering that Captain REYNOL»ti himself was one of the officers screened Oil that occasion by Lord CARDIGAN. It is worse %%hen we con- sider that it proves Captain RevNotns to participate in the feelings towards untitled civilians for which Lord CARDIGAN was on that occasion so justly blamed. Captain --EYNOLDS, like every man, is entitled to fair play , but lie is not exactly the man to make -a public idol of. Besides. we so fir agree with the Times, that we think were he the very ideal of a hero, this is net the way to insure justice to all--that is, to adjust the counterpoising claims 'of general discipline and individual rights. Now as to the Times. That jaurnal is of opinion that " Lord hill has vindicated himself from the charge of partiality, by sternly and publicly reptimanding Lord Cardigan at the head of his regiment, and has, in language not to be mistaken, advised him to restore unanimity to that regiment by voluntary retirement from the service" ; that " more satisfactory testi- mony than that actually borne to the general conduct and cha- racter of Captain Rey-tiohls it would be impossible to conceive; :111;1 we therethre take it Ibr granted, that who) the present excite- ment has passed over, that evidence will have its weight "; and that " to bring the Lieutenant-Colonel of Prince Albert's Hussars to a Court-martial, and to expose to the public eye many more chapters of the ltrint lamentable history which has recently filled our own col MIDIS and those of' our contc:Mporaries, is surely no de- sirable mattet."—Fnim this whole bode. of doctrine ae dissent, as • radically unsound. Lord HILL has not vind.cated himself from the charge of partiality. I le has confirmed the Court-martial's denial of justice by refusing to hear evidence in extenuation , he has deprived the less platy pirtc of a valuable pecuniary interest, and of what must be nnwe valuable in Cepetie REYNOLDS'S eyes, his proper statua in society ; and he has only given the more guilty party a Ii bit to resign, which may or !Day not be taken at as the in- dividual in gm: slim,. is more or less thin-skinned. Then as to the hint that if Captain IlLy sores wait till the present excitement sub- sides lie may be reinstated, it is to be remarked, that either Captain REYNOLDS has received justice, or he has not : in the tormer case, there is nothing more to be said—in the latter, he ought to be righted. Reinstating him as a favour, is tantamount to a (leclaration that he has suffered no Wrong. This mode of proccialisa ii ould be unfais even lel regarded himself; it is Ii cilleulably mischievous as forming

a precedent in conformity to which the whole Army will in thture be governed. Lestly, the " imp/ era cf the paragraph, beg-

. ging that the public will " no ensiles seek the merits to dit,clo-e" of ! the iii ('CS ilMO Which " Prince Albert's Own" has been brought, is inadmissible. Either Lord CA I: I 16 A Nii a sit t tAl rightly, or he has acted wrongly : it' rightly, let him keep his command--if not, let

hint be displaced. Forcing hi iii by underhand mesns to resign, is adopting a course more likely to promote injustice than justice. Let the smile mensure, not that has been dealt to the subordi-

nate, but that is asked for him. lie dealt to the commander. The

regiment is declared by the highest authority in the Army nct to he ha a condition to face the enemy : let inquiry be nesie as to who is in

limit, and punish the guilty. Nething short of t i can be of any avail. Had Lord HILL, or :my odiet of our virtually irresponsible

Bureaucrats been pleading Iiis n cause, he could hax e painted

in more glowing colours thsil i rho sIi dela, the sueerior eligibility of hugger-mugger mei Ill;.11.% cring, plain, straight- fbrward, public, even-handed justice. Finally, the question, as colic Tiis the public, is not whet loss Lord CA iii 11..% x tIlld Captain REYNOLDS Ii at or have not met 55 ith

their deserts ; but whether the British Army is to be kept in an effective couititien, by being organized in such a manner as to afford to all—high- grade and low-grade, min-commissioned offi- cer and private--a guarantee for equal justice.