9 APRIL 1836, Page 11



WHATEVER may be thought of the intrinsic importance of the question—whatever difference of opinion as to the expediency of abolishing the practice of military flogging may be entertained— no sme cite deny that it is a subj, cr on which the public feel intensely. Virliether their determination be wise or foolish, prudent or dangerous, the People of England are resolved that soldiers awl sailors shall no longer be liable to the torture of the lash. Military martinets may as wea make up their minds to find a substitot. for their favourite punishment, the power to inflict which mill assuredly soon be taken from them. The That's arl the ('wirier have displayed much ability anti perseverance in exposing the mistakes and ignorance of the witnesses whose evidence has been published by the Military Commission : iii fact, those two journals have exhausted the subject, awl rendered the greater part of what we intended to suggest, a work of supererogation. It is manifest, that many if not most of the officers examined by the partial Commission, are justly liable to the censure which Lord WILLIAM BENTINCK pronounced, when in India, on " ninety-nine hundred parts of the officers of the British army "— " They do not even stop for a moment to consider the practicability of an adequate substitute. With them all, corporal punishment is the sine qua non, without which the discipline of the army cannot be maintained. An insuperable terror appears to reign over the imaginations of all ; and, like the .native superstition, which sees in some charm or amulet the only protection against all evils that can afflict the body or haunt the mind, so corporal punishment is venerated as the Note security against every military distemper, and as the sole guarantee for the efficiency and good regulation of the army. I denounce this opinion as prejudice, and nothing else but prejudice. It is opposed to reason; it is injurious to those feelings of the most importance for us to cultivate among our native soldiery— satisfaction with their condition, and allegiance to the state ; it mare the composition of the army, and excludes from it the yer highest sense of conduct and of courage, which will be our best stay when real danger assails our empire; and it is as cruel as his unnecessary." The advocates of flogging—on whom lay the onus—have made out no case : a sportsman would not whip a pointer on such incon

clusive evidence. But even if the arguments in favour of the

practice were a hundred times stronger than those which have been adduced, so strong and universal is the feeling against it,

that its abolition must be conceded. The moral sense of the country revolts against the cruelty. Had the Duke of WELLINGTON and Sir HENRY HARDINGE the tongues of angels, they never could persuade their non-military fellow countrymen to think with out horror of a punishment which strong men often faint but to witness, and which, according to high medical testimony quoted by

the Courier, "produces a series of lacerated wounds of the worst

character, never healing without suppuration, and often terminating in mortification, locked jaw, and death." Engishmen do not consider soldiers beyond the pale of humanity ; and now that their attention has been fixed upon the subject, they will make their Representatives in Parliament understand that the tenure of their seats very much depends upon their votes on this question. We firmly be lieve that, at the next election, the Member who votes against the Irish Municipal Bill, the Irish Church Bill, and other important

measures, but for the abolition of Flogging, will stand a better chance of his return than his opponent, who may have supported the Liberal Ministry throughout the session, but disregarded public opinion by voting against Major FANCOURT on Wednesday next.

The argument by which it will be sought to defend the present system of military punishment, in the Commons debate, must be the same as that adduced by the Duke of WELLINGTON and others before the Commission. The lower ranks of the British army, it will be said, are composed of the offscourings of society, insensible to any thing but the dread of corporal suffering: and the reason why it is made up of such materials, is the hardship of the service in the Colonies, where the chief part of our army is always stationed. Now mark the connexion of one enormous abuse with another. Our system of government is Such that we are compelled to garrison our Colonies with European soldiers. We cannot trust the inhabitants of our foreign dependencies to provide for their own defence, for that would be equivalent to a permission to revolt : so we are forced to employ a description of troops who can only be kept in a state of discipline by the dread of almost intolerable punishment. But even supposing that we could rely on the affection and fidelity of the Colonies, the aristocratical system on which the government at home is administered, requires that a large army should be kept up in order to provide appointments and revenues for the scions of noble houses. The pretence for keeping up this army is the necessity of defending our Colonies. -Here we see the connexion of military torture with misgovernment at home and abroad; and by compelling Parliament to abolish flogging, we do in fact gain a step toe ards important reforms in our civil institutions, colonial and domestic.

The success of Major FANCOURT'S motion on Wednesday would be the prelude to an amelioration of our whole military system : and it would be difficult, notwithstanding the boasting of certain Generals and Colonels, to point out any of our civil institutions which so imperiously require amendment as the Army. From the Horse Guards to the barrack-canteen, from the Commanderin-Chief to the youngest drummer, all needs reform. There is a want of public responsibility on the part of the military chieftains, which is most unsatisfactory, and pregnant with mischief. Lord HILL is practically independent of all control, except that of the King; whose right to communicate with theCommander-in-Chief, and regulate the disbursements of several millions annually, and make most lucrative and important appointments,without consultation with his Ministers, and even in opposition to their wishes, is hardly denied. This dangerous anomaly in the British constitu tionunknown anciently, for colonies and large standing armies are modern—cannot be permitted toexist much longer. The whole military system of the country must be put on a new footing. Proceeding downward from the Commander-in-Chief, we shall find enough to reform, in the practice of obtaining promotion by favouritism and purchase, in the employment of the soldiery, and the rewards and punishments adopted for their encouragement and correction. This brings us round again to the subject of Major F'Aiscoulifs motion : let it be carried, and valuable progress will have been made towards improvements which at first appear to be unconnected with it.