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the competence of the commanding officer, may provided for by have been ordered to forfeit his pay, may insist war; on being tried by a court martial for his offence, instead of submitting to such forfeiture.

Her majesty has also been pleased to direct and by the that “any soldier who, by having been recorded warrant. in the regimental defaulters' book, shall have been adjudged to have been guilty of an offence by which he is to forfeit the whole or a part of his reward for previous good conduct, shall, if he denies the commission of such offence, have the right of appeal to a court martial.” The gravity of the offence here contemplated is explained by the thirteenth paragraph, which strictly enjoins commanding officers of regiments to enter in the regimental defaulters' book the name of every soldier who, in consequence of misconduct, shall have been subjected to any punishment beyond six days' drill or seven days' confinement to barracks. “ The general commanding in chief and the secretary at war have taken the utmost pains in fixing the amount of punishment, which is to constitute a regimental defaulter, so as to draw the line, that while the attainment of the benefits of the warrant may be made more easy to the good soldier, the discipline of the army may at the same time be maintained."'2

(1) Amended good conduct warrant, dated 9th May, 1839.

(2) Circular, dated 12th May, 1839, containing instructions rendered necessary by good conduct warrant of 9th May, Add. Gen. Reg. p. 77.-The former good conduct warrant dated 18th Sept. 1836, which cut off the additional pay for length of service, strictly enjoined the entry in the regimental defaulter book, of “the name of every soldier who, in consequence of any misconduct whatever, shall have been confined in the guardhouse or subjected to any punishment." Lord Hill considers it very desirable that the transfer of soldier's name from the troop or company's defaulter book should be viewed by him as a disgrace of an aggravated character, and as

Redress of wrongs,

of an Officer.

The present hundred and seventieth article of war, which is parallel to the old one referred to in the general regulations of the army,' quoted above, runs thus: “If an officer shall think himself wronged by his colonel, or the commanding officer of the regiment, and shall, upon due application made to him, not receive the redress to which he may consider himself to be entitled, he may complain to the general commanding in chief of our forces, in order to obtain justice, who is hereby required to examine into such complaint ; and, either by himself, or by our secretary at war, to make his report to us thereupon, in order to receive our further directions." The words “not receive the redress to which he may consider himself to be entitled,have superseded those be refused to be redressed ;” the alteration removes the possibility of doubt, as to the right afforded by an officer of complaining to the general commanding in chief, on not receiving satisfactory redress. Before this emendation of the article, it was conceived that a neglect of an application for redress amounted to a virtual refusal, but the degree of neglect justifying a direct address to the general in command being undefined, an officer seeking redress was exposed to the inconvenience which might arise from a

difference of opinion on the subject. Superior Officer

It appears that the general officer commanding power tolalispose in chief has no power authoritatively to dispose of the complaint of an officer who may think himself wronged by a commanding officer, but is required to examine into such complaint, and to make his report, either directly or through the secretary at war, to the queen. The sovereign thus reserves to himself the right of judging on such questions as may affect the feelings of his officers; secures to them that consideration to which, as the bearers of his commission, they are entitled; and fosters that refined and gentlemanly feeling for which, amongst the armies of Europe, they are so distinguished. It is not, however, to be imagined that a general officer is implicitly required, under all circumstances, and without expressing his view of the case, to convey to the throne the complaints of an officer against his superior; even the expression of an opinion, by the intermediate general officer, after due enquiry, is, in most cases, sufficient to render such proceeding unnecessary. The case must be peculiar which would exempt an officer from the imputation of pertinacity, on persisting in the furtherance of an appeal in opposition or disregard to the opinion of the commander in chief. The consciousness in an officer, that he possesses the right of requiring his complaint to be laid at the foot of the throne, may of itself tend to mollify his real or imaginary wrongs, and render him satisfied with minor redress or explanation. It is the custom of the service to forward any complaint through the officer commanding the regiment; nor would an officer be justified in deviating from this course, unless the commanding officer should refuse, or unreasonably delay, to forward it.

entailing the more permanent record of the offence, which from its nature and degree has called, or from the repetition thereof, may call for such notice.” Circular, 24th June, 1830.—This variance between the provisions of the war office and the existing regulations of the army, almost inseparable from the hasty legislation of a civilian, was obviated on the issue of the amended warrant of 1839, by the co-operation of the general commanding in chief.

(1) See page 145.

has no positive

An officer, on addressing himself Channel to he

preferring a complaint.

Redress of wrongs,

of a soldier.

It can

of preferring a complaint.

directly to the general in command, should apprize his commanding officer of the same, and must obviously observe, in the channel of approach to the commander in chief, each gradation which may lead to him, as the general of brigade or division.

The redress of wrongs in a soldier, arising out of the relative connection between a soldier and the commanding officer of his company, has been noticed when speaking of regimental courts martial. The mode of preferring a complaint is well set forth in the form of a soldier's personal account book, first issued by major general sir Henry Hardinge, when secretary at war.

never be too strongly inculcated, that individual Prescribed mode complaints only, in the army, are admissible ;

that the combined complaint of several must be considered factious, and is, in its nature, mutinous; that no complaint can be legitimately preferred to a superior officer, without observing the regular channel of access to him; and that if the person against whom the complaint is grounded, be a link in the chain of approach to the higher authority, he is equally to be resorted to as the channel of communication. If he refuse, or unnecessarily delay, to forward the complaint, or to repair the injury satisfactorily, the more direct path is open to the complainant; but he would act prudently, and do well, to make the intermediate authority acquainted with the adopted measure. There are periodical exceptions to this long established channel for the redress of wrongs of non-commissioned officers and soldiers ; it arises from the question which general officers are required, on their half yearly inspections, to put to regiments,

Exception at half-yearly inspection.

description of charge.

as to whether any soldier has a complaint. It would, however, appear better to accord with the original intention of this question, if the complaints thus brought to the notice of the supreme authority were confined to any claims which soldiers may have to make, rather than to extend it to wrongs of a personal nature. It may be argued, and fairly too, that a soldier has no wrong to redress until he has sought satisfaction in the prescribed channel ; still it must be admitted, that this is not the ordinary interpretation placed on the order; it is usually received in the most unrestricted sense.

“In framing charges the utmost care is to be General taken to render them specific, in names, dates, and places.” The judge advocate general remarked on the trial of colonel Quentin: “It is well known by every body, that in the case of charges brought before a court martial, they are not bound to the technical formalities which prevail in other courts of law; but there is this essential principle in every charge, before any court that can exist in the civilized world, that the charge should be sufficiently specific to enable the person to know what he is to answer, and to enable the court to know what they are called to enquire into.”

Some few observations, therefore, as to the drawing of charges, may not be misplaced; for though it is neither necessary, nor even desirable to copy from the technical formality of courts of law, yet where the observance of certain rules is essential to enable a prisoner to grapple with the charge, they become inseparable from justice, and ought on no account to be disregarded.

(1 Gen. Reg. p. 245. (2) Printed trial, p. 81.

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