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terrible examples, I know, from my acquaintance with the sufferers themselves, that the expectation is vain. One of two results always follows—the victim either lives on, a lone, dark-minded, broken-spirited man, despising himself, and hating every one, because he thinks every one hates him; or he lives with one fearful, unyielding purpose, a purpose on which he feeds and nourishes his galled mind, as food affords life and energy to his physical constitution. That purpose is REVENGE. I have heard them swear—and the wild flashing eye, the darkly frowning brow, told how firm was the intent—that if ever they should be in battle, they would shoot their officers. I have seen them rejoice over the misfortunes of their persecutors, but more especially at their death. That it has frequently led to mutiny, is well verified. I have known such severity to result in actual murder. While we lay at Lisbon, a sergeant of marines, on board a seventy-four, made himself obnoxious by repeated aets of tyranny. Two marines determined upon his death. One night, unperceived by any, they seized him, hurried him to the gangway, and pitched him overboard. The tide was running strong; and the man was drowned! But for themselves, his fate would have remained a secret until the day of judgment; it was discovered by an officer, who accidentally overheard them congratulating each other on their achievement. He betrayed them. A court-martial sentenced them. They were placed on deck with halters on their necks. Two guns were fired; and when the smoke cleared away, two men were seen dangling from the fore-yard-arm.
“The case of our ship's drummer will illustrate the hopelessness of our situation. Being seized up for some petty offence, he demanded, what no captain can refuse, to be tried by a court-martial, in the hope, probably, of escaping altogether. The officers laughed among each other; and when, a few days afterwards, the poor, affrighted man offered to withdraw the demand, and take six dozen lashes, they coolly remarked, “The drummer is sick of his bargain. He would have been a wiser man, had he never made it; for the court-martial sentenced him to receive two hundred lashes through the fleet-a punishment ostensibly for his first offence, but really for his insolence (?) in demanding a trial by court-martial. Such was the administration of justice (?) on board the Macedonian."
The men on board a man-of-war are continually exposed to such treatment. “ With my return to active service after my sickness,” says Leech, “came my exposure to hardships, and, what
dreaded still more, to punishment. ome of the boys were to be punished on the main deck; the rest were ordered forward to witness it, as usual. Being so far aft that I could not hear the summons, I remained, as a matter of course, at my post. The hawk-eye of the lieutenant missed me, and in a rage he ordered me to be sent for to receive a flogging for my absence. Excuse was in vain; for such was the fiendish temper of this brutal officer, he only wanted the shadow of a reason for dragging the poor helpless boys of his charge to the grating. While I stood in trembling expectation of being degraded by the hated cat, a summons from the captain providentially called off our brave boy-flogger, and I escaped. The offence was never mentioned afterwards. The reader can easily perceive how such a constant exposure to the lash must embitter a seaman's life.”
Mark the severity visited upon the slightest offences. “ A midshipman named Gale, a most rascally, unprincipled fellow, found his pocket handkerchief in possession of one of the crew. He charged the man with stealing it. It was in vain that the poor wretch asserted that he found it under his hammock. He was reported as a thief; a court-martial sat upon him, and returned the shamefully disproportionate sentence of three hundred lashes through the feet, and one year's imprisonment! Nor was that sentence a dead letter; the unhappy man endured it to the letter. Fifty were laid on alongside of the Macedonian, in conformity with a common practice of inflicting the most strokes at the first ship, in order that the gory back of the criminal may strike the more terror into the crews of the other ships. This poor tortured man bore two hundred and twenty, and was pronounced by the attending surgeon unfit to receive the rest. Galled, bruised, and agonized as he was, he besought him to suffer the infliction of the remaining eighty, that he might not be called to pass through the degrading scene again; but this prayer was denied! He was brought on board, and when his wounds were healed, the captain, Shylock-like, determined to have the whole pound of flesh, ordered him to receive the remainder!”
“ I have heard,” says the late William Ladd, " the captain of a British man-of-war order one of his men to receive a dozen lashes for having on blue trowsers. Sailors are subject every moment of their lives, not only to a torrent of imprecations and curses, but to the boatswain's cat-o'-nine-tails. The least complaint brings them to the gangway; and not unfrequently is a sailor sentenced to receive five hundred and even a thousand lashes, to be inflicted day after day as he may be able to bear them. He is attended at each whipping by a surgeon to determine how much he can bear without immediate danger to life ; and often does the flagellation proceed till the victim faints, and then he is respited to renew his sufferings another day. This account I had from a British surgeon. I have often shuddered at the recital of the whippings through the fleet, the keel-hauling, the spread eagle, the gagging, the hand-cuffing, and other punishments inflicted on sailors who have been trepanned or forced into a service from which death is the only release."*
Nor is the punishment of soldiers much less revolting. “One day,” says the same writer, “I was on parade when preparation was making for a kind of punishment called the gauntlet. All the soldiers of the regiment were placed in two ranks facing each
* Essays on Peace and War, No. 22
other, and about five feet apart. To each soldier was given a stick three feet long, or more. I could not bear to stay and witness the execution; but I was afterwards informed that the culprit, stripped naked to his waist, and his hands tied before him, was marched between the ranks, preceded by a soldier walking backwards with a bayonet at the sufferer's breast, to keep him from going too fast. In this' way he was struck once by every soldier, officers going down on the outside of the ranks to see that each man did his duty! and, if any one was merely suspected of not laying on hard enough, he received over his own head a blow from the officer's
Sometimes the criminal has to retrace his steps; and, as a regiment consists of six hundred or a thousand men, and some German regiments of two thousand, he must receive from twelve hundred to two or even four thousand blows! The punishment often proves fatal ; and to such a pitch of despair were those soldiers carried by their sufferings, that many of them committed suicide ; and one poor fellow shot himself near my lodgings.”
“ Flogging is certainly a tremendous punishment. The delinquent is stripped to the waist, tied up by his hands, and then flogged with a whip having nine lashes, with three knots each, so that each stroke makes twenty-seven wounds; if a capital sentence is awarded, he receives nine hundred and ninety-nine of these stripes ; and, at every twenty-five strokes, the drummer, who inflicts them, is changed, in order to insure a more energetic enforcement of the penalty. This punishment occurs very frequently in the English army, drunkenness and other acts of insubordination being often punished with from one to two hundred lashes."*
“ One wintry morn," says another eye-witness, t " when the bleak wind whistled along the ranks of a regiment paraded to see corporal punishment inflicted, every eye was turned in pity towards the delinquent”_his offence was drunkenness
6 until the commanding officer, with stentorian lungs, cried out, “Strip, sir.' The morning was so bitterly cold, that the mere exposure of a man's naked body was itself a severe punishment. When the offender was tied, or rather hung, up by the hands, his back, from intense cold and previous flogging, exhibited a complete blackand-blue appearance. On the first lash, the blood spirted out several yards; and, after he had received fifty, his back from the neck to the waist, was one continued stream of blood. When taken down, he staggered, and fell to the ground. The poor man never looked up again; his prospects as a soldier were utterly destroyed; and so keenly did his degradation prey upon his spirits, that he at length shot himself in his barrack-room." I will now give a specimen from our own country.
A surgeon, stationed during the war of 1812–14 at Greenbush, N. Y., says, “One morning several prisoners confined in the provost guardhouse, were brought out to hear their sentences. Some wore the
* The testimony of a warrior, quoted in the Harbinger of Peace, vol. i., p. 281
+ Ib., p. 279.
marks of long confinement, and upon all had the severity of the prison house stamped its impression. They looked dejected at this public exposure, and anxious to learn their fate. I had never seen the face of any of them before, and only knew that a single one had been adjudged to death. Soon as their names were called, and their sentences announced, I discerned, by his agony and gestures, the miserable man on whom that sentence was to fall- a man in the bloom of youth, and the fulness of health and vigor. “ Prompted by feelings of sympathy, I called next morning
to see him in his prison. There, chained by his leg to the beam of the guard-house, he was reading the Bible, trying to prepare himself, as he said, for the fatal hour. I learned from him the circumstances of his case. He was the father of a family, having a wife and three young children, thirty or forty miles distant from the camp. His crime was desertion; and his only object, he declared, was to visit his wife and children. Having seen that all was well with them, it was his intention to return. But, whatever his intention, he was a deserter, and, as such, taken and brought into the camp, manacled. The time between the sentence and its execution was brief; the authority in whom alone was vested the power of reprieve or pardon, distant. Thus he had no hope, and requested only the attendance of a minister of the gospel, and permission to see his wife and children. The first part of the request was granted; but whether he was permitted or not to see his family, I do not now remember.
“Dreading the hour of his execution, I resolved, if possible, to avoid being present at the scene. But the commander sent me an express order to attend, that I might, in my official capacity of surgeon, see the sentence fully executed. The poor fellow was taken from the guard-house, to be escorted to the fatal spot. Before him was his coffin-a bo of rough pine boards-borne on the shoulders of two men. The prisoner stood, with his arms pinioned, between two clergymėn. A white cotton gown, or winding sheet, reached to his feet. It was trimmed with black, and had attached to it, over his heart, the black image of a heartthe mark at which the executioners were to aim. On his head was a cap of white, also trimmed with black. His countenance was blanched to the hue of his winding sheet, and his frame trembled with agony. Our procession formed, we moved forward with slow and measured steps to the tune of a death march, (Roslin Castle,) played with muffled drums, and mourning fifes. The scene was solemn beyond the power of description; a man in the vigor of life walking to his grave—to the tune of his own death march—clothed in his burial robes-surrounded, not by friends assembled to perform the last sad offices of affection, and to weep over him in the last sad hour, but by soldiers with bristling bayonets and loaded muskets, urged by stern command to do the violence of death to a fellow soldier. Amid reflections like these, we arrived at the place of execution, a large open field, in whose centre a heap of earth, freshly thrown up, marked the spot of the deserter's grave. On this field the whole force then at the candiers;
tonment was drawn up in the form of a hollow square, with the side beyond the grave vacant. The executioners, eight in number, had been drawn by lot. No soldier would volunteer for such a duty. Their muskets had been charged by the officer of the day, seven of them with ball, the eighth with powder alone. Thus each may believe that he has the blank cartridge, and therefore has no hand in the death of his brother soldier-striking indications of the nature of the service.
“ The coffin was placed parallel with the grave, and about two feet distant. In the intervening space, the prisoner was directed to stand. He desired permission to say a word to his fellow sol
and thus standing between his coffin and his grave, he warned them against desertion, continuing to speak until the officer on duty, with his watch in his hand, announced to him in a low voice, Two o'clock, your last moment is at hand—you must kneel on your coffin. This done, the officer drew down the white cap, so as to cover the eyes and most of the face of the prisoner. The kneeling was the signal for the executioners to advance. They had before, to avoid being distinguished by the prisoner, stood intermingled with the soldiers who formed the line. They now came forward, marching abreast, and took their stand a little to the left, about two rods distant from their living mark. The officer raised his sword. At this signal, the executioners took aim. He then gave a blow on a drum which was at hand; the executioners all fired at the same instant. The miserable man, with a horrid scream, leaped from the earth, and fell between his coffin and his grave. The sergeant of the guard, a moment after, shot him through the head, holding the muzzle so near that his cap took fire; and there the body lay upon the face, the head
emitting the mingled fumes of burning cotton and burning hair. The whole line then marched by the body, as it lay upon the earth, the head still smoking, that every man might behold for himself the fate of a deserter.
“We then started on our return. The whole band struck up, with uncommon animation, our national air, (Yankee Doodle,) and to its lively measures we were hurried back to our parade ground! Having been dismissed, the commander of the post sent an invitation to all the officers to meet at his quarters, whither we repaired, and were treated to a glass of gin and water!!”
I will quote a recent case from England. “On the 29th of June, 1839, the Tower of London and its environs were thrown into great excitement by the flogging of two privates, for insulting noncommissioned officers! One was sentenced to receive one hundred lashes with the cat-oʻ-nine-tails, and the other one hundred and fifty. The time chosen was ten o'clock; the place the most public in the Tower. The first man brought out, was a fine young man, named Jarman, whose crime was insulting his sergeant. He was secured to the halberts by thin cords, which severely cut his flesh; and the dreadful and beastly infliction commenced. He received his punishment without uttering a word or a groan, although the punishment was unusually severe, the drummers being changed. every ten lashes, instead of twenty-five as heretofore, and the cat,