MUTINY ACT was an act of the British parliament passed from year to year, investing the crown with powers to regulate the government of the army and navy, and to frame the articles of war. By the bill of rights, the maiutenance of a standing army in time of peace, unless by consent of parliament, was declared illegal, and from that time the TRIM her of troops to be maintained, and the cost of the different branches of the service, have been regulated by nn annual vote of the house of commons. But parliament possesses a further and very important source of contra] over the army. Soldiers, in time of war or rebellion, being subject to martial law, may be punished for mutiny or desertion; but the occurrence of a mutiny in certain Scotch regiments soon after the revolution, raised the question whether military discipline could be maintained in time of peace; and it was decided by the courts of law, that, in the absence of any statute 'to enforce disci pline and punish military offensee, a soldier was only amenable to the common law of the country: if he deserted, lie was only liable for breach of contract, or If lie struck his officer, to an indictment for assault. The authority of the legislature thus bee:line indis pensable to the maintenance of military discipline, and parliament has, since 1689, at the beginning of every session, conferred this and other powers in ate act called mutiny act, limited in its duration to a year. Although it is greatly changed from the form in which it first passed, 175 years ago, the anneal alterations in this act are now very slight, and substantially it has at fixed form. The preamble starts with the above quoted declaration from the bill of rights, and adds that it is judged necessary by The sovereign and parliament that a force of such a number should be continued, •• for the safety of the United Kingdom, the defense of the possessions of the crown ;" while it gives authority to the sovereign to enact articles of war for the control and government of the force granted. The act comprises 107 clauses of which the first five specify the
persons liable to its provisions—via., all enlisted soldiers or commissioned officers on hill pay, and to those of the regular army, militia, or yeomanry, when employed on active ser vice, and to recruits for the militia while under training. Clauses 6 to 111 treat of martial, their procedure nail powers, Clauses 15 to 28 relate to crimes and their punish ment, the leading offenses being mutiny, desertion, cowardice, treason, insubordinatien, for each of which death may be the penalty; frauds, embezzlement, etc., for which penal servitude is awarded. Clauses 29 to 33 provide for the government of military prisons, and for the reception of soldiers in civil jails, under the sentences of courts.martial. Clauses 34 to 37 enact rules to guide civil magistrates in apprehending deserters or per sons suspected of desertion. Clause 38 refers to furlough; 39 to 41, on the privileges of soldiers, enact that officers may not be sheriffs or mayors; that no person acquitted or convicted by is civil magistrate or jury be tried by court-martial for the same offense; and that soldiers can only be taken out of the service for debts above £20, and for felony or misdemeanor. Clauses 42 to 59 have reference to enlistment (q.v.); 60 to 74 to stoppages, billets, carriages, and ferries, providing for the compulcory conveyance and entertainment of troops by innkeepers. -Clause 75 relates to the discharge of soldiers; and the remaining 23 clauses advert to miscellaneous matters, and the penalties under the act on civil functionaries who neglect to comply with its requirements. By clauses 105 and 106 the militia, yeomanry, and volunteers, may, on emergency, be attached to the regular forces. Clause 107 renders a soldier liable to maintain his wife and children, and his bashird children.