Tho Mutiny Act has, with time, varied in many particulars from that which was first Fussed, but it has been uniform in all its principal points; such as the dependence of a standing army on the consent of parliament, and the subjection of military men to all the processes of ordinary law. Instead however of the original formula above mentioned, by which the reason of keeping up a military force was expressed, the Act now asserts that it is judged necessary by the crown and parliament to continue a body of forces (the number being exactly specified) for the safety of the United Kingdom, the defence of the possessions of her Majesty's crown, and the preservation of the balance of power in Europe. In all the Acts which passed down to the com mencement of Queen Anne's reign the articles were few in number, and some of them were very ill defined ; but, from that time, par liament seems to have intended to exercise a general legislative jurisdiction over the army. Many new articles were then inserted; others have since been added, as the want became apparent; and the Mutiny Act may now be considered as a good general code of Law, in which are defined strictly hut briefly all military offences of the higher class, aud, as precisely as possible, nearly all those of minor im portance. The military offences of the higher order, comprised in eleven classes, consist in any commissioned or non-commissioned officer, or soldier, exciting mutiny, or in not using his best endeavours to suppress it, or not giving information thereof without delay to his commanding officer ; in misbehaving before an enemy ; shamefully abandoning or delivering to the enemy any garrison, fortress or post ; compelling the governor of such garrison to do so • using means to induce any one to misbehave before the enemy, or shamefully to abandon or deliver up any garrison fortress, or post committed to his charge; quitting his post without leave, or sleeping at his post; holding correspondence with, or giving advice or intelligence to the enemy ; or entering into terms with any enemy or rebel without licence ; using or offering violence to a superior officer, or disobeying his lawful commands ; or offering violence, whilst confined in a military prison, to any visitor or superior officer in the execution of his duty; and, finally, in deserting the service. For all these offences the Act prescribes "death, or such other7punishment as a general court-martial shall award ;" provided always that two-thirds of the court do concur in any judgment of death. The Act then enumerates the military offences of minor importance, and the punishments which may be assigned in respect of each. Embezzlement, fraudulent misapplication, wilful damage, theft or connivance at the same, of money, provisions, forage, arms, clothing, ammunition, or other stores, by any paymaster, commissioned officer, or other person employed in the war department or concerned with the care or distribution of such property, makes the offender liable to not less than four years' penal servitude, or to fine, imprisonment, dis missal from the service, reduction of warrant or non-commissioned officer to the ranks, with incapacity to serve her Majesty, as a general court-martial shall think fit, in addition to his liability to make good the loss. It is in the power of any court-martial to award corporal punishment, not exceeding fifty lashes, for conduct, mis behaviour, or neglect of duty ;—of any district, or garrison court-martial to award in addition imprisonment with or without hard labour, or solitary confinement ;—of any general court-martial in addition to award forfeiture of additional pay, good conduct pay, pension on discharge, annuity or medal for past or future services; and such additional forfeiture may be awarded by any district or garrison court-martial for desertion or for disgraceful conduct by the offender in wilfully maiming himself; tampering with his eyes ; wilfully by any act producing or aggravating disease or delaying his cure ; malingering, or feigning disease; stealing government stores ; stealing from any officer or comrade, regimental mess or band, or feloniously receiving the products of such offence ; making or procuring false accounts; embezzling public Money; committing any other offence of a felonious or fraudulent nature, or for any disgraceful conduct being of a cruel, indecent, or unnatural kind. He is also liable to forfeit his pay when absent from duty improperly, or in consequence of his offences, and to be subjected to stoppage of pay to make good bounties fraudulently obtained or loss or damage inflicted by his offence. There
is also power to dismiss a soldier from the service with ignominy, or mark a deserter with the letter D in ink or powder indelibly, and the terms of imprisonment which may be awarded by the different courts martial are specifically ascertained.
Besides the above laws, which relate particularly to the discipline of the army, the Act defines the constitution and powers of courts-martial [CounTs-MARTIAL]; it contains provisions relating to the enlistment of recruits [DISCIPLINE; ENLISTMENT], the issue of pay and march ing money, the quartering of soldiers, and the supplying of carriages for the conveyance of troops and baggage. The Act moreover contains a repetition of the original clause in which it is declared that the ordinary course of law is not to be interfered with when a soldier is accused of any felony or misdemeanor or any crime or offence, other than the misdemeanor of refusing to comply with an order of justices for the payment of money, provided that no soldier be taken out of the service for a debt under 30/. or for breach of contract, except by desertion as an apprentice from his master when bound to him for seven years.
The Mutiny Act is declared to be applicable to all persons employed in the recruiting-service; to the forces of the Indian aamy while in any part of the United Kingdom, and till their arrival in India ; to the officers and men employed in the service of the artillery and engineers; to the corps of the sappers and miners ; to the military sur veyors and draughtsmen in the ordnance department ; to foreign ' troops serving in any part of the British dominions abroad; and to all storekeepers and all civil officers of or under the war department at how or abroad. Its provisions also extend to the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark, and Man; but not to any of the militia forces, or yeomanry, or volunteer corps of Great Britain or Ireland. It applies also to officers holding rank by brevet, though not to such as are on half-pay. An effort was made in 1749, when the bill was introduced as usual into parliament, to subject officers of this latter class to martial law, but the clause was abandoned by the minister. Before the union of Ireland with Great Britain there was a separate Mutiny Act for the former country, but now the same Act applies to both. The officers and troops of the Indian army are subject to their own Mutiny Act, which however agrees generally with that of the forces of the British army.
Previously to the year 1750 the members of courts-martial were bound by an oath not to disclose the ground on which they gave their votes ; but in that year the Act was so far mitigated as to release them from such oath when required to give evidence in any court of justice or court-martial. The power of disclosing, in that case only, the votes or opinions given is implied in the forms of the oaths which are now taken by the judge-advocate and members of the court-martial, and which are printed among the schedules to which the Act refers. The Act of the same year also contains a clause, in which it is stated that no sentence pronounced by a court-martial, and signed by the president, shall be more than once revised; previously to that time a general-officer had power to order the revisal of any sentence as often as he pleased, and thus he might retain in confinement a man who had been acquitted on a fair trial.
The gradual extension of the provisions of the Mutiny Act to those military offences which may be considered as secondary in the scale, does not seem to have been noticed on behalf of the crown further than by the occasional reservation of its right to make Articles of War for the better government of the forces, which is expressed in the acts passed during the reign of Queen Anne. In the first year of George I. this right of the crown was formally allowed ; and the clause contain ing it has been repeated in all subsequent Mutiny Acts, with the provision that no person within the United Kingdom and British Isles shall be subject to penal servitude, or to airy punishment affect ing life or limb, for crimes specified in the Articles of War, except such as by the Mutiny Act itself are liable to the same punishments.