Transcript from James, Charles (1820) A Collection of the Charges, Opinions, and Sentences of General Courts Martial as Published by Authority; From the year 1795 to the present time; Intended to serve as an Appendix to Tytler's Treatise on Military Law, and forming a book of cases and references; with a copious index., pp325-327.
CAPTAINS R. GOAKMAN, T. KEELING, AND R. ALEFOUNDER. - 1809
|G.O.||Horse Guards, 9 Dec. 1809.|
At a General Court Martial, held at Ipswich, on the 27th October, 1809, and
continued by adjournments to the 9th of November following, Captains Richard
Goakman, Thomas Keeling, and Robert Alefounder, of the Hertfordshire Regiment
of Militia, were arraigned upon the undermentioned charge, viz.-
'For base and scandalous conduct in them, the said Captains Richard Goakman, Thomas Keeling, and Robert Alefounder, in calumniously raising and circulating a report, particularly at Sunderland, in, or about, the month of April last, and in Hull, and the neighbourhood therof, in the months of June and July last, prejudicial to the honour, character and reputation of Lieutenant John Kingston, by insinuating that he had unnatural propensities, and therby tending to deprive the said Lieutenant John Kingston, of that influence, authority, and command, necessary to the discharge of his duty as an Officer in His Majesty's service.'
Upon which charge the Court came to the following decision:-
The Court having given its best attention to the whole of the proceedings, and maturely considered the same, and deliberated theron, is of opinion, that the prisoner, Captain Robert Alefounder, is Not Guilty of the crime stated in the charge, or any part therof, and doth therefore acquit him thereof.
The Court is under the painful necessity of finding that the prisoners, Captains Richard Goakman, and Thomas Keeling, are Guilty of part of the crime, stated in the charge, viz. 'that of having calumniously circulated a report, in the months of June and July last, prejudicial to the honour, character, and reputation of the prosecutor, Lieutenant John Kingston, by insinuating that he had unnatural propensities, thereby tending to deprive him of that influence, authority and command, necessary to the discharge of his duty as an Officer in His Majesty's service;' the Court, however, does not find that there is sufficient evidence before it, to warrant it in adjudging that either of the prisoners, Captain Richard Goakman, or Captain Thomas Keeling, was the author of such report.
In order to mark its abhorrence of the crime, of which the Court has been thus painfully compelled to find two Officers in His Majesty's service, to have been guilty, the Court doth adjudge that they the prisoners, Captains Richard Goakman and Thomas Keeling, shall be dismissed from the Hertfordshire Regiment of Militia.
The Court cannot close its proceedings without doing justice to Lieutenant John Kingston, by a declaration of its firm conviction, that there is not the slightest imputation whatever, on the honour and character of that Officer, touching the base calumnies contained in the charge.
The Court feels satisfied that Lieutenant John Kingston had no other motive, in sending for the drummers to his room, than that of ascertaining the progress which they had made, whilst in the regimental school; an act of good will, towards them, more deserving of praise than censure.
The Court feels itself bound to say, that there does not exist in the mind of any member of it, a doubt as to the purity of intention of Lieutenant John Kingston. His character remains, in the estimation of every member of it, pure, untainted, and unblemished.
It is with considerable concern that the Court is compelled to observe on the party spirit and dissention which appears to exist in the Hertfordshire Regiment of Militia. It has been strongly manifested in the course of the proceeding before this Court, and the Court could not avoid observing, by the manner in which Lieutenant Hubback delivered his testimony, that if not completely actuated by the baneful influence of party-feeling, he was not entirely divested of it, and that he appeared to forget the true character of a witness, an attention to which is so necessary to the attainment, in all cases, of the deeds of justice.
Whether the prisoners (and here the Court does not confine its observations to Captain Goakman and Captain Keeling, but as well to Captain Alefounder) or either of them have had any reason to complain of harsh treatment, on the part of Major Fowle, the Court has not had an opportunity of judging by evidence, as it did not conceive itself warranted to comply with Major Fowle's request, of allowing him to appear a second time before the Court, for the purpose of explanation as to his own conduct, and of doing away any unfavourable impression, which he supposed might have been made in the minds of the Court, by the assertions in the defence of the prisoners; but the Court is of opinion, that the manner in which the grievances were complained of, and the language in which they were conveyed, evinced a want of proper respect to their Commanding Officer, which no circumstance could justify.
His Majesty has been pleased to approve and confirm the opinion and sentence of the Court, and was further pleased to observe, that the conduct of Lieutenant Hubback, as particularly noticed by the Court, together with the circumstance, which has been stated in evidence, of his having offered wagers on the event of the trial of the Officers, against whom he was to attend as a witness, appeared to His Majesty to have betrayed a spirit of prejudice and party-feeling, highly subversive of discipline and good order: in consideration of which impropriety of conduct, His Majesty has been pleased to command, that Lieutenant Hubback shall be dismissed from the Hertfordshire Regiment of Militia.
The Commander in Chief directs, that the charge preferred against Captains Richard Goakman, Thomas Keeling and Robert Alefounder, together with the Sentence and observations of the Court, and His Majesty's decision thereon, shall be read at the head of every corps, and entered in the regimental orderly books
By order of the Right Hon. the Commander in Chief.
HARRY CALVERT, Adj. Gen.
Transcribed 13th April 2005 by Peter Alefounder