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Charles II, 1661: An Act for the Establishing Articles and Orders for the regulateing and better Government of His Majesties Navies Ships of Warr & Forces by Sea.


Which it’s yer actual Articles (edited for length):

Articles to be observed

FOR the regulateing and better Government of his Majesties Navies Ships of War and Forces by Sea wherein under the good Providence and protection of God the Wealth Safety and Strength of this Kingdome is soe much concerned Bee it Enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty with the advice and consent of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliam[en]t assembled and by the Authority thereof That all and every the Articles and Orders in this Act menc[i]oned shall be duely and respectively put in Execution observed and obeyed in manner hereafter menc[i]oned.

The public Worship of God.

1. That all Co[m]manders Captaines and other Officers att Sea shall cause the publique Worshipp of Almighty God according to the Liturgy of the Church of England established by Law to be solemnly orderly and reverently performed in theire respective Ships And that prayers and preachings by the respective Chaplaines in holy Orders of the respective Ships be performed diligently and that the Lords Day be observed according to Law.

Swearing, Drunkenness, &c.

2. Every person and persons in his Majesties pay using unlawfull and rash Oathes Cursings Execrations Drunkennes Uncleannes or other Scandalous Actions in derogation of Gods Honour and corruption of good manners shall be punished by Fine Imprisonment or otherwise as the Court Martiall shall thinke fitt. . .

Punishment.; Yielding, &c.; Punishment.

10. Every Captain or Commander who upon signall or order of fight or view or sight of any Ships of the Enemy Pirate or Rebell or likelihood of Engagement shall not put all things in his Ship in a fitt posture for fight and shall not in his owne person and according to his place hearten and encourage the Inferior Officers and common men to fight couragiously and not to behave themselves faintly shall bee [casheire (fn. 2) ] And if he or they shall yeild to the Enemy Pirate or Rebells or cry for quarter he or they soe doeing shall suffer the paines of death or such other punishment as the offence shall deserve.

Inferior Officers not observing the Commands of their Superiors. Punishment.

11. Every Captaine Commander and other Officer Seaman or Souldier of any Shipp Frigott or Vessell of Warre shall duly observe the Commands of the Admirall or other his Superior or Commander of any Squadron as well for the assailing or setting upon any Fleete Squadron or Ships of the Enemy Pirate or Rebells or joyning Battel with them or making defence against them as all other the Commands of the Admirall or other his Superior Commander upon pain to suffer death or other punishment as the quality of his neglect or offence shall deserve.

Officers in time of fight withdrawing or not fighting.; Punishment.

12. Every Captaine and all other Officers Mariners and Souldiers of every Ship Frigott or Vessell of War that shall in time of any fight or engagement withdraw or keepe backe or not come into the fight and engage and do his utmost to take fire kill and endamage the Enemy Pirate or Rebells and assist and releive all and every of His Majesties Ships shall for such offence of cowardice or disaffection be tried and suffer paines of death or other punishment as the circumstances of the offence shall deserve and the Court martiall shall judge fitt. . .

Deserting.; Punishment.

17. All Sea Captains Officers or Mariners that shall desert the Service or theire Imployment in the Ships or shall run away or intice any others soe to doe shall be punished with death. . .

Sedition, Mutiny, Punishment.

19. Noe Person in or belonging to the Fleete shall utter any words of Sedition or Mutiny nor make or endeavour to make any mutinous Assemblies upon any pretence whatsoever upon pain of death. . .

Quarrelling with or striking a superior Officer.

21. None shall presume to quarrell with his Superior Officer upon pain of severe punishment nor to strike any such upon pain of death or otherwise as a Court martiall shall finde the matter to deserve.

Complaint of unwholesome Victuals how to be made.; Exciting Disturbance thereon.; Punishment.;

22. If any of the Fleet finde cause of Complaint of the unwholesomnes of his Victuals or upon other just ground he shall quietly make the same knowne to his Superior or Captaine or Commander in Cheife as the occasion may deserve that such present remedy may bee had as the matter may require and the said Superior or Commander is to cause the same to be presently remedied accordingly but no person upon any such or other pretence shall privately attempt to stirr up any disturbance upon pain of such severe punishment as a Court martiall shall finde meete to inflict. . .


28. All Murders and wilfull killing of any persons in the ship shall be punished with death.

Robbery and Theft.

29. All Robbery and Theft committed by any person in or belonging to the Fleet shall be punished with death or otherwise as the Court martiall upon considerac[i]on of circumstances shall finde meete. . .


32. If any person or persons in or belonging to the Fleet shall commit the unnaturall and detestable sin of Buggery or Sodomy with Man or Beast he shall be punished with death without mercy.

Misdemeanors and Disorders at Sea.

33. All other Faults Misdemeanors and Disorders committed att Sea not mentioned in this Act shall be punished according to the Lawes and Customes in such cases used att Sea. . .


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