Rules of Discipline and Government, to be Observed on Board of a Private Ship of War.

  1. All the officers and ship's company are to obey the captain's orders with promptness and respect.
  2. The officers are strictly enjoined not to interfere with the duty of their superiors, or with any other than their own.
  3. The captain is to define a limited space between the main-mast and the stern, to be considered as a quarter-deck; upon which the men, unless on duty, are not to walk; such space being hereby directed to be considered as the parade for the officers.
  4. The officers are strictly enjoined to enforce respect, by abstaining, on all occasions, from familiar intercourse with the men.
  5. The chief-mate and prize-masters are to be called lieutenants, and to be at all times treated with obedience and respect; and they are to have the respective charge of the watches and prizes.
  6. The boatswain and carpenter are daily to examine the masts, spars, and rigging: and are to report any defects found therein to the captain, commanding officer, or officer of the watch, either at eight in the morning, twelve at noon, or eight at night.
  7. The gunner is constantly and invariably to inspect the magazine, and is to request orders from time to time, or at any time he may deem it requisite, from the captain, commanding officer, or officer of the watch, respecting the quantity of powder to be filled; which orders, whether general or particular, he is most strictly to attend to: and to take all necessary precautions of safety: and he is, at all times to report any improper or dangerous use of lights in any part of the vessel.
  8. The steward has charge (under the direction of the captain, commanding officer, or officer of the watch,) of the provisions, and is to issue them out at the times, and in the quantities, that shall be specified: and he is most strictly to abide by the orders only which he may receive.
  9. The boatswain, gunner, carpenter, and steward, are respectively to keep an account of, and to be responsible for, the respective stores entrusted to their care: and all the officers and men are to be particularly careful of the water.
  10. The surgeon is to be comfortably accommodated, and treated with respect. No person but the captain, or commanding officer, or officer of the watch, is to interfere in his department; and he is not to interfere in the duty or department of any other officer.
  11. The master at arms is to notice any improper behaviour or defect of cleanliness in the people between decks, and to report it to the captain or officer of the watch; he is also, with the ship's corporal, in their respective watches, to see that the sentinels are on the quarterdeck, or in any other part of the ship to which they may be appointed; and that they perform their duty, by night and by day: they are, also, to see them regularly relieved in their watches and to their meals. They are, likewise, to see all lights out, between decks, every night at eight o'clock, unless orders to the contrary are given by the commanding officer.
  12. The cook is to pay due attention to the cooking of the people's victuals, and that he must not only have it ready at twelve o'clock at noon, but have it cooked clean and comfortable for them. He is also required to be careful of the fire and water, and to keep the galley clear of all idlers, so that he may not be discommoded in the performance of his duty.
  13. The crew are strictly enjoined, at all times, to obedience and respect to the captain and officers; without which no good government can prevail: they are, one and all, to be particularly careful of the fires, lights, and water, and strictly to practise cleanliness, generally and individually, as the great mean of health and comfort.

David Steel: Shipmaster's Assistant, 1817. pp 71-72.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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