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A Pirate's code of conduct

Contrary to popular images of pirates, life aboard ship was often a model of discipline and democracy. The following code of conduct was taken from one 18th century pirate ship and offers interesting insight into pirate affairs.

1. Every man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full share and a half in all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and quarter.

2. If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm and shot.

3. If any Many shall steel any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.

4. If at any Time we should meet another Marrooner (that is Pyrate) that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.

5. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Mose's Law (that is 40 stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.

6. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.


Tim Rickard / News & Record
7. That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.

8. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement he shall have 400 pieces of Eight; if a limb 800.

9. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

Posted by The Depot and News & Record Online
© Copyright 1997