The practice, proceedings, and lawes of armes described out of the doings of most valiant and expert captaines, and confirmed both by ancient, and moderne examples, and præcedents, by Matthevv Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe, Matthew, 1550?-1629.

CHAP. XXI. Part. 5. Wherein a forme of lawes especially concerning sea causes, and ships go∣ing in publike seruice of the Prince is prescribed.

1THe ordinary practise and laws of warre concerning religion, and the state, & also concerning obedience, and peaceable conuersation betwixt fellows, which haue course in seruice at land, shal be obserued like∣wise at sea, respect being alwayes had to the diuers circumstances, which are diuers in either.

Page  3302 The execution of iustice at sea appertaineth to the Generall, or chiefe captaine with his counsell: if a ship be seuered from the rest of the company, then the punishment of faults that may not be differred belongeth to the captaine with the aduise of the most ap∣parent men in the ship. Prouided that no execution be done at sea contrary to the lawes of armes, nor that such as offend and escape at sea, do escape at land also, especially where the fault is heinous. For which cause those that haue iurisdiction at sea, are to haue their iu∣risdiction cōtinued at land, vntil such time, as offences be punished.

3 No ship shall go foorth vpon publike seruice without suffi∣cient ordonance, armes, souldiers, mariners, munition, victualles, surgeons and other necessary furniture.

4 No man shall sell away the armes, tacle, artillerie, victualles, or munitions belonging to the ship vpon paine of death.

5 Whatsoeuer ship hauing directions to come to a place cer∣taine, shall not keepe course if it be possible, nor come thither so soone as the winde wil serue, the captaine, and master, and those that are in fault shal suffer death for it.

6 Whosoeuer shall motion to do contrary to the Generals di∣rection, so long as there is possibilitie, or meanes to folow it; shall suffer imprisonment for the same: and if he persuade the company, so that the ship goeth another way, both he and those that willing∣ly yeeld to him shal suffer death for their disobedience.

7 Whatsoeuer captaine or other doth boord a ship of the ene∣mies without direction, or reasonable cause, or when commande∣ment is giuen, or a signe made of fight, doth see a ship boarded vp∣on one side, and doth not if he be able board her on the other side, or at least do what hurt he can to the said shippe, shall be dismissed from his charge, and suffer such further punishment, as the General shal thinke meete.

8 Euery particular person shal execute his charge imposed vpō him in the ship where he is placed, vpon paine of imprisonment.

9 No souldier nor other whē the enemy attempteth to board our ship, shal abandon his standing vpon paine of death.

10 No souldier nor other appointed to board the enemies ship seeing his fellowes entred, shal draw backe, or resuse to folowe in his turne, and order vpon paine of death.

11 No man shal breake open his fellowes, or others caban, or Page  331coffer, nor shal take any thing thence, or from their persons, or hide any thing that is not his, vpon paine of death.

12 He that neglecteth his watch, or sleepeth leauing a candle or match light, or any fire in any place and putteth it not out, shall be put into the bilbowes, and haue further punishment as the of∣fence shall deserue.

13 When a ship shall be taken, then shal the spoile be brought to persons deputed by the Generall or Captaine. And whosoeuer shal hide any thing of valew from their knowledge, shal not onely loose the same, but his share of the rest also.

Notes vpon the former lawes.

1 [The ordinary practice &c.] How many voyages haue bin broken of late time for want of gouernement, euery one that is ac∣quainted with sea causes, that haue passed of late, vnderstandeth. No∣thing therefore is more requisit, then that such as go in those seruices that hereafter shalbe attempted, should haue both authority to do iu∣stice, & a forme of proceeding set before them. For this cause I haue made this light, and as it were first draught, that men of wisedome & experience seeing what is wanting therein, may adde more, and bring the same to more perfection. Those lawes that concerne treacheries against the prince and state, or against the Generall, or else concerne mutinies, disobedience, braules, murders, or else are common in ser∣uice at land, and sea, I haue not here set downe, for auoyding vnne∣cessary repetitions. Yet are they no lesse necessary at sea, then at land. And therefore let them be borrowed thence, that no militarie disorder, nor other offence escape vnpunished.

2 [The execution of iustice &c.] The want of this considera∣tion, hath bin cause that many notorious treasons and villenies haue escaped without punishmēt. I wil not name particulars, for that my meaning is rather to prouide against future disorders, then to haue the sword drawne for matters forepassed. Onely let there bee heere∣after care, that such as go to sea may be furnished with authoritie to do iustice, & that rules be set downe, that they may know what to doe.

3 [No ship shal &c.] The Admirall of France in time of peace at home hath speciall care of this matter. In ciuill warres all things are in garboile. He putteth into men of war, the tenth man, Page  332and is at a tenth of the charge, and deserueth a tenth of thea prise. Which many do wonder how in our daies certaine officers contra∣rie to all custome do come to challenge, especially in goods taken by reprisall. Where if law might take place, neither the taker, nor other ought to haue more then hath beene taken from him in forraine countries. But if men will needes haue a tenth, yet let them haue a tenth of the care that ships may go foorth well furnished, that they be not lost, and the land disfurnished in time of seruice.

4 [No man shall sell &c.] Euery gunner, and petite officer in the Queenes ships can tell the mysterie of this law. I woulde it were so wel knowne how we might meete with their filcheries. The best means is to looke to matters narrowly, and to punish such com∣panions as offend, seuerely.

5 [Whatsoeuer ship &c.] As at land, so at sea, if colonels, cap∣taines, and masters do not execute the Generalles commaundement: there can be no performance of seruice. If ships may straggle from ye company, and go on pilfering, or vpon euery light occasion returne, and leaue their Generall at sea, or if priuat men may take vpon them to dissuade men from doing that, which the Generall hath comman∣ded, and all this without feare of punishment, as hath bene doone in some countries, but too much heretofore in voyages at sea: there can be no better hope of successe, then hath beene had heretofore.

6 [Whatsoeuer captaine &c.] This law hath two parts: the first is against such as attempt matters without direction, by which meanes, they either endanger themselues going single, or else breake the general purpose of the action: the second is against cowards and traitors, that looke on while their fellowes fight: against which no punishment can be deuised sufficient.b Metius Suffetius was drawne in peeces by force of horses, for that while Tullus Hostilius en∣countred with the enemy, it pleased him to stand by, and giue aime. And not much lesse punishment had Laetus one of the captaines ofc Seuerus his army; for that while the rest fought, he caused his men to make alta.d Amminian Marcellin reporteth, that certaine horse∣men of the Romanes were disarmed, & had their horses takē from them, and were driuen to serue with the baggaglioes of the camp, for that they retired when their fellows went to charge the enemy. The like reason is in fight at sea. For if whē one ship entreth ye battel, the rest do not second her, or if when one ship is charged, the rest come Page  333not to succor: there is no hope, yt any great seruice can be done at sea.

The lawes of this section that folow are plaine enough of them∣selues, and most of them like to those that are ordained for good ser∣uice at land; and therfore I purpose not to spend words in explaning that, whose reasons euery man may easily conceiue of himselfe.