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THE NAVAL DISCIPLINE ACT, THE QUEEN'S REGULATIONS
Law Booksellers and Publishers,
The object of the present work is to explain the Naval Discipline Act, 1861, and to afford a practical guide for commanding officers and Courtsmartial in the trial and punishment of criminal offences in the Navy.
The Articles of War, and general laws for the government of the Navy, were reconstructed, and placed on a new footing by the legislature in the Naval Discipline Act of 1860. The occasion naturally suggested a Treatise for the use and assistance of the Naval profession in the administration of the new law. The time for the commencement of that Act was fixed for the 1st of April, 1861; and the greater part of the following pages was written, and the work announced for publication, at the same period; but its progress was unavoidably delayed ; for, early in the session of 1861, a new Bill was introduced, amending in subordinate, though important particulars, the Act of 1860, and repealing that statute altogether. Under these circumstances, it became a matter of necessity to postpone the publication until the new law came into operation. The Act passed in August, 1861. It appears in the statute book under the general title of “An Act for the Government of the Navy,” though it is cited throughout these pages by its short legal title of “The Naval Discipline Act, 1861.”
The work commences with an introductory historical sketch.
This will not, it is trusted, be deemed irrelevant to a legal treatise, though it comprises a condensed account of the material progress of the Navy in early times; for it is impossible to explain the different regulations for the maintenance of discipline in the Navy without referring to their origin; and any account of that origin necessarily includes a relation of the particular events which gave birth to the laws of each successive era. For this chapter, the most accredited historians and chroniclers of each period have been consulted, and references to the authorities given in the notes. Great reliance has been placed on Sir W. Monson's naval tracts for a
1 24 & 25 Vict. c. 115, s. 74.
cotemporary account of the state of the Navyl in the latter half of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries. The public services of that distinguished officer at sea and on shore extended over a period of more than fifty years, and his writings are remarkable for devotion to his profession, honesty of purpose, and general knowledge of Naval affairs. Some new and important light has been thrown on the origin of Articles of War, and the proceedings of Naval Courts-martial, by information derived from a collection of unpublished documents at the Admiralty: it appears from these, and from the entries in the Journals of Parliament, that the first ordinance, or statute, for the government of the Navy, originated with the Long Parliament, and that a very complete system for trial by councils of war was organised in pursuance of that law by the admirals and generals of the fleet in the service of the Commonwealth. No copy of this ordinance can
1 Maladministration at the Admiralty appears to be a grievance of old standing ; for Sir W. Monson has a chapter on the “Corrupt abuses used in his Majesty's service by sea, and the means how to reform them ;” and he dwells most forcibly on the necessity of reform, “because our bordering neighbours, the French and Hollanders, daily increase in shipping, as we daily see by proof.”
2 Admiral Sir William Monson was born in 1569; went to sea in 1585; and was in active service, with some intervals, until 1635. He composed his work about 1640, and died in 1642.