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acts for punishing mutiny and desertion, a more compendious and convenient system of military coercion has obtained. (e) The mutiny act, 6 Geo. 4. c. 5. s. 1., reciting that no man can be forejudged of life or limb, or subjected in time of peace to any kind of punishment within this realm by martial law, or in any other manner than by the judgment of his peers, and according to the known and established laws of the realm ; yet that nevertheless, it being requisite for retaining the forces in their duty that an exact discipline be observed, and that soldiers who shall mutiny, or stir up sedition, or desert, be brought to more exemplary and speedy punishment than the usual forms of law will allow, enacts, that if any officer or soldier shall, during the continuance of the act, commit any of the offences therein enumerated, amongst which is desertion, the offender shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be awarded by a court martial.

(e) i East. P. C. c. 2. S. 34. p. 93.



In treating shortly of this offence, we may consider, I. Of piracy
at common law, and by statutes. II. Of the places in which the
offence may be committed. III. Of the court by which it may be


Of Piracy at Common Law, and by Statutes.
Piracy at The offence of piracy at common law consists in committing
common law. those acts of robbery and depredation upon the high seas, which,

if committed upon land, would have amounted to felony there. (a)
But it is no felony at common law, and it was only punishable by
the civil law before the statute 28 Hen. 8. c. 15.; and this statute,
though it makes the offence capital, and provides for the trial of it
according to the course of the common law, by the king's special
commission, does not make it a felony; therefore, a pardon of all

felonies generally does not extend to it. (6) Piracy by

The offence of piracy is also provided against by the enactments 11 and 12 w. of several statutes. The 11 and 12 W. 3. c. 7. s. 8. enacts, that 3. c. 7. s. 8. “ if any of his Majesty's natural born subjects, or denizens of this as to acts done “ kingdom, shall commit any piracy or robbery, or any act of hoscommission of “tility against others his Majesty's subjects, upon the sea, under a foreign state. “ colour of any commission from any foreign prince or state, or

pretence of authority from any person whatsoever, such offender 2. c. 30. as to piracy com

“ and offenders shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be pirates, mitted under “ felons, and robbers ;” and being duly convicted thereof, accordan enemy's commission.

(a) i Hawk. P. C. c. 37. s. 4. 4 Blac. blood, at least where the conviction Com). 72. 2 East. P. C. c. 17. s. 3. p. is before the Admiralty jurisdiction ; 796.

though the contrary is holden by con(6) i Hawk. P. C. c. 37. s. 13. 3 siderable authority upon attainder beInst. 112. 2 East. P. C. c. 17. s. 3. p. fore commissioners, under the statute 796., where it is said that the offence of Heu. 8. does not extend to corruption of

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And 18 Geo.


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ing to that act, or the statute 28 Hen. 8. c. 15. shall suffer such pains of death, and loss of lands, goods, and chattels, as pirates, &c.

upon the seas ought to suffer. And the 18 Geo. 2. c. 30. enacts, “that all persons being natural born subjects or denizens of his “ Majesty, who during any war shall commit any hostilities upon “ the sea, or in any haven, river, creek, or place, where the admiral

or admirals have power, authority, or jurisdiction, against his

Majesty's subjects, by virtue or under colour of any commission “ from any of his Majesty's enemies, or shall be any other ways “ adherent, or giving aid or comfort to his Majesty's enemies upon “ the sea, or in any haven, river, creek, or place, where the admiral “ or admirals have power, authority, or jurisdiction, may be tried

as pirates, felons, and robbers in the said court of Admiralty, on ship-board, or upon the land, in the same manner as persons guilty of piracy, felony, and robbery, are by the said act (c) di

rected to be tried; and such persons being upon such trial con“ victed thereof, shall suffer such pains of death, loss of lands, &c.

as any other pirates, felons, and robbers, ought, by virtue of the “ statute 11 and 12 W. 3. c. 7. or any other act, to suffer.” (d)

The ninth section of the statute 11 and 12 W. 3. c. 7. enacts, Commanders, that “if any commander or master of any ship, or any seaman or

running away mariner, shall, in any place where the admiral hath jurisdiction, with ship or “ betray his trust, and turn pirate, enemy, or rebel; and piratically cargo, &c. " and feloniously run away with his or their ship or ships, or any voluntarily to

barge, boat, ordnance, ammunition, goods or merchandize ; or pirates, or yield them up voluntarily to any pirate; or shall bring any confederating seducing message from any pirate, enemy, or rebel; or consult, attempting to combine, or confederate with, or attempt or endeavour to cor- corrupt the rupt any commander, master, officer, or mariner, to yield up or crew, &c. and run away with any ship, goods or merchandizes, or turn pirates, ting force or go over to pirates; or if any person shall lay violent hands upon the

on his commander, whereby to hinder him from fighting in de- commander. “ fence of his ship, and goods committed to his trust, (e) or shall “ confine his master, or make or endeavour to make a revolt in the “ ship, he shall be adjudged, deemed, and taken to be a pirate,

felon, and robber, and being convicted thereof according to the “ direction of this act, shall suffer death and loss of lands, goods, “ and chattels, as pirates, felons, and robbers upon the seas, ought " to suffer.”

By the statute 8 Geo. 1. c. 24. s. 1. “in case any person or per- Forcibly en56 sons belonging to any ship or vessel whatsoever, upon meeting chant ships

any merchant ship or vessel on the high seas, or in any port, and destroying

seamen, &c.




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(c) 11 and 12 W. 3. c. 7.

(e) This last provision is similar to (d) Section 2. contains a proviso one in the stat 22 and 23 Car. 2. c. that any person tried and acquitted, 11. s. 9. which enacts generally, that or convicted according to the act, such an offender shall suffer death as shall not be liable to be indicted, &c. a felon; but does not specify any again in Great Britain or elsewhere, mode by which he is to be tried. This for the same crime or fact as high statute of Car. 2. contains also some treason. But by s. 3. the act is not to provisions as to yielding without prevent any offender, who shall not be

fighting, and as to mariners declining tried according thereto, from being or refusing to fight and defend the tried for high treason within this realm, ship when conimanded by the master. according to the stat. 28 Hen. 8. c. 15.

made per

Geo. 2. c. 28.

8. 7.

goods, 8 Geo. “ haven, or creek whatsoever, shall forcibly board or enter into 24. s.

“ such ship or vessel ; and though they do not seize or carry off petual by 2 “ such ship or vessel, shall throw overboard or destroy any part of

“ the goods or merchandizes belonging to such ship or vessel; the

person or persons guilty thereof, shall in all respects be deemed

“and punished as pirates as aforesaid.” Trading with The same statute of Geo. 1. s. 1. enacts also, that “ if any compirates, fur

“ mander or master of any ship or vessel, or any other person or nishing them with ammuni- “ persons, shall anywise trade with any pirate by truck, barter, tion, &c. com “ exchange, or in any other manner, or shall furnish any pirate, bining or cor

“ felon, or robber upon the seas, with any ammunition, provision, responding with them, or stores of any kind; or shall fit out any ship or vessel know&c. 8 Geo. 1. ' “ ingly, and with a design to trade with, or supply, or correspond c. 24. s. I.

“ with any pirate, felon, or robber upon the seas; or if any person or persons shall

ons shall any ways consult, combine, confederate, or correspond with any pirate, felon, or robber on the seas, knowing “ him to be guilty of any sạch piracy, felony, or robbery, every “ such offender and offenders shall be deemed and adjudged guilty “ of piracy, felony, and robbery.” The act further provides, that every offender convicted of any piracy, felony, or robbery, by virtue

of the act shall not be admitted to have the benefit of clergy. (f) Ransoming The statute 32 Geo. 2. c. 25. s. 12. provides that in case any illegally neutral ships

commander of a private ship or vessel of war duly commissioned which have by the 29 Geo. 2. c. 34. or that act, shall agree with any commander been made

or other person belonging to any neutral or other ship or vessel prize, 32 Geo. 2.c.25. 8. 12. (except those of his Majesty's declared enemies) for the ransom of

any such neutral or other ship or vessel, or the cargo, after the same has been taken as a prize; and shall in pursuance of such agreement quit, set at liberty, or discharge, any such prize, instead of bringing it into some port of his Majesty's dominions; such offender shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of piracy, felony, and

robbery, and shall suffer death. (g) Dealing in By a late statute 5 Geo. 4. c. 113. dealing in slaves upon the Slaves on the high seas, or in any haven, &c. where the admiral has jurisdiction, Geo. 4. c. 113. except as by that act is permitted, is made piracy, felony, and rob

bery, and the offenders made punishable as pirates, felons, and robbers npon the seas. (2)

Prior to these statutes (except the statute of Hen. 8.) the folpiracy.

lowing case was decided upon the subject of piracy. Several mariners on board a ship lying near the Groyne seized the captain, he not agreeing with them; and, having put him on shore, carried away the ship, and afterwards committed several piracies. This

Cases of

(f) S. 4. and by s. 2. every vessel question is made whether this act is fitted out to trade, &c. with pirates, still in force in ) East. P. C. c. 17. s. 7. and also the goods, shall be forfeited, p. 801. The statute 22 Geo. 3. c. 25, half to the crown and half to the in- prohibits ransoming any ship belongformer. Offenders against this act ing to any subject of his Majesty, or are to be tried according to the 28 goods on board the same which shall Hen. 8. c. 15. and 1 and 12 W. 3. c. 7. be captured by the subjects of any

(g) Section 13. allows contraband state at war with his Majesty, or by goods to be taken from a neutral ves- any, persons committing hostilities sel, liable only to the forfeiture of against his Majesty's subjects. such goods, and that thereupon the 1z) See posl, Chap. xviii. Of dealing neutral vessel may be discharged. A in slaves.

11 and 12 W. 3. c. 7. 8. 9.

force upon the captain, and the carrying away the ship, which was explained by the use of it afterwards, was adjudged piracy; and they were executed. (h) But in a subsequent case where the master of a vessel loaded goods on board at Rotterdam, consigned to Malaga, which he caused to be insured, and after he had run the goods on shore in England the ship was burned, when he protested both the ship and cargo as burned, with intent to defraud the owner and insurers; the Judges of the common law, who assisted the Judge of the Admiralty, directed an acquittal upon an indictment for piracy and stealing the goods; because, being only a breach of trust and no felony, it could not be piracy to convert the goods in a fraudulent manner until the special trust was determined. (i)

It has been decided to be an offence within the statute 11 and 12 Case upon W.3. c. 7. s. 9. to make a revolt in a ship, or to endeavour to make one, though the object was not to run away with the ship, or to Making a commit any act of piracy, but to force the captain to redress sup- revolt in a posed grievances. The prisoners were charged by the first count

ship. of the indictment with betraying their trust and turning pirates, and with confederating piratically and feloniously to steal and run away with the ship; by the second, with piratically and feloniously attempting to corrupt other persons of the crew so to steal and run away with the ship; by the third, with piratically and feloniously inciting a revolt in the ship, the master being on board; and, by the fourth, with endeavouring to make such revolt. All the counts concluded against the form of the statute. It appeared clearly from the evidence that there was a revolt in the ship, and that the prisoners participated; refusing to obey orders, and being guilty of many acts of insubordination and violence. The counsel for the prisoners endeavoured to shew, that the prisoners and their adherents had in view a redress of supposed grievances, and not the intention of assuming the command for the purpose of carrying off the ship: and though there was some evidence that the prisoners had an ulterior object than that of redressing ill-usage, of which it appeared they had complained, yet their acquittal upon the two first counts led to the conclusion that the jury did not impute to them any other real intention than that of redressing their supposed grievances. The point made by the prisoners' counsel, and submitted to the consideration of the Judges, was, that in order to satisfy the intent of the statute, and the words of the indictment, “piratically and feloniously revolted,” the object of the revolt must have been to take possession of or to run away with the ship, or to enable the prisoners to commit some act of piracy, and not merely to resist the captain's authority in order to force him to redress alleged grievances. But the Judges who (with the exception of Best, L. C. J. and Littledale, J.) met and considered this case, were unanimously of opinion, that making or endeavouring to make a revolt, with a view to procure a redress of what the prisoners thought grievances, and without any intent to run away

(h) Rex v. May, Bishop, and others, Nov. 1696, MS. Tracy 77. 2 East. P. C. c. 17. s. 3. p. 796.

(i) Mason's case, Old Bailey, 9 Geo. 1. on a special commission, 8 Mod. 74. 2 East. P. C. c. 17. s. 3. p. 796. S. C.

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