Partial Abolition of Flogging in the Navy

(Introduction of Class for Conduct and other punishments, though not detailed)

The following circular has been issued and is dated Admiralty, 10 Dec 1859 :-

The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, being desirous of revising the regulations respecting punishment in her Majesty's navy, are pleased to direct as follows:-

  1. All Seamen and Royal Marines belonging to the fleet shall be divided into two classes, hereinafter referred to as the 1st and 2nd Class.
  2. All men now serving in the fleet whose character is marked "good" shall be in the 1st class.
  3. All men on first entering the navy or reserve, and all men re-entering the navy with certificates marked "good" shall be also in the Ist class.
  4. No man in the 1st class shall be subject to corporal punishment, except by sentence of a court-martial.
  5. Men in the 1st class committing any grave offence against discipline, or guilty of repeated misconduct, will be removed by warrant into the 2nd class. They will not be liable to corporal punishment at the time when they are so removed, but, in addition to degradation to the 2nd class, other punishment may be inflicted, according to the degrees of the offence.
  6. The 2nd class will consist of all men whose conduct has not entitled them to certificates marked "good."
  7. No man in the 2nd class shall be subject to corporal punishment without court-martial, except for the following offences:-
    1. Mutinous or highly insubordinate or riotous conduct.
    2. Desertion.
    3. Repeated drunkenness.
    4. Smuggling liquor into the ship.
    5. Theft.
    6. Repeated disobedience of orders.
    7. Deserting his post.
    8. Indecent assaults.
  8. Men in the 2nd class, by a continued course of good conduct for a period of not less than 12 months, will be entitled to be restored to the 1st class.

The above rules are not intended to relate to cases of open mutiny, where immediate punishment may be necessary to check a disposition on the part of others to join in so flagrant a crime.

Future punishment returns are to contain the number of men in the 1st and 2nd class respectively.

This circular is to be read to the crews of her Majesty's ships on each occasion of the Articles of War being read.

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