Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flogging Not Allowed!

According to the shipping articles entered by an 1850 Act of Congress, each sailor hired for a voyage signed an agreement with the master of the vessel that declared his conditions of employment, guaranteed the wages to be paid and described the behavior expected of him. “No grog allowed, and non to be put on board by the crew, or by any of the parties hereunto, and no profane language allowed, nor any sheath-knives permitted to be brought or used on board.”

The captain had Congressional authority to suppress “immorality and vice of all kinds” against forfeiture of wages “together with everything belonging to him or them on board the said vessel.” For every day a man was absent without leave he forfeited three days wages; if he was absent for more than 48 hours he also had to pay the wages of a seaman hired to replace him.

On the good side, flogging was not allowed.

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