Avast me mateys! This bein’ the day wherest we shed the King’s English and take up our own language your Captain thought it might be interestin’ to take a gander at the code in which we pirates live and sail the seas by. ‘Tis true, they might be fueled by grog or rum or other manner of spirits but a code it is and ‘tis what we’ve sworn our lives to.
You see you scurvy bastards, there’s honor to be had and treasure to be taken in far off lands. Aye, there’s villages and ports to plunder and the bounty that await us on our voyage shall make even the most meager amongst us rich.
Yet, we obey the code. Lest we do so, our names will be tarnished and surely we’ll burn hotter in the fires of hell than even the devil himself. So I give to you laddies three of The Pirates Code dependin’ on whom your sailin’ with.
The first is The Article of John Phillips who set to sea in 1724 on his flagship called “The Revenge”
1. Every man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full share and a half in all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and quarter.
2. If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm and shot.
3. If any Man shall steel any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.
If at any Time we should meet another Marrooner (that is Pyrate) that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
4. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Mose's Law (that is 40 stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.
5. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.
6. That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.
7. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement he shall have 400 pieces of Eight; if a limb 800.
8. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.
Aaargh! Thems be some rules to live by! Next, should ye find your arse sailing under the command of Pirate Edward Low, ye’d be best off to live under his articles.
1. The Captain is to have two full Shares; the Master is to have one Share and one Half; The Doctor, Mate, Gunner and Boatswain, one Share and one Quarter.
2. He that shall be found guilty of taking up any Unlawfull Weapon on Board the Privateer or any other prize by us taken, so as to Strike or Abuse one another in any regard, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and the Majority of the Company shall see fit.
3. He that shall be found Guilty of Cowardice in the time of Engagements, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and the Majority of the Company shall think fit.
4. If any Gold, Jewels, Silver, &c. be found on Board of any Prize or Prizes to the value of a Piece of Eight, & the finder do not deliver it to the Quarter Master in the space of 24 hours he shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and the Majority of the Company shall think fit.
5. He that is found Guilty of Gaming, or Defrauding one another to the value of a Royal of Plate, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and the Majority of the Company shall think fit.
6. He that shall have the Misfortune to loose a Limb in time of Engagement, shall have the Sum of Six hundred pieces of Eight, and remain aboard as long as he shall think fit.
7. Good Quarters to be given when Craved.
8. He that sees a Sail first, shall have the best Pistol or Small Arm aboard of her.
9. He that shall be guilty of Drunkenness in time of Engagement shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.
10. No Snaping of Guns in the Hould.
Aye, thems be some stiff rules to follow but the most far reachin’ and famous rules of conduct belong to fellow buccaneer Bartholomew Roberts. Maybe some of you landlubbers might recall one or two from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean which starred fellow pirate Johnny Depp. They goes somethin’ like this.
I. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.
II. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because, they were on these occasions allowed a shift of clothes: but if they defrauded the company to the value of a dollar in plate, jewels, or money, marooning was their punishment. If the robbery was only betwixt one another, they contented themeselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an uninhabited place, but somewhere, where he was sure to encounter hardships.
III. No person to game at cards or dice for money.
IV. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, they were to do it on the open deck.
V. To keep their piece, pistols, and cutlass clean and fit for service.
VI. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death;
VII. To desert the ship or their quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning.
VIII. No striking one another on board, but every man's quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol.
IX. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared one thousand pounds. If in order to this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have eight hundred dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately.
X. The captain and quartermaster to receive two shares of a prize: the master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a half, and other officers one and quarter.
XI. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, but the other six days and nights, none without special favour.
Yar, so there ye have it ye worthless bastards! Ye follows these codes and ye can expect the riches that they promise. Ye don’t follow them and strike out on yer own, ye’ll surely be strapped to the mizzenmast and applied the lash. Ye break the code again, and surely you’ll be found sleepin’ next to Davy Jones's locker