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United States Statutes at Large/Volume 2/6th Congress/1st Session/Chapter 33

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April 23, 1800.
Chap. XXXIII.—An Act for the better government of the Navy of the United States.

Rules and regulations for the government of the navy.
April 23, 1800, ch. 33.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the first day of June next, the following rules and regulations be adopted and put in force, for the government of the navy of the United States.

Exemplary conduct incumbent on commanders.Art. I. The commanders of all ships and vessels of war belonging to the navy, are strictly enjoined and required to show in themselves a good example of virtue, honour, patriotism and subordination; and be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all such as are placed under their command; and to guard against, and suppress, all dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct all such as are guilty of them, according to the usage of the sea service.

Divine service and preaching.Art. II. The commanders of all ships and vessels in the navy, having chaplains on board, shall take care that divine service be performed in a solemn, orderly, and reverent manner twice a day, and a sermon preached on Sunday, unless bad weather, or other extraordinary accidents prevent it; and that they cause all, or as many of the ship’s company as can be spared from duty, to attend at every performance of the worship of Almighty God.

Punishment of certain scandalous offences.Art. III. Any officer, or other person in the navy, who shall be guilty of oppression, cruelty, fraud, profane swearing, drunkenness, or any other scandalous conduct, tending to the destruction of good morals, shall, if an officer, be cashiered, or suffer such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge; if a private, shall be put in irons, or flogged, at the discretion of the captain, not exceeding twelve lashes; but if the offence require severer punishment, he shall be tried by a court martial, and suffer such punishment as said court shall inflict.

Penalties on the breach of duty in respect of attack and battle.Art. IV. Every commander or other officer who shall, upon signal for battle, or on the probability of an engagement, neglect to clear his ship for action, or shall not use his utmost exertions to bring his ship to battle, or shall fail to encourage, in his own person, his inferior officers and men to fight courageously, such offender shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge; or any officer neglecting, on sight of any vessel or vessels of an enemy, to clear his ship for action, shall suffer such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge; and if any person in the navy shall treacherously yield, or pusillanimously cry for quarters, he shall suffer death, on conviction thereof, by a general court martial.

Disobedience in time of battle.
Deserting duty.
Art V. Every officer or private who shall not properly observe the orders of his commanding officer, or shall not use his utmost exertions to carry them into execution, when ordered to prepare for, join in, or when actually engaged in battle; or shall at such time, basely desert his duty or station, either then, or while in sight of an enemy, or shall induce others to do so, every person so offending shall, on conviction thereof by a general court martial, suffer death or such other punishment as the said court shall adjudge.

Punishment of cowardice, &c. death.Art. VI. Every officer or private who shall through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection in time of action, withdraw from, or keep out of battle, or shall not do his utmost to take or destroy every vessel which it is his duty to encounter, or shall not do his utmost endeavour to afford relief to ships belonging to the United States, every such offender shall, on conviction thereof by a general court martial, suffer death, or such other punishment as the said court shall adjudge.

Papers to be transmitted respecting captures to the district judge of the district to which the prize is ordered.
List of officers, &c.
Art. VII. The commanding officer of every ship or vessel in the navy, who shall capture, or seize upon any vessel as a prize, shall carefully preserve all the papers and writings found on board, and transmit the whole of the originals unmutilated to the judge of the district to which such prize is ordered to proceed, and shall transmit to the navy department, and to the agent appointed to pay the prize money, complete lists of the officers and men entitled to a share of the capture, inserting therein the quality of every person rating, on pain of forfeiting his whole share of the prize money resulting from such capture, an suffering such further punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Penalty on pillaging a prize, or maltreating the persons on board the same.Art. VIII. No person in the navy shall take out of a prize, or vessel seized as prize, any money, plate, goods, or any part of her rigging, unless it be for the better preservation thereof, or absolutely necessary for the use of any of the vessels of the United States, before the same shall be adjudged lawful prize by a competent court; but the whole, without fraud, concealment, or embezzlement, shall be brought in, and judgment passed thereon, upon pain that every person offending herein shall forfeit his share of the capture, and suffer such further punishment as a court martial, or the court of admiralty in which the prize is adjudged, shall impose.

Protection of persons taken on board of prizes.Art. IX. No person in the navy shall strip of their clothes, or pillage, or in any manner maltreat persons taken on board a prize, on pain of such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Intercourse with enemies and rebels, forbidden.Art. X. No person in the navy shall give, hold, or entertain any intercourse or intelligence to or with any enemy or rebel, without leave from the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, the commander in chief of the fleet, or the commander of a squadron; or in case of a vessel acting singly from his commanding officer, on pain of death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Message from an enemy to be communicated.Art. XI. If any letter or message from an enemy or rebel, be conveyed to any officer or private of the navy, and he shall not, within twelve hours, make the same known, having opportunity so to do, to his superior or commanding officer; or if any officer commanding a ship or vessel, being acquainted therewith, shall not, with all convenient speed, reveal the same to the commander in chief of the fleet, commander of a squadron, or other proper officer whose duty it may be to take cognizance thereof, every such offender shall suffer earth, or such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Mutiny and sedition.Art XII. Spies, and all persons who shall come or be found in the capacity of spies, or who shall bring or deliver any seducing letter or message from an enemy or rebel, or endeavour to corrupt any person in the navy to betray his trust, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Attempt at mutiny.Art. XIII. If any person in the navy shall make or attempt to make any mutinous assembly, he shall on conviction thereof by a court martial, suffer death; and if any person as aforesaid shall utter any seditious or mutinous words, or shall conceal or connive at any mutinous or seditious practices, or shall treat with contempt his superior, being in the execution of his office; or being witness to any mutiny or sedition, shall not do his utmost to suppress it, he shall be punished at the discretion of a court martial.

Disobedience of orders and assault of a superior officer.Art XIV. No officer or private in the navy shall disobey the lawful orders of his superior officer, or strike him, or draw, or offer to draw, or raise any weapon against him, while in the execution of the duties of his office, on pain of death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall inflict.

Quarreling.Art XV. No person in the navy shall quarrel with any other person in the navy, nor use provoking or reproachful words, gestures, or menaces, on pain of such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Desertion.Art. XVI. If any person in the navy shall desert to an enemy or rebel, he shall suffer death.

Art. XVII. If any person in the navy shall desert, or shall entice others to desert, he shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall adjudge; and if any officer or other person belonging to the navy, shall receive or entertain any deserter from any other vessel of the navy, knowing him to be such, and shall not, with all convenient speed, give notice of such deserter to the commander of the vessel to which he belongs, or to the commander in chief, or to the commander of the squadron, he shall on conviction thereof, be cashiered, or be punished at the discretion of a court martial.Offences committed on shore. All offences committed by persons belonging to the navy while on shore, shall be punished in the same manner as if they had been committed at sea.

Frauds against the United States.Art. XVIII. If any person in the navy shall knowingly make or sign, or shall aid, abet, direct, or procure the making or signing of any false muster, or shall execute, or attempt, or countenance any fraud against the United States, he shall, on conviction, be cashiered and rendered for ever incapable of any future employment in the service of the United States, and shall forfeit all the pay and subsistence due him, and suffer such other punishment as a court martial shall inflict.

Improper navigation of vessels.Art. XIX. If any officer, or other person in the navy, shall, through intention,[1] negligence, or any other fault, suffer any vessel of the navy to be stranded, or run upon rocks or shoals, or hazarded, he shall suffer such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Negligence in the performance of duty, &c.Art. XX. If any person in the navy shall sleep upon his watch, or negligently perform the duty assigned him, or leave his station before regularly relieved, he shall suffer death, or such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge; or, if the offender be a private, he may, at the discretion of the captain, be put in irons, or flogged not exceeding twelve lashes.

Murder.Art. XXI. The crime of murder, when committed by any officer, seaman, or marine, belonging to any public ship or vessel of the United States, without the territorial jurisdiction of the same, may be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial.

Duties in relation to convoy.Art. XXII. The officers and privates of every ship or vessel, appointed as convoy to merchant or other vessels, shall diligently and faithfully discharge the duties of their appointment, nor shall they demand or exact any compensation for their services, nor maltreat any of the officers of crews of such merchant or other vessels, on pain of making such reparation as a court of admiralty may award, and of suffering such further punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Penalty on receiving merchandise on board.Art. XXIII. If any commander or other officer shall receive or permit to be received, on board his vessel, any goods or merchandise, other than for the sole use of his vessel, except gold, silver, or jewels, and except the goods or merchandise of vessels which may be in distress, or shipwrecked, or in imminent danger of being shipwrecked, in order to preserve them for their owner, without orders from the President of the United States or the navy department, he shall, on conviction thereof, be cashiered, and be incapacitated forever afterwards, for any place or office in the navy.

Waste, embezzlement, &c. of public property.Art. XXIV. If any person in the navy shall waste, embezzle, or fraudulently buy, sell, or receive any ammunition, provisions, or other public stores; or if any officer or other person shall, knowingly, permit through design, negligence, or inattention, any such waste, embezzlement, sale or receipt, every such person shall forfeit all the pay and subsistence then due him, and suffer such further punishment as a court martial shall direct.

Burning of public property.Art. XXV. If any person in the navy shall unlawfully set fire to or burn any kind of public property, not then in the possession of an enemy, pirate, or rebel, he shall suffer death: And if any person shall, in any other manner, destroy such property, or shall not use his best exertions to prevent the destruction thereof by others, he shall be punished at the discretion of a court martial.

Theft.Art. XXVI. Any theft not exceeding twenty dollars may be punished at the discretion of the captain, and above that sum, as a court martial shall direct.

Offences against people on shore.Art. XXVII. If any person in the navy shall, when on shore, plunder, abuse, or maltreat any inhabitant, or injure his property in any way, he shall suffer such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Detection and apprehension of offenders.Art. XXVIII. Every person in the navy shall use his utmost exertions to detect, apprehend, and bring to punishment all offenders, and shall at all times, aid and assist all persons appointed for this purpose, on pain of such punishment as a court martial shall adjudge.

Muster rolls and ship’s books.Art. XXIX. Each commanding officer shall, whenever a seamen enters on board, cause an accurate entry to be made in the ship’s books, of his name, time, and term of his service; and before sailing transmit to the Secretary of the Navy, a complete list or muster roll of the officers and men under his command, with the date of their entering, time and terms of their service annexed; and shall cause similar lists to be made out on the first day of every second month, to be transmitted to the Secretary of the Navy, as opportunities shall occur; accounting in such lists or muster rolls, for any casualties which may have taken place since the last list or muster roll. He shall cause to be accurately minuted on the ship’s books, the names of, and times at which any death or desertion may occur; and in case of death, shall take care that the purser secure all the property of the deceased for the benefit of his legal representative Inspection of provisions.
Officers and men detached from the ship to be furnished with certain statements.
or representatives. He shall cause frequent inspections to be made into the condition of the provisions, and use every precaution for its preservation. He shall, whenever he orders officers and men to take charge of a prize, and proceed to the United States, and whenever officers or men are sent from his ship from whatever cause, take care that each man be furnished with a complete statement of his account, specifying the date of his enlistment, and the period and terms of service; which account shall be signed by the commanding officer and purser. He shall cause the rules for the government of the navy to beRules to be hung up and read.
Treatment of the sick.
hung up in some public part of the ship, and read once a month to his ship’s company. He shall cause a convenient place to be set apart for sick or disabled men, to which he shall have them removed, with their hammocks and bedding, when the surgeon shall so advise, and shall direct that some of the crew attend them and keep the place clean; and if necessary, shall direct that cradles, and buckets with covers, be made for their use: And when his crew is finally paid off,Paying off. he shall attend in person, or appoint a proper officer, to see that justice be done to the men, and to the United States, in the settlement of the accounts. Any commanding officer, offending herein, shall be punished at the discretion of a court martial.

Treatment of inferior officers and men.Art. XXX. No commanding officer shall, of his own authority, discharge a commissioned or warrant officer, nor strike, nor punish him otherwise than by suspension or confinement, nor shall he, of his own authority, inflict a punishment on any private beyond twelve lashes with a cat-of-nine-tails, nor shall he suffer any wired, or other than a plain cat-of-nine-tails, to be used on board his ship; nor shall any officer who may command by accident, or in the absence of the commanding officer (except such commander be absent for a time by leave) order or inflict any other punishment than confinement, for which he shall account on the return of such absent commanding officer. Nor shall any commanding officer receive on board any petty officers or men turned over from any other vessel to him, unless each of such officers and men produce to him an account signed by the captain and purser of the vessel from which they came, specifying the date of such officer’s or man’s entry, the period and terms of service, the sums paid and the balance due him, and the quality in which he was rated on board such ship. Nor shall any commanding officer, having received any petty officer or man as aforesaid, rate him in a lower or worse station than that in which he formerly served. Any commanding officer offending herein, shall be punished at the discretion of a court martial.

Master at arms.Art. XXXI. Any master at arms, or other person of whom the duty of master at arms is required, who shall refuse to receive such prisoners as shall be committed to his charge, or having received them, shall suffer them to escape, or dismiss them without orders from proper authority, shall suffer in such prisoners’ stead, or be punished otherwise at the discretion of a court martial.

Crimes not specified.Art. XXXII. All crimes committed by persons belonging to the navy, which are not specified in the foregoing articles, shall be punished according to the laws and customs in such cases at sea.

Who are petty officers.Art. XXXIII. All officers, not holding commissions or warrants, or who are not entitled to them, except such as are temporarily appointed to the duties of a commissioned or warrant officer, are deemed petty officers.

Assignment of wages and prize money.Art. XXXIV. Any person entitled to wages or prize money, may have the same paid to his assignee, provided the assignment be attested by the captain and purser; and in case of the assignment of wages, the power shall specify the precise time they commence. But the commander of every vessel is required to discourage his crew from selling any part of their wages or prize money, and never to attest any power of attorney, until he is satisfied that the same is not granted in consideration of money given for the purchase of wages or prize money.

Naval General Courts Martial.

Appointment of naval general courts martial.Art. XXXV. General courts martial may be convened as often as the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, or the commander in chief of the fleet, or commander of a squadron, while acting out of the United States, shall deem it necessary: Provided, that no general court martial shall consist of more than thirteen, nor less than five members, and as many officers shall be summoned on every such court as can be convened without injury to the service, so as not to exceed thirteen, and the senior officer shall always preside, the others ranking agreeably to the date of their commissions; and in no case, where it can be avoided without injury to the service, shall more than one half of the members, exclusive of the president, be junior to the officer to be tried.

Art. XXXVI. Each member of the court, before proceeding to trial, shall take the following oath or affirmation, which the judge advocate or person officiating as such, is hereby authorized to administer.

Oath of members of general courts martial.“I, A. B. do swear (or affirm) that I will truly try, without prejudice or partiality, the case now depending, according to the evidence which shall come before the court, the rules for the government of the navy, and my own conscience; and that I will not by any means divulge or disclose the sentence of the court, until it shall have been approved by the proper authority, nor will I at any time divulge or disclose the vote or opinion of any particular member of the court, unless required so to do before a court of justice in due course of law.”

This oath or affirmation being duly administered, the president is authorized and required to administer the following oath or affirmation to the judge advocate, or person officiating as such.

Oath of the judge advocate.“I, A. B. do swear (or affirm) that I will keep a true record of the evidence given to and the proceedings of this court; nor will I divulge or by any means disclose the sentence of the court until it shall have been approved by the proper authority; nor will I at any time divulge or disclose the vote or opinion of any particular member of the court, unless required so to do before a court of justice in due course of law.”

Giving of testimony.Art. XXXVII. All testimony given to a general court martial shall be on oath or affirmation, which the president of the court is hereby authorized to administer, and if any person shall refuse to give his evidence as aforesaid, or shall prevaricate, or shall behave with contempt to the court, it shall and may be lawful for the court to imprison such offender at their discretion; provided that the imprisonment in no case shall exceed two months: and every person who shall commit wilful perjury on examination on oath or affirmation before such court, or who shall corruptly procure, or suborn any person to commit such wilful perjury, shall and may be prosecuted by indictment or information in any court of justice of the United States, and shall suffer such penalties as are authorized by the laws of the United States in case of perjury or the subornation thereof. And in every such prosecution for perjury or the subornation thereof under this act, it shall be sufficient to set forth the offence charged on the defendant, without setting forth the authority by which the court was held, or the particular matters brought or intended to be brought before the said court.

Exhibition of charges.Art. XXXVIII. All charges, on which an application for a general court martial is founded, shall be exhibited in writing to the proper officer, and the person demanding the court shall take care that the person accused be furnished with a true copy of the charges, with the specifications, at the time he is put under arrest, nor shall any other charge or charges, than those so exhibited, be urged against the person to be tried before the court, unless it appear to the court that intelligence of such charge had not reached the person demanding the court, when the person so to be tried was put under arrest, or that some witness material to the support of such charge, who was at that time absent, can be produced; in which case, reasonable time shall be given to the person to be tried to make his defence against such new charge.Treatment of an arrested officer. Every officer so arrested is to deliver up his sword to his commanding officer, and to confine himself to the limits assigned him, under pain of dismission from service.

Continuance of general courts martial.Art. XXXIX. When proceedings of any general court martial shall have commenced, they shall not be suspended or delayed on account of the absence of any of the members, provided five or more be assembled; but the court is enjoined to sit from day to day, Sundays excepted, until sentence be given: and no member of said court shall, after the proceedings are begun, absent himself therefrom, unless in case of sickness or orders to go on duty from a superior officer, on pain of being cashiered.

Order of suspension.Art. XL. Whenever a court martial shall sentence any officer to be suspended, the court shall have power to suspend his pay and emoluments for the whole, or any part of the time of his suspension.

How sentences are to be given and confirmed.Art. XLI. All sentences of courts martial, which shall extend to the loss of life, shall require the concurrence of two thirds of the members present; and no such sentence shall be carried into execution, until confirmed by the President of the United States; or if the trial take place out of the United States, until it be confirmed by the commander of the fleet or squadron: all other sentences may be determined by a majority of votes, and carried into execution on confirmation of the commander of the fleet, or officer ordering the court, except such as go to the dismission of a commissioned or warrant officer, which are first to be approved by the President of the United States.

A court martial shall not, for any offence not capital, inflict a punishment beyond one hundred lashes.

Pardon and mitigation of punishments.Art. XLII. The President of the United States, or when the trial takes place out of the United States, the commander of the fleet or squadron, shall possess full power to pardon any offence committed against these articles, after conviction, or to mitigate the punishment decreed by a court martial.

Courts of inquiry may be ordered.Sec. 2. Art. I. And be it further enacted, That courts of inquiry may be ordered by the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, or the commander of a fleet or squadron, provided such court shall not consist of more than three members who shall be commissioned officers, and a judge advocate, or person to do duty as such; and such courts shall have power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, and punish contempt in the same manner as courts martial. But such court shall merely state facts, and not give their opinion, unless expressly required so to do in order for convening; and the party, whose conduct shall be the subject of inquiry, shall have permission to cross examine all the witnesses.

Proceedings how authenticated.Art. II. The proceedings of courts of inquiry shall be authenticated by the signature of the president of the court and judge advocate, and shall, in all cases not capital, or extending to the dismission of a commissioned or warrant officer, be evidence before a court martial, provided oral testimony cannot be obtained.

Art. III. The judge advocate, or person officiating as such, shall administer to the members the following oath or affirmation:

Oaths of the members and judge advocate.“You do swear, (or affirm) well and truly to examine and inquire according to the evidence, into the matter now before you, without partiality or prejudice.” After which, the president shall administer to the judge advocate, or person officiating as such, the following oath or affirmation:

“You do swear (or affirm) truly to record the proceedings of this court, and the evidence to be given in the case in hearing.”

In case of loss of the vessel, the command of the officers shall remain in force.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That in all cases, where the crews of the ships or vessels of the United States shall be separated from their vessels, by the latter being wrecked, lost or destroyed, all the command, power, and authority, given to the officers of such ships or vessels, shall remain and be in full force as effectually as if such ship or vessel were not so wrecked, lost, or destroyed, until such ship’s company be regularly discharged from, or ordered again into the service, or until a court martial shall be held to inquire into the loss of such ship or vessel; and if by the sentence of such court, or other satisfactory evidence, it shall appear that all or any of the officers and men of such ship’s company did their utmost to preserve her, and after the loss thereof behaved themselves agreeably to the discipline of the navy, then the pay and emoluments of such officers and men, or such of them as shall have done their duty as aforesaid, shall go on until their discharge or death; and every officer or private who shall, after the loss of such vessel, act contrary to the discipline of the navy, shall be punished at the discretion of a court martial, in the same manner as if such vessel had not been so lost.

Pay of captives to continue.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That all the pay and emoluments of such officers and men, of any of the ships or vessels of the United States taken by an enemy, who shall appear by the sentence of a court martial, or otherwise, to have done their utmost to preserve and defend their ship or vessel, and, after the taking thereof, have behaved themselves obediently to their superiors, agreeably to the discipline of the navy, shall go on and be paid them until their death, exchange, or discharge.

To whom the proceeds of prizes shall accrue.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the proceeds of all ships and vessels, and the goods taken on board of them, which shall be adjudged good prize, shall, when of equal or superior force to the vessel or vessels making the capture, be the sole property of the captors; and when of inferior force, shall be divided equally between the United States and the officers and men making the capture.

Distribution of prize money.Sec. 6. And be it [further] enacted, That the prize money, belonging to the officers and men, shall be distributed in the following manner:

I. To the commanding officers of fleets, squadrons, or single ships, three twentieths, of which the commanding officer of the fleet or squadron shall have one twentieth, if the prize be taken by a ship or vessel acting under his command, and the commander of single ships, two twentieths; but where the prize is taken by a ship acting independently of such superior officer, the three twentieths shall belong to her commander.

II. To sea lieutenants, captains of marines, and sailing masters, two twentieths; but where there is a captain, without a lieutenant of marines, these officers shall be entitled to two twentieths and one third of a twentieth, which third, in such case, shall be deducted from the share of the officers mentioned in article No. III. of this section.

III. To chaplains, lieutenants of marines, surgeons, pursers, boatswains, gunners, carpenters, and master’s mates, two twentieths.

IV. To midshipmen, surgeon’s mates, captain’s clerks, schoolmasters, boatswain’s mates, gunner’s mates, carpenter’s mates, ship’s stewards, sail-makers, masters at arms, armorers, cockswains, and coopers, three twentieths and an half.

V. To gunner’s yeomen, boatswain’s yeomen, quartermasters, quartergunners, sail maker’s mates, sergeants and corporals of marines, drummers, fifers and extra petty officers, two twentieths and an half. VI. To seamen, ordinary seamen, marines, and all other persons doing duty on board, seven twentieths.

VII. Whenever one or more public ships or vessels are in sight at the time any one or more ships are taking a prize or prizes, they shall all share equally in the prize or prizes, according to the number of men and guns on board each ship in sight.

No commander of a fleet or squadron shall be entitled to receive any share of prizes taken by vessels not under his immediate command; nor of such prizes as may have been taken by ships or vessels intended to be placed under his command, before they have acted under his immediate orders; nor shall a commander of a fleet or squadron, leaving the station where he had the command, have any share in the prizes taken by ships left on such station, after he has gone out of the limits of his said command.

Bounty given in certain cases.Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That a bounty shall be paid by the United States, of twenty dollars for each person on board any ship of an enemy at the commencement of an engagement, which shall be sunk or destroyed by any ship or vessel belonging to the United States of equal or inferior force, the same to be divided among the officers and crew in the same manner as prize money.

Pensions to persons disabled in the service.Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That every officer, seaman, or marine, disabled in the line of his duty, shall be entitled to receive for life, or during his disability, a pension from the United States according to the nature and degree of his disability, not exceeding one half his monthly pay.

Appropriation of the part of captured property belonging to the United States.Sec. 9. And be it [further] enacted, That all money accruing, or which has already accrued to the United States from the sale of prizes, shall be and remain forever a fund for the payment of pensions and half pay, should the same be hereafter granted, to the officers and seamen who may be entitled to receive the same; and if the said fund shall be insufficient for the purpose, the public faith is hereby pledged to make up the deficiency; but if it should be more than sufficient, the surplus shall be applied to the making of further provision for the comfort of the disabled officers, seamen, and marines, and for such as, though not disabled, may merit by their bravery, or long and faithful services, the gratitude of their country.

Management of the navy fund.Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That the said fund shall be under the management and direction of the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of War, for the time being, who are hereby authorized to receive any sums to which the United States may be entitled from the sale of prizes, and employ and invest the same, and the interest arising therefrom, in any manner which a majority of them may deem most advantageous. And it shall be the duty of the said commissioners to lay before Congress, annually, in the first week of their session, a minute statement of their proceedings relative to the management of said fund.

Repeal of the former act.
1799, ch. 24.
Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That the act passed the second day of March, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine, intituled “An act for the government of the navy of the United States,” from and after the first day of June next, shall be, and hereby is repealed.

Approved, April 23, 1800.


  1. So in original. Perhaps inattention is meant.