William and Mary, 1688: An Act for punishing Officers or Soldiers who shall Mutiny or Desert Their Majestyes Service. [Chapter V. Rot. Parl. pt. 5. nu. 2.]

Pages 55-56

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 6, 1685-94. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.

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In this section

WHEREAS the raising or keeping a Standing Army within this Kingdome in time of Peace unlesse it be with Consent of Parlyament is against Law And whereas it is judged necessary by Their Majestyes and this present Parliament That dureing this time of Danger severall of the Forces which are now on foote should be continued and others raised for the Safety of the Kingdome for the Common Defence of the Protestant Religion and for the reduceing of Ireland

And whereas noe Man may be forejudged of Life or Limbe or subjected to any kinde of punishment by Martiall Law or in any other manner then by the Judgement of his Peeres and according to the knowne and Established Laws of this Realme Yet neverthelesse it being requisite for retaineing such Forces as are or shall be raised dureing this Exigence of Affaires in their Duty an exact Discipline be observed And that Soldiers who shall Mutiny or stirr up Sedition or shall desert Their Majestyes Service be brought to a more Exemplary and speedy Punishment then the usuall Forms of Law will allow


Exciting Mutiny.; Punishment.

Bee it therefore Enacted by the King and Queenes most Excellent Majestyes by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parlyament Assembled and by Authoritie of the same That from and after the Twelfth day of Aprill in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty nine every Person being in Their Majestyes Service in the Army and being Mustered and in Pay as an Officer or Soldier who shall at any time before the Tenth Day of November in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty nine Excite Cause or Joyne in any Mutiny or Sedition in the Army or shall desert Their Majestyes Service in the Army shall suffer Death or such other Punishment as by a Court-Martiall shall be Inflicted

III. Crown may grant Commissions to call Court Martials.

And it is hereby further Enacted and Declared That Their Majestyes or the Generall of Their Army for the time being may by vertue of this Act have full Power and Authority to grant Commissions to any Lieftenants Generall or other Officers not under the Degree of Collonells from time to time to Call and Assemble Court Martialls for Punishing such Offences as aforesaid

IV. Number of Members.

And it is hereby further Enacted and Declared That noe Court Martiall which shall have power to inflict any punishment by vertue of this Act for the Offences aforesaid shall consist of fewer then thirteene whereof none to be under the degree of Captaines.

V. Field Officers how tried.

Court may administer Oath.

Provided alwayes That noe Field Officer be Tryed by other then Field Officers And that such Court Martiall shall have Power and Authoritie to administer an Oath to any Witnesse in order to the Examination or Tryall of the Offences aforesaid

VI. Proviso for ordinary Process of Law.

Provided alwayes That nothing in this Act contained shall extend or be construed to Exempt any Officer or Soldier whatsoever from the Ordinary Processe of Law

VII. Act not to extend to Militia.

Provided alwayes That this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend or be any wayes construed to extend to or concerne any the Militia Forces of this Kingdome

VIII. Act in force till 10th Nov. 1689.

Provided alsoe that this Act shall continue and be in Force untill the said Tenth day of November in the said Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty nine and noe longer

IX. Members of Court Martial to take an Oath.

[Provided alwayes and bee it enacted That in all Tryalls of Offenders by Courts Martiall to be held by vertue of this Act where the Offence may be punished by death every Officer present at such Tryall before any Proceeding be had thereupon shall take an Oath upon the Evangelists before the Court (and the Judge Advocate or his Deputy shall and are hereby respectively Authorized to Administer the same) in these words That is to say


You shall well and truely Try and Determine according to your Evidence the Matter now before you betweene Our Soveraigne Lord and Lady the King and Queens Majestyes and the Prisoner to be Tryed. Soe helpe you God.

X. Where Sentence of Death given, Number of Majority of Officers.

And noe Sentence of Death shall be given [against (fn. 1) ] any Offender in such Case by any Court Martiall unlesse nine of Thirteene Officers present shall concurr therein And if there be a greater number of Officers present then the Judgement shall passe by the concurrence of the greater part of them soe Sworne and not otherwise and noe Proceedings Tryall or Sentence of Death shall be had or given against any Offender but betweene the houres of Eight in the Morning and One in the Afternoone. (fn. 2) ]


  • 1. interlined on the Roll.
  • 2. annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.