On This Day in History -
Adams borrowed heavily from existing British naval rules. In fact, the first seven articles of Adams' Rules are taken almost verbatim from "Rules of Discipline and good Government to be observed on board His Majesty's Ships of War," the British naval guidelines since 1730. The main difference is that wherever the British articles said "His Majesty's Ships," Adams changed it to "ships of the Thirteen United Colonies."
Adams' Rules contain 41 articles altogether. They deal with such things as food rations, how to deal with crimes and dereliction of duty on board ship, the proper conduct of officers, the proper care of injured seamen, how to deal with captured ships and how to deal with mutiny and sedition. The Rules also contained strict guidelines about personal behavior, forbidding "dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices," requiring regular church services on board ship and punishment for swearing, cursing, blaspheming God and drunkenness.
"Rules for the Regulation of the Navy" formed the basis of all naval regulations in the United States for decades to come, many of the articles being passed nearly word for word into future naval regulations.
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