Cowardice

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Related to coward: Noel Coward

COWARDICE. Pusillanimity; fear.
     2. By the act for the better government of the navy of the United States, passed April 21, 1800, 1 Story, L. U. S. 761; it is enacted, art. 5, "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.
     3.-Art. 6. "Every officer or private who shall, through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, in the 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 endeavor 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."
     4. By the act for establishing rules and articles for the government of the armies of the United States, passed April 10, 1806, it is enacted, art. 52, "any officer or soldier, who shall misbehave himself before the enemy, run away, or shamefully abandon any fort, post, or guard, which he or they may be commanded to defend, or speak, words inducing others to do the like, or shall cast away his arms and ammunition, or who shall quit his post or colors to plunder and pillage, every such offender, being duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a general court martial."

References in classic literature ?
The King of Beasts shouldn't be a coward," said the Scarecrow.
"Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not be a coward."
"They really are," said the Lion, "but that doesn't make me any braver, and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy."
This I saw, and knew thee for a coward. But I saw thee not, that night, when all thy people - yea, even the boys not yet hunters - fell upon the Russians and slew them all."
"In the day I saw thee a coward; in the night, when all men fought, even the boys not yet hunters, I saw thee not and knew thee doubly a coward."
"Know then that Negore is no coward," he said; and his speech was very low and quiet.
Also, thy people do call thee Negore, the Coward. It is thy name now, Negore, the Coward."
Even now are they upon the trail, and I am here, Negore, but no coward."
Albert de Morcerf is no coward!" said Monte Cristo.
"A man who holds a sword in his hand, and sees a mortal enemy within reach of that sword, and does not fight, is a coward! Why is he not here that I may tell him so?"
"Are all my chieftains cowards and cravens?" he demanded presently in sneering tones.
"You say that you are a coward," she said, "and yet you have done all this to save me?