English Letter of Reprisal Against France, 1411

The King to all and singular Admirals &c., Greeting. Our well-beloved lieges, William Bentelee, Stephen Destmaux, John Aubyn, Nicholas Brigges, Gilbert Destmaux, and Thomas Weddesbury, and many others of their company, have informed us, with grievous complaints, that on Good Friday in the eleventh year of our reign, whilst they were at sea in a hulk of Zealand, in company with another vessel, which they were bringing to our realm of England, laden with wines to be sold there in the way of trade, there being then a truce between our adversary of France and ourselves, they, our lieges aforesaid, together with the aforesaid hulk and the wines in her, were captured by certain of our enemies of the parts of Normandy, [namely,] the lord of Pons, in violation of the aforesaid truce; and although of late many applications have been made to those of our adversary whom it concerned for the restoration to our lieges aforesaid of their vessels, wines, and other goods and merchandises, as well by our Admiral of England as by the venerable father in Christ, the bishop of St. Davids, and our well-beloved clerk, master John Catryk, our ambassadors sent of late to France under authority of letters addressed to them under our privy seal, nevertheless our lieges aforesaid have altogether failed to obtain justice in this matter, and hitherto justice has not been done to them, as will more fully appear by a public instrument thereon made; Now we, in consideration of the losses and injuries done, as aforesaid, to our said lieges, have granted unto them letters of marque and reprisal, to the end that they be empowered to capture the bodies and goods of any of our enemies of France, wheresoever they may be found, whereby they may have a reasonable chance of obtaining recompense for the loss of their vessels, wines, goods, merchandise, and other things, or their true value, together with their money losses, costs, and expenses, which, as we hear, are estimated to reach 5250 marks; and that our aforesaid lieges may be empowered to have and hold the bodies and goods of our enemies aforesaid, and to dispose of the same at their will, until restitution shall have been made to them as aforesaid, and that without claim or hindrance being made by us or our heirs, or by the officers or ministers of us, or our heirs, whosoever they may be. In witness, &c.

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