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English Letters of Marque Against Spain,
James I, 1625


Imprimis, That all merchants and others who shall desire to have letters of reprizall for the takinge and detaininge of ships and goods of the Kinge of Spaine, or his subjects, shall first make proof or exhibitt such information before the Lord Admirall, or his leeftenant judge of the Admiraltye, or either of them respectively, as they shall thinke fitt and agreeable to his Majestye's intention, that their shipps and goods have bin taken out and detained from them, and that their losses and damages have bin such as they pretende to have susteined.

Item, That it shalbee lawfull for the merchants and others authorized by letters of Reprisall to sett uppon by force of armes, and to take and apprehende uppon the seas, or uppon any river, or in any porte or creeke, the shipps and goods of the Kinge of Spaine, or any his subjects whatsoever.

Item, That the said merchants, and others, shall give bond before the said Lord Admirall, or his leeftenant judge of the Admiraltye, that they and every of them shall bringe such shipps and goods, which they shall soe take and apprehende, to some such porte of his Majestye's realme as shalbee most convenent for them.

Item, That all shipps and merchandise taken by vertue of any commission aforesaide shalbee kepte in safetye, and noe parte of them solde, spoiled, wasted, diminished, or the bulke thereof broken, untill judgment hath firste passed in the highe courte of Admiralty that the said goods are lawfull prize; otherwise the said commission to bee voyed, as well to the taker, as to all others that shall buy or intermeddle with the said goods, or any parte of them.

Item, That yf, by reason of opposition in the adjudication of the shipps and goods taken for lawfull prize, there bee necessitye, before the adjudication, to sell them because they bee peritura, and servando sine damno servari non possunt, in this case the judge of the Admiralty shall graunte commission to take a true Inventory and Appraisement thereof by five honest and sufficient men, and sell the same plus offerenti, and to returne the proceed, together with the said Inventory and Appraisement into the courte of Admiralty, there to remaine to the use of them to whom of righte they shalbee adjudged to appertaine.

Item, That those merchants, and others, which shall have the said letters of Reprizall, shall not attempte any thinge against any of his Majestye's lovinge subjects, or the subjects of any other Prince or state in good league and amitye with his Majestye, but only against the Kinge of Spaine, and his subjects.

Item, That after adjudication passed in the highe courte of Admiraltye as aforesaid, it shalbee lawfull for the merchants and others to keepe such and soe many shippes, goods, and merchandise as aforesaid, as shalbee adjudged unto them, in their possession, and to make sale and dispose therof in open market, or howsoever ells, to their best advantage and benefitt, in as ample manner as at any tyme heretofore hath beene accustomed by way of Reprizall, and to have and injoye the same, as lawfull prizes, and as their own goods.

Item, That all and every of his Majestye's subjects, or any other person who shall, either in his owne person serve, or otherwise beare any chardge or adventure, or in any sorte further and sett forward the said enterprise, according to the Articles, shall not in any manner of wise bee reputed or challenged for any offender againste anye of his Majestye's lawes, but shall stande and bee by vertue of the said commission from the said Lord Admirall free and freed, under his Majestye's protection, of and from all trouble and vexation that might in any wise growe thereby.

Item, That yt shalbee lawfull for all manner of persons, as well his Majestye's subjects, as any other, to buy of the said goods or merchandise soe taken and apprehended by the said merchants and others, and adjudged for lawfull prize, as is aforesaid, without any daunger, losse, hindrance, trouble, molestation, or incumbrance, to befall the said buyers, or any of them, and in as ample and lawfull manner as if the said goods had bin comen by through the lawfull trafficq of merchants, or as juste prizes in the tyme of open war.

Item, That the said merchants, and others, before the takinge of the said commission, shall give notice to the Lord Admirall or to his leeftenante judge of the Admiralty, of the name of the shipp, and her tonnage or burthen, and the name of the captaine or owner of the said shipp, with the number of mariners and men in her, and for what tyme they are victualled, and alsoe of their ordnaunce, furniture, and municon, to the intent that there may bee an accompte made therof at their returne.


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