Commission of a Spanish Guarda Costa
16 April 1729
By Don Dionysio Martines de la Vega, Brigadier in His Majesty's army, His Governor and Captain General of this city of the Havanna, and island of cuba &c.
Whereas Captain Don Felix Joseph da Costa Hurtado junior hath made his request to me, that I would grant him liberty in the same manner as has been done to other Captains fitted out to sea in a warlike manner as privateers to cruise on the seas on the coasts, havens, bays, or anchoring places round the island of Cuba; Now know ye that by virtue of the power and authority granted unto me in a schedule of the 6th of June 1728, and a written order of the 20th of November 1727 from the most illustrious lord Don Joseph Palmo, of His Majesty's Council, Secretary of State, Marine, and the Indies; Also having weighed the several good qualitys, as well of valour, experience, and practice, not only in naval but in military affairs conspicuous in the above mentioned captain; and he being actually in possession of a sloop now in this port called the Santa Rita, and the souls armed with six guns, six patereros, seventy musquets, with ammunition proportionable, carrying eighty men completed and victualled; By these presents, in the royal name of His Majesty, (whom God preserve), and in conformity to the above mentioned schedule royal and written order, I constitute and name the said Captain Don Felix de Hurtado, and do hereby authorise him to arm out in a warlike manner the said sloop, whereby he may exercise that office or function in that sloop or embarcation, which he shall think necessary to depute or substitute against those who shall traffick in these seas, loaded or loading with logwood or other woods for dying, in the ports, and upon the coasts of our lord the king, and against any other embarcations who shall introduce or trade in prohibited goods, as well under sail as at an anchor, in the ports, bays, or other places frequented by any shipping upon the island of Cuba; And in the same manner, if he shall find upon the said coasts any notorious pirates that do infest the same, he has in that case liberty granted him to levy men in that same place, as well as in any other parts of this island, by publick proclamation in conformity to the usual practice; And having made capture of any prise or prises, he is either to send them or bring them to this port of the Havanna, having no lawful impediment to the contrary; and, after a judicial condemnation, the whole value of the prise or prises may be distributed between the captain and his people, and those at whose charge the privateer was fitted out; the enjoyment whereof I yield to them in conformity to the above mentioned royal orders; And for execution of the whole I grant unto them all necessary power and authority; And I do hereby strictly enjoyn all the men already levied for the abovementioned sloop to receive and obey for their captain, armed out as a privateer, the already mentioned Don Felix Joseph de la Costa Hurtado, and from this time forward, in the name of His Majesty, (whom God preserve), and by virtue of his royal authority I do appoint, and he is hereby appointed to use and to execute this his employ with all the essential privileges, enjoyments, and emoluments annexed thereunto, without the least diminution; And I ordain his orders to be obeyed, not only by writing, but by word of mouth, in the same manner as if they had been wrote or spoke to by myself under the penalty of severe chastisement to those who shall act anything to the contrary. And if by any accident of wind or weather he shall meet with any squadrons of ships of war of his Majesty, and if he shall arrive into any of the ports of his dominions, it is my request and desire of all general officers, judges, and courts of justice that they shall give all favour and assistance that may be asked and thought needful for the abovementioned Captain fitted out in a warlike manner, taking care that he may be supplied with ammunition and provisions at the currant prices at the places where he shall arrive. And having given, and being also offered for his security Don Miguel d'Isagora, a substantial person inhabiting near this town, the same received before and executed in the presence of the principal secretary of the said captain, by virtue of this patent, may carry the colours usually carried by virtue of such a commission, which I have ordered to be delivered to him. Signed with my own hand, sealed with my own coat of arms, and countersigned by the secretary of the government and war, who is to enter a copy of the same in his office, and to make a remark at the bottom of it of the proffered abovementioned security, that the same may appear. Done at the Havanna, 16th of April 1729 N.S.
Don Dionysio De Martines De La Vega