Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!

Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Virginia Proclamation Against Pirates

I owe a big thank you this week to Jennifer M. Huff, Reference Department Coordinator of the Virginia Historical Society, for providing me with a copy of this act. 
Dated during the period of April 1699, it is from The Statutes at Large, being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619, by William Waller Hening. 
I tried to preserve as much of the original spelling as I could. I think seeing the original spellings adds to the interest of reading the text. Enjoy!

An Act for restraining and punishing of Pirates and Privateers

WHEREAS nothing can more conduce to the honour of his most sacred majesty then that such articles of peace as are concluded in all treaties should be kept and preserved inviolable by his majestyes subjects in and over all his majestyes territories and dominions and forasmuch as great mischief and depredations are dayly done upon the high seas by pyrates privateers and sea robers in not onely takeing and pillaging severall ships and vessels belonging to his majestyes subjects but also in takeing, destroying and robing severall ships belonging to the subjects of foreigne princes in leage and amity with his majesty-     
          Be it therefore enacted by the Governour, Counsell and Burgesses of this present Generall assembly, and the authority thereof, and it is hereby enacted, That if any pirates, privateers or sea robers, or any other persons suspected to be such shall land and put on shoar in any port or place in this his majestyes colony and dominon upon notice given or knowledge thereof, all officers civill and military are hereby required and impowered to raise and levy such a number of well armed men as he or they shall judge necessary for the seizing, apprehending and carrying to gal of all and every such person or persons, and in case of  any resistance or rrefusalto yield obedience to his majestyes authority it shall be lawfull to kill or destroy such person or persons and all and every person or persons that shall oppose or resist the said authority by strikeing or fireing upon any person in execution of this act, shall be deemed taken and adjudged as fellons without benefit of clergy, and every such officer that shall omit or neglect his duty therein and being lawfully convicted shall for every such offence forfeit fifty pounds sterling, one moiety to our sovereign Lord the king, his heirs and successors for and towards the better support of the government and the contingent charges thereof, and the other moiety to him that shall sue or informe for the same in any court of record in this his majestyes colony and dominion, in which no essoigne protection or wager of law shall be allowed. And for the better and morespeedy execution of justice upon such who having committed treasons, pirieyes, felloneyes, or other offences upon the sea, and shall be apprehended or brought prisoners to this his majestyes colony and dominion,
          Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all treassons, fellonyes, piracyes, robberies, murders or other capitall offences that shall be committed upon the high seas or in any river, havens , creek or bay where the admiral hath jurisdiction, shall be enquired, tried, heared, determined, judged and execution awarded and done within this his majestyes colony and dominion in such forme as if such offence had been committed in and upon the land of this his majestyes collony and dominion. And to that end and purpose the governor or commander in chief of this his majestyes colony and dominion for the time being, is hereby desired and impowered to issue out commissions of oyer and terminer under his hand, and his majestyes seal of this his colony and dominion directed to the judge or judges of the admiralty of this his majestyes colony and dominion for the time being and to such other substanciall persons as he shall think fit to nominate and appoint, which said commissioners or such a quorum of them as by such commission shall be thereunto authorized shall have as full ample power and authority to hear and determine, adjudge and punish all and any the crimes and offences aforesaid as any commissioners under the great seale of England by virtue of a statute made in the twenty-eighth year of the reigne of King Henry the eighth might or could do and execute within the kingdom of England, and that such offenders which are or shall be apprehended in or brought prisoners to this his majestyes colony and dominion shall be lyable to such order, process, judgements and execution by virtue of such commission to be grounded upon this act as might be awarded or given against them if they were proceeded against within the realm of England by virtue of any such commission grounded upon the said statute.
          And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all and every person or persons that shall knowingly or willfully conceal, entertaine, harbor trade or hold any correspondence by letter or otherwise with any person or persons that shall be deemed or adjudged to be pirates, privateers or other offenders within the constructions of this act and shall not readily endeavor to the best of his or their power to apprehend or cause to be apprehended such offender or offenders shall be lyable to be prosecuted as accessaryes to the said offences and confederates with the said offenders and to suffer such pains and penalties as in such cases by law is provided.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Proclamation against Pirates, 1569

A Proclamation agaynst the maintenaunce of Pirates.
Elizabeth I

Note on the e-text: this Renascence Edition was transcribed in July 2002 by Heather Ward, University of Oregon Libraries, from the 1569 text. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2002 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher, rbear[at]uoregon.edu.

By the Queene.
A Proclamation agaynst the maintenaunce of Pirates.
THE Queenes Maiestie vnderstandeth, that although by her former commaundementes notified by proclamation to all her subiectes, and namely to her officers in her Portes, for the staying, ceassing, and suppressing of all occasions of piracies: yet some numbers of vessels armed with certayne disordered persons mixt of sundry nations, do still haunt the narowe seas, and resort secretly into small Creekes and obscure places of this Realme for reliefe of vitayles, and suche lyke: And for their better defence to escape apprehension, do colourably pretende that they be licenced to serue on the seas, and are not to be accompted culpable as pirates. For remedie whereof, and to the intent no maner of pretext shall serue eyther suche persons to commit piracies, or any other that shall relieue them for priuate gayne or fauour by fayned colours or pretence of ignoraunce: Her Maiestie straightly chargeth and commaundeth all maner officers and ministers, hauying rule and charge within any Port towne, or hauying aucthoritie to make deputies vnder them in any Creeke or landing place whersoeuer the same be, that from hencefoorth no maner of person comming from the sea, be suffred to haue any vittayle, munition, or any other reliefe for hym selfe, his company, or vessell, except it be suche as are notoriously knowen to apparteyne to marchauntes shippes, passengers, or fishermen, hauing neede thereof. Neyther that any person do bye or receaue any wares or goodes of any person directly or indirectly comming from the seas, vntyll the same wares or goodes be brought and landed openly according to the lawes of the Realme in places accustomed, with consent of the officers of the customes, and that all dueties be first payde for the same, accordying to the vsage of marchauntes, vppon payne that whosoeuer shall do the contrarie, or be consentyng thereto, shalbe vppon due information committed to prison, there to remayne without bayle, vntyll inquisition be made (accordyng to the lawes of this Realme) of them and their factes, as in cases of piracies, and to be adiudged and executed as pirates, as by lawe shalbe ordered. And whosoeuer shall geue information hereof agaynst any officer of the customes, or any their deputies, and shalbe able to proue the same, if any wise the Infourmer be meete to exercise the same office, they shall inioy the same, or otherwyse shalbe duely and liberally recompensed accordyng to their demerites.    

     Furthermore her Maiestie wylleth and commaundeth all maner her officers, and specially Wardens of Portes, Uiceadmiralles, Constables, or Capitaynes of Castles vpon the seas, and al other hauying any office in Port townes or places of landyng, that they shall foorth with, as they wyll aunswere at their vttermost peryll, to do theyr vttermost in their iurisdictions to enquire, lay wayte, and thereby apprehende al maner of persons that do haunt the seas with any kynde of vessels armed, beying not an apparaunt marchaunt, and vtterly to stay all others makying preparation therto, and their vessels, other then such only as shalbe openly knowne to be ordinarie marchauntes, passengers, or vsuall fisshermen: And not from hencefoorth to alowe or admit any allegation of licence to sayle vpon the seas with any vessell armed, but suche as are notoriously belongyng to her Maiestie, and may be sent to the seas for keping the same free from pirates. And if any maner of person shall herein be founde culpable, or manyfestly negligent: her Maiestie letteth them certaynely to vnderstande, that their punishment shalbe pursued agaynst them with such seueritie, as the example thereof shall hereafter remayne for others to beware howe in suche cases to offende.
       Gyuen at Otelande the thyrde day of August, 1569, in the eleuenth yere of her
       Maiesties raigne.
God saue the Queene.
Imprinted at London in Powles
Churchyarde, by Richarde Iugge and Iohn Cawood,
Printers to the Queenes Maiestie.

Source: http://www.luminarium.org/renascence-editions/eliz3.html

Friday, October 6, 2017

HMS Scarborough almost captures Sam Bellamy

Thanks to Baylus Brooks, who found this document. I agree with him that this appears to be the event where Hume almost captured Samuel Bellamy.

Secrétariat d'État à la Marine - Correspondance à l'arrivée en provenance de la Martinique 1716-1717 : La Varenne (Antoine d'Arcy de), gouverneur général des îles du Vent  ◾ Mémoires, états et documents divers  ◦ Course, flibuste et piraterie

Extraits d'une information relative aux forbans détruits par le capitaine Hums, commandant la frégate anglaise Scarborough ([1717])

Cote de référence
FR ANOM COL C8A 22 F° 52

Excerpts from information about the pirates destroyed by Captain Hume, commander of the English frigate Scarborough ([1717])

feuilles 99-100:

Excerpt from the information I received concerning the pirates destroyed by Mr. Hume, Commanding the Scarborough ship of the King my master.

On the 6th of January, old Stile, the said Captain Hume made his way from Antigua to go after the pirates. We have a news that he had met in a harbor of St. Croix Island a vessel which had ninety men on board, which, ascending from St. Thomas, had encountered a negro vessel which he had taken and brought with him into a harbor of St. Thomas, where he had met a small vessel commanded by a Mr. Mitleton of the dependency of St. Christopher or the other little isles, which he took and obliged the master of the said vessel to steer it into a St. Croix harbor intended to prepare this vessel for their use, and forced the said Mitleton to serve them because he is Carpenter and pilot promising to give him as reward ten Negros for him to make all possible diligence.

But so soon as the said vessel was refitted and careened, Mr. Hume arrived happily in this harbor, and seeing that they could not retreat their vessel and boat, they sank their boats between our ship as many as they and the rest went on board the boat belonging to Mitleton, who had the favor of night, and drawing little water from the said harbor, and that those who had gone on board his vessel had set fire to it, jump into the air, hence we conjecture that they have almost all paid, but we are not certain of the quantity. You may be sure that this news is true, as many people have assured me, and having spoken to Mr. Mitleton after this action, which was known on board our ship before the pirate jumped into the air. We are not at first on board their ship, from whence it came, or whither it was, there was no nation whatsoever.

Signed Hamilton

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thomas Davis article, part two

Part Two of my article about Thomas Davis, a forced carpenter on the Whydah Galley, is now online!

You may read it here:

Thomas Davis, Reluctant carpenter to the Pirates, Part Two

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Memorial of Monsr. Moret

In my blog post of April 1, 2017, I posted testimony from a David Johnson, mariner, asking for reimbursement of his losses after his vessel was captured by a Monsieur Norat, who had a commission out of Trinidado.

I did some further digging into this Norat, and it seems that his last name might actually be Honorat. So the following memorial may possibly concern the same privateer that was mentioned in my April 1st blog post:

"Memorial of Monsr. Moret" [n.d.] Jamaican Council Minutes, ff.17-23.

            To his Excellency Peter Heywood Esqr. his Majestie's Captain General and Governor in Chief in & over this Island of Jamaica &c.
            May it please Your Excellency,
            Moret, Capt. of a Company of Infantry at St. Domingo, has transported himself from thence to this Island of Jamaica by Command of His Excellency the Count of Blenac Governour and Lieutenant General for his most Christian Majesty of the french Colonies and Windward Islands of America, In order to have the honour to inform Your Excellency and in his name to demand Justice relating to very many Hostilities (or as I rather say Pyracies) that the Vessels Arm'd in Your Ports under the Commision of My Lord Hamilton late Governor of Jamaica do daily commit in those seas on french vessels.
            In the month of November last the Sloop Called the Adventure belonging to Monsieur De Nolivos Captain of Infantry laden with 40,000 Livers Tornois worth and upwards of Merchandises, was pillaged on his Voyage in sight of the Island of Cuba, by an English Sloop commanded by one Capt. James having forty men of his Crew, and the said goods and merchandizes were unladen at Jamaica pursuant to a Declaration and Oath thereof made before the Notary or Officer thereto lawfully empowered at Petit Goave.

            The third of April last the Frigott called the St. Mary belonging to the Port of Rochell commanded by Capt. D'Escoubet, being at Anchor in the said Port of Baya Honda in the Island of Cuba in order to provide himself with wood and water was attacked by five English Sloops and Two Peraguas  under English Colours the Captains of which Sloops and peraguas assured the said D'Escoubet on their arrival there that they came for no other interest but to water as he did; The lading of the said frigott being very rich in Merchandize besides 30,000 pieces of Eight in Silver which the said Sieur D'Escoubet (Jealous of the ill designs of the said Sloops) ordered to be convoyed ashore and hid, But the said Pyrates having some suspicion thereof Tormented the Crew to that Inhumane degree that they extorted after the Vilest manner from them a discovery where the said mony lay, of which the Pyrates immediately possessed themselves, Your Excellency may see all those accusations more at large set forth in the Declaration hereunto annexed by the said D'Escoubet made and legally and Judicially Affirm'd by his Crew; It is evident that those Vessels were armed and equipped in the Ports of Jamaica which appears by the Minute or Journal hereunto annexed; imported by a Letter that the said Pyrates obliged the said D'Escoubet to write, directed to my Lord Hamilton the then Governor of Jamaica, in which letter is mentioned the names of the several Captains which commanded said Sloops, His Excy. the Count of Blenac has been likewise informed that the said Pyrates had the rashness and boldness to send to this Island a considerable quantity of said Merchandizes, and unladed the same ­­­­______ and clandestinely in the night.
            The seventh of April last a french Sloop belonging to the Coast of St. Domingo called the Mariane commanded by Monsieur Gardew Ensign of one of the King's Ships my Lord and Master, being at Anchor in the port called Mariana  in the said Island of Cuba, did send his Peragua to the said Port of Bay:honda, commanded by Monsieur de ______  his Lieutenant in order to treat with the said Captain D'Escoubet who was two days before taken Prisoner and his Frigott made Prize of, by the said five English vessels and two peraguas arm'd in warlike manner; which said french Peragua was with her Commander the said De ______  taken on board also of and by one Captain Jennings Commander in Chief of the said five Pyratical Sloops and Two peraguas, and being so as aforesaid Captive on board was by several Torments and inflicted punishments compelled to tell where the said vessel the Mariane then lay, upon which the said Capt. Jennings did instantly dispatch one of the said Five Pyratical vessels, and the said two Peraguas Armed in Warlike manner to take and make Prize of the sd. Sloop Mariane which was accordingly _____  & sailed the day following, and on his the said Pyrate's voyage to the said Port with design aforesaid to take the said vessel the Mariane did meet one other English vessel likewise a Pyrate  which Joined with the other to take the Said Monsieur Gardew who is here present from whom viva voce Your Excellency may understand from what he shall be able manifestly to make appear to You the Barbarity wherewith he was used and the oftentimes he was in imminent danger of his life.
            There is likewise a very Considerable matter to be observed on this occasion, and that is this that one Man named Honorat heretofore Master of the said vessel named the Adventure, and who was in the Said vessel the Mariane at the time of her Capture was known by the said Captain of the Pyratt name'd James. He the said Honorat being in the said Vessel named the Adventure when she was robbed and plunder'd by the said Capt. James; in manner that it gave the said James occasion to say that he the said Honorat was very unfortunate to fall twice into his hands in so little a time.
            Another fact is that the said James after having plunder'd the said vessel named the Adventure, did quit the vessel he at that time ______, having also landed the said pillaged merchandizes on the North side of this Island and then _______ one much bigger being Armed with one hundred and thirty men & eight guns.
  It appears by the several Instruments in writing duly taken of which I am Bearer that the Vessel the Mariane aforemen­tioned belongs to the said Monsieur Nolivos and was laden and really worth when taken with above the value of 200,000 Livers Turneys for account of the Owners of said Vessel, without mention­ing and over and above other goods which belonged to the Officers of the said Sloop, which were of a pretty considerable value.
            More, I am charged to represent to your Excy. the Capture of a Sloop Laden with snuff, together with 4000 peices of Eight which was taken by a Peragua armed in these Ports Commanded by Captain Jacobs, which Sloop was laden by Monsieur Dejanche Director of the French Assiento in Havanna bound for Cape St. Francois; which said Snuff and mony did directly appertain to the late French Assiento who are withdrawing and transporting their Effects out of all the Spanish Ports in conformity to the Stipulations in that case made The Count of Blenac is informed that the said Snuff was unladen and deposited in safe Custody, Therefore I well hope (being intirely satisfied of Your Excy's Justice) for the restitution of the said Effects and Satisfactions for all the Costs, Losses and Damages sustained on this occasion.
            Before we should Signify the Tydings of soe many Pyracies, and unpresidented Robberies and Depredations to the King our master, The Count of Blenac had judged it proper to complain and make known to Your Excelly. the said several Grievances, And he is full convinced that besides the said Detestable hostilities committed in time of the proclama. of Peace, And which are hereby come to Your Excellency's Knowledge, there are very many more such ________ crimes committed and daily repeated which have not yet reached your Excellency's Knowledge and who are out of the reach of Justice, In which desperate Juncture of Affairs he does not doubt but that without loss of time Your Excellency will be pleased to employ Your utmost diligence, care and Authority to detect and punish the Authors of such Villanies under Your Government together with their Accomplices and Adherents as well in their persons as goods And particularly to oblige those that made, and were any ways concer­n'd in the Armament or Equipment of the said Pyratical Vessels to the reparation and making Satisfaction in their proper persons of and for all the losses, damages and costs that the said Pyratical Vessels have occasioned to and committed on the French Nation. 

The rather because we humbly conceive that by all Laws the Owners and Securities of the said Pyratical Vessels are lyable to and accountable for all the Unlawful Acts, Thefts, and Robberies of this Nature by their Captains severally committed, therefore I am now to pray  May it please Your Excellency for the confiscation and Condemnation of the Vessel Mary, and the Imprisonment and due prosecution against the Captain of said Vessel called the Mary named Ashworth and his Crew; who have Entred in this Port in the night of the 28th July _____, which said Sloop Mary is one of the said five Pyratical Sloops that together with the said two peraguas committed the herein complained of Hostilities at Bayo Honda   wee therefore humbly pray Your Excellency for immediate Justice in the premises such as shall be most agreeable to Your wisdom, and best for our satisfaction and relief, protesting on the Part of Monsieur the Count of Blenac that he will forget nothing that shall _____ in his Government to continue and cultivate the Peace Union and good Agreement that is between the British and french Nations. For my part I embraced the Messages which he had been so favourable to Honour me with much ardour having thereby procured me the Occasion of Assuring Your Excelly of my humble respects and Due Obedience.