Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period - Illustrative Documents
Author: Various
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's Notes: This book contains documents written in 17th- and 18th-Century English, Dutch, French, and other languages. Inconsistencies of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and hyphenation have been preserved as they appear in the original. (See the last paragraph of the Preface for the editor's note on this.) A few obvious printer errors in the editor's footnotes have been corrected.

This book contains characters with macrons, which are represented here in brackets with an equal sign, e.g., ā.

The original contains various symbols to represent signature marks. These have been described in brackets, e.g., JOHN [X] SMITH.

The original contains a number of blank spaces to represent missing matter. These are represented here as a series of four hyphens.

In the original, there are a few numbers enclosed in square brackets. They are here enclosed in curly brackets, in order to avoid confusion with the square-bracketed footnote numbers used in this e-text.]
















The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America have formed the laudable habit of illustrating the colonial period of United States history, in which they are especially interested, by published volumes of original historical material, previously unprinted, and relating to that period. Thus in the course of years they have made a large addition to the number of documentary sources available to the student of that period. First they published, in 1906, in two handsome volumes, the Correspondence of William Pitt, when Secretary of State, with Colonial Governors and Military and Naval Commanders in America, edited by the late Miss Gertrude Selwyn Kimball, containing material of great importance to the history of the colonies as a whole, and of the management of the French and Indian War. Next, in 1911 and 1914, they published the two volumes of Professor James C. Ballagh's valuable edition of the Letters of Richard Henry Lee. Then, in 1912, they brought out, again in two volumes, the Correspondence of Governor William Shirley, edited by Dr. Charles H. Lincoln, and illustrating the history of several colonies, particularly those of New England, during the period of what in our colonial history is called King George's War. More recently, in 1916, the Society published an entertaining volume of hitherto unprinted Travels in the American Colonies, edited by Dr. Newton D. Mereness.

It was resolved that the next volume after these should be devoted to documents relating to maritime history. In proportion to its importance, that aspect of our colonial history has in general received too little attention. In time of peace the colonists, nearly all of whom dwelt within a hundred miles of ocean or tidewater, maintained constantly a maritime commerce that had a large importance to their economic life and gave employment to no small part of their population. In time of war, their naval problems and dangers and achievements were hardly less important than those of land warfare, but have been far less exploited, whether in narrative histories or in volumes of documentary materials. Accordingly the Society's Committee on Publication readily acceded to the suggestion that a volume should be made up of documents illustrating the history of privateering and piracy as these stand related to the life of America during the colonial period—for it is agreed that few aspects of our maritime history in that period have greater importance and interest than these two. In some of our colonial wars, as later in those of the Revolution and of 1812, American privateering assumed such proportions as to make it, for brief periods, one of the leading American industries. We cannot quite say the same concerning American piracy, and indeed it might be thought disrespectful to our ancestors—or predecessors, for pirates mostly died young and left few descendants—but at least it will be conceded that piracy at times flourished in American waters, that not a few of the pirates and of those on shore who received their goods and otherwise aided them were Americans, that their activities had an important influence on the development of American commerce, and that documents relative to piracy make interesting reading.

It is a matter for regret and on the editor's part for apology, that the book should have been so long in preparation. Work on it was begun prosperously before our country was engaged in war, but the "spare time" which the editor can command, always slight in amount, was much reduced during the period of warfare. Moreover, the Society, very properly, determined that, so long as war continued, the publication of their volumes and the expenditures now attendant upon printing ought to be postponed in favor of those patriotic undertakings, especially for the relief of suffering, which have made their name grateful to all lovers of the Navy and in all places where the Comfort and the Mercy have sailed.

It may be objected against the plan of this book, that privateering and piracy should not be conjoined in one volume, with documents intermingled in one chronological order, lest the impression be created that piracy and privateering were much the same. It is true that, in theory and in legal definition, they are widely different things and stand on totally different bases. Legally, a privateer is an armed vessel (or its commander) which, in time of war, though owners and officers and crew are private persons, has a commission from a belligerent government to commit acts of warfare on vessels of its enemy. Legally, a pirate is one who commits robbery or other acts of violence on the sea (or on the land through descent from the sea) without having any authority from, and independently of, any organized government or political society. (Fighting and bloodshed and murder, it may be remarked by the way, though natural concomitants of the pirate's trade, are not, as is often supposed, essentials of the crime of piracy.) But wide as is the legal distinction between the authorized warfare of the privateer and the unauthorized violence of the pirate, in practice it was very difficult to keep the privateer and his crew, far from the eye of authority, within the bounds of legal conduct, or to prevent him from broadening out his operations into piracy, especially if a merely privateering cruise was proving unprofitable. Privateering was open to many abuses, and it was not without good reason that the leading powers of Europe, in 1856, by the Declaration of Paris, agreed to its abandonment.

The object of the following collection of documents is not to give the whole history of any episode of piracy or of the career of any privateer, but rather, by appropriate selection, to illustrate, as well as is possible in one volume, all the different aspects of both employments, and to present specimens of all the different sorts of papers to which they gave rise. Nearly all the pieces are documents hitherto unprinted, but a few that have already been printed, mostly in books not easy of access, have been included in order to round out a story or a series. The collection ends with the termination of the last colonial war in 1763. Presented in chronological order, it may have a casual, as it certainly has a miscellaneous, appearance. But variety was intended, and on closer inspection and comparison the selection will be seen to have a more methodical character than at first appears, corresponding to the systematic procedure followed in privateering, in prize cases, and in trials for piracy.

On the outbreak of war in which Great Britain was involved, it was customary for the King to issue a commission to the Lord High Admiral (or to the Lords of the Admiralty appointed to execute that office) authorizing him (or them) to empower proper officials, such as colonial governors, to grant letters of marque, or privateering commissions, to suitable persons under adequate safeguards.[1] The Lords of the Admiralty then issued warrants to the colonial governors (see doc. no. 127), authorizing them to issue such commissions or letters of marque. A specimen American privateering commission may be seen in doc. no. 144; a Portuguese letter of marque, and a paper by which its recipient purported to assign it to another, in docs. no. 14 and no. 15. Royal instructions were issued to all commanders of privateers (doc. no. 126), and each was required to furnish, or bondsmen were required to furnish on his behalf, caution or security[2] for the proper observance of these instructions and the payment of all dues to the crown or Admiralty. Relations between the commander and the crew, except as regulated by the superior authority of these instructions and of the prize acts or other statutes, were governed by the articles of agreement (doc. no. 202) signed when enlisting.

[Footnote 1: See R.G. Marsden in English Historical Review, XXI. 251-257, and a commission in Rymer's Foedera, XVIII. 12.]

[Footnote 2: Specimen (1762) in Anthony Stokes, A View of the Constitution of the British Colonies (London, 1783), pp. 315-317.]

These were the essential documents of a privateering voyage. There would probably be also accounts for supplies, like John Tweedy's very curious bill for medicines (doc. no. 158), and accounts between crew and owners (doc. no. 146), and general accounts of the voyage (doc. no. 159). There might be an agreement of two privateers to cruise together and divide the spoil (doc. no. 160). There might even be a journal of the whole voyage, like the extraordinarily interesting journal kept on the privateer Revenge by the captain's quartermaster in 1741 (doc. no. 145), one of the very few such narratives preserved. Other documents of various kinds, illustrating miscellaneous incidents of privateering, will be found elsewhere in the volume.

Both privateers and naval vessels belonging to the government made prize of ships and goods belonging to the enemy, but many questions were certain to arise concerning the legality of captures and concerning the proper ownership and disposal of ships and goods. Hence the necessity for prize courts, acting under admiralty law and the law of nations. The instructions to privateers required them (see doc. no. 126, section III.) to bring captured ships or goods into some port of Great Britain or her colonial dominions, for adjudication by such a court. In England, it was the High Court of Admiralty that tried such cases. At the beginning of a war, a commission under the Great Seal,[3] addressed to the Lords of the Admiralty, instructed them to issue a warrant to the judge of that court, authorizing him during the duration of the war to take cognizance of prize causes. After 1689, it was customary to provide for trial of admiralty causes in colonial ports by giving to each colonial governor, in addition to his commission as governor, a commission as vice-admiral. Before 1689, this was done in a few instances, chiefly of proprietary colonies, the earliest such instance being that exhibited in our doc. no. 1; but in the case of colonies having no royal governor (corporation colonies) we find various courts in that earlier period exercising admiralty jurisdiction (docs. no. 8, no. 25, no. 48, and no. 105, note 1). From Queen Anne's reign on (doc. no. 102), jurisdiction in prize causes was conferred, as in the case of the judge of the High Court of Admiralty in London, by warrant (doc. no. 182) from the Lord High Admiral or Lords of the Admiralty pursuant to the commission issued to them, as stated above, at the beginning of the war. In doc. no. 116 we see the judge of the High Court of Admiralty expressing the belief that it would be better if all prizes were brought to his court in London for adjudication, but the inconvenience would have been too great.

[Footnote 3: Such a commission (1748) is printed in R.G. Marsden, Law and Custom of the Sea (Navy Records Society), II. 279, and another (1756) in Stokes, p. 278.]

The governor's commission as vice-admiral, issued (after 1689, at any rate) under the great seal of the High Court of Admiralty, gave him authority to hold an admiralty court in person. Often the governor was not well fitted for such work, though not often so frank as Sir Henry Morgan (doc. no. 46, note 1) in admitting his deficiencies. As admiralty business increased, it became customary to appoint admiralty judges to hold vice-admiralty courts in individual colonies, or in groups of colonies. Sometimes, especially in the earlier period, they were commissioned by the governor of the colony acting under a warrant from the Lords of the Admiralty (doc. no. 69) empowering him so to do; more often they were commissioned directly by those lords, under the great seal of the Admiralty. Doc. no. 180 is a commission of the former sort, doc. no. 181 of the latter. When war broke out, authority to try prize cases was conveyed, as above, to the vice-admiral, the vice-admiralty judge, and their deputies.

In the trial of a prize case, the first essential document was the libel (docs. no. 99, no. 128, no. 165, no. 184, and no. 188), by which claim was laid to ship or goods. Witnesses were examined, chiefly by means of the systematic series of questions called standing interrogatories (doc. no. 183). Their testimony, taken down in written depositions, constitutes much the largest class of documents in this volume. Most narratives of privateering or of piracy are found in the form of depositions. Reports of trials, embracing proceedings and documents and testimony, are found in docs. no. 128, no. 143, and no. 165; sentences or decrees of the judge in docs. no. 143, no. 150, and no. 155; inventories of prizes in docs. no. 33 and no. 161; an account of sales in doc. no. 186.

If a party to a prize appealed from the sentence of the vice-admiralty court (docs. no. 151 and no. 196), he was required to give bond (doc. no. 152) for due prosecution of the appeal in England. From 1628 to 1708 such appeals were heard by the High Court of Admiralty; after 1708 they went to a body of privy councillors specially commissioned for the purpose, called the Lords Commissioners of Appeal in Prize Causes (see doc. no. 151, note 1). A specimen of a decree of that tribunal reversing the sentence of a colonial vice-admiralty court is in doc. no. 195.[4]

[Footnote 4: For a report of these commissioners approving the sentence of the court below, see Stokes, pp. 325-326.]

Piracy being from its very nature a less formal proceeding than privateering, there are fewer formal documents to present as essential to its history. In the seventeenth century, there are instances of trials for piracy by various courts: e.g., the Court of Assistants in Massachusetts in 1675 (doc. no. 41, note 1) and the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1694 (doc. no. 56, note 2). But the regular method, which came to prevail, was trial by special commissions appointed for the purpose, similar to those which were appointed for the trial of pirates in England by virtue of the statute 28 Henry VIII. c. 15 (1536). We have such a colonial commission, appointed by the governor, in doc. no. 51 (1683). In 1700 the statute 11 and 12 William III. c. 7 extended to the plantations the crown's authority to appoint such commissions (see docs. no. 104, note 1, no. 106, note 1, and no. 201). A curious signed agreement to commit piracy will be found in doc. no. 50; indictments for that crime in docs. no. 56, no. 119, and no. 120; partial records of trials in docs. no. 112, no. 113, and nos. 119-122. A full account of an execution, explicit enough to satisfy the most morbid curiosity, is presented in doc. no. 104. Nos. 123 and 124 are formal bills for the execution, the digging of the graves, and the cheering drams which the executioners found needful after their grisly work.

But if American colonial piracy presents a smaller array of legal documents than American colonial privateering, it makes up for it by its rich abundance of picturesque narrative and detail. The pieces here brought together show us piracy off Lisbon and in the East Indies and at Madagascar, at Portobello and Panama and in the South Sea, in the West Indies, and all along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to the coast of Guiana. They exhibit to us every relation from that of the most innocent victim to that of the most hardened pirate chief. They make it clear how narrow was sometimes the line that divided piracy and privateering, and how difficult it must have been to learn the truth from witnesses so conflicting and of such dubious characters, testifying concerning actions of lawless men in remote seas or on lonely shores.

Most of the pirates famed in story, who had anything to do with colonial America, appear in one way or another in these papers. On the history of Henry Every, for instance, and even on the oft-told tale of William Kidd, not a little new light is cast. Kidd's letters from prison, the letter and petitions of his wife, the depositions of companions, the additional letters of Bellomont, make the story live again, even though no new evidence appears that is perfectly conclusive as to the still-debated question of his degree of guilt. The wonderful buccaneering adventures of Bartholomew Sharp and his companions, 1680-1682, at the Isthmus of Panama and all along the west coast of South America, are newly illustrated by long anonymous narratives, artless but effective. And indeed, to speak more generally, it is hoped that there are few aspects of the pirate's trade that are not somehow represented in these pages.

At least it will not be denied that the documents, whether for piracy or for privateering, show a considerable variety of origins. Their authors range from a Signer of the Declaration of Independence to an Irishwoman keeping a boarding-house in Havana, from a minister of Louis XIV. or a judge of the High Court of Admiralty to the most illiterate sailor, from Governor John Endicott, most rigid of Puritans, to the keeper of a rendezvous for pirates and receiver of their ill-gotten goods. Witnesses or writers of many nationalities appear: American, Englishmen, Scots, Irishmen, Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Spaniards, a Portuguese, a Dane or Sleswicker, a Bohemian, a Greek, a Jew. The languages of the documents are English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin. Though none of them are in German or by Germans, not the least interesting pieces in the volume are those (docs. no. 43, no. 48, and no. 49) which show a curious connection of American colonial history with the very first (and characteristically illegal and unscrupulous) exploits of the Brandenburg-Prussian navy.

The range of repositories from which the documents have been procured is also considerable. Many were found in the state archives of Massachusetts, many in the files of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, many in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, others in the archives of Rhode Island and New York, in the office of the surrogate of New York City, and in the New York Public Library. A very important source of material, indispensable indeed for certain classes of document, was the records and papers of the vice-admiralty courts of the colonial period. Extensive portions still remain in the case of four of these courts, at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston (see the first foot-notes to docs. no. 126, no. 184, no. 165, and no. 106, respectively). A large number of the documents, larger indeed than from any other repository but one, were drawn from the inexhaustible stores of the Public Record Office in London, namely, from the Admiralty and Colonial Office Papers. Others came from the Privy Council Office; a few, but among them two of the longest and most interesting, from among the Sloane and Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum; one whole group from the Rawlinson manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Three of the Kidd documents were obtained from among the manuscripts of the Duke of Portland at Welbeck Abbey. Several of the pieces, and a number of lesser extracts used in annotations, were taken from colonial newspapers, and two from printed books not often seen.

Archivists and librarians have assisted the editor with their customary and never-failing kindness. It is a pleasure to express his gratitude to Mr. J.J. Tracy and Mr. John H. Edmonds, former and present archivists of Massachusetts, Mr. Herbert O. Brigham of the Rhode Island archives, Mr. A.J.F. van Laer and Mr. Peter Nelson of those of New York; to Mr. Worthington C. Ford and Mr. Julius H. Tuttle of the Massachusetts Historical Society; to Hon. Charles M. Hough, judge of the United States Circuit Court in New York; to Miss C.C. Helm of his office; to the late Miss Josephine Murphy, custodian of the Suffolk Files; to Miss Mabel L. Webber, secretary and librarian of the South Carolina Historical Society; to Mr. Victor H. Paltsits of the New York Public Library; to Rev. Richard W. Goulding, librarian to the Duke of Portland; and to the authorities of the Public Record Office, the Privy Council Office, the British Museum, and the Bodleian Library. Special thanks are due to the officials of three libraries in which the work of annotation was mostly done—the Library of Congress, that of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and that of Bowdoin College. On a few nautical points the editor had the advice of his old friend the late Captain Charles Cate of North Edgecomb, Maine. And especially he has to thank the chairman of the Committee on Publication, Mrs. Charles E. Rieman, for her interest in the work and for the exemplary patience with which she has borne the delays in its completion.

It is perhaps needless to say that the spelling of the originals has been carefully preserved; it is hoped that it would not be thought to be that of the editor. The punctuation of the originals has not been deemed equally sacred. In general, it has been reproduced, but where small alterations would make the sense clear to the modern reader but could not change it, or where that same effect would be produced by introducing punctuation-marks, which writers nearly illiterate often omitted entirely, it has seemed the part of good sense to make reading-matter readable. Also, names of vessels have been uniformly italicized even when not underscored in the original manuscripts. Dates previous to 1752 are old-style dates unless, as in the case of Dutch or French documents, new style is indicated.


Washington, October 19, 1923.



1. Commission from the Providence Island Company to Governor Nathaniel Butler as Vice-Admiral. Apr. 23, 1638 1

2. Governor Nathaniel Butler, "Diary of My Present Employment". Feb.-Mar., 1639 3


3. Articles of Copartnership in New Netherland Privateering. Dec. 4 (N.S.), 1646 9

4. Articles of Copartnership between Augustin Herrman and Wyllem Blawfelt. Dec. 4 (N.S.), 1646 11

5. Affidavit: the Capture of the Tabasco. July 25 (N.S.), 1649 13

6. Affidavit of Antonio Leon and Fyck Herry. Sept. 27 (N.S.), 1649 14


7. Declaration of the Massachusetts Council. July 20, 1653 17

8. Declaration of Governor Endicott. Aug. (?), 1653 18

9. Deposition of Matthew Hill. Oct. (?), 1653 20

10. Deposition of Francis Blackman and John Dukley. Oct. (?), 1653 20

11. Letter of Governor Searle of Barbados. Nov. 4, 1653 21

12. Order of the Massachusetts Council. Jan. 25, 1654 24

13. Vote of the Massachusetts House of Deputies. June 10, 1654 25


14. Portuguese Commission (Letter of Marque) to Charles de Bils. Feb. 10 (N.S.), 1658, Sept. 10, 1662 27

15. Commission from de Bils to John Douglas. Sept. 20 (N.S.), 1662 29

16. Deposition of William Browne. June 24, 1664 30

17. Deposition of Marcus Claesz. June 24, 1664 30

18. Deposition of Bartholomew Martin. June 24, 1664 31

19. Commission to James Oliver and Others. July 16, 1664 32

20. Deposition of Daniel Sprague. July (?), 1664 33

21. Deposition of William Browne. July 25, 1664 35

22. Deposition of Robert Lord. July 26, 1664 36

23. Deposition of John Hunter. July 26, 1664 37

24. Deposition of Charles Hadsall. July 27, 1664 39

25. Petition of John Douglas. Aug., 1664 41

26. Plea of John Douglas. (Aug. 8?), 1664 42

27. Power of Attorney from Sir William Davidson. Sept. 13, 1664 44


28. Certificate of Cornelius de Lincourt. Apr. 12/22, 1673 46

29. Deposition of John Johnson and Henry Harris. Apr. 26, 1673 48

30. Petition of Edward Bant. About Apr. 28, 1673 48

31. Order of the Suffolk County Court. Apr. 29, 1673 50

32. Petition of Henry King. Apr. 30, 1673 50

33. Inventory of the Providence. May 5, 1673 51

34. Examination of John Johnson. May 5, 1673 61

35. Declaration of Edward Bant and Others. May 8, 1673 62

36. Declaration of Henry King and John Champion. May 8, 1673 64

37. Petition of Thomas Raddon. June 10, 1673 67


38. Examination of John Tooly. June 17, 1673 68

39. Examination of William Forrest. Oct. 20, 1673 71

40. Petition of Allwin Child. Oct. 24, 1673 72


41. Declaration of Thomas Mitchell. May 24, 1675 74

42. Declaration of Edward Youreing. May 24, 1675 76


43. Seignelay to Colbert. May 8 (N.S.), 1679 82


44. The Buccaneers at Portobello. 1680 84

45. The Buccaneers on the Isthmus and in the South Sea. 1680-1682 92

46. Sir Henry Morgan to Sir Leoline Jenkins. Mar. 8, 1682 133

47. Deposition of Simon Calderon. 1682 135


48. Petition of Paul Sherrett and Claes Pietersen. Aug. 2, 1681 138

49. Deposition of Samuel Button. Aug. 11, 1681 140


50. Agreement to Commit Piracy. June 30, 1683 141

51. Court for the Trial of Piracy: Commission. Sept. 15, 20, 1683 143


52. William Coward's Plea. 1690 145


53. Declaration of Jeremiah Tay and Others. Mar., 1691 (?) 147

54. Deposition of Epaphras Shrimpton. July, 1694 (?) 149

55. Deposition of Jeremiah Tay. July 6, 1694 150

56. Indictment of Benjamin Blackledge. Oct. 30, 1694 151

* * * * *

57. Deposition of Thomas Larimore. Oct. 28, 1695 152


58. Petition of the East India Company. July, 1696 153

59. Extract, E.I. Co. Letter from Bombay. May 28, 1695 155

60. Abstract, E.I. Co. Letters from Bombay. Oct. 12, 1695 156

61. Letter from Venice. May 25, 1696 159

62. Abstract, Letters from Ireland. June 16-July 7, 1696 160

63. Examination of John Dann. Aug. 3, 1696 165

64. Affidavit of Philip Middleton. Nov. 11, 1696 171

65. Deposition of Samuel Perkins. Aug. 25, 1698 175

66. Certificate for John Devin (Bahamas). Sept. (?) 20, 1698 178

67. Certificate for John Devin (Massachusetts). Oct. 25, 1698 179

68. Deposition of Adam Baldridge. May 5, 1699 180

* * * * *

69. Warrant for Commissioning of Admiralty Judge. Apr. 29, 1697 187

70. Proclamation of Lieut.-Gov. Stoughton. June 4, 1698 188


71. Deposition of Benjamin Franks. Oct. 20, 1697 190

72. The President and Council of the Leeward Islands to Secretary Vernon. May 18, 1699 195

73. Examination of Edward Buckmaster. June 6, 1699 197

74. Deposition of Theophilus Turner. June 8, 1699 200

75. Memorial of Duncan Campbell. June 19, 1699 202

76. Narrative of William Kidd. July 7, 1699 205

77. Lord Bellomont to the Board of Trade. July 8, 1699 213

78. Petition of Sarah Kidd. July 16 (?), 1699 218

79. Narrative of John Gardiner. July (17), 1699 220

80. Sarah Kidd to Thomas Payne. July 18, 1699 223

81. Petition of Sarah Kidd. July 25, 1699 224

82. Lord Bellomont to the Board of Trade. July 26, 1699 224

83. The Danish Governor of St. Thomas to Lord Bellomont. Sept. 1, 1699 232

84. Declaration of William Kidd. Sept. 4, 1699 236

85. Lord Bellomont to the Board of Trade. Nov. 29, 1699 237

86. Information of Henry Bolton. Feb. 4, 1701 245

87. William Kidd to the Speaker of the House of Commons (Robert Harley). Apr. (?), 1701 250

88. William Kidd to Robert Harley (?). May 12, 1701 252

89. Captain Kid's Farewel to the Seas; or, The Famous Pirate's Lament. 1701 253


90. Examination of William Sims. Oct. 22, 1699 257


91. Orders of Governor Nicholson to County Officers. Apr. 28, 1700 259

92. Deposition of William Fletcher. May 2, 1700 262

93. Charles Scarburgh to Governor Nicholson. May 3, 1700 264

94. John and Adam Thorowgood to Captain Passenger. May 3, 1700 266

95. Benjamin Harrison, jr., to Governor Nicholson. May 4, 1700 267

96. Governor Nicholson to Captain Passenger. May 4, 1700 268

97. William Wilson to Governor Nicholson. May 5, 1700 269

98. Captain Michael Cole to William Wilson. May 5, 1700 270

99. Libel by Captain William Passenger. May 11, 1700 271

100. Deposition of William Woolgar and Others. (June 11, 1700) 272

101. Deposition of Joseph Man. (June 11, 1700) 273

* * * * *

102. Report of Dr. George Bramston. Nov. 27, 1702 275


103. Letter to Boston News Letter. May 8, 1704 276


104. Account of their Execution. June 30, 1704 278

* * * * *

105. Deposition of Paul Dudley. Aug. 15, 1705 285

106. Commission for Trial of Piracy. Nov. 1, 1716 286


107. Cyprian Southack to Governor Samuel Shute. May 5 (?), 1717 290

108. Examination of John Brown. May 6, 1717 293

109. Deposition of Thomas FitzGerald and Alexander Mackonochie. May 6, 1717 296

110. Cyprian Southack to Governor Samuel Shute. May 8, 1717 299

111. Deposition of Ralph Merry and Samuel Roberts. May 11, 16, 1717 301

112. Trial of Simon van Vorst and Others. (Oct.), 1717 303

113. Trial of Thomas Davis. Oct. 28, 1717 307

114. Memorial of Thomas Davis. 1717 309

115. Petition of William Davis. 1717 311


116. Sir Henry Penrice to the Secretary of the Admiralty. Nov. 29, 1718 312




118. John Menzies to the Secretary of the Admiralty. July 20, 1721 318


119. Trial of John Fillmore and Edward Cheesman. May 12, 1724 323

120. Trial of William Phillips and Others. May 12, 1724 330

121. Trial of William White, John Rose Archer, and William Taylor. May 13, 1724 338

122. Trial of John Baptis and Peter Taffery. May 13, 1724 342

123. Bill of Robert Dobney. June 2, 1724 344

124. Bill of Edward Stanbridge. June 2, 1724 345

* * * * *

125. Petition of Nicholas Simons. May, 1725 346

126. Instructions of George II. to Captains of Privateers. Nov. 30, 1739 347

127. (Draft of) Warrant to Governors to issue Letters of Marque. Apr. 26, 1740 355


128. Record of the Admiralty Court, and Libel. July 23, Aug. 30, 1740 356

129. Sea-letter of the Amsterdam Post. Sept. 22, 1739 (N.S.) 364

130. Let-pass of the Amsterdam Post. Sept. 23, 1739 (N.S.) 365

131. Tonnage Certificate of the Amsterdam Post. Sept. 24, 1739 (N.S.) 365

132. Aeneas Mackay's Oath as a Burgher of Amsterdam. Sept. 16, 1739 (N.S.) 366

133. Lease to Aeneas Mackay. Oct. 2, 1739 (N.S.) 366

134. Certificates of Master and Mate and Register. Oct. 8, 1739 (N.S.) 367

135. Extract from Capt. Mackay's Journal. Nov. 14, 1739 368

136. Protest of Capt. Mackay. Nov. 15, 1739 369

137. Extract from Capt. Mackay's Journal. Nov. 16, 1739 370

138. Certificate of Clearance. Dec. 4, 1739 370

139. Declarations of Sailors. 1740 371

140. Certificate of British Consul in Madeira. Mar. 9, 1740 (N.S.) 372

141. Receipt for Mediterranean Pass. May 29, 1740 (N.S.) 373

142. Certificate of British-Dutch Vice-Consul in Teneriffe. Apr. 26, 1740 (N.S.) 373

143. Sentence of Admiralty Judge. Sept. 1, 1740 375


144. Commission of Capt. Benjamin Norton as a Privateer. June 2, 1741 378

145. Journal of the Sloop Revenge. June 5-Oct. 5, 1741 381

146. Account of the Crew with the Owners. Oct. 30, 1741 429

147. Petition and Complaint of John Freebody. Nov. 5, 1741 431

148. Deposition of Jeremiah Harriman. Nov. 25, 1741 434

149. Deposition of Thomas Smith. Nov. 30, 1741 436

150. Decree of Vice-Admiralty Judge. Dec. 7, 1741 439

151. Appeal in Prize Case. Dec. 8, 1741 442

152. Bond for Appeal in Prize Case. Dec. 19, 1741 443

153. Case (Freebody c. Sarah) and Opinions of Civilians, May 17, July 10, 1742 444

154. Letters to Owner from London Agents. June 10, July 17, 1742 448

155. Decree of Vice-Admiralty Judge. July 7, 1742 450

156. Letters to Owner from London Agents. July 27, Aug. 13, 1742, Feb. 16, 1743 451

157. Account rendered by a Proctor in London. Feb. 10, 1744 453

158. John Tweedy's Bill for Medicines. Nov. 8, 1743 456

159. Account for the Revenge. June, 1744 461

160. Agreement: The Revenge and the Success. Nov. 10, 1744 463

161. Inventory and Appraisement of the Prize Willem. June 8, 1745 465

162. A Proctor's Account. 1745 468

163. A List of Gunner's Stores 470

164. Suggestions as to plundering Hispaniola 471


165. Record of Trial (Libel, Bill of Sale, Owner's Letter, Bills of Lading, Declaration, Affidavit, Portledge Bill, Depositions). June 11, 1741 473


166. Petition of John Jones. Dec. 30, 1741 492


167. Vote of Privateering Crew. June 29, 1744 494

168. Petition of William Ward. 1744 495

169. Deposition of John Flood and Zechariah Foss. Aug. 3, 1744 496

170. Testimony concerning William Ward. Aug. 4, 1744 498

171. Protest of Sailors. Aug. 13, 1744 499

172. Petition of Henry Johnson. Aug. 27, 1744 501


173. Deposition of Jacques Piegnon. Jan. 24, 1745 502


174. Deposition of John Brown. Aug. 2, 1745 506

175. Deposition of Diego de Prada y Nieto. Aug. 2, 1745 508


176. Deposition of Benjamin Munro and William Kipp. Apr. 23, 1746 510

177. Deposition of Daniel Vaughan. Sept. 1, 1746 513


178. Deposition of William Dunbar. May 7, 1747 514

* * * * *

179. Petition of Edward Winter. May, 1749 516

180. Commission of a Vice-Admiralty Judge. Sept. 23, 1752 517

181. Commission of a Vice-Admiralty Judge. June 16, 1753 519

182. Warrant to try Prizes. June 5, 1756 524

183. Standing Interrogatories. 1756 525


184. Libel of Richard Haddon. Mar. 9, 1757 529

185. Deposition of Francisco Raphe. Mar. 31, 1757 533

186. Account of Sales. July 26, 1757 534

187. Deposition of Don Felipe Ybanez. Sept. 2, 1758 535

188. Libel of Felipe Ybanez. Sept. 27, 1758 542

189. Certificate of Captain-General Cagigal. Nov. 4, 1758 554

190. Deposition of William Haddon. Nov. 16, 1759 556

191. Declaration of Don Geronimo de Medrano. Nov. 19, 1759 560

192. Declaration of Don Joseph de la Vega. Nov. 19, 1759 561

193. Declaration of Domingo de Armas. Nov. 20, 1759 563

194. Declaration of Elizabeth Berrow. Nov. 22, 1759 564

195. Reversal of Sentence by Appellate Court. Dec. 19, 1760 567

196. Appeal of Miller and Simpson. July 7, 1761 569


197. Bill of Health. Nov. 9, 1757 570

* * * * *

198. News of Privateers. May 19, 1757 571

199. Letter of William Smith, jr. Apr. 8, 1757 573

200. Letter of Stephen Hopkins. Jan. 15, 1759 575

201. Notes on Commissions for Trying Pirates. Mar. 10, 1762, Aug. 26, 1772 577

202. Articles of Agreement; the Mars. June 23, 1762 581

203. Certificate of a Negro's Freedom. June 26, 1762 586



1. Commission from the Providence Island Company to Governor Nathaniel Butler as Vice Admiral. April 23, 1638.[1]

[Footnote 1: Public Record Office of Great Britain, C.O. 124:1, p. 118. This document and the next take us back to an almost-forgotten colonial experiment of the English Puritans, contemporary with their undertakings in New England but far removed from them in locality. Old Providence Island—to be distinguished from New Providence (Nassau) in the Bahamas—is an isolated little island in the western Caribbean lying off the coast of Nicaragua. It now belongs to Colombia, and is often called Santa Catalina. In 1630 a company of English investors, desiring to found a Puritan colony, and also to oppose Spain in the Caribbean, obtained from Charles I. a patent for a large area including Providence and other islands. John Pym was their leading member. The history of their colony is interestingly recounted in Professor A.P. Newton's The Colonizing Activities of the English Puritans (New Haven, 1914). The colony became merely a base for privateering against the Spaniards, who conquered and suppressed it in 1641. Thomas Gage, who passed by the island in a Spanish ship in 1637, says, "The greatest feare that I perceived possessed the Spaniards in this Voyage, was about the Island of Providence, called by them Sta. Catarina or St. Catharine, from whence they feared lest some English Ships should come out against them with great strength. They cursed the English in it, and called the Island the den of theeves and Pirates." The English American, or A New Survey of the West-India's (London, 1648), p. 199. For the whole matter of West Indian buccaneering, see Miss Violet Barbour's article, "Privateers and Pirates of the West Indies", in the American Historical Review, XVI. 529-566.]

Commission to Captain Butler[2] for the Admiraltie of the Island.

[Footnote 2: Nathaniel Butler, third governor of Providence Island, sent out with a considerable expedition in April, 1638, had earlier been governor of Bermuda and then a member of the royal council for Virginia.]

To all to whome theis presents shall come, we the Governor and Company etc. send greetinge. Wheras our gracious Soveraigne Lord King Charles hath by his Letters patent bearing date the 4th day of December in the 6th yeare of his Raigne,[3] for himselfe, his heires and successors, given and graunted to us and our successors, assignes and deputies for ever All Admirall rights, benefits and jurisdiccions and likewise all priviledges and Comodityes to the said Admirall jurisdiccion in any wise appertayneinge or belonging, in and upon the seas rivers and Coastes of the Island of Providence, Henrietta[4] and all other Islands within the Limits of his Majestys grant to us made and everie or any of them within 40 Leagues of any the said Islands and in and upon all other Rivers and Creekes within the said Limits, And likewise power to hold and determine all manner of Causes and pleas for and Concerning the same,[5] Now know ye that we the said Governor and Company confiding in the Fidelitie and Judgment of Captain Nathaniel Butler, now bound in a voyage to the Island of Providence, have elected, Constituted and deputed and doe hereby elect, constitute and depute the said Captain Nathaniel Butler, to be Admirall of the said Island of Providence, Hereby giveing and graunting to the said Captain Nathaniel Butler full power and authority to doe and execute (with the advise of the Counsell of warre which shall from time to time be established by us in the said Island) all matters and things concerning the said place of Admirall according to the Instruccions that we or our successors shall from time to time give and direct for and Concerning the execucion thereof, Nevertheless reserving to our selves all such Admirall duties as shall be payable and accomptable for or in respect of the same, other then[6] such priviledges and benefits as shall upon agreement betweene us and the said Captain Butler be assigned and appropriated to him, To have, hould and exercise the said place of Admirall of the said Island untill we shall otherwise dispose of the same. And we do require all persons whatsoever from time to time resideing in the said Island that shall at any tyme abide or be in the harbours, ports or Creeks of the same, to yeild and give all due obedience and respect to the lawfull Commands of the said Captain Butler as Admirall of the said Island, as they will answer the Contrary at their perills. Given under our Common Seale this 23th day of Aprill In the XIIII yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles, by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defendor of the Faith, etc. And in the yeare of our Lord God 1638.

[Footnote 3: December 4, 1630. The patent is summarized by Newton, pp. 86-90, and the part conferring admiralty rights is printed in R.G. Marsden, Law and Custom of the Sea (Navy Records Society), I. 470-472.]

[Footnote 4: Henrietta lay some sixty miles southwest of Providence.]

[Footnote 5: A very exceptional grant of power, including the right to grant letters of marque. R.G. Marsden, "Early Prize Jurisdiction and Prize Law in England," in English Historical Review, XXV. 257.]

[Footnote 6: Than.]


[Footnote 7: The signers are as follows. Henry Darley, deputy treasurer, a Yorkshire squire, was a conspicuous Puritan and an intimate friend of Pym. Robert Rich (1587-1658), second earl of Warwick, afterward a chief leader of the Puritans in the Civil War, and lord high admiral under Parliament, had before this been conspicuous in privateering and colonial ventures, and president of the Council for New England. Viscount Saye and Sele (1582-1662) and Lord Brooke (1608-1643), eminent Puritan and Parliamentarian lords, are best known in American history as patentees of the Saybrook colony, but were much more deeply interested in the Providence Island venture. Edward viscount Mandeville (courtesy title borne until his father's death in 1642) is better known as the second earl of Manchester (1602-1671), the celebrated Parliamentarian general. John Pym needs no identification. John Gourdon or Gurdon was an East Anglian squire, neighbor of John Winthrop of Groton.]

2. Governor Nathaniel Butler, "Diary of my Present Employment". February-March, 1639.[1]

[Footnote 1: British Museum, Sloane MSS., 758; pp. 143-173 contain Gov. Nathaniel Butler's "Diary of my Present Employment", extracts from the earlier part of which are given here, exhibiting the dealings of a minor colonial governor with problems of privateering, and incidentally somewhat of his daily life. The whole journal runs from February 10, 1639, to May 3, 1640, and is largely occupied with an unsuccessful privateering voyage in the Caribbean which the governor undertook on his own account. England was not at war in February, 1639, but war had long existed between Spain and the Netherlands, and the depredations carried out from Providence were sure ultimately to provoke Spanish reprisals. It was moreover almost an accepted maxim that there was "No peace beyond the Line", i.e., west of the prime meridian and south of the Tropic of Cancer.]

[February] 13. Wee hadd an alarme this morneinge, and in regard that the sayle that wee made came to an Anchor close without our Rocks called the Breakers, wee sone found that she was a stranger and in perill: wherupon I sent out two shalopes well manned and followed myself in the thirde: and by the waye wee mett with her bote being only a Canow in which all of her men wer come off from her and left her alone; But wee tooke two of her men backe with us to the shypp; and sent two of my Botes to bring her into the Harbour;[2] the which was done: Wee founde her to be a Spanish Frigate, taken by a man of Warre of Flushinge off of Cuba. she was laden with mantega de Porco,[3] Hides and tallowe; their resolution was to have carried her to St. Christophers,[4] and ther to have sold her Goods, but being not able to fetch itt, she was forced to beare up for our Iland; and but for us had wracked upon our rocks; shee was manned with eight men; and the man of warre that tooke her haveinge dispatched her as he thought for St. Christophers, remained upon the Coast of Hispaniola to looke out for more purchase:[5] and in the meantime, little knows what is become of his Prize.

[Footnote 2: The harbor, and the town of New Westminster, were on the northwest side of the island. There is a map in Newton, opp. p. 12.]

[Footnote 3: Lard.]

[Footnote 4: St. Christopher's was at this time occupied jointly by the English and the French.]

[Footnote 5: In the old sense of prey or plunder.]

14. I dined at Captain Morgan's. After dinner the Councell of Warre wer assembled at my house; wher some propositions wer considered off touchinge the new come Dutche; as alsoe about some redresses in respect of wronngs pretended to be offred by our Pillageinge seamen.

15. I was att Warwicke Fort[6] this morneinge, wher I called a Counsell of warre; and the new come in Dutche presented a coppy of their Commission signed by the Prince of Orange and the Dutche West India Company. After dinner being newly returned home, wee hadd an alarme, upon the discovery of a sayle; and I went presently out in my shalope and sent Captaine Axe out in his shalope to make a discoverye upon her; she proved to be another smale man of warre of Holland which had bin long upon the coast of the terra firma;[7] and hadd gotten nothinge; towards the eveninge she came to an Anchor in our Harbour. This vessell comeinge to the Ronchadores (it being only a desolate barren rocky sande twentie leagues to the eastwards of Providence, which is the nearest land unto itt)[8] found ther an Englishman the which with some others being in a smale frigate wer shypwracked upon itt, some of them gott awaye upon two rafts of which the one of them was never hearde off; Thoes upon the other raft wer driven upon the maine-land of the West-Indies, and soe att last gott home. This man with some others remained upon the sande and rocks; wher att last all of them died save this man only; who after he hadd remained ther two yeares and a halfe of which for ten monethes space, after the deathe of all the rest, he lived solitarily and all alone, being only fedd with such sea foules as resorted to the place, and sometimes some fish, he was thus taken and brought home unto us in good healthe and very lusty.

[Footnote 6: Warwick Fort overlooked the harbor from its north side. Capt. Samuel Axe, mentioned below, a soldier of the Dutch wars, had made the fortifications of the island.]

[Footnote 7: Tierra Firma, the Spanish Main, or north coast of South America.]

[Footnote 8: Roncador means snorer; the cay is still called by that name. The story of this man's shipwreck and preservation figures in Increase Mather's Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences (London, 1684), ch. II. The famous U.S.S. Kearsarge was wrecked on the Roncadores in 1894.]

16. I went very early this mornenige to the greate Baye, wher my worcks went forwards well and almost to my wish. In the afternoone being returned home, I spent some houres in the hearinge of divers controversies amongst the Inhabitants. Towards night the Commander of the Dutche Vessel that came into our Harbour the daye before presented himself unto me and shewed me his Commission signed by the Prince of Aurenge:[9] His errand hither was to find and stoppe a leake; haveinge bin foure or five monethes upon the coast, and gotten noethinge. This morneing also, another of the new Companyes was in their Armes, upon the great Baye; and exercised by Captain Carter[10] in my presence, and did well.

[Footnote 9: Orange.]

[Footnote 10: Capt. Andrew Carter succeeded Butler, as deputy governor, and lost the island to the Spaniards.]

17. Upon this Lorde's daye I was in the morneinge and eveninge at Mr. Sherrard's Churche,[11] who preached unto us, at both times. After the afternoone's sermon, the poore man that was soe hapely recovered from the Ronchadores, was introduced by Mr. Sherrarde to make a publicke thanksgiveinge to God for his deliverance with a confession in generall tearmes of his former vicious life, and a promise of future amendment. An act very commendable in itselfe, and a Course fully approvable: Though itt now brought to every man's minde and observation, that whereas the apparent evidence of God's mercye in as highe or higher a nature hadd been manifested towards Captain Axe and his company in his escape from the enemie, to thoes five persons that came safe unto us, in an extreme leakinge bote, from St. Christophers; And towards the fortie nine persons that arrived safely with us from the Barbadoes;[12] And all this done within the space of foure monethes; that none of all this should have bin remembered by Mr. Sherrard, in the same kinde; as if the safe-being of this one only man, had either bin of more remarkableness in itselfe, or of more acceptableness with him than all the others putt togither....

[Footnote 11: Rev. Hope Sherrard, one of the two ministers of the island, and a rigid Puritan, which Governor Butler was not.]

[Footnote 12: Apparently the party led, through remarkable adventures, by the other minister, Rev. Nicholas Leverton. See Calamy, Nonconformists' Memorial, I. 371.]

21. Early this morneinge I went out in my shalope to Darlies Fort[13] to looke out for the vessells that wer made the eveninge before and by sunne riseinge wee againe made them five leagues out to sea standeinge in with our Harbour; and by ten of the clocke they came ther to an Anchor: and one of them proved to be the Pinnace called the Queene of Bohemia[14] that I had sent out about five weekes before to looke out for Purchase upon the coasts of the maine; the other was a Spanish Frigate which she hadd made her Prize. I dined this daye at a weddinge.

[Footnote 13: At the extreme north point of the island.]

[Footnote 14: The queen of Bohemia for whom the pinnace had been named was the princess Elizabeth, the ill-fated daughter of James I.]

22. The Captaine of our last arrived Pinnace came unto me and certified me concerneinge his voiage, and the takeinge of his Prize; and I gave him some Advices about the orderinge of every man's shares: And upon this daye all the montega de Porco, and the Tallow that came in the first Dutche was sold to the people att reasonable rates....

25. One of our new Companys was exercised upon this daye, by Captaine Hunt;[15] I went aborde our new prize, to sett downe orders, upon the Breakeinge of Bulke; And the Prize Goods began this morneinge to be unshypped, into our Store House. I hadd many Bussinesses brought afore me this daye, and found trouble ynough in decideinge of them.

[Footnote 15: Capt. Robert Hunt, governor 1636-1638, and an experienced soldier.]

26. Our new erected Company of Voluntiers exercised this morneinge, att our new exerciseinge place, and all the Captaines dined with me: In the afternoone, I called a Counsell of warre, where orders wer sett downe and given to the Captaines of the Fortes about makeing of all shotts att the comeinge in of shypps: Witnesses wer also examined in the Court of Admiraltie[16] about the new come in Prize, and a preparation made to an Adjudication. I hearde, determined and appeased divers differences, which might have produced ill bloud.

[Footnote 16: The preceding document associates the council of war in the governor's exercise of admiralty jurisdiction.]

27. Very early this morneinge, I found worcke ready for me to heare and decide divers complaincts between the Inhabitants. Some of the Counsell of Warre dined with me; presently after dinner I caused a Proclamation pro forma to be made by sound of the Drumme, concerninge the Bussinesse of our new gotten prize: viz, That if anyone could make a claime to any of the said Prize goods or saye anything why adjudication of her being lawfull Prize should not be granted; they should come in by such a daye and should be heard accordinge to Justice. This afternoone all our Prize Goodes being landed, I went to the Store-house to see equall divisions made; And the Lordes fiftes[17] wer first layde aside; and then my dues as Admirall, and Captaine Axe's as Vice Admirall; and then some shares wer delivered accordinge to every man's part, to the common marriner[s]; and all the Tobacco belonginge to them, was shared and delivered.

[Footnote 17: Dues to the proprietors, under their patent.]

28. We wer all this daye busied att the Store-House in the shareinge of the dues to the Shyp-Company, out of the Prize Goods; and in proportioninge the Honorable Companye's Fiftes; and mine owne Admirall duties, and the Vice Admirall's, Captain Axe....

[March] 2. The Commanders and merchants of the Dutch men of warre dined with me this daye: our new prize Frigate by the presumption of her master in takeinge awaye without leave an Anchor and a Cable from her, which he claimed to be his due, and which she rode by in the Harbour, was driven ashore; for which fact he was cited to an Admirall Court....

4. I called a Court of Admiraltie this morneinge; and empannelled twelve seamen, to deliver their verdict, concerninge a misdeameanour committed by a master of a shyp, in takeinge awaye a Cable and an Anchor from a vessell rideinge in the Harbour; wherby the said vessell was driven on grounds and in perill to be lost: but thes Jurors proved themselves soe absurde and ignorant as sone made me finde the miserie of trialls in these dayes by such kinde of men: And it now produced an Order in a session of the Counsell of Warre in the afternoone, whereby all future crimes and commissions of this nature wer made punishable another waye. A new officer in the nature of a fiscall or Advocate[18] in our Court of Admiraltie was elected and sworne this daye.

[Footnote 18: Representative of the crown or proprietors.]

5. The Prize Vessell that was driven aground was gotten off safe this morneinge, wherby the penalties inclifted[19] by the verdict in the Admiraltie Court in case it hadd perished, wer taken off.

[Footnote 19: Inflicted.]


3. Articles of Copartnership in New Netherland Privateering. December 4 (N.S.), 1646.[1]

[Footnote 1: New York State Archives, Albany; Dutch Manuscripts, vol. II., p. 153. The dates in the four New Netherland documents which follow are new style dates. The privateer La Garce, of French origin, began its connection with New Netherland as early as 1642, from 1644 was chiefly owned there, and from these dates to 1649, or even 1656, was an object of pecuniary interest and investment to a considerable number of New Amsterdam men. Many documents among the Dutch papers at Albany relate to her; they show Dutchmen, Frenchmen, and Spaniards as sharing in her captures.]

Compareerde voor my Cornelis van Tienhoven Secretarius van wegen de Generale Geoctroyeerde Westindise Comp'e in nieu nederlandt geadmitteert den E. Heer Willem Kieft Directeur General van nieu nederlandt, synde inde voorschreven qualite voor Rekeninge van de welgedachte Comp'e een meedereder in de fregadt de la Garce, Dewelcke nevens alle de naergenoemde persoonen bekende te Hirrideeren in dito Fregat een recht achste part, Jan Damen Ingelycx een recht achste part, Jacob Wolphersen de somma van vyftien hondert gulden, Marten Crigier een gerecht sestiende part, Jacob Stoffelsen elft hondert gulden, Hendrick Jacobsen pater vaer een achste part, Hendrick Arentsen de somme van dertien hondert gulden, Capitain Willem Albertsen blauvelt een Recht achste part, Cristiaen Pitersen Rams veertien hondert gulden, Willem de key een Recht sestiende part, Adriaen dircksen een Recht twee ende dertichste part, Welcke voornoemde Somme ende parten de voornoemde Persoonen als gemeene Reders yder voor haer Particulier hebben gedaen ende Hirrideeren op Winst ende Verlies, ende is desen gemaeckt ende getekent omme in toecomende hunl[ieden] daer van te connen dienen ende Weten Wat yder Reder voor syn Winst vande uytgeleyde pen[ningen] te vorderen mocht hebben. T'Oirconde ende teken der waerheyt is desen by de voornoemde Reeders getekent, den 4e desember 1646. In Nieu Nederlandt.


dit ist merck [P over +] van HENDRIC JACOBSZ P. VAER.

[circle with horizontal line, +, top right corner bracket] dit ist merck van JACOB STOFFELSEN.

In kennisse van my C. V. TIENH. Secret.


Appeared before me, Cornelis van Tienhoven,[2] authorized secretary for the Chartered West India Company in New Netherland, the Honorable Willem Kieft, Director General of New Netherland,[3] being in that capacity partner in the frigate La Garce on account of the aforesaid Company, who together with all the persons named hereafter acknowledged that he was taking a share of one just eighth part in the said frigate, Jan Damen likewise a just eighth part, Jacob Wolphersen the sum of 1500 gulden, Marten Crigier a just sixteenth part, Jacob Stoffelsen 1100 gulden, Hendrick Jacobsen Pater Vaer an eighth part, Hendrick Arentsen the sum of 1300 gulden, Captain Willem Albertsen Blauvelt[4] a just eighth part, Christiaen Pitersen Rams 1400 gulden, William de Key a just sixteenth part, Adriaen Dircksen a just thirty-second part, which aforesaid sums and parts the aforesaid persons, as owners in common, each on his own account, have invested and ventured, for profit or loss, and this [declaration] is made and signed in order to serve them in the future and to know exactly what each owner may have a right to demand for his profit on the monies invested. In witness and token of the truth this is signed by the aforesaid owners, December 4, 1646, in New Netherland.

[Footnote 2: Book-keeper under Director van Twiller (from 1633), provincial secretary under Kieft, schout fiscaal under Stuyvesant till 1656.]

[Footnote 3: Director-general 1637-1646. Of the other partners, Jan Jansen Damen, Jacob Wolfertsz van Couwenhoven, and Martin Cregier were among the leading citizens of New Amsterdam. The total venture seems to have been about 14,000 gulden, say $5600 (worth much more then).]

[Footnote 4: Two Blauvelts or Blawfelts, Albertus and Wyllem, apparently father and son, appear in the records of the Providence Island Company (document 1, note 1). The former discovered the inlet on the Mosquito Shore, excellent for buccaneers, which is still called by his name, Blewfields Bay, in Nicaragua. After the Spanish conquest of Providence in 1641, Wyllem Blawfelt took to privateering, and, as will be seen, pursued it too long.]


this is the [P over +] mark of HENDRIC JACOBSZ P. VAER.

[circle with horizontal line, +, top right corner bracket] this is the mark of JACOB STOFFELSEN.

Acknowledged before me, C. V. TIENH. Secret.

4. Articles of Copartnership between Augustin Herrman and Wyllem Blawfelt. December 4 (N.S.), 1646.[1]

[Footnote 1: New York State Archives, Dutch Manuscripts, vol. II., p. 153.]

Wy ondergeschreven bekennen geaccordeert ende verdragen te wesen inde fregat de la Garce op Winst ende verlies te hirrideeren, de somma van seventien hondert drie ende t'seventich gulden waer van Sr Augustyn een rechte seste [substituted for sestiende, erased] part Hirrideert onder den naem van Willem Aelbertsen Blauvelt, die bekent de voornoemde Somma uyt handen van Augustyn Heerman ontfangen te hebben ende belooft, soo Godt de heere hem Capitain Willem Albertsen een ofte meer prysen t'sy groot ofte cleen verleent van dese reyse, aende voornoemde Sr. Augustyn off syn Ordre uyt te keeren een gerechte seste [clerk wrote first sestiende] part vande veroverde Goederen uyt syn een achtste part. Ende soo t gebeurde, dat Godt verhoede, dat de barcque verlooren wiert, sal den voornoemden Sr. Augustyn niets op Capitain Blauvelt te pretenderen hebben. Aldus gedaen ende getekent de 4e desember a'o 1646. In nieu Amst.



We the undersigned acknowledge that we have consented and agreed to invest in the frigate La Garce, for profit or loss, the sum of 1773 gulden, of which the Sieur Augustyn[2] ventures the sixth [substituted for sixteenth, erased] part in the name of Willem Aelbertsen Blauvelt, who acknowledges that he has received the aforesaid sum from the hands of Augustyn Heerman and promises, if God the Lord grants to him, Captain Willem Albertsen, on this voyage one or more prizes, whether great or small, to turn over to the aforesaid Sieur Augustyn or his order a sixth [the clerk wrote first sixteenth] part of the captured goods out of his own eighth part. And if it shall happen, which God forbid, that the bark should be lost, the aforesaid Sieur Augustyn shall have nothing to claim from Captain Blauvelt. Done and signed December 4, 1646, in New Amsterdam.

[Footnote 2: Augustin Herrman was a Bohemian of Prague, who had served in Wallenstein's army, had come out to New Netherland in 1633 as agent of a mercantile house of Amsterdam, and had become an influential merchant. A man of varied accomplishments, he made for Lord Baltimore a fine map of Maryland, and received as his reward the grant of Bohemia Manor.]


Acknowledged before me, CORNELIS VAN TIENHOVEN, Secretary.

5. Affidavit: the Capture of the Tabasco. July 25 (N.S.), 1649.[1]

[Footnote 1: New York State Archives, Dutch Manuscripts, vol. III., p. 44.]

Wy ondergeschreven (alle t'samen gevaren hebbende met d'fregat de la garce daer Capetain op is Willem Albertsz Blaeuvelt, gecruyst hebbende inde West Indisch) attesteeren, getuigen ende verclaren in plaets ende belofte van Solemneelen Eede, des noots synde, hoe dat waer ende waerachtich is, dat wy verovert hebben inde reviere van Tabasko een bercke genaemt Tabasko vande Spanjaerde, welcke spanjaerden ons niet vermaende van eenige vreede noch treves die tusschen den Coninck van Spanje ende haere H. Mo. gemaeckt soude syn geweest, noch dat wy van geene vreede geweeten noch gehoort hebben. Alle t'welcke wy ondergeschreven verclaren alsoo waer ende waerachtich te weesen, presenteerende t'selve, des noots synde, altoos met Eede te verifieeren. Ady desen 25en July a'o 1649. N. Amst.

dit ist [X] marck van HENDRICK ARENTSZ, Luytenant. KEMPO SYBADA. RAIPH CLARCK. dit merc eese is gestelt by ANTONY DE MOEDES, Spaenjaert.


We the undersigned, having all voyaged together in the frigate La Garce, of which Willem Albertsz Blaeuvelt is captain, having cruised in the West Indies, testify, witness, and declare, in place and under promise of solemn oath if need be, that it is true and certain, that we captured from the Spaniard, in the river of Tabasko,[2] the bark named Tabasko, which Spaniard did not notify us of any peace or truce concluded between the King of Spain and their High Mightinesses, nor had we known or heard of any peace.[3] All which we the undersigned declare to be true and certain, offering also if need be to verify it under oath. This 25th of July, 1649, in New Amsterdam.

[Footnote 2: A river of southern Mexico, flowing into the Gulf of Campeche; in all but its lower portion it is now called the Grijalva.]

[Footnote 3: The deposition of William Nobel, surgeon of the La Garce (N.Y. Col. Docs., I. 398), shows that the Tabasco, "laden with grains of paradise", was captured on April 22, 1649, and that another prize was taken on July 5, and confirms the narrative given in the next document. Yet peace had been concluded January 30 (N.S.), 1648. Roger Williams writes to John Winthrop, jr., October 25, 1649, referring no doubt to the prize mentioned in the next document, "Blufield is come to Newport and is carrying the ship (his prize) to Munnadoes [Manhattan], having promised the Governor to answer it to the Spaniard if demaunded, because she is taken against the Treves" (truce, peace); Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., fourth ser., VI. 272, 274.]

This is the [X] mark of HENDRICK ARENTSZ, Lieutenant. KEMPO SYBADA.[4] RAIPH CLARCK. This mark eese is made by ANTONY DE MOEDES, Spaniard.

[Footnote 4: The pilot of the privateer. The Records of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, I. 314-319, show Captain Kempo Sybada as dwelling in the next ensuing years at New London and on Block Island, and as suffering in his turn from the depredations of privateers. He died in London in 1659.]

6. Affidavit of Antonio Leon and Fyck Herry. September 27 (N.S.), 1649.[1]

[Footnote 1: New York State Archives, Dutch Manuscripts, vol. III., p. 65.]


Compareerde voor my Jacob Hendricksz Kip Clercq by den E. Hr. Dr. Generael ende E. Raaden van Nieu neederlant geadmiteert, Antony Leon geboortich inde Mayorke out 26 Jaaren Spanjaert ende Fyck Herry geboortich van Ierlant in Castilhaven out ontrent 21 Jaaren, passagiers overgecomen uyt Capetain Flip drest syn Barcque inde barcque van Willem Albertsz Blaeuvelt, attesteeren, getuygen ende verclaren, in plaets ende presentatie van Eeden ten versoecke vande Gemeene Reders van d'Fregat de La Garce, daer Capetain op was Willem Blaeuvelt voornoemt: hoe dat waer ende waerachtich is, dat sy attestanten weesende op des selfs Capetain Blaeuvelts barcque, gesien hebben ende hun noch wel bekent is, als dat op den achtienden July 1649 in de Bocht van Compechie alwaer quaem des avonts een Schip, welcke sy dochten dat het de barcque ofte prys van Blaeuvelt was, waer over Blaeuvelt datelyck seyl maeckte, ende draeyde hem op de Laey, om dat sy haer best soude kennen: welcken blaeuvelt de prinse vlagge van booven ende achteren liet wayen: Hy haer niet verwachtende maer syn best doende om van haer te koomen: des s'nachts ongeveer ten Elf uyren syn sy by hem gekoomen, doen riep blaeuvelts Cartiermeester genaemt Gerrit Hendricksz: Flip, Flip, Maet Flip, welcken geen ant[woor]t en kreegh, roepende, Stryckt voor de Prins van Orangie: Antwoorde, Stryckt voor de Coningh van Spanjen: ende schoot met schut datelyk vier schooten; het vyfde stuck weigerde ende het seste gingh af op Blaeuvelt: sonder dat by Blaeuvelt Its claer gemaeckt hadde: Welcken Blaeuvelt resolveerde om by de Wint te steecken om naer syn volck te geraecken: alle t'welcke wy attestanten voornoemt verclaren alsoo waer ende waerachtich te weesen, presenteerende t'selve, des versocht synde, met Eede te verstercken. Ady desen 27 September 1649, opt Eylant d'Manhatans In Nieu Neederlant. Was onderteckent by dusdanich merck [sideways H] daer by geschreven: Dit is het merck van Fyck Herry, selfs gestelt: dusdanich teycken [dash, sideways S] daer by geschreven dit is het merck van Antony Leon Spanjaert selfs gestelt. Nevens Albert Cornelisz ende t'merck van Nicolaes Stilwil, byde als getuygen vande waerheyt des bovenstaenden onderteckenden Mercken: onderstont In Kennisse van my, Jacob Kip geadmiteerde Clercq.

Naer Collatie is deese met syne principale gedateert ende geteckent als boven accordeerende bevonden by myn Jacob Kip Clercq ten overstaen van Francooys Noyret: ende —— getuygen, hier toe versocht desen —— Sept 1649 Int fort Amst. In N. Neederlandt.




Appeared before me Jacob Hendricksz Kip,[2] authorized clerk to the Honorable Director General and Honorable Council of New Netherland, Antony Leon, native of Majorca, 26 years old, Spaniard, and Fyck Herry, native of Castlehaven in Ireland, about 21 years old, passengers, who came from Captain Flip Drest's bark into the bark of Willem Albertsz Blaeuvelt, who testify, witness, and declare, in lieu and on offer of oaths, at the request of the joint owners of the frigate La Garce, of which the above-named Willem Blaeuvelt was captain, that it is true and certain that they, the deponents, being in the said Captain Blaeuvelt's bark, saw, and they recollect very well, that upon July 18, 1649, in the bay of Campechie,[3] there came in the evening a ship which they thought to be the bark or prize of Blaeuvelt, whereupon Blaeuvelt immediately made sail, and turned to the leeward in order that they might the better make her out. The said Blaeuvelt ran up the Prince's flag above and at the stern, not waiting for her, but doing his best to get away from her. About eleven o'clock at night she came up to him, when Blaeuvelt's quartermaster, named Gerrit Hendricksz, called: "Flip, Flip, mate Flip", but received no answer and then cried out, "Strike for the Prince of Orange!"[4] [The Spaniard] answered, "Strike for the King of Spain!" and immediately fired with cannon four shots. The fifth piece failed to go off. The sixth shot struck Blaeuvelt's ship, without his having made any preparations [to fire]; said Blaeuvelt resolved to sail close to the wind in order to get to his people. All which we deponents aforesaid declare to be true and certain, offering on demand to confirm the same by oath. This 27th of September, 1649, on the Island of Manhattan in New Netherland. Signed with a mark of the following shape, [sideways H], against which is written, "This is the mark of Fyck Herry, made by himself"; a mark of this sort [dash, sideways S] against which is written, "This is the mark of Antony Leon, the Spaniard, made by himself"; then, "Albert Cornelisz", and the mark of Nicolaes Stilwil,[5] both as witnesses of the genuineness of the above marks; and beneath, "Acknowledged before me, Jacob Kip, authorized clerk".

[Footnote 2: From whom Kip's Bay (East River, about Thirty-sixth Street) is named.]

[Footnote 3: Between Mexico and Yucatan.]

[Footnote 4: I.e., strike ensign and topsail.]

[Footnote 5: Albert Cornelisz was a magistrate of Brooklyn; Nicholas Stilwell, of Gravesend.]

After comparison with its original, dated and signed as above, this is found to agree, by me, Jacob Kip, clerk, in the presence of Francooys Noyret and [blank] requested as witnesses hereto, this [blank] September, 1649, in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland.


[Footnote 6: It was judicially decided later that the Tabasco was not a good prize. A ray of light is cast on Blauvelt's latter end by an item in an enumeration of English buccaneers in 1663 found among the Rawlinson manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, "Captain Blewfield, belonging to Cape Gratia de Dios [Gracia a Dios, Nicaragua], living among the Indians, a barque, 50 men, 3 guns." Haring, Buccaneers, p. 273.]


7. Declaration of the Massachusetts Council, July 20, 1653.[1]

[Footnote 1: Massachusetts Archives, vol. 60, p. 175. The document is a declaration of the Court of Assistants acting in its executive capacity, as a council.]

Att A Counsell held at Boston 20th July 1653.

Captaine Robert Harding[2] presenting unto us a certificate in the Dutch language with the seale of Amsterdam affixed to it that the ship called in the certificate the holy ghost togather with the skipper thereof did belong unto the united provinces (Although at the first arrivall of the s'd ship diverse rumors were spread which did render them suspitious to have unjustly surprised the s'd ship) whereupon the Counsell thought it there duty to enquire into the matter, yet having now examined the s'd Captaine and Considerd the Certificate afores'd together with a charter partie found in the s'd ship, Wee doe declare that wee have nothing wherewith to charge the sd Capt. or the company but have discharged the said Captaine and the rest of the company heere, together with their clothes, And therfore doe signify unto them that they have free liberty to enter our harbours where they shall have protection from all injuries and liberties of free trade with any of our inhabitants as any other ships whatsoever have had amongst us.

[Footnote 2: Capt. Robert Harding, now of Ratcliff, London, was well known in Boston, being, apparently, the same who came out with Winthrop, went to Rhode Island, was an assistant there, and then returned to England.]

20 July 1653. A True Coppie of the paper was signed by written to the Capt and Company JNO. ENDECOT, Gov. of the dutch prise—20th of RIC. BELLINGHAM, Dept. Gov. the 5th mo. 1653.[3] INCREASE NOWELL. EDWARD RAWSON, Secret'y. SYMON BRADSTREET. SAMUELL SYMONDS. ROBT. BRIDGES. JNO. GLOVER. DANIELL GOOKIN. DANIEL DENISON, Maj'r Gen'll.

[Footnote 3: The fifth month, in the reckoning usual among the English at this time, was July, March being the first. The civil year began on March 25.]

8. Declaration of Governor Endicott. August (?), 1653.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, p. 174.]

To all whom these presents may concerne, greeting etc.

Know yee that the ship called the holy gost of Amsterdam of the burthen about 160 tune beeing taken as a prize and carried away out of the Roade of the Iland of Barbados by some seamen and some planters and Inhabitants of the said Iland, the said Ship and company in their sayling Faling upon the coasts of new England were mett with at sea about 50 leagues from our harbor of Boston in great extremity, wanting provision, by a ship bound from London to our Ports whoe supplied them for there present need and pilatted them into one of our harbors called Natasket[2] where there is not a fort to bring a ship under Command. the Councell hearing of such a ship lying there sent to the Capt and company of the said ship and invited them to come into our harbor at Boston, they being afrade so to doe by reason (as the Councell was enformed) they were told that if they came into the harbor the Capt and Company should bee imprisoned and the ship seased. afterwards the Capt coming a shore, as alsoe some of the company, the Capt was arrested and some of the company were imprisoned, who were examined apt [apart] what ship it was they had taken and whence shee was, whither of Holland or of Spayne,[3] or wheather they had used any cruelty to any of the Company they tooke, either by wounding, killing or setting any of them ashore upon any Iland or other place to the endangering of there lives. they all agreed in one relation that no such thing was done by them or any man hurt, And there beeing not any person heere to enforme against the[m] and they making it appeare by a dutch certificate under the seale of Amsterdam and by other dutch writings w'ch are extant with us found in the seisd ship, that shee was a dutch ship of Amsterdam sett out by diverse Marchants of that citty, the councell released the said Capt and the rest w'ch had beene inprisoned, And sent to the rest of the ships company that they might freely come into our harbor, where they should have trafficke and protection from all Injuries and liberty of trade with any of our inhabitants as any other ships whatsoever, the ship afterwards came into Salem harbor,[4] And the Governor gave order to have the whole Cargo of goods to be brought ashore, that theire might bee a true Invoyce taken thereof, that the state of England[5] might have the tenth. And the rather because it was reported to be a vessell of great treasury And the account thereof might be expected from the goverment, being brought in to this Jurisdiction, And to the end there might be the better satisfaction given to such as might inquier after it. In Wittnesse of the premisses I have hereunto sett my hand and caused the seale of the Colony to be afixed.

[Footnote 2: Nantasket.]

[Footnote 3: England and the Dutch were now at war (1653-1654), and the ship if Dutch might be good prize, but there was no war with Spain.]

[Footnote 4: There are several entries regarding it in the Records of the Essex Quarterly Courts, I., but under the name of the Happy Entrance.]

[Footnote 5: The Commonwealth government.]

This is A true Coppie Compared with the originall

per EDWARD RAWSON, Secret'y.

[The words "Jno. Endecott Gov'n'r and the seale of the Colony" appear in the margin.]

9. Deposition of Matthew Hill. October (?), 1653.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, p. 172a.]

Mathew Hill aged 30 yeares and upwards deposeth and sayth

That upon the seaventh day of May 1653 last past aboute two of the clock in the afternoone of the same day The Prize-men and company that take the Spanish Ship out of Carlile Roade in Barbados,[2] there being at that tyme when shee was taken eight men of the shipps owne company on board when they tooke her (as the Gunner thereof informed this depon't) and that two of them leaped over board, w'ch were taken up by other shipps, and that they tooke thother six men with them, and were expected to have beene sent on shore back againe, but they cume not nor were ever heard of (by any meanes that this depon't could understand of) in foure months tyme whilst this depon't resided in Barbados after the ship was so taken, nor is yet that this depn't heares of. And this depon't further sayth That the Spanyord reported that there was a chest of gold dust six foote long and another chest of Jewells and Pearles, but named not how bigg it was, and seaven hogsheads of peeces of eight,[3] besides all other traffick that was in the said Shipp, And sayth that the Pylate of the said shipp affirmed that if there were Thirty men of them their share would come to one thousand pounds a peece, And also sayth That the Gunner of the said Ship being an Englishman (and this depn'ts country man) informed this depon't That his owne share in the said Shipp was worth eight hundred pounds sterl.

[Footnote 2: Carlisle Road or Bay is the roadstead of Bridgetown, Barbados.]

[Footnote 3: Spanish dollars, pieces of eight reals.]


10. Deposition of Francis Blackman and John Dukley. October (?), 1653.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, p. 173.]

Mr. Francis Blackman, aged 60 yeares or there about, and mr. John Dukley aged 4[illegible] yeares or there abouts, doe joyntly and severally depose and say That in the month of May last past There was a Spanish Ship, as it was affirmed to be, taken at Barbados by a company of men that were some of them there resident and some of them inhabitants there, wherein there was eight men of the shipps company when it was taken, and two of them leapt over board and were taken up by other shipps but six of them were taken away with them in the said shipp. And there was a flying report that they were come on shoare againe the same day, but the constant report was that they were not, neither was any of them seene by these depon'ts after they were carryed away whilst these depon'ts remayned in Barbados, w'ch was foure months after.


JOHN ID DUKLEY. his marke

11. Letter of Governor Searle of Barbados. November 4, 1653.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, pp. 176, 177. Daniel Searle was governor of Barbados, under the Commonwealth, from 1652 to 1660.]

Honnored Sr.

Theare arived some sixe mo. since before this Iland a spannish ship belonging to Tennarife (one of the Canary Ilands) Commanded by Emanuell Rodriges, Capt. thereof, who having mett with much contrary weather in theire voiage homewards wer necessitated to put for this place, and being before the Iland sent in theire request to have libertie to wood and water. accordingly it was graunted unto them, with Assurance of receiving like protection, freedome, and libertie in our ports, as any other Nation in league and Amitie with the Commonwealt[h] of England, which gave them Incouridgment to bring theire shipp into harbor within Command of our forts, and having staied and Refreshed themselves some three weeks time and taken in such necessaryes and provicions as they needed, whiles the Comander with the major parte of his men were on shoare abo[ut] theire dispatches, the said ship was Unhappily surprized in the harbor by a wicked deboist[2] Crew of persons, who getting aboard and by force suppressed those few seamen which were in the shipp, Cutt the Cables and sett saile.

[Footnote 2: Debauched.]

Assoone as the surprise was discovered some shott were made at them, but theire resolution to Carry so desperate an Attempt (knowing w't the end would have binn had they fayled therein) and sensiblenesse [?] in theire dispatch to gett the ship without Command, as also the night Coming on, and having the Advantage of winde and Currant, no meanes Could be used to recover the shipp Againe, by which action the Comander, with his men, who but a little before were possessed (as well of theire owne as others Interested) with very Considerable estates, were left on shoare to be Releived by our charitie.

The Inhabitants of this Iland with myself Cannot but have a very great Resentment of so vile an Act, which hath Reflected so much not only uppon Authoritie but the Iland in Generall, and may heareafter reflect to the prejudice of particcular persons heare who trade at the Canary Ilands.

Wee have lately understood these Robbers by fained pretenses and discourses, to Coulor theire Action have endeavored to shelter themselves under your Authoritie in New England, but its hoped and beleived that such persons will not be harboured, nor such Actions Countenanced by you there. if they should it may proove for the future of evill consequence to this Colonie. it was least of all suspected theire Confidence would have led them thither, otherwise wee should from hence have ere this requested your Assistannce for stoping the shipp and goods, and persons of those Robbers, untill the parties concerned therein might have Intelligence of theire being in New England, there to prosecute for theire rights;

The Capt. of the said ship with some others of the Compa. went hence for England hoping there to meete with them, others of them are gonn to some of the leiward Ilands, and some to the Canaries. assoone as Intelligence cann be given to the proprietors at tennarife, you will I judge have some one from thence, to prosecute for theire shipp and goods.

The persons who Committed this Robberie being thorough theire deboistnes brought into Considerable engagements to severall of the Inhabitants of this Iland, had long before sought waies to make escapes from of this place, to Avoide theire Confinement which the lawe would have forced them unto for sattisfaccion of theire just debts; and had not this ship presented, theire Attempts would have binn to have zeased on some other, as since hath binn prooved, which might as well have binn some Vessell heare of your Collony, as any other; theire example have binn encouradgement to others to Attempt the like, but wee are, and shall be as dilligent to prevent the same as possible wee may. if all or some of the cheife of those Robbers (if they are still with you), were sent hither that exemplary Justice might be Inflicted on them, it maybe a meanes to terrify others from such actions for the future.

What Justice you please to execute in this particcular, will not only be well resented by us heare; but also thankefully acknowledged and greately vindicate the Justice of your Authoritie against such as otheruise may be apt to blemish the same.

Since the Surprisall of said shipp here arived another vessell from the Canarie Ilands, to offer trade with the Inhabitants, who notwithstanding the Assurance they receaved from me of freedom and protection therein, yet afterwards being Informed of the Aforesaid action would not trust themselves amongst us but departed; which doe tend much to the prejudice of the Collonie. I shall not further enlarge at present but referr all to your Consideracion; and Commend you to the Almighty in whom I Rest

Yours in what I may to serve you


BERBADOES 4th of November 1653.

a true copy, etc., and the address.

12. Order of the Massachusetts Council. January 25, 1654.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, p. 178.]

Att A Counsell Called by the Governor on occasion of a letter sent from the Governor of Berbadoes to the Governor heere respecting the prizemen and held at Salem the 24th of January, 1653.[2]

[Footnote 2: 1654, new style.]

After the Counsell had Considered of that letter they Ordered that the Secretary should forthwith transcribe true Coppies of the originall and translacion of the Dutch Certifficat and the other Dutch writting found in the shipp called the holy ghost, and presented by Capt. Robt. Harding to the Counsell, Attested by the Secretary and sent to the Gov'nor and Counsell at the berbadoes, And further Ordered that the Secretary may give true coppies thereof to the Capt. or any other of the prizemen or any other that shall desier them;

And though by what the Governor of Berbadoes hath hitherto Certefied to us, it does not legally appeare that the vessell was or is a spannish vessell, but the Contrary rather seemeth unto us by the dutch Certifficat and other writting sealed and the Inscription on the sterne of hir De heyly[3] Gheest, with the picture of the dove and burden of the ship concurring with them, yett for these severall reasons, viz. 1. Becawse it cann be no Injury to Capt. Robt. Harding, Left. Thom. Morrice, and that company to Justify theire oune act at Berbadoes, (if it were a lawfull act). 2. Because there is probabillitie, some evidence appearing, that severall of the shipps former company that was aboard are missing, wch were not brought into this Jurisdiccion, what is become of them cannot so well be cleered, nor the Case triable any where so well as at the Berbadoes where the fact was donne. 3. Becawse Capt. Harding, Left. Morrice and the rest, as is suspected, have not discovered all the treasure that was in the shipp and thereby have deceaved the Commonwealth of England (In Case it should proove a pricze) which cannot be cleered so well, any where as at Berbadoes, who have as wee are Informed inquired of hr [?] the value of the prize, and the Rather becawse they broke bulke at Pemequid, out of our Jurisdiccion,[4] and that after they had our order, which they seemed to decline by theire Accepting proteccion from Capt. Gilbert Crane, as appeares by proofe, who was in our harbors under the Imploiment of the Parliament of England for masts and Tarre.[5]

[Footnote 3: Heylige.]

[Footnote 4: The Pemaquid settlement lay on the Maine coast near the mouth of the Damariscotta River; it belonged at this date to Richard Russell and Nicholas Davison, private proprietors.]

[Footnote 5: Capt. Gilbert Crane, in the King David, went out for this purpose in 1653 and returned to England in 1654.]

Itt is therefore Ordered that the Capt. Robt. Harding, Left. Thomas Morris and the rest of that company now in hold and such as shall be taken heere after shall with all conveniency be sent to the Berbadoes and In the meane time Remaine in prison, unlesse the Counsell shall take further order.

Itt is further Ordered that Capt. Robert Harding, Left. Thomas Morris and Henry Cowes shall, when Capt. Jno. Allen or any other that shall first be Ready to sett saile to the Berbadoes, be delivered safe aboard to him or them, by him or them to be delivered to the Governor and Counsell at Berbadoes, And It is left to any three of the majestrates to send the rest by such conveyances as they shall Judge meete.

And that the Secretary shall from the Counsell give a strict charge to the keeper of the prison to secure them in prison so as they escape no[t] as he will Answer it on his utmost perrill.

25. January 1653. voted alltogither. EDWARD RAWSON, Secret.

13. Vote of the Massachusetts House of Deputies. June 10, 1654.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, pp. 184, 183. On May 3 the General Court had voted that the imprisoned privateers (or pirates) should be released on bonds of a thousand pounds apiece for reappearance when summoned; Records of Massachusetts Bay, III. 344. We have now a conflict between the two houses, the House of Deputies wishing to drop prosecution, the Assistants adhering to the vote of May; id., IV. 196. In October the prisoners were released from their bonds; id., III. 361, IV. 207, 218.]

Whereas there was some Information given unto this Court of the Illegall surprisall of the Spanish shipp formerly Called the Holy Ghost and since Called the happie Entrance, of which shipp Capt. Robt. Hardinge was Commaunder, yet forasmuch as neither Capt. John Allen who so informed, nor any other person, would Ingage to procecute agaynst the sd Capt. Hardinge and Company, The Court thought it not meete to take Cognizance thereof, after which Capt. Crane undertooke to receive the tenth for the State of England, and whatsoever was Done by him or by mr. Endecot, then Gov'r, or Capt. Breedon[2] or any other person in any respect whatsoever about the sd shipp or Goods or tenth part thereof, neither was nor wilbe owned by this Court in any kind. the Deputyes have past this and desire our hon'rd magists. Consent hereto.

[Footnote 2: Capt. Thomas Breedon, afterward proprietary governor of Nova Scotia, had bought the ship. Records of Essex Quarterly Courts, I. 319, 320.]

10th 4th 1654 WILLIAM TORREY, Cleric.[3]

[Footnote 3: Torrey was clerk of the House of Deputies, Rawson secretary of the Court of Assistants. Ensign Jeremiah Howchen, whose dissent from the majority opinion of the deputies is recorded below, was deputy for Hingham.]

The magists. Cannot Consent heereto, It Contradicting the last act of the Court.


[Another copy of the vote, likewise attested by Torrey, has instead of the above subscription the following:]

this vote to be entred in the booke altho not Consented to by the magists.

Contradicent., mr Jer Howchen.


14. Portuguese Commission (Letter of Marque) to Charles de Bils. February 10 (N.S.), 1658, September 10, 1662.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mass. Archives, vol. 60, p. 215. A copy of the Portuguese original is in the archives, as well as this rough translation. The dates are new style. The grantor was King Alfonso VI., brother of Catharine of Braganza, queen of England from 1662 to 1685. War with Spain had continued since the Portuguese revolt of 1640. This series of papers shows well to what abuses the whole system of letters of marque was open. For an English commission, of later date (1741), see doc. no. 144.]

Alfonso, by the grace of God King of Portugall and of the Algarves [on both sides] of the seas In Africa, Lord of ginney and of the Conquest, navigation, and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and of India, Know all to whom this my letter patent shall Appeare that itt Behooving mee to provide shipps to oppose sea Roavers thatt frequent the Coasts of these my Kingdomes, for the conveniency of tradeinge to them, And Consideringe the merritts and Partts thatt Doe concurr in the person of Charles de Bils, Confidinge in him that In all thatt I shall Impose to his trust hee will serve mee to my Content, Itt Is my will and pleasure to nominate and by these Presents doe name for Capt. of a shipp of warr, by virtue of w'ch power hee may provide att his owne charge a shipp of one hundred Tonnes with whatt boates nessesarie, and provide her with Gunns, People, ammunition and provisions as hee shall thinke Convenientt, to wage warr with the subjects of the Kinge of spaine, Turks, Pirats, Sea Roavers, take there shipps and there marchandizes and all that belongs unto them and Carry them to Any Portts of this Kingdome to give An Accountt of them in my office, where they shall bee taken Account of In a booke kept for said purpose, where they shall bee Judged if Lawfull Prizes. hee may vizitt or search whatt shippes hee thinks goe loaden with our Enimies goods, goe to there ports, favouringe In all things any Alyed to this Crowne, Payinge the Customes of sd. Prizes, according to the Rates of the Custome Houses of this Kingdome. Wherefore I Request all Kings, Princes, Potentats, Lords, Republicks, states, theire Leiftenants, Generalls, Admirals, Governours of there provinces, Citties and Portts, Captaines And Corporals of Warr, to give to the said Charles de Bils all the Assistance, helpe and favour, Passage and Entrance into theire Portts, with his said shipp, people, prizes and all things theire unto pertaininge, offerringe my selfe in the like occasion to doe the same, and Command my Governours, Generalls, officers of Warr, to lett them goe and passe with there prizes as long time as shall be nessesarie, for Confirmation of w'ch I commanded this letter Pattent to bee past, signed and sealed with the great seale of my Armes. Given in the Cittie of Lisbone the tenth day of february. Written by Antonio Marques In the Yeare of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ one thousand six hundred fifty Eightt. Diogo Ferres Bravo Caused itt to bee written. QUEENE.[2] And because said Charles de Bills Presen[t]inge himselfe before mee, Declareinge hee had lost said patent, desireinge mee to favour him to Command to passe him Another With safety [?] I commanded itt to bee past him outt of the Register Booke, W'ch Is the same declared above. given in lisbone the tenth of September six hundred sixty two.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16     Next Part
Home - Random Browse