A graphic denoting the Clarke genealogy section of this site. A letter of marque: piracy made legal!

Letter of Marque against Batavia

Introduction

The following Letter of Marque was issued to captain Charles Clarke in 1809. This transcription follows that made by A.S.Clarke. The original contains neither paragraphs or punctuation.

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Transcription

George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King defender of the faith

To all people to whom these presents shall come greeting

Whereas our most anxious endeavours to preserve neutrality and peace between us and the batavian republic have failed and the batavian republic has become engaged in measures of hostility against us and our subjects we have therefore by and with the advice of our privy council ordered that general reprisals be granted against the ships goods and subjects of the batavian republic so that as well as our efforts and ships as also all other ships and vessels that shall be commionated by letters of marque and general reprisals or otherwise shall and may lawfully apprehend seize and take all ships vessels and goods belonging to the batavian republic or to any persons being subjects of the batavian republic or inhabiting within any of the territories of the batavian republic and bring the same to judgment in our high court of admiralty of england or in any of our courts of admiralty within our dominions for proceedings and adjudication and condemnation to be thereupon had according to the courts of admiralty and the laws of nations

And whereas by our commission under our great seal of great britain bearing date the sixteenth day of June one thousand eight hundred and three we have willed required and authorised our commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral of the said united kingdom or any person or persons by them empowered and appointed to issue forth and grant letters of marque and reprisals accordingly and with such powers and clauses to be therein inserted and in such manner as by our said commission more at large appeareth

And whereas our said commissioners for executing the office of our high admiral aforesaid have thought Charles Clarke fitly qualified who hath equipped furnished and victualled a ship called the Ann of the burthen of about six hundred and twenty seven tons Foreign Built Square Stern Woman Head and Three masts mounted with twenty six carriage guns carrying shot of eighteen and twelve pounds weight and no swivel guns and navigated with eighty men of whom one third are landmen and belonging to the Port of London whereof the said Charles Clarke is commander and John and William Jacob of Newgate Street London Merchants are the owners

And Whereas the said Charles Clarke has given sufficient bail with sureties to us in our said high court of admiralty according to the effect and form set down in our instructions made the twentieth day of June aforesaid in the forty third year of our reign a copy whereof is given to the said Charles Clarke

Know Ye Therefore that we do by these presents issue forth and grant letters of marque and reprisals to and do license and authorise the said Charles Clarke to set forth in a warlike manner the said ship called Anne under his own command and therewith by force of arms to apprehend seize and take the ships vessels and goods belonging to the batavian republic or to any persons being subjects of the batavian republic or inhabiting within any of the territories of the batavian republic excepting only within the harbours or roads of princes and states in amity with us and to bring the same to such port as shall be most convenient in order to have them legally adjudged in our said high court of admiralty of england or before the judges of such other admiralty courts as shall be lawfully authorised within our dominions which being finally condemned it shall and may be lawful for the said Charles Clarke to sell or dispose of such ships vessels and goods so finally adjudged and condemned in such sort and manner as by the court of admiralty hath been accustomed

Provided Always that the said Charles Clarke keep an exact journal of his proceedings and therein particularly take notice of all prizes which shall be taken by him the nature of such prizes the times and places of their being taken and the values of them as near as he can judge also of the station motion and strength of the Dutch as well as he or his mariners can discover by the best intelligence he can get and also of whatever else shall offer unto him or any of his officers or mariners or be discovered or declared unto him or them or found out by examination or conference with any mariners or passengers of or in any of the ships or vessels taken or by any other person or persons or by any other ways and means whatsoever touching or concerning the designs of the Dutch or any of their effects vessels or parties of their stations ports or places and of their intents therein and of what ships or vessels of the Dutch bound out or home or to any other place as he or his offices or mariners shall hear of and of what else material in those cases may arrive to his or their knowledge and of or which he shall from time to time as he shall or may have opportunity transmit an account to our said commissioners for executing the office of our high admiral aforesaid or their secretary and keep a correspondence with them by all opportunities that shall present

And Further Provided that nothing be done by the said Charles Clarke or any of his officers mariners or company contrary to the true intent and meaning of our aforesaid instructions but that the said instructions shall by them and each and every of them as far as they or any of them are therein concerned in all particulars be well and truly performed and observed and we pray and desire all kings princes potentates states and republics being our friends and allies and all others to whom it shall appertain to give the said Charles Clarke all aid assistance and succour in their ports with his said ship company and prizes without doing or suffering to be done to him any wrong trouble or hindrance we offering to do the like when we shall be thereunto desired and we will and require all our officers whatsoever to give him succour and assistance as occasion shall require.

IN WITNESS whereof we have caused the great seal of our said court to be hereunto affixed GIVEN AT LONDON the twenty second day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nine in the forty ninth year of our reign

(Signed) ARDEN

Registrar

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