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Ransom from the
gal, by slatutes 22 Geo, 3.
c. 72. Marshall,
of Great Britain, firmly by these presents : in witness whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto severally set their hands and seals, the
in the year of our Lord 1746, and the twentieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King George the Second.
The wording of ransom bills has been various, though the substance the same; I om of have therefore only added here the form of one; which I give my reader, both in French au coucny, and English, as they are commonly printed for privateers to carry with them.
I John Stout, commander of a private ship of war, called the Success, by virtue of 6. 25. 43 his Britannic Majesty's commission, dated at London, the twenty-fourth day of August, 669 and 1746, to seize all subjects and vassals, ships, goods, monies and effects whatsoever, of 45 (iro. 3. the French King, and King of Spain, having taken a ship or vessel called the Malheu,
reux of Nantes, whereof John Martel was commander, burden about two hundred tons, on los.431. bound from the said port to Cadiz, under French colours, laden with wheat, in the latitude of and
longitude from London ; the said ship and cargo belonging to Messrs. La Bourdonnage and Comp. of Nantes, subjects of the French King, which ship and wheat I have agreed to ransom for one thousand eight hundred pounds sterling, to be paid in London, within two months from the date hereof, to the order of Mr. James Fillpurse; in consideration whereof, I have set the said ship and cargo at liberty, to proceed for the said port of Cadiz, where she shall be obliged to arrive within the space of thirty days from the date hereof, after the expiration of which time, this agreement shall not warrant her from being taken again by any English ship of war or privateer ; for the true payment of which ransom, I have received as hostage, Mr. Thomas Lecroy, belonging to the said ship, who is not to be set at liberty until the said ransom be fully and truly paid, as above-mentioned ; I therefore pray and desire all friends and allies to suffer the said ship Malheureux, to pass and proceed to the said port of Cadiz, without any let or molestation within the said covenanted time. And I the said John Martel, commander of the said ship the Malheureux, as well as in my own name, as in the name of the aforesaid Messrs. La Bourdonnage and Comp. owners of the said ship and cargo, have voluntarily submitted myself to the payment of the said ransom of one thousand eight hundred pounds sterling, in London, as aforesaid; for which I have given the said Mr. Thomas Lecroy for hostage, who, upon the payment of the said sum as agreed, shall be immediately released and set free, and at full liberty to return to his own country, or wheresoever he shall think proper; hereby promising not to act contrary to the conditions of this agreement, whereuntó we have, with the said hostage, interchangeably set our hands, on board the said private ship of war, this third day of September, 1746.
Je Jean Stout, commandant de l'armateur nommé le Succes, en vertu d'une commission d'une lettre de marque de sa Majesté Britannique, signée à Londres le vingt quatriéme jour du mois d'août, de l'an 1746, pour prendre & saisir les vaisseaux, biens, & effets des sujets de la France & d'Espagne, ayant saisi şur, & pris, le vaisseau nommé
le Malheureux de Nantes, sous le commandement de Mons. Jean Martel, autour du deux cent tonneaux de port, venant du dit port, & destiné pour celle-la de Cadix, sous, pavillon François, chargé de blé, dans latitude de
& longitude de Londres; le dit vaisseau & cargaison appartenant a Messrs. La Bourdonnage & Comp. de Nantes, sujets du roy François, lequel vaisseau & blé je suis convenu de rançonner, moyennant la somme de mille & huit cent livres sterlines, qui doit être payée à Londres dans deux mois du date de ceci, à l'ordre du Mons. Jaques Fillpurse; & en consideration du dit somme, j'ai relaché & remis le dit vaisseau & cargaison en liberté pour aller au dit port de Cadix, où il sera tenu de se rendre dans le tems and espace de trente jours du date de celle-ci, après l'expiration du quel tems le présent traité ne pourra la garantir d'être arrêté & pris par aucun vaisseau de guerre ou armateur. Pour sureté de la quelle rançon, j'ai reçu en otage Mons. Thomas Lecroy, appartenant au dit vaisseau, qui ne doit être relaché, qu'après le payement de la dite rançon : donc je prie & supplie a tous amis & alliés de laisser passer le dit vaisseau le Malheureux surement & librement pour aller au dit port de Cadix, sans aucun trouble ou empêchement quelconque, pendant le dit tems stipulé & convenu. Et je le dit Jean Martel, maître du dit vaisseau le Malheureux, tant en mon nom, comme en celui de les susdits Messrs. La Bourdonnage & Comp. propriétaires du dit vaisseau & charge, me suis voluntairement soûmis au payement de la dite rançon, de mil & huit cent livres sterlines dans la ville de Londres, comme susdit ; pour sureté de laquelle j'ai donné en otage le dit Mons. Thomas Lecroy, qui, immediatement après le payement du dit , somme convenu, sera relaché & mis en entiere & pleine liberté de retourner dans son païs, ou partout où il trouvera a-propos, promettant de ne point contrevenir aux conditions du présent traité ; dont nous avons, avec le dit otage, reciprocamment signé, abord du dit armateur, ce trosieme jour du Septembre de 1746.
OF PIRATES, OR SEA ROVERS. A PIRATE is a sea-thief, or an enemy to human kind, who aims at enriching himself by marine robberies, committed either by force, fraud, or surprize, on merchants or other traders at sea ; and the histories of them are filled with the barbarities they have committed on such occasions, and the severe usage they have given to those who have been so unhappy as to fall into their hands.
They confine themselves to no place, nor have any settled residence, but are rovers: at large; though they generally cruize where most likely to meet with prey, and in parts where they have the greatest probability of finding supplies, and which afford the best! ports for their safety; and as all these circumstances unite in America, that part of the world has been most pestered with them; and they being enemies to all, all ought to be enemies to them, and no faith is to be kept with villains who despise both the laws? of God and man: they justly forfeit the protection of their natural sovereign,' and any prince hath power to make war against and destroy them, though not subjects to his government.
By common law the offence of piracy consists in the commission of those acts of robbery and depredation upon the high seas, which if committed on land would have amounted to a felony there. 1 Hawk. P. C. 268. 4 Bla. Com. 71.
Pirates, though called enemies, are yet improperly termed so, as they are no com- Grot, de monwealth, nor live by settled laws, but rules founded on iniquity, and which they fre-Jare Belli quently break through, to the destruction of one another that superiority which lib. 6. they assign to some among them, though necessary to their wicked union, is oftentimes.c. 20... 40
comply with his oath, he is supposed by some not to be guilty of perjury, as a pirate is not a determinate but a common enemy, and with whom they think neither faith nor oath is to be kept; others pretend nothing can free him from a compliance with his vow, as it is not men only that are concerned in it, but God also, who is certainly no friend to perjury. However, with humble submission to better judgments, I think some distinction ought to be made in concurring circumstances; for suppose, either at sea or land, a robber claps a pistol to the breast of the person he has seized, and makes him swear to do such things as he cannot perforın without great prejudice to himself and his dependents, as the payment of a sum of money, which may distress his circuinstances and ruin his family; I say, in such a case, or other similar ones, I believe no one will pronounce the oath to be binding, which the terrors of a threatening enemy had forcibly drawn from him that made it.
"An Englishman committing piracy on the subjects of any prince or state in amity with Rot. Adm. the crown of England, is within the statute of 28 Hen. 8. and so it was held where one
were one m, 24. Winterson, Smith, and others, had robbed a ship of one Maturine Guatier, belonging to and bound from Bourdeaux, with wines for England, and the same was felony by the law. marine, and the parties were convicted accordingly."
So also, if a natural born subject commit any act of hostility against any other of his Majesty's subjects under colour of a commission from a foreign power, this, though it would only be an act of war in an alien, is piracy in a subject. 11 and 12 William 3. c. 7. It is a general rule that a subject of a state at enmity cannot commit piracy. 2 Woodd.
And so if the subject of any other nation or kingdom, being in amity with the King of England, commit piracy on the ships or goods of the English, the same is felony, and punishable by virtue of the above act; and it was so adjudged, where one Careless, captain of a French man of war, and divers others, attacked four merchant-ships, going Rot. Adm.
28 Eliz. from the port of Bristol to Caermarthen, and robbed them of about 1000l. for which he 28 and the rest were arraigned, and found guilty of the piracy: · A charge of piracy may properly be preferred in any country to which either the party accused, or the owner of the property belongs, and semble in any country. 2 Woodd. 427. · But, before the 25th of Edw. 3. if the subjects of a foreign nation and some Eliglish had combined in the committing of piracy, it would have been treason in the English, and felony in the foreigners; an instance of which is quoted by Shard, where a Norman, 42 Assise being commander of a ship, had, together with some English, committed robberies on placit. 25. the sea, and being taken and tried, they were found guilty, the Norman of felony, and 2 Men. 5. the English of treason, who accordingly were drawn and hanged. But at this day, by c. 6. the laws marine, they would both receive judgment as felons, without distinction.
If the subjects of a prince at enmity with the crown of England, shall sail aboard an Englisli pirate, with other English, and then a robbery is committed by them, and they are afterwards taken, it is without doubt a felony in the English, but not in the foreigners; for they cannot be tried by virtue of the commission upon the statute; for Molloy.de it was no piracy in them, but the depredation of an enemy, for which they shall receive Jure Mar. a trial by martial law, and judgment accordingly.
Piracies committed in the British seas, by the subjects of any power in amity with siden the crown of England, are properly punishable by this crown only; and if a Spaniard date robs a Frenchman on the high sea, their princes being both then in- amity with the 115.1.c.21. crown of England, and the ship is brought into a port of this kingdom, the Frenchman may proceed criminaliter against the Spaniard to punish him, and civiliter to have Grotte restitution of his vessel ; but if the vessel is carried infrà præsidia of that prince by Jure Belli
, ac Pacis, whose subject the same was taken, there can be no proceedings civiliter, and doubted e. 9. 8. 16. VOL. I.
it was no piracy law and judgment accordings subjects of any power,
if criminaliter; but the Frenchman must resort into the captor's or pirate's own couna
try, or where he carried the ship, and there proceed.' March. Rep. 110. Molloy de If a piracy be attempted on the ocean, and the pirates are overcome, the captors 0969, 1977, may immediately punish them with death, and not be obliged to bring them into any
port, provided this occurs in places where no legal judgment can be obtained.
And therefore, if a ship should be on a voyage to America, or on a discovery of those parts still unknown to us, and in her way be attacked by a pirate, whom she fortunately overcomes, in this case, by the laws marine, the vessel becomes the captor's property, and the pirates may be immediately executed, without the solemnity of con.
demnation. 3 Bulstrode 148. 2 Wooddes 433, 4. Molloy de So likewise, if a ship be assaulted by pirates, and in the attempt they are subdued Jure Mar; and taken, and carried into the next port, if the judge openly rejects their trial, or the p. 62, 5, 13. a
captors cannot wait till judgment shall be given without certain peril and loss, they may do justice on them themselves, without further delay or attendance.
If a pirate at sea attacks a ship, and in the engagement kills a person in her, though
he has not succeeded in taking her, the pirates are all principals in the murder, if the Rot, Adm. common law hath jurisdiction of the cause; but by the law marine they only who gave 28 Ediz. the wound shall be principals, if they can be known, and the rest accessaries; and
where they have cognizance of the principal, the courts at common law will send them their accessary, if he comes before them. As to who are accessaries, and how they are triable and punishable, see statute 11 and 12 William 3. c. 7. 8. 10. and 8 Geo. 1.
c. 24. hereinafter set forth. Yelverton, A Dutchman, naturalized by the Duke of Savoy, and living at Villa Franca in his fol: 134, dominions, procured a commission from the States of Holland, and coming to Leghorn,
there rid with the colours and ensigns of the Duke of Savoy : the English ship Diamond, being then in port, took in her lading, and proceeded on her voyage, in which she was surprised and taken by that Caper, and carried into Villa Franca, and there con. demned and sold; but afterwards returning to England, the original proprietors, having notice of it, made a seizure; and upon trial, adjudication passed for them; for though the ship of war and captors were of Savoy, and carried their prize thither, yet being taken by virtue of a Dutch commission, according to the law marine she must be carried infrà præsidia of that Prince or State by virtue of whose commission she was taken; nor does such carrying of the ensigns or colours of the Duke of Savoy, who was then in amity with the crown of England, nor the commander's being a subject of that Prince, make him a pirate, or subject him, or those to whom the interest of the prize
was transferred, any ways to be questioned for the same criminaliter; for that the Grotius,
original quoad, the taking, was lawful*, as one enemy might take from another ; but lib. 3. c.9. civiliter, the same might be, for that the captor had not entitled himself to a firm &, 15 & 16.
And therefore, in all cases where a ship is taken by letters of marque or piracy, if the same is not carried infrà præsidia of that Prince or State by whose subject the same .. was taken, the owners are not divested of their property, but may reseize wheresoever
they meet with it. Mich. 8 Jac. in B. R. Brownlow, 2 part, Weston's case. . . C. 2. Inst. If a pirate attacks a ship, and only takes away some of her men, with an intention 109. lib. 8. W . °. to sell them for slaves, this is piracy by the law marine; and if a bale or pack of mer