English Letters of Marque Against Genoa
Henry IV, 1413

The King to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting. Our well-beloved lieges William Waldern, Drugo Barantyn, Walter Cotton, John Reynewelle, William Flete, Thomas Brown, William Brekespere, John Glamville, John Sutton and their fellows, merchants of the city of London, have shown unto us that of late they, with our licence, despatched certain factors and attorneys of theirs with a great quantity of wools and other merchandise, to the value of 24,000 shipped in divers ships, to be carried carefully and in safety by way of the Straits of Morocco to Western parts, there to be sold for the advantage and increase of our realm; and, to the end that the aforesaid ships so laden should have sure and safe passage, we caused our letters of recommendation to be sent to the Governors, worthies, and community of Genoa, which letters were, as we hear, duly presented to them by certain of the aforesaid factors; but they of Genoa, paying no regard at all to our letters aforesaid, and wickedly scheming, to the injury of the commonweal of our realm aforesaid, to hinder their passage, first of all detained the aforesaid ships, and afterwards compelled them to enter the harbour of Genoa, and, after their entry, spoiled them of the wools and merchandise aforesaid, and took them into their own hands, and sold them for their own use and profit; and, further, that the aforesaid factors were prevented from writing to their own magistrates upon the matter, and were, and now are, to the grievous hurt and injury of our said lieges, unable to get possession of any part of the aforesaid wools and merchandise, for their own support, or of any of the money arising from the sale thereof. Wherefore they have prayed us that we should think fit to issue to them our letters of marque and reprisal. And we, in compliance with their prayer, of our especial grace, and with the assent of our council, have, for ourselves and our heirs, given and granted to the aforesaid William, Drugo, Walter, John, William, Thomas, William, John, John, and their fellows aforesaid that they of themselves or by their deputies may seize, keep, and retain such and so many Genoese, or subjects or inhabitants of Genoa or the confines of Genoa, or their factors or agents, as they think fit, whether on this side of the sea or beyond it, and whether on land or sea, together with their ships, vessels, goods, and merchandise of what kind soever, until full restitution and satisfaction shall be made to them for the value of the aforesaid wools and merchandise, to the amount aforesaid, together with their costs, damages, outgoings, and expenses, which by fair estimate amount to the sum of 10,000 and that they have liberty to put into execution or cause to be put into execution these present letters of marque and reprisal so often as they think fit, without hindrance by us or our heirs or by the Admirals of us or our heirs or by their lieutenants or other our officers or ministers whatsoever, and that notwithstanding any letters of safe-conduct granted or hereafter to be granted to the aforesaid Genoese, or subjects or inhabitants of Genoa or its confines, or their factors or agents, or anyone else of the country or territory of their community or confederacy. Moreover, we straitly command all and singular our Admirals, captains, castellans, and their lieutenants, customers, keepers of ports, keepers of the sea and sea coasts, sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, constables, ministers and other our lieges and subjects, as well on this side of the sea as beyond it, that in the execution of the premises they be aiding, helping, and assisting to the aforesaid William, Drugo, Walter, John, William, Thomas, William, John, and John, and their fellows, as beseems them, &c. In witness, &c. Witness the King at Westminster the 3rd day of February.

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