Scottish Letter of Marque against Spain, 1626

This is an example of a Scots Letter of Marque, dated the 20th April 1626. It was issued to David Alexander, captain of The James of Anstruther, authorizing him to attack ships of Spain. The letter is archived in the register of the Privy Council of Scotland (second series 1:283), Edinburgh 1877-1933.

Charles R.-Oure Soverane Lord ordanis ane letter of markque to be made under the grite seale in dew forme makand mentioun that his Majestie, considdering the manie grite indignities and injuries done to his Majestie and his umquhile darrest father of worthie memorie under cullour of treaties and allyanceis by the King of Spayne, and the many violencis offerit be the said King and his subjectis to divers of his Majesteis subjectis by taking, slaying and ransoning thame in hostilemaner whenas thay intendit thair lawfull merchandice at sea; and his Majestie in his princelie wisdome and providence foirsieing that, whill the said King of Spayne contineweth in these courssis of hostilitie, itis not aggreeable with his Majesteis honnour nor pollicie that his Majestie sould ony longer forbeare these remedies whilk the law of nationis in matteris of this kynd allowis and approves: Thairfore his Majestie, with advise of the Lordis of his Secreit Counsell, hes gevin and grantit, and be tennour heirof gevis and grantis, full power and commissioun, expres bidding and charge, to David Alexander, capitane of the ship callit The James of Anstruther, to arme and furnishe his said ship with men, vittalis, armour and artiellirie grite and small, and with poulder, leid, lunt and all other wearlike furnitout and provisioun, and with his said ship to mak his addresse to the sea, and thair to searche, seik, follow and persew with all hostilitie, and to tak or sink, the shippis or goodes of the said king of Spayne and his subjectis, alsweele of the Low cuntreyis under the governament of the Infanta Issobella, as of otheris his dominionis, according as the necessitie of the tyme of the persute sall fall oute; and alsua to impeshe, stay, and arreist all otheris shippis of whatsomever cuntrey or natioun whome he may apprehend going to West Flanderis or ony other of the said King of Spayne his dominionis with victuall, money, armour, or with intention to goe to the same with ony provisionis serveing to build furnishe, or arme any shippis of warre or ony munitioun for the warre or materiallis for the same, and to bring in the saidis shippis and goodes to ony port or harhorie, thair to be sauld and ordoured as goodes dewlie foirfeytted to his majestie; the companie and equippage of the Spanishe or West Flanderis shippis so taikin to detene or ransoun as the said David sall think expedient; the commodities and goodes being within the same shippis to meddle and intromet with, and to use the same shippis and goodes as pryise laufullie foirfeytted to his Majestie; and to use suche militarie lawis agains the companie equippage of the saidis shippis as is usuall in matteris of this kynd agains profest and avowwed enemies to his majestie and his estate; and generallie with power to the said David to doe and performe all and everie other thing that towardis the execution of the premissis is necessarlie requisite: Ferme and stable halding and for to hald all and whatsomevir thingis sal be laughfullie done heirin, and that the said commissioun be extendit in the best forme with all claussis neidfull, and be direct to all kingis, princes, dukes, governouris, and republicquis, magistrattis of burrowis and commanderis of navyis, and to all otheris his Majesteis freindis and confederattis whome these presentis doe or may concerne; requesting thame to acknawledge the said David and companie and equippage of his ship as his majesteis goode and laughfull subjectis authorized with his Majesteis warrand and commissioun for executioun of the praemissis; and if the said David salhappin to come in thair boundis with ony pryise or pryises tane be him, thast thay suffer and permitt him to mak laughfull merchandice thairof, and to sell and dispone upon the same at his pleasure; and that thay furneis him with vittaillis and otheris necessaris upoun his reasounable expenssis, and withstand and resist all violenec that salbe offerit unto thame; and that thay shawe all otheris commoun dewties of friendship unto thame, as his Majestie salbe carefull in all occurrentis of this kynd to caus the like be shawne unto thame and thair subjectis. And that thir presentis be ane warrand to the gritte seale without ony furder preceptis to be direct thairupoun, and dureing the tyme of the warre after the date heirof but revocatioun to indure.

Gevin at Halyrudhous, the tuentie day of Aprile 1626.
Sic subscribitur, Geo.Cancell., Mar, Montrois, Wyntoun, Linlithgow, Perth, Wigtoun, Roxburgh, Bugcleugh.

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