French Letter of Marque

Versailles, 10 March 1693

English translation:

Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse, Admiral of France, to all who shall see these present letters, greeting. His Majesty having declared war on the Catholic King, on the supporters of the usurper of the Crowns of England and Scotland, and on the Estates General of the United Provinces, for the reasons set forth in the declarations that His Majesty has caused to be published throughout his kingdom and the lands and lordships owing him obedience; and His Majesty having commanded us to enforce what is contained in these declarations, in those matters which it has pleased His Majesty to commit to our charge; in accordance with the particular orders given by His Majesty we have given leave, power and permission to Matthieu de Wulf of Dunkirk to arm and equip the cutter Révenge, of twenty tons burthen or thereabouts, presently in the said port of Dunkirk, with whatever men, cannon, ball, powder, and lead, and other provisions and munitions as shall be necessary for him to put to sea and attack pirates and corsairs, and other lawless men, and also the subjects of the Catholic King, of the Estates General, of the supporters of the usurper of the Crowns of England and Scotland, and other enemies of the state, in whatever places he may encounter them, on the coasts of their own countries, in their ports or on their rivers, and even on land in such places as the said Captain de Wulf shall deem fitting to make landings to assail the said enemies, utilizing all the means and actions permitted by the laws of war; to make them prisoner, with their ships, weapons, and other possessions. The said Wulf is hereby charged to observe, and to see that his crew observe, the Maritime Ordinances; to display during his voyage the flag and ensign of the King, and our own; to register this present letter at the record office of the nearest Admiralty; to draw up a roll signed nd certified by himself, containing the names and surnames, birthplace and dwelling of all the members of his crew; to return to the same port, or to another port in France within our jurisdiction, and there to make a report before the officers of the Admiralty, and no others, of whatever has happened during his voyage; he is to inform us and send to the Secretary General of the Navy his said report and its attached documents that the whole may be ordered by the Council as is fitting.

We request and require all kings, princes, potentates, lords, estates, republics, friends, or allies of this crown, and all others whom it may concern, to accord the said Matthieu de Wulf every favor, help, assistance and shelter in their ports, with his ship, crew, and whatever he may have captured during his voyage, without offering or allowing that he should suffer any let or hindrance; engaging to do the same for them when they shall request it. We order and command all officers of the Navy and any others under our authority to allow him to pass freely and surely with his said ship, arms, crew, and any prizes he may have made, without offering or allowing that he should suffer any let or hindrance, but affording him all the help and assistance he may need. This present letter is not valid after a year from its date of issue. As proof of which we have signed, and had these letters countersigned and sealed with the seal bearing our arms by the Secretary General of the Navy.

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