By the King. A Proclamation.

CHARLES II (1683/4.)


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Printed broadside on two conjoined sheets measuring 555 by 355mm. Historiated initial, woodcut crest, early reinforcement to left margin, which has been trimmed away, old folds. London, Printed by the Assigns of John Bill Deceas'd: And by Henry Hill, and Thomas Newcomb, Printers to the Kings most Excellent Majesty,


Rare. This important proclamation seeks to combat some of the ongoing troubles in British waters, specifically from "Piratical practices, depredations, and Indolencies of Private Men of War..." The first safeguard taken against privateers was to proclaim the neutrality of British harbours with the threat of confiscation of any vessell found in breach. Furthermore, it required that British ships assist any merchant-men attacked by privateers, and added an extra protection to merchant ships whereby Men of War in the service of foreign powers would be detained until said merchants had completed their business and departed those ports. Lastly, British subjects were prohibited from supplying or assisting privateers and from acting on behalf of foreign powers.


The late seventeenth century was the beginning of the Golden Age of piracy with the likes of Henry Morgan, William Dampier, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny and Mary Read all active. Moreover, England was constantly braced for attacks from Spain, France and the Netherlands. Proclamations such as this one were thus a necessary part of defending England and its territories.


 Wing C3209a; Steele, 3757.

Stock Code: 231490

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