About Enforcing Gun Salute 1673
Extracts from the Duke of York’s instructions for enforcing the salute: All vessels on all oceans must dip their flag to an English ship to acknowledge her dominance of the seas.” These instructions also dealt with taking English seaman out of foreign ships if they had been captured; and searching foreign privateers for English goods.Several ships were brought in for not saluting. In 1675 the master and two of the crew of the Young King of Spain, were prosecuted at Admiralty Sessions and fined £400, £50, and £50, respectively.
In 1676 a French ship failed to salute after being informed of the right of the crown of England to the salute. After the failure of the French ship to strike her flag and lower her topsail warning shots were fired across her bow and she was brought in and her master fined £500.
Below is the text of Enforcing Gun Salute 1673.
Enforcing Gun Salute
Art. 22 Upon your meeting with any ships within His Majestie’s seas belonging to any foreign Prince of State, you are to expect that, in their passing by you, they strike their topsail, and take in their flag, in acknowledgement of His Majestie’s sovereignty in these seas.
And if you shall refuse to do it, or to offer to resist, you are to use your utmost endeavors to compel them thereunto, and in no ways to suffer any dishonour to be done to his Majesty.
And in case any of his Majestie’s subjects shall be so far forgetful of their duty as to not striking their topsails as they pass by you, when it may be done without the loss of the voyage, you are to bring them to the flag, to answer his contempt, or otherwise to return the name of the shipp and of the master unto me, as of also of the place from whence, and the port to which she shall be bound.
And you are to make the master of her to pay charge for shot you shall make at her.
And you are to further notice that, in his Majestie’s seas, his Majestie’s shipps are in no ways to strike to any.
And that in other parts no ship of his Majestie is to strike her flag or topsail to any foreigner, unless such foreigner shall have first struk, or at the same time strike her flag or topsail to his Majestie’s ship, except in the harbor of some foreign Prince, or in the read within shot of cannon of some foreign fort or castle, where the captains of his Majestie’s ships are to conform to the custom of the place, and to salute the forts in such manner as is usual and customary for the ships of war of his Majestie or other Princes in that place.
And for your better guidance in this Article you are to take notice that his Majestie’s seas do extend to Cape Finisterre.
Art. 26. Upon your meeting with any foreign ship or vessel, you are to send on board her some person, (for whose civil deportment we shall be responsible), to see if there are any of his Majestie’s subjects on board her, contrary to his Majestie’s proclaimation forbidding any of his subjects to serve any foreign Prince or State.
And such as shall be found you are to cause to be taken forth and disposed of in such sort that they may be forthcoming to answer their contempt of his Majestie’s said proclamation.
And you are to compel the master of the ship in which they shall be found to pay their wages for the time they have served.