About Instructions for Capturing Pirates 1577
It was common to annex a second document of detailed Instructions to Letters of Marque to let him know the bounds of his authority.
Below is the text of Instructions for Capturing Pirates 1577.
Instructions for better direction to Privateers for taking of
Pirates and Sea Rovers
Imprimis that the pirates taken may be brought to the next port, and there presented to the Vice Admiral
James Corging if he be found present, or the next justice of the peace, who shall send them to the next gaol, their to remain until they be tried by order of justice.
That the shippes and goods and merchandizes in the possession of the pirates be wholly and without diminution brought to the next port or haven, and their value by the oath of four honest, skilful, and expert persons inhabiting thereabout, with the advise and oversight of the custom there, and then delivered to the custody of the said customer by inventory indented, their to remain unto such time that may appear how much shall appertaine to these pirates, and how much to others, and until order be directed to the (1. Vice Admiral’s name) Vice Admiral and such customer in that behalf; the part of such inventory to remain with the said
Vice Admiral, and the other with the said customer.
That they board nor assault no shippe passing on the trade of merchandize, nor fisherman following his craft, but in all things aid them from the hands of the pirates and sea rovers, as much as in them may lie.
That after the taking of any pirate shippe or vessel, the same shall be certified to the Lord Admiral, or the judge of the Admiraltie with all convenient speed, to the end that they may make the Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barrons of the Exchequer privie thereto.
That no sale or distribution be made of any part of the goods taken in the possession of any pirate or rover so taken without order from the Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barrons of the Exchequer, or three of them, whereof the Lord Treasurer or Chancellor to be made.
Finally, her Majestie’s pleasure is that this commission shall have continuance and be in force no longer time than unto the last day of October next, unless it shall please her Masjestie in the mean time to prolong the time, and to signify the same unto the Lord Admiral.