Letter of Marque
About Two Ships Two Captains 1405
This Letter of Marque is unusual because it authorizes two ships and two captains on one license. It also lets them keep all the booty, whereas all other Letters of Marque demand a fair share of the booty for the King which was called “tenths”. This was issued by King Henry IV to John Wellys and Philip Taillor to capture any vessel belonging to the King’s enemies.
Below is the text of Two Ships and Two Captains 1405.
Letter of Marque
The King to all and singular Admirals &c., Greeting.
Know ye that we have granted and given to our well-beloved John Wellys, master of a certain ship called the James of Bristol, and to Philip Taillour, master of another ship, called the Trinity of Bristol , liberty to equip in the port of the town of Bristol, at their own charges, the aforesaid ships with as many mariners, men-at-arms, and bowman as shall be necessary for their navigation and defence at sea against our enemies, whosoever they may be, and for subduing, capturing, and destroying the same; and liberty to set forth with the same ships, so equipped, upon the sea for the purpose aforesaid. And we will that whatsoever they, John and Philip, succeed in winning, gaining, and having by capture from our enemies aforesaid, they may have and keep for their own proper use, without claim or hindrance by or from us, or our heirs or ministers, or the ministers of any of our heirs whatsoever. Provided always that under color of this license they, John and Philip, their mariners, men-at-arms, and bowman aforesaid, neither do nor permit to be done any violence, hindrance, or hurt to any who are in friendship with us.
Witness the King Henry the Fourth at Westminster
on the 4th day of February, Fourteen Hundred and Five.