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PIRACY. - King JAMES II.

By the King, a Proclamation for the more effectual reducing and suppressing of Pirates and Privateers in America [caption title].

      - London: "Given at Our Court in Whitehall this Twentieth Day of January 1687/8" [i.e. 1688]. Broadside (20¼ x 14¼ inches). Printed on two sheets, joined at horizontal center seam (as issued). (Expert repairs to upper left corner, neat facsimile work to a small portion of the arms). A large, scarce and very interesting broadside proclamation concerning the English Crown's attempts to suppress Piracay in the Americas in 1688. This royal proclamation by King James II announces the formation of a British naval squadron charged with patrolling the seas of the West Indies and attacking the pirates there. Piracy in the Caribbean had reached a peak in the 1680s, and the publication of the English edition of Alexandre Exquemelin's Bucaniers of America in 1684-85 had brought public interest in the piracy problem to the forefront. The broadside notes that command of this squadron shall be given to Sir Robert Holmes. Holmes (1622-1692) was a naval officer who rose through the ranks to become captain of the Royal Charles, the flagship of the expedition intended to bring Catherine of Braganza from Lisbon to England to wed King Charles II. In August 1687 Holmes was granted a commission to command a squadron to suppress piracy in the West Indies. This broadside announces the formation of that squadron, and offers clemency and safe passage to any pirates or privateers who should surrender either to him or an appointed representative. Holmes was granted, in letters patent, all goods he should capture from pirates for the span of three years. The governors of the various colonies were instructed to publish this proclamation. Poor health prevented Holmes from assuming command of the squadron. The proclamation reads, in part: "Whereas frequent robberies and piracies have been, and are daily committed by great numbers of pirated and privateers as well on the seas as on the land of and in America, which hath occasion a great prejudice and obstruction to the trade and commerce as well of our subjects, as of the subjects of our allies, and hath given a great scandal and disturbance to our government in those parts. And whereas we being resolved to take some effectual course for the putting an end to all such outrageous insolences, have therefore thought it requisite to send a squadron of ships into the parts aforesaid, under the command of our trusty and welbeloved [sic] servant Sir Robert Holmes.for suppressing of the said pirates and privateers, either by force, or assurance of pardon." Scarce. Only a handful of copies listed in ESTC , with only four of those located in North America. European Americana 688/111; ESTC R1555; Wing J355.

      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2012-02-22          Check current availability from:     AbeBooks


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