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A Scottish Letter of Marque, 1628

Posted by Steve Murdoch, on February 24th, 2019


The document dated October 1628 and signed by Alexander Livingston, 1st Earl of Linlithgow, was issued during the period when Scotland was at war with both France and Spain.  This privateer was authorised to take any ship, even in ballast, on the return leg of a journey.   The prize, Griffen of Stralsund had carried contraband at some stage of her voyage from Ostend to Stralsund, sailing via Norway, the Dutch republic and France.  The prize was condemned on the grounds that she carried contraband on part of a continuous voyage, and that the letter of marque was authentic.  The document is held in the Swedish National Archive, which hold more records from the Scottish High Court of Admiralty than can be found in Edinburgh.

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