En 1662, le jeune baron Windsor of Stanwell est envoyé par le roi d'Angleterre pour gouverner la Jamaïque. Ses instructions portent qu'il doit tenter de négocier un droit de commerce avec les Espagnols, et si ces négociations échouent, il est autorisé à armer les flibustiers. Les pourparlers avec les Espagnols aboutissent rapidement à une impasse, et Windsor autorise les armements des flibustiers, brièvement interrompus à son arrivée à la Jamaïque. Il délivre donc des commissions pour prendre sur les Espagnols, autorisation dont le présent document donne un exemple, et il confie le commandement en chef des flibustiers au capitaine Christopher Myngs, officier de la Royal Navy, pour aller attaquer Santiago de Cuba, ville réputée pour l'assistance qu'elle a donnée à la résistance espagnole qui s'était organisée à la côte nord de la Jamaïque, après la conquête de l'île par les Anglais. George Brimacain, porteur de la présente commission, fut l'un des capitaines de Myngs dans cette entreprise, qui fut couronnée de succès. Si l'on compare la commission de Brimacaim à d'autres (voir notamment celle délivrée au capitaine Trébutor par le gouverneur de la Tortue), l'on notera qu'elle est particulièrement longue et détaillée, et que, par souci de contrôler les excès bien connus des flibustiers, elle est assortie d'instructions bien précises, que devait respecter son porteur.
Le Diable Volant.
Thomas, Lord Windesor, Pear of the Realm of England, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Worcester, and of the city and county of the same, Governor of Jamaica and islands thereto adjacent, Commander-in-Chief there of all the forces by sea and land, and Vice-Admiral to His royal Highness the Duke of Yorke in the American Seas.
To George Brimacam, greetings.
WHEREAS His most sacred Majesty having taken into his serious consideration, and apprehending that divers well affected people of his Kingdom of England and other his Dominions and Territories have sustained great wrongs, losses and damages as well at sea in their ships, goods, wares, and merchandises, being pillaged, spoiled, surprised, and taken by the ships and subjects of the King of Spayne as by divers unlawful seizures, wrongs, and violences used against both their persons and goods in several ports and on shore in his Dominions in America and the Spanish governor refusing and utterly revoking all commerce and trade contrary to justice and all manner of civil correspondence betwixt prince and prince and to the lawful nations to the manifest prejudice and destruction to the trade, commerce and navigation of the King, my Master's subjects;
THEREFORE know ye that by virtue of authority derived from His most excellent Majesty and His royal Highness the Duke of Yorke, that I do thereby give and grant unto you, the said George Brimacam, the command of the good ship or frigate called The Fortune, a private man-of-war, which he (the said George Brimacam) has armed in a warlike manner, and armed, equipped and furnished to all intents and purposes whatsoever;
AND FURTHER know ye that by authority thereof, I do license and authorise the said Captain George Brimacam to set forth to sea the said ship The Fortune and therewith to apprehend, take, seize or surprise, or by force of arms to set upon, take and apprehend any of the ships, goods wares and merchandises of the said King of Spaine, or any of his subjects whatsoever, upon the high land, open seas, or any of ports or harbours within the dominions and territories of the said King of Spaine in America, or any other person without licence first obtained carrying to them men, ammunitions or provisions; and the same ships, goods, wares and merchandises so taken, do without delay, or any prisoner whatsoever, bring into the harbour of Point Cagway within this Island of Jamaica without breach of bulk or embezzlement of any pays, bills of lading, charter parties, cockets or other documents and writings whatsoever which may concern the said prize, and shall not dispose or alter the property thereof until the same be legally adjudged in the Court of Admiralty here established in Jamaica, the tenths and fifteenths of all such prizes, or the full value thereof, first duly taken out and paid to such persons as shall be by me nominated and appointed to the use of the King, my Master, or His royal Highness the Duke of Yorke;
And that it shall and may be lawful for any subject of the King, my Master, whatsoever either in his own person to serve or otherwise to bear charge and adventure or in any sort further, or to set forward the said enterprise by virtue of these presents; and that it shall and may be lawful for all persons whatsoever, being subjects of the King, my Master, or any others, to contract, bargain for or buy the said ship or ship's goods, wares and merchandises whatsoever perishable or other lawful cause seeming fit to the judge of the said Court of Admiralty without any danger, hindrance, loss, trouble or molestation whatsoever provided always; and it is the true intent and meaning of these presents that you neither do permit or suffer to be done any violence or injury to the ships, goods, wares, and merchandises presently belonging to the subjects of any prince or state in league or amity with the King, my Master, to whose aid and assistance I recommend you.
My execution of this commission whereof you shall enjoy the benefit and the same continue in full force and virtue for the space of ten months next ensuing the date hereof, unless I shall for just reasons in the meantime think fit to revoke the same, whereof you shall have timely notice.
Passed and registered in the said Court of Admiralty, and given under my hand, at Point Cagway, the eighteenth day of September in the fourteenth year of the reign of Our sovereign Lord Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scottland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., and Lord of Jamaica, and in the year of Our Lord 1662.
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Instructions which are to be observed, performed, fulfilled and kept by George Brimacam, commander of the frigate called The Fortune.
1. You shall give all due respect and obedience to such petitions as His royal Highness or myself shall give to any vessel at sea, and shall not presume in any degree to violate or infringe the same.
2. Upon taking any ship or vessel you shall forthwith cause an inventory to be taken of all bills of lading and other goods omitted out of such bills without breaking of bulk; and you shall deliver a copy of the inventory signed by yourself and the chief officers of your ship to the judge of Admiralty at Jamaica; and you shall, as soon as you are possessed of any such ship, seal up decks and not suffer any bulk to be broken until adjudication be first obtained.
3. Upon taking any vessel you shall immediately cause the master and other officers of the said ship so taken to be examined touching the design of their voyage, from whence they came and whether they are bound, with such other questions as you shall think fit to demand, which examination shall be reduced into writing and delivered to the judge of the Court of Admiralty here established; and if the said prize seem doubtful, then you shall keep the said master and other officers so taken till they be personally all examined by the said judge if he sees cause.
4. Upon your going on shore in any place whatsoever after the taking of a prize, or upon your arrival and coming to anchor in the harbour of Point Cagway in Jamaica, you shall neither suffer seaman or soldier, or any other person whatsoever either of your own ship or belonging to the prize, to come on shore before they be searched and examined what they carry with them.
5. Upon bringing in a prize into the harbour of Point Cagway in Jamaica, and adjudication thereupon obtained, the fifteenths due unto His Majesty's and the tenths due unto His royal Highness the Duke of Yorke and the just fees of the Court shall be first deducted and paid before any particular division be made between owners, victuallers and seamen.
6. You shall not suffer any officer, seaman or soldier whatsoever embezzle, cancel or throw over board any writing whatsoever found in any ship and to break open any packets before they be brought to you; and you shall cause all the said writings so taken to be delivered to the said judge.
7. You shall presume to take any commission from any other prince, and if you shall take any such commission I do hereby declare that, from that time the commission you have received from me, stands revoked and is determined.
Given under my hand at Point Cagway, the eighteenth day of September, in the year of Our Lord 1662.
Le Diable Volant : Les Archives de la flibuste : années 1660-1671 : commission de Lord Windsor au capitaine Brimacain, septembre 1662
référence et URL : « Note et document 620928w : commission de Lord Windsor au capitaine Brimacain, septembre 1662. » In Les Archives de la flibuste. Québec: Le Diable Volant, 2006. [en ligne] http://www.geocities.com/trebutor/ADF2005/1660/16620928windsor.html