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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Laws of North Carolina, 1685
Carolina. Albemarle County. General Assembly
November 23, 1685
Volume 25, Pages 139-141

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(Colonial Entry Book No. 22, pp. 110-12.)

An Act for Restraining and Punishing Privateers.

Whereas nothing can more contribute to his Sacred Majestties honour, and the peace and quiet of this Colony, Than that such articles as are agreed and concluded on in all Treaties of peace should be most inviolably preserved and kept in and over all his Dominions and Territories, And whereas not only against such Treaties of peace made by his Majestie with his Allyes but alsoe contrary to his Majesties Royall Proclamation Several of his Subjects have and doe continually goe from other English Colonyes and may hereafter from this Colony into the service of Foreign Princes and sail under their Commissions contrary to their duty, and good Allegiance, And by faire means cannot be restrained from soe doeing.

I. Be it therefore Enacted by the Pallatine and the rest of the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors of this Province by and with the advice of the Nobility, and of the Commons in this Parliament assembled, That from and after the publication hereof, It shall be Felony for any person which now doth, or within four yeares last past heretofore hath or hereafter shall inhabit or belong to that part of the Province of Carolina that lies from Cape Feare South and West to serve in America in an Hostile manner under any Foreign Prince, State or Potentate, or any imployed under any of them against any other Prince, State or Potentate, in Amity with his Majestie without especial Lycence for soe doing under the hand and seale of the Governor or Commander in Chiefe of this Province for the time beinge, and that all and every such offender and offenders contrary to the true intent of this Act being thereof duely convicted in the chief justice's court, or any of the county courts within the said part of this Province: To which courts authority is hereby given to heare and determine the same, as in other cases of Felony, shall suffer paines of death without benefit of Cleargy.

Provided nevertheless That this Act nor any thing therein conteyned shall extend to any person or persons which now are or have been in the service or employment of any foreign Prince, State or Potentate, whatsoever that shall return to this Province, and leave and desert such service and imployment before the Twentieth day of January next ensuing, rendering themselves to the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being, and giving him such security as he shall appoint for their future good behaviour, and alsoe that he or they shall not depart the Province without the Governor's leave.

II. And for the better and more speedy execution of justice upon such who haveing committed treason, pyracyes, felonyes and other offences upon the sea shall be apprehended and brought prisoners to the Province, Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all Treasons, Felonyes, Pyracyes, Robberyes, Murders or Confederacyes committed on or hereafter shall be committeed upon the sea or in any Haven, Creek or Bay whereby the Lords of England the Admiralty hath jurisdiction shall be Inquired, Tryed, Heard, determined and judged within this Province in such like forme as if such offence had been committed in and upon the Land, And to that end and purpose Commissions shall be under the

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Great Seale of the Province for the time being directed to the Admirall of this Province, or his Deputy, or such other substantiall persons as by the Governor or Commander in Chief of this Province, And the Lords Proprietors or their Deputyes for the time being shall be named or appointed, which said Commissioners or such a quorum of them as by such Commission shall be thereunto authorised shall have full power to doe all things in and about the inquiry, hearing, determining, adjudging and punishing any of the Crimes and offences aforesaid as any Commissioners to be appointed by Commission under the Great Seale of England by vertue of a statute made the Twenty-Eighth yeare of the Reigne of King Henry the Eighth are impowered to doe and execute within the Kingdom of England, And that the said offenders which are or shall be apprehended in or brought to this Province shall be lyable to such Processes, Orders, Judgments, Executions, by vertue of such Commission to be grounded upon this Act as might be awarded or given against them if they were proceeded against in the Realme of England by vertue of any Commission grounded upon the said Statute. And all tryalls hitherto had against such Criminall or Criminalls before any judge or judges by vertue of such Commission or Authority at any time heretofore granted, and all proceedings thereupon are hereby ratified, confirmed and adjudged Lawfull, and all such judges, with all and every the Superior Officers that have acted thereby are hereby indemnified to all intents and purposes whatsoever, And in case they or any of them shall at any time hereafter be sued, vexed, molested or troubled for any such their proceedings as aforesaid, He or they soe sued, vexed or molested shall plead the Generall Issue, and give this Act in evidence any Lord, Statute, Custome or Usage to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

III. And Be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all and every person or persons that shall or may knowingly entertaine, harbour, conceale, trade or hold any correspondence by Letter or otherwise with any person or persons that shall be deemed or adjudged to be Privateers, Pyrates, or other Offenders within the Construction of this Act, and that shall not readily endeavour to the best of his or their power to apprehend or cause to be apprehended such offender or offenders, shall be lyable to be prosecuted as Accessory and Confederates, and to suffer such paines and penaltyes as in such case by Law is provided and for the better and more Effectual Execution of this Act.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that all Commission officers in their severall Precincts within the said part of the Province aforesaid are hereby impowered and required upon his or their knowledge or notice given that any Privateers, Pyrates or other persons suspected to be upon any unlawfull Designe are in any place within their respective Precincts, To raise and Levy such numbers of armed men as he or they shall think needful for the seizure, apprehending and carrying to Gaole all and every such persons, And in case of any Resistance or Refusall to yield obedience to his Majesties Authority it shall be Lawful to kill or destroy such person or persons and all and every person or persons that shall oppose or resist by striking or fireing upon any Commanded Parties shall be deemed taken and adjudged as felons without benefit of cleargy And every such Officer that shall omitt his duty herein shall forfeit the summe of Fifty pounds currant money of this Province for every such offence, to be Recovered in any of the Courts of Record within this Province, By Plaint or Information Wherein noe Essoign, Wager of Law or Protection shall be allowed, one Moyetie whereof to be to the Palatine, and Lords

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Proprietors and their heires and successors for and toward the support of the Government of this Province and the Contingent Charges thereof, and the other moyety to the Informer, and all and every other person or persons that upon Orders given him or them shall Refuse to repair immediately with his or their Armes well fixed and ammunition to such place as shall be appointed by the said Officer and not readily obey his commands in the execution of the premises shall be lyable to such Fine or Corporall punishment as by the Grand Councill shall be thought fitt.

Read three times and ratified in open Parliament this Three and Twentieth day of November, 1685.

By the Palatine and Lords Proprietors We do Ratifie and Confirme the foregoeing Act Intituled An Act for restraining and Punishing Privateers: Witness our hands and Seales this Third day of March One thousand six hundred Eighty and Six.

Both for the Lord Carterett
THO. AMY [Seal]