Trinity House asks Charles I to protect sailors against pirates
Trinity House Court Minute:
“Trinity House to the Privy Council: They find that there are twelve, thirteen or fourteen hundred Englishmen captives in Sally: all of the greatest part of them taken within twenty or thirty miles of Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth. When the winter takes, then the Sally men go to Flushing and Holland, where, having supplied all wants and the winter past, they go to sea again. If they want men in these places with the Dutch they are furnished. The writers complain that the coast is not guarded by some handsome ships to defend the King’s subjects, and that our friends are not restrained from arming and aiding the infidels.”
The Elder Brethren of Trinity House are here referring to the Salé [“Sally”] Rovers, a band of Barbary pirates who eventually formed the Republic of Salé on the Moroccan coast.
The Elder Brethren were very much active in the fight against high-seas piracy. The Court Minutes for many years between 1610-1670 make references to persons taken captive by Turkish and Algerian pirates, with the ransom demanded for their release, and further references to pirate attacks and measures to be taken against them.Here are a few examples:
“1617, June 16. Council letter to the Trinity House:
Within these few years the Turks have captured above 300 ships of England and Scotland. The merchants of London have offered £40,000 from the merchants. and owners of ships in the port of London as a fund against the Turks. They ask the Trinity House to assemble and decide what they will contribute.”
Trinity House responded to the above with a contribution amounting to £1,068.
“1621, May 26. Petition by the Trinity House to the Privy Council:
They have received the collection for the £1,000 per annum, according to the rates presented to the Council and mentioned in their letter of 7th July, 1620, to the Custom House, towards the charge of the ships at sea against the Turkish pirates.”
“1670, Nov. 9:
Towards the redemption of captives now at Algiers every Elder Brother is to allow a turn, and if the next turn does not amount to £3 it is to be made up to £3, and every Younger Brother to allow 6/8, and their next turn is to be stopped for it.” [NB. ‘Turns’ were a form of payment to the Elder Brethren that predated salaries]
“1670, Nov. 16:
The Deputy Master acquaints the Board of the payment of £200, towards the redemption of captives at Algiers, to the Archbishop of Canterbury.”