Large Vellum Document [580 x 410mm], Westminster, Aug 11th, 1657.
Address and Title illuminated in Gold Script with Large Seal of the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The English ship Resolution, laden with cloth, tin, lead and money bound for Scanderone [the port of Aleppo] was attacked by 7 ships from Tripoli, near Candy and taken in defiance of capitulations. Cromwell demands an inquiry and that these Sea Rovers should be punished.
‘As we have now done to the grand signor your lord and master, so doe we also to you complaine of an Act of violence and injustice towards divers Merchants of this Commonwealth interested in an English Ship called the Resolution which being laden with Cloth, Tynn & mony & bound for the Grand Signors owne port of Scanderone in a peaceable course of Trading, was notwithstanding in her way neare Candy assaulted by seven Tripoly men of warre actually engaged in the Grand Signors service, & by them carried to Rhods, where the Captaine Bassa both secured the ship and her lading and imprisoned the Master, Mariners & passingers being in number forty five persons’.
After the defeat of the Ottoman fleet by the Venetians in 1656, Cromwell realized that the Ottomans would have to rely heavily on English ships. Despite their losses the Turks still held control of the eastern Mediterranean, and Cromwell was fully aware that there was too much English interest that would be vulnerable to Turkish attack. In August, 1657 a treaty was signed that ensured the safety of all Britons who found themselves castaways on the North African shore. Robert Blake, who launched this initiative under Cromwell, had stated earlier ‘ let the Turkish Pyrates know by fire and sword what it is to be thy fo’. The initiative however, resulted in the treaty of February 1658 and the release of seventy-two British captives from the Turks.
This was short lived and the Tunisians returned to piracy in March 1658!
A very fine and important document signed by Cromwell at the height of his position as Lord Protector.