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BURCHETT Josiah - Letter Signed 1723 demanding reparations for HM's trading subjects

  • £475.00

Josiah BURCHETT (c. 1666-1746)

Letter Signed (“JBurchett”) to Captain Purvis of the Dursley Galley, Gibraltar, sending orders [not present] for His Majesty’s Consuls in Tunis and Tripoli that they demand “satisfaction for the injury done to His Majesty’s trading subjects”.
1 page folio with integral blank leaf, Admiralty Office, 3 July 1723. 
You will herewith receive orders from my Lords Comm[issioners] of the Admiralty for proceeding with His Ma[jes]tie Ship under your Command to Tunis & Tripoly, to assist His Ma[jes]tis Consuls there, in puting in execution their Ex[cellen]cys the Lord Justices Instructions, for demanding satisfaction for the injury done to His Ma[jes]tis Trading subjects, and inclosed I send you Two Packets from their Excellencies to the said Consuls, which I am to recommend it to you carefully to deliver to them.
I send this under cover to Col. Hargrave, or the Commanding Officer in the Garrison of Gibraltar, & have desired him to deliver it to you as soon as ever you come into that Port, or to forward it to you, if you shall be any where within his reach, so as that he can depend it will timely & safely come to your hands.
Despite agreements with both Tunis and Tripoli, attacks by Barbary pirates persisted as can be gathered from this letter. Indeed, there is evidence that the governments of Tunis and Tripoli were less than cooperative in protecting British ships from the pirates. It is uncertain whether or not compensation was ever received for “the injury” done to the traders. It is noted on the integral blank leaf that the letter was received one month later, on the 3rd of August.
The signatory of the letter, Josiah Burchett, is a particularly interesting figure. From his beginnings as a clerk and protégé of Samuel Pepys to a position as secretary to Lord Dartmouth, he eventually rose to the position of Admiralty secretary. His command of administration in that position allowed him to retain his post despite changes of monarch or government. The post of Admiralty secretary had traditionally been a political appointment; after Josiah Burchett it became the job of a civil servant, resulting greater efficiency in administration.

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