'WE grant the present letters of marque for a duration of three months, renewable. We authorize . . . to chase and capture all Spanish ships which he shall meet with on the high seas, to attack them in the rivers and in the roadsteads and harbours beneath our jurisdiction.
'We give express orders to . . . under the most severe penalties, that he shall uphold the honour and the good repute of the flag of Independence, shall molest none of the boats or vessels of friendly nations, but on the contrary shall come to their help in case of trouble. We make him responsible before the law for any abuse of power unjustly committed either by himself or by his crew.'
Supported by these licences, delighted to cloak their robberies beneath a flag and to plunder under the pretext of honest war, the pirates of the West Indies enlisted in the service of Colombia. In spite of increasing threats to his health, Bolivar relinquished none of his hatred of the Spaniards. He made plans to liberate Cuba and Porto Rico, which might be made into excellent naval bases; he went yet further and dreamed of harrying Spain herself. Sundry pirates went the length of attacking the Canary Isles, whose traffic was almost stopped, of entering the Mediterranean and of ravaging the coasts.
The Spanish Government was perturbed by these