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By an ancient law of the sea, the right of the captors of a ship taken in prize to take everything found above the main deck except the furniture and guns of the vessel. It was a right which, not unnaturally, could lead to great abuse as, in the heat and excitement of capture, there were few to swear what was, or was not, found above the main deck. In many cases the holds of captured ships were broken open and the contents strewn on the upper deck, to be picked up a moment later and claimed as pillage.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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