Rogue Trader charter


The Terran High Lords of the Imperium of Mankind and Governing Lord Sector, to all who shall see these Presents, or hear them read, Greeting.

Be it known, that we knowing the prosperity of the systems of the Segmentum XXX, and the welfare of their inhabitants depends principally on navigation and trade, which in all former times by the said Systems were carried on happily, and with a great blessing to all worlds and sectors; and desiring that the aforesaid inhabitants should not only be preserved in their former navigation, traffic, and trade, but also that their trade may be encreased as much as possible in special conformity to the treaties, alliances, leagues and covenants for traffic and navigation formerly made with other worlds, Adepta and people, which we give them to understand must be in all parts punctually kept and adhered to: And we find by experience, that without the common help, assistance, and interposition of a Man of Action, the people designed from hence for those parts cannot be profitably protected and maintained in their great risque from pirates, extortion and otherwise, which will happen in so very long a voyage. We have, therefore, and for several other important reasons and considerations as thereunto moving, with mature deliberation of counsel, and for highly necessary causes, found it good, that the navigation, trade, and commerce, in the parts of the Koronus Expanse, and the Halo Stars, and other places hereafter described, should not henceforth be carried on any otherwise than by the common united strength of the Rogue Traders and loyal Men of these Worlds; and for that end there shall be elected divers Rogue Traders, and in especial, the Line of , which we out of special regard to the common well-being, and to keep and preserve the inhabitants of those places in good trade and orthodoxy, will maintain and strengthen with our Help, Favour and assistance as far as the present state and condition of this Body will admit: and moreover furnish them with a proper Warrant of Trade, and with the following Priveleges and Exemptions, to wit,

I. That until this bloodline shall perish from the stars, none of the Natives or Inhabitants of these countries shall be permitted to sail to or from the said lands, or to traffic in the systems and worlds of Koronus from the Rifts of Hecaton to the warp storm known as The Cauldron, nor in the worlds of the Halo, or the Heathen Stars, beginning at the fourth world of Phainal, by the streights of Benetek, Nostromo, or any other streights and passages situated thereabouts to the straights of Anais, as well on the north borders as the south borders, nor on any worlds situated on the one side or the other, or between both; nor in the western or southern sectorari reaching, lying, and between both the meridians, from the God-Emperor’s Scourge, in the South, to the Galactic Rim, in the West, inclusive, but in the Name of a Rogue Trader of this Imperium of Mankind. And whoever shall presume without the consent of these Peers, to sail or to traffic in any of the Places within the aforesaid Limits granted to said Trader or Traders, he shall forfeit the ships and the goods which shall be found for sale upon the aforesaid coasts and lands; the which being actually seized by the aforesaid Trader, shall be by them kept for their own Benefit and Behoof. And in case such ships or goods shall be sold either in other systems or havens they may touch at, the owners and partners must be fined for the value of those ships and goods: Except only, that they who before the date of this charter, shall have sailed or been sent out of these or any other worlds, to any of the aforesaid regions, shall be able to continue their trade for the sale of their goods, and cosine back again, or otherwise, until the expiration of this charter, if they have had any before, and not longer: Provided, that after, XXXXXXX.M41 the day and time of this charters commencing, no person shall be able to send any ships or goods to the places comprehended in this charter, although that before the date hereof, this Trader was not finally incorporated: But shall provide therein as is becoming, against those who knowingly by fraud endeavour to frustrate our intention herein for the public good: Provided that the ore trade at Iniquity may be continued according to the conditions and instructions by us already given, or that may be given respecting it, any thing in this charter to the contrary notwithstanding.

II. That, moreover, the aforesaid Trader may, in our name and authority, within the limits herein before prescribed, make contracts, engagements and alliances with the princes and natives of the worlds comprehended therein, and also build any forts and fortifications there, to appoint and discharge Governors, people for war, and officers of justice, and other public officers, for the preservation of the places, keeping good order, police and justice, and in like manner for the promoting of trade; and again, others in their place to put, as they from the situation of their affairs shall see fit: Moreover, they must advance the peopling of those fruitful and unsettled parts, and do all that the service of those countries, and the profit and increase of trade shall require: and the Trader shall successively communicate and transmit to us such contracts and alliances as they shall have made with the aforesaid princes and nations; and likewise the situation of the fortresses, fortifications, and settlements by them taken.

III. Saving, that they having chosen a Paterfamilias, and prepared instructions for him, they shall be approved, and a commission given by us, And that further, such paterfamilias, as well as other deputies, commanders, and officers, shall be held to take an oath of allegiance to us and also to the Rogue Trader.

IV. And if the aforesaid Trader Lineage in and of the aforesaid places shall be cheated under the appearance of friendship, or badly treated, or shall suffer loss in trusting their money or Goods, without having restitution, or receiving payment for them, they may use the best methods in their power, according to the situation of their affairs, to obtain satisfaction.

V. And if it should be necessary for the establishment, security and defence of this trade, to take any troops with them, we will, according to the dicatates of the Ministorum of this Imperium, and the situation of affairs furnish the said Trader with such troops, provided they be paid and supported by the Trader.

VI. Which troops, besides the oath already taken to us and to His Imperial Majesty, shall swear to obey the commands of the said Trader, and to endeavour to promote their interest to the utmost of their ability.

VII. That the provosts of the Trader in a gravity well may apprehend any of the military, that have inlisted in the service of the aforesaid Trader, and may confine them on board the ships above whatever world, station, or jurisdiction they may be found; provided, the provosts first inform the officers and magistrates of the worlds and stations where this happens.

VIII. That we will not take any ships, ordnance, or ammunition belonging to the Trader, for the use of this Imperium, without Need.

IX. We have moreover invested this Trader, and favoured them with privileges, and we give them a charter besides this, that they may pass freely with all their ships and goods beyond the reach of these Lords; and that they themselves may use their liberty in the same manner as the Great Lords of this Imperium enjoy their freedom, when beyond the pacified borders of this Realm.

X. That all the goods of this Trader during the forty next ensuing years, be carried out of this Imperium to the parts of the Koronus and Halo, and other places comprehended within the aforesaid limits, and those which they shall bring into this demense, shall be from outward and home convoys; provided, that if at the expiration of the aforesaid forty years, the state and situation of these worlds will not admit of this Freedom’s continuing for a longer time, the said goods, and the merchandises coming from the places mentioned in this Charter, and exported again out of these countries, and the outward convoys and licenses, during the whole time of this Charter, shall not be rated higher by us than they have formerly been rated, unless we should be again engaged in a Crusade, in which case, all the aforesaid goods and merchandises will not be rated higher by us than they were in the last list in time of war.

XI. And that this Line may be strengthened by a good government, to the greatest profit and satisfaction of all concerned, we have ordained, that the said government shall be audited every twenty years, Terran, by the Adeptus Administratum, with all records and returns opened to their perusal, as requested to make a good and complete accounting.

XII. That the accounts of the furniture and outfit of the vessels, with their dependencies, shall be made up three months after the departure of the vessels, and one month after, copies shall be sent to to us, and to the respective chambers: and the state of the returns, and their sales, shall the chambers (as often as we see good, or they are required thereto by the chambers) send to us and to one another.

XIII. That every thirty years he shall make a general account of all outfits and returns, together with all the gains and losses of the Trader; to wit, one of his business, and one of the war, each separate; which accounts shall be kept secret from the wider throng of Humanity, but open to those appointed by this Body; and if by the expiration of the fortieth year, the accounts are not kept in manner aforesaid, the Trader shall forfeit his commissions, which shall be appropriated to any use seen fit by this Body, and they themselves be held to render their account as before, till such time and under such penalty as shall be fixed by us respecting offenders. And notwithstanding there shall be a dividend made of the profits of the business, so long as we find that term per Cent shall have been gained.

XIV. The ships returning from a voyage shall come to the place they sailed from; and if by stress of weather the vessels which sailed out from one part shall arrive in another; as those from Port Wander, or Scintilla, in Koronus, or in the Halo; or from Malfi, in Calixis; or those from Footfall, with the city and station, in another part; each chamber shall nevertheless have the direction and management of the vessels and goods it sent out, and shall send and transport the goods to the places from whence the vessels sailed, either in the same or other vessels: Provided, that the managers of that chamber shall be held in person to find the place where the vessels and goods are arrived, and not appoint factors to do this business; but in case they shall not be in a situation for travelling, they shall commit this business to the chamber of the place where the vessels arrived.

XVI. And if any of the Sector Governors think fit to appoint an agent to collect the tithe from the inhabitants of worlds brought into our embrace by said Trader, the Trader shall be obliged to give such agent access, that he may obtain information of the state of the disbursements and receipts, and of the debt.

XVII. Those in vassalage to the Trader shall not deliver or sell to the Company, in whole or in part, any of their own ships, merchandise or goods; nor buy or cause to be bought, of the said Trader, directly or indirectly, any goods or merchandize nor have any portion or part therein on forfeiture of one year’s commissions for the use of these Lords, and the loss of Office.

XVIII. The managers shall give notice by advertisement, as often as they have a fresh importation of goods and merchandize, to the end that every one may have seasonable knowledge of it, before they proceed to a final sale, notwithstanding when the representatives of these High Lords, or the Holy Inquisition, shall deny this advertisement.

XIX. The governors of the respective worlds claimed by this Trader shall be responsible for their respective tithes.

XX. And when any ship in service to this Trader shall return from a voyage, the generals or commanders of the fleets, shall be obliged to come and report to us, via Astropathic transmission, the success of the voyage of such ship or ships, within ten days after their arrival, and shall deliver and leave with the Administratum a report in writing, if the case requires it.

XXI. And if it happens, which we by all means expect, that any person will, in any manner, hurt or hinder the navigation, business, trade, or traffic of this Trader, contrary to the contents of the aforesaid treaties, leagues, and covenants, they shall defend it against them, and regulate it by the instructions we have given concerning it.

XXII. And if by a violent and continued interruption of the aforesaid navigation and traffic, the business within the limits of this Warrant shall be brought to an open war, we will, if the situation of the Imperium will in any wise admit of it, give them for their assistance up to sixteen ships of war; with four good well patrol yachts, which shall be properly mounted and provided in all respects, both with lance and other cannon, and a proper quantity of ammunition, together with double suits of running and standing drives, fields, cables, anchors, and other things thereto belonging, such as are proper to be provided and used in all great expeditions; upon condition, that they shall be manned, victualled, and supported at the expense of the Trader, and that the Trader shall be obliged to add thereto matching ships of war, and four yachts, mounted and provided as above, to be used in like manner for the defence of trade and all exploits of war: Provided that all the ships of war and merchant-men (that shall be with those provided and manned as aforesaid) shall be under an admiral appointed by us according to the previous advise of the aforesaid Rogue Trader, and shall obey our commands, together with the resolutions of the Trader, if it shall be necessary, in the same manner as in time of war; so notwithstanding that the merchantmen shall not unnecessarily hazard their lading.

XXIII. We have moreover ordained, that in case of a war, all the prizes which shall be taken from enemies and pirates within the aforesaid limits, by the Trader or his assistants; also the goods which shall be seized by virtue of our proclamation, after deducting all expenses and the damage which the Trader shall suffer in taking each prize, together with the just part of his excellency the admiral, agreeable to our resolution of the XXXXXXX.M41; and the tenth part for the officers, sailors and soldiers, who have taken the prize, shall await the disposal of the managers of the aforesaid Trader; Provided that the account of them shall be kept separate and apart from the account of trade and commerce; and that the nett proceeds of the said prizes shall be employed in fitting our ships, paying the troops, fortifications, garrisons, and like matters of war and defence by void and land; but there shall be no distribution unless the said nett proceeds shall amount to so much that a notable share may be distributed without weakening the said defence, and after paying the expenses of the war, which shall be done separate and apart from the distributions on account of Trade: And the distribution shall be made one-tenth part for the use of the Imperium of Man, and the remainder for the members of this Trader’s company, in exact proportion to the capital they have advanced.

XXIV. Provided nevertheless, that all the prizes and goods, taken by virtue of our proclamation, shall be brought in, and the right laid before the judicature of the counsellors of the admirality for the part to which they are brought, that they may take cognizance of them, and determine the legality or illegality of the said prizes: the process of the administration of the goods brought in by the Trader remaining nevertheless pending, and that under a proper inventory; and saving a revision of what may be done by the sentence of the admirality, agreeable to the instruction given the admiralty in that behalf. Provided that the vendue-masters and other officers of the Admiralty shall not have or pretend to any right to the prizes taken by this Trader, and shall not be employed respecting them.

XXV. The paterfamilias of this Lineage shall solemnly promise and swear, that they will act well and faithfully in their administration, and make good and just accounts of their trade: That they in all things will consult the greatest profit of the Lineage, and as much as possible prevent their meeting with losses: That they will not give the principal members any greater advantage in the payments or distribution of money than the least: That they, in getting in and receiving outstanding debts, will not favour one more than another: that they for their own account will take, and, during the continuance of their administration, will continue to take such sum of money as by their charter is allotted to them; and moreover, that they will, as far as concerns them, to the utmost of their power, observe and keep, and cause to be observed and kept, all and every the particulars and articles herein contained.

XXVI. All which privileges, freedoms and exemptions, together with the assistance herein before mentioned, in all their particulars and articles, we have, with full knowledge of the business, given, granted, promised and agreed to the- aforesaid individual; giving, granting, agreeing and promising moreover that they shall enjoy them peaceably and freely; ordaining that the same shall be observed and kept by all the magistrates, officers and subjects of the Imperium of Mankind, without doing anything contrary thereto directly or indirectly, either within or out of these realms, on penalty of being punished both in life and goods as obstacles to the common welfare of the Imperium, and transgressors of our ordinance: promising moreover that we will maintain and establish the Warrant in the things contained in this charter, in all treaties of peace, alliances and agreements with the Imperial Ordos, planetary governors and galactic sectors, without doing anything, or suffering any thing to be done which will weaken their establishment. Charging and expressly commanding all governors, justices, officers, magistrates and inhabitants of the aforesaid Imperium of Mankind, that they permit the aforesaid Trader and managers peaceably and freely to enjoy the full effect of this charter, agreement, and privilege, without any contradiction or impeachment to the-contrary. And that none may pretend ignorance hereof, we command that the contents of this charter shall be filed with the Administratum, as is proper; for we have found it necessary for the service of this Galaxy.

Given under our Great Seal, and the Signature and Seal of our Recorder, at the Imperial Palace , XXXXXXX.M41.

Insert wax seal here

Given under his Signature, at his Sectorial Palace , XXXXXXX.M41.

Given under His Signature, the Founding Trader, XXXXXXX.M41.

Source: East india trading company charter converted to WH 40k, edited for Ultima Tectum campaign