tv Eric Jay Dolin Rebels at Sea CSPAN December 28, 2022 11:40am-12:26pm EST
and speaking to you for marblehead, massachusetts, which is my home and i want to thank the national archives for inviting me to give this talk today on rebels at sea and privateering in the american revolution. just a little more background of me. i've been a full-time writer since about 2007. most of my books are in american history. usually, they have a maritime component. i've spoken at the national archives the number a number of times in the past, some of the books that have written include the via thin, the history of whaling in the americas for fortunate empire, a history of free trade in america, black flags blue waters, the epic history of america's most notorious pirates. in my last, book a furious guy in the history of american hurricanes. but today, i'm here to talk about privateering in the american revolution it was late in the day on june the 3rd, 17, 81 salem captain jonathan
hydrogen is a privateer. -- meanwhile, in bilbo, we're express that there was about to be a major naval battle offshore, putting the americans against the british in about 1000 people wandered to the beach to watch the spectacle. booming broadsides and musket fire filled the air, one of harrison's crew said, while shots flew around ton, harrigan was this common steady as admits the shower of snowflakes.
the battle raged for more than two hours. then he ordered his men to fill the canyons with barr shots, which is intentionally to cannonball collected connected by an iron bar and when that's exits the cannon it starts spinning wildly and it can destroy rigging, sales, and even nast's, and it can get considerable damage to the achilles. having had enough, the achilles turned and fled, with the rebel commander close behind, but despite its injuries, the achilles was too fast and got away. harridan spun about to reclaim the golden eagle, a british merchant ship that had captured a few days earlier that achilles had briefly reclaimed. all told one of -- pickering's crew had been killed, his head sheared off by a cannonball and eight men were seriously wounded, the number killed and wounded on board. the achilles is unknown.
i just want to tell you a brief story about this picture you're looking at right here, this is a top third of a plaque that was placed in salem, massachusetts, which is right next door to mary marblehead, when speaking to you from. it was placed there in 1909 to honor we harridan several weeks and his battle against the achilles. now, while i was working on this book, i read that this black was supposed to be on the side of the house where harridan lived, and it was in salem and it was right near the which house. so i helped on my bike, a road over there, hopefully to get a picture of the plaque. i couldn't find it. so i called a local historian and asked what happened to the plaque and she left a little bit, she goes, well it's on the inside of a korean barbecue restaurant a bottle block away from where it initially had hung. so, i went to this restaurant, walked in the front door, and there was the plaque behind the cash register, and i think that those emblematic of the way
that privateering during the american revolution has been treated in history. it's sort of shunted off to the side now harris harridan remained in bill bow for about two months before heading back to salem. on the return of which, the pickering captured three more british prizes. and when the pickering turns to salem, the owners rewarded or presented their intrepid captain with a silver tanker shown here, with the pickering etched into the side as well as his initials, and two mosques to accompany it. during his tenure in the massachusetts navy, and as a privateer, what harridan took many prizes, captured hundreds of cannons and as many british prisoners. he died of tuberculosis at the age of 59 in 1803 and is a bit cherry in the salem gazette loud him as one of the most able and valiant naval
commanders that the war produced. the pickering was one of nearly 2000 american privateers, and those are the vessels, and harridan was one of tens of thousands of privateers, men who manned those vessels during the revolution. privateers were armed vessels owned an outfitted by private individuals that had government permission to attack an emmy ships and times of war. that permission came in the form of a letter or a mark, a formal legal document that gave the bearer the right to seize vessels belonging to belligerent nations and claim those vessels and their car goes or prizes as the spoils of war. the proceeds from the auction of these prices, were interned split between the man who crude the privateers, and the owners of the ship as well as those who had invested in the enterprise. despite the contributions made by harridan and tens of
thousands of other privateer's men, many believe that privateering was a sideshow in the war. privateering has long been given short shrift in histories of the conflict, general histories as well as maritimes and naval histories of the american revolution. rebels at sea fills the void by offering a comprehensive account of privateering that demonstrates that it was critical to winning the war. that's one of the things that got me interested in writing this book, is that i felt that this aspect of the american revolution, privateering, had been overlooked too long and to really understand the revolution, you have to take into account privateering. american privateers man, took the maritime flight to the british and made them believe in countless daring actions to get british merchant ships and not a few warships, privateers cause british maritime insurance rates to rise, diverted critical british
resources to protecting their vessels and to attacking privateers, added to british wariness over the war, which lasted nearly eight years, and played a starring role in bringing france into the war on the side of the americans, which was a critical turning point in the conflict. on the domestic front, privateering brought much needed goods and military supplies into the nation, provided cash infusions for the war effort boosted coastal economies through the outbuilding, outfitting, and manning of privateers and bolstered america's confidence that it might actually win in this quixotic attempt to defeat the most powerful nation of the day. thousands of books have approached the revolution from virtually every angle. rebels that see places privateers men, most of whom were not famous or even well-known individuals at the very center of the war effort. it demonstrates that when the
united states was only a ten u.s. idea, they step forward and risked their lives to make it a reality. and fighting against the british on the seize the, american's relied on four different maritime forces. there were state navies, washington secret navy, which only operated for about a year near the beginning of the conflict. the continental navy, and privateers, of these four, privateers were far by far the most numerous in the most effective at capturing somewhere in the neighborhood of 1600 to 1800 british ships worth many millions of pounds. now massachusetts, i'm speaking to you from, was the first colony to authorize privateering, in november of 1775. the importance of the massachusetts privateering act, and unleashing their privateering in the colonies,
became even clearer in hindsight, some 40 years later, john adams, who is a big proponent of privateering, as well as the continental navy wrote that the passage of the massachusetts act is one of the most important documents in history. the declaration of independence is a trifle in comparison with it just consider that, declaration of independence, which everybody knows about, and felt the massachusetts privateering act was much more important. continental to comeyou hampshire and rhode isld follow student early 1776 with the wrong privateering statutes. at the same time, pressure is growing for the continental congress to come up with an umbrella program for privateering that would apply to all of the colonies, instead of pursuing this piecemeal
approach, where individual colonies decided on their own schedule to pursue privateering. in his letter to, the continental congress went ahead, and on march 23rd, 1770, six they stab list a privateering law, and the regulations about privateering were issued just a couple of weeks later. in his letter to the colonies announcing the law, and the regulations, john hancock, president of the continental congress, said to it was necessary in conducting the warlike operations on the part of the america to meet our enemy on every ground and defend ourselves in the best manner we can against all the temps in whatever shape to deprive us either liberty or property. privateers were to be a major part of the colonial war effort, with their capital tied up at the talks, merchants and ship owners eagerly pursued privateering. the prizes brought it. provided goods and ships that
they could sell. elias -- shown here out of salem, he own 39 privateers, he is reportedly the first millionaire in america, although i think john jacob pastor gives him a run for his money. now, many invested in privateers, indeed privateering, spurn just speculative frenzy across the colonies. it was sort of like a mini stock market where people took out shares in privateers and their expected success. among the more illustrious speculators, was general george washington, who invested in at least one privateer, appropriately enough called the general washington. generals nathaniel greene and henry knox as well as paul revere also invested in privateers. none privateer captains were typically known by the ship owners and they were contacted directly to take over the privateers. illinois davis senior, sharon, here a fascinating character,
he was issued the last letter of mark in the entire american revolution in march of 1783. but the other story wanted to tell about elias is that when i was writing this book, it was during covid and my daughter, who is now a junior literary agent to new york city, was home, she was about 22 at the time. and she was home and when i came across this picture, i showed it to lilli because i thought he was really handsome, and she took a look at it, and said you, know that i really can't get into privateering. so he's a fascinating guy if you ever come to cape and museum on gloucester, his house is a touch to the museum that is well worth visiting. now privateer captains, they got the biggest share of the prizes. the crewmen got smaller shares. but they also benefited mightily. now, well crewmen were sometimes known by the owners, most of the time they weren't, and they had to be found and
enticed. it was common at the time to see advertisements like this one, in colonial newspapers, where perspective privateers would be invited to the local pavegen what was called a hearty welcome. they were applied with liquor, usually enormous quantities of liquor, and has to sign the articles of agreement, which is their established, which established the roles and responsibilities on the private here. in the, book i have the receipts from one of these hearty welcomes and the amount of alcohol that was consumed is phenomenal, and as people know about colonial history, realize that most people were in various states of mild or severe in a brioche and during the day because that interest water and they trended to drink alcohol instead. now black men served on many privateers, somewhere freeman, one of those was james forton, shown here of philadelphia, at
age 14, he signed over on his sign on to the pennsylvania privateer royal louis and the reason he signed, is because of two documents. when the declaration of independence came out on july 8th, 1770, 60 few days after it was officially signed, it was read aloud in philadelphia. and james hurd that reading any took hard in the words, the soaring rhetoric of the declaration of independence, about men being created a cool and thought perhaps that would would spread to all of the fellow black men and women who were in the colonies and most of whom are treated terrifically, in the practice of slavery. then, four years later, in 1780, pennsylvania became the first state to pass and abolition, and abolition of slavery law. it was only gradual abolition of slavery. if you are current enslaved person, you didn't get your freedom. your children were freed when they reach the age of 28. but those two documents help
makes james decide that he wanted to throw and his law with his fellow americans and be a patriot, instead of going over to the british side or just sit out the war. so, at age 14, he signed over to the pennsylvania privateer royal louis. his job was to bring john powder to one of the cannons where the men would could prime the cannon and then fire the fire into another ship. now, the cruise was a triumph with the royal lewis capturing seven prices and bringing back to philadelphia. there were some missteps. like cannonball ripped through the hull, right where james was there and three of them and manning the cannon were killed, but he survived. he was so excited about the success of the royal louis that he signed on for another cruise. he shouldn't have been so eager. in hindsight. because barely a day out of, court the royal louis was captured by the hms --
whose captain was a guy named john basally. james, as he wrote in his recollection remembrance, the basically thought that he was in really bad trouble because he, said people of his complexion, who are captured by the british, tended to be sent to the slave marks in the caribbean, any thought that that was going to be his fate. but fortunately for, him captain john basically, head on board the 12-year-old son needed companion and he chose james to be that companion. and so for a few weeks, james developed a strong relationship with basically son. so in basically in the hms -- pulled into new york harbor, where there were going to transfer all of the crew of the royal louis to one of to one of the prison ships there, the dreaded jersey, he gave james an option. he said, you can go to england and be the word of my son, you'll be free, it'll be educated, and you have money, you have all the good things in life. or, i can pass you off to the
local prison master and you'll be placed on the jersey like the rest of the men from your privateer. and james decided that he would not turn on his country. and he told him, i will not go to england, i will have to go to prison ship and he did. he lasted for eight months, which is amazing, given what i will tell you later about this person's trip. and he was released. he went back to philadelphia enough to the, war james became one of the premier's filmmakers in philadelphia. when he died in the early 18 40s, he was worth $70, 000, and he continue to hold on to the hope that his new nation with live up to the soaring rhetoric of the declaration of independence and even loaned william lloyd garrison some money to found the liberator, the premier anti slavery publication of the era. moneymaking scheme. now whether black men were
enslaved persons around off enjoying privateers in the bid to gain their freedom. and many orders also rented out there enslaved persons as a moneymaking screen. now this picture is just a fastening. pictures the contemporary painting in the american revolution in for many years it was the only known painting of a black privateers man. a nest such, it was valued at $300,000. it was also reproduced in a number of books that talked about black men and women's contribution to the revolution. now francis tavern in new york wanted to stage an exhibit many years ago that focused on black contributions to the american revolution and they wanted this painting to be the centerpiece of their exhibition. so, the owner of the paintings sent it out to a local are conservatory to get it spruced up. they are conservator used to solve in to wipe the one of the hands, and off came the black paint and revealed a white hand underneath. sometimes, most likely in the mid 20th century, somebody realizing that a painting of a
black privateer man, of which there were none known, would be much more valuable than a painting of a white mariner american mariner during the american revolution. and he was right. because once this was discovered to be a forgery of a type its values setting to $3, 000, and francis tavern was forced to withdraw the invitation for it to be the centerpiece of its exhibition. now there are also black men who were treated as trashing property. when privateers captured british flavors, as they did quite often, off the west coast of africa, they intern became slave traders, because they didn't free the slaves. they sold an enslaved marks in the colonies and in the caribbean now, many of argue that the privateers were motivated more by greek and patriotism. fame, naval officer, john paul joins shown here believe there was nothing but create. early on in the, where he
complained of the common class of mankind or actuated by no more principle than that of self interest. there isn't this alone determines all adventures and privateers. a less cynical investment views privateers as being motivated by combination of profits and patriotism and this view is closer to the truth part of the reason privateering was sworn there was many believed that the practiced undermined the republican ideals of the revolution, which calls for the sacrifice of private interest in the pursuit of liberty. according to the otis warren, author of the one of the earliest histories of the revolution, privateering had a tendency to contract the mind and that he just shrank into selfless views of indulgences, totally inconsistent with genuine republicans in this. many of the founding fathers and mothers agree in principle, i mean a theory, but in practice, however many leads had a more complex view of patriotism when that wasn't
based on issuing to republican ideals above all less. the majority of the delegates and congress clearly believe the privateering was a patriotic endeavor that serve the public good. they made it a major part of america's war effort and strategy, fully where that was making some, including a number of, them very rich. had congress dean the privateering worked against the public food or wasn't enough benefit to the war effort, they could've squashed privateering at any moment and recall all the letters of the mark, they never consider that possibility and that's because they didn't view patriotism in the pursuit of profit as being mutually exclusive. now they argue mid-the privateers were only in it for the money, implies the others engaged in the fight were not, and that is absolutely not true. while the man who rose up after the battle of bunker hill were burning with patriotic fervor, that fire was difficult to maintain for many soldiers, by later years of the war, the
only way that congress could keep some semblance of a strong fighting force was to use cash bonuses and promises of land to keep men on the frontlines. and even that didn't often didn't work because the money was not forthcoming nor was the last. now, the navy was no different, the mariners had joins washington's navy as well as those who signed up for the state navies and the continental navy whirl partially motivated by money. each of the naval services offered officers and crew a cut of the profits, in addition to their base salaries. otherwise they wouldn't have served. this recruiting poster, which was put together by john paul jones and was plastered all over parts of portsmouth, new hampshire, trying to obtain the seamen to join the continental navy vessel ranger, could've just as easily been a recruiting poster for private tear, on a, or in, and they hold a for anyone who signs on
to distinguish themselves in their glorious cause of the country, and to make their fortunes. who knows how many privateer owners and privateers were moved by patriotic impulses, but that percentage was surely in line with the levels of private patriotism traveling to the society at large. as privateers man and christopher prince said, looking back at his revolutionary career, i've got to motives and view. when was the freedom of my country and the other was lecture ease of. life now privateers experience many triumphs and tragedies during the war the pennsylvania privateer break -- over the span of about 45 years, with 11 different captains, brought in 71 prices. it is most successful crew's, it capture ten large british merchant ships which were sold at the docks in philadelphia
for $2 million 2 million pounds. -- merchant panel tracy was a principal owner 47 privateers, which captured 120 british ships and realized profits of nearly $4 million. now, one of the worst tragedies to befall privateers occurred during the fun of scott expedition, the largest american maritime forces assembled during the revolution it consisted of 19 warships, 12 of which were privateers. their mission was to dislodge british forces that were building a fort on the peninsula, on a peninsula in maine spin ups of bay, where modern-day question is today. it's called fort george. the expedition sales from boston on july 19th, 1779, and poor organization and leadership and a critical delay in launching the attack, led to a fiasco when the british navy,
or part of, it showed up at the mouth of pin-ups called day on august 14th and included among its compliment, was a 64 gun warship. it was a complete route, in the and 16 american ships were burned by their own man to keep them from falling into the hands of the enemy, and the rest were captured or some. as for the men, soldiers and sailors alike, they bolted into the woods and tried to find their way back to the new hampshire in massachusetts before starving. and apparently was quite an amazing seeing because most of the american ships had cannons on board that they had been prime for firing against the forts, but instead when they were lit, the ships were lit, the cannons exploded, adding to the fireworks. how many americans died during the siege of fun of scott and their precipitous flight is a matter of dispute. with estimates ranging from as fewest 33 to as high as 500. many of labeled this the most
devastating naval defeat the united states has suffered up until the japanese attack on pearl harbor on december the 7th, 1941. one of the most important things privateers days was to help bring friends into the war on the side of the americans. in the early years of the war, frontal out american privateers in the caribbean and in france to use their ports per provision for provisions until prices. all of this was in violation of treaties that france had with great britain, and that plus the damage done by the privateers, infuriated the british. the continental congress and william begum to the french colony of martinique, where large part of his job was to expand american privateering efforts. the work brilliantly. in 1778, it was estimated that american privateers that captured 250 british ships in the caribbean, and that trade
between great britain and its sugar colonies had plummeted by 66%. so were these figures of the earl of suffolk urge parliament to keep them from the public, pointing up the impropriety of acknowledging that ought not to be acknowledged at such a critical period. the weaknesses -- meanwhile benjamin, franklin who was in france to negotiate a formal alliance, was convinced that privateering was helping the american cause with the french, while at the same time injuring britain. that which makes the greatest impression in our favor here, franklin wrote, is the prejudice, prodigious success of our armed ships and privateers. one of london's public advertisers, asserted, that affronts continue to allow american privateers to use their ports, an immediate war between france and this country will be the inevitable consequence. the critical turning point in the war, and critical turning point and getting france to l.a. with the american cause, was of course the american
victory over gentlemen johnny burr going and his troops at sarasota, saratoga on october 17th, 1777. just last week my son and i visited the battlefield, which was a fascinating thing. now privateering, will not comments causing a sharp turn in american fortunes on its own, help create a situation where this great american victory could prove decisive in bringing france into the conflict. it did so by gently, greatly increasing the amity between france and britain, also inflicting serious damage on the british economy. now, arguably the most horrific chapter in the american revolution, concern the prisons in england and on the british prison ships off new york city. in both places, american privateers made up the bulk of the prison population. the two men prisons and britain were known as the middle and forts in prison, and together they held only about 3000 man
during the war and their death rates were above three to 6%, which is not that bad compared to other presidents of this era. now, male and 14 prisons were bad enough however, but by far the worst experience any combatant had to endure was a stand, a stay on one of the british prison ships moored off new york city. between 15,000 and 22,000 men were held on these ships. all of the prison ships were horrific. but the jersey was by far the worst. nickname tell afloat, the jersey had been a fourth-rate 64 gun warship, and it was all basically placed in -- bay, which is right off brooklyn, where the brooklyn navy yard is. you could see the picture of it here. it was dismasted essentially. and permanently wedged into the bay, right there. the keel went into the mud and didn't move, it was only a couple of hundred feet from the
shore. at any one time, the jersey held between 850 and 1200 prisoners, between six and 12 men died every day, every morning as the sun rose, guards would yell rebels, bring up your debt. and those that would then erode to shore, road to shore and be buried in shallow graves and were often uncovered during high tide, stormy conditions. so the skeletons of what was left of their dad comrades, would basically roll into the water within sight of the jersey, one inmate left the following damning portrait of his time on new jersey. there are about 1100 prisoners on board, there were no birth source seats to lie on and there was no bench to sit on. many were almost without -- with dysentery, fever, frenzy, and despair prevailed, among them and filled the place with filth discussed and horror, this canteen us of the allowance, the bad quality of the provisions, the brutality
of the guards and the sikh planning for comforts they could not attain, altogether finished continually one of the great scenes of human distress and misery ever be held. just take a look at this site of this jersey, imagine 1200 men being kept on that in such horrible conditions. the number of deaths on the jersey alone is shocking. the best estimate points to it being roughly 11,500. the vast majority were american privateers men, like comparison, the entire war, somewhere between 4400 and 6800 americans were killed in action. now one of the biggest criticisms of privateers, they siphon nonnegotiable that power from the continental navy, and that is absolutely true. many men chose to join privateers, rather than the navy, in the hopes of earning more money, but that doesn't mean that they had what they had to be no privateers, the continental navy, which suddenly had been transformed
into a fearsome fighting machine. there were roughly 60 continental navy vessels in the atlantic, throughout the revolution, building in assembling a navy from scratch would have been a gargantuan task for well functioning, well funded government. for the relatively inexperienced, poor staffed, and financially strapped continental congress, it was almost in an insurmountable challenge. the continental navy's record in battle was not an avenue viable one. 28 vessels were captured or destroyed and many others were lost at sea, sold, return to, fronts were burned to keep them from falling into enemy hands. out wars, and just a few navy ships were left. there were, however, some bright spots for the continental navy. rates on caribbean munitions depot brought back much needed gun power. navy ships did an excellent job of faring correspondents and diplomats back and forth across the atlantic and continental navy ships captured roughly 200
prices, much of which room working ships. the same kind of prices that privateer is brought back to port. and even in the battle between the navy and john paul chances captain. and the hms psoriasis. welded buoyed hopes and pride in the american colonies. it appeared -- it ended up sinking. more than 100 men were killed. in the convoy that jayne jones had been in search of got away during the battle. nevertheless, despite the rights -- bright spots of the continental maybe. in july of 1780. john adams reflecting on the fortunes of the navy wrote. in looking over the long list of vessels belonging to the united states taken and destroyed and recollected the whole history of the rise in progress of our navy. it is very difficult to avoid tears. the american revolution was the navy's first hour but not its
finest. if there had been no privateer's, there would've been more men for naval ships. there would've been more cannons and more ammunition to go on those ships. but the absence of privateers would not have meant the larger or significantly more effective navy. congress would not somehow have had more money to spend on naval vessels. while many would have preferred that americans son four of the powerful navy, that was not a realistic option. in the absence of such a forest, america relied heavily on its privateers. under such circumstances, that was its best strategy available. whatever the critics said. on the home front, privateers contributed materially to the american economy. privateering was a great economic boon for coastal towns and cities. keeping many businesses afloat during the war. and creating new ones as well as new fortunes. the money that privateers earned helped them provide for their families and thereby give an additional jolt to local
economies. each prize auction delivered a new stream of commodities into the colonies. in august of 1779. a philadelphian wrote to congress saying that privateers had rendered us the most essential services. and brought us many articles for public and private use. without which the war could hardly have been supported. privateering also had a psychological effect on the home front. about 30 newspapers across the states chronicle the revolution. they had thousands of articles in privateering and maritime issues. a number of those articles were critical of privateering but most were positive. that coverage gave people confidence that the larger war might still be one. which was particularly important especially in the first years of the revolution. when most of the news for the americans was disastrous.
or depressing. . the formal end of the war came on september 3rd, 1783. when the treaty of paris was signed. surviving privateers that have been merchant men before the war now reverted to form. well those vessels build for a private hearing we are refitted as merchant. the ships now play their part in transporting americas wears to distant ports. proudly flying the new nations flag. the man who owned and finance privateer's as well as those who have chosen to fight for their country on the dex of these vessels. look back on their accomplishments with pride. and wondered as did all americans what the future would bring for themselves and their new country. now i have my website listed here. and the reason i listed is because there are a number of things that might be of interest if you in fact have the interest in this book. or any of my other books. if you go to erik dolan.com you
can read the introduction to all 15 of the books that i have written. you can get a sense of what they might be interested in reading them. the entire book. it also lifts all the places where i am speaking. i have another 30 or so talks this summer. most of them are in person in new england. it's far as california and mississippi. so please take a look at the website. if you want more information on me. in my books. and i just want to reiterate that one of the main reasons that i wrote this book is i felt that privateering had been neglected for too long by history and historians and we needed a book to pull together the entire story to make it clear that as george washington post said. winning the revolution was a standing miracle. and there were many elements that went into that success.
i am not arguing that a privateering was the most important. but it was certainly critical. i believe about privateering, the outcome of the war might have been quite different. with that, thank you for listening to me. and i hope you get a chance to take a look at the book. i've got a couple of questions. can you comment on the possible existence of american pirates who may have fought with both american privateers as well as british merchant ships. during the american revolution, a lot of people called privateering legalized piracy. that's because for many hundreds of years. going back to the 13th century when privateering was first initiated among european countries. many privateers. many individuals with letters of mark actually acted just like pirates. they did not attack the enemies of the nation that it issued them letters of mark.
they either attacked countries that they weren't at war with. or just other individuals they basically acted like pirates. so francis drake is an example. during the king williams war in america. the late 16 hundreds. a lot of american quarter quit american privateers instead of attacking the french. as they were supposed to. they went around cape horn into the indian ocean and attacked new ships transiting between india and the red sea ports of jeddah and macau. bringing that back home to the american colonies. i talk about this extensively in my book black flags, blue waters. the history of america's most notorious pirates. i also talked about the fact that the golden age of piracy. the second part of it. in the 17 -- it was partially lawrence because many british privateers who had worked and had been privateers during the war of the spanish succession. when that work included in 1713. suddenly they were thrown out of work basically.
britain was going through a depression. so a number of them possibly even black beard took the skills they have learned being a privateer's men. and they applied to becoming a pirate during the american revolution the american privateers. there were not legalize pirates. so they had a code of regulations that they operated under. and they didn't just attack -- their word enemies of all nations. they didn't attack any ship afloat. they attacked british ships or ones that we're bringing british munitions to the british military. and there was a very formal process they had to go through. they often traded their prisoners quite well. they were not like pirates enemies of all mankind. they were fighting for a cars. they had a profit motive. they acted like pirates me some of the big captured ships. but they also had patriotic motives. they were fighting on behalf of their country. not on behalf of themselves normally. which is what pirates definitely did. that is -- is there any privateer ship in
existence today? not that i know of. i wrote a book called the via van. history will in america theirs. only one will shove the castle visit. i just visited the other day. when i spoke at mystics sea port. that's the charles w morgan. i'm not aware of any actual private hearing vessel during the american revolution. that is still around today. there are some reproductions a privateering vessels from the war of 1812 that i know are around. those are reproductions. let's see. can you come about french privateering ships. good question. one of the things they learned in writing this book. and i have to add that every book i've written with the exception of one has been on a topic a don't know a lot about before i start working in the book. that's to keep myself excited about be topic for the 18 months to nearly two years that takes me to research and write these books. i had no idea that privateering played a major role in getting the fringe to join us as allies.
but also once friends have joined us as allies. they started issuing their own letters of mark. during the last years of the war. hundreds of french privateers came out of french ports. they often had american -- some of those american captains performed so well. they were given the highest naval awards from the french government after the war. how do i compare them? they were very much like american privateers. a lot of them were formal merchants ships. a lot of them were fishing vessels. that would be modified to bring on more armaments. they may cut some more holes in the bulwark to put more candidates in our down below. but they were quite similar to american privateers. and operate in a very similar fashion. i can answer that question any more specifically if there is some signal differences between french privateer is an american
privateers. other than the fact that a lot of american privateers had mostly americans on board. but before france joined us as allies a lot of the american privateers that we're operating out of french ports while captain and sometimes the first meter second made would be in american. a lot of the men on board were french. and that added to the complaints of the british had about the french essentially getting engaged in a war. without being engaged in the war. whether they should be attacked by the british. i can't see. can you comment. i think those are all the questions. american pirates. those are all the questions. i want to thank you again for taking a bit of time to listen about privateers and privateering. i hope you get a chance to read the book. take care. goodbye.
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