William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Privateers' Records, 1740-1767
Hubert S. Smith Naval CollectionFinding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, August 1997
Nicoll, Charles and Langdon, Richard
122 pages (3 volumes)
The three volumes of manuscript records of colonial privateers that comprise this collection include two volumes relating to the sloop Stephen & Elizabeth , and one from the sloop Oliver Cromwell .
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Privateers' Records, Hubert S. Smith Naval Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
During the colonial period, privateering -- the authorized capture of foreign shipping for personal gain -- played an important role in the economy of many maritime cities in British North America and was an important method of waging economic, as well as military warfare. During times of war, ship owners were permitted to apply to the government for a license (letter or marque) to carry out activity that, without a license or at other times, would have been considered piracy.
The sloop Stephen & Elizabeth , owned by Richard Langdon, was among the Anglo-American ships receiving letters of marque during King George's War, and in June, 1740, was successful in the capture of a French ship off Hispaniola. Even more successful was the New York-based Oliver Cromwell , owned in part by Charles Nicoll, which received letters of marque during the French and Indian War.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The three volumes of manuscript records of colonial privateers that comprise this collection include two volumes relating to the sloop, Stephen & Elizabeth in June-September, 1740. These volumes include an itemization of provisions used on board ship during their cruise off Hispaniola, as well as an inventory and list of prices realized during sale at in "Charlestown" (Charleston, South Carolina). The third volume lists seizures by the New York-based Oliver Cromwell , during and immediately after the French and Indian War.
The value in these volumes lies more in the immaculate inventories of the prizes taken and prices realized, than in the rather slender documentation of privateering.
- Atlantic Coast (U.S.)
- Oliver Cromwell (Ship)
- United States--History--King George's War, 1744-1748.
- United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.