The Autobiography of a Yankee Mariner: Christopher Prince and the American Revolution

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However, the outbreak of the war and issuing of privateering commissions could work for or against both free and enslaved people of African descent. In one particular case a group of enslaved black Bermudian sailors who made up the crew of a British privateer ship were sold when they were captured. In an American sailor named Joseph Bartlett serving on board a British privateer ship out of Bermuda was captured by an American letter of marque from Philadelphia.

Autobiography of a Yankee mariner : Christopher Prince and the American Revolution

Since slaves were considered property, terrestrial-based revolutionary actors engaged in this practice as well. After all, slaves were considered spoils of war. This included capturing slave ships at sea like the cases mentioned above, as well as amphibious raids on plantations.


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Don Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis was a Spanish soldier and government official sent on a mission by General Bernardo de Galvez during the American Revolution to help plan to retake Pensacola, Florida, and eventually to capture Jamaica. He spent over a year in Jamaica after his ship was captured by the British and kept a diary of his experiences during the war.

They then smuggled these slaves to Cuba and sold them. The Atlantic slave trade declined during the American Revolutionary War and in some years decreased by half. In her study of British Admiralty records, E.

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These slaves were rerouted from their intended point of disembarkation to ports allied to the flag the privateer vessel flew under, or where supporters or agents could secure their anchorage. By using various primary and secondary source materials and cross referencing them with the voyage outcomes recorded as captured in the TASTD, it is clear that the number of slaves captured by privateers during the years of the American Revolution actually exceeds what the TASTD currently shows.

In fact, at least 8, slaves were captured on 43 privateer cruises during the American Revolution. America and Britain should be expected to have the highest numbers of privateers since they were the two main belligerents during the conflict and were likely responsible for issuing most of the commissions. Also, the sources utilized here are primarily Anglo-American. If Dutch, French, and Spanish sources are included the overall number of privateer ships involved in transporting and selling captive cargoes during the war will undoubtedly increase.

Autobiography of a Yankee Mariner: Christopher Prince and the American Revolution

Nearly half the American privateer ships recorded in this study took their captured prizes with cargoes, including slaves, to the French island of Martinique. In contrast, the British privateer vessels recorded in this study took almost all their captured prizes with cargoes including slaves to Jamaica or the West Indies a few were adjudicated in British East Florida in St. The highest number of slaves captured by a privateer on one voyage was , and the lowest number of slaves recorded captured by a privateer on a single voyage was one.

When compared to overall operations, privateer ships that sailed on cruises during the American Revolution did not regularly capture slave ships or raid plantations. At least qualitatively, the bulk of the prize ships privateers captured carried goods, raw materials, or war contraband. The American War of Independence is often remembered by the public as a revolution led by colonial patriots who fought for liberty against oppressive British masters. Michael J. Robert H. Also see Alejandro Colas and Bryan Mabee, ed.

David J. Army Command and General Staff College, While Miller devotes several pages to privateering, he only mentions the slave trade a single time in the book. Starkey, British Privateering Enterprise , , , See also John O. D dissertation, University of Michigan, Edgardo Perez Morales, El gran diablo hecho barco.

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D dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Michael Crawford Washington D. He served on the Revenge on two cruises lasting four months each under Captain John Conkling spanning Sometimes the line between public or private ventures on ships outfitted for cruises against the enemy were confused and ill-defined in wartime. Heywood and John K. See E. Morgan, ed. Black slaves also served aboard British privateer vessels during the American Revolution. For another case of black sailors on a British privateer being sold as slaves in Maryland see Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution , Mary Port Macklin Journal, S Government Printing Office, , As the Revolutionary War continued this number declined dramatically, reaching its lowest level during the war in with 37, slaves embarking on voyages for the year.


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The number of slaves embarking on voyages did not recover to prewar levels until after the war ended. In the number of slaves embarking on voyages rapidly increased to its highest number for a year in over three decades to , The slave trade declined by a quarter in the early years of the war and twelve out of thirty Liverpool slave companies went out of business before Some vessels involved in the slave trade before the American Revolution began did in fact fit out to become privateers during the war.

Phillips, , IV London: Nicols and Son, , The price of goods in general fluctuated geographically during the American Revolution. Also see Mary M.

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In the war at sea was not yet significant at that time, and the several months of that year when the war was not impacting numbers of the slave trade do somewhat skew the results. This database is the most comprehensive source on slave voyages ever compiled by researchers. The web resource allows researchers to query specific variables and dates to analyze over 34, slave voyages that transported over 10 million Africans to the Americas.

David Eltis, et al. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. Volumes Washington: U. A database of privateers mentioned in these sources as capturing slaves was compiled with relevant information recorded by the author in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Other primary sources utilized include court records, ship logs, and diaries. The spine remains undamaged.

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Add to cart. Sold by thrift. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information Written in the early nineteenth century, the memoirs of retired sea captain and religious activist Christopher Prince tell of his experiences at sea, including his role in the American Revolution.

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