Privateers

Authorised Attacks

18th Century

Courtesy of 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society'

A Privateer is a private person or ship authorised by a government to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilising armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers.

Irish Privateers

Irish Privateers

In 1779 the privateer 'AMAZON' sailed from Portaferry on her second cruise "to assist in subduing the haughty spirit of France and Spain" and to make fortunes.

14 fortified 6 and 4 pounder guns
Manned by 80 brave fellows
Under Captain Colville aged 27
Caught in a storm in Ballyholme Bay and wrecked in 1780
Captain and rest of crew lost

In the same year, the American privateer 'BLACK PRINCE', which carried a crew of 130 men was working in Strangford Lough.

The captain of the 'INDUSTRY' was brought on board the privateer where he was relieved of his 10 guineas in gold, some silver, his watch and buckles and a quantity of clothing apparel. He was detained on board for nearly 3 hours and was then allowed to return to his ship.

Whilst on board the 'BLACK PRINCE', he saw the privateer take a sloop bound from Liverpool to Larne which was then ransomed for 200 guineas...A busy day for the privateers.

On February 15th 1781 the 'IRISH VOLUNTEER' sailed from Portaferry with "the men in high spirits". On February 21st she sprung her mainmast after a chase by a french frigate and put into cork. On June 25th 1781 she was put up for sale in Portaferry.

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