Privateering action in the 18th century.

For more on this see 'Some notes on 18th century local shipping', from Report and transactions of the Société Guernesiaise, XVI (3), 1957, pp. 268 ff., based on the Library's Manuscript records of Isaac Dobree, notary public, relating to shipping, 1745-1790; and 'Guernsey Letters of Marque.' An interesting introductory pamphlet, Letters of Marque, declarations against America 1777-1783, 1980by Walter Michinton, presents an analysis of the Channel Island privateers during that period. In 1777, the Privateering Act awarded captors of an enemy vessel the whole prize; the Crown no longer took a share. Guernsey and Jersey were the fourth and fifth most important ports for privateering respectively, London being pre-eminent. Bristol sent out 215 ships during this period, and Guernsey and Jersey 214, being a 9.4% share; their average tonnage was 106, and they stayed out on a cruise for around 5 months on average.

Gentleman's Magazine, Vol XIV, 1744

June 10. A Prize laden with Wine, bound to Bordeaux, taken by the Greyhound Privateer, Capt. Pitton, and carried into Guernsey. 15 June. A 200 Ton Vessel for Guernsey, from Lisbon, taken off the Lizard by a French privateer; who took out all her hands but 4, and put 13 Frenchmen on board, who, in carrying their Prize to Ushant, drove on the islands of Lundy, where the Englishmen, seeing several fishing Boats made a Signal, upon which they immediately boarded the Vessel, and brought her safe into Ilfordcombe. 3 July. A ship with 155 Butts of Wine, from the Canaries for Dunkirk, taken by a Guernsey Privateer, but re-taken by a Bourdeaux Privateer, and carried into a Port iin Galicia. 4 Aug. The Patience, Brieul, from Newfoundland, with Fish for France, taken by the Greyhound Privateer, Capt. Pitton, and the Guernsey ditto, Captain Lambert, and carried into Guernsey.

A French snow from Cape Breton, laden with Fish, taken by a Jersey privateer and carried into Guernsey. (p. 648). It was reported, that by the storm on the 20th, two French men-o'-war were split on the rocks of Guernsey, and two got in there, one without its Head, and the other had lost its Masts.

The London Magazine,and Monthly Chronologer, Vol 15, 1746.

June. A Martinico ship, 200 Tons, 14 Guns, and 44 men, taken by the Adventure privateer of Guernsey. A French brigantine, from Bordeaux to Quebec, richly laden, taken by the Success and Squirrel privateers of Guernsey; two more prizes sent in to Jersey by the Success; 11 prizes taken at one time by a Guernsey privateer, which he was obliged to ransom. Three small French coasters, taken by the Mary galley of Guernsey. The Society, Major, from Guernsey for Madeira and Barbadoes, carried into Brest. The Susanna, of 150 Tons, from Martinico, with Sugar, Coffee, and Cotton, brought into Falmouth, by the Adventure privateer of Guernsey.

Scots Magazine Vol IX, 1747

February 1747: Taken by the French and Spanish: the Roscot privateer of Guernsey; the Sea-horse, Fowler, for Southampton from Guernsey; the Guernsey Lily, Mourant, for Southampton; the George galley, Mesurier, from Virginia to Guernsey. April 1747: The Benjamin, Counon, from Martinico for Rochelle, with 400 casks sugar, coffee, and cotton, carried into Plymouth, by the Adventure of Guernsey, Beal. The Neptune, Maximin, from Martinico for Nantz, carried into Penzance by the Guernsey, Perchard. May: The Superbe de la Maison, Mallet, of 650 tuns, 36 guns nine and twelve pounders, and 136 men from St Malo's to Cadiz and the South Sea, valued at 70,000 livres, taken by the Surprize, Captain Webb, and the Jamaica, Capt. Arbuthnot, warships, after a desperate engagment of seven hours, in which the Superbe had 28 killed and 37 wounded, the Surprize had 5 killed and 7 wounded, and the Jamaica had 1 wounded. The prize was carried into Guernsey. Two French vessels taken by the Cumberland of Guernsey, Mauger, and ransomed for 28000 livres. Taken by the French and Spaniards: the Double Revenge privateer of Guernsey, [Le] Page, of 4 guns and 30 men. Sept. 1747: A ship of the St Domingo fleet, carried into Guernsey by two privateers of that place. La Fortune, a French ship of Bordeaux for Canada, with 100 tuns of wine, 25 tuns brandy, bales of cloth &c, and a Dutch vesssel, with lead, coals, etc.; both carried in to Guernsey by the Duke of Cumberland of that place. Oct 1747: the Mary galley, from Marseilles for Havre-de-Grace, taken by the Mary galley of Guernsey, Oliver. The Anne galley, Smitt, a Dutch ship from Marseilles, carried in to Guernsey by the Prince of Wales, Beale. Le George, a French ship, from Marseilles for Nantz, carried into Mountbay by The Prince of Wales of Guernsey, Beale. A small French vessel, with wine, and a Swedish ship, of 130 tuns, for Dunkirk, with salt, carried into Falmouth by the Guernsey, Perchard. Two French vessels, taken by the Cumberland of Guernsey, Mauger, and ransomed for 28,000 livres. November 1747: a ship, formerly the Pelling, of Bermuda, from Granville for St Domingo, carried into Guernsey by the Adventure. The Petronella, Albert, and the Apostle John, Beneman, from Malaga to Amsterdam, carried into Falmouth by The Prince of Wales, Guernsey. A French ship, with soap, carried into Guernsey by the Hanover of that place. A French ship from Granville to St Domingo, into Guernsey, by the Adventure. The Charles and Henry, Hale, from Holland for Guernsey, taken by a French ship. December 1747: captured by the French and Spanish: the Union, from Newfoundland to Guernsey, carried into St Malo's; the Two Brothers, Ballaine, from Virginia to Falmouth and Guernsey, carried into Bayonne.

Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII, 1748

January 1748. The Moggy Lauder, from Leghorn to London, taken by a French privateer, and retaken by a Guernsey privateer; taken again, and carry'd into St Sebastians [this ship was the subject of a court case].  February 1748. A French brigatine, with 70 tons of wine, sent by the Prince of Wales privateer in to Guernsey. A French ship, with wine, soap, etc.; and a Swedish ship, with pitch and tar for Port l'Orient, carry'd by the George privateer into Guernsey. April 1748. The Prophet Daniel, Costan, from Bordeaux to Martinico, taken by a Guernsey privateer. A French ship for Martinico, 250 tons, 12 guns, and 50 men, carried by a privateer into Guernsey. The Diamond, from Bordeaux to Martinico, carry'd by the privateer to Guernsey. A prize, with wine and brandy, and a ransomer of £1000, taken by the Hanover privateer of Guernsey. The Expedition, Rabey, from Southampton to Guernsey, carry'd into Cherburgh. May 1748. The Marie Elizabeth, from Rochelle to Dunkirk, sent by the Defiance privateer into Guernsey. A large West India ship, homeward bound, taken by the Lightening privateer of Guernsey; and six more French prizes carry'd into that port. The St François, from Bordeaux to Quebec, with bale goods, &c; and a vessel with hides & salt, both carry'd by the Caesar privateer into Guernsey. A French privateer of four gund, carried by the Defiance privateer into ditto. The Hope, Thome, from Guernsey to Newhaven, carry'd into Cherburgh. The Prince of Wales privateer of Guernsey, Captain Beale, carried into Rochfort. June 1748. A privateer of 10 carriage guns, besides swivels, and another prize of great value, carry'd by a privateer into Guernsey. The St Victoire, of 350 tons, 16 guns six pounders, and 49 men, with wine, brandy, and bale goods, from Bordeaux to Canada, taken by the Prince of Orange privateer of Guernsey, of 8 carriage guns and 50 men, Captain Vesconte, after a fight of 7 hours, at the second boarding. The captain receiv'd a musket shot thro' the thigh, and his lieutenant 4 balls in his thigh at the first broadside, but both kept the deck, and fought to the end; the privateer had 2 men killed, and 5 wounded. August 1748. The Cumberland, Falla, from Barbados to Guernsey, carry'd to Martinico.

The Gentleman's and London Magazine, 1756.

La Parfaite, from San Domingo, with 350 Hhds of sugar, and 150 casks of indigo, is taken by the Onslow privateer and carried into Guernsey. July. A French vessel, loaded with iron, is taken by a privateer and carried into Guernsey. August. The Amiable Ann, Allard, from Cape François for Bordeaux, loaded with 218, 350 lb. of sugar, 173, 350 lb. of coffee, 81 lb. of indigo, 240 lb. of cocoa, and half-tann'd hides, is taken by the Royal George privateer and carried in to Guernsey. The Triton, Le Mesurier, from Virginia for Guernsey, is carried into Morlaix. November. A French galliot, from Bayonne for Nantes, is taken by the Marlborough and Onslow privateers of Guernsey, and carried into Falmouth. Two ships from Martinico, name unknown, were taken by the Royal George and Amazon privateers and carried into Guernsey. The Royal George privateer of Guernsey is taken into Bordeaux.

From Miscellaneous Correspondence of the 18th Century.

February 1757: the Fanny, Smith, from North Yarmouth, retaken by the Kirke privateer of Guernsey. The St Claude, a French Letter of Marque, 150 tons, 100 men, from Rochells for Missisippe, with Provisions and Ammunition for the King, by the Revenge privateer of Guernsey. The Hero, Langloix, a ship of 300 tons, from Martinico, for Havre, by the Onslow Privateer of Guernsey.

March 1757: the Infernal privateer of Havre de Grace, commanded by the notorious Swiss, who has done great damage, by the Happy sloop, carried into Guernsey. The Nancy, Buckhouse, is retaken and carried into Guernsey. The Faro, Pecket, by the Charming Nancy of Guernsey. The Jantille, from Martinico, to Bordeaux, and the Sagatarre, from St Domingo for Bordeaux, are taken by the Amazon privateer from Guernsey. Les Deux Amis, from Bordeaux to Brest, with Wines; and the St Rosa, with Provisions for Brest, taken by the Charming Nancy privateer, and carried into Guernsey. The Blakeney privateer of Guernsey is taken, and carried into St Maloes. A large French ship is taken by the Alderney Privateer.

April 1757: the Alderney Privateer is taken, and carried into France.

June 1757: the Middleton privateer has retaken a ship, and carreid her into Guernsey.

July 1757: the Amazon privateer of Guernsey, is carried into Morlaix.

August 1757: the St John Baptist, from Nantz for St Domingo, by the Hope privateer of Guernsey. A French cutter privateer is taken and sent into Guernsey, by the Rochester Man of War. A large Dutch ship, laden with provisions for Brest, by a Privateer of Guernsey, of 16 Guns, and sent into Plymouth. The Nordike, Bande, by a Guernsey privateer, and sent into Pool.

September 1757: the Six Frères, and the Muette, and one other, from Bordeaux to Martinico, by the Fame privateer of Guernsey and the Twibot privateer of Liverpool.

October 1757: the Escorbouele, a Frigate of 16 Guns, sent out as a Spy, by the Isis, and carried into Guernsey.

January 1758: the Reprizal, a French privateer of four Nine Pounders, by the How privateer of Guernsey, and retaken a Vessel from Dundee for South Carolina.

March 1758: the George, Blissen, from Guernsey to Southampton, is taken by a French privateer.

April 1758: the Dragon and Bellona privateers, of Guernsey, have brought into Falmouth a French Prize, from Martinico, laden with Sugar, Coffee, and Cotton. The Maria-Therèse, Bonnet, the Cheval Marin, Orsonnea, and St Esprit, Bernard, by the Lottery privateer of Guernsey, and ransomed. She has likewise taken a Vessel laden with Wine, and a Snow of 200 Tons in Ballast, and sent them to Guernsey. The Prince Edward privateer of Guernsey, taken and carried into St Maloes. The Kirke privateer of Guernsey, taken and carried into St Maloes.

May 1758: the Free Mason privateer, of Guernsey, by a French frigate, and carried into St Martins, in the Bay.

June 1758: the Endeavour, Mathews, of Guernsey, by a Lug-sail privateer. The Mary, Wally, from Virginia to London, by the Machault privateer of Guernsey, and ransomed for £5000 [about £500,000 nowadays].

July 1758: the Joseph, from Bordeaux, laden with wine, brandy &c., by the Surprize privateer of Guernsey. The Nostra Seignora Del Pillar, Pedro Ponts, by a Guernsey privateer. Two French Prizes, loaded with Ammunition, sent into Guernsey by the Revenge privateer.

The Kirke privateer of Guernsey, taken by the Samson privater of Bayonne.

September 1758: two Dutch Ships with Sugar &c., and sent into Guernsey by a Guernsey privateer.

November 1758: New York, Nov. 6th. A large French Prize Ship is arrived here, called the Molly, is bound for Quebec from the Cape, loaded with Fish, Oil, Planks, &c. She was taken off the Cape the 19th September last, by the Royal Hester Privateer of this Port. She formerly belonged to the English, and was a Privateer called the Nancy, out of Guernsey, mounting 18 nine-pounders, and proved very succesful out of that Place, having taken, it is said, near an Hundred French Vessels, before she was taken by the French; two of whose Frigates carried her into Morlaix, from thence she was sent to Canada, and now had but two guns mounted. Four English prisoners were taken on board her, designed to be exchanged at St Domingo.

A Dutch ship, M. Kauw Master, is taken by a Guernsey Privateer, and carried into that Island.

Owen's Weekly Chronicle, May 1759: The importance of the Guernsey and Jersey privateers to this nation is such, that within these two months, three small ones, of two guns each, and from 15 to 20 men, have carried into these islands 12 prizes, to the value of £10,000, all of which prizes were French coasters, laden for the navy at Brest, and bound there with different kinds of stores and provisions, which considerably retard their armaments; and as there are now 15 privateers from those islands cruising in the Bay, it is to be hoped they will have the same success, as they are all rigged like the French Chasse-Marées, which are the only vessels now employed in the French coasting trade.

The Elizabeth, Richards, from Guernsey to Lisbon, is retaken by a Guernsey privateer and carried into Scilly.

The Prosperous, Grut, from Guernsey to Rotterdam, was taken the 12th ult. near Middleburgh, by two French privateers, and carried into Dunkirk.

The Drake, from St Domingo, is taken by the Bellona privateer, and carried into Guernsey.

See also Johnston, P., 'Privateering Prizes', Quarterly Rev. of the Guernsey Soc., LII (2) Summer 1996, pp. 40-1, covering 1793-4, mentioning the Guernsey ships Resolution, Agenoira, Brilliant, Daphné, Charming Molly, Ranger (Alderney), Apollo; and 'Notes on Privateering,' by G Peyton-Jones, in the Quarterly Review of the Guernsey Society XX (4), Winter 1964, pp. 81 ff, in which the author has extracted information from Priaulx Library files and produced lists of Guernsey privateering operations covering the years 1779 and 1782. The following Guernsey ships are featured: the Joyce cutter, Hawk, Isis, Surprize, Swallow, Thunderer, Revenge, Nero, Resolution, Unicorn, Savage, Intrepid, Darlington, Royal Charlotte, Vigilant, Royal George, Leopard, Fanny, Dragon (see illustration above).