The Pirate Queen Essay

1915 Words 8 Pages
1776, the dawn of the American Revolution saw merchant sailors being authorized to walk a fine line between Privateer and Pirate. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), famous American founding father used British politics and laws in an effort to break America from British rule. In 1779, Franklin, an elderly man of seventy-three traveled across the Atlantic from America to France to seek aid and assistance from France in an effort to break from the British empirical rule over America. Franklin’s original goal of money and aid to America changed during his time in France upon receiving letters from American prisoners of war, ill-treated and dying in British prisons. The American prisoner’s outlook on life become dire after Parliament voted in 1777 …show more content…
The country was simply ill-prepared to face a stronger enemy.” Susan Ronald author of The Pirate Queen wrangles with the idea of Queen Elizabeth I being the first person in western history to modernize legal piracy in the form of privateers. Ronald’s view is expanded upon by historian Carla Mulford in her work Ben Franklin and the Ends of Empire. In which Mulford acknowledges Franklin’s experience in England as Franklin spent a good portion of the years 1757-1769 in England. Franklin used the knowledge of British empirical history along with his own observations to contend with privateers. Franklin’s view of how to act towards the enemy differed from the privateers sent to sea. March 3, 1780 United States Congresses defined the action of all privateers sailing with American commissions, with the act Congress …show more content…
Stephen Marchant, a poor merchant gained necessary financial backing from wealthy Flemish merchant John Torris who resided his empire in Dunkirk France. March 1779, Stephen Marchant gained a crew and a ship named the Black Prince, John Torris assembled everything for Marchant, including the second mate Luke Ryan. Dunkirk, known as the smugglers port introduced Ryan and Torris together. Marchant recorded the encounters of the Black Prince in great detail pertaining to Franklin’s goal, measuring the amount of English ships taken, ransomed, captured and sunk, and recording the number of British sailors held to ransom American prisoners of war. In a series of three letters sent from Stephen Marchant to Benjamin Franklin on June 23, 1779, Marchant reveals a list of the British sailors the crew of the Black Prince captured on her first two month voyage around the British Isles. Franklin acted quickly, instructing Marchant to exchange British prisoners for Americans; Franklin also granted Marchant leave to extend an invitation to the recently release Americans positions aboard the Black Prince. Sending and receiving letters of gratitude from Congress would take too long, so Franklin began to look for more privateers to add to the

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