Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
prmitch

Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812

Recommended Posts

post-10750-0-46741100-1482333797.jpg


 


Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812


 


By Faye M. Kert

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015

6-1/4” x 9-1/4”, hardcover, viii + 215 pages

Illustrations, appendix, notes, essay on sources, index. $55.00

ISBN: 9781421417479

 

Trimming Yankee Sails (2005) and Prize and Prejudice (1997) are two previous works by Faye Kert on the subject of privateering. A third fascinating work by Kert appeared in 2015 as a treatise on certain aspects behind privateering (both American and British) during the War of 1812. The emphasis of Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 is clearly captured in the title. Kert uses this slender work to discuss the economic ramifications of privateering while also shedding light on the perspective of the privateers themselves. Supplemental emphases Kert places in this work are anecdotal stories discovered via her astounding research, in addition to the motivations for and against privateering as a state-sponsored institution.

 

The introduction of Privateering fully encompasses the book in its entirety. Not only does Kert briefly (in only eight pages) and expertly paint the picture of anti-war supporters, but she also lays a framework for contextualizing privateers and their mentality. For Kert, the final decision many privateers made during their raids was on the basis of, as she puts it, "the bottom line." Was the profit of the prize worth the effort and expected loss of life? If not, then many privateers let it alone. Kert's analysis here is soundly on the basis of economic prosperity. Beyond their interests in supporting the state, privateers put their livelihood front and center.

 

Throughout the five chapters of Privateering, Kert uses her knack for well-written prose to assist in portraying a wealth of primary source research. Included in chapter one is the curious case of the captured ship Marques de Somerueles, which entered the hands of Capt. Frederick Hickey of HMS Atalanta during the summer of 1812. Included in the captured cargo was a wealth of valuable paintings for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In a remarkable and unique court decision, the Admiralty judge, Alexander Croke, ordered the artwork to be returned to the academy. Croke defended his decision by saying, "The arts and sciences are admitted amongst all civilized nations, as forming an exception to the severe right of warfare, and as entitled to favour and protection." That is, the fine arts belong to the whole of civilization and should not be compromised as war booty. This example is just one of many Kert uses in her interesting discussion of Admiralty Courts and the legality of keeping prizes after captured.

 

Negative critiques of Privateering are few and mild. Transitions within chapters could be improved. Another improvement would be to shift the discussion of privateering's origins to the front of the book. This would aid the reader in discerning the difference between a letter of marque ship and a true privateer (both terms used before it was clarified.) The overall readability and profound research make Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 a crucial work for any historian, whether naval-oriented or embracing a focus on the maritime economics of early America and Canada.

 

Jacob T. Parks

East Carolina University

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...