Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Privateer Robin Hood, Seven Item Archive



Revolutionary War Privateer Robin Hood, Seven Item Archive


[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Archive of seven documents related to the Revolutionary War privateer Robin Hood of Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1782-1783. 7 pp., 7.125" x 2" to 9.5" x 10.75". Expected folds; some chips from edges.


This archive contains bills for provisions and repairs to the Robin Hood. Among the provisions supplied were three chests of tea, onions and potatoes, and six tons of water. Services included the repair of three compasses and fourteen and a half days of work onboard. Another document details charges and proceeds from the sale of Caracas cocoa and hides, 1782. A November 1783 receipt acknowledges that Ebenezer Parsons had paid William Dolliver Jr. £4, 4 shillings for piloting the Robin Hood from Cape Ann to Boston.


Historical Background

Shortly after the Revolutionary War began, both states and the Continental Congress encouraged American privateers to prey upon British vessels, especially those bringing provisions to British forces in North America. These governments issued letters of marque, authorizing armed merchant ships to challenge enemy vessels. Because the vice-admiralty courts that had existed under British rule had largely disappeared, new courts needed to be created or existing ones given jurisdiction over admiralty cases in order to condemn prize vessels and cargoes taken by such privateers.


Approximately, 1,700 letters of marque were granted, on a per-voyage basis, during the American Revolution. Nearly 800 vessels were commissioned as privateers, and they captured or destroyed approximately 600 British ships, inflicting damage of about $18 million (more than $300 million in today’s dollars).


The Robin Hood was one of seven vessels that sailed as privateers out of Gloucester during the Revolutionary War.



Robin Hood (built 1781) was a fourteen-gun, 200-ton brig built by Joseph Clark in Gloucester, Massachusetts, for Boston merchants Daniel Sargent (1730-1806), Stephen Higginson (1743-1828), and Ebenezer Parsons (1746-1819). The ship received letters of marque in May 1781, with master Sargent Smith, and sailed with a crew of sixty to Scandinavia, returning home in December 1781. On the next voyage, the Robin Hood captured the brig Jenny with a cargo of coffee and cotton. On October 22, 1783, the Robin Hood, with Captain Smith commanding, brought news to Gloucester from London of the signing of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War.




Item: 66385

Price: $2,000.00
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