Dispersal of Money from Privateer Ships, 1782

One of the most important functions of coastal towns was to provide “privateer” ships which captured cargo and vessels from Britain and kept the British fleet busy in providing protection to trading ships. Crews on these privateers took the risk of not returning should their ship be captured or engaged in a battle. This document is one of many, by which the crew authorized an agent (in this case Nathaniel Lindsay), to take any plunder that was due them and get it to their families if they were unable to.

We, the Subscribers1, being Officers & Mariners2 on board the Arm’d Schooner, Lee, John Conoway, Commander, now lying in ye Harbor of Mhead3 & by Gods Grace Bound on a Cruise Against the Enemies of the United States of America hereby Constitute and appoint Thomas Lewis & Nathaniel Lyndsay, both of Marblehead Gent., our Agents & Attorneys in all Causes, moved, or to be moved, for us or Against us, more Especially in our name and stead, to ask, demand, sue for and recover for our Use and Benefit, all Sums of Money, goods, wares & Merchandise of any denomination4 whatsoever and the same to divide & dispose of for our use and advantage if anyways owing or coming to us by Virtue of our aforesaid Intended Cruise with power of substitution as witness our hands & Seals, This fourth day of April Anno Domini5 1782.

John Conway
John Pearce
William Power
Charles Halloran

Samuel Andrews
Elias Barber
John *****

1 Subscribers = authors
2 Mariners = sailors
3 Mhead = “Marblehead”
4 Denomination = amount
5 Anno Domini = in this year


Dispersal of Money (1782). Marblehead Museum and Historical Society, Marblehead, MA.