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The Earles of LiverpoolA Georgian Merchant Dynasty$
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Peter Earle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381731

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381731.001.0001

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Privateering in the American War

Privateering in the American War

(p.161) Chapter Eight Privateering in the American War
The Earles of Liverpool

Peter Earle

Liverpool University Press

Most of the Earle family invested in privateers and “marks” (letter of marque ships) in wartime and never more so than in the American War of Independence. This chapter uses the prize records (kept at Kew) to examine this business in detail, focussing mainly on four specialist privateers in which members of the family had shares. These were all successful and their voyages, captures and methods of operation are described, while for two of them it is possible to calculate profit which was much higher than for ships engaged in the slave trade, providing a valuable source of capital to be invested in trading ships in peacetime. Earle & Hodgson in Livorno also invested in privateers based in Livorno and Minorca and they were one of the two most important dealers in prize goods in the Italian port.

Keywords:   Admiralty Court, Minorca, prize auctions, privateer tactics

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