License for Piracy

“A letter of marque came from the king to the scummiest vessel I’d ever seen,” is a line which rings familiar to many ears thanks to Stan Roger’s popular song, Barrett’s Privateers (1976).  Letters of marque were issued by nations during times of war allowing privateering activity, which consisted of the seizure of valuable cargoes or whole ships belonging to enemy nations, an approach to war often termed guerre de courseThe Loyalist Collection contains a wealth of material linking Loyalists to the large