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Subject to their sovereign and the vagaries of the sea;
French, Canadian, British, Aboriginal or American;
Feared in time of war;
Pillagers and raiders.
But not all of them were pirates!
Pirates or privateers?
Boarding on the St Lawrence.
Until the middle of the 19th century, the French, the British and the Americans engaged in raiding. This particular type of naval warfare involved hiring sailors who were not members of the Navy and authorizing them, on behalf of their government, to launch attacks on the enemy. These privateers were even given the right to capture enemy ships.
However, to carry out raids, privateers had to first obtain a letter of marque or a commission. Without these documents, privateers were no better than pirates, who were considered to be outlaws. Thanks to shipowners who supplied vessels, provisions and weapons, privateers served their country, capturing ships and even receiving a share of the profits from the sale of loot seized from the enemy.
Not many people know that in North America, and particularly in the St Lawrence River and Gulf, privateers conducted raids constantly, amassing booty, pillaging fishing posts and taking part in military expeditions. In this way, the privateers of the St Lawrence played an important role in the wars fought in North America.
The 18th century, somewhere on the Saint Lawrence River…
In those times..., people had to navigate waterways in order to communicate, trade or travel long distances.
War was fought on the water as well. And any method was fair game for stopping the enemy.
Ha ha! A fine haul! Those Englishmen didn’t put up much of a fight!
I want Deneau, La Baume, Aubois and Doucet to run the RELIABLE. Follow us to port. We’ll make quite a profit and you’ll get your share of the booty*!
* A share of the goods seized.
Élie Galermont, a new sailor on the privateer, is proud of his first prize.
In the name of His Majesty, sirs, my compliments… and ringing coins for everyone at the end of the journey!
Back to sea! But the privateer captain is getting ready to commit an act of piracy.
Now, give them orders to head for the island.
On va laisser le tout?
No! Last time, the clerk at Quebec was suspicious. We’ll unload only the best stuff and half of the weapons. Oh yes! Don’t forget, Lemelin! The pistol of that idiot of a “Master”… Much too nice for him! I will keep it!
Élie is stunned: their captain wants them to commit illegal acts!
What’s gotten into them? They’re acting like common pirates, not like the King’s privateers!
If they sell part of the loot and keep all of the profits, we are breaking our agreement! The shipowners and the King must receive their fair share. It was in the contract!
I did not sign on as a privateer so that I could become a traitor at the first opportunity…
On Saint Paul Island…
I’m not happy about this. I should blow the whistle on this sneak, but I’m risking a lot. I need proof that he’s breaking the privateering contract…
Come on Galermont, get a move on!
Evidence… Easier said than done. What would the Lieutenant-General of the Admiralty need to see to believe me? Documents, of course! It’s a good thing I know how to read!
Captain Delatour may have hidden some of the booty on our ship. Let’s see…
Now. I have to do this. I’ll search this ship high and low, from the hold to the upper deck!