Ads & Pamphlets
About Prize Money 1668
The only way a sailor could ever hope to get rich was to sign on as a privateer or to become an outright pirate. These ads would appear in local newspapers only when the British warships were no where about because the British would send press gangs ashore looking for men to replace crew members who either died or deserted. There was no hope of reward on a naval ship only harsh discipline and misery. This is an advertisement for a crew for the privateer Seraph sailing under letters of marque to seek out the enemies of His Majesty in the Ocean of the Indies.
In olden times, kingdoms and governments did not have navies. They would license private warships (privateers) to capture their enemies’ shipping and goods. These licenses were called Letters of Marque. Without one you were a pirate and would hang.
Below is the text of Prize Money 1668.
£ Hundreds £!
Captain Sir Peter Bernhardt, Hero of the Dutch wars, Master mariner and Famous Navigator, Captor of the Dutch Galleons Standvastigheid and Heerlige Nacht , Who in his Fabled ships Lady Edwina and Golden Bough has pursued many capital voyages to Africa and the Spice Islands of the Indies, who has fought and vanquished the foes of His Sovereign Majesty with great capture of Rich Treasures and Vast Booty , has berths for Good men and Crue on his new ship
Seraph, a 36-gun East Indiaman of Great Power and Speed, fitted out and victulled with attention to the Comfort and Care of officers and men. Those seamen who have the good Fortune to sail under Captain Bernhardt on his previous voyages have shared Prize Money as much as £200 each man.
Sailing under Letters of Marque issued by His Majesty William III (God Bless Him!) Captain Bernhardt will seek out the enemies of His Majesty in the Ocean of the Indies, to their confusion and destruction and the winning of Rich Prize of which one half to be shared by officers and crew!
All good Seaman seeking employment and fortune will be heartily welcome to take a pot of ale with Big Daniel Fisher the chief warrant officer of the Seraph at the Plough in Tailors Lane.
September 1, 1688