What’s the Difference between a Pirate and a Privateer?

Book IV of the Locket Saga

For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all the books that I have written to date. I am continuing the book club with my next published book in the Locket Saga Series: Sailing Under the Black Flag

This is the story of the impetuous and tenacious Jonathan Mayford who during Soldiers Don’t Cry was a starry-eyed patriot who wanted to bring King George to his knees. At the beginning of the story, he tries to join the Continental troops, but instead, his father, Peter Mayford convinces him to crew on one of his own ships. Through his time on the ship, the boy becomes a man as he endures hardships and falls in love with the raven-haired beauty Lowry Howells whose father keeps them separate.

A Privateer Was Legal, but Pirating Was Not

I wanted to see a side of the American Revolution that most people don’t know. For instance, before my research, I thought that pirates and privateers were the same, but they are not. A privateer is someone who had legal rights under the rules of military law to confiscate a ship, its cargo, crew and passengers and hold it for ransom during an official war. They were legally entitled to the spoils of war and if they were captured, they were considered prisoners of war. Pirates didn’t have that distinction. They were considered thieves and murderers and were hung or worse for their “crimes”. During much of the American Revolution, however, the British did not consider most American privateers as privateers but as pirates which meant that if caught, they would most likely lose their lives for their conduct.

John Forten-African American Revolutionary War Hero

As I was doing my research, I learned about James Forten and how on ships African Americans were treated like any other member of the crew. I also learned that being on a ship wasn’t like we see in the movies where a crazy pirate captain rules with an iron fist. Most ships during that time were democratic and the crew voted on a lot of what went on when they weren’t in battle. However, when they were, they had better listen to the captain or face a severe penalty.

The story of James Forten (a real person, not just one of my character creations) told of what it was like on prison ships and how he generously. . . well, you’ll have to read for yourself.

I hope you take this opportunity to read the free sample of Sailing Under the Black Flag on Amazon:

When you love it, you can purchase a kindle copy or get it at no extra charge on KindleUnlimited

If you prefer paperback, you can purchase your copy of Sailing Under the Black Flag on Lulu.com

The Locket Saga Series

Sailing Under the Black Flag is Part of The Locket Saga Series

When God Turned His Head

Soldiers Don’t Cry

A Coward’s Solace

Sailing Under the Black Flag

In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

The Anvil

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