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|What exactly does it mean?
Written by Martina
(10/15/2008 11:22 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Taking privateers, penned by MarianneR
I had always interpreted the line about taking on privateers differently, to mean taking on board all sorts of rough men as crew who were difficult to manage and control. Your translation gives it a completely different meaning, which I think is more accurate.
So does CW mean that he found it entertaining to take on board some of these captured men in that it gave him a challenge to manage? Or does he mean he captured enough private trading ships to make a good sum of money? I think your German translation makes more sense.
CW talks about being sent off on the Asp to the West Indies. That would mean disrupting competition in trade from other countries present there -- Holland, Spain, Portugal, and yes France, because the British Navy was very much implicated in protecting English trade ships and forging trading routes throughout the world. These trading rivalries often resulted in skirmishes and disputes locally, which in turn led to wars back on the continent.
Each time a rival or enemy trading ship were captured by the navy, I believe a portion of the spoils went to the captain of the naval ship and the rest back to England to help finance the Navy. I have read that Spanish ships were particularly sought after, because they were carrying silver from Mexico back to Spain as well as around the tip of South America en route to the Philippines.
But when ships were captured, what exactly happened to them? We hear CW talk of the French frigate he captured en route home and being brought into port to England. But what happened when a ship were captured halfway around the world? Were they blasted to bits or sunk by a few good rounds? Were they towed to the closest English military base? Didn't the captain have the option to take on board some of the crew of the captured ship? Calling on L&T experts!
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