British Privateering Voyages of the Early Eighteenth Century

British Privateering Voyages of the Early Eighteenth Century

Tim Beattie


Boydell Press



The story of hugely ambitious and risky long-distance private voyages, only one of which brought huge returns for investors.
The three great privateering expeditions into the South Sea, which set out, respectively, in 1703, led by William Dampier; in 1708, led by Woodes Rogers; and in 1719, led by George Shelvocke, were costly and ambitious long distance voyages, carrying great risk for their investors but promising great reward. This book tells the story of the voyages and their impact. It argues that, far from being anachronistic activities more in keeping with an earlier age, as some scholars have asserted, the voyages were significant events and had a huge impact - on politicians, influencing future maritime and naval strategy; on investors, swelling enthusiasm for the South Sea Company which ended in the disastrous Bubble; and in literature, where the narratives of the voyages became an important source for some of the greatest literature of the period, including Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The book provides a great deal of original detail about the voyages, including the difficulties of undertaking such lengthy expeditions, unrest among the crews, and financial details of investments and returns - and losses.

Tim Beattie completed his doctorate at the University of Exeter.


February 2015
1 black and white, 3 line illustrations
250 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781783270200
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037050, HIS027150
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Table of Contents

Privateering in the early eighteenth century
William Dampier's voyage of 1703
The cruising voyage of Woodes Rogers (1708-1711)
The voyages of John Clipperton and George Shelvocke (1719-1722)
The political and strategic impact of the voyages
The voyage narratives
Afterlife - fact, fiction and a new literary genre
Appendix I: Investors in the Woodes Rogers voyage
Appendix II: Comparison of the terms for plunder agreed by Shelvocke and Rogers