Register of Letters of Marque against American Colonies

There are two registers for letters of marque against American colonies for the period 1777-1783: ADM 7/317 and ADM 7/318 . I've combined both and listed them by both Master and Port to make searching simpler.

Further details can be found in the Intro.

Given the information contained in these registers it’s possible to trace the activities of a particular ship and master.

To do this you require two vital pieces of information; the ship’s name and the master’s surname.

The reason for this is that most reports list the ship in the format, ship name then master’s surname eg Minerva, Smith.

Lloyd’s List carried information on all shipping movements, also reports of losses, captures etc.

Fortunately Lloyd’s List has been indexed so with the ships name and that of the master you can put them in the Index and if there is any information it will return the year and volume the information is in.

You can then take that and using this site– see what Lloyd’s List has to report.

The same site has Lloyd’s Register which gives further information on the vessel. Incidentally this is where the expression A1 comes from – it’s Lloyd’s rating of the vessel, meaning it’s in first class condition.

Note. It’s essential that before embarking on extensive research that you have the correct ship and master – many ships carried the same name and if the masters name was also a common one it can be difficult to ensure you have the correct man or ship – however there is an additional aide to help you. – tonnage.

The registers give the tonnage of the ship and this can be checked against Lloyd’s Register which gives you further information to aid your search,




Below are the declarations. Each has an internal index at the end. Fore ease of use I’ve supplied them separately for some volumes.

NOTE: Those lacking this are because the quality of the PDF was so poor as to make them difficult to read.

The PDF were copied commercially from the original microfilm and the company either made a very poor job or the original film was defective.

However I’ve included them all.

One last point, for some reason not clear to me, it appears that not all the declarations were made out in full.

The clerk seems to have only filled out every other one in full; those not in full have an abstract with a reference to the form at the start of the volume.

The size of the volumes varies from 250 to 270mb.

1777-04-03 to 1777-07-29

1777-08-01 to 1778-02-03

1778-02-03 to 1778-08-26

1778-08-26 to 1778-11-06

1778-08-06 to 1779-03-01

1779-03-01 to 1779-07-13

1779-07-13 to 1780-01-29

1780-02-01 to 1780-11-04

1780-11-11 to 1781-01-17

1781-01-17 to 1781-11-07

1781-11-10 to 1783-01-20