Privateer Missions

Kings and governors assigned other missions to privateers in addition to their primary role of providing coastal defence

Bottle

Kings and governors assigned other missions to privateers in addition to their primary role of providing coastal defence. They were called upon to serve the King and his representatives by re-supplying the colonies with food and materiel, or by imposing a colonial presence in the most far-flung and difficult-to-defend outposts.



Supply for the Colony

Local officials were responsible for ensuring that colonies had everything they required. They needed to ensure the safe and swift passage for the merchandise they needed from Europe.

Seal

Privateers were therefore also entrusted with this mission of protecting merchant shipping by chasing off enemies or escorting convoys from Europe.

In a letter to the French Admiralty, Frontenac, in 1694, expresses his concern that measures be taken to ensure the supply of the colony:

(.) A 30-ton frigate that [could be sent] early next year (.) to cruise the entrance of our Gulf and stop all these privateers from lying in wait for our French ships.

LAC, MG1 Fonds des Colonies. Series C11A. General Correspondence, 25/10/1694

Governors also hired privateers to supply distant colonies, such as Acadia or Newfoundland.

Territorial Control

attack

The territory governed by Quebec officials was immense and sparsely populated. At some point in history, all governments have had to face this problem. Several frontier areas were hotly contested and successively passed from French to English control.

Given this context, privateers were very useful in ensuring a presence on land. In this regard, the exploits of Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in Newfoundland and in Louisiana are legendary.