Adventuring Your Estate: the Origins, Costs and Rewards of Woodes Rogers’s Privateering Voyage of 1708-11
In August 1708 the Duke and Duchess; two private men of war, set sail from Kingroad, near Bristol. This was a commercial venture supported by the Crown, but funded privately by West Country businessmen who were yet to benefit from the burgeoning slave trade. By some measures it would be the most successful privateering expedition ever to leave England, while the ships would also carry out the first circumnavigation by a British fleet since Drake. Woodes Rogers, then relatively young and inexperienced, (though well connected), was the self styled commander in chief. He sailed in company with William Dampier, then the most famous sea explorer of his age, who was appointed Pilot for the South Seas. Costs and returns for the voyage are detailed comprehensively, together with full information on the distribution of profits.