Instructing the Master of a Newfoundland Sack Ship, 1715

By I.K. Steele, published May 1977

Abstract

A sack ship purchased cod rather than catching it, thereby bringing fish to Mediterranean markets months before the fishing fleet arrived. Sailing orders given by Nathaniel Wraxall and Co to Captain John Gilbert of their ship Thomas Gally illustrate a master’s discretion in this trade. In Newfoundland he was to decide how to sell the cargo of bread and flour, how much cod to purchase (if any) and how much to pay (in bills on Wraxalls). At any port between Cadiz and Leghorn, Gilbert was to decide how to sell the cod, and to judge the best homeward freight obtainable.

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Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Administration | Whaling & Fishing

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