Le Corsaire idéal: the Life of Dublin Mariner Patrick Dowlin, c. 1756–96

By Seán T. Rickard, published May 2011


This article assesses the little-known or documented history of Irish bucker,2 American privateer and French naval officer Patrick Dowlin, encompassing the period of the American War of Independence. It also provides information regarding Dowlin’s closest compatriots and describes several ruses used by smugglers, privateers and their armateurs at sea or ashore in achieving their goals. Some minor ship histories have been included to help explain the practices of the period while also serving to illustrate Dowlin’s sea-going career. The article questions current assumptions regarding the full impact of Dowlin’s role during the war. It does this by utilizing hitherto unused sources, which not only amplify his actions but those of his compatriots. It assesses the impact of their privateering efforts. It also documents nautical events that occurred during Dowlin’s lifetime to illustrate his endeavours and those of his contemporaries.

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Filed under: Atlantic | English Channel | Irish Sea | Pirates | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Biography | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

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