Feast your eyes on this historic booty our mateys at congressarchives have dug up, those scurvy dogs!
'Tis Speak like a Scurvy Pirate Day, 'n what better way to celebrate than wit' some scurvy pirate documents!
Band o’ pirates from th’ Barbary States preyed on ships off Africa’s western ‘n Mediterranean coasts fer centuries. After gainin’ independence, th’ U.S. lost British protection on th’ seven seas. In th’ 1780s ‘n 1790s, band o’ pirates captured ‘n enslaved many American sailors ‘n demanded exorbitant ransoms fer their return. Wit’ diplomatic means failin’, Congress authorized th’ creation o’ th’ U.S. Navy to defend against further attacks on American commerce.
In 1802 Congress responded to years o’ attacks by Barbary band o’ pirates. Though not a declaration o’ war, it supported President Jefferson’s decision to send a U.S. Navy squadron to th’ Mediterranean ‘n to use force to protect American citizens ‘n property.
An Act for the Protection of Commerce of the U.S. in the Mediterranean, 2/1/1802, Records of the U.S. Senate
"Whereas the depredations committed by the Algerine corsairs on the commerce of the United States, render it necessary that a naval force should be provided for its protection."
The Continental Navy having been disbanded after the end of the Revolutionary War, the House of Representatives and the Senate were compelled to pass the “Act to provide a Naval Armament" to protect American shipping from Barbary Coast pirates. It authorized the President to acquire six frigates, four of 44 guns each and two of 36 guns each, by purchase or otherwise. In addition, it specified how many crew members would be necessary and what their pay and daily rations would be.
Read more about the New U.S. Navy
Senate Draft of an “Act to provide a Naval Armament” March 18, 1794; Records of the U.S. Senate; Record Group 46
First Cruise of the Schooner USS Grampus
"Draft of the U.S.S. Schooner ‘Grampus,’ building at Navy Yard, Washington, DC” Designed by Henry Eckford, Drawing by Charles Cassell, December 22, 1820, Ink on paper 25” x 38 1/2”
On August 16, 1822, during its first cruise, the schooner USS Grampus encountered a Puerto Rico-based pirate ship flying Spanish colors and sailing under bogus privateer papers. The American ship quickly reduced the outlaw vessel to a floating wreck.