1893 text

The Calendars of State Papers are full of references to applications for Commissionerships of the Prize Office. In December, 1664, the Navy Committee appointed themselves the Commissioners for Prize Goods, Sir Henry Bennet being appointed comptroller, and Lord Ashley treasurer.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In Charles II’s reign, captains could usually expect half the value of the prize and its contents, although allocations did vary; any goods or valuables in the great cabin were reserved for the captain, while the seamen were free to get what else they could between decks.

Captains of the smaller ships were at a clear advantage, as their vessels were employed on cruising and convoy duties and were therefore more likely to encounter enemy warships or merchantmen than those in the main fleet."
-- (from Gentlemen and Tarpaulins by JD Davies)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

After the Great Fire the Prize Office moved to Aldersgate Street:

"Then with the Duke of York to the King, to receive his commands for stopping the sale this day of some prize-goods at the Prize-Office, goods fit for the Navy; and received the King’s commands, and carried them to the Lords’ House, to my Lord Ashly, who was angry much thereat, and I am sorry it fell to me to carry the order, but I cannot help it. So, against his will, he signed a note I writ to the Commissioners of Prizes, which I carried and delivered to Kingdone, at their new office in Aldersgate Streete."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The act of capturing ships, called prizes, was a common practice during the conduct of war by legitimate means. Since 2018, the research project of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities Göttingen has had as its long-term objective the cataloging and digitization of the "Prize Papers" in their entirety, which were originally drawn up for or during court processes related to ship captures by the English or British between 1652 and 1817.
As a first stage, the documents have been made available online from court processes linked to approximately 1,500 ship captured between 1793 and 1815.

This is the beginning of an on-going project, so Diary information isn't reflected here yet. Try back in a year or two ...

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.