Britain and America 1650–1850: Harmonising Government and Commerce

  • Guy Chet
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance Series book series (PSHF)


Claims that merchants were enemies of commerce raiding (piracy, privateering, and wrecking) are based on assumptions that such activity was harmful to trade, and that the victims of maritime predation would take the lead in advocating and lobbying for its suppression. Historians indeed point to convoys — groups of merchant ships travelling with protective naval escorts — as an early example of successful lobbying by commercial interest groups for government action to protect merchant vessels from maritime predation, indicating a shift in public and mercantile attitudes and beliefs about piracy. However, the practice of insuring ships and cargoes against risks at sea insulated merchants and investors from much of the damage caused by armed commerce, while allowing them to continue to reap the benefits such activities offered.1


Eighteenth Century Insurance Market Early Eighteenth Century Marine Insurance Lower Premium 
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© Guy Chet 2016

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  • Guy Chet

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