Fortune (1800 ship)



''Fortune'' (or ''La Fortune'') was a French privateer launched at Bordeaux in 1800 and taken that same year. She immediately made one voyage as a
whaler A whaler or whaling ship is a specialized vessel, designed or adapted for whaling: the catching or processing of whales. Terminology The term ''whaler'' is mostly historic. A handful of nations continue with industrial whaling, and one, Japa ...
and privateer. She then made two voyages as a
slave ship Slave ships were large cargo ships specially built or converted from the 17th to the 19th century for transporting slaves. Such ships were also known as "Guineamen" because the trade involved human trafficking to and from the Guinea coast i ...
in the triangular trade in enslaved people. After the end of the British enslaving trade ''Fortune'' continued to trade with Africa and with South America. She was last listed in 1816.


''Fortune'' was a 400-ton privateer commissioned in Bayonne in February 1800 for a shipowner from Bordeaux. She was under a Captain Bastéré (or Bretée) with 17 officers and 163 to 186 men, with 22 guns. On 13 July 1800 was escorting a convoy from
St Helena Saint Helena () is a British overseas territory located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote volcanic tropical island west of the coast of south-western Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro in South America. It is one of three constitu ...
to Great Britain when at when she sighted a strange sail that appeared to be a French privateer. Winds were light and next morning ''Ruby'' sighted the privateer some three miles ahead. ''Ruby'' was unable to catch the privateer, which made use of sweeps to remain just out of gunshot. Towards evening a breeze came up and ''Ruby'' succeeded in capturing the privateer at 1a.m. on 15 July. The privateer was ''La Fortune'', of Bordeaux. She was a new vessel, strongly built, fully copper-fastened, and a good sailer. She was on only her second cruise. She had been out a month but had succeeded only in capturing the brig ''Fame'', which had been sailing from Sierra Leone to London. ''La Fortune'' was armed with sixteen 18-pounder guns, four long iron 12-pounder guns, and two 36-pounder brass carronades. Captain Solomon Ferris, of ''Ruby'' recommended that the Navy acquire ''La Fortune''.


''Fortune'' first appeared in the ''Register of Shipping'' in 1801.''RS'' (1801), Seq.No.R324.
/ref> Captain Sinclair Halcrow acquired a letter of marque on 9 October 1800. By one account he sailed for the Southern Whale Fishery in 1801.British Southern Whale Fishery Database – Voyages: ''Fortune''.
/ref> In January 1802 ''Fortune'' stopped in at Rio de Janeiro for water and food. Halcrow was an experienced whaling captain, but open to other opportunities as well. On 21 March 1801, ''La Fortune'' privateer, Captain Halcrow, was in
Saldanha Bay Saldanha Bay ( af, Saldanhabaai) is a natural harbour on the south-western coast of South Africa. The town that developed on the northern shore of the bay, also called Saldanha, was incorporated with five other towns into the Saldanha Bay Local ...
. She had taken five prizes: two Spanish brigs, a snow, a sloop, and a Hamburg ship carrying naval stores to Mauritius. She returned to England on 8 April 1802. In January 1803 Halcrow sailed on a whaling voyage. The ''Register of Shipping'' and other sources carried ''Fortune'' as continuing to whale for some years. From 1805 on ''Fortune'' made two voyages as an enslaving ship, operating from Liverpool. 1st slave voyage (1805–1806): Captain Charles Watt acquired a letter of marque on 1 April 1805. He sailed from Liverpool on 25 April. ''Fortune'' started acquiring captves at the Congo River on 16 July. On 5 September the Liverpool ships ''La Fortune'', , and ''Kitty'', were lying in the Congo River, together with the American ships ''Cleopatra'', ''Africa'', and ''Daphne''. The Liverpool ships , ''Sisters'', ''Active'', ''Rellena'', and ''Clarendon'' were at Cabenda and Malemba. There was a report that a group of three French privateers of 16 to 22 guns might be in the area. ''Fortune'' left Africa on 10 November and arrived at Nassau, Bahamas, on 21 December. Captain Watt had died on 14 December, shortly before she arrived at Nassau. She sailed from Nassau on 29 March 1806 and arrived back at Liverpool on 2 May. Captain Hugh Bridson had replaced Watt, and at some point Captain R. Kelly had replaced Bridson. ''Fortune'' had left Liverpool with 67 crew members and suffered 11 crew deaths on the voyage.Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Database – ''Fortune'' voyage #81479.
/ref> On this voyage the gross profit was £13,271 0 s 1 d. Of this, accrued to Thomas Leyland. The costs for the voyage were £11,302 17s 4d. To the profit one must add £7,609 7s 6d sold on credit. The owners made a net profit of £9,47 10s 3d on the voyage. The profit per captive averaged £27 13s 2d. This result was highly satisfactory to the owners, if not to the captives. The captives had sold very slowly; 100 were left on the factors' hands on 31 July 1806. The last batch of these was sold in September. The result was a big bill for rent of store, doctor's attendance, provisions, brandy, wine, tobacco, heads and offals, oil, etc., for the captives. Captain Watt, the third mate, and six seamen had died on the voyage; two sailors drowned. The fifth or trading mate, and one of the men ran away. While she was at Nassau 34 seamen joined or were impressed on board Royal Navy ships on the station. 2nd slave voyage (1807–1808): Captain Archibald Keenan acquired a letter of marque on 12 March 1807. He sailed on 26 April, sailing before 1 May, the day on which the
Slave Trade Act 1807 The Slave Trade Act 1807, officially An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prohibiting the slave trade in the British Empire. Although it did not abolish the practice of slavery, it ...
, which banned British vessels from participating in enslaving voyages, took effect. ''Fortune'' acquired captive at Bonny. She arrived at Kingston, Jamaica on 19 November with 343 captives. She sailed from Jamaica on 24 May 1808 and arrived back at Liverpool on 12 July. Captain Lawrence Hall acquired a letter of marque on 24 November 1808. Captain Alexander Williams acquired a letter of marque on 16 April 1810. The ''RS'' did not recognize the change in masters from Hall to Williams until its 1813 issue.


''Fortune'' was last listed in ''LR'' in 1816. The last mention of her in the press was on 4 June 1816. She had returned to Liverpool from Trieste and then Havana with a cargo that included 50 kegs of quicksilver, 62 tierces of sugar, 327 tons of logwood, 13 tons of fustic, 35 oars, 24 planks, and 60 spars."THE ELECTION.-At about noon on Wednesday last, the contest against the election of Mr." 14 June 1816, ''Liverpool Mercury'' (Liverpool, England) Issue: 259.




* * * * {{cite book , last=Williams , first=Gomer , year=1897 , title=History of the Liverpool Privateers and Letters of Marque: With an Account of the Liverpool Slave Trade , publisher=W. Heinemann 1800 ships Ships built in France Privateer ships of France Captured ships Age of Sail merchant ships of England Whaling ships Privateer ships of Great Britain Liverpool slave ships