Dispatched in 1776 to French-owned Martinique, a hub of international commerce, to secure weapons for the Continental army, the future Continental Congress delegate and U.S. Senator William Bingham also solicited “private adventurers” of any nationality to raid British shipping. Once upon a time there was a boy who really wanted to own a garage poster. Privateering became so prevalent in the Caribbean that, at one point, 82 English ships were anchored at Saint-Pierre awaiting the sale of their pilfered goods in some cases back to their original owners. Bingham’s cut on a single shipload of coffee and sugar exceed a quarter-million dollars in today’s terms, according to Patton, who writes that “Bingham’s privateering activities vaulted him into the financial stratosphere.
Once upon a time there was a boy who really wanted to own a garage poster