Both the French colony and, after the conquest of 1759, the English colony were deeply dependent upon European supplies. They experienced numerous shortages and were often in want.

In times of war, privateering was one of the sources of these hardships. Privateers would block supply convoys and seize provisions, ammunition and other items sent by the motherland to assist the colony.

Conversely, profitable voyages or specific circumstances could have the opposite effect and help re-supply colonies, sometimes even at remote outposts. The situation of Port Royal and Plaisance is a case in point.

Saving Port Royal from Famine

In Acadia, the French settlement of Port Royal was taken back from the English during the War of the Spanish Succession. But as the war raged, supply shipments were hindered and provisions were scarce. For the few settlers in this area, it was a gift of providence when a privateer arrived in the middle of the winter of 1709-1710 with wheat and corn from four captured ships. It brought, at least for a while, an abundance of supplies to the little colony.

Manna from the South

Philippe Pastour de Costebelle, the Governor of the small colony on the Newfoundland coast called Plaisance, did not conceal his joy as he described the following incident to the French Minister of Marine in 1712:

(.) Providence, which seems to share its treasures with only the wretched and the exiles in the most remote corners of the Earth, has brought us the spoils taken along the Acadian coast by a Puerto Rican privateer loaded with enough bacon and butter for us to hold out for the assistance your Lordship has promised we will receive next spring, and ease our hardship (.)

LAC, MG1, Series C11C, 9/11/1712
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