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Newspaper publisher authorized to outfit privateers


On this date in 1835, Samuel Whiting, who later published a number of newspapers in Texas during the period of the republic, was granted six blank commissions or letters of marque to outfit privateers at New Orleans. Just four days previously, the General Council had passed a bill providing for the issuance of letters of marque to privateers until the first Texas Navy should become a reality. Whiting and others were taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the embryonic Republic of Texas to entrepreneurs who wanted to serve their country on the high seas by accosting Mexican vessels. Letters of marque were later issued by the Confederacy to Texans who wanted to do similar duty against Union vessels. Charles DeMontel, for instance, was officially authorized in 1863 to command the steamer Texas, a privately owned vessel of the Confederate States. During the early days of the republic, the Texas government even authorized an official flag for registered civil vessels and vessels sailing under letters of marque and reprisal.

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