When the War of 1812 opened there were fully 600 seamen in the city, practically all of whom were engaged in privateering or in the regular naval service of the United States.
Though privateering was carried on by the French with daring and a considerable measure of success, it did not put an appreciable check on the growth of British merchant shipping.
The rupture between Great Britain and the United States in 1812 caused privateering to be resumed, the trade of the colony being thereby almost destroyed.
Newport became the centre of an extensive business in piracy, privateering, smuggling, and legitimate trade.
Now the French fleet was definitely destroyed, and though a destructive privateering warfare continued, England was no longer in danger of invasion.
Privateering, piracy and slave-trading - which though of less extent than in Rhode Island became early of importance, and declined but little before the American War of Independence - give colour to the history of colonial trade.
When, however, surveillance became blockade, prizes could only with difficulty be brought into port, and, since the parties interested gained nothing by burning merchantmen, privateering soon died out, and was replaced by commerce-destroying pure and simple, carried out by commissioned vessels of the Confederate navy.
After subduing the Parliamentary party in the island, he was commissioned (1644) a vice-admiral of Jersey and "the maritime parts adjacent," and by virtue of that office he carried on from there an active privateering campaign in the Royalist cause.
On this foreign trade and these rich periods of privateering the prosperity of the place up to the middle of the 19th century was built.
The numerous references to the privateering exploits of its ships in the Patent and Close Rolls and the extraordinary number of them at the siege of Calais in 1346 alike testify to its importance.
They accumulated wealth by war, or by privateering against the Turks and their allies.