Mr. Dorman explained, “Historically this document would separate a legitimate privateer from an outright pirate.” Letters of Marque were issued frequently during colonial times and through the American Revolution as a way to help protect shipping and give naval support. The organization’s ceremonial commission is the first to be signed in Rhode Island since Governor William Jones issued letters of marque during the War of 1812.

Now this is cool. This historical re-enactor group is trying to draw attention to their state’s history with privateering, and they actually got the governor of the state to issue a ceremonial Letter of Marque (see below).

I guess you could also call this a ‘ceremonial violation’ of Article 1, Section 10 of the US Constitution? lol Hopefully no one has a fit about the whole thing… The best part though is the recognition of this concept and importance to US history, by a state’s governor! -Matt


Ahoy! RI ‘pirates’ get governor’s commission
April 12, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Shiver me timbers! A group of “pirates” has been granted a commission by the governor of Rhode Island.
The group of about 20 pirate re-enactors, called the Rhode Island Pirate Players, was granted a ceremonial so-called Letter of Marque (MARK’) by Chafee this week. The letter authorizes the group to “arm, furnish and equip themselves” to educate the public about the state’s pirate and privateer history. It also requests that captains who meet them at sea not give them any trouble.
The group’s founder and leader Casey C. Dorman says he asked Chafee’s office for the letter as a way to raise awareness. Rhode Island was once a haven for pirates, and Dorman says it’s one of the most interesting chapters in state history.
Story here.
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The Rhode Island Pirate Players Receive Letter of Marque
PROVIDENCE , April 12 /–The Rhode Island Pirate Players today announced that they have received a Letter of Marque, also known as a Privateering Commission, from Governor Lincoln Chafee.
“We are very excited that Governor Chafee wants to help us in our mission to educate the public about the often overlooked history of pirate and privateer activity in the state,” Casey C. Dorman, Founder and CEO of the Rhode Island Pirate Players stated. The Rhode Island Pirate Players approached the governor in the hope that formal recognition would help bring awareness to their educational mission.
Mr. Dorman explained, “Historically this document would separate a legitimate privateer from an outright pirate.” Letters of Marque were issued frequently during colonial times and through the American Revolution as a way to help protect shipping and give naval support. The organization’s ceremonial commission is the first to be signed in Rhode Island since Governor William Jones issued letters of marque during the War of 1812.
About The Rhode Island Pirate Players
The Rhode Island Pirate Players are a living history organization dedicated to educating the public about Rhode Island ’s pirate and privateer history. They are available for educational presentations, living history events, as well as film and more. The RIPP also has a walking tour operating in Newport through the summer called Dead Men’s Tales. The Rhode Island Pirate Players are willing to travel, and have performed throughout New England, and as far south as the Carolinas .
Link to website here.
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Article 1 – The Legislative Branch

Section 10 – Powers Prohibited of States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

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