Emily Miller

Document Type


Publication Date



War of 1812, prize law, privateer, law of nations, Baltimore


The outbreak of the War of 1812 introduced an opportunity for merchants and sailors alike, as the concept of privateering became a key facet in the United States’ war at sea. This case, Thirty Hogsheads of Sugar v. Boyle, is an illustration of such privateering activity, as Thomas Boyle, commander of the privateer ship, the Comet, engaged in prize taking activity with a British ship, after receiving a commission from the government on June 29, 1812. This paper puts this particular case into the greater privateering context surrounding the War of 1812, exploring why the case may have been brought in the first place along with the impact of the case beyond the end of the War. I also attempt to delve further into the lives of those involved throughout the life of the case, both directly and indirectly, to provide a more in-depth analysis of the circumstances surrounding the inception and aftermath of the litigation. The case of Thirty Hogsheads of Sugar v. Boyle represents far more than a plantation owner seeking to recoup his sugar and this paper hopes to reconstruct the world encompassing the action by examining its role in the establishment of international prize law.


Admiralty | Law | United States History