The Rover (privateering ship)

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Career (Nova Scotia) 60px
Owner: Simeon Perkins, Snow Parker, William Lawson
Port of registry: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Builder: Snow Parker
Launched: April, 1800
Commissioned: May 20. 1800
Homeport: Liverpool, Nova Scotia
Fate: Sank in West Indies
General characteristics
Type: Privateer brig
Tonnage: 100
Sail plan: Brig
Crew: 60
Armament: Sixteen 4 pounder cannons

Rover was a privateer brig out of Liverpool, Nova Scotia known for several bold battles in the Napoleonic Wars.

She was built in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia (then known as Herring Cove) over the winter of 1799-1800. Rover was owned by a group of merchants from Liverpool, Nova Scotia led by Simeon Perkins and Snow Parker. The brig was commanded by Alexander Godfrey under a British letter of marque. Rover won fame with several bold engagements, including a single handed attack on a French convoy but she is most famous for a battle off the coast of South America with the Spanish naval schooner, Santa Rita, and three accompanying gunboats. On the coast of Venezuela in 1800, Rover captured Santa Rita of ten 6 pounders with two carronades and two gunboats, totaling a crew of 125. Rover did not lose a single man of its crew of 55. The capture made Godfrey a hero in British naval circles. He was celebrated in the British Naval Chronicle and offered a commission in the Royal Navy but declined.

Later cruises by Rover were less successful. A subsequent captain, Benjamin Collins, lost his letter of marque and created trouble for Rover's owners with the illegal capture of several merchants. After 1803, she was sold to Halifax owners who employed her as a merchant vessel. She later capsized and sank in the West Indies.

In the 20th century the Mersey Paper Company in Rover's old home port of Liverpool, Nova Scotia named one of its pulp and paper steamships after the privateer brig. In addition to writing a history of Rover, Nova Scotian writer Thomas H. Raddall also based his 1948 novel Pride's Fancy on the brig Rover. The privateer also insired a song written in the 1920s by Nova Scotian writer Archibald MacMechan, "Ballad of the Rover".


  • Raddall, Thomas H. (1958). The Rover: The Story of a Canadian Privateer. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
  • Conlin, Daniel. "A Private War in the Caribbean: Nova Scotian Privateering 1793-1805, The Northern Mariner, Vol. VI, No. 4, p. 29-48.

External links

fr:The Rover