This pistol was presented to Captain Peter Reed by the Council and Assembly of St Christopher’s, one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Captain Reed, commanding the privateer ‘Oliver Cromwell’, destroyed several French privateers in the West Indies in 1759. Privateers were private warships licensed to raid enemy shipping for profit.

The pistol is half stocked and made of walnut with a repoussé silver butt cap, a silver trigger guard and a silver fore-end cap. The pistol has a silver side-plate, a silver escutcheon plate and extensive silver wire inlay all over the stock itself. The butt cap is made in the form of an antique helmet, draped and surmounted by a tented canopy with a floral trophy above. The side-plate is made in the form of a military trophy of guns, swords, shields etc. The oval escutcheon plate rests on a trophy of guns surmounted by an antique helmet. The trigger guard is engraved with a military trophy and a plain silver ramrod pipe. The ramrod is fitted to the barrel. The pistol has a sidelock, flintlock finely chiselled and decorated; it is also fitted with a sliding safety catch. The barrel is a smooth circular section; the calibre is 0.65in. The escutcheon is inscribed with the words 'Given by/the Honble the/Council and Assembly/of the Island of/St Christophers to Captn Peter Reed/of the Oliver Cromwell/Private Vessel/of Warr/in Testimony/of his Good/Services'.

Object Details

ID: AAA2417
Collection: Weapons
Type: Pistol
Display location: Display - Atlantic Gallery
Creator: R. Wilson, R
Vessels: Oliver Cromwell
Date made: circa 1730
Exhibition: The Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire; War and Conflict
People: St Christopher's, Assembly of; Reed, P.
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 130 x 400 x 40 mm

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