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The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms

Part 5 out of 7

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the centre of the fleet, two and two, burning furiously; one of them
came alongside of the vessel I was in, but they succeeded in booming her
off. She appeared to be a vessel of about thirty tons; her hold was
filled with straw and wood, and there were a few small boxes of
combustibles on her deck, which exploded alongside of us without doing
any damage. The Ladrones, however, towed them all on shore, extinguished
the fire, and broke them up for firewood. The Portuguese claim the
credit of constructing these destructive machines, and actually sent a
despatch to the Governor of Macao, saying they had destroyed at least
one-third of the Ladrone's fleet, and hoped soon to effect their purpose
by totally annihilating them!

"On the 29th of November, the Ladrones being all ready for sea, they
weighed and stood boldly out, bidding defiance to the invincible
squadron and imperial fleet, consisting of ninety-three war-junks, six
Portuguese ships, a brig, and a schooner. Immediately after the Ladrones
weighed, they made all sail. The Ladrones chased them two or three
hours, keeping up a constant fire; finding they did not come up with
them, they hauled their wind, and stood to the eastward. Thus terminated
the boasted blockade, which lasted nine days, during which time the
Ladrones completed all their repairs. In this action not a single
Ladrone vessel was destroyed, and their loss was about thirty or forty
men. An American was also killed, one of three that remained out of
eight taken in a schooner. I had two very narrow escapes: the first, a
twelve pounder shot fell within three or four feet of me; another took a
piece out of a small brass-swivel on which I was standing. The chief's
wife frequently sprinkled me with garlick-water, which they considered
an effectual charm against shot. The fleet continued under sail all
night, steering towards the eastward. In the morning they anchored in a
large bay surrounded by lofty and barren mountains. On the 2d of
December I received a letter from Lieutenant Maughn, commander of the
Honorable Company's cruiser Antelope, saying that he had the ransom on
board, and had been three days cruising after us, and wished me to
settle with the chief on the securest method of delivering it. The chief
agreed to send us in a small gun-boat till we came within sight of the
Antelope; then the compradore's boat was to bring the ransom and receive
us. I was so agitated at receiving this joyful news, that it was with
difficulty I could scrawl about two or three lines to inform Lieutenant
Maughn of the arrangements I had made. We were all so deeply affected by
the gratifying tidings, that we seldom closed our eyes, but continued
watching day and night for the boat.

"On the 6th she returned with Lieutenant Maughn's answer, saying, he
would respect any single boat; but would not allow the fleet to approach
him. The chief, then, according to his first proposal, ordered a
gun-boat to take us, and with no small degree of pleasure we left the
Ladrone fleet about four o'clock in the afternoon. At one P.M. saw the
Antelope under all sail, standing towards us. The Ladrone boat
immediately anchored, and dispatched the compradore's boat for the
ransom, saying, that if she approached nearer they would return to the
fleet; and they were just weighing when she shortened sail, and anchored
about two miles from us. The boat did not reach her till late in the
afternoon, owing to the tide's being strong against her. She received
the ransom and left the Antelope just before dark. A Mandarin boat that
had been lying concealed under the land, and watching their manoeuvres,
gave chace to her, and was within a few fathoms of taking her, when she
saw a light, which the Ladrones answered, and the Mandarin hauled off.
Our situation was now a critical one; the ransom was in the hands of the
Ladrones, and the compradore dare not return with us for fear of a
second attack from the Mandarin boat. The Ladrones would not wait till
morning, so we were obliged to return with them to the fleet. In the
morning the chief inspected the ransom, which consisted of the following
articles: two bales of superfine cloth; two chests of opium; two casks
of gunpowder, and a telescope; the rest in dollars. He objected to the
telescope not being new; and said he should detain one of us till
another was sent, or a hundred dollars in lieu of it. The compradore,
however, agreed with him for the hundred dollars. Every thing being at
length settled, the chief ordered two gun-boats to convey us near the
Antelope; we saw her just before dusk, when the Ladrone boats left us.
We had the inexpressible pleasure of arriving on board the Antelope at
seven, P.M., where we were most cordially received, and heartily
congratulated on our safe and happy deliverance from a miserable
captivity, which we had endured for eleven weeks and three days.

(Signed) "RICHARD GLASSPOOLE. _China, December 8th_. 1809."

"The Ladrones have no settled residence on shore, but live constantly in
their vessels. The after-part is appropriated to the captain and his
wives; he generally has five or six. With respect to the conjugal rights
they are religiously strict; no person is allowed to have a woman on
board, unless married to her according to their laws. Every man is
allowed a small berth, about four feet square, where he stows with his
wife and family. From the number of souls crowded in so small a space,
it must naturally be supposed they are horridly dirty, which is
evidently the case, and their vessels swarm with all kinds of vermin.
Rats in particular, which they encourage to breed, and eat as great
delicacies; in fact, there are very few creatures they will not eat.
During our captivity we lived three weeks on caterpillars boiled with
rice. They are much addicted to gambling, and spend all their leisure
hours at cards and smoking opium."

[Illustration: _The War Junks of the Ladrones._]

At the time of Mr. Glasspoole's liberation, the pirates were at the
height of their power; after such repeated victories over the Mandarin
ships, they had set at nought the Imperial allies--the Portuguese, and
not only the coast, but the rivers of the celestial empire seemed to be
at their discretion--and yet their formidable association did not many
months survive this event. It was not, however, defeat that reduced it
to the obedience of the laws. On the contrary, that extraordinary woman,
the widow of Ching-yih, and the daring Paou, were victorious and more
powerful than ever, when dissensions broke out among the pirates
themselves. Ever since the favor of the chieftainess had elevated Paou
to the general command, there had been enmity and altercations between
him and the chief O-po-tae, who commanded one of the flags or divisions
of the fleet; and it was only by the deference and respect they both
owed to Ching-yih's widow, that they had been prevented from turning
their arms against each other long before.

At length, when the brave Paou was surprised and cooped up by a strong
blockading force of the Emperor's ships, O-po-tae showed all his deadly
spite, and refused to obey the orders of Paou, and even of the
chieftainess, which were, that he should sail to the relief of his

Paou, with his bravery and usual good fortune, broke through the
blockade, but when he came in contact with O-po-tae, his rage was too
violent to be restrained.

O-po-tae at first pleaded that his means and strength had been
insufficient to do what had been expected of him, but concluded by
saying,--"Am I bound to come and join the forces of Paou?"

"Would you then separate from us!" cried Paou, more enraged than ever.

O-po-tae answered: "I will not separate myself."

Paou:--"Why then do you not obey the orders of the wife of Ching-yih and
my own? What is this else than separation, that you do not come to
assist me, when I am surrounded by the enemy? I have sworn it that I
will destroy thee, wicked man, that I may do away with this soreness on
my back."

The summons of Paou, when blockaded, to O-po-tae was in language
equally figurative:--"I am harassed by the Government's officers outside
in the sea; lips and teeth must help one another, if the lips are cut
away the teeth will feel cold. How shall I alone be able to fight the
Government forces? You should therefore come at the head of your crew,
to attack the Government squadron in the rear. I will then come out of
my station and make an attack in front; the enemy being so taken in the
front and rear, will, even supposing we cannot master him, certainly be
thrown into disorder."

The angry words of Paou were followed by others, and then by blows.
Paou, though at the moment far inferior in force, first began the fight,
and ultimately sustained a sanguinary defeat, and the loss of sixteen
vessels. Our loathing for this cruel, detestable race, must be increased
by the fact, that the victors massacred all their prisoners--or three
hundred men!

This was the death-blow to the confederacy which had so long defied the
Emperor's power, and which might have effected his dethronement.
O-po-tae dreading the vengeance of Paou and his mistress, Ching-yih's
widow, whose united forces would have quintupled his own, gained over
his men to his views, and proffered a submission to Government, on
condition of free pardon, and a proper provision for all.

The petition of the pirates is so curious a production, and so
characteristic of the Chinese, that it deserves to be inserted at
length. "It is my humble opinion that all robbers of an overpowering
force, whether they had their origin from this or any other cause, have
felt the humanity of Government at different times. Leang-sham, who
three times plundered the city, was nevertheless pardoned, and at last
made a minister of state. Wakang often challenged the arms of his
country, and was suffered to live, and at last made a corner-stone of
the empire. Joo-ming pardoned seven times Mang-hwo; and Kwan-kung three
times set Tsaou-tsaou at liberty. Ma-yuen pursued not the exhausted
robbers; and Yo-fei killed not those who made their submission. There
are many instances of such transactions both in former and recent times,
by which the country was strengthened, and government increased its
power. We now live in a very populous age; some of us could not agree
with their relations, and were driven out like noxious weeds. Some,
after having tried all they could, without being able to provide for
themselves, at last joined bad society. Some lost their property by
shipwrecks; some withdrew into this watery empire to escape from
punishment. In such a way those who in the beginning were only three or
five, were in the course of time increased to a thousand or ten
thousand, and so it went on increasing every year. Would it not have
been wonderful if such a multitude, being in want of their daily bread,
had not resorted to plunder and robbery to gain their subsistence, since
they could not in any other manner be saved from famine? It was from
necessity that the laws of the empire were violated, and the merchants
robbed of their goods. Being deprived of our land and of our native
places, having no house or home to resort to, and relying only on the
chances of wind and water, even could we for a moment forget our griefs,
we might fall in with a man-of-war, who with stones, darts, and guns,
would knock out our brains! Even if we dared to sail up a stream and
boldly go on with anxiety of mind under wind, rain, and stormy weather,
we must everywhere prepare for fighting. Whether we went to the east, or
to the west, and after having felt all the hardships of the sea, the
night dew was our only dwelling, and the rude wind our meal. But now we
will avoid these perils, leave our connexions, and desert our comrades;
we will make our submission. The power of Government knows no bounds; it
reaches to the islands in the sea, and every man is afraid, and sighs.
Oh we must be destroyed by our crimes, none can escape who opposeth the
laws of Government. May you then feel compassion for those who are
deserving of death; may you sustain us by your humanity!"

The Government that had made so many lamentable displays of its
weakness, was glad to make an unreal parade of its mercy. It was but too
happy to grant all the conditions instantly, and, in the fulsome
language of its historians, "feeling that compassion is the way of
heaven--that it is the right way to govern by righteousness--it
therefore redeemed these pirates from destruction, and pardoned their
former crimes."

O-po-tae, however, had hardly struck his free flag, and the pirates were
hardly in the power of the Chinese, when it was proposed by many that
they should all be treacherously murdered. The governor happened to be
more honorable and humane, or probably, only more politic than those who
made this foul proposal--he knew that such a bloody breach of faith
would for ever prevent the pirates still in arms from voluntary
submitting; he knew equally well, even weakened as they were by
O-po-tae's defection, that the Government could not reduce them by
force, and he thought by keeping his faith with them, he might turn the
force of those who had submitted against those who still held out, and
so destroy the pirates with the pirates. Consequently the eight thousand
men, it had been proposed to cut off in cold blood, were allowed to
remain uninjured, and their leader, O-po-tae, having changed his name to
that of Hoe-been, or, "The Lustre of Instruction," was elevated to the
rank of an imperial officer.

The widow of Ching-yih, and her favorite Paou, continued for some months
to pillage the coast, and to beat the Chinese and the Mandarins' troops
and ships, and seemed almost as strong as before the separation of
O-po-tae's flag. But that example was probably operating in the minds of
many of the outlaws, and finally the lawless heroine herself, who was
the spirit that kept the complicate body together, seeing that O-po-tae
had been made a government officer, and that he continued to prosper,
began also to think of making her submission.

"I am," said she, "ten times stronger than O-po-tae, and government will
perhaps, if I submit, act towards me as they have done with O-po-tae."

A rumor of her intentions having reached shore, the Mandarin sent off a
certain Chow, a doctor of Macao, "Who," says the historian, "being
already well acquainted with the pirates, did not need any
introduction," to enter on preliminaries with them.

When the worthy practitioner presented himself to Paou, that friend
concluded he had been committing some crime, and had come for safety to
that general _refugium peccatorum,_ the pirate fleet.

The Doctor explained, and assured the chief, that if he would submit,
Government was inclined to treat him and his far more favorably and more
honorably than O-po-tae. But if he continued to resist, not only a
general arming of all the coast and the rivers, but O-po-tae was to
proceed against him.

At this part of his narrative our Chinese historian is again so curious,
that I shall quote his words at length.

"When Fei-heung-Chow came to Paou, he said: 'Friend Paou, do you know
why I come to you?'"

"Paou.--'Thou hast committed some crime and comest to me for

"Chow.--'By no means.'"

"Paou.--'You will then know how it stands concerning the report about
our submission, if it is true or false?'"

"Chow.--'You are again wrong here, Sir. What are you in comparison with

"Paou.--'Who is bold enough to compare me with O-po-tae?'"

"Chow.--'I know very well that O-po-tae could not come up to you, Sir;
but I mean only, that since O-po-tae has made his submission, since he
has got his pardon and been created a Government officer,--how would it
be, if you with your whole crew should also submit, and if his
Excellency should desire to treat you in the same manner, and to give
you the same rank as O-po-tae? Your submission would produce more joy to
Government than the submission of O-po-tae. You should not wait for
wisdom to act wisely; you should make up your mind to submit to the
Government with all your followers. I will assist you in every respect,
it would be the means of securing your own happiness and the lives of
all your adherents.'"

"Chang-paou remained like a statue without motion, and Fei-heung Chow
went on to say: 'You should think about this affair in time, and not
stay till the last moment. Is it not clear that O-po-tae, since you
could not agree together, has joined Government. He being enraged
against you, will fight, united with the forces of the Government, for
your destruction; and who could help you, so that you might overcome
your enemies? If O-po-tae could before vanquish you quite alone, how
much more can he now when he is united with Government? O-po-tae will
then satisfy his hatred against you, and you yourself will soon be taken
either at Wei-chow or at Neaou-chow. If the merchant-vessels of
Hwy-chaou, the boats of Kwang-chow, and all the fishing-vessels, unite
together to surround and attack you in the open sea, you will certainly
have enough to do. But even supposing they should not attack you, you
will soon feel the want of provisions to sustain you and all your
followers. It is always wisdom to provide before things happen;
stupidity and folly never think about future events. It is too late to
reflect upon events when things have happened; you should, therefore,
consider this matter in time!'"

Paou was puzzled, but after being closeted for some time with his
mistress, Ching-yih's widow, who gave her high permission for him to
make arrangements with Doctor Chow, he said he would repair with his
fleet to the Bocca Tigris, and there communicate personally with the
organs of Government.

After two visits had been paid to the pirate-fleets by two inferior
Mandarins, who carried the Imperial proclamation of free pardon, and
who, at the order of Ching-yih's widow, were treated to a sumptuous
banquet by Paou, the Governor-general of the province went himself in
one vessel to the pirates' ships, that occupied a line of ten _le_ off
the mouth of the river.

As the governor approached, the pirates hoisted their flags, played on
their instruments, and fired their guns, so that the smoke rose in
clouds, and then bent sail to meet him. On this the dense population
that were ranged thousands after thousands along the shore, to witness
the important reconciliation, became sorely alarmed, and the
Governor-general seems to have had a strong inclination to run away. But
in brief space of time, the long dreaded widow of Ching-yih, supported
by her Lieutenant Paou, and followed by three other of her principal
commanders, mounted the side of the governor's ship, and rushed through
the smoke to the spot where his excellency was stationed; where they
fell on their hands and knees, shed tears, knocked their heads on the
deck before him, and received his gracious pardon, and promised for
future kind treatment. They then withdrew satisfied, having promised to
give in a list of their ships, and of all else they possessed, within
three days.

But the sudden apparition of some large Portuguese ships, and some
Government war-junks, made the pirates suspect treachery. They
immediately set sail, and the negociations were interrupted for several

They were at last concluded by the boldness of their female leader. "If
the Governor-general," said this heroine, "a man of the highest rank,
could come to us quite alone, why should not I, a mean woman, go to the
officers of Government? If there be danger in it, I take it all on
myself; no person among you need trouble himself about me--my mind is
made up, and I will go to Canton!"

Paou said--"If the widow of Ching-yih goes, we must fix a time for her
return. If this pass without our obtaining any information, we must
collect all our forces, and go before Canton: this is my opinion as to
what ought to be done; comrades, let me hear yours!"

The pirates, then, struck with the intrepidity of their chieftainess,
and loving her more than ever, answered, "Friend Paou, we have heard thy
opinion, but we think it better to wait for the news here, on the water,
than to send the wife of Ching-yih alone to be killed." Nor would they
allow her to leave the fleet.

Matters were in this state of indecision, when the two inferior
Mandarins who had before visited the pirates, ventured out to repeat
their visit. These officers protested no treachery had been intended,
and pledged themselves, that if the widow of Ching-yih would repair to
the Governor, she would be kindly received, and every thing settled to
their hearts' satisfaction.

With this, in the language of our old ballads, upspoke Mrs. Ching. "You
say well, gentlemen! and I will go myself to Canton with some other of
our ladies, accompanied by you!" And accordingly, she and a number of
the pirates' wives with their children, went fearlessly to Canton,
arranged every thing, and found they had not been deceived. The fleet
soon followed. On its arrival every vessel was supplied with pork and
with wine, and every man (in lieu it may be supposed, of his share of
the vessels, and plundered property he resigned) received at the same
time a bill for a certain quantity of money. Those who wished it, could
join the military force of Government for pursuing the remaining
pirates; and those who objected, dispersed and withdrew into the
country. "This is the manner in which the great red squadron of the
pirates was pacified."

The valiant Paou, following the example of his rival O-po-tae, entered
into the service of Government, and proceeded against such of his
former associates and friends as would not accept the pardon offered
them. There was some hard fighting, but the two renegadoes successively
took the chief Shih Url, forced the redoubtable captain, styled "The
scourge of the Eastern Ocean" to surrender himself, drove "Frog's Meal,"
another dreadful pirate, to Manilla, and finally, and within a few
months, destroyed or dissipated the "wasps of the ocean" altogether.

I have already noticed the marked intention of the Chinese historian, to
paint the character of Paou in a poetical or epic manner. When
describing the battle with Shih-Url, he says:--

"They fought from seven o'clock in the morning till one at noon, burnt
ten vessels, and killed an immense number of the pirates. Shih-Url was
so weakened that he could scarcely make any opposition. On perceiving
this through the smoke, Paou mounted on a sudden the vessel of the
pirate, and cried out: 'I Chang Paou am come,' and at the same moment he
cut some pirates to pieces; the remainder were then hardly dealt with.
Paou addressed himself in an angry tone to Shih-Url, and said: 'I advise
you to submit: will you not follow my advice? what have you to say?'
Shih-Url was struck with amazement, and his courage left him. Paou
advanced and bound him, and the whole crew were then taken captives."

"From that period," says our Chinese historian, in conclusion, "ships
began to pass and repass in tranquillity. All became quiet on the
rivers, and tranquil on the four seas. People lived in peace and plenty.
Men sold their arms and bought oxen to plough their fields; they buried
sacrifices, said prayers on the tops of the hills, and rejoiced
themselves by singing behind screens during day-time"--and (grand climax
to all!) the Governor of the province, in consideration of his valuable
services in the pacification of the pirates, was allowed by an edict of
the "Son of Heaven," to wear peacocks' feathers with two eyes!


Captain Lewis was at an early age associated with pirates. We first find
him a boy in company with the pirate Banister, who was hanged at the
yard arm of a man-of-war, in sight of Port Royal, Jamaica. This Lewis
and another boy were taken with him, and brought into the island hanging
by the middle at the mizen peak. He had a great aptitude for languages,
and spoke perfectly well that of the Mosquil Indians, French, Spanish,
and English. I mention our own, because it is doubted whether he was
French or English, for we cannot trace him back to his origin. He sailed
out of Jamaica till he was a lusty lad, and was then taken by the
Spaniards at the Havana, where he tarried some time; but at length he
and six more ran away with a small canoe, and surprised a Spanish
periagua, out of which two men joined them, so that they were now nine
in company. With this periagua they surprised a turtling sloop, and
forced some of the hands to take on with them; the others they sent away
in the periagua.

He played at this small game, surprising and taking coasters and
turtlers, till with forced men and volunteers he made up a company of 40
men. With these he took a large pink built ship, bound from Jamaica to
the bay of Campeachy, and after her, several others bound to the same
place; and having intelligence that there lay in the bay a fine Bermuda
built brigantine of 10 guns, commanded by Captain Tucker, he sent the
captain of the pink to him with a letter, the purport of which was, that
he wanted such a brigantine, and if he would part with her, he would
pay him 10,000 pieces of eight; if he refused this, he would take care
to lie in his way, for he was resolved, either by fair or foul means to
have the vessel. Captain Tucker, having read the letter, sent for the
masters of vessels then lying in the bay, and told them, after he had
shown the letter, that if they would make him up 54 men, (for there
were about ten Bermuda sloops,) he would go out and fight the pirates.
They said no, they would not hazard their men, they depended on their
sailing, and every one must take care of himself as well as he could.

[Illustration: _The Pirate Banister, hanging at the Yard Arm._]

However, they all put to sea together, and spied a sail under the land,
which had a breeze while they lay becalmed. Some said he was a turtler;
others, the pirate, and so it proved; for it was honest Captain Lewis,
who putting out his oars, got in among them. Some of the sloops had four
guns, some two, some none. Joseph Dill had two, which he brought on one
side, and fired smartly at the pirate, but unfortunately one of them
split, and killed three men. Tucker called to all the sloops to send him
men, and he would fight Lewis, but to no purpose; nobody came on board
him. In the mean while a breeze sprung up, and Tucker, trimming his
sails, left them, who all fell a prey to the pirate; into whom, however,
he fired a broadside at going off. One sloop, whose master I will not
name, was a very good sailer, and was going off; but Lewis firing a
shot, brought her to, and he lay by till all the sloops were visited and
secured. Then Lewis sent on board him, and ordered the master into his
sloop. As soon as he was on board, he asked the reason of his lying by,
and betraying the trust his owners had reposed in him, which was doing
like a knave and coward, and he would punish him accordingly; _for_,
said he, _you might have got off, being so much a better sailer than my
vessel_. After this speech, he fell upon him with a rope's end, and then
snatching up his cane, drove him about the decks without mercy. The
master, thinking to pacify him, told him he had been out trading in that
sloop several months, and had on board a good quantity of money, which
was hid, and which, if he would send on board a black belonging to the
owners, he would discover to him. This had not the desired effect, but
one quite contrary; for Lewis told him he was a rascal and villain for
this discovery, and he would pay him for betraying his owners, and
redoubled his strokes. However, he sent and took the money and negro,
who was an able sailor. He took out of his prizes what he had occasion
for, forty able negro sailors, and a white carpenter. The largest sloop,
which was about ninety tons, he took for his own use, and mounted her
with 12 guns. His crew was now about eighty men, whites and blacks.

[Illustration: _The Master Caned by Captain Lewis._]

After these captures, he cruised in the Gulf of Florida, laying in wait
for the West India homeward bound ships that took the leeward passage,
several of which, falling into his hands, were plundered by him, and
released. From hence he went to the coast of Carolina, where he cleaned
his sloop, and a great many men whom he had forced, ran away from him.
However, the natives traded with him for rum and sugar, and brought him
all he wanted, without the government's having any knowledge of him, for
he had got into a very private creek; though he was very much on his
guard, that he might not be surprised from the shore.

From Carolina he cruised on the coast of Virginia, where he took and
plundered several merchantmen, and forced several men, and then returned
to the coast of Carolina, where he did abundance of mischief. As he had
now an abundance of French on board, who had entered with him, and
Lewis, hearing the English had a design to maroon them, he secured the
men he suspected, and put them in a boat, with all the other English,
ten leagues from shore, with only ten pieces of beef, and sent them
away, keeping none but French and negroes. These men, it is supposed,
all perished in the sea.

From the coast of Carolina he shaped his course for the banks of
Newfoundland, where he overhauled several fishing vessels, and then went
into Trinity Harbor in Conception Bay, where there lay several
merchantmen, and seized a 24 gun galley, called the Herman. The
commander, Captain Beal, told Lewis, if he would send his quarter master
ashore he would furnish him with necessaries. He being sent ashore, a
council was held among the masters, the consequence of which was, the
seizing the quarter master, whom they carried to Captain Woodes Rogers.
He chained him to a sheet anchor which was ashore, and planted guns at
the point, to prevent the pirate getting out, but to little purpose; for
the people at one of these points firing too soon, Lewis quitted the
ship, and, by the help of oars and the favor of the night, got out in
his sloop, though she received many shot in her hull. The last shot that
was fired at the pirate did him considerable damage.

He lay off and on the harbor, swearing he would have his quarter master,
and intercepted two fishing shallops, on board of one of which was the
captain of the galley's brother. He detained them, and sent word, if his
quarter master did not immediately come off, he would put all his
prisoners to death. He was sent on board without hesitation. Lewis and
the crew inquired how he had been used, and he answered, very civilly.
"It's well," said the pirate, "for had you been ill treated, I would
have put all these rascals to the sword." They were dismissed, and the
captain's brother going over the side, the quarter master stopped him,
saying, he must drink the gentlemen's health ashore, particularly
Captain Rogers' and, whispering him in the ear, told him, if they had
known of his being chained all night, he would have been cut in pieces,
with all his men. After this poor man and his shallop's company were
gone, the quarter master told the usage he had met with, which enraged
Lewis, and made him reproach his quarter master, whose answer was, that
he did not think it just the innocent should suffer for the guilty.

The masters of the merchantmen sent to Capt. Tudor Trevor, who lay at
St. John's in the Sheerness man-of-war. He immediately got under sail,
and missed the pirate but four hours. She kept along the coast and made
several prizes, French and English, and put into a harbor where a French
ship lay making fish. She was built at the latter end of the war, for a
privateer, was an excellent sailer, and mounted 24 guns. The commander
hailed him: the pirate answered, _from Jamaica with rum and sugar_. The
Frenchman bid him go about his business; that a pirate sloop was on the
coast, and he might be the rogue; if he did not immediately sheer off,
he would fire a broadside into him. He went off and lay a fortnight out
at sea, so far as not to be descried from shore, with resolution to have
the ship. The Frenchman being on his guard, in the meanwhile raised a
battery on the shore, which commanded the harbor. After a fortnight,
when he was thought to be gone off, he returned, and took two of the
fishing shallops belonging to the Frenchman, and manning them with
pirates, they went in. One shallop attacked the battery; the other
surprised, boarded and carried the ship, just as the morning star
appeared, for which reason he gave her that name. In the engagement the
owner's son was killed, who made the voyage out of curiosity only. The
ship being taken, seven guns were fired, which was the signal, and the
sloop came down and lay alongside the ship. The captain told him he
supposed he only wanted his liquor; but Lewis made answer he wanted his
ship, and accordingly hoisted all his ammunition and provision into her.
When the Frenchman saw they would have his ship, he told her trim, and
Lewis gave him the sloop; and excepting what he took for provision, all
the fish he had made. Several of the French took on with him, who, with
others, English and French, had by force or voluntarily, made him up 200

From Newfoundland he steered for the coast of Guinea, where he took a
great many ships, English, Dutch and Portuguese. Among these ships was
one belonging to Carolina, commanded by Capt. Smith. While he was in
chase of this vessel a circumstance occurred, which made his men
believe he dealt with the devil; his fore and main top-mast being
carried away, he, Lewis, running up the shrouds to the maintop, tore off
a handful of hair, and throwing it into the air used this expression,
_good devil, take this till I come_. And it was observed, that he came
afterwards faster up with the chase than before the loss of his

[Illustration: _Captain Lewis giving a lock of his hair to the Devil._]

Smith being taken, Lewis used him very civilly, and gave him as much or
more in value than he took from him, and let him go, saying, he would
come to Carolina when he had made money on the coast, and would rely on
his friendship.

They kept some time on the coast, when they quarrelled among themselves,
the French and English, of which the former were more numerous, and they
resolved to part. The French therefore chose a large sloop newly taken,
thinking the ship's bottom, which was not sheathed, damaged by the
worms. According to this agreement they took on board what ammunition
and provision they thought fit out of the ship, and put off, choosing
one Le Barre captain. As it blew hard, and the decks were encumbered,
they came to an anchor under the coast, to stow away their ammunition,
goods, &c. Lewis told his men they were a parcel of rogues, and he would
make them refund; accordingly he run alongside, his guns being all
loaded and new primed, and ordered him to cut away his mast or he would
sink him. Le Barre was obliged to obey. Then he ordered them all ashore.
They begged the liberty of carrying their arms, goods, &c. with them,
but he allowed them only their small arms and cartridge boxes. Then he
brought the sloop alongside, put every thing on board the ship, and sunk
the sloop.

Le Barre and the rest begged to be taken on board. However, though he
denied them, he suffered Le Barre and some few to come, with whom he and
his men drank plentifully. The negroes on board Lewis told him the
French had a plot against him. He answered, he could not withstand his
destiny; for the devil told him in the great cabin he should be murdered
that night.

In the dead of the night, the rest of the French came on board in
canoes, got into the cabin and killed Lewis. They fell on the crew; but,
after an hour and a half's dispute, the French were beaten off, and the
quarter master, John Cornelius, an Irishman, succeeded Lewis.

--"He was the mildest manner'd man,
That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat;
With such true breeding of a gentleman,
You never could discern his real thought.
Pity he loved an adventurous life's variety,
He was so great a loss to good society."


He was born at Plymouth, where his mother kept a public house. She took
great care of his education, and when he was grown up, as he had an
inclination to the sea, procured him the king's letter. After he had
served some years on board a man-of-war, he went to Barbadoes, where he
married, got into the merchant service, and designed to settle in the
island. He had the command of the Marygold brigantine given him, in
which he made two successful voyages to Guinea and back to Barbadoes. In
his third, he had the misfortune to be taken by a French pirate, as were
several other English ships, the masters and inferior officers of which
they detained, being in want of good artists. The brigantine belonging
to White, they kept for their own use, and sunk the vessel they before
sailed in; but meeting with a ship on the Guinea coast more fit for
their purpose, they went on board her and burnt the brigantine.

It is not my business here to give an account of this French pirate, any
farther than Capt. White's story obliges me, though I beg leave to take
notice of their barbarity to the English prisoners, for they would set
them up as a butt or mark to shoot at; several of whom were thus
murdered in cold blood, by way of diversion.

White was marked out for a sacrifice by one of these villains, who, for
what reason I know not, had sworn his death, which he escaped thus. One
of the crew, who had a friendship for White, knew this fellow's design
to kill him in the night, and therefore advised him to lie between him
and the ship's side, with intention to save him; which indeed he did,
but was himself shot dead by the murderous villain, who mistook him for

After some time cruising along the coast, the pirates doubled the Cape
of Good Hope, and shaped their course for Madagascar, where, being drunk
and mad, they knocked their ship on the head, at the south end of the
island, at a place called by the natives Elexa. The country thereabouts
was governed by a king, named Mafaly.

When the ship struck, Capt. White, Capt. Boreman, (born in the Isle of
Wight, formerly a lieutenant of a man-of-war, but in the merchant
service when he fell into the hands of the pirates,) Capt. Bowen and
some other prisoners got into the long-boat, and with broken oars and
barrel staves, which they found in the bottom of the boat, paddled to
Augustin Bay, which is about 14 or 15 leagues from the wreck, where they
landed, and were kindly received by the king of Bavaw, (the name of that
part of the island) who spoke good English.

They stayed here a year and a half at the king's expense, who gave them
a plentiful allowance of provision, as was his custom to all white men,
who met with any misfortune on his coast. His humanity not only provided
for such, but the first European vessel that came in, he always obliged
to take in the unfortunate people, let the vessel be what it would; for
he had no notion of any difference between pirates and merchants.

At the expiration of the above term, a pirate brigantine came in, on
board which the king obliged them to enter, or travel by land to some
other place, which they durst not do; and of two evils chose the least,
that of going on board the pirate vessel, which was commanded by one
William Read, who received them very civilly.

This commander went along the coast, and picked up what Europeans he
could meet with. His crew, however, did not exceed 40 men. He would have
been glad of taking some of the wrecked Frenchmen, but for the
barbarity they had used towards the English prisoners. However, it was
impracticable, for the French pretending to lord it over the natives,
whom they began to treat inhumanly, were set upon by them, one half of
their number cut off, and the other half made slaves.

Read, with this gang, and a brigantine of 60 tons, steered his course
for the Persian Gulf, where they met a grab, (a one masted vessel) of
about 200 tons, which was made a prize. They found nothing on board but
bale goods, most of which they threw overboard in search of gold, and to
make room in the vessel; but as they learned afterwards, they threw
over, in their search, what they so greedily hunted after, for there was
a considerable quantity of gold concealed in one of the bales they
tossed into the sea!

In this cruise Capt. Read fell ill and died, and was succeeded by one
James. The brigantine being small, crazy and worm-eaten, they shaped
their course for the island of Mayotta, where they took out the masts of
the brigantine, fitted up the grab, and made a ship of her. Here they
took in a quantity of fresh provisions, which are in this island very
plentiful and very cheap, and found a twelve-oared boat, which formerly
belonged to the Ruby East Indiaman, which had been lost there.

They stayed here all the monsoon time, which is about six months; after
which they resolved for Madagascar. As they came in with the land, they
spied a sail coming round from the east side of the island. They gave
chase on both sides, so that they soon met. They hailed each other and
receiving the same answer from each vessel, viz. _from the seas,_ they
joined company.

This vessel was a small French ship, laden with liquors from Martinico,
first commanded by one Fourgette, to trade with the pirates for slaves,
at Ambonavoula, on the east side of the island, in the latitude of 17
deg. 30 min. and was by them taken after the following manner.

The pirates, who were headed by George Booth, now commander of the
ship, went on board, (as they had often done,) to the number of ten, and
carried money with them under pretence of purchasing what they wanted.
This Booth had formerly been gunner of a pirate ship, called the
Dolphin. Capt. Fourgette was pretty much upon his guard, and searched
every man as he came over the side, and a pair of pocket pistols were
found upon a Dutchman, who was the first that entered. The captain told
him that _he was a rogue, and had a design upon his ship_, and the
pirates pretended to be so angry with this fellow's offering to come on
board with arms, that they threatened to knock him on the head, and
tossing him roughly into the boat, ordered him ashore, though they had
before taken an oath on the Bible, either to carry the ship, or die in
the undertaking.

They were all searched, but they however contrived to get on board four
pistols, which were all the arms they had for the enterprise, though
Fourgette had 20 hands on board, and his small arms on the awning, to be
in readiness.

The captain invited them into the cabin to dinner, but Booth chose to
dine with the petty officer, though one Johnson, Isaac and another, went
down. Booth was to give the watchword, which was _hurrah_. Standing near
the awning, and being a nimble fellow, at one spring he threw himself
upon it, drew the arms to him, fired his pistol among the men, one of
whom he wounded, (who jumping overboard was lost) and gave the signal.

Three, I said, were in the cabin, and seven upon deck, who with
handspikes and the arms seized, secured the ship's crew. The captain and
his two mates, who were at dinner in the cabin, hearing the pistol, fell
upon Johnson, and stabbed him in several places with their forks, but
they being silver, did him no great damage. Fourgette snatched his
piece, which he snapped at Isaac's breast several times, but it would
not go off. At last, finding his resistance vain, he submitted, and the
pirates set him, and those of his men who would not join them, on shore,
allowing him to take his books, papers, and whatever else he claimed as
belonging to himself; and besides treating him very humanely, gave him
several casks of liquor, with arms and powder, to purchase provisions in
the country.

I hope this digression, as it was in a manner needful, will be excused.
I shall now proceed.

After they had taken in the Dolphin's company, which were on the island,
and increased their crew, by that means, to the number of 80 hands, they
sailed to St. Mary's, where Capt. Mosson's ship lay at anchor, between
the island and the main. This gentleman and his whole ship's company had
been cut off at the instigation of Ort-Vantyle, a Dutchman of New-York.

Out of her they took water casks and other necessaries; which having
done, they designed for the river Methelage, on the west side of
Madagascar, in the lat. of 16 degrees or thereabouts, to salt up
provisions and to proceed to the East Indies, cruise off the islands of
St. John, and lie in wait for the Moor ships from Mocha.

In their way to Methelage they fell in (as I have said) with the pirate,
on board of which was Capt. White. They joined company, came to an
anchor together in the above named river, where they had cleaned, salted
and took in their provisions, and were ready to go to sea, when a large
ship appeared in sight, and stood into the same river.

The pirates knew not whether she was a merchantman or man-of-war. She
had been the latter, belonging to the French king, and could mount 50
guns; but being taken by the English, she was bought by some London
merchants, and fitted out from that port to slave at Madagascar, and go
to Jamaica. The captain was a young, inexperienced man, who was put in
with a nurse.

The pirates sent their boats to speak with them, but the ship firing at
them, they concluded it a man of war, and rowed ashore; the grab
standing in, and not keeping her wind so well as the French built ship,
run among a parcel of mangroves, and a stump piercing her bottom, she
sunk: the other run aground, let go her anchor, and came to no damage,
for the tide of flood fetched her off.

The captain of the Speaker, for that was the name of the ship which
frightened the pirates, was not a little vain of having forced these two
vessels ashore, though he did not know whether they were pirates or
merchantmen, and could not help expressing himself in these words: "How
will my name ring on the exchange, when it is known I have run two
pirates aground;" which gave handle to a satirical return from one of
his men after he was taken, who said, "Lord! how our captain's name will
ring on the exchange, when it is heard, he frightened two pirate ships
ashore, and was taken by their two boats afterwards."

When the Speaker came within shot, she fired several times at the two
vessels; and when she came to anchor, several more into the country,
which alarmed the negroes, who, acquainting their king, he would allow
him no trade, till the pirates living ashore, and who had a design on
his ship, interceded for them, telling the king, they were their
countrymen, and what had happened was through a mistake, it being a
custom among them to fire their guns by way of respect, and it was owing
to the gunner of the ship's negligence that they fired shot.

The captain of the Speaker sent his purser ashore, to go up the country
to the king, who lived about 24 miles from the coast, to carry a couple
of small arms inlaid with gold, a couple of brass blunderbusses, and a
pair of pistols, as presents, and to require trade. As soon as the
purser was ashore, he was taken prisoner, by one Tom Collins, a
Welshman, born in Pembroke, who lived on shore, and had belonged to the
Charming Mary, of Barbadoes, which went out with a commission but was
converted to a pirate. He told the purser he was his prisoner, and must
answer the damage done to two merchants who were slaving. The purser
answered, that he was not commander; that the captain was a hot rash
youth, put into business by his friends, which he did not understand;
but however, satisfaction should be made. He was carried by Collins on
board Booth's ship, where, at first, he was talked to in pretty strong
terms; but after a while very civilly used, and the next morning sent up
to the king with a guide, and peace made for him.

The king allowed them trade, and sent down the usual presents, a couple
of oxen between twenty and thirty people laden with rice, and as many
more with the country liquor, called _toke_.

The captain then settled the factory on the shore side, and began to buy
slaves and provisions. The pirates were among them, and had
opportunities of sounding the men, and knowing in what posture the ship
lay. They found by one Hugh Man, belonging to the Speaker, that there
were not above 40 men on board, and that they had lost the second mate
and 20 hands in the long boat, on the coast, before they came into this
harbor, but that they kept a good look out, and had their guns ready
primed. However, he, for a hundred pounds, undertook to wet all the
priming, and assist in taking the ship.

After some days the captain of the Speaker came on shore, and was
received with great civility by the heads of the pirates, having agreed
before to make satisfaction. In a day or two after, he was invited by
them to eat a barbacued shoat, which invitation he accepted. After
dinner, Capt. Bowen, who was, I have already said, a prisoner on board
the French pirate, but now become one of the fraternity, and master of
the grab, went out, and returned with a case of pistols in his hand, and
told the Captain of the Speaker, whose name I won't mention, that he was
his prisoner. He asked, upon what account? Bowen answered, "they wanted
his ship, his was a good one, and they were resolved to have her, to
make amends for the damage he had done them."

[Illustration: _Hugh Man wetting the Priming of the Guns._]

In the mean while his boat's crew, and the rest of his men ashore, were
told by others of the pirates, who were drinking with them, that they
were also prisoners: some of them answered, _Zounds, we don't trouble
our heads what we are, let's have t'other bowl of punch_.

A watchword was given, and no boat to be admitted on board the ship.
This word, which was for that night, _Coventry_, was known to them. At 8
o'clock they manned the twelve-oared boat, and the one they found at
Mayotta, with 24 men, and set out for the ship. When they were put off,
the captain of the Speaker desired them to come back, as he wanted to
speak with them. Capt. Booth asked what he wanted! He said, "they could
never take his ship." "Then," said Booth, "we'll die in or alongside of
her."--"But," replied the captain, "if you will go with safety, don't
board on the larboard side, for there is a gun out of the steerage
loaded with partridge, which will clear the decks." They thanked him,
and proceeded.

When they were near the ship they were hailed, and the answer was, _the
Coventry_. "All well," said the mate, "get the lights over the side;"
but spying the second boat, he asked what boat that was? One answered it
was a raft of water, another that it was a boat of beef; this
disagreement in the answers made the mate suspicious, who cried
out--_Pirates, take to your arms my lads_, and immediately clapped a
match to a gun, which, as the priming was before wet by the treachery of
Hugh Man, only fizzed. They boarded in the instant, and made themselves
masters of her, without the loss of a man on either side.

The next day they put necessary provisions on board the French built
ship, and gave her to the captain of the Speaker, and those men who
would go off with him, among whom was Man, who had betrayed his ship;
for the pirates had both paid him the 100_l_ agreed, and kept his
secret. The captain having thus lost his ship, sailed in that which the
pirates gave him, for Johanna, where he fell ill and died with grief.

The pirates having here victualled, they sailed for the Bay of St.
Augustine, where they took in between 70 and 80 men, who had belonged to
the ship Alexander, commanded by Capt. James, a pirate. They also took
up her guns, and mounted the Speaker with 54, which made up their
number, and 240 men, besides slaves, of which they had about 20.

From hence they sailed for the East Indies, but stopped at Zanguebar for
fresh provisions, where the Portuguese had once a settlement, but now
inhabited by Arabians. Some of them went ashore with the captain to buy
provisions. The captain was sent for by the governor, who went with
about 14 in company. They passed through the guard, and when they had
entered the governor's house, they were all cut off; and, at the same
time, others who were in different houses of the town were set upon,
which made them fly to the shore. The long-boat, which lay off a
grappling, was immediately put in by those who looked after her. There
were not above half a dozen of the pirates who brought their arms
ashore, but they plied them so well, for they were in the boat, that
most of the men got into her. The quarter-master ran down sword in hand,
and though he was attacked by many, he behaved himself so well, that he
got into a little canoe, put off, and reached the long-boat.

In the interim, the little fort the Arabians had, played upon the ship,
which returned the salute very warmly. Thus they got on board, with the
loss of Captain Booth and 20 men, and set sail for the East Indies. When
they were under sail, they went to voting for a new captain, and the
quarter-master, who had behaved so well in the last affair with the
Arabians, was chosen; but he declining all command the crew made choice
of Bowen for captain, Pickering to succeed him as master, Samuel
Herault, a Frenchman, for quarter-master, and Nathaniel North for
captain quarter-master.

Things being thus settled, they came to the mouth of the Red Sea, and
fell in with 13 sail of Moor ships, which they kept company with the
greater part of the day, but afraid to venture on them, as they took
them for Portuguese men-of-war. At length part were for boarding, and
advised it. The captain though he said little, did not seem inclined,
for he was but a young pirate, though an old commander of a merchantman.
Those who pushed for boarding, then desired Captain Boreman, already
mentioned, to take the command; but he said he would not be a usurper;
that nobody was more fit for it than he who had it; that for his part
he would stand by his fuzil, and went forward to the forecastle with
such as would have him take the command, to be ready to board; on which
the captain's quarter-master said, if they were resolved to engage,
their captain, (whose representative he was) did not want resolution;
therefore ordered them to get their tacks on board (for they had already
made a clear ship) and get ready for boarding; which they accordingly
did, and coming up with the sternmost ship, they fired a broadside into
her, which killed two Moors, clapped her on board and carried her; but
night coming on, they made only this prize, which yielded them L500 per
man. From hence they sailed to the coast of Malabar. The adventures of
these pirates on this coast are already set down in Captain Bowen's
life, to which I refer the reader, and shall only observe, that Captain
White was all this time before the mast, being a forced man from the

Bowen's crew dispersing, Captain White went to Methelage, where he lived
ashore with the king, not having an opportunity of getting off the
island, till another pirate ship, called the Prosperous, commanded by
one Howard, who had been bred a lighterman on the river Thames, came in.
This ship was taken at Augustin, by some pirates from shore, and the
crew of their long-boat, which joined them, at the instigation of one
Ranten, boatswain's mate, who sent for water. They came on board in the
night and surprised her, though not without resistance, in which the
captain and chief mate were killed, and several others wounded.

Those who were ashore with Captain White, resolving to enter in this
ship, determined him to go also, rather than be left alone with the
natives, hoping, by some accident or other, to have an opportunity of
returning home. He continued on board this ship, in which he was made
quarter-master, till they met with, and all went on board of Bowen, as
is set down in his life, in which ship he continued after Bowen left
them. At Port Dolphin he went _off_ in the boats to fetch some of the
crew left ashore, the ship being blown to sea the night before. The ship
not being able to get in, and he supposing her gone to the west side of
the island, as they had formerly proposed, he steered that course in his
boat with 26 men. They touched at Augustin, expecting the ship, but she
not appearing in a week, the time they waited, the king ordered them to
be gone, telling them they imposed on him with lies, for he did not
believe they had any ship: however he gave them fresh provision: they
took in water, and made for Methelage. Here as Captain White was known
to the king, they were kindly received, and staid about a fortnight in
expectation of the ship, but she not appearing they raised their boat a
streak, salted the provision the king gave them, put water aboard, and
stood for the north end of the island, designing to go round, believing
their ship might be at the island of St. Mary. When they came to the
north end, the current, which sets to the N.W. for eight months in the
year, was so strong they found it impossible to get round. Wherefore
they got into a harbor, of which there are many for small vessels. Here
they stayed about three weeks or a month, when part of the crew were for
burning the boat, and travelling over land to a black king of their
acquaintance, whose name was Reberimbo, who lived at a place called
Manangaromasigh, in lat. 15 deg. or thereabouts. As this king had been
several times assisted by the whites in his wars, he was a great friend
to them. Captain White dissuaded them from this undertaking, and with
much ado, saved the boat; but one half of the men being resolved to go
by land, they took what provisions they thought necessary, and set out.
Captain White, and those who staid with him, conveyed them a day's
journey, and then returning, he got into the boat with his companions,
and went back to Methelage, fearing these men might return, prevail
with the rest, and burn the boat.

[Illustration: _The Murder of the Captain and Chief Mate._]

Here he built a deck on his boat, and lay by three months, in which time
there came in three pirates with a boat, who had formerly been trepanned
on board the Severn and Scarborough men-of-war, which had been looking
for pirates on the east side; from which ships they made their escape at
Mohila, in a small canoe to Johanna, and from Johanna to Mayotta, where
the king built them the boat which brought them to Methelage. The time
of the current's setting with violence to the N.W. being over, they
proceeded together in White's boat (burning that of Mayotta) to the
north end, where the current running yet too strong to get round, they
went into a harbor and staid there a month, maintaining themselves with
fish and wild hogs, of which there was a great plenty. At length, having
fine weather, and the strength of the current abating, they got round;
and after sailing about 40 miles on the east side, they went into a
harbor, where they found a piece of a jacket, which they knew belonged
to one of those men who had left them to go over land. He had been a
forced man, and a ship carpenter. This they supposed he had torn to wrap
round his feet; that part of the country being barren and rocky. As they
sailed along this coast, they came to anchor in convenient harbors every
night, till they got as far as Manangaromasigh, where king Reberimbo
resided, where they went in to inquire for their men, who left them at
the north end, and to recruit with provisions. The latter was given
them, but they could get no information of their companions.

From hence they went to the island of St. Mary, where a canoe came off
to them with a letter directed to any white man. They knew it to be the
hand of one of their former shipmates. The contents of this letter was
to advise them to be on their guard, and not trust too much to the
blacks of this place, they having been formerly treacherous. They
inquired after their ship, and were informed, that the company had given
her to the Moors, who were gone away with her, and that they themselves
were settled at Ambonavoula, about 20 leagues to the southward of St.
Mary, where they lived among the negroes as so many sovereign princes.

One of the blacks, who brought off the letter went on board their boat,
carried them to the place called Olumbah, a point of land made by a
river on one side, and the sea on the other, where twelve of them lived
together in a large house they had built, and fortified with about
twenty pieces of cannon.

The rest of them were settled in small companies of about 12 or 14
together, more or less, up the said river, and along the coast, every
nation by itself, as the English, French, Dutch, &c. They made inquiry
of their consorts after the different prizes which belonged to them, and
they found all very justly laid by to be given them, if ever they
returned, as were what belonged to the men who went over land. Captain
White, hankering after home, proposed going out again in the boat; for
he was adverse to settling with them; and many others agreed to go under
his command; and if they could meet with a ship to carry them to Europe,
to follow their old vocation. But the others did not think it reasonable
he should have the boat, but that it should be set to sale for the
benefit of the company. Accordingly it was set up, and Captain White
bought it for 400 pieces of eight, and with some of his old consorts,
whose number was increased by others of the ship's crew, he went back
the way he had come to Methelage. Here he met with a French ship of
about 50 tons, and 6 guns, which had been taken by some pirates who
lived at Maratan, on the east side of the island, and some of the
Degrave East-Indiaman's crew, to whom the master of her refused a
passage to Europe; for as he had himself been a pirate, and
quarter-master to Bowen, in the Speaker, he apprehended their taking
away his ship. War then existing between England and France, he thought
they might do it without being called in question as pirates. The
pirates who had been concerned in taking Herault's ship, for that was
his name, had gone up the country, and left her to the men belonging to
the Degrave, who had fitted her up, cleaned and tallowed her, and got in
some provision, with a design to go to the East-Indies, that they might
light on some ship to return to their own country.

Captain White, finding these men proposed joining him, and going round
to Ambonavoula, to make up a company, it was agreed upon, and they
unanimously chose him commander. They accordingly put to sea, and stood
away round the south end of the island, and touched at Don Mascarenhas,
where he took in a surgeon, and stretching over again to Madagascar,
fell in with Ambonavoula, and made up his complement of 60 men. From
hence he shaped his course for the island of Mayotta, where he cleaned
his ship, and waited for the season to go into the Red Sea. His
provisions being taken in, the time proper, and the ship well fitted, he
steered for Babel-Mandeb, and running into a harbor, waited for the
Mocha ships.

He here took two grabs laden with provisions, and having some small
money and drugs aboard. These he plundered of what was for his turn,
kept them a fortnight by him, and let them go. Soon after they espied a
lofty ship, upon which they put to sea; but finding her European built,
and too strong to attempt, for it was a Dutchman, they gave over the
chase, and were glad to shake them off, and return to their station.
Fancying they were here discovered, from the coast of Arabia, or that
the grabs had given information of them they stood over for the
Ethiopian shore, keeping a good look out for the Mocha ships. A few days
after, they met with a large ship of about 1000 tons and 600 men, called
the Malabar, which they chased, kept company with her all night, and
took in the morning, with the loss of only their boatswain, and two or
three men wounded. In taking this ship, they damaged their own so much,
by springing their foremast, carrying away their bowsprit, and beating
in part of their upper works that they did not think her longer fit for
their use. They therefore filled her away with prisoners, gave them
provision and sent them away.

Some days after this, they espied a Portuguese man-of war of 44 guns,
which they chased, but gave it over by carrying away their maintopmast,
so that they did not speak with her, for the Portuguese took no notice
of them. Four days after they had left this man-of-war, they fell in
with a Portuguese merchantman, which they chased with English colors
flying. The chase, taking White for an English man-of-war or
East-Indiaman, made no sail to get from him, but on his coming up,
brought to, and sent his boat on board with a present of sweet-meats for
the English captain. His boat's crew was detained, and the pirates
getting into his boat with their arms, went on board and fired on the
Portuguese, who being surprised, asked if war was broke out between
England and Portugal? They answered in the affirmative, but the captain
could not believe them. However they took what they liked, and kept him
with them.

After two days they met with the Dorothy, an English ship, Captain
Penruddock, commander, coming from Mocha. They exchanged several shots
in the chase, but when they came along side of her, they entered their
men, and found no resistance, she being navigated by Moors, no
Europeans, except the officers being on board. On a vote, they gave
Captain Penruddock (from whom they took a considerable quantity of
money) the Portuguese ship and cargo, with what bale he pleased to take
out of his own, bid him go about his business, and make what he could of
her. As to the English ship, they kept her for their own use.

Soon after they plundered the Malabar ship, out of which they took as
much money as came to L200 sterling a man, but missed 50,000 sequins,
which were hid in a jar under a cow's stall, kept for the giving milk to
the Moor supercargo, an ancient man. They then put the Portuguese and
Moor prisoners on board the Malabar, and sent them about their business.
The day after they had sent them away, one Captain Benjamin Stacy, in a
ketch of 6 guns fell into their hands. They took what money he had, and
what goods and provisions they wanted. Among the money were 500 dollars,
a silver mug, and two spoons belonging to a couple of children on board,
who were under the care of Stacy. The children took on for their loss,
and the captain asked the reason of their tears, was answered by Stacy,
and the above sum and plate was all the children had to bring them up.
Captain White made a speech to his men, and told them it was cruel to
rob the innocent children; upon which, by unanimous consent, all was
restored to them again. Besides, they made a gathering among themselves,
and made a present to Stacy's mate, and other of his inferior officers,
and about 120 dollars to the children. They then discharged Stacy and
his crew, and made the best of their way out of the Red Sea.

They came into the bay of Defarr, where they found a ketch at anchor,
which the people had made prize of, by seizing the master and boat's
crew ashore. They found a French gentleman, one Monsieur Berger, on
board, whom they carried with them, took out about 2000 dollars, and
sold the ketch to the chief ashore for provisions.

Hence they sailed for Madagascar, but touched at Mascarenhas, where
several of them went ashore with their booty, about L1200 a man. Here
taking in fresh provisions, White steered for Madagascar, and fell in
with Hopeful Point where they shared their goods, and took up
settlements ashore, where White built a house, bought cattle, took off
the upper deck of ship, and was fitting her up for the next season. When
she was near ready for sea, Captain John Halsey, who had made a broken
voyage, came in with a brigantine, which being a more proper vessel for
their turn, they desisted from working on the ship, and those who had a
mind for fresh adventures, went on board Halsey, among whom Captain
White entered before the mast.

At his return to Madagascar, White was taken ill of a flux, which in
about five or six months ended his days. Finding his time was drawing
nigh, he made his will, left several legacies, and named three men of
different nations, guardian to a son he had by a woman in the country,
requiring he might be sent to England with the money he left him, by the
first English ship, to be brought up in the Christian religion, in hopes
that he might live a better man than his father. He was buried with the
same ceremony they used at the funerals of their companions, which is
mentioned in the account of Halsey. Some years after, an English ship
touching there, the guardians faithfully discharged their trust, and put
him on board with the captain, who brought up the boy with care, acting
by him as became a man of probity and honor.


Edward Teach was a native of Bristol, and having gone to Jamaica,
frequently sailed from that port as one of the crew of a privateer
during the French war. In that station he gave frequent proofs of his
boldness and personal courage; but he was not entrusted with any command
until Captain Benjamin Hornigold gave him the command of a prize which
he had taken.

In the spring of 1717, Hornigold and Teach sailed from Providence for
the continent of America, and on their way captured a small vessel with
120 barrels of flour, which they put on board their own vessel. They
also seized two other vessels; from one they took some gallons of wine,
and from the other, plunder to a considerable value. After cleaning upon
the coast of Virginia, they made a prize of a large French Guineaman
bound to Martinique, and Teach obtaining the command of her, went to the
island of Providence, and surrendered to the king's clemency.

Teach now began to act an independent part. He mounted his vessel with
forty guns, and named her "The Queen Anne's Revenge." Cruising near the
island of St. Vincent, he took a large ship, called the Great Allan, and
after having plundered her of what he deemed proper, set her on fire. A
few days after, Teach encountered the Scarborough man-of-war, and
engaged her for some hours; but perceiving his strength and resolution,
she retired, and left Teach to pursue his depredations. His next
adventure was with a sloop of ten guns, commanded by Major Bonnet, and
these two men co-operated for some time: but Teach finding him
unacquainted with naval affairs, gave the command of Bonnet's ship to
Richards, one of his own crew, and entertained Bonnet on board his own
vessel. Watering at Turniff, they discovered a sail, and Richards with
the Revenge slipped her cable, and ran out to meet her. Upon seeing the
black flag hoisted, the vessel struck, and came-to under the stern of
Teach the commodore. This was the Adventure from Jamaica. They took the
captain and his men on board the great ship, and manned his sloop for
their own service.

Weighing from Turniff, where they remained during a week, and sailing to
the bay, they found there a ship and four sloops. Teach hoisted his
flag, and began to fire at them, upon which the captain and his men left
their ship and fled to the shore. Teach burned two of these sloops, and
let the other three depart.

They afterwards sailed to different places, and having taken two small
vessels, anchored off the bar of Charleston for a few days. Here they
captured a ship bound for England, as she was coming out of the harbor.
They next seized a vessel coming out of Charleston, and two pinks coming
into the same harbor, together with a brigantine with fourteen negroes.
The audacity of these transactions, performed in sight of the town,
struck the inhabitants with terror, as they had been lately visited by
some other notorious pirates. Meanwhile, there were eight sail in the
harbor, none of which durst set to sea for fear of falling into the
hands of Teach. The trade of this place was totally interrupted, and the
inhabitants were abandoned to despair. Their calamity was greatly
augmented from this circumstance, that a long and desperate war with the
natives had just terminated, when they began to be infested by these

Teach having detained all the persons taken in these ships as
prisoners, they were soon in great want of medicines, and he had the
audacity to demand a chest from the governor. This demand was made in a
manner not less daring than insolent. Teach sent Richards, the captain
of the Revenge, with Mr. Marks, one of the prisoners, and several
others, to present their request. Richards informed the governor, that
unless their demand was granted, and he and his companions returned in
safety, every prisoner on board the captured ships should instantly be
slain, and the vessels consumed to ashes.

During the time that Mr. Marks was negotiating with the governor,
Richards and his associates walked the streets at pleasure, while
indignation flamed from every eye against them, as the robbers of their
property, and the terror of their country. Though the affront thus
offered to the Government was great and most audacious, yet, to preserve
the lives of so many men, they granted their request, and sent on board
a chest valued at three or four hundred pounds.

Teach, as soon as he received the medicines and his fellow pirates,
pillaged the ships of gold and provisions, and then dismissed the
prisoners with their vessels. From the bar of Charleston they sailed to
North Carolina. Teach now began to reflect how he could best secure the
spoil, along with some of the crew who were his favorites. Accordingly,
under pretence of cleaning, he ran his vessel on shore, and grounded;
then ordered the men in Hands' sloop to come to his assistance, which
they endeavoring to do, also ran aground, and so they were both lost.
Then Teach went into the tender with forty hands, and upon a sandy
island, about a league from shore, where there was neither bird no
beast, nor herb for their subsistence, he left seventeen of his crew,
who must inevitably have perished, had not Major Bonnet received
intelligence of their miserable situation, and sent a long-boat for
them. After this barbarous deed. Teach, with the remainder of his crew,
went and surrendered to the governor of North Carolina, retaining all
the property which had been acquired by his fleet.

The temporary suspension of the depredations of Black Beard, for so he
was now called, did not proceed from a conviction of his former errors,
or a determination to reform, but to prepare for future and more
extensive exploits. As governors are but men, and not unfrequently by no
means possessed of the most virtuous principles, the gold of Black Beard
rendered him comely in the governor's eyes, and, by his influence, he
obtained a legal right to the great ship called "The Queen Anne's
Revenge." By order of the governor, a court of vice-admiralty was held
at Bath-town, and that vessel was condemned as a lawful prize which he
had taken from the Spaniards, though it was a well-known fact that she
belonged to English merchants. Before he entered upon his new
adventures, he married a young woman of about sixteen years of age, the
governor himself attending the ceremony. It was reported that this was
only his fourteenth wife, about twelve of whom were yet alive; and
though this woman was young and amiable, he behaved towards her in a
manner so brutal, that it was shocking to all decency and propriety,
even among his abandoned crew of pirates.

In his first voyage, Black Beard directed his course to the Bermudas,
and meeting with two or three English vessels, emptied them of their
stores and other necessaries, and allowed them to proceed. He also met
with two French vessels bound for Martinique, the one light, and the
other laden with sugar and cocoa: he put the men on board the latter
into the former, and allowed her to depart. He brought the freighted
vessel into North Carolina, where the governor and Black Beard shared
the prizes. Nor did their audacity and villany stop here. Teach and some
of his abandoned crew waited upon his excellency, and swore that they
had seized the French ship at sea, without a soul on board; therefore a
court was called, and she was condemned, the honorable governor received
sixty hogsheads of sugar for his share, his secretary twenty, and the
pirates the remainder. But as guilt always inspires suspicion, Teach was
afraid that some one might arrive in the harbor who might detect the
roguery: therefore, upon pretence that she was leaky, and might sink,
and so stop up the entrance to the harbor where she lay, they obtained
the governor's liberty to drag her into the river, where she was set on
fire, and when burnt down to the water, her bottom was sunk, that so she
might never rise in judgment against the governor and his confederates.

[Illustration: _The crews of Black Beard's and Vane's vessels carousing
on the coast of Carolina._]

Black Beard now being in the province of Friendship, passed several
months in the river, giving and receiving visits from the planters;
while he traded with the vessels which came to that river, sometimes in
the way of lawful commerce, and sometimes in his own way. When he chose
to appear the honest man, he made fair purchases on equal barter; but
when this did not suit his necessities, or his humor, he would rob at
pleasure, and leave them to seek their redress from the governor; and
the better to cover his intrigues with his excellency, he would
sometimes outbrave him to his face, and administer to him a share of
that contempt and insolence which he so liberally bestowed upon the rest
of the inhabitants of the province.

But there are limits to human insolence and depravity. The captains of
the vessels who frequented that river, and had been so often harrassed
and plundered by Black Beard, secretly consulted with some of the
planters what measures to pursue, in order to banish such an infamous
miscreant from their coasts, and to bring him to deserved punishment.
Convinced from long experience, that the governor himself, to whom it
belonged, would give no redress, they represented the matter to the
governor of Virginia, and entreated that an armed force might be sent
from the men-of-war lying there, either to take or to destroy those
pirates who infested their coast.

Upon this representation, the Governor of Virginia consulted with the
captains of the two men-of-war as to the best measures to be adopted. It
was resolved that the governor should hire two small vessels, which
could pursue Bleak Beard into all his inlets and creeks; that they
should be manned from the men-of-war, and the command given to
Lieutenant Maynard, an experienced and resolute officer. When all was
ready for his departure, the governor called an assembly, in which it
was resolved to issue a proclamation, offering a great reward to any
who, within a year, should take or destroy any pirate.

Upon the 17th of November, 1717, Maynard left James's river in quest of
Black Beard, and on the evening of the 21st came in sight of the pirate.
This expedition was fitted out with all possible expedition and secrecy,
no boat being permitted to pass that might convey any intelligence,
while care was taken to discover where the pirates were lurking. His
excellency the governor of Bermuda, and his secretary, however, having
obtained information of the intended expedition, the latter wrote a
letter to Black Beard, intimating, that he had sent him four of his men,
who were all he could meet within or about town, and so bade him be on
his guard. These men were sent from Bath-town to the place where Black
Beard lay, about the distance of twenty leagues.

The hardened and infatuated pirate, having been often deceived by false
intelligence, was the less attentive to this information, nor was he
convinced of its accuracy until he saw the sloops sent to apprehend him.
Though he had then only twenty men on board, he prepared to give battle.
Lieutenant Maynard arrived with his sloops in the evening, and anchored,
as he could not venture, under cloud of night, to go into the place
where Black Beard lay. The latter spent the night in drinking with the
master of a trading-vessel, with the same indifference as if no danger
had been near. Nay, such was the desperate wickedness of this villain,
that, it is reported, during the carousals of that night, one of his men
asked him, "In case any thing should happen to him during the engagement
with the two sloops which were waiting to attack him in the morning,
whether his wife knew where he had buried his money?" when he impiously
replied, "That nobody but himself and the devil knew where it was, and
the longest liver should take all."

In the morning Maynard weighed, and sent his boat to sound, which coming
near the pirate, received her fire. Maynard then hoisted royal colors,
and made directly towards Black Beard with every sail and oar. In a
little time the pirate ran aground, and so also did the king's vessels.
Maynard lightened his vessel of the ballast and water, and made towards
Black Beard. Upon this he hailed him in his own rude style, "D--n you
for villains, who are you, and from whence come you?" The lieutenant
answered, "You may see from our colors we are no pirates." Black Beard
bade him send his boat on board, that he might see who he was. But
Maynard replied, "I cannot spare my boat, but I will come on board of
you as soon as I can with my sloop." Upon this Black Beard took a glass
of liquor and drank to him, saying, "I'll give no quarter nor take any
from you." Maynard replied, "He expected no quarter from him, nor should
he give him any."

During this dialogue the pirate's ship floated, and the sloops were
rowing with all expedition towards him. As she came near, the pirate
fired a broadside, charged with all manner of small shot, which killed
or wounded twenty men. Black Beard's ship in a little after fell
broadside to the shore; one of the sloops called the Ranger, also fell
astern. But Maynard finding that his own sloop had way, and would soon
be on board of Teach, ordered all his men down, while himself and the
man at the helm, who he commanded to lie concealed, were the only
persons who remained on deck. He at the same time desired them to take
their pistols, cutlasses, and swords, and be ready for action upon his
call, and, for greater expedition, two ladders were placed in the
hatchway. When the king's sloop boarded, the pirate's case-boxes, filled
with powder, small shot, slugs, and pieces of lead and iron, with a
quick-match in the mouth of them, were thrown into Maynard's sloop.
Fortunately, however, the men being in the hold, they did small injury
on the present occasion, though they are usually very destructive. Black
Beard seeing few or no hands upon deck, cried to his men that they were
all knocked on the head except three or four; "and therefore," said he,
"let us jump on board, and cut to pieces those that are alive."

[Illustration: _Death of Black Beard._]

Upon this, during the smoke occasioned by one of these case-boxes, Black
Beard, with fourteen of his men, entered, and were not perceived until
the smoke was dispelled. The signal was given to Maynard's men, who
rushed up in an instant. Black Beard and the lieutenant exchange shots,
and the pirate was wounded; they then engaged sword in hand, until the
sword of the lieutenant broke, but fortunately one of his men at that
instant gave Black Beard a terrible wound in the neck and throat. The
most desperate and bloody conflict ensued:--Maynard with twelve men, and
Black Beard with fourteen. The sea was dyed with blood all around the
vessel, and uncommon bravery was displayed upon both sides. Though the
pirate was wounded by the first shot from Maynard, though he had
received twenty cuts, and as many shots, he fought with desperate valor;
but at length, when in the act of cocking his pistol, fell down dead. By
this time eight of his men had fallen, and the rest being wounded, cried
out for quarter, which was granted, as the ringleader was slain. The
other sloop also attacked the men who remained in the pirate vessels,
until they also cried out for quarter. And such was the desperation of
Black Beard, that, having small hope of escaping, he had placed a negro
with a match at the gunpowder door, to blow up the ship the moment that
he should have been boarded by the king's men, in order to involve the
whole in general ruin. That destructive broadside at the commencement of
the action, which at first appeared so unlucky, was, however, the means
of their preservation from the intended destruction.

Maynard severed the pirate's head from his body, suspended it upon his
bowsprit-end, and sailed to Bath-town, to obtain medical aid for his
wounded men. In the pirate sloop several letters and papers were found,
which Black Beard would certainly have destroyed previous to the
engagement, had he not determined to blow her up upon his being taken,
which disclosed the whole villainy between the honorable governor of
Bermuda and his honest secretary on the one hand, and the notorious
pirate on the other, who had now suffered the just punishment of his

[Illustration: _Black Beard's Head on the end of the Bowsprit._]

Scarcely was Maynard returned to Bath-town, when he boldly went and made
free with the sixty hogsheads of sugar in the possession of the
governor, and the twenty in that of his secretary.

After his men had been healed at Bath-town, the lieutenant proceeded to
Virginia, with the head of Black Beard still suspended on his
bowsprit-end, as a trophy of his victory, to the great joy of all the
inhabitants. The prisoners were tried, condemned, and executed; and thus
all the crew of that infernal miscreant, Black Beard, were destroyed,
except two. One of these was taken out of a trading-vessel, only the day
before the engagement, in which he received no less than seventy wounds,
of all which he was cured. The other was Israel Hands, who was master of
the Queen Anne's Revenge; he was taken at Bath-town, being wounded in
one of Black Beard's savage humors. One night Black Beard, drinking in
his cabin with Hands, the pilot, and another man, without any pretence,
took a small pair of pistols, and cocked them under the table; which
being perceived by the man, he went on deck, leaving the captain, Hands,
and the pilot together. When his pistols were prepared, he extinguished
the candle, crossed his arms, and fired at his company. The one pistol
did no execution, but the other wounded Hands in the knee. Interrogated
concerning the meaning of this, he answered with an imprecation, "That
if he did not now and then kill one of them, they would forget who he
was." Hands was eventually tried and condemned, but as he was about to
be executed, a vessel arrived with a proclamation prolonging the time of
his Majesty's pardon, which Hands pleading, he was saved from a violent
and shameful death.

In the commonwealth of pirates, he who goes the greatest length of
wickedness, is looked upon with a kind of envy amongst them, as a person
of a most extraordinary gallantry; he is therefore entitled to be
distinguished by some post, and, if such a one has but courage, he must
certainly be a great man. The hero of whom we are writing was thoroughly
accomplished in this way, and some of his frolics of wickedness were as
extravagant as if he aimed at making his men believe he was a devil
incarnate. Being one day at sea, and a little flushed with drink;
"Come," said he, "let us make a hell of our own, and try how long we can
bear it." Accordingly he, with two or three others, went down into the
hold, and closing up all the hatches, filled several pots full of
brimstone, and other combustible matter; they then set it on fire, and
so continued till they were almost suffocated, when some of the men
cried out for air; at length he opened the hatches, not a little pleased
that he had held out the longest.

Those of his crew who were taken alive, told a story which may appear a
little incredible. That once, upon a cruise, they found out that they
had a man on board more than their crew; such a one was seen several
days amongst them, sometimes below, and sometimes upon deck, yet no man
in the ship could give any account who he was, or from whence he came;
but that he disappeared a little before they were cast away in their
great ship, and, it seems, they verily believed it was the devil.

One would think these things should have induced them to reform their
lives; but being so many reprobates together, they encouraged and
spirited one another up in their wickedness, to which a continual course
of drinking did not a little contribute. In Black Beard's journal,
which was taken, there were several memoranda of the following nature,
all written with his own hand.--"Such a day, rum all out;--our company
somewhat sober;--a d--d confusion amongst us!--rogues a plotting;--great
talk of separation. So I looked sharp for a prize;--such a day took one,
with a great deal of liquor on board; so kept the company hot, d--d hot,
then all things went well again."

We shall close the narrative of this extraordinary man's life by an
account of the cause why he was denominated Black Beard. He derived this
name from his long black beard, which, like a frightful meteor, covered
his whole face, and terrified all America more than any comet that had
ever appeared. He was accustomed to twist it with ribbon in small
quantities, and turn them about his ears. In time of action he wore a
sling over his shoulders with three brace of pistols. He stuck lighted
matches under his hat, which appeared on both sides of his face and
eyes, naturally fierce and wild, made him such a figure that the human
imagination cannot form a conception of a fury more terrible and
alarming; and if he had the appearance and look of a fury, his actions
corresponded with that character.


Charles Vane was one of those who stole away the silver which the
Spaniards had fished up from the wrecks of the galleons in the Gulf of
Florida, and was at Providence when governor Rogers arrived there with
two men-of-war.

All the pirates who were then found at this colony of rogues, submitted
and received certificates of their pardon, except Captain Vane and his
crew; who, as soon as they saw the men-of-war enter, slipped their
cable, set fire to a prize they had in the harbor, sailed out with their
piratical colors flying, and fired at one of the men-of-war, as they
went off from the coast.

Two days after, they met with a sloop belonging to Barbadoes, which they
took, and kept the vessel for their own use, putting aboard five and
twenty hands, with one Yeates the commander. In a day or two they fell
in with a small interloping trader, with a quantity of Spanish pieces of
eight aboard, bound for Providence, which they also took along with
them. With these two sloops, Vane went to a small island and cleaned;
where he shared the booty, and spent some time in a riotous manner.

About the latter end of May 1718, Vane and his crew sailed, and being in
want of provisions, they beat up for the Windward Islands. In the way
they met with a Spanish sloop, bound from Porto Rico to the Havana,
which they burnt, stowed the Spaniards into a boat, and left them to
get to the island by the blaze of their vessel. Steering between St.
Christopher's and Anguilla, they fell in with a brigantine and a sloop,
freighted with such cargo as they wanted; from whom they got provisions
for sea-store.

Sometime after this, standing to the northward, in the track the old
English ships take in their voyage to the American colonies, they took
several ships and vessels, which they plundered of what they thought
fit, and then let them pass.

About the latter end of August, with his consort Yeates, came off South
Carolina, and took a ship belonging to Ipswich, laden with logwood. This
was thought convenient enough for their own business, and therefore they
ordered their prisoners to work, and threw all the lading overboard; but
when they had more than half cleared the ship, the whim changed, and
they would not have her; so Coggershall, the captain of the captured
vessel, had his ship again, and he was suffered to pursue his voyage
home. In this voyage the pirates took several ships and vessels,
particularly a sloop from Barbadoes, a small ship from Antigua, a sloop
belonging to Curacoa, and a large brigantine from Guinea, with upwards
of ninety negroes aboard. The pirates plundered them all and let them
go, putting the negroes out of the brigantine aboard Yeates' vessel.

Captain Vane always treated his consort with very little respect, and
assumed a superiority over him and his crew, regarding the vessel but as
a tender to his own: this gave them disgust; for they thought themselves
as good pirates, and as great rogues as the best of them; so they
caballed together, and resolved, the first opportunity, to leave the
company, and accept of his majesty's pardon, or set up for themselves;
either of which they thought more honorable than to be the servants to
Vane: the putting aboard so many negroes, where there were so few hands
to take care of them, aggravated the matter, though they thought fit to
conceal or stifle their resentment at that time.

In a day or two, the pirates lying off at anchor, Yeates in the evening
slipped his cable, and put his vessel under sail, standing into the
shore; which when Vane saw, he was highly provoked, and got his sloop
under sail to chase his consort. Vane's brigantine sailing best, he
gained ground of Yeates, and would certainly have come up with them, had
he had a little longer run; but just as he got over the bar, when Vane
came within gun-shot of him, he fired a broadside at his old friend, and
so took his leave.

Yeates came into North Eddisto river, about ten leagues to the southward
of Charleston, and sent an express to the governor, to know if he and
his comrades might have the benefit of his majesty's pardon; promising
that, if they might, they would surrender themselves to his mercy, with
the sloops and negroes. Their request being granted, they all came up,
and received certificates; and Captain Thompson, from whom the negroes
were taken, had them all restored to him, for the use of his owners.

Vane cruised some time off the bar, in hopes to catch Yeates at his
coming out again, but therein he was disappointed; however, he there
took two ships from Charleston, which were bound home to England. It
happened just at this time, that two sloops well manned and armed, were
equipped to go after a pirate, which the governor of South Carolina was
informed lay then in Cape Fear river cleaning: but Colonel Rhet, who
commanded the sloops, meeting with one of the ships that Vane had
plundered, going back over the bar for such necessaries as had been
taken from her, and she giving the Colonel an account of being taken by
the pirate Vane, and also, that some of her men, while they were
prisoners on board of him, had heard the pirates say they should clean
in one of the rivers to the southward, he altered his first design, and
instead of standing to the northward, in pursuit of the pirate in Cape
Fear river, turned to the southward after Vane, who had ordered such
reports to be given out, on purpose to put any force that should come
after him upon a wrong scent; for he stood away to the northward, so
that the pursuit proved to be of no effect. Colonel Rhet's speaking with
this ship was the most unlucky thing that could have happened, because
it turned him out of the road which, in all probability, would have
brought him into the company of Vane, as well as of the pirate he went
after, and so they might have been both destroyed; whereas, by the
Colonel's going a different way, he not only lost the opportunity of
meeting with one, but if the other had not been infatuated, and lain six
weeks together at Cape Fear, he would have missed him likewise; however,
the Colonel having searched the rivers and inlets, as directed, for
several days without success, at length sailed in prosecution of his
first design, and met with the pirate accordingly, whom he fought and

Captain Vane went into an inlet to the northward, where he met with
Captain Teach, otherwise Black Beard, whom he saluted (when he found who
he was) with his great guns loaded with shot: it being the custom among
pirates when they meet, to do so, though they are wide of one another:
Black Beard answered the salute in the same manner, and mutual
civilities passed between them some days, when, about the beginning of
October, Vane took leave, and sailed farther to the northward.

On the 23d of October, off Long Island, he took a small brigantine bound
from Jamaica to Salem in New England, besides a little sloop: they
rifled the brigantine, and sent her away. From thence they resolved on a
cruise between Cape Meise and Cape Nicholas, where they spent some time
without seeing or speaking with any vessel, till the latter end of
November; they then fell in with a ship, which it was expected would
have struck as soon as their black colors were hoisted; but instead of
this she discharged a broadside upon the pirate, and hoisted French
colors, which showed her to be a French man-of-war. Vane desired to have
nothing more to say to her, but trimmed his sails, and stood away from
the Frenchman; however, Monsieur having a mind to be better informed who
he was, set all his sails and crowded after him. During this chase the
pirates were divided in their resolution what to do. Vane, the captain,
was for making off as fast as he could, alleging that the man-of-war was
too strong for them to cope with; but one John Rackam, their
quarter-master, and who was a kind of check upon the captain, rose up in
defence of a contrary opinion, saying, "that though she had more guns,
and a greater weight of metal, they might board her, and then the best
boys would carry the day." Rackam was well seconded, and the majority
was for boarding; but Vane urged, "that it was too rash and desperate an
enterprise, the man-of-war appearing to be twice their force, and that
their brigantine might be sunk by her before they could reach to board
her." The mate, one Robert Deal, was of Vane's opinion, as were about
fifteen more, and all the rest joined with Rackam the quarter-master. At
length the captain made use of his power to determine this dispute,
which in these cases is absolute and uncontrollable, by their own laws,
viz., the captain's absolute right of determining in all questions
concerning fighting, chasing, or being chased; in all other matters
whatsoever the captain being governed by a majority; so the brigantine
having the heels, as they term it, of the Frenchman, she came clear off.

But the next day, the captain's conduct was obliged to stand the test of
a vote, and a resolution passed against his honor and dignity, which
branded him with the name of coward, deposed him from the command, and
turned him out of the company with marks of infamy; and with him went
all those who did not vote for boarding the French man-of-war. They had
with them a small sloop that had been taken by them some time before,
which they gave to Vane and the discarded members; and that they might
be in a condition to provide for themselves by their own honest
endeavors, they let them have a sufficient quantity of provisions and

John Rackam was voted captain of the brigantine in Vane's room, and he
proceeded towards the Carribbee Islands, where we must leave him, till
we have finished our history of Charles Vane.

The sloop sailed for the bay of Honduras, and Vane and his crew put her
in as good a condition as they could by the way, that they might follow
their old trade. They cruised two or three days off the northwest part
of Jamaica, and took a sloop and two perriaguas, all the men of which
entered with them: the sloop they kept, and Robert Deal was appointed

On the 16th of December, the two sloops came into the bay, where they
found only one vessel at anchor. She was called the Pearl of Jamaica,
and got under sail at the sight of them; but the pirate sloops coming
near Rowland, and showing no colors, he gave them a gun or two,
whereupon they hoisted the black flag, and fired three guns each at the
Pearl. She struck, and the pirates took possession, and carried her away
to a small island called Barnacho, where they cleaned. By the way they
met with a sloop from Jamaica, as she was going down to the bay, which
they also took.

In February, Vane sailed from Barnacho, for a cruise; but, some days
after he was out, a violent tornado overtook him, which separated him
from his consort, and, after two days' distress, threw his sloop upon a
small uninhabited island, near the bay of Honduras, where she staved to
pieces, and most of her men were drowned: Vane himself was saved, but
reduced to great straits for want of necessaries, having no opportunity
to get any thing from the wreck. He lived here some weeks, and was
supported chiefly by fishermen, who frequented the island with small
crafts from the main, to catch turtles and other fish.

[Illustration: _Vane arrested by Captain Holford._]

While Vane was upon this island, a ship put in there from Jamaica for
water, the captain of which, one Holford, an old buccaneer, happened to
be Vane's acquaintance. He thought this a good opportunity to get off,
and accordingly applied to his old friend: but Holford absolutely
refused him, saying to him, "Charles, I shan't trust you aboard my ship,
unless I carry you as a prisoner, for I shall have you caballing with my
men, knocking me on the head, and running away with my ship pirating."
Vane made all the protestations of honor in the world to him; but, it
seems, Captain Holford was too intimately acquainted with him, to repose
any confidence at all in his words or oaths. He told him, "He might
easily find a way to get off, if he had a mind to it:--I am going down
the bay," said he, "and shall return hither in about a month, and if I
find you upon the island when I come back, I'll carry you to Jamaica,
and there hang you." "How can I get away?" answered Vane. "Are there not
fishermen's dories upon the beach? Can't you take one of them?" replied
Holford. "What!" said Vane, "would you have me steal a dory then?" "Do
you make it a matter of conscience," replied Holford, "to steal a dory,
when you have been a common robber and pirate, stealing ships and
cargoes, and plundering all mankind that fell in your way! Stay here if
you are so squeamish?" and he left him to consider of the matter.

After Captain Holford's departure, another ship put into the same
island, in her way home, for water; none of the company knowing Vane, he
easily passed for another man, and so was shipped for the voyage. One
would be apt to think that Vane was now pretty safe, and likely to
escape the fate which his crimes had merited; but here a cross accident
happened that ruined all. Holford returning from the bay, was met by
this ship, and the captains being very well acquainted with each other,
Holford was invited to dine aboard, which he did. As he passed along to
the cabin, he chanced to cast his eye down into the hold, and there saw
Charles Vane at work: he immediately spoke to the captain, saying, "Do
you know whom you have got aboard there?" "Why," said he, "I have
shipped a man at such an island, who was cast away in a trading sloop,
and he seems to be a brisk hand." "I tell you," replied Captain Holford,
"it is Vane the notorious pirate." "If it be he," cried the other, "I
won't keep him." "Why then," said Holford, "I'll send and take him
aboard, and surrender him at Jamaica." This being agreed upon, Captain
Holford, as soon as he returned to his ship, sent his boat with his
mate, armed, who coming to Vane, showed him a pistol, and told him he
was his prisoner. No man daring to make opposition, he was brought
aboard and put into irons; and when Captain Holford arrived at Jamaica,
he delivered up his old acquaintance to justice, at which place he was
tried, convicted, and executed, as was some time before, Vane's consort,
Robert Deal, who was brought thither by one of the men-of-war. It is
clear from this how little ancient friendship will avail a great
villain, when he is deprived of the power that had before supported and
rendered him formidable.



_Containing Accounts of their Atrocities, Manners of Living, &c., with
proceedings of the Squadron under Commodore Porter in those seas, the
victory and death of Lieutenant Allen, the interesting Narrative of
Captain Lincoln, &c._

Those innumerable groups of islands, keys and sandbanks, known as the
West-Indies, are peculiarly adapted from their locality and formation,
to be a favorite resort for pirates; many of them are composed of coral
rocks, on which a few cocoa trees raise their lofty heads; where there
is sufficient earth for vegetation between the interstices of the rocks,
stunted brushwood grows. But a chief peculiarity of some of the islands,
and which renders them suitable to those who frequent them as pirates,
are the numerous caves with which the rocks are perforated; some of them
are above high-water mark, but the majority with the sea water flowing
in and out of them, in some cases merely rushing in at high-water
filling deep pools, which are detached from each other when the tide
recedes, in others with a sufficient depth of water to allow a large
boat to float in. It is hardly necessary to observe how convenient the
higher and dry caves are as receptacles for articles which are intended
to be concealed, until an opportunity occurs to dispose of them. The
Bahamas, themselves are a singular group of isles, reefs and quays;
consisting of several hundred in number, and were the chief resort of
pirates in old times, but now they are all rooted from them; they are
low and not elevated, and are more than 600 miles in extent, cut up into
numerous intricate passages and channels, full of sunken rocks and coral
reefs. They afforded a sure retreat to desperadoes. Other islands are
full of mountain fastnesses, where all pursuit can be eluded. Many of
the low shores are skirted, and the islands covered by the mangrove, a
singular tree, shooting fresh roots as it grows, which, when the tree is
at its full age, may be found six or eight feet from the ground, to
which the shoots gradually tend in regular succession; the leaf is very
thick and stiff and about eight inches long and nine wide, the interval
between the roots offer secure hiding places for those who are suddenly
pursued. Another circumstance assists the pirate when pursued.--As the
islands belong to several different nations, when pursued from one
island he can pass to that under the jurisdiction of another power. And
as permission must be got by those in pursuit of him, from the
authorities of the island to land and take him, he thus gains time to
secrete himself. A tropical climate is suited to a roving life, and
liquor as well as dissolute women being in great abundance, to gratify
him during his hours of relaxation, makes this a congenial region for
the lawless.

[Illustration: _A Piratical Vessel destroying a Merchant Ship._]

The crews of pirate vessels in these seas are chiefly composed of
Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Mulattoes, Negroes, and a few natives of
other countries. The island of Cuba is the great nest of pirates at the
present day, and at the Havana, piracy is as much tolerated as any other
profession. As the piracies committed in these seas, during a single
year, have amounted to more than fifty, we shall give only a few
accounts of the most interesting.

In November 1821, the brig Cobbessecontee, Captain Jackson, sailed from
Havana, on the morning of the 8th for Boston, and on the evening of the
same day, about four miles from the Moro, was brought to by a piratical
sloop containing about 30 men. A boat from her, with 10 men, came
alongside, and soon after they got on board commenced plundering. They
took nearly all the clothing from the captain and mate--all the cooking
utensils and spare rigging--unrove part of the running rigging--cut the
small cable--broke the compasses--cut the mast's coats to pieces--took
from the captain his watch and four boxes cigars--and from the cargo
three bales cochineal and six boxes cigars. They beat the mate
unmercifully, and hung him up by the neck under the maintop. They also
beat the captain severely--broke a large broad sword across his back,
and ran a long knife through his thigh, so that he almost bled to death.
Captain Jackson saw the sloop at Regla the day before.

Captain Jackson informs us, and we have also been informed by other
persons from the Havana, that this system of piracy is openly
countenanced by some of the inhabitants of that place--who say that it
is a retaliation on the Americans for interfering against the Slave

About this time the ship Liverpool Packet, Ricker, of Portsmouth, N.H.,
was boarded off Cape St. Antonio, Cuba, by two piratical schooners; two
barges containing thirty or forty men, robbed the vessel of every thing
movable, even of her _flags_, rigging, and a boat which happened to be
afloat, having a boy in it, which belonged to the ship. They held a
consultation whether they should murder the crew, as they had done
before, or not--in the mean time taking the ship into anchoring ground.
On bringing her to anchor, the crew saw a brig close alongside, burnt to
the water's edge, and three dead bodies floating near her. The pirates
said they had burnt the brig the day before, and _murdered all the
crew!_--and intended doing the same with them. They said "look at the
turtles (meaning the dead bodies) you will soon be the same." They said
the vessel was a Baltimore brig, which they had robbed and burnt, and
murdered the crew as before stated, of which they had little doubt.
Captain Ricker was most shockingly bruised by them. The mate was hung
till he was supposed to be dead, but came to, and is now alive. They
told the captain that they belonged in Regla, and should kill them all
to prevent discovery.

In 1822, the United States had several cruisers among the West-India
islands, to keep the pirates in check. Much good was done but still many
vessels were robbed and destroyed, together with their crews. This year
the brave Lieutenant Allen fell by the hand of pirates; he was in the
United States schooner Alligator, and receiving intelligence at
Matanzas, that several vessels which had sailed from that port, had been
taken by the pirates, and were then in the bay of Lejuapo. He hastened
to their assistance. He arrived just in time to save five sail of
vessels which he found in possession of a gang of pirates, 300 strong,
established in the bay of Lejuapo, about 15 leagues east of this. He
fell, pierced by two musket balls, in the van of a division of boats,
attacking their principal vessel, a fine schooner of about eighty tons,
with a long eighteen pounder on a pivot, and four smaller guns, _with
the bloody flag nailed to the mast_. Himself, Captain Freeman of
Marines, and twelve men, were in the boat, much in advance of his other
boats, and even took possession of the schooner, after a desperate
resistance, which nothing but a bravery almost too daring could have
overcome. The pirates, all but one, escaped by taking to their boats and
jumping overboard, before the Alligator's boat reached them. Two other
schooners escaped by the use of their oars, the wind being light.

Captain Allen survived about four hours, during which his conversation
evinced a composure and firmness of mind, and correctness of feeling, as
honorable to his character, and more consoling to his friends, than even
the dauntless bravery he before exhibited.

The surgeon of the Alligator in a letter to a friend, says, "He
continued giving orders and conversing with Mr. Dale and the rest of us,
until a few minutes before his death, with a degree of cheerfulness that
was little to be expected from a man in his condition. He said he wished
his relatives and his country to know that he had fought well, and added
that he died in peace and good will towards all the world, and hoped for
his reward in the next."

Lieutenant Allen had but few equals in the service. He was ardently
devoted to the interest of his country, was brave, intelligent, and
accomplished in his profession. He displayed, living and dying, a
magnanimity that sheds lustre on his relatives, his friends, and his

[Illustration: _Horrid Piracy and Murder by a Mexican "privateer."_]

About this time Captain Lincoln fell into the hands of the pirates, and
as his treatment shows the peculiar habits and practices of these
wretches, we insert the very interesting narrative of the captain.

The schooner Exertion, Captain Lincoln, sailed from Boston, bound for
Trinidad de Cuba, Nov. 13th, 1821, with the following crew; Joshua
Bracket, mate; David Warren, cook; and Thomas Young, Francis De Suze,
and George Reed, seamen.

The cargo consisted of flour, beef, pork, lard, butter, fish, beans,
onions, potatoes, apples, hams, furniture, sugar box shooks, &c.,
invoiced at about eight thousand dollars. Nothing remarkable occurred
during the passage, except much bad weather, until my capture, which was
as follows:--

Monday, December 17th, 1821, commenced with fine breezes from the
eastward. At daybreak saw some of the islands northward of Cape Cruz,
called Keys--stood along northwest; every thing now seemed favorable for
a happy termination of our voyage. At 3 o'clock, P.M., saw a sail coming
round one of the Keys, into a channel called Boca de Cavolone by the
chart, nearly in latitude 20 deg. 55' north, longitude 79 deg. 55' west,
she made directly for us with all sails set, sweeps on both sides (the wind
being light) and was soon near enough for us to discover about forty men
on her deck, armed with muskets, blunderbusses, cutlasses, long knives,
dirks, &c., two carronades, one a twelve, the other a six pounder; she
was a schooner, wearing the Patriot flag (blue, white and blue) of the
Republic of Mexico. I thought it not prudent to resist them, should they
be pirates, with a crew of seven men, and only five muskets; accordingly
ordered the arms and ammunition to be immediately stowed away in as
secret a place as possible, and suffer her to speak us, hoping and
believing that a republican flag indicated both honor and friendship
from those who wore it, and which we might expect even from Spaniards.
But how great was my astonishment, when the schooner having approached
very near us, hailed in English, and ordered me to heave my boat out
immediately and come on board of her with my papers.--Accordingly my
boat was hove out, but filled before I could get into her.--I was then
ordered to tack ship and lay by for the pirates' boat to board me; which
was done by Bolidar, their first lieutenant, with six or eight Spaniards
armed with as many of the before mentioned weapons as they could well
sling about their bodies. They drove me into the boat, and two of them
rowed me to their privateer (as they called their vessel), where I shook
hands with their commander, Captain Jonnia, a Spaniard, who before
looking at my papers, ordered Bolidar, his lieutenant, to follow the
Mexican in, back of the Key they had left, which was done. At 6 o'clock,
P.M., the Exertion was anchored in eleven feet water, near this vessel,
and an island, which they called Twelve League Key (called by the chart
Key Largo), about thirty or thirty-five leagues from Trinidad. After
this strange conduct they began examining my papers by a Scotchman who
went by the name of Nickola, their sailing master.--He spoke good
English, had a countenance rather pleasing, although his beard and
mustachios had a frightful appearance--his face, apparently full of
anxiety, indicated something in my favor; he gave me my papers, saying
"take good care of them, for I am afraid you have fallen into bad
hands." The pirates' boat was then sent to the Exertion with more men
and arms; a part of them left on board her; the rest returning with
three of my crew to their vessel; viz., Thomas Young, Thomas Goodall,
and George Reed--they treated them with something to drink, and offered
them equal shares with themselves, and some money, if they would enlist,
but they could not prevail on them. I then requested permission to go on
board my vessel which was granted, and further requested Nickola should
go with me, but was refused by the captain, who vociferated in a harsh
manner, "No, No, No." accompanied with a heavy stamp upon the deck. When
I got on board, I was invited below by Bolidar, where I found they had
emptied the case of liquors, and broken a cheese to pieces and crumbled
it on the table and cabin floor; the pirates, elated with their prize
(as they called it), had drank so much as to make them desperately
abusive. I was permitted to lie down in my berth; but, reader, if you
have ever been awakened by a gang of armed, desperadoes, who have taken
possession of your habitation in the midnight hour, you can imagine my
feelings.--Sleep was a stranger to me, and anxiety was my guest.
Bolidar, however, pretended friendship, and flattered me with the
prospect of being soon set at liberty. But I found him, as I suspected,
a consummate hypocrite; indeed, his very looks indicated it. He was a
stout and well built man, of a dark, swarthy complexion, with keen,
ferocious eyes, huge whiskers, and beard under his chin and on his lips,
four or five inches long; he was a Portuguese by birth, but had become a
naturalized Frenchman--had a wife, if not children (as I was told) in
France, and was well known there as commander of a first rate privateer.
His appearance was truly terrific; he could talk some English, and had a
most lion-like voice.

Tuesday, 18th.--Early this morning the captain of the pirates came on
board the Exertion; took a look at the cabin stores, and cargo in the
state rooms, and then ordered me back with him to his vessel, where he,
with his crew, held a consultation for some time respecting the cargo.
After which, the interpreter, Nickola, told me that "the captain had, or
pretended to have, a commission under General Traspelascus,
commander-in-chief of the republic of Mexico, authorizing him to take
all cargoes whatever of provisions, bound to any royalist Spanish
port--that my cargo being bound to an enemy's port, must be condemned;
but that the vessel should be given up and be put into a fair channel
for Trinidad, where I was bound." I requested him to examine the papers
thoroughly, and perhaps he would be convinced to the contrary, and told
him my cargo was all American property taken in at Boston, and consigned
to an American gentleman, agent at Trinidad. But the captain would not
take the trouble, but ordered both vessels under way immediately, and
commenced beating up amongst the Keys through most of the day, the wind
being very light. They now sent their boats on board the Exertion for
stores, and commenced plundering her of bread, butter, lard, onions,
potatoes, fish, beans, &c., took up some sugar box shocks that were on
deck, and found the barrels of apples; selected the best of them and
threw the rest overboard. They inquired for spirits, wine, cider, &c.
and were told "they had already taken all that was on board." But not
satisfied they proceeded to search the state rooms and forcastle, ripped
up the floor of the later and found some boxes of bottled cider, which
they carried to their vessel, gave three cheers, in an exulting manner
to me, and then began drinking it with such freedom, that a violent
quarrel arose between officers and men, which came very near ending in

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