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The Pirates of Malabar, and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago by John Biddulph

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On the 26th December, 1715, Bombay was _en fete_. The East Indiamen
_Stanhope_ and _Queen_ had arrived from England, bringing the new Governor,
Mr. Charles Boone, and three new councillors. His predecessor, Mr.
Aislabie, had sailed for England in October. At the landing-place the
new-comers were met by the late council and the principal inhabitants and
merchants of Bombay. Thirty-one pieces of ordnance greeted them with a
salvo, and, as they put foot on shore, three companies of soldiers saluted
them with three volleys of small arms.

Boone was a man of very different stamp from his predecessors. The
quarrels, intrigues, and self-seeking that had been so disastrous a
feature during the tenure of office of Child, Waite, and Gayer were
abhorrent to him. He was a zealous servant of the Company, whose interests
he did his best to promote with the inadequate means at his disposal. In
coming up the coast he had touched at the places where the Company had
factories, and by the time of his arrival in Bombay he had fully realized
that the pirate question demanded serious treatment.

Bombay was then an open town, only the factory being fortified. Soon after
receiving Bombay from the Crown, the Directors had ordered it to be
fortified, but had refused to employ skilled officers, because "we know
that it is natural to engineers to contrive curiosities that are very
expensive." The only protection to the town was such as was afforded by a
number of martello towers along the shore. Nineteen years before Boone's
time the Muscat Arabs had made a descent on Salsette, ravaging, burning,
and plundering as they pleased, killing the Portuguese priests and
carrying off fourteen hundred captives into slavery. Since then the
formidable power of Angria had arisen, but nothing had been done to
improve the defences of the settlement. Boone's first care was to trace
out an enclosing wall, the building of which was to be paid for by
contributions from the native merchants.

At the same time he set to work to build fighting ships. Within a few
months of his arrival, the _Britannia_, eighteen guns, built at Carwar,
the _Fame_, sixteen guns, built at Surat, and the _Revenge_, sixteen guns,
built at Bombay, were flying the Company's flag. It was easier to build
ships than to get sailors to man them, in view of the miserable pay given
by the Company, and the attractions of service under native chiefs. Many
of the crews were foreigners, who were ready enough to take service with
Angria, if the inclination took them, and the bulk of the crews were
Indian lascars. A few months later, the _Victory_, twenty-four guns, was
launched, and two years after his arrival, Boone had at his disposal a
fine fleet consisting of nineteen frigates, grabs, ketches, gallivats, and
rowing galleys, carrying two hundred and twenty guns, besides a bomb
vessel and a fireship. With such a force much ought to have been
accomplished, but throughout his tenure of office Boone's efforts were
crippled by the incompetency and indiscipline of those on whom he depended
to carry out his designs: while the efficiency of the ships was diminished
by their employment to carry cargoes along the coast.

In March, 1717, Bombay was stirred by the arrival of a private ship, the
_Morning Star_, which had escaped the Beyt pirates after a long and severe
encounter. The affair is described by Hamilton; but he modestly conceals
the fact that he was himself in command of the _Morning Star_, of which he
was chief owner. The ship was on its way from Gombroon to Surat, with a
valuable cargo, of which the pirates had intelligence; and two squadrons
were fitted out to waylay her. On the 20th March she was assailed by eight
pirate ships, the largest of which was of five hundred tons, three others
being of nearly three hundred tons each, and the rest galleys and shybars,
or half-galleys. Between them they carried about two thousand men. On
board the _Morning Star_ there were only six Europeans, a number of native
merchants, and about thirty-five or forty lascars, about half of whom were
trustworthy. The first attack was made by the largest of the pirate ships
alone, and was beaten off with loss to the assailants. In the fight,
Hamilton had his thigh pierced through with a lance. For the rest of that
day and the whole of the following no further attack was made; but the
pirates hung around planning another assault. On the 22nd it was delivered.
The two largest pirates ran the _Morning Star_ aboard, one on her bow and
one on her quarter, while three others poured their crews across the decks
of their comrades. For four hours a desperate combat ensued, the six
vessels being locked together. In the heat of the fight the native
merchants went on board the pirates to try and ransom themselves, and were
accompanied by half the lascars who deserted their commander; only the
Europeans and seventeen lascars remained to fight the ship. She caught
fire in three places, the poop and half-deck being burned through. The two
pirate ships likewise caught fire, which caused them to slacken their
efforts. In the confusion Hamilton managed to disengage his ship, and made
sail; the five pirate ships being so entangled together that they were
unable to pursue, and two of them so injured as to be in a sinking
condition. So Hamilton brought off his ship in safety, after as gallant a
feat of arms as was ever performed. Seven of his men were killed, and
about the same number wounded, and finding no surgeon in Surat, he came on
to Bombay. The native merchants who were carried off by the pirates were
made to pay a ransom of L6000, and brought back word that great slaughter
had been done on the pirates, while their Commodore lost his head, on
returning to Beyt, for allowing so rich a prize to escape.

In April, Boone sent down the _Fame_ and the _Britannia_, under Commodore
Weekes, to attack Vingorla. They carried a company of sepoys under Stanton,
one of the Company's military officers. On the way they were joined by the
_Revenge_, and they also had with them ten or twelve gallivats. Weekes
appears to have been timid and incompetent, while the force was altogether
insufficient for the purpose. Several days were spent in trying to find a
landing-place, without success, on the rocky, surf-beaten shore, while the
fortress was bombarded from different points. A violent quarrel occurred
between Weekes and Stanton, and the expedition returned to Bombay. This
was the first, but not the most serious, of Boone's failures. It was
characteristic of all the warlike expeditions he sent out, that while he
was indefatigable in preparing armaments, all other details requisite to
success were left to chance. The Council resolved that Weekes was unfit to
be Commodore, and deposed him. To fill his place the veteran Alexander
Hamilton, whose recent defence of the _Morning Star_ had shown his
fighting capacity, was induced to relinquish his private trade, and made
Commander-in-Chief of all the Company's frigates on a salary of Rs.80 a
month. His ship, the _Morning Star_, was also hired by the Council.

As soon as the monsoon was over, he was required to conduct an expedition
to relieve the Carwar factory, which was beleaguered by the Sunda Rajah.
The chief of the factory at this time was Mr. George Taylor. In the spring
of 1717, a Bombay merchant's ship carrying an English pass and flying
English colours had been seized by the Rajah, who imprisoned the crew.
Demands for their surrender were being made, when, in May, the _Elizabeth_,
belonging to Mr. Strutt, a private merchant at Surat, with L15,000 worth
of treasure on board, went ashore near Carwar. Before more than half the
treasure could be removed in safety to the factory, the Rajah sent down an
armed force to seize the ship as jetsam, imprisoned the captain and crew,
and laid siege to the factory. So Hamilton was sent down with a small
squadron and some troops. Fortunately the factory was exceptionally well
provisioned. On the 30th August, the _Morning Star_, with five gallivats
and a sloop, arrived off Carwar, and blockaded the harbour till the
arrival of Hamilton and the rest of the force on the 12th September. In
command of the land force was Midford, one of the Company's factors. On
the 13th, the troops were landed, under Midford and Stanton, in a heavy
surf which drove the gallivats[1] on shore and upset them, throwing the
whole party into the water. Midford, with some of his men, struggled on
shore, but Stanton was taken out of the water senseless.[2] In the midst
of this scene of confusion they were suddenly charged by the Rajah's
horsemen. Half drowned, undisciplined, and with their ammunition spoiled
by water, they could make only a feeble resistance. Midford and his
English Serjeant, Hill, were desperately wounded and made prisoners,
together with five Europeans and forty-seven topasses, while sixty men
were killed and two gallivats lost. The wretched topasses had their noses
cut off, five European heads were stuck up in derision before the factory,
while Midford and Hill were alternately cajoled and threatened to induce
them to take service with the Rajah.

In consequence of this disaster, the factory sued for peace, but the
Rajah's terms were so humiliating that they were rejected, and it was
decided to await further reinforcements from Bombay; but two months
elapsed before their arrival. Meanwhile, a post of four hundred men was
established on shore to guard the water-supply required for daily use.
This gave rise to a skirmish, which put some heart into the invaders.
Early one morning the post was attacked by the enemy, who found, to their
surprise, that they had come under fire of the guns of some small vessels
Hamilton had anchored close inshore. After an hour's cannonade, they broke
and fled, pursued by the party on shore, who accounted for some two
hundred of them. Encouraged by this success, Stanton continued to harass
the Rajah by small night attacks, and by burning some of his villages,
while at sea they did him more damage by intercepting his ships laden with
salt and other necessaries, and especially three, bringing Arab horses
from Muscat; though the captors were much troubled in providing water and
provender for them. Meanwhile, the factory, which was five or six miles up
the river, on the north bank, continued to be invested, and in order to
prevent any communication with the squadron, a boom was laid across the
river, commanded by a battery on the south side. In spite of this,
communication was kept up through the Portuguese factory, and, more than
once, Lieutenant Forbes contrived to pass in and out in a rowing-boat, but
it was impossible to send in provisions.

About this time we find Hamilton reporting to Bombay--

"The recruits from Goa had a skirmish at break of day, on 28[th]
September, with the enemy, wherein they behaved themselves bravely,
but that on an attempt to burn some villages afterwards, they advised
the enemy of it, and deserted with some arms and granadoes."

At last the looked-for reinforcements arrived from Bombay, under Captain
Gordon, raising the whole strength of the expedition to 2250 men,
including seamen, and a landing in force was determined on. Two of the
prizes had been equipped as floating batteries, with shot-proof bulwarks,
and were laid ashore to engage the Rajah's batteries. At four o'clock in
the morning of the 16th November, 1250 men were put ashore, under Gordon,
without hindrance from the enemy, who were ready to take to flight before
such a force. Gordon's idea was to advance in a hollow square, which, in
spite of Hamilton's sneer at him as a 'freshwater land officer,' was a
good enough formation in the circumstances; but so much time was consumed
in getting the men into the required formation, owing to the inexperience
and want of discipline among both officers and men, that the enemy took
heart again and advanced to meet them. When the square at last moved
forward, with Gordon at their head, they were met with a hot fire, and
Gordon was a mark for every aim. Before long he fell, shot in the breast,
and Captain Smith, 'commonly called Old Woman,' on whom the command
devolved, at once gave the word to retreat. According to Hamilton, 'he
pulled off his red coat and vanished.' The Rajah's horsemen charged down,
sword in hand, on the disordered ranks; the men threw down their arms and
fled to the boats, leaving some two hundred and fifty of their number dead
on the field. Fortunately, the floating batteries covered the embarkation,
and prevented the enemy, who had suffered some loss, from gathering the
spoils of the fallen. Eighty seamen were sent on shore, and brought back
about two hundred muskets that had been thrown away in flight, most of
them loaded. Thus ingloriously ended the attempts at landing.

The factory was by this time reduced to great straits for food, and this
fresh disaster made peace imperative; the Rajah, in spite of his success
so far, was anxious to come to an accommodation. The expense of
maintaining so many armed men threatened to ruin him; the sea blockade and
the detention of the horses were events on which he had not reckoned: and,
worse still, his northern borders were harried by the Sow Bajah, 'which
made him incline very much towards a peace:' so an agreement was quickly
arrived at, and, on the 29th November, peace was proclaimed on easy terms
for both parties. The expedition had cost the Company Rs.68,372 in hard
cash. The inability of the landing force to advance beyond range of the
ships' guns bears witness to their military incapacity.

His short experience of six months under the Company had completely
disgusted Alexander Hamilton. Immediately on his return to Bombay he
resigned his post as Commander-in-Chief of their ships-of-war, and resumed
business as a private trader. His relations with the military officers
during the expedition appear to have been satisfactory, but against Taylor,
the head of the Carwar factory, he formulated a series of charges,
accusing him of having been the cause of the trouble with the Rajah,
through his indiscretion and bad faith. Taylor retaliated by accusing
Hamilton of not having taken proper measures to relieve the factory. The
Council investigated the charges, and contented themselves with cautioning
Taylor to behave better in future.

The unfortunate topasses, who had had their noses cut off, were formed
into a company of marines, and had their pay augmented to Rs.5 a month.[3]
In this odd way the Bombay Marine Battalion appears to have had its origin.

We get some idea of the Sunda Rajahs of the period in a letter from Carwar,
dated the 20th January, 1698.

"He" (the Sunda Rajah) "is so excessive craving after money, that he
is about sacrificing twelve men and twelve women with child, to get
two pots of treasure which one of his magicians tells him lies buried
near his palace."

While these events were taking place at Carwar, Boone found himself
involved in trouble with Angria. For some time after the treaty made by
Aislabie, Angria had respected Bombay trading ships, but of late he had
begun to show his teeth again. In the beginning of 1716 he had made prize
of a Company's boat in sight of the harbour, and of another belonging to a
private merchant. Four private ships from Mahim, valued at 30,000
xeraphims, were also captured by him, and his ships trading to Bombay
refused to pay harbour dues. While Hamilton was engaged at Carwar, Angria's
fleet attacked and took the _Success_, East Indiaman, on its way from
Surat. With an impoverished exchequer, a force weakened and disorganized
by the Carwar adventure, and no ammunition in his magazine, Boone found
himself in no condition to take active measures for the present.

In the vain hope of bringing Angria to reason, a letter of expostulation
was written, which met with a hostile response, quickly followed by the
capture of the _Otter_, a Bengal ship. A second letter of defiance was
received, so, on the 7th May, in spite of inadequate resources, the
Council resolved on striking a blow. An expedition against Gheriah was
determined on, and twenty gallivats were sent down, manned with sepoys, to
retake, if possible, the captured vessels, "if they were attacked, to
repel force by force, and if possible plunder his country." The official
record of the expedition is as follows:--

_4th June_.--Two gallivats returned having plundered a town in Angria's
country, and brought away sixteen prisoners.

_9th June_.--Returned our gallivats, having by mismanagement of the
chief officer lost about fifty men and destroyed one town of Angria's.

Downing, who was present, gives an account of the attack on Gheriah,
though he makes a mistake as to the date. As it is the only account we
have of what took place, it will be better to give it in his own words.

"On the 10th of the same instant the President reviewed the land
forces on shore, and saw all things put in good and sufficient order.
Major Vane, chief engineer for the Company, had tried all the mortars
and coehorns, then fitted and stocked for the expedition. Mr. John
Minims was appointed chief engineer for the direction of these mortars
and coehorns, which did great service. We proceeded down the coast for
Gerey, which is not above twelve hours' sail from Bombay, where we
with all our navy soon arrived, and run boldly into the harbour.
Captain Berlew (Bellew?) Commodore, and ranged a line from the
eastermost part of the fortifications to the outer part of the harbour.
Keeping all our small galleys and galleywats on the off-side under
shelter. But they had strong fortifications on both sides; so that we
left our strongest ships in the harbour, to make a breach in the walls,
in order to storm the castle. The rocks were very high, and so
slippery that one could hardly stand without a staff, and consequently
not a place convenient to draw men up in any posture of defence. We
endeavoured to get the fireship in, but could not; for on the east
part of the fort they had a cove or creek, where they had laid up a
great part of their fleet, and had got a strong boom across the same;
so that we could not annoy them any otherwise than by throwing our
bombs and coehorns very thick into the garrison, which we did for a
considerable time, and were in hopes after the first and second day's
siege, that we should have drove them out of that strong castle, but
we soon found that the place was impregnable. For as we kept throwing
our shells as fast as we could in regular time, cooling our chambers
before we loaded again; after we had beat over two or three houses in
the castle, the shells fell on the rocks in the inside the castle, and
their weight and force of falling would break them without so much as
their blowing up.... As to storming the walls, they were so high that
our scaling ladders would not near reach the top of them...."

"After the second day we landed all our forces, taking the opportunity
of the tide.... We got them all on shore, and marched up the country,
without molestation; only now and then the castle would let fly a shot
or two, which did us small damage. We attempted to march the army down
to their shipping, and to set them on fire; but when we came within a
mile of the place the land was all swampy, and so very muddy by the
spring tides flowing over that we could not proceed. On our retreat
they galled us very much by firing from the castle, we being obliged
to come near the castle walls to take our forces off again. Here the
gallant Captain Gordon was slightly wounded again.... I question
whether there were a hundred men in the castle during the time of the

"We drew off our forces on the 18th April, and went up to Bombay to
repair our frigates and take care of our wounded men, of whom we had a
considerable number."

In no way discouraged by the failure, Boone at once set to work to prepare
for a fresh attack on Angria. This time it was determined that Kennery,
within sight of Bombay harbour, should be the object of attack, and all
through the monsoon preparations were made.

[1] Galleywats, or gallivats, were large rowing-boats with two masts, of
forty to seventy tons, and carrying four to eight guns.

[2] In a letter, three years later, on the conduct of military officers,
it is stated that "Stanton was drunk the time he should have gone upon
action at Carwar."

[3] Bombay Consultations, 22nd January, 1718.



The Company's civil servants--Their comparison with English who went to
America--Their miserable salaries--The Company's military servants--
Regarded with distrust--Shaxton's mutiny--Captain Keigwin--Broken pledges
and ill-treatment--Directors' vacillating policy--Military grievances--
Keigwin seizes the administration of Bombay--His wise rule--Makes his
submission to the Crown--Low status of Company's military officers--Lord
Egmont's speech--Factors and writers as generals and colonels--Bad quality
of the common soldiers--Their bad treatment--Complaint against Midford--
Directors' parsimony.

It may be useful here to consider the difference in the men sent out, by
England, to the East and West Indies during the seventeenth and part of
the eighteenth centuries. To the West Indies went out representatives of
the landed gentry from every county in England. Charters were obtained
from the Crown, conferring estates, and sometimes whole islands, on men of
ancient families. Slaves were cheap, and sugar cultivation brought in
great wealth; the whole machinery of English life was reproduced in the
tropics--counties, parishes; sheriffs, rectories, tithes, an established
church, etc. The same causes that sent the Cavaliers to Virginia, sent a
smaller migration to the West Indies. At the Restoration, the men who had
conquered Jamaica for Cromwell were unwilling to return to England.
Monmouth's rebellion and the expulsion of the Stuarts produced a fresh
influx. But, whether Cavaliers or Roundheads or Jacobites, they came from
the landholding class in England. The evidence may still be read in old
West Indian graveyards, where the crumbling monuments show the carefully
engraved armorial bearings, and the inscriptions record the families and
homes in England from which those whom they commemorate had sprung.

In the East Indies nothing of the kind was possible. The acquisition of
land for agriculture was out of the question. Trade was the only opening,
and that was monopolized by the Company. Except as a servant of the
Company, an Englishman had no legal status in the East. The chief profits
went to the shareholders in London. If at the end of twenty-five years or
so a Company's servant could return to England with a few thousands made
by private trade, he was a fortunate man. Private traders and a few of the
governors were alone able to make fortunes. The shaking of the pagoda tree
did not begin till after Plassey. The result was that the men who went to
India were of a totally different class from those who went to America and
the West Indies; they were young men from small trading families in London,
Greenwich, and Deptford, or from seaport towns like Bristol and Plymouth.
Among them were some restless and adventurous spirits who found life in
England too tame or too burdensome. For such men India was long regarded
as a useful outlet. "If you cannot devise expedients to send contributions,
or procure credit, all is lost, and I must go to the Indies," wrote
William the Third, in bitter humour, at a desperate crisis in his affairs.
Fryer tells us (1698) how the Company had entertained Bluecoat boys as
apprentices for seven years, after which time they were to be made writers,
if able to furnish the required security. The salaries they received from
the Company were only nominal. A Bombay pay-list of January, 1716, shows
us the official salaries at that time. The Governor received L300 per
annum. Next to him came eight merchants, who with him constituted the
Council, and received respectively, one L100, one L70, two L50, and four
L40 each. Below them came three senior factors at L30 each, three junior
factors at L15, and seven writers at L5.[1] The tale is completed by the
accountant and the chaplain, who received L100 each. A writer on entering
the service had to find security for L500, which was increased to L1000
when he rose to be a factor. The unmarried servants of the Company were
lodged at the Company's expense; the married ones received a lodging
allowance, and a public table was maintained. In fact, the Company treated
them as if they were apprentices in a warehouse in St. Paul's Churchyard,
and, when the conditions of their service are taken into account, it is
not surprising that there was a considerable amount of dishonesty among
them. These conditions apart, they were neither worse nor better than the
men of their time. As the original Company gained stability by the
incorporation of its upstart rival established in 1698,[2] which put an
end to a condition of affairs that promised to be ruinous to both, and by
the grant of perpetuity issued in the year following incorporation, there
was a gradual improvement in the quality of their civil servants. Though
no increase in the salaries of junior officers took place for many years
afterwards, the greater facilities opened to them, for trade, attracted
better men into the service, among them some cadets of good family.

Miserable as was the display of military incompetency at Carwar and on
subsequent occasions, it is hardly surprising when the condition of the
Company's soldiers is considered. The Company's policy was to keep
officers and men in a state of degrading subjection; to prevent the
officers from having any authority over their men, while pledges as to pay
were often broken.

When the Company first received Bombay from the Crown, the royal troops in
the island were invited to remain in the Company's service on the same
rank and pay, on the condition that they might resign when they pleased--a
condition that made discipline impossible. The greater number of them
accepted the terms. Two years later, a company was sent out under Captain
Shaxton to fill vacancies. Shaxton was evidently a man of good abilities
and position; one who had been trained in the stern military school of the
civil wars. He was to be a factor in addition to his military command, and
if, after trial, his qualifications would admit of it, he was to hold the
office of Deputy Governor. The men were engaged for three years.

By the time he had been two years in Bombay, Shaxton found that, under the
penurious rule of the Company, efficiency was impossible, while the two
European companies maintained for the defence of the island could only be
kept up to strength by filling the vacancies with natives. Four years
later,[3] a mutiny broke out, in which Shaxton supported the demands of
his men. They complained that a month's pay, promised to them on
engagement, was due to them, and claimed their discharge, as their time of
service had expired. President Aungier behaved with prudence and firmness.
He pacified the men by granting their demands, and brought the ringleaders
to trial by court-martial. Three of them were condemned to death, of whom
one, Corporal Fake, was shot, and the other two pardoned. Shaxton was then
brought to trial, found guilty of some of the charges, and sent to England
for punishment according to the King's pleasure.

Two years later a troop of horse was formed, and sent out under Captain
Richard Keigwin, who was to command the garrison on a salary of L120 a
year. Keigwin was a man of good Cornish family, who had entered the King's
navy in 1665, and taken part in Monk's memorable four days' battle against
the Dutch in the following year. When St. Helena was recaptured from the
Dutch (1673), he had distinguished himself in command of the boats that
made the attack, and was left as Governor of the island till it was taken
over by the East India Company. As a reward for his services, the Company
made him their military commandant at Bombay. Two years later again, the
Company, in a fit of economy, reduced their military establishment to two
lieutenants, two ensigns, and one hundred and eighty-eight rank and file.
The troop of horse was disbanded, Keigwin was discharged from the service,
and thirty soldiers, who had been detached to Surat to defend the factory
against Sivajee, were refused any extra allowance, which caused much
discontent. Before long the Directors became alarmed at the defenceless
state of Bombay, and sent out Keigwin again with troops and artillery, to
have the chief military command and the third seat in Council. To meet the
expense, the other officers were made to suffer in rank and pay, and the
whole of the small force fell into a dangerous state of discontent. Among
other reductions in the pay of their military force, the Directors reduced
the rate of exchange, a measure that affected the men as well as the
officers; and, not content with making these changes prospective, insisted
that the officers should refund the surplus of what they had received.
Keigwin also had his personal grievance. He claimed subsistence money,
like the rest of the merchants and factors, the Company's table having
been abolished.[4] After much altercation, a grant was made to him, on the
condition that it would have to be refunded if disallowed by the Directors.
He was sick of the Company, with their greed and their selfish economies
at the expense of their servants, their broken pledges and stupid changes
of policy in military affairs, the intrigues of Sir John Child at Surat,
and the schemes of his brother, Sir Josiah Child, in England. Like many
other Englishmen, he considered the Company was an anomaly, dangerous to
the authority of the Crown, and his distrust was increased by the
mismanagement and corruption that existed among their servants in the East.

On the 27th December, 1683, he seized Mr. Ward, the Deputy Governor, and
such of the Council as sided with him, assembled the troops, and issued a
proclamation declaring the Company's authority at an end, and that the
island was henceforth under the King's protection. By general consent he
was elected Governor, and at once proceeded to restore order. The troops
and inhabitants were called on to take an oath of allegiance to the King,
and to renounce their obedience to the Company, a demand that was
universally complied with. Officials were appointed, grievances were
redressed, and trade was encouraged, to be carried on without molestation
so long as Keigwin's authority was not challenged. Money arriving from
England was lodged in the fort, with a declaration that it would be
employed only in defence of the island, and letters were addressed by
Keigwin to the King and the Duke of York, stating his determination to
hold the island for the King till his Majesty's pleasure should be known,
together with the causes that had led to the revolt; one of them being the
necessity of preserving it from becoming a conquest to the native powers.

Never had Bombay been so well governed as it was during the eleven months
of Keigwin's rule. The Seedee sent a friendly deputation to him. From the
Rajah of Satara he obtained confirmation of the articles agreed on by
Sivajee, a grant for the establishment of factories at Cuddalore and
Thevenapatam, an exemption from duties in the Carnatic, and the payment of
twelve thousand pagodas in compensation for losses sustained at different
places formerly plundered by the Mahrattas. There was no disorder or
bloodshed; the only thing of the kind that has been recorded being a wound
received by Keigwin himself in a quarrel at table. So great was the
enthusiasm for Keigwin, that when, first commissioners, and then Sir John
Child himself, came from Surat to try and re-establish the Company's
authority, it was with difficulty that the crews of their vessels could be
prevented from joining Keigwin and his adherents.[5] It was well for the
Company that he was a man of solid character and not an adventurer. On the
arrival of Sir Thomas Grantham from England in November, 1684, Keigwin
surrendered the island to him, as a King's officer, on condition of a free
pardon for himself and his associates, and proceeded to England.[6] The
Company's treasure was intact, and, except for the dangerous spirit
against the Company that had been aroused, Bombay was in a better state
than it had been at the time of the revolt.

After this the Company decided to have nothing more to do with
professional soldiers. It was the time when the great feeling of hostility
to a standing army was growing up in England, under the mischievous
preaching of agitators, which reached its height thirteen years later.
They took into their service men of low origin, devoid of military
training, who would have no influence over their men, and who would submit
to any treatment. Boone, writing to the Directors in 1720, says--

"It is well known the Company's servants, in all the settlements I
have been in, seldom keep company with the military, especially the
Council. Now and then they may invite one to take a dinner, which is a
favour; but the men which he distinguishes are not company for your

The social status of the Company's officers appears later, when an Act was
passed to extend the Mutiny Act to the East Indies and St. Helena, in
consequence of the Company's right to exercise martial law having been
questioned. In opposing the bill, the Earl of Egmont said--

"If I am rightly informed, there are some of the Company's officers of
a very low character. One of them was formerly a trumpeter at a raree
show in this country, and when he was discharged that honourable
service he listed himself in the Company's service as a common soldier,
and I suppose was made an officer by one of those governors for
trumpeting to him better than any other man could do it in the country.
Another, I am told, was a low sort of barber--one of our
shave-for-a-penny barbers--here in London. And another of
them was a butcher here, and when he is not upon duty I am
told he still exercises his trade there. Can we think that such
officers will not be despised by gentlemen who have the honour to
bear his Majesty's commission?"

He based his opposition to the bill on the unfitness of the Company's
officers to exercise authority, and to the bad relations sure to arise
between them and the King's officers.[7]

In quarters they were not allowed to give any orders to their men, or to
have any control over them, the most trivial matters being kept in the
hands of the merchants and factors. To such an extent was this carried,
that for fifty years afterwards no military officer was allowed to give
out the parole and countersign.[8] Their only duties were to command the
men when under arms. Commissions were granted and taken away by the
Council without reference to the Directors.

Under such treatment there could be neither self-respect nor pride in
their profession. Of their general behaviour, we may gather some idea
from an entry concerning Lieutenant Parker at this time. He was arraigned
before the Council for drinking, brawling with his men, and frequenting
base houses, for which the Council deprived him of his commission; but as
he was 'an extraordinary person in disciplining (drilling) soldiers,' he
was appointed adjutant of the regiment till he should give a specimen of
improved behaviour. When there was fighting to be done, the command was
taken by factors and writers, who were given temporary commissions as
captains, colonels, etc. Midford, Brown, Cowan, and others we hear of in
command of troops, were only soldiers for the occasion. So far back as
1676 the Directors had enjoined on their civil servants to acquire a
knowledge of military discipline, that in the event of any sudden attack
they might bear arms. Clive was far from being the first of the Company's
servants to lay down the pen for the sword, but he was the first to do so

The inferior quality of the Company's officers through the first half of
the century is reflected in the fact that among the many who distinguished
themselves in the hard fighting that went on from 1751 to 1764, we find
only two who had not graduated in the King's service. These were Clive,
who entered the Company's service as a writer, and Preston, who was sent
to India as a civil engineer. Of the Company's purely military officers we
hear little or nothing.

The men were worse than the officers. Instead of the sturdy agricultural
labourers and farmers' sons that filled the ranks of the King's regiments,
they were 'the refuse of the vilest employments in London,' as Orme
described them fifty years later; 'the worst of their kind,' according to
Clive. Of all nationalities, ages, and colours, badly armed, badly fed,
and badly paid, they were almost without discipline. The native chiefs
vied with each other in getting Europeans into their service, so that none
but the most wretched would stay to serve the Company. At the best they
were only factory guards, and maintained for purposes of escort and
display; and it was always the Company's practice to retain officers and
men in their service up to any age. On one occasion we find Boone writing
to the Directors that 'it would not do to disgust the men too much.'
Miserable as was their pay of sixteen laris[9] a month, we find them
complaining to the Council that Midford had kept back two laris a month
from each man. To which Midford replied that he never received nor took
any more profit from the soldiers than what other officers did, all
through the island of Bombay; with which answer the Council was apparently
satisfied. The real grievance of the men appears to have been that Midford,
not being a military officer, was not entitled to make the deduction. The
Directors were careful in enjoining that powder was not to be wasted at
exercise; "but sometimes the men must be used to firing, lest in time of
action they should start at the noise or the recoil of their arms." To
bring such officers and men into the field was to invite disaster.
Soldiers are not made by dressing men in uniform and putting muskets into
their hands.

[Illustration: Map]

[1] According to the Company's instructions in 1675, writers were to
receive no salary at all for the first five years, and after that L10
a year. In 1699 the Court of Directors settled the salaries of
merchants at L60, factors at L40, and writers at L20 per annum (Bruce);
but in 1716 the salaries were as above stated.

[2] The London Company and the English East India Company were amalgamated
in 1708.

[3] 1674.

[4] It was afterwards re-established, and again abolished in Boone's time.

[5] Bombay was subordinate to the Surat factory till 1685.

[6] Four years after returning to England, Keigwin was given the command
of a frigate. In 1690 he accompanied the expedition against the French
in the West Indies, and fell at the head of his men in the assault of
Basseterre, St. Christopher's.--_Dic. Nat. Bio_.

[7] Hansard, 1754.

[8] The first General Order issued by the Commander-in-Chief in Madras was
dated the 22nd November, 1772.

[9] The lari was the well-known hook money of the Persian Gulf. It was
worth about sixpence.



Sivajee's occupation of Kennery--A naval action--Minchin and
Keigwin--Bombay threatened--The Seedee intervenes--Conajee Angria
occupies Kennery--Boone sails with the expedition--Manuel de
Castro--Futile proceedings--Force landed and repulsed--Second
landing--Manuel de Castro's treachery--Gideon Russell--Bad behaviour
of two captains--Defeat--Attack abandoned--The _St. George_--The
_Phram_--Manuel de Castro punished--Bombay wall completed--Angria
makes overtures for peace--Boone outwitted.

The islet of Kennery, about ten miles from the mouth of the harbour, and
three from the mainland, had long been a thorn in the side of Bombay trade.
At the time of the first occupation of Bombay it was uninhabited. In 1679
it was suddenly occupied by Sivajee, who began to fortify it. The danger
of this to Bombay was at once seen, and part of the garrison was sent in
small vessels, afterwards reinforced by the _Revenge_, frigate, to
intercept the communication between Kennery and the mainland. On the 18th
October, the Mahratta fleet bore down and engaged. In half an hour the
_Dove_, grab, hauled down its colours and was captured, and all the
smaller vessels made sail for Bombay, leaving the _Revenge_, like its more
famous namesake, alone amidst its foes. Fortunately, there were on board
two sturdy Englishmen, Minchin, the Company's commodore, and Keigwin, the
commander of the garrison. Undismayed by the odds against them, Minchin
and Keigwin gallantly fought their ship; all attempts at boarding were
repelled with loss, five of the Mahratta gallivats were sunk, and, at last,
the whole Mahratta fleet took to flight, pursued by the _Revenge_, and
sought refuge in the shallow waters at the mouth of the Negotna river. Two
days later, they came out again, but found Keigwin and Minchin so ready to
engage, that they desisted from the attempt to reach Kennery. In this way,
for some time, a partial blockade of the Negotna river was maintained by
the _Revenge_, which had been reinforced by the _Hunter_ frigate, and a
number of small vessels from Bombay. In spite of all efforts, a few
Mahratta vessels from time to time evaded the blockade, and kept Kennery
supplied with provisions and arms. This unexpected opposition from a
company of traders stirred Sivajee to settle the matter by an attack on
Bombay, which was in no condition to make any resistance. He marched five
thousand men to Kalyan, and demanded permission, of the Portuguese, to
land at Thana and march on Bombay. The permission was refused, but the
Bombay Council were so alarmed lest the Portuguese should ultimately give
way, that they opened negotiations with Sivajee. Meanwhile, his seizure of
Kennery had alarmed the Seedee, who sent his fleet into Bombay harbour,
and offered his co-operation to the President, who accepted it with some
misgivings. Before long, it was discovered that the Seedee intended to
keep Kennery for himself, if he could capture it, which seemed to the
Council as bad as if it were in Sivajee's hands, so the English squadron
held aloof, while the struggle for Kennery continued between the Seedee
and the Mahrattas. Sivajee was too much occupied with other matters to
trouble about Bombay, and in March, 1680, a treaty of peace was made. His
struggle with the Seedee for the possession of Kennery went on, with
results that are not recorded; but eventually both parties appear to have
left the place to itself. In 1710, Conajee Angria seized the islet and
fortified it.

By the end of October all was ready. The ships from England, with the
merchandise and money for the yearly investment, had arrived, and joined
in the expedition. In order to put an end to the quarrels among commanders
that had marked the failure of former expeditions, Boone resolved to take
the command himself; so, on the 1st November, he hoisted his flag on board
the _Addison_, East Indiaman, having with him Mr. Walter Brown and other
factors and writers. There was at this time in the service a renegade
Portuguese, one Manuel de Castro, who had been in Angria's service before
Boone had given him employment. He had been present at Hamilton's attack
on Carwar, when his misbehaviour had been such as to make all present
distrust him. By his boasts of his knowledge of Angria's harbours he had
gained the confidence of the Council, and had been appointed Commodore of
the Company's gallivats. But several of the English captains refused to
serve under him, protesting that they knew his character better than the
Governor did; so Boone contented himself by giving him command of only
five gallivats. On the 2nd, the squadron weighed anchor, and, on the
following day anchored off Kennery. It consisted of the _Addison_ and
_Dartmouth_, East Indiamen, the _Victoria_ frigate, the _Revenge_ and
_Defiance_ grabs, the _Fame_ galley, the _Hunter_ ketch, two bombketches,
and forty-eight gallivats. On the 6th they were joined by the _Morrice_,
and on the 12th by the _Stanhope_, East Indiamen. Directly after anchoring,
a futile bombardment was opened on the Kennery fort, but the distance was
so great that nothing was effected but waste of ammunition. The ships then
stood in closer, and opened fire again, while the _Dartmouth_ ran in and
fired several broadsides. While this was going on, the _Victory_ and
_Revenge_ were signalled to attack two grabs that were seen coming out of
the harbour; but, on fourteen gallivats coming out to assist the grabs,
they were recalled. The 4th was spent in preparations for a landing, and
the gallivats rowed round the island to choose a landing-place. It was
finally arranged that the soldiers and marines should land to windward,
while the sepoys, covered by the fire of grabs and gallivats, should land
at the opposite side of the Island, to leeward. But when the moment
arrived, next morning, the sepoys absolutely refused to land, in spite of
the severest measures.[1] The soldiers and marines, three hundred in
number, landed, but were beaten back with a loss of eighteen killed and
fifty wounded, "more by ye force of stones hoven from ye rocks than fier
arms." Some loss was occasioned by the bursting of a gun on board one of
the gallivats. Manuel de Castro, with his squadron of gallivats, had been
ordered to lie off the mouth of the harbour and prevent reinforcements
reaching Kennery. Notwithstanding, he allowed five of Angria's gallivats
to slip in with ammunition and provisions for the besieged, of which they
were believed to stand much in need.

The 6th was occupied in making preparations for another attack, and
volunteers were called for from among the sailors, for which service they
were to receive forty rupees each, which, at the existing rate of exchange,
was reckoned equal to five pounds sterling. The loss of a leg or arm was
to be recompensed by a sum of L30 on return to England, and employment for
life under the Company. The married men were promised, if killed, that
their widows should receive L30, with L10 for each child. These offers
procured some forty volunteers, who were to be led by Gideon Russell, mate
of the _Morrice_.

Early next morning the attacking party were put into the boats, to land
under cover of the fire of the _Britannia_, _Fame_ and _Revenge_; when it
was found that a strong current prevented disembarkation, and the boats
were forced to lie off under a heavy fire, until the tide changed. To make
matters worse, Manuel de Castro ran two of his gallivats ashore under the
guns of the castle, so that fifty or sixty men were killed or wounded
before a landing was effected. At ten o'clock the boats pulled for the
landing-place; but the tide was still running so strongly that they were
thrown into confusion, and many of the attacking party never landed at all.
The sepoys again refused to land. A small party of seamen, headed by
Gideon Russell, attacked the gateway under a shower of shot and stones,
and, before long, Russell fell, grievously wounded. He was carried back to
the _Morrice_, where he died next day. The seamen continued their attack
under Clement Downing, backed by Major Stanton, Captain Coxsidge, and the
soldiers. John Steele, the carpenter's mate of the _Morrice_, with his
broad axe hewed at the gate and nearly effected an entrance, when the
cowardice of two of Stanton's captains caused the attack to miscarry. One
of them threw down his sword, which was carried to Boone, who, on return
to Bombay, ordered him to be broke at the head of the garrison. The other,
somewhat more courageous, came boldly up to the gate and fired his pistol;
but the bullet rebounded and struck him on the nose; upon which he ordered
the drums to beat a retreat, and the soldiers got back to the boats,
leaving a small handful of seamen to prosecute the attack. These, in turn,
seeing the hopelessness of any further attempts, retreated to their boats,
and rowed off under a heavy fire, leaving many wounded to be massacred by
the enemy. It was the old story, repeated so often on these occasions; a
badly planned attack carried out half-heartedly by undisciplined men,
under one or two resolute leaders; as soon as the leaders were disabled,
the rest retreated with more or less loss.

A desultory bombardment was continued for some days, and some shots were
fired against Colaba; but Kennery was now well provided with ammunition,
and could return two shots for every one fired by the Bombay squadron. On
the 11th, Angria sent a flag of truce to offer terms, which were rejected.
On the 14th, Boone returned to Bombay in the _Dartmouth_, seeing that
nothing more could be effected, and, on the 24th, the whole squadron made
sail for Bombay, after exhausting all their ammunition. Their return seems
to have been hastened by the appearance of Angria's fleet from Gheriah,
which had Bombay for a time at its mercy.

The failure of the attack on Kennery, under his own eyes, taught Boone
that, without some assistance from England, he could hope to accomplish
little against Angria, whose ships now lay off the harbour, making it
difficult for trading vessels to go in or out. Three times the _Morrice_
got under way, and three times had to return, before she could start on
her return voyage to Europe. In consequence of Boone's representations,
the Directors sent out the _St. George_, a sixty-gun ship, to act as a
guardship for the harbour. Her arrival only served to show the
incompetency of many of the Company's naval officers at that time. In
laying the ship on shore to scour its bottom after the voyage from England,
its back was broken, and the _St. George_ became a total wreck.

Meanwhile, with an eye to a future campaign against Angria's strongholds,
Boone set to work to build a floating battery. The _Phram_, as it was
called, was designed with shot-proof sides to carry twelve 48-pdrs.; but,
as will appear before long, its fate was as ignominious as that of the _St.

His own observation had convinced Boone of the treachery of Manuel de
Castro. On his return to Bombay, the renegade was put in irons, and
shipped off to St. Helena. There he was detected in fomenting a mutiny
among the convicts and slaves. He was deported, and before long made his
way back into Angria's service.

Meanwhile, the wall round the town, the building of which had been one of
Boone's earliest projects, was nearing completion. It was built entirely,
or almost entirely, by contributions from the native merchants, and Boone
reported to the Directors that, when the whole space was built over, the
ground-rents would realize Rs.8890 a year for the Company's treasury. The
church also, the building of which had been started by Aislabie, was
finished about this time. The original chapel inside the factory was no
longer able to accommodate the increasing English population, besides
being in a ruinous condition.

Like other chiefs along the coast, the Bombay authorities gave passes to
traders living under their protection, and in their warfare with Angria
they had adopted the practice of other chiefs, of not recognizing the
immunity of vessels that did not carry passes from themselves. We find at
this time the Kattiawar traders complaining of two ships having been
seized that held protective passes from Angria. In reply they were told
that they must have English passes. The Company was at war with Angria,
and his power was increased by those who paid him for protection. So, like
all neutrals, they had to suffer in a war with which they had no concern.

Apprehensive of a fresh attack after the monsoon, Angria opened delusive
negotiations for a treaty of peace, through his feudal lord, Sahoojee.
Boone was regularly taken in, and announced with satisfaction, to the
Directors, that a treaty had been made, under which Angria contracted to
restore all ships and vessels he had taken, except the _Success_, which
was hopelessly decayed, for which he was to pay Rs.10,000, or to restore
goods to that amount. In lieu of captured cargoes he was to pay Rs.50,000,
or to give goods of equal value, and within two years he was to pay
Rs.10,000 more, for which payment Sahoojee undertook to be surety. Boone
reported that he had captured from Angria prizes to the value of Rs.9785,
which, together with the above payment, and a two-per-cent. war-tax on the
people of Bombay, would go some way to recoup the Company for their losses
and the cost of the expeditions. Altogether, the prospects of increased
trade were brighter, but, so long as Angria held Colaba, he considered
there could be no permanent peace. He was soon undeceived. As soon as
Angria saw that he was safe from attack for another season, he repudiated
the treaty, and by the beginning of the new year his piratical doings were

[1] "Killed and wounded several of them, but all to no purpose."--_Log of
the Addison_.



Trouble with the Portuguese--Madagascar pirates again--Loss of the
_Cassandra_--Captain Macrae's brave defence--The one-legged pirate--Richard
Lazenby--Expedition against Gheriah--Mr. Walter Brown--His
incompetency--Gordon's landing--Insubordination and drunkenness--Arrival
of the _Phram_--General attack--Failure--The Kempsant's alliance--Attack
on Deoghur--The Madagascar pirates, England and Taylor--Ignominious
flight--Fate of the _Phram_--Brown despatched south again--The pirates at
Cochin--They take flight to Madagascar--Their rage against Macrae and
England--England marooned--Taylor takes Goa ship--Rich prize--Governor

In addition to other embarrassments, Boone became involved, at this time,
in a quarrel with the Portuguese. The surrender of Bombay to the English
had, from the first, been extremely distasteful to the Goa authorities,
who understood the value of the place better than did the authorities in
Lisbon; and they had so interpreted the treaty that gave Bombay to the
English that, at the time of transfer, they had managed to retain
everything except the island of Bombay. The English had been obliged to
renounce all claim to Salsette and other dependencies of Bombay, or to
exclusive possession of the harbour, and to agree that the Portuguese
residents should be exempted from the payment of customs, and have full
liberty of trade with the Portuguese establishments in Salsette. This last
condition had been repudiated in England, but continued to be claimed by
the Portuguese, who harassed the position of the English by levying duties,
and impeding the passage of supplies, while they gave asylum to deserters
and runaways of all kinds. By the treaty, toleration for the exercise of
the Roman Catholic religion had been secured; and there had remained in
Bombay a large establishment of Franciscan friars, who made no efforts to
conceal their hostility to the Company's government. In addition to other
treacherous acts, Boone had to complain of the friars tampering with his
soldiers and slaves, and encouraging them to desert. In order to put an
end to the evil, he banished all the Portuguese friars, and installed in
their place an Italian bishop and some Italian Carmelite friars. This was
held by the Goa authorities to be an infringement of the rights of the
King of Portugal. In retaliation, all Roman Catholics in Bombay were
forbidden to recognize the authority of the Italian bishop and friars, and
the Portuguese General of the North was ordered to prohibit all
intercourse with Bombay, and to inflict the severest penalties on all
persons attempting to go there or to leave it.

"Those who are captured shall be whipped and put in the galleys for
five years, and, if of noble birth, they shall pay the sum of one
thousand xeraphims in lieu of working in the galleys, and shall be
transported for five years to the fortress of Diu."[1]

It seemed as if Boone was to have a Portuguese war added to his other
troubles. Fortunately, more moderate counsels prevailed, and, in September,
a conciliatory letter was written to Boone by the Viceroy, announcing his
approaching departure. A few days later, the new Viceroy, Francisco Jose
de Sampaio e Castro, arrived in Goa. While the quarrel was in progress, a
native ship from Surat, bound for Jeddah, was captured off Bassein by a
European pirate ship. This was probably England's ship, _Victory_, of
which we shall hear more directly. The ship and cargo, valued at twelve
lakhs, were carried off, and the passengers and crew put ashore at Malabar

A month later, Boone received intelligence of a serious loss to the
Company's trade from the Madagascar pirates. On the 7th August, the
_Greenwich_, Captain Kirby, and the _Cassandra_, Captain James Macrae,
bringing the usual yearly investment for Bombay and Surat, were in Johanna
roads, engaged in watering. At anchor, near them, was an Ostend ship that
had called for the same purpose. A few days before, they had received
intelligence that a French pirate, Oliver la Bouche,[2] had run on a reef
off Mayotta, and lost his ship, and was engaged in building a new one.
Thinking that the opportunity of catching the pirates at a disadvantage
should not be lost, Macrae and Kirby agreed to go in search of them and
attack them. They had just completed their arrangements when two strange
sails hove in sight. They proved to be the _Victory_, a French-built ship
of forty-six guns, commanded by the well-known pirate, Edward England, and
the _Fancy_, a Dutch-built ship of twenty-four guns, commanded by Taylor.
Macrae and Kirby prepared to give them a hot reception, the Ostend ship
promising to stand by them. So far were they from simply trying to make
their escape, that they looked forward to the handsome reward the Company
would give them for the capture of the pirates. From what followed it is
easy to see that Macrae's was the guiding spirit in this. Cables were cut,
and they stood out to sea, but, owing to the light baffling winds, made
little way. By next morning the pirates had closed, and bore down with a
black flag (skull and crossbones) at the main, a red flag at the fore, and
the cross of St. George at the ensign staff. The _Greenwich_ and the
Ostender, having a better wind than the _Cassandra_, had got some distance
away. In vain Macrae fired gun after gun at the _Greenwich_ to make Kirby
heave to. In a most dastardly way the captain of the _Greenwich_ pursued
his course, taking the Ostender with him, till he had got well to windward;
when, at a distance of two or three miles, he hove to and watched the fate
of the _Cassandra_.

The _Cassandra_ was a new ship of 380 tons, on her first voyage. Macrae
was a thoroughly good seaman, with a fine crew that were attached to him,
and was resolved to fight his ship to the last. Early in the engagement he
gave the _Victory_ some shots between wind and water, which made England
keep off till he had stopped the leaks. Taylor got out the boats of the
_Fancy_ and tried to tow her alongside, to carry the _Cassandra_ by
boarding, but such good practice was made by the _Cassandra's_ marksmen
that the design was given up. At the end of three hours the _Victory_ had
repaired damages, and was closing again. Macrae had lost so many of his
crew, that, giving up all hope of assistance from Kirby, he determined to
run his ship ashore. The _Fancy_, which drew less water, followed with the
intention of boarding, but got aground within pistol-shot, with her bows
towards the _Cassandra's_ broadside, and the action recommenced hotter
than ever. There the two ships lay, both fast aground, pelting each other
furiously, till the crew of the _Fancy_, finding the _Cassandra's_ fire
too hot for them, left their guns and ran below. Had Kirby come to his
assistance at this moment, Macrae's triumph would have been assured; but
this was the moment chosen by Kirby to bear up and shape his course for
Bombay. England in the _Victory_, seeing that the _Greenwich_ might be
disregarded, sent three boats full of men to reinforce the _Fancy_; by
which time there had been so many killed and wounded on board the
_Cassandra_, that the crew, losing heart, refused to fight the ship any
longer. Thirteen had been killed and twenty-four wounded, among the latter
Macrae himself, who had been struck by a musket ball on the head; so, some
in the long boat and some by swimming reached the shore, leaving on board
three wounded men who could not be moved, and who were butchered by the

Not deeming it safe to linger on the coast, Macrae and his crew hastened
inland, reaching the town of the local chief, twenty-five miles off, the
following morning. Exhausted with fatigue and wounds, almost naked, they
were in a pitiable condition. The natives received them hospitably,
supplied their wants to the best of their ability, and refused to
surrender them to the pirates, who offered a reward for them.

After the first rage of the pirates, at the heavy losses they had
sustained, had abated, and soothed, no doubt, by the capture of a fine new
ship with L75,000 on board in hard cash, Macrae ventured to open
communications with them. Several among them had sailed with him, and his
reputation for considerate treatment of his men was well known. With all
their faults, they were not all of them men to resent greatly, after their
first fury had cooled, the loss that had been suffered in fair fight; so
England gave him a promise of safety, and he ventured himself among them.
The _Cassandra_ and the _Fancy_ had been floated, and Macrae was
entertained on board his own ship with his own liquors and provisions. His
position was not without danger, as there were many brutal fellows among
the pirates. England, who had a reputation for good treatment of prisoners,
befriended him; but Taylor, whose influence was greatest among the most
brutal of the rovers, insisted he should be made an end of. In the midst
of the quarrel, a fierce-looking fellow with a wooden leg and his belt
full of pistols, intervened, asking with many oaths for Macrae, who
thought his last moment had come.[3] He was pleasantly surprised when the
ruffian took him by the hand, and swore with many oaths that he would make
mince-meat of the first man that hurt him; and protested, with more oaths,
that Macrae was an honest fellow, and he had formerly sailed with him. So
the dispute ended. Taylor was plied with punch till he was prevailed on to
consent that the _Fancy_, together with some of the _Cassandra's_ cargo,
should be given to Macrae, and before he could recover from his carouse,
Macrae had got safe to shore again.

As soon as the pirates had left the coast, in the _Victory_ and the
_Cassandra_, Macrae set to work to patch up the much-battered _Fancy_, and
in a few days sailed for Bombay, with forty-one of his ship's company,
among whom were two passengers and twelve soldiers. After forty-eight days
of terrible sufferings almost naked, half starved, and reduced to a daily
pint of water each, they reached Bombay on the 26th October. It would have
been well for the Company if they had had more captains like Macrae. His
arrival brought much obloquy on Kirby, whose shameful desertion was now
made known.

The pirates only detained one of the _Cassandra's_ crew--Richard Lazenby,
the carpenter's mate, whom they forced unwillingly to go with them. There
is still extant a curious account by Lazenby of his cruise with the
pirates. He tells of the cruel tortures inflicted on all captured natives;
how on the Malabar coast they had friends, especially among the Dutch at
Cochin, who bought their plunder, supplied them with provisions, and gave
them information of armed ships to be avoided, and rich prizes to be
intercepted. Those who wished to retire from the trade were given passages
to Europe with their ill-gotten gains, in French ships; and finally, after
witnessing the capture of the Portuguese Viceroy, to be related presently,
he was put ashore at Bourbon, whence, in time, he made his way to England.

Since the renewal of war by Angria, at the beginning of the year, Boone
had resolved to strike another blow against Gheriah, and all through the
monsoon preparations had been made for action in September. Great things
were expected of the _Phram_, which was, however, not ready when the
expedition sailed. The direction of affairs was, on this occasion,
entrusted to Mr. Walter Brown, who was styled for the occasion "Admiral of
the Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces." On the 13th
September anchor was weighed, and on the morning of the 19th they arrived
off Gheriah. At Dabul, where they had called in for news, they learned
that the _Phram_ and the _Chandos_ might soon be expected, but that there
was no prospect of Captain Johnson's machine being ready to take part in
the expedition. What Captain Johnson's machine was we do not learn, but
the intelligence 'mightily disconcerted the soldiery.' The squadron
consisted of the _London_, which acted as flagship, the _Victory_ frigate,
the _Revenge_ and _Defiance_ grabs, the _Hunter_ galley, two gallivats, a
bombketch, a fireship, and a number of fishing-boats for landing troops.
The troops for the expedition consisted of 350 soldiers and topasses and
80 chosen sepoys. Brown appears to have been thoroughly incompetent for
such a command, and the undertaking was destined to add one more to the
dismal list of failures. His first act was to make the _London_ exchange
useless shots with the fort at a mile distance. The following day, the
bombketch was ordered to run close in within pistol-shot, and bombard the
place at night. One shell and one carcass were fired, neither of which
went halfway, by reason of the mortars being so faultily constructed that
the chambers could not contain a sufficient charge of powder. 'This
misfortune set the people a-grumbling.'

On the 21st, Brown held a consultation of his officers, and proposed to
land three hundred men, at night, a mile from the town, so as to surprise
it at daylight. The officers protested against the scheme; they justly
remarked that it would be folly to make such an attack before the arrival
of the whole force. The _Phram_ and the _Chandos_, with the platoons of
Europeans, were still to come. They represented that the garrison of the
fort alone was a thousand strong, to say nothing of the small walled town
which must be taken before the fort could be attacked. Such a proposal was
not likely to increase their confidence in Brown. Sickness had already set
in among the troops, and that evening Captain Jeremiah Easthope died of
fever. Brown was all for immediate action, without having any definite

On the 22nd, Gordon was ordered to land with fifty men, and occupy a small
building on the top of a hill on the north side of the river. What he was
expected to do there does not appear. Soon, a number of boats full of men
were observed crossing from the fort to engage Gordon, so a reinforcement
of fifty men was sent to him. On reaching the hill, Gordon found that what
had been taken for a building consisted only of a natural pile of loose
stones, such as are to be frequently seen on the Deccan hills, and there
was nothing for it but to re-embark. He managed his retreat to the
landing-place in good order, followed by the enemy at musket-shot distance.
Several times he faced about, but the enemy always shrank from close
quarters. Nothing had been done to cover the place of embarkation, and it
was only after the strongest remonstrances from those on board that Brown
was prevailed on to order the _Revenge_ and the _Hunter_ to stand in and
cover the re-embarkation of Gordon's party. In spite of this precaution, a
lieutenant, a sergeant, a quartermaster of the _London_ and six men were
killed, and about twenty men wounded. It is difficult to imagine anything
feebler and more aimless than the whole proceeding.

The next day the bombketch was again sent in to bombard the fort, with the
same result as before. The proceedings were enlivened by the punishment of
Sergeant Passmore, who was reported by Gordon for cowardly behaviour. He
was sent round the fleet to receive ten lashes alongside each ship. The
next three days were spent in idleness, awaiting the _Phram_, from which
so much was expected. On board ship there was no discipline, but plenty of
hard drinking. In order to make the men fight well, Brown's idea was to
supply them with unlimited rum: the officers kept pace with the men in
their libations, and what little discipline existed soon disappeared.
Orders were disobeyed, while drunkenness, violence, and insubordination
reigned unchecked. When remonstrances were addressed to Brown, he refused
to stop the supply of liquor, saying that the people must not be put out
of humour at this juncture, and they must drink as they pleased: all which
is duly recorded by Captain Upton of the _London_. The enemy meanwhile was
observed busily constructing new batteries, and boats full of armed men
were constantly crossing the river, but nothing was done to intercept them.

At last, the _Chandos_, _Pelham_, and _Phram_ arrived, having spent ten
days in their voyage from Bombay. Nothing better occurred to Brown than to
send the _Phram_ at once to engage the fort. On opening fire, it was found
that her ports were so low and the gun-carriages so high, that her guns
could only be fired when depressed so as to strike the water twenty yards
off. So she was brought out again with one man mortally wounded, and the
officers and soldiers so mightily discouraged that they declared, unless
she could be made serviceable, it was useless to attempt anything further.
The ships' carpenters were set to work on the _Phram_, while the dejection
and drinking increased. Fifty men of the _Chandos_ who had not yet had an
opportunity of gauging Brown's incapacity, volunteered, for forty rupees a
head, to join a landing party; but not a single seaman in the squadron
would consent, 'upon any consideration whatsoever,' to go on board the
_Phram_, till an increased bounty secured the services of the _Chandos'_

By the 29th all was ready for the grand attack. Two landing parties, one
of three hundred and forty soldiers under Captain Stanton, and the other
of two hundred and thirty-seven seamen under Captain Woodward, were held
in readiness, and soon after midday the fleet stood into the inner harbour,
with the exception of the _Phram_, which engaged the fort from the outer
harbour. Lieutenant Wise had been selected as a fit person to command and
point the _Phram's_ guns, which he did so badly that his shot mostly fell
in the inner harbour. The Mahrattas were quite ready for them, and all the
afternoon the cannonade went on, till sunset put an end to it. Five men on
board the _Phram_ were wounded, but it had engaged at too great a distance
to do or suffer much harm. Brown, in the _London_, had kept out of action,
and contented himself with sending six dozen of wine and arrack to the men
on board the _Phram_, together with orders to Stanton, who was on board,
to warp into the harbour at night and renew the action next morning. The
following day firing recommenced, and it was found necessary to displace
Lieutenant Wise, he being continually drunk, and to allow the sailors to
point their own guns. The closer range caused numerous casualties on board
the _Phram_. Among the soldiers, Mr. Tuladay and four men were killed, and
a great number wounded. The seamen also had several killed and wounded.
Many of the casualties were caused by the bursting of a gun on board the
_Phram_. The explosion fired the gun on the opposite side of the deck,
which was loaded with grape, and pointing over a boat full of topasses.
The flame from the gun ignited their cartridge boxes, and the poor
wretches were terribly scorched and injured. The fire of the ships in the
inner harbour was successful in destroying a number of Angria's ships that
had sought refuge in the river; one of five hundred tons, one of two
hundred tons, and ten smaller ones were set on fire and burnt. By
nightfall, all hands thought they had done enough, and told Stanton so,
and in spite of Brown's messages of expostulation, they took advantage of
a land breeze to come out. At midnight came Captain Woodward, of the
_Revenge_, to report, in a panic, to Brown that he had left his ship on
the rocks close to the fort, and that both vessel and crew were as good as
lost. Half an hour after, the _Revenge_ was seen coming out with the other
vessels. She had not been ashore at all, and the only conclusion was that
Woodward was frightened out of his senses; so he was put in irons for his

Thus came to an end the grand attack, and nothing better was to be
expected. "I have continual disturbances in the ship dayly by the officers
excessive drinking, and noe manner of command carryed," wrote Captain
Upton, of the _London_. A few days later he records how Captain S. and
Mr. D.[4] fought with their fists in the roundhouse before Mr. Brown, who
took no notice of it.

The next few days were spent in repairing damages. While thus employed,
messengers came from the Kempsant, offering to join hands with the English
in attacking Angria. A quarrel had arisen between the two chiefs, owing to
Angria having plundered some of the Kempsant's ships. But he stipulated
that Angria's fort at Deoghur, seven leagues to the south, should be first
attacked; so, on the 7th October, part of the fleet was sent down to

On the 16th, fresh stores of arrack, water and provisions having been
received from Goa, Brown called a consultation of the officers on board
the _Addison_, and proposed another landing under the _Phrams_ guns. But
the officers were disheartened, undisciplined, and under no control. One
objection after another was raised, and the council of war came to an end
by other officers of the squadron, who had learned what was going on,
coming aboard, and conveying to Brown in no measured terms that they would
have nothing to do with it. One of them in a passion told Brown he was mad,
and did not know what he was about--which was true enough. The next day, a
foolish show of landing was made, and then Brown decided to abandon the
attempt and transfer his attack to Deoghur.

Deoghur, or, as it was sometimes called, Tamana, was one of the ten
principal forts ceded to Angria in 1713. It commanded the small but good
harbour formed by the Tamana river. This was Angria's southernmost
stronghold. The name Tamana is still to be found at a small place ten
miles up the river. Here Brown brought his squadron on the 18th October.
The usual desultory and harmless bombardment followed; the _Phram_ and the
bombketch being equally inefficient. Then, when Brown suggested a landing
party to storm the place, the officers refused to second him, and so, with
some additional loss, the attack on Deoghur came to an end. Not a word is
said as to any assistance rendered by the Kempsant. At daybreak on the
21st, the whole squadron sailed northward, but the tale of Brown's
incompetency was not complete.

A little before noon next morning four strange sails were seen in the
offing, which, before long, were made out to be the dreaded Madagascar
pirates, with the _Cassandra_, _Victory_, and two prizes they had just
taken. The sight of them struck Brown with terror, though a little
reflection would have shown him that the pirates would have little or no
inducement to attack armed ships carrying no valuable merchandise. He
directed his whole squadron to anchor off Gheriah, which must have
appeared puzzling to his late antagonists in that place. Hoping to evade
the pirate ships, anchor was weighed in the night, and the squadron sailed
northward, no order being preserved, and the fleet getting much scattered.

As it happened, the pirates had mistaken them for Angria's fleet, and were
standing to the northward in search of prey, without any thought of
attacking them. Without any hostile intention on either side, the two
squadrons became intermingled. While it was still dark, the party on the
_London_ was startled by a cannon shot flying over them, and in the faint
morning light they saw a large ship on their quarter. On hailing to ask
her name, an answer came back that it was the _Victory_. Brown preferred
to believe that it was his own ship of that name; but his answering hail,
giving the name of the _London_, was replied to with a broadside, to which
a smart fire was returned by the _Revenge_ and the _Defiance_, that were
close astern. On both sides there was no willingness to fight. The pirates
were at first seized with consternation at discovering their mistake; they
had turned their prizes adrift after throwing their sails overboard, and,
with only three hundred men for their joint crews, forty of them negroes,
were not strong enough to engage the Bombay squadron. But England was a
man who preferred fighting to running, so putting a bold face on the
matter, the _Cassandra_ ran through the fleet, firing into the _Victory_,
the _Chandos_, and the _Phram_. The _Chandos_, which was towing the
_Phram_, at once cast it loose. The fleet scattered in all directions,
like a flock of sheep when a strange dog runs through it. Upton, of the
_London_, a chicken-hearted fellow, persuaded Brown that they ought not to
engage, as Boone had sent them to attack Gheriah, but had given them no
instructions about the Madagascar pirates. Brown seemingly did not want
much persuading, and crowded all sail to escape; at the same time striking
his flag to show that he did not intend fighting, which excited the
indignation of his own sailors and the derision of the pirates. He next
sent orders by a gallivat for the _Phram_ to be burned, and thus that
useless machine, from which so much had been expected; and that had cost
so much money and labour, came to an end.

These foolish proceedings gave England the measure of his antagonists.
'Observing the indifferency of the fleet,' the best way of saving himself
was, he thought, to 'play the Bull-beggar' with them; so he set to work to
chase them northward. The superior sailing powers of the pirates enabled
them to do as they pleased.

When they overtook the rearmost of the ships Brown had still got with him,
they backed their sails and fired into them till they had got well ahead
again. In this ignominious fashion the greater part of the fleet was
shuffled along for two days by the pirates, as a flock of sheep is driven
by a couple of sheep-dogs, till they at last found refuge in Goa. The
soldiers on board the _London_ improved the occasion by breaking into the
'Lazaretto' and getting drunk on the wine they found there. Part of the
fleet made for Carwar, and others found safety under the guns of Anjediva.
The pirates, having effected their purpose of driving them off, turned
south and took the _Elizabeth_ at anchor off Honore.

Before long, an indignant letter from Boone ordered Brown to cruise
southward and engage the pirates at all hazards; so the unhappy Brown put
to sea again. The news of the capture of the _Elizabeth_ was enough for
him: on the third day he turned northward again and made for Bombay; to
make his peace with the exasperated Governor as he best could. It is not
difficult to imagine Boone's disgust at the failure of his schemes, and
the worthlessness of those he had to depend upon; but it must be admitted
that these desultory attacks, first on one place and then on another, were
not calculated to effect anything useful. Had he concentrated his efforts
on Kennery, he might have rendered the waters of Bombay more secure.

Brown laid the blame of his failure on the disobedience of his officers,
which had been so flagrant as to conceal his own incapacity; so, on the
12th December, Boone again despatched him to search for the pirates, and
give protection to the country vessels bringing up pepper from the
southern factories. He took with him a fine squadron: the _Greenwich_, 42
guns; the _Chandos_, 40 guns; the _Victory_, 26 guns; the _Britannia_, 24
guns; the _Revenge_, 16 guns; and a fireship. The pusillanimous Upton was
left behind, and, next to himself in command of the expedition, but in
reality the moving spirit, he took the gallant Macrae. England and Taylor
had meanwhile been constrained to run down to the Laccadives, for want of
water and provisions. Not getting what they wanted, they had come
northward again to Cochin, where they were royally entertained by the
Dutch authorities. They were supplied with everything they required,
including a present, from the Governor, of a boat loaded with arrack, and
sixty bales of sugar, for all of which handsome payment was made, while
handfuls of duccatoons were thrown into the boat for the boatmen to
scramble for. A fine clock and gold watch, found in the _Cassandra_ when
captured, were sent as a present to the Governor's daughter, and formal
salutes were fired on both sides as they entered and left the harbour. No
wonder that they were made welcome along the coast. On leaving Cochin,
they took a small vessel from Tellicherry sailing under a Bombay pass.
From the master they learned that the Bombay squadron, with Macrae in
command, was cruising in search of them. They were roused to fury by this
news of Macrae's 'ingratitude,' and vied with each other in devising the
tortures to which they would subject him if he fell into their hands again,
while their anger was vented on England and all who had stood up for
Macrae after the capture of the _Cassandra_. Before long they were sighted
by Brown, who bore down on them and signalled them to heave to. This
behaviour, so different from their previous experiences, was little to
their liking. They made sail for the southwards, and, for two days, were
held in chase, till by superior sailing they lost their pursuers.

Such an extraordinary change in the behaviour of the Bombay squadron
taught them that the Indian coast was no longer a safe place for honest
rovers. It was expedient to take themselves elsewhere: so sail was made
for Mauritius. Against Macrae their curses were loud and deep. A villain
they had treated so well as to give him a ship and other presents, and now
to be in arms against them! No fate was bad enough for such a man. They
had been cruelly deceived. To appease their wrath they turned upon England.
But for his foolish championship of Macrae, this would not have happened.
Taylor had been right all along. They would only follow him in future. In
their rage they first talked of hanging England, till more moderate
counsels prevailed, and it was decided to maroon him at Mauritius, which
was done. England and three others who had befriended Macrae were set on
shore, among them, no doubt, the one-legged pirate, and in due course of
time made their way over to St. Mary's.[5]

At St. Mary's the command of the _Victory_ was made over to Oliver La
Bouche, or La Buze, whose efforts at shipbuilding had apparently not met
with success, and the two ships, in company, before long took what was
probably the richest prize that ever fell into pirate hands. The
ex-Viceroy of Goa, the Conde de Ericeira, had sailed for Lisbon, in
January, in the _Nostra Senhora de Cabo_, a seventy-gun ship, taking with
him a rich consignment of jewels for the Portuguese Government, and the
proceeds of his own private trading during the three years of his
viceroyalty. Off the Cape they encountered a heavy storm, which dismasted
the ship, forced them to throw many of their guns overboard, and obliged
them to put back to Bourbon to refit. Taylor and La Buze, learning the
helplessness of the Viceroy's ship, sailed into the anchorage under
English colours. A salute from the Viceroy's ship was answered with a
shotted broadside, and, in the confusion that ensued, the Portuguese ship
was boarded and carried almost without resistance. Seldom or never had
such a prize fallen into pirate hands so easily. The booty in diamonds and
money was in the shape most coveted by the rovers. The jewels alone were
estimated at over three million dollars. The hard cash was said to be five
hundred thousand crowns, and the Viceroy was forced to raise another two
thousand crowns as a personal ransom, which would have been higher, had he
not convinced them that part of the jewels and money on board was his own

Bourbon was a French possession, but the Governor, M. Desforges, was
obliged to observe _une grande circonspection_ in his dealings with the
pirates who came and went as they pleased. Bernardin de St. Pierre, who
visited Bourbon nearly fifty years later, repeats a tradition, how La Buze
sat at table between the Viceroy and the Governor, and in an access of
generosity remitted the Viceroy's ransom. He further tells us that La Buze
eventually settled down in the island, and was hung some years later.

Taylor, continuing his cruise in the _Cassandra_, took a fine Ostend ship,
and carried her to St. Mary's. While most of the pirates were on shore,
the prisoners overpowered the few left to guard them, and carried off the
ship. We get a last glimpse of the _Cassandra_ in a private letter written
to the Directors in May, 1723, from Jamaica, in which it is stated that
the _Cassandra_ was lying at Portobello, while Taylor was engaged in
negotiating with the captain of an English man-of-war for a pardon. The
negotiations apparently fell through, as Taylor was eventually given a
commission by the Spaniards. The letter relates how the crew boasted that
they had, each man, twelve hundred pounds in gold and silver, besides a
great store of diamonds and many rich goods. Of the sharing of these
diamonds, Johnson tells a story how one man, being given for his share one
big diamond instead of a number of small ones, broke it up with a hammer,
so that he might have as many 'sparks' as the others.

Macrae's defence of the _Cassandra_, and the boldness and ability he
displayed in his dealings with the pirates, brought him into prominent
notice. The son of a poor Ayrshire cottager, he had worked himself up,
from before the mast, to the command of a ship. Soon after his return to
England, the Directors appointed him to be their supervisor on the west
coast of Sumatra, and, before he sailed, a provisional commission was
given him to succeed to the Presidentship of Madras, on a vacancy
occurring. Eighteen months later, he took his seat as Governor at Fort St.
George. His six years of office were distinguished by his efforts to put
an end to many abuses that had grown up in the Company's affairs. He left
India with a fortune of L100,000, made by private trade, and settled down
near his birthplace, which he had not revisited since he left it as a boy.
He died in 1746.

NOTE.--The account of England's cruise in the _Cassandra_, given in
Johnson's "History of the Pirates," is evidently taken from Lazenby's
narrative to the E.I.C. Directors. Macrae's account of the capture of
the _Cassandra_, given by Johnson, appears also to have been part of a
similar report to the Directors, but the report itself has disappeared.
Additional information is to be found in the logs of the _Greenwich_
and _London_.

[1] Proclamation issued at Goa, 19th July, 1720 (Danvers).

[2] This was Oliver Levasseur, otherwise La Buze of Calais, a noted French
pirate. By the English he was called La Bouche, and, in one ship's log,
Lepouse. On Woodes Rogers assuming the governorship of the Bahamas, La
Bouche and England sailed for Madagascar.

[3] Stevenson, in "Treasure Island," evidently took his idea of John
Silver, the one-legged pirate, from this incident. "Now what a ship
was christened" (he makes him say) "so let her stay, I says. So it was
with the _Cassandra_ as brought us all home from Malabar, after
England took the Viceroy of the Indies.... First with England, then
with Flint; that's my story."

[4] Probably Stanton and Drage.

[5] In Lazenby's narrative, England is mentioned as Seegar, which was
probably his real name, England being only an _alias_.



Measures taken in England against pirates--Woodes Rogers at the
Bahamas--Edward Teach--Challoner Ogle--Bartholomew Roberts
killed--Matthews sent to the East Indies--Naval officers'
duels--Portuguese alliance--Expedition against Colaba--Assault--Defeat--A
split in the alliance--Plot against Boone--His departure--Matthews'
schemes--His insulting behaviour--He quarrels with everybody--Goes to
Madagascar--The King of Ranter Bay--Matthews goes to Bengal.

As long as their forces had been occupied with the French war and the
Highland rising, the English ministry had been powerless to check the
depredations of the pirates, which had become intolerable both in the East
and West Indies. Now Europe was at peace, and measures could be concerted
to put a stop to the evil. As usual, the Peace of Utrecht was followed by
an increase of piracy, through the privateersmen being thrown out of

On the 5th September, 1717, a royal proclamation was published, offering a
free pardon, to all pirates on the American coast surrendering within one
year, for all piracies committed before the 5th January. As rewards for
the capture of pirate ships, to every captain L100, to other officers L40,
to petty officers L30, and to ordinary seamen L20 were to be paid on
conviction of the offenders. To pirates, a reward of L200 was offered for
the surrender of a pirate captain or commander before the 6th September,
1718. The effect of the proclamation, in conjunction with the measures
taken in the Bahamas, was very great. By the 1st July, 1719, to which date
the time of grace was extended, all but three or four of the most
desperate rovers had retired from business. But against the most audacious
of them more vigorous measures were necessary.

It was of little use to hunt down pirates at sea, so long as their haunts
in the Bahamas and Madagascar were allowed to flourish, and, as the West
Indian rovers were the most mischievous to European trade, the Bahamas
were first taken in hand.

During the war, the Bahamas had been twice taken and plundered by the
French and Spanish; all semblance of authority had disappeared, and it was
estimated that there were upwards of two thousand pirates in and about
Providence. In 1718, Captain Woodes Rogers leased the islands for
twenty-one years, from the proprietors, and received a commission as
Governor; he sailed, for Providence, with a naval force and powers to
offer an amnesty to all who submitted. Five or six well-known pirate
captains made their peace with the Government, and a number of their crews,
though some of them went back to their old trade before long. England, La
Buze, and others slipped away and made for Madagascar. A council was then
formed, consisting of six of the adventurers and six of the inhabitants
who had never been pirates themselves. This was followed by the submission
of others; some were hung, and order of a sort was re-established in the

The coasts of Virginia and North Carolina were at this time beset by a
number of pirates, the most notorious of whom was Edward Teach, _alias_
Blackbeard, a Bristol man, who had begun his piratical career in the
spring of 1717; the most sinister figure in the annals of piracy. Pirate
captains were, as a rule, chosen by their crews, and if their conduct was
unsatisfactory to the rovers, they were deposed and sometimes put to death
or marooned; but Teach, as fearless as he was merciless, ruled his crew by
terror. As an instance of his savage humour, it is related that on one
occasion, in a drinking bout, he blew out the light and fired two pistols
among his companions, wounding Israel Hands, his sailing master, severely.
On being asked why he did it, he damned them, and said if he did not kill
one of them now and then, they would forget who he was. So impressed were
his crew with his wickedness, that they believed they carried the devil on
board, who appeared at intervals among them as one of the crew, but could
not be identified as belonging to the ship's company. Once he fought the
_Scarborough_, a man-of-war of thirty guns, and beat her off. He boldly
went ashore when he pleased, forcing the Governor of North Carolina to
marry him, and to supply him with medicines for his crew. With his face
covered with black hair, and a beard of extravagant length, fantastically
tied up in ribbons, he presented a wild and truculent figure that was the
terror of the coast.

An extract of a journal he kept, found after his death, is given by

"Such a day, Rum all out:--Our company somewhat sober: A damn'd
confusion amongst us!--Rogues a plotting;--great talk of
separation.--So I look'd sharp for a Prize;--such a day took one,
with a great deal of Liquor on board, so kept the Company hot, damned
hot, then all things went well again."

Eden, the Governor of North Carolina, was suspected of sharing in Teach's
plunder, and his conduct was so suspicious that it could only be set down
to dishonesty or to extreme pusillanimity; so, in their distress, the
North Carolina planters sought the assistance of the Governor of Virginia.
There were at this time two men-of-war, the _Pearl_ and the _Lime_, lying
in the James river, but their size was too great to permit of their
searching the creeks and inlets frequented by Teach; therefore, two small
sloops, without guns, were fitted out and placed under command of Maynard,
first lieutenant of the _Pearl_. At the same time a proclamation was
published in Virginia offering rewards for the apprehension of pirates,
with a special reward of L100 for Teach. Though the whole had been planned
with great secrecy. Teach received warnings from friends on shore, but
paid no attention to them, and Maynard surprised him at anchor in a small

Teach cut his cable and tried to stand out to sea, but ran aground.
Maynard anchored within half gunshot and set to work to lighten his sloops,
while Teach roared out curses and threats, to which Maynard replied that
he expected no quarter and would give none. Just as Maynard was ready to
attack, Teach got afloat and bore down on the sloops, giving them a
broadside that partially disabled one sloop, and killed or wounded twenty
men in Maynard's. Nothing discouraged, Maynard kept his men under cover
and ran the pirate aboard, and was at once attacked by Teach with fourteen
men. Teach and Maynard met hand to hand, and there was a desperate
encounter, Teach fighting like a ferocious animal at bay. Maynard's sword
broke, but he was saved by one of his men coming to his assistance, and
Teach at last fell dead on the deck of the sloop with twenty-five wounds.
The second sloop, meanwhile, had boarded and captured the pirate ship, and
Maynard sailed back to the James river with Teach's head at his bowsprit.
Fifteen of the pirates were taken alive, of whom thirteen were hung.

A year after Teach's death there appeared on the American coast
Bartholomew Roberts, a Welshman from Haverfordwest, who, for over two
years, was the scourge of the American and African traders. It was said of
him that he was a sober man who drank tea constantly, which made him an
object of suspicion to his crew. His temperance did not prevent him from
being the most wantonly wicked pirate who sailed the seas. In a
Newfoundland harbour, on one occasion, he burned and sank twenty-one
vessels, destroyed the fisheries and stages, and wrought all the havoc he
could, out of pure wantonness. On another occasion, he captured a slaver
with eighty slaves on board, and burned it, slaves and all, because it
would cost too much time and trouble to unshackle the unfortunate wretches.
At the same time, he was a man of order and method. He drew up a set of
rules, to which his crew subscribed, in which, among other things, it was
laid down that no women should be allowed on board; dice and gambling were
prohibited; lights were put out at 8 o'clock; and musicians were exempt
from playing on Sundays. The chaplain of Cape Coast Castle having been
captured, he was pressed to join the pirates, being promised that nothing
would be required of him except to make punch and say prayers. On his
declining the office, all church property was restored to him "except
three prayer books and a bottle-screw."

In pursuit of Roberts, the British Government despatched Captain Challoner
Ogle, with the _Swallow_ and _Weymouth_. Failing to find him in American
waters. Ogle steered for the African shore, and, on the 5th February, 1722,
when separated from the _Weymouth_, he came on the pirates at anchor off
Cape Lopez. Putting the _Swallow_ about, and handling his sails as if in
confusion and alarm, Ogle stood out to sea, pursued by the _Ranger_. When
well out of sight of land, the _Ranger_ was allowed to draw up, and the
pirate crew suddenly found themselves under the fire of a sixty-gun ship,
for which their own thirty-two guns were no match, and after a short
engagement the black flag was hauled down. On the 10th, Ogle stood in
again to engage the _Royal Fortune_, disposing his flags to make the
pirates believe his ship had been captured by the _Ranger_. Roberts fought
with desperation when he discovered the ruse. Dressed in rich crimson
damask, a scarlet feather in his hat, a gold chain with large diamond
cross round his neck, he made a resistance worthy of his reputation,
determined to blow up his ship rather than yield. At the main he hoisted a
black flag, on which were displayed a skeleton and a man with a flaming
sword; the jack was black, showing a man standing on two skulls, and St.
George's ensign was at the ensign staff. After a desperate encounter,
Roberts was slain by a grape-shot, and the _Royal Fortune_ carried by
boarding, the pirates resisting to the last. Out of two hundred and
seventy-six men captured in the two ships, fifty-two were executed, all of
them Englishmen. Ogle was knighted for his able and gallant conduct.

The re-establishment of authority at the Bahamas had led to an increase in
the numbers of the Madagascar pirates; so Commodore Thomas Matthews was
despatched to the East Indies with a strong squadron, consisting of the
_Lyon_, 50 guns; _Salisbury_, 40 guns; _Exeter_, 50 guns; and _Shoreham_,
20 guns. The Company's ship _Grantham_ was also placed under his orders,
to act as a store-ship. In Byng's successful action with the Spanish, off
Cape Passaro (August, 1718), Matthews had commanded the _Kent_ with credit;
but with the exception of courage, he apparently failed to possess a
single quality for independent command. Irascible, domineering to his
subordinates, and insolent to all others he was brought in contact with,
he was entirely devoid of judgment or discretion. Twenty years later, when
he became better known, Walpole wrote of his 'brutal manners,' and Horace
Mann nicknamed him 'Il Furibondo.' There could not have been a worse
selection for the work in hand.

The desire of the Directors was that the squadron should, before going to
Bombay, proceed to St. Augustine's Bay and St. Mary's. Thence, that a ship
should be detached to Bourbon, where it was supposed a new pirate
settlement was being formed; after which, they wished the squadron to
proceed to the mouth of the Red Sea, where pirates would in all
probability be found waiting for the Indian ships in July and August. But
Matthews had views of his own, and was not much concerned with the wishes
of the Directors, who had designs of opening up trade with Madagascar, and,
as a preliminary step, desired to see the pirate settlements rooted out.

In February, 1721, the squadron sailed from Spithead, with orders to
rendezvous at St. Augustine's Bay. Soon after leaving the Channel, the
_Salisbury_ and _Exeter_ were dismasted in a storm, and were obliged to
put into Lisbon to repair damages. Matthews continued his voyage with the
_Lyon_ and the _Shoreham_ to St. Augustine's Bay. He found no pirate ships
there at the time, and good policy demanded that he should await the
_Salisbury_ and the _Exeter_. Instead of doing so, he continued his voyage
to Bombay, where he arrived on the 27th September. Before leaving, he
entrusted to the natives of St. Augustine's Bay a letter for Captain
Cockburn, of the _Salisbury_, in which a number of particulars were given
of the squadron. The proceeding was so ill-advised and so well calculated
to defeat the object of the squadron's coming into Indian waters, that it
was believed in the squadron that Matthews had done it purposely to put
the pirates on their guard. Whether this was his intention or not, it
serves to show the opinion held of him by those under his command. Soon
after Matthews' departure, Taylor and La Buze reached St. Augustine's Bay,
read the letter, and sailed at once for Fort Dauphin, in the south-eastern
end of Madagascar. The _Salisbury_ and _Exeter_ arrived soon afterwards,
and getting no news either of Matthews or the pirates, sailed for Bombay.
These proceedings were not of happy augury for the success of the
expedition. The pirates had information of the squadron being in the
Indian seas, and were doubtless kept henceforth informed, from time to
time, of its movements through their various sources of intelligence.
Taylor, satisfied with his gains, sailed for the West Indies and
surrendered to the Spaniards, who gave him a commission.

Matthews' first act on dropping anchor, was to force the native vessels in
harbour, belonging to Bombay traders, to strike the English colours they
were in the habit of displaying, and he next embarked in a squabble with
the Governor as to who was to fire the first salute, a matter that was not
settled without many messages to and fro. The officers of the squadron,
taking their cue from Matthews, 'looked as much superior to us,' Downing
tells us, 'as the greatness of their ambition could possibly lead them.
There were daily duels fought by one or other of them, and challenges
perpetually sent round the island by the gentlemen of the navy.' The duels
seem mostly to have taken place among the naval officers, who must have
been a quarrelsome lot. On the voyage from England, Mr. Mitchell and Mr.
Sutherland, 'son of My Lord Sutherland,' had quarrelled, and Mitchell,
considering himself aggrieved, demanded his discharge on arrival at Bombay,
which was granted. He then sent a challenge to Sutherland, who wounded and
disabled him. But all duels were not so harmless. A few days afterwards,
Sutherland and Dalrymple, 'grandson of Sir David Dalrymple, His Majesty's
Advocate for Scotland,' both midshipmen, quarrelled over dice, and fought
a duel, without seconds, the following morning; when Dalrymple was run
through the body and killed on the spot--a fate that was apparently not
altogether undeserved. Sutherland was tried by court-martial, found guilty
of murder, and sentenced to death; but as it was necessary for the
death-warrant to be signed by the King, it was arranged to carry him a
prisoner to England. Touching at Barbadoes, he made his escape, and
remained there till a free pardon was granted him. Not long afterwards a
duel, arising out of a quarrel about a lady's health, was fought between
Stepney, the second lieutenant, and Berkeley, the third lieutenant of the
_Salisbury_, in which both were badly wounded. Stepney died a fortnight
after the duel, but, as the surgeon certified that he had not died of his
wound, Berkeley was not brought to a court-martial.

Meanwhile, great preparations were being made for a fresh campaign against
Angria, and while these bickerings went on among the subordinates, the
Governor and Matthews were engaged in planning the attack. Long before
Matthews' arrival, negotiations had been opened between the Portuguese
Viceroy, Francisco Jose de Sampaio e Castro, and the Bombay Council, for a
joint attack on Colaba. Through the management of Mr. Robert Cowan, who
had been deputed, in March, to Goa, for the purpose, a treaty of mutual
co-operation had been drawn up, by which the Bombay Council undertook to
furnish two thousand men and five ships. The Portuguese authorities
undertook to furnish an equal force. The negotiation was not completed
till the beginning of September, and Cowan, in recognition of the ability
he had displayed, was given a seat in the Council. The combined forces
were to assemble at Chaul, then a Portuguese possession, and march
overland to attack Colaba. Forgetting the old adage about selling the skin
of the bear while the animal was still alive, it was further agreed that
Colaba, after capture, was to be the property of Portugal, while Gheriah
was to be handed over to the English. The arrival of Matthews' squadron
therefore brought a welcome addition to the Bombay armaments.

A camp was formed for the expeditionary force; drilling was the order of
the day; Cowan was named general, and various commissions as colonels,
majors, and captains were granted to officers of the navy who volunteered
for land service. On the 30th October, a seven days' fast was ordered, to
secure the Divine blessing on the undertaking, and the chaplain was
directed to preach an appropriate sermon.

On the 29th November, the expedition left Bombay, and anchored off Chaul,
where the Portuguese force had already assembled. The English force
consisted of 655 Europeans and topasses, a troop of 40 horsemen, and 1514
sepoys. Matthews also contributed 200 seamen, of whom 50 were to serve the
guns. The artillery consisted of two 24-pounders, two 18-pounders, four
9-pounders, six small field guns, two mortars, and eight coehorns. The
Portuguese force consisted of 1000 Europeans, 160 horsemen, 350 volunteers,
and 2400 sepoys, with six 24-pounders, six 18-pounders, ten field pieces,
and eight mortars, commanded by the General of the North. The Viceroy was
also present. Such a force, combined with the men-of-war, was sufficient,
under proper direction, to have destroyed all Angria's strongholds along
the coast.

Some delay was caused by the necessity of building a bridge over the
Ragocim river, and then the army advanced, to be quickly brought to a
standstill again till sufficient transport could be brought from Bombay.
On the 12th December, after marching round the head of the Alibagh river,
the army encamped close to Alibagh fort; while the men-of-war anchored in
the roads. During the march, a few of Angria's horsemen had been seen from
time to time. On one occasion, while the Viceroy, accompanied by Matthews,
Cowan, and other commanders, was riding to view the country, a horseman
approached them under cover of a cactus hedge, and threw his lance,
wounding Matthews in the thigh. Matthews vainly pursued him, beside
himself with rage at his wound and at his pistols missing fire.

On the 13th, an assault was made on the fort, though the heavy guns had
not been landed. Outside the fort there were fifteen hundred horse and a
thousand foot sent by Sahoojee to Angria's assistance. The Portuguese were
to face them, while five hundred English soldiers and marines, led by
naval officers, were to force the gateway and scale the rampart. Common
sense demanded that Sahoojee's force outside the fort should be disposed
of, and the heavy guns that had been brought with so much labour from
Chaul should be mounted and used, before any attempt at an assault was
projected; but there was a woeful absence of ordinary capacity among the
commanders. At four in the afternoon, the little force under Brathwaite,
first lieutenant of the _Lyon_, who held the rank of colonel for the
occasion, advanced to the assault. The gateway was blocked, and could not
be forced; many of the scaling ladders were too short, and the affair
resolved itself into a struggle, by a small number who had gained the
rampart, to maintain themselves, while the rest remained exposed to the
fire from the walls. In the midst of it, Sahoojee's force advanced on the
Portuguese, who broke and fled in wild confusion, leaving the English,
force to their fate. The assaulting party, seeing their danger, drew off,
leaving many of their wounded behind them, the whole force gave ground,
and soon there was a wild rush for the camp, luckily not followed by the
Mahratta horsemen. Thirty-three had been killed and twenty-seven wounded;
among the latter, Lieutenant Bellamy of the navy, who had behaved with
great dash and bravery. Matthews' marines suffered heavily. Though wanting
in discipline, they displayed much courage. All the field guns and a great
deal of ammunition fell into the hands of the Mahrattas. The whole blame
was laid on the Portuguese, to whom treachery was imputed. Matthews,
always violent, flew at the General of the North and assaulted him,[1] and
treated the Viceroy not much better. A little more enterprise on the part
of the Mahrattas would have destroyed the whole force. The following day
some heavy guns were landed, and a four-gun battery was constructed. But
the Portuguese had had enough of it, and were determined to withdraw.

From the beginning, there had been little cordiality between the
ill-matched allies. In the English camp, Cowan was devoid of military
experience or instinct, and commanded little confidence among men
habituated to defeat in their attacks on Angrian strongholds; while
Matthews, violent and overbearing, claimed a right to direct operations
that he knew nothing about. The Portuguese, on their side, proud in the
recollection of the great position they had once held on the Malabar coast,
and which, though now fast falling into decay, was still immeasurably
superior to that of the English merchants, were disgusted at the constant
drunkenness, quarrelling, and want of discipline among the English, and
incensed at the charge of treachery, for which there was no justification.
Feigning illness, the Viceroy betook himself to his ship. Angria saw his
opportunity of breaking up the alliance, and opened negotiations with him.
On the 17th, the Viceroy wrote to the English, proposing a suspension of
arms. With a bad grace they were obliged to consent, seeing in the
negotiation, which was against the compact that neither should treat
separately, farther confirmation of their suspicion of treachery. Angria
granted the Portuguese full reparation for injuries, and formed an
offensive and defensive alliance with them. The English were left to shift
for themselves. Full of wrath, they embarked at once, and sailed for
Bombay on the 28th.

While the force was engaged at Colaba, the Malwans[2] strove to make a
diversion in Angria's favour by attacking English ships, under pretence
that they were Portuguese vessels; they being at war with Goa at the time.
The Sunda Rajah also attacked a private English ship, but was beaten off.
In the Gulf, the Bombay sloop _Prince_ took a Muscat ship of fourteen guns,
but after some days was obliged to relinquish its prize to a Muscat

It is impossible not to sympathize with Boone's disappointment at the
failure of this long-planned expedition, which he had looked forward to as
the crowning achievement of his presidentship. The time had come for him
to return to England. His successor, Mr. William. Phipps, had arrived from
Mocha, in August, and had taken the second seat in Council, while awaiting
Boone's departure. Boone's last year in Bombay was embittered by a
dangerous intrigue against him, headed by Parker and Braddyll, two of the
Council. Investigation showed that they had plotted to seize his person,
and had even uttered threats against his life. Being arrested and ordered
to leave Bombay, they fled to Goa. After a time, Braddyll made his way in
a small boat to Bombay, and sought protection on board the _Lyon_, which
was readily extended to him by Matthews. As Braddyll's name appears among
those present in Council in Bombay, in 1723, he must have succeeded in
making his peace with the Company. Under the Company's rule, in those days,
all but the worst offences were condoned, so long as they were not
directly aimed at the Company's trade. A plot against the Governor's
freedom might be pardoned, but, for assistance given to the Ostenders
there was no _locus poenitentiae_.

On the 9th January, Boone embarked on board the _London_, after making
over the governorship to Mr. Phipps, followed by the good wishes of the
community. During his six years of office he had proved himself a faithful
and zealous servant of the Company: 'a gentleman of as much honour and
good sense as any that ever sat in that chair,' according to Hamilton. He
had found Bombay with a languishing trade and open to attack. Under his
fostering care, trade had improved, so that merchants from Bengal and
Madras had found it profitable to settle there. A good wall had been built
to guard the town against sudden raids, and a respectable naval force had
been created to keep piracy in check. He deserves remembrance as the first
Bombay Governor who tried to put down the coast pirates by active measures.
Though his expeditions against them had been uniformly unsuccessful, he
had taught Angria that the Company's trade could not be attacked with
impunity, and his ill-success was entirely due to the worthlessness of his
instruments. At his departure, salutes were fired from every gun ashore
and afloat, except from Matthews' squadron, which did not fire a gun. As
he sailed down the coast, accompanied by the _Victoria_ and _Revenge_,
loaded with stores for Carwar and Anjengo, he was attacked by Angria's
squadron, but beat them off. Off Anjediva he came on the Kempsant's grabs
plundering a ship, which he rescued. One of the grabs was taken and
another driven ashore; and so he was gratified with a small success over
his inveterate enemies, as he bid farewell to the Indian coast.

As soon as Matthews had returned to Bombay, after the Alibagh fiasco, he
applied himself to what, to him, was the principal reason for his coming
to India, viz. private trade. For the Company's interests he did not care
a button; in fact, anything that injured the Company found an advocate in
him. As for the pirates, if they did not come in his way, he was not going
to trouble himself much about them. To enrich himself by starting a
private trade of his own, was his one object, and, with this end in view,
he sailed for Surat. With him he took Mrs. Braddyll and Mrs. Wyche, with
sundry chests of treasure, in spite of Phipps' remonstrances: the estates
of both having been attached by the Council. In Surat he tried to raise a
large sum for a venture in the China trade; but the arbitrary conduct of
the King's officers had raised so much distrust among the native merchants,
that he was unsuccessful. Within three weeks he was back again in Bombay,
and was at once involved in an angry correspondence with the Council. Not
confining himself to an acrimonious exchange of letters, he affixed at the
sea gate an insulting proclamation. Phipps ordered it to be removed, on
which Matthews wrote that, if it were not at once replaced, he would
publish it by beat of drum through Bombay, and, should any resistance be
offered, he would not leave a house standing in the place. In this dilemma
the Council consented to replace it, but, to save their dignity, added a
notice that it was licensed by the Secretary. It is difficult to see how
this improved the matter. However, Matthews sailed the next day for
Madagascar, so no doubt the proclamation did not long remain after his

His absence from Bombay, though doubtless felt as a relief by Phipps and
the Council, was probably, before long, a cause of regret in the troubles
that shortly beset them: but for the moment we will follow his movements.
Not contented with his quarrels with the Council, Matthews was soon at
daggers drawn with his own captains. First he proposed to them to employ
their ships in trading, on condition that two-thirds of the profits were
to be his. The captains refused to have anything to do with the proposal.
He had already had a quarrel with Cockburn, his second in command, the
first of many that were to follow. Before leaving Bombay, a quarrel arose
between him and Sir Robert Johnson, of the _Exeter_. Johnson threw up his
command, and took passage for England in one of the Company's ships, which
was lost with all hands on the voyage. With Sir Robert Johnson, his son, a
lieutenant in the navy, perished. Brathwaite was appointed to the command
of the _Exeter_. It had already come to be widely known that anybody who
was in trouble with the Company would find countenance and protection from
Matthews. He told the Portuguese officials that the Company's vessels were
only traders, and therefore not entitled to a salute, gun for gun. This
matter of salutes was a very important one in Matthews' eyes. Every
trading ship, however small it might be, carried guns, and there was a
great deal of saluting. In acknowledging such salutes Matthews always
responded with three or four less guns than were given him. On one
occasion there is a record of his replying with one gun only.[3] Wherever
Matthews could find an opportunity for lowering the credit or hurting the
interests of the Company, he seized it.

On reaching Carpenter's Bay in Mauritius, he found an impudent message
from the pirates, 'writ on Captain Carpenter's tomb with a piece of
charcoal,' to the effect that they had been expecting him and had gone to
Port Dauphin. The squadron next proceeded to Bourbon, where they sold some
casks of arrack and madeira to the French for a very good profit, and
thence proceeded to Charnock Point, St. Mary's Island, Madagascar. Here
they found the wrecks of several merchant ships that had been run ashore
by the pirates. Scattered on the beach were lying their cargoes, china
ware, rich drugs and spices, cloth, guns, and other articles, lying where
the pirates had cast them. Men waded knee-deep in pepper, cloves, and
cinnamon, such was the quantity. In shallow water were lying the remains
of a fine Jeddah ship that had been taken, with thirteen lakhs of treasure
on board, by a pirate named Conden, who commanded a ship called the
_Flying Dragon_. Matthews at once began to transfer the guns and such
commodities as were least damaged to his own ships. A flag of truce had
been first sent ashore to communicate with England and the other pirates,
but it was found that they had fled inland. A week later, a white man,
accompanied by a well-armed guard of natives, made his appearance. He told
them that he was a Jamaica man named John Plantain, that he had been a
pirate, but was tired of the trade, and had settled down on the spot. This
John Plantain was a man of some note in the piratical world. Every and
England had sailed with him, and treated him with much consideration and
some fear. He had made himself master of a considerable tract of country,
so that the pirates had given him the name of the King of Ranter Bay.[4]
He gave an invitation to Matthews to visit his castle, where he
entertained some of the officers of the squadron. Matthews' first idea was
to seize him, but finding that John Plantain had a good number of armed
natives with him, besides a Scotchman and a Dane, and that his castle had
plenty of guns mounted, he decided to trade with him instead. The pirates
made no secret of having taken part in the capture of the Goa Viceroy's
ship, and of a rich native vessel with eighteen lakhs of rupees on board.
So hats, shoes, stockings, wine, and arrack were made over to John
Plantain, for which he paid a good price in gold and diamonds. In spite of
his notions as to piracy, John Plantain showed himself an honester man
than Matthews. Having paid liberally for the things he had bought, he left
the hogsheads of wine and arrack on the beach under a small guard. As soon
as his back was turned, Matthews manned his boats, brought off all the
liquor he had been paid for, and some of the native guard as well. After
which notable achievement he sailed away for Bengal, consoling himself
with the thought that he was not like one of "those vile pirates, who,
after committing many evil actions, had settled down among a parcel of
heathens to indulge themselves in all sorts of vice."[5]

After a fortnight at Charnock's Point, the squadron made its way round the
north of Madagascar to Manigaro (Manankara) Bay, whence they steered for
Johanna. As the Directors afterwards remarked, Matthews ought to have
divided his squadron, and searched both coasts of the great island; but
his heart was not in the quest for pirates; he was bent only on trade.
Sending the _Salisbury_ and _Exeter_ to cruise towards Socotra, he took
the _Lyon_ and _Shoreham_ to Bengal, and, in the beginning of August, he
was at anchor in the Hoogly, near Diamond Harbour. There he remained till
the end of October. There were no pirates in the Bay of Bengal, but the
sugar trade was very lucrative, and he wanted to invest in it.

He was not long in Calcutta without coming to loggerheads with the Council
concerning Mrs. Gyfford, who, as Mrs. Chown, has already been mentioned in
these pages,[6] and whose third husband had perished in the Anjengo
massacre eighteen months before. In flying from Anjengo she had carried
off the factory books, together with all the money she could lay her hands
on. As the Company had large claims on Gyfford's estate, the Council was
bent on making her disgorge. Matthews espoused her quarrel, as he did that
of all who were in the Company's bad books, and, in defiance of the
Council, carried her off to Bombay, and eventually to England.

[1] 'Thrust his cane in his mouth.'--_Downing_.

[2] Malwan was a small fortified harbour belonging to Kolapore, about
sixty miles north of Goa. The Malwans were noted pirates.

[3] When Watson came to India, he returned salutes gun for gun.

[4] Perhaps Autongil Bay.

[5] This account of Matthews' visit to Madagascar rests to a great extent
on the narrative of Clement Downing, who held the rating of a
midshipman on board the _Salisbury_ at the time. It is confirmed by
the logs of the _Lyon_ and _Salisbury_. He makes no attempt to conceal
his opinion of Matthews' misdoings. He also gives the history of John
Plantain, who finally made his way to Gheriah, and took service with

[6] See p. 80.



Loss of the _Hunter_ galley--Quarrel with Portuguese--Alliance of
Portuguese with Angria--War with both--A double triumph--Portuguese make
peace--Angria cowed--Matthews reappears--Trouble caused by him--He
returns to England--Court-martialled--The last of Matthews.

The year succeeding Boone's departure was a stirring one in Bombay. On the
27th February, the _Eagle_ and _Hunter_ galleys, while off Bassein,
convoying a Surat ship, were attacked by four of Angria's grabs. After a
five-hours' engagement, during which the _Hunter_ made three attempts at
boarding, an unlucky shot ignited some loose powder, and the galley blew
up, every soul on board perishing. A similar explosion, though less
serious, took place on board the _Eagle_, which forced her to take refuge
in a shattered condition in Saragon harbour. Here the Portuguese showed
such unfriendliness, that the Council were obliged to send other galleys
to protect and bring the _Eagle_ away.

Since the conclusion of the Portuguese treaty with Angria, an angry
correspondence had gone on between Goa and Bombay, and soon the old causes
of quarrel were revived. The chief of these was the levying of duties at
certain places. The General of the North, who had tried to force on a
quarrel a year before, smarting, doubtless, under the treatment he had
received from Matthews at the siege of Alibagh, began to levy duties on
provisions coming from Bombay to Portuguese territory. Phipps retaliated
by levying customs duties at Mahim, which the Portuguese had always
claimed to be free to both nations. The quarrel grew hot. The General of
the North forbade all communication with Bombay, and, on the 26th May, a
British gallivat was fired on at Mahim. The Council resolved to uphold
their rights, but were in a poor condition to do so. Meanwhile, it became
known that Angria's assistance was being invited by the Portuguese. On the
23rd June, a party from Bombay landed and destroyed the Portuguese fort at
Corlem, and shelled Bandara. Captain Loader, of the _Revenge_, without
orders, burned the undefended village on Elephanta, for which he was
suspended from his command; but at the end of a week he was reinstated.
Want of shipping for a time prevented any vigorous prosecution of
hostilities on the part of the Council. They were obliged to remain on the
defensive, while Portuguese galleys cruised off the island, making
occasional raids, killing a militiaman or two, and burning villages. Mahim,
Riva, and Darvi were all raided, but with small benefit to the assailants.
On the 28th August, at night, a Portuguese force landed and destroyed the
fort at Warlee, assisted by the treachery of a renegade Portuguese. On the
3rd and 4th September, two attempts to land at the Breach were repulsed,
and the Council were cheered by the arrival of the _Salisbury_ and
_Exeter_ from their Red Sea cruise.

Cockburn, of the _Salisbury_, less churlish than Matthews, at once put two
pinnaces and seventy-six men at the Council's disposal. A small expedition
of eleven gallivats under Stanton was also fitted out, and a battery
erected by the Portuguese at Surey to hinder provisions coming into Bombay,
was captured. One man of the _Exeter_ was killed and another wounded. Just
then came news that Angria was fitting out an expedition of five thousand
men to attack Carwar, and the _Exeter_ sailed there to defend the factory.

At the beginning of November, the tide turned. News having been received
that some of Angria's grabs were cruising off Warlee, the _Victoria_ and
_Revenge_, manned with crews from the _Salisbury_, were sent out. After a
hot engagement, Angria's commodore, a Dutchman, was killed, and his ship,
mounting sixteen guns, taken.

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