His Beginning. Plots with Massey. Massey's Conduct. Lowther's Proposal. A Copy of Articles drawn up, and sworn to. The Pyrates going by the Ears. How Rogues are made Friends. Lowther and Massey part. A Digression concerning Massey's mad Conduct. Lowther and Low meet. An Alliance betwixt them. A List of Prizes taken by them. An unlucky Adventure at Cape Mayo. Lowther and Low break the Alliance, and part. The Bravery of Captain Gwatkins. The Pyrates much reduced. Winter in North-Carolina. Put to Sea again. Make for the Island of Blanco. The Island described. Ara surprised and taken. Lowther escapes. The Names of the Prisoners, and Fate. Lowther's Death.
George Lowther sailed out of the River of Thames, in one of the Royal African Company's Ships, call'd the Gambia Castle, of 16 Guns and 30 Men, Charles Russel Commander; of which Ship, the said Lowther was second Mate. Aboard of the same Ship, was a certain Number of Soldiers, commanded by one John Massey, who were to be carried to one of the Company's Settlements, on the River of Gambia, to Garrison a Fort, which was sometime ago taken and destroy'd by Captain Davis the Pyrate.
In May 1721, the Gambia Castle came safe to her Port in Africa, and landed Captain Massey and his Men on James's Island, where he was to Command under the Governor, Colonel Whitney, who arrived there at the same Time, in another Ship: And here, by a fatal Misunderstanding, between the military Folks and the Trading People, the Fort and Garrison not only came to be lost again to the Company, but a fine Galley well provided, and worth 10000 l. turned against her Masters.
The Names of Governor and Captain sounded great, but when the Gentlemen found that the Power that generally goes along with those Titles, was oversway'd and born down by the Merchants and Factors, (mechanick Fellows as they thought them) they grew very impatient and disatisfy'd, especially Massey, who was very loud in his Complaints against them, particularly at the small Allowance of Provisions to him and his Men; for the Garrison and Governor too, were victualled by the Merchants, which was no small Grievance and Mortification to them. And as the want of eating was the only Thing that made the great Sancho quit his Government, so did it here rend and tare their's to Pieces: For Massey told them, that he did not come there to be a Guiney Slave, and that he had promised his Men good Treatment, and Provisions fitting for Soldiers: That as he had the Care of so many of his Majesty's Subjects, if they would not provide for them in a handsome Manner, he should take suitable Measures for the Preservation of so many of his Countrymen and Companions.
The Governor at this Time was very ill of a Fever, and, for the better Accomodation in his Sickness, was carried aboard the Ship Gambia Castle, where he continued for about three Weeks, and therefore could have little to say in this Dispute, tho’ he resolved not to stay in a Place, where there was so little Occasion for him, and where his Power was so confin'd. The Merchants had certainly Orders from the Company, to issue the Provisions out to the Garrison, and the same is done along the whole Coast; but whether they had cut them short of the Allowance that was appointed them, I can't say, but if they did, then is the Loss of the Ship and Garrison owing principally to their ill Conduct.
However, an Accident that happened on Board the Ship, did not a little contribute to this Misfortune, which was a Pique that the Captain of her took against his second Mate, George Lowther, the Man who is the Subject of this short History; and who losing his Favour, found Means to ingratiate himself into the good liking of the common Sailors, insomuch that when Captain Russel ordered him to be punish'd, the Men took up Handspikes, and threat'ned to knock that Man down, that offered to lay hold of the Mate. This served but to widen the Differences between him and the Captain, and more firmly attach'd Lowther to the Ship's Company, the greatest Part of which, he found ripe for any Mischief in the World.
Captain Massey was no wit the better reconciled to the Place, by a longer Continuance, nor to the Usage he met with there, and having often Opportunities of conversing with Lowther, with whom he had contracted an Intimacy in the Voyage; they aggravated one another's Grievances to such a height, that they resolved upon Measures to curb the Power that controul'd them, and to provide for themselves after another Manner.
When the Governor recover'd of his Fever, he went ashore to the Island, but took no Notice of Massey's Behaviour, tho’ it was such as might give Suspicion of what he designed; and Lowther, and the common Sailors, who were in the Secret of Affairs, grew insolent and bold, even refusing to obey when commanded to their Duty by Captain Russel and the chief Mate. The Captain seeing how Things were carried, goes ashore early one Morning to the Governor and Factory, in order to hold a Council, which Lowther apprehending, was in order to prevent his Design, sent a Letter in the same Boat to Massey, intimating it to him, and that he should repair on Board, for it was high Time to put their Project in Execution.
As soon as Massey received this Letter, he went to the Soldiers at the Barracks, and said to them, and others, You that have a Mind to go to England, now is your Time; and they generally consenting, Massey went to the Store-Room, burst open the Door, set two Centinels upon it, and ordered that no Body should come near it; then he went to the Governor's Apartment, and took his Bed, Baggage, Plate and Furniture, (in Expectation that the Governor himself, as he had promised Massey, would have gone on Board, which he afterwards refused, by Reason, as he said, he believed they were going a-pyrating; which at first, whatever Lowther designed, Massey certainly proposed only the going to England;) when this was done, he sent the Boat off to the chief Mate, with this Message, That he should get the Guns ready, for that the King of Barro [a Negro Kingdom near the Royal African Settlement] would come aboard to Dinner. But Lowther understanding best, the meaning of those Orders, he confined the chief Mate, shotted the Guns, and put the Ship in a Condition for sailing. In the Afternoon Massey came on Board with the Governor's Son, having sent off all the Provisions of the Island, and eleven Pipes of Wine, leaving only two half Pipes behind in the Store-House, and dismounted all the Guns of the Fort.
In the Afternoon they weigh'd one Anchor, but fearing to be too late to get out of the River, they slipp'd the other, and so fell down; in doing of which, they run the Ship a-ground. Massey shew'd himself a Soldier upon this Accident, for as soon as the Misfortune happen'd, he left the Ship with about sixteen Hands, and rows directly to the Fort, remounts the Guns, and keeps Garrison there all the Night, while the Ship was ashore; and obliged some of the Factory to assist in getting her clear. In the mean while, Russel came off, but not being suffered to come on Board, he call'd to Lowther, and offered him and the Company, whatever Terms they would be pleased to accept of, upon Condition of surrendering up the Ship, which had no Effect upon any of them. In the Morning they got her afloat, and Massey and his Men came aboard, after having nailed up and dismounted all the Cannon of the Fort: They put the Governor's Son, and two or three others ashore, who were not willing to go without the Governor, and sail'd out of the River, having exchanged several Shot with the Martha, Otter, &c. that lay there, without doing Execution on either Side.
When the Ship came out to Sea, Lowther called up all the Company, and told them, it was the greatest Folly imaginable, to think of returning to England, for what they had already done, could not be justifyed upon any Pretence whatsoever, but would be look'd upon, in the Eye of the Law, a capital Offence, and that none of them were in a Condition to withstand the Attacks of such powerful Adversaries, as they would meet with at Home; for his Part he was determined not to run such a Hazard, and therefore if his Proposal was not agreed to, he desired to be set a Shore in some Place of Safety: That they had a good Ship under them, a parcel of brave Follows in her, that it was not their Business to starve, or be made Slaves; and therefore, if they were all of his Mind, they should seek their Fortunes upon the Seas, as other Adventurers had done before them. They one and all came into the Measures, knocked down the Cabins, made the Ship flush fore and aft, prepared black Colours, new named her, the Delivery, having about 50 Hands and 16 Guns, and the following short Articles were drawn up, signed and sworn to upon the Bible.
THE Captain is to have two full Shares; the Master is to have one Share and a half; the Doctor, Mate, Gunner, and Boatswain, one Share and a quarter.
He that shall be found Guilty of taking up any unlawful Weapon on Board the Privateer, or any Prize, by us taken, so as to strike or abuse one another, in any regard, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.
He that shall be found Guilty of Cowardize, in the Time of Engagement, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority shall think fit.
If any Gold, Jewels, Silver, &c. be found on Board of any Prize or Prizes, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, and the Finder do not deliver it to the Quarter-Master, in the Space of 24 Hours, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority shall think fit.
He that is found Guilty of Gaming, or Defrauding another to the Value of a Shilling, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.
He that shall have the Misfortune to lose a Limb, in Time of Engagement, shall have the Sum of one hundred and fifty Pounds Sterling, and remain with the Company as long as he shall think fit.
Good Quarters to be given when call'd for.
He that sees a Sail first, shall have the best Pistol, or Small-Arm, on Board her.
It was the 13th of June, that Lowther left the Settlement, and on the 20th, being then within twenty Leagues of Barbadoes, he came up with a Brigantine, belonging to Boston, called the Charles, James Douglass Master, which they plundered in a pyratical Manner, and let the Vessel go; but least she should meet with any of the Station Ships, and so give Information of the Robbery, in Terrorem, to prevent a Pursuit, Lowther contrived a sort of a Certificate, which he directed the Master to shew to their Consort, if they should meet with her; and upon Sight of it the Brigantine would pass unmolested: This Consort, he pretended, was a 40 Gun Ship, and cruising therabouts.
After this the Delivery proceeded to Hispaniola; near the West End of the Island she met with a French Sloop loaden with Wine and Brandy; aboard of this Vessel went Captain Massey, as a Merchant, and ask'd the Price of one Thing, and then another, bidding Money for the greatest Part of the Cargo; but after he had trifled a while, he whisper'd a Secret in the French Man's Ear, viz. That they must have it all without Money. Monsieur presently understood his Meaning, and unwillingly agreed to the Bargain. They took out of her thirty Casks of Brandy, five Hogsheads of Wine, several Pieces of Chintzes, and other valuable Goods, and about 70 l. English, in Money; of which Lowther generously return'd five Pounds back to the French Master for his Civilities.
But as all Constitutions grow old, and thereby shake and totter, so did our Commonwealth in about a Month of its Age, feel Commotions and intestine Disturbances, by the Divisions of its Members, which had near hand terminated in its Destruction; these civil Discords were owing to the following Occasion. Captain Massey had been a Soldier almost from his Infancy, but was but very indifferently acquainted with Maritime Affairs, and having an enterprizing Soul, nothing would satisfy him, but he must be doing Business in his own Way, therefore he required Lowther to let him have thirty Hands to land with, and he would attack the French Settlements, and bring aboard the Devil and all of Plunder.
Lowther did all that he could do, and said all that he could say, to disswade Massey from so rash and dangerous an Attempt; pointing out to him the Hazard the Company would run, and the Consequences to them all, if he should not succeed, and the little Likelihood there was to expect Success from the Undertaking: But ’twas all one for that, Massey would go and attack the French Settlements, for any thing Lowther could say against it; so that he was obliged to propose the Matter to the Company, among whom Massey found a few Fellows as resolute as himself; however, a great Majority being against it, the Affair was over-ruled in Opposition to Captain Massey, notwithstanding which, Massey grew fractious, quarrelled with Lowther, and the Men divided into Parties, some fiding with the Land Pyrate, and some with the Sea Rover, and were all ready to fall together by the Ears, when the Man at the Mast-head cry'd out, A Sail! A Sail! then they gave over the Dispute, set all their Sails, and steered after the Chace. In a few Hours they came up with her, she being a small Ship from Jamaica, bound to England; they took what they thought fit out of her, and a Hand or two, and then Lowther was for sinking the Ship, with several Passengers that were in her, for what Reason I know not, but Massey so that he interposed, prevented their cruel Fate, and the Ship safely arrived afterwards in England.
The next Day they took a small Sloop, an interloping Trader, which they detain'd with her Cargo. All this while Massey was uneasy, and declar'd his Resolution to leave them, and Lowther finding him a very troublesome Man to deal with, consented that he should take the Sloop, last made Prize of, with what Hands had a Mind to go with him, and shift for himself. Whereupon Massey, with about ten more Malecontents, goes aboard the Sloop, and comes away in her directly for Jamaica.
Notwithstanding what had passed, Captain Massey puts a bold Face upon the Matter, and goes to Sir Nicholas Laws, the Governor, informs him of his leaving Lowther the Pyrate, owns, That he assisted in going off with the Ship, at the River Gambia; but said, ’twas to save so many of his Majesty's Subjects from perishing, and that his Design was to return to England; but Lowther conspiring with the greater Part of the Company, went a pyrating with the Ship; and that he had taken this Opportunity to leave him, and surrender himself and Vessel to his Excellency.
Massey was very well received by the Governor, and had his Liberty given him, with a Promise of his Favour, and so forth; and, at his own Request, he was sent on Board the Happy Sloop, Captain Laws, to cruise off Hispaniola, for Lowther; but not being so fortunate as to meet with him, Captain Massey returned back to Jamaica in the Sloop, and getting a Certificate, and a Supply of Money, from the Governor, he came home Passenger to England.
When Massey came to Town, he writes a long Letter to the Deputy Governor and Directors of the African Company, wherein he imprudently relates the whole Transactions of his Voyage, the going off with the Ship, and the Acts of Pyracy he had committed with Lowther; but excuses it as Rashness and Inadvertency in himself, occasioned by his being ill used, contrary to the Promises that had been made him, and the Expectations he had entertained; but own'd, that he deserved to dye for what he had done; yet, if they had Generosity enough to forgive him, as he was still capable to do them Service, as a Soldier, so he should be very ready to do it; but if they resolved to prosecute him, he begg'd only this Favour, that he might not be hang'd like a Dog, but to die like a Soldier, as he had been bred from his Childhood, that is, that he might be shot.
This was the Substance of the Letter, which, however, did not produce so favourable an Answer as he hoped for, Word being brought back to him, That he should be fairly hang'd. Whereupon, Massey resolved not to be out of the Way, when he found what important Occasion there was likely to be for him, but takes a Lodging in Aldersgate-Street, the next Day went to the Lord Chief Justice's Chambers, and enquired, if my Lord had granted a Warrant against Captain John Massey, for Pyracy: But being told by the Clerks, that they knew of no such Thing; he informed them, he was the Man, that my Lord would soon be apply'd to for that Purpose, and the Officer might come to him at such a Place, where he lodg'd: They took the Directions in Writing, and, in a few Days, a Warrant being issued, the Tipstaff went directly, by his own Information, and apprehended him, without any other Trouble, than walking to his Lodging.
There was then no Person in Town to charge him with any Fact, upon which he could be committed; nor could the Letter be proved to be of his Hand-Writing, so that they had been obliged to let him go again, if he had not helped his Accusers out at Pinch: The Magistrate was reduced to the putting of this Question to him, Did you write this Letter? He answered, He did: And not only that, but confessed all the Contents of it; upon which, he was committed to Newgate, but was afterwards admitted to a hundred Pounds Bail, or thereabouts.
On the 5th of July 1723, he was brought to his Tryal, at a Court of Admiralty held at the Old-Baily, when Captain Russel, Governor Whitney's Son, and others, appeared as Evidences, by whom the Indictment was plainly proved against him; which, if it had not been done, the Captain was of such an heroick Spirit, that he would have deny'd nothing; for instead of making a Defence, he only entertained the Court with a long Narrative of his Expedition, from the first setting out, to his Return to England, mentioning two Acts of Pyracy committed by him, which he was not charged with, often challenging the Evidences to contradict him, if in any Thing he related the least Syllable of an Untruth; and instead of denying the Crimes set forth in the Indictment, he charged himself with various Circumstances, which fixed the Facts more home upon him. Upon the whole, the Captain was found Guilty, received Sentence of Death, and was executed three Weeks after, at Execution-Dock.
We return now to Lowther, whom we left cruising off Hispaniola, from whence he plyed to Windward, and, near Porto Rico, chased two Sail, and spoke with them; they proving to be a small Bristol Ship, commanded by Captain Smith, and a SpanishPyrate, who had made Prize of the said Ship. Lowther examined into the Spaniard's Authority for taking an English Vessel, and threat'ned to put every Man of them to death, for so doing; so that the Spaniards fancied themselves to be in a very pittiful Condition, till Matters cleared up, and they found their Masters as great Rogues as themselves, from whom some Mercy might be expected, in regard to the near Relation they stood with them, as to their Profession; in short, Lowther first rifled, and then burnt both the Ships, sending the Spaniards away in their Launch, and turning all the English Sailors into Pyrates.
After a few Days Cruise, Lowther took a small Sloop belonging to St. Christophers, which they mann'd and carried along with them to a small Island, where they cleaned, and stay'd some Time to take their Diversions, which consisted in unheard of Debaucheries, with drinking, swearing and rioting, in which there seemed to be a kind of Emulation among them, resembling rather Devils than Men, striving who should out do one another in new invented Oaths and Execrations.
They all got aboard about Christmas, observing neither Times nor Seasons, for perpetrating their villainous Actions, and sailed towards the Bay of Honduras; but stopping at the Grand Caimanes for Water, they met with a small Vessel with 13 Hands, in the same honourable Employment with themselves; the Captain of this Gang was one Edward Lowe, whom we shall particularly discourse of in a Chapter by it self: Lowther received them as Friends, and treated them with all imaginable Respect, inviting them, as they were few in Number, and in no Condition to pursue the Account, (as they called it) to join their Strength together, which on the Consideration aforesaid, was accepted of, Lowther still continuing Commander, and Lowe was made Lieutenant: The Vessel the new Pyrates came out of, they sunk, and the Confederates proceed on the Voyage as Lowther before intended.
The 10th of January, the Pyrates came into the Bay, and fell upon a Ship of 200 Tun, called the Greyhound, Benjamin Edwards Commander, belonging to Boston. Lowther hoisted his pyratical Colours, and fired a Gun for the Greyhound to bring to, which she refusing, the Happy Delivery (the Name of the Pyrate) edg'd down, and gave her a Broadside, which was returned by Captain Edwards very bravely, and the Engagement held for an Hour; but Captain Edwards, finding the Pyrate too strong for him, and fearing the Consequence of too obstinate a Resistance against those lawless Fellows, ordered his Ensign to be struck. The Pyrates Boat came aboard, and not only rifled the Ship, but whipp'd, beat, and cut the Men in a cruel Manner, turned them aboard their own Ship, and then set Fire to their's.
In cruising about the Bay, they met and took several other Vessels without any Resistance, viz. two Brigantines of Boston in New-England, one of which they burnt, and sunk the other; a Sloop belonging to Connecticut, Captain Airs, which they also burnt; a Sloop of Jamaica, Captain Hamilton, they took for their own Use; a Sloop of Virginia they unladed, and was so generous as to give her back to the Master that own'd her. They took a Sloop of 100 Ton, belonging to Rhode Island, which they were pleased to keep, and mount with eight Carriage, and ten Swivel Guns.
With this little Fleet, viz. Admiral Lowther, in the Happy Delivery; Captain Low, in the Rhode Island Sloop; Captain Harris, (who was second Mate in the Greyhound when taken,) in Hamilton's Sloop, and the little Sloop formerly mentioned, serving as a Tender; I say, with this Fleet the Pyrates left the Bay, and came to Port Mayo in the Gulph of Matique, and there made Preparations to careen; they carried ashore all their Sails, and made Tents by the Water-Side, wherein they laid their Plunder, Stores, &c. and fell to work; and at the Time that the Ships were upon the Heel, and the good Folks employ'd in heaving down, scrubing, tallowing, and so forth; of a sudden came down a considerable Body of the Natives, and attack'd the Pyrates unprepared. As they were in no Condition to defend themselves, they sled to their Sloops, leaving them Masters of the Field and the Spoil thereof, which was of great Value, and set Fire to the Happy Delivery, their capital Ship.
Lowther made the best Provision he could in the largest Sloop, which he called the Ranger, having ten Guns and eight Swivels, and she sailing best, the Company went all aboard of her, and left the other at Sea. Provisions was now very short, which, with the late Loss, put them in a confounded ill Humour, insomuch that they were every now and then going together by the Ears, laying the Blame of their ill Conduct sometimes upon one, then upon another.
The Beginning of May 1722, they got to the West-Indies, and near the Island of Diseada, took a Brigantine, one Payne Master, that afforded them what they stood in need of, which put them in better Temper, and Business seemed to go on well again. After they had pretty well plundered the Brigantine, they sent her to the Bottom. They went into the Island and watered, and then stood to the Northward, intending to visit the Main-Coast of America.
In the Latitude of 38, they took a Brigantine called the Rebecca of Boston, Captain Smith, bound thither from St. Christophers. At the taking of this Vessel, the Crews divided; for Low, whom Lowther joined at the Grand Caimanes, proving always a very unruly Member of the Commonwealth, always aspiring, and never satisfy'd with the Proceedings of the Commander; he thought it the safest Way to get rid of him, upon any Terms; and according to the Vote of the Company, they parted the Bear Skin between them: Low with 44 Hands went aboard the Brigantine, and Lowther with the same Number stay'd in the Sloop, and separated that very Night, being the 28th of May 1722.
Lowther proceeding on his Way to the Main-Coast, took three or four fishing Vessels off New-York, which was no great Booty to the Captors. The 3d of June, they met with a small New-England Ship, bound home from Barbadoes, which stood an Attack a small Time, but finding it to no Purpose, yielded herself a Prey to the Booters: The Pyrates took out of her fourteen Hogsheads of Rum, six Barrels of Sugar, a large Box of English Goods, several Casks of Loaf Sugar, a considerable Quantity of Pepper, six Negroes, besides a Sum of Money and Plate, and then let her go on her Voyage.
The next Adventure was not so fortunate for them, for coming pretty near the Coast of South-Carolina, they met with a Ship just come out, on her Voyage to England; Lowther gave her a Gun, and hoisted his pyratical Colours; but this Ship, which was called the Amy, happening to have a brave gallant Man to command her, who was not any ways daunted with that terrible Ensign, the black Flag, he instead of striking immediately, as ’twas expected, let fly a Broadside at the Pyrate. Lowther (not at all pleased with the Compliment, tho’ he put up with it for the present) was for taking Leave; but the Amy getting the Pyrate between her and the Shore, stood after him to clap him aboard; to prevent which, Lowther run the Sloop a-ground, and landed all the Men with their Arms. Captain Gwatkins, the Captain of the Amy, was obliged to stand off, for fear of running his own Ship ashore; but at the same Time thought fit for the publick Good, to destroy the Enemy; and thereupon went into the Boat, and rowed towards the Sloop, in order to set her on Fire; but before he reached the Vessel, a fatal Shot from Lowther's Company ashore, put an End to their Design and Captain Gwatkin's Life. After this unfortunate Blow, the Mate returned aboard with the Boat, and not being enclined to pursue them any farther, took Charge of the Ship.
Lowther got off the Sloop after the Departure of the Amy, and brought all his Men aboard again, but was in a poor shattered Condition, having suffered much in the Engagement, and had a great many Men kill'd and wounded: He made Shift to get into an Inlet somewhere in North-Carolina, where he staid a long while before he was able to put to Sea again.
He and his Crew laid up all the Winter, and shifted as well as they could among the Woods, divided themselves into small Parties, and hunted generally in the Day Times, killing of black Cattle, Hogs, &c. for their Subsistance, and in the Night retired to their Tents and Huts, which they made for Lodging; and sometimes when the Weather grew very cold, they would stay aboard of their Sloop.
In the Spring of the Year 1723, they made Shift to get to Sea, and steered their Course for Newfoundland, and upon the Banks took a Scooner, call'd the Swift, John Hood Master; they found a good Quantity of Provisions aboard her, which they very much wanted at that Time, and after taking three of their Hands, and plundering her of what they thought fit, they let her depart. They took several other Vessels upon the Banks, and in the Harbour, but none of any great Account; and then steering for a warmer Climate, in August arrived at the West-Indies. In their Passage thither, they met with a Brigantine, called the John and Elizabeth, Richard Stanny Master, bound for Boston, which they plundered, took two of her Men, and discharged her.
Lowther cruised a pretty while among the Islands without any extraordinary Success, and was reduced to a very small Allowance of Provisions, till they had the luck to fall in with a Martinico Man, which proved a seasonable Relief to them; and after that, a Guiney Man had the ill Fortune to become a Prey to the Rovers; she was called the Princess, Captain Wicksted Commander.
It was now thought necessary to look out for a Place to clean their Sloop in, and prepare for new Adventures: Accordingly the Island of Blanco was pitched upon for that Purpose, which lies in the Latitude of 11° 50 m. N. about 30 Leagues from the Main of the Spanish America, between the Islands of Margarita and Rocas, and not far from Tortuga. It is a low even Island, but healthy and dry, uninhabited, and about two Leagues in Circumference, with Plenty of Lignum Vitæ Trees thereon, growing in Spots, with shrubby Bushes of other Wood about them. There are, besides Turtle, great Numbers of Guanoes, which is an amphibious Creature like a Lizard, but much larger, the Body of it being as big as a Man's Leg; they are very good to eat, and are much used by the Pyrates that come here: They are of divers Colours, but such as live upon dry Ground, as here at Blanco, are commonly yellow. On the N. W. End of this Island, there is a small Cove or sandy Bay, all round the rest of the Island is deep Water, and steep close to the Island. Here Lowther resorted to, the Beginning of October last, unrigged his Sloop, sent his Guns, Sails, Rigging, &c. ashore, and put his Vessel upon the Careen. The Eagle Sloop of Barbadoes, belonging to the South-Sea Company, with 35 Hands, commanded by Walter Moore, coming near this Island, in her Voyage to Comena, on the Spanish Continent, saw the said Sloop just careen'd, with her Guns out, and Sails unbent, which she supposed to be a Pyrate, because it was a Place where Traders did not commonly use, so took the Advantage of attacking her, as she was then unprepared; the Eagle having fired a Gun to oblige her to shew her Colours, the Pyrate hoisted the St. George's Flag at their Topmast-Head, as it were to bid Defiance to her; but when they found Moore and his Crew resolved to board them in good earnest, the Pyrates cut their Cable and hawled their Stern on Shore, which obliged the Eagle to come to an Anchor a-thwart their Hawse, where she engaged them till they called for Quarter and struck; at which Time Lowther and twelve of the Crew made their Escape out of the Cabin Window. The Master of the Eagle got the Pyrate Sloop off, secured her, and went ashore with 25 Hands, in Pursuit of Lowther and his Gang; but after five Day's search, they could find but five of them, which they brought aboard, and then proceeded with the Sloop and Pyrates to Comena aforesaid, where they soon arrived.
The Spanish Governor being informed of this brave Action, condemned the Sloop to the Captors, and sent a small Sloop with 23 Hands to scower the Bushes and other Places of the Island of Blanco, for the Pyrates that remained there, and took four more, with seven small Arms, leaving behind them Captain Lowther, three Men, and a little Boy, which they could not take; the above four the Spaniards try'd and condemned to Slavery for Life; three to the Gallies, and the other to the Castle of Arraria.
The Eagle Sloop brought all their Prisoners afterwards to St. Christopher's, where the following were try'd by a Court of Vice Admiralty, there held March the 11th, 1722, viz. John Churchill, Edward Mackdonald, Nicholas Lewis, Richard West, Sam. Levercott, Robert White, John Shaw, Andrew Hunter, Jonathan Delve, Matthew Freebarn, Henry Watson,
Roger Grange, Ralph Candor, and Robert Willis; the three last were acquitted, the other thirteen were found Guilty, two of which were recommended to Mercy by the Court, and accordingly pardoned; and the rest executed at that Island, on the 20th of the same Month.
As for Captain Lowther, it is said that he afterwards shot himself upon that fatal Island, where his Pyracies ended, being found, by some Sloop's Men, dead, and a Pistol burst by his Side.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07