HIS Beginning and Character. A most barbarous Action of his Crew. The Names of Prizes taken by him. The Misfortunes of his Confederates. England's Progress half round the Globe. A short Description of the Coast of Malabar. What they did at Madagascar. Takes an East-India Man. The Particulars of the Action in Captain Mackra's Letter. Captain Mackra ventures on Board the Pyrate. Is in Danger of being murder'd. Preserv'd by a pleasant Incident. The Pyrates Generosity to him. Captain England deposed, and why. Maroon'd on the Island Mauritius. Some Account of that Island. The Adventures of the Company continued. Angria, an Indian Pyrate. his Strength by Land and Sea. The East-India Company's Wars with him. The Pyrates go to the Island of Melinda. Their barbarous Behaviour there. Hear of Captain Mackra's Designs against them. Their Reflections thereupon. Sail for Cochin, a Dutch Settlement. The Pyrates and the Dutch very good Friends. Mutual Presents made betwixt the Pyrates and the Governor. The Pyrates in a Fright. Almost starv'd. Take a Prize of an immense Value. Take an Ostend East-India Man. A short Description of Madagascar. A prodigious Dividend made by the Pyrates. A Fellow's Way of increasing his Diamonds. Some of the Pyrates quit, and join th Remains of Avery. The Proceedings of the Men of War in those Parts. Some Dutch Men petition to be among the Pyrates. The Pyrates divided in their Measures. Break up. What became of them.
EDward England went Mate of a Sloop that sail'd out of Jamaica, and was taken by Captain Winter, a Pyrate, just before their Settlement at Providence; from whence England had the Command of a Sloop in the same laudable Employment: It is surprizing that Men of good Understanding should engage in a Course of Life, that so much debases humane Nature, and sets them upon a Level with the wild Beasts of the Forest, who live and prey upon their weaker Fellow Creatures: A Crime so enormous! That it includes almost all others, as Murder, Rapine, Theft, Ingratitude, &c. and tho’ they make these Vices familiar to them by their daily Practice, yet these Men are so inconsistent with themselves, that a Reflection made upon their Honour, their Justice, or their Courage, is look'd upon as an Offence that ought to be punished with the Life of him that commits it: England was one of these Men, who seem'd to have such a Share of Reason, as should have taught him better Things. He had a great deal of good Nature, and did not want for Courage; he was not avaritious, and always averse to the ill Usage Prisoners received: He would have been contented with moderate Plunder, and less mischievous Pranks, could his Companions have been brought to the same Temper, but he was generally over-rul'd, and as he was engaged in that abominable Society, he was obliged to be a Partner in all their vile Actions.
Captain England sail'd to the Coast of Africa, after the Island of Providence was settled by the English Government, and the Pyrates surrendered to his Majesty's Proclamation; and took several Ships and Vessels, particularly the Cadogan Snow belonging to Bristol, at Sierraleone, one Skinner Master, who was inhumanly murthered by some of the Crew, that had lately been his own Men, and served in the said Vessel. It seems some Quarrel had happened between them, so that Skinner thought fit to remove these Fellows on Board of a Man of War, and at the same Time refused them their Wages; not long after they found Means to desert that Service, and shipping themselves aboard a Sloop in the West-Indies, was taken by a Pyrate, and brought to Providence, and sailed upon the same Account along with Captain England.
Assoon as Skinner had struck to the Pyrate, he was ordered to come on Board in his Boat, which he did, and the Person that he first cast his Eye upon, proved to be his old Boatswain, who star'd him in the Face like his evil Genius, and accosted him in this Manner. — Ah, Captain Skinner! Is it you? The only Man I wished to see; I am much in your Debt, and now I shall pay you all in your own Coin.
The poor Man trembled every Joint, when he found into what Company he had fallen, and dreaded the Event, as he had Reason enough so to do; for the Boatswain immediately called to his Consorts, laid hold of the Captain, and made him fast to the Windless, and there pelted him with Glass Bottles, which cut him in a sad Manner; after which they whipp'd him about the Deck, till they were weary, being deaf to all his Prayers and Intreaties, and at last, because he had been a good Master to his Men, they said, he should have an easy Death, and so shot him thro’ the Head. They took some few Things out of the Snow, but gave the Vessel and all her Cargo to Howel Davis the Mate; and the rest of the Crew, as will be hereafter mentioned in the Chapter of Captain Davis.
Captain England took a Ship called the Pearl, Captain Tyzard Commander, for which he exchanged his own Sloop, fitted her up for the pyratical Account, and new christen'd her, the Royal James, with which he took several Ships and Vessels of different Nations at the Azores and Cape de Verd Islands.
In the Spring, 1719, the Rovers returned to Africa, and beginning at the River Gambia, sailed all down the Coast; and between that and Cape Corso, took the following Ships and Vessels.
The Eagle Pink, Captain Rickets Commander belonging to Cork, taken the 25th of March, having 6 Guns and 17 Men on Board, seven of which turned Pyrates.
The Charlotte, Captain Oldson, of London, taken May the 26th, having 8 Guns and 18 Men on Board, 13 of which turned Pyrates.
The Sarah, Captain Stunt, of London, taken the 27th of May, having 4 Guns and 18 Men on Board, 3 of which turned Pyrates.
The Bentworth, Captain Gardener, of Bristol, taken the 27th of May, having 12 Guns and 30 Men on Board, 12 of which turned Pyrates.
The Buck Sloop, Captain Sylvester, of Gambia, taken the 27th of May, having 2 Guns and 2 Men on Board, and both turned Pyrates.
The Carteret, Captain Snow, of London, taken the 28th of May, having 4 Guns and 18 Men on Board, 5 of which turned Pyrates.
The Mercury, Captain Maggott, of London, taken the 29th of May, having 4 Guns and 18 Men on Board, 5 of which turned Pyrates.
The Coward Galley, Captain Creed, of London, taken the 17th of June, having 2 Guns and 13 Men on Board, 4 of which turned Pyrates.
The Elizabeth and Katherine, Captain Bridge of Barbadoes, taken June the 27th, having 6 Guns and 14 Men on Board, 4 of which turned Pyrates.
The Eagle Pink being bound to Jamaica, the Sarah to Virginia, and the Buck to Maryland, they let them go, but the Charlotte, the Bentworth, the Carteret, and the Coward Galley, they burnt; and the Mercury, and the Elizabeth and Katherine were fitted up for Pyrate Ships, the former was new nam'd Queen Ann's Revenge, and commanded by one Lane, and the other was call'd the Flying King, of which Robert Sample was appointed Captain. These two left England upon the Coast, sail'd to the West-Indies, where they took some Prizes, clean'd, and sail'd to Brasil in November; they took several Portuguese Ships there, and did a great deal of Mischief, but in the height of their Undertakings, a Portuguese Man of War, which was an excellent Sailor, came a very unwelcome Guest to them, and gave them Chace; the Queen Ann's Revenge got off, but was lost a little while after upon that Coast; and the Flying King, giving herself over for lost, ran ashore: There were then 70 Men on Board, 12 of which were kill'd, and the rest taken Prisoners, of whom the Portuguese hang'd 38, of which 32 were English, three Dutch, two French, and one of their own Nation.
England, in going down the Coast, took the Peterborough Galley of Bristol, Captain Owen; and the Victory, Captain Ridout; the former they detained, but plundered the latter, and let her go. In Cape Corso Road, they saw two Sail at Anchor, but before they could reach them, they slipp'd their Cables and got close under Cape Corso Castle, these were the Whydah, Captain Prince, and the John, Captain Rider: The Pyrates upon this made a fire Ship of a Vessel they had lately taken, and attempted to burn them, as tho’ they had been a common Enemy, which if effected, they could not have been one Farthing the better for it; but the Castle firing warmly upon them, they withdrew, and sail'd down to Whydah Road, where they found another Pyrate, one Captain la Bouche, who getting thither before England arrived, had forestall'd the Market, and greatly disappointed their Brethren.
Captain England, after this Baulk, went into a Harbour, clean'd his own Ship, and fitted up the Peterborough, which he call'd the Victory; they liv'd there very wantonly for several Weeks, making free with the Negroe Women, and committing such outragious Acts, that they came to an open Rupture with the Natives, several of whom they kill'd, and one of their Towns they set on Fire.
When the Pyrates came out to Sea, they put it to a Vote what Voyage to take, and the Majority carrying it for the East-Indies, they shap'd their Course accordingly, and arrived at Madagascar, the Beginning of the Year 1720. They staid not long there, but after taking in Water and Provisions, sail'd for the Coast of Malabar, which is a fine fruitful Country in the East-Indies, in the Empire of the Mogul, but immediately subject to its own Princes: It reaches from the Coast of Canara to Cape Camorin, which is between 7° 30, and 12° North Lattitude, and in about 75° East Longitude, counting from the Meridian of London. The old Natives are Pagans, but there are a great Number of Mahometans inhabiting among them, who are Merchants, and generally rich. On the same Coast, but in a Province to the Northward lies Goa, Surat, Bombay, where the English, Dutch, and Portuguese have Settlements.
Hither our Pyrates came, having made a Tour of half the Globe, as the Psalmist says of the Devils, Going about like roaring Lions, seeking whom they might devour. They took several Country Ships, that is, Indian Vessels, and one European, a Dutch Ship, which they exchanged for one of their own, and then came back to Madagascar.
They sent several of their Hands on Shore with Tents, Powder, and Shot, to kill Hogs, Venison, and such other fresh Provision as the Island afforded, and a Whim came into their Heads to seek out for the Remains of Avery's Crew, whom they knew to be settled somewhere in the Island. —— Accordingly some of them travell'd several Days Journey, without hearing any Intelligence of them, and so were forc'd to return with the Loss of their Labour, for these Men were settled on the other Side of the Island, as has been taken Notice of under the Chapter of Avery.
They stay'd not long here, after they had clean'd their Ships, but sailing to Juanna; they met two English, and one Ostend India Men, coming out of that Harbour, one of which, after a desperate Resistance, they took; the Particulars of which Action is at length related in the following Letter, wrote by the Captain from Bombay.
A LETTER from Captain Mackra, dated at Bombay, Nov. 16, 1720.
WE arrived the 25th of July last, in Company of the Greenwich, at Juanna, (an Island not far from Madagascar) putting in there to refresh our Men, we found fourteen Pyrates that came in their Canoes from the Mayotta, where the Pyrate Ship to which they belong'd, viz. the Indian Queen, two hundred and fifty Tons, twenty eight Guns, and ninety Men, commanded by Capt. Oliver de la Bouche, bound from the Guinea Coast to the East-Indies, had been bulged and lost. They said they left the Captain and 40 of their Men building a new Vessel to proceed on their wicked Design. Capt. Kirby and I concluding it might be of great Service to the East-India Company to destroy such a Nest of Rogues, were ready to sail for that Purpose the 17th of August, about Eight o'Clock in the Morning, when we discovered two Pyrate Ships standing into the Bay of Juanna, one of thirty four, and the other of thirty Guns. I immediately went on Board the Greenwich, where they seem'd very diligent in Preparations for an Engagement, and I left Capt. Kirby with mutual Promises of standing by each other. I then unmoor'd, got under Sail, and brought two Boats a-head to row me close to the Greenwich; but he being open to a Valley and a Breeze, made the best of his Way from me; which an Ostender in our Company, of 22 Guns, seeing, did the same, though the Captain had promised heartily to engage with us, and I believe would have been as good as his Word, if Capt. Kirby had kept his. About half an Hour after Twelve, I called several times to the Greenwich to bear down to our Assistance, and fir'd Shot at him, but to no Purpose. For tho’ we did not doubt but he would join us, because when he got about a League from us, he brought his Ship to, and look'd on, yet both he and the Ostender basely deserted us, and left us engaged with barbarous and inhuman Enemies, with their black and bloody Flags hanging over us, without the least Appearance of escaping being cut to Pieces. But God, in his good Providence, determin'd otherwise; for notwithstanding their Superiority, we engaged ’em both about three Hours, during which, the biggest received some Shot betwixt Wind and Water, which made her keep off a little to stop her Leaks. The other endeavoured all she could to board us, by rowing with her Oars, being within half a Ship's Length of us above an Hour; but by good Fortune we shot all her Oars to Pieces, which prevented them, and by consequence saved our Lives.
About Four o'Clock, most of the Officers and Men posted on the Quarter-Deck being killed and wounded, the largest Ship making up to us with all Diligence, being still within a Cable's Length of us, often giving us a Broadside, and no hopes of Capt. Kirby's coming to our Assistance, we endeavoured to run ashoar; and tho’ we drew four Foot Water more than the Pyrate, it pleased God that he stuck fast on a higher Ground than we happily fell in with; so was disappointed a second time from boarding us. Here we had a more violent Engagement than before. All my Officers, and most of my Men, behaved with unexpected Courage; and as we had a considerable Advantage by having a Broadside to his Bow, we did him great Damage, so that had Capt. Kirby come in then, I believe we should have taken both, for we had one of them sure; but the other Pyrate (who was still firing at us) seeing the Greenwich did not offer to assist us, he supplied his Consort with three Boats full of fresh Men. About Five in the Evening the Greenwich stood clear away to Sea, leaving us struggling hard for Life in the very Jaws of Death; which the other Pyrate, that was afloat, seeing, got a-warp out, and was hauling under our Stern; by which time many of my Men being killed and wounded, and no Hopes left us from being all murdered by enraged barbarous Conquerors, I order'd all that could, to get into the Long-Boat under the Cover of the Smoak of our Guns; so that with what some did in Boats, and others by swimming, most of us that were able got ashoar, by Seven o’ Clock. When the Pyrates came aboard, they cut three of our wounded Men to Pieces. I, with a few of my People, made what haste I could to the King's-Town, twenty five Miles from us, where I arrived next Day, almost dead with Fatigue and Loss of Blood, having been sorely wounded in the Head by a Musket Ball.
At this Town I heard that the Pyrates had offered ten thousand Dollars to the Country People to bring me in, which many of them would have accepted, only they knew the King and all his chief People were in my Interest. Mean time, I caused a Report to be spread, that I was dead of my Wounds, which much abated their Fury. About ten Days after, being pretty well recovered, and hoping the Malice of our Enemies was nigh over, I began to consider the dismal Condition we were reduced to, being in a Place where we had no Hopes of getting a Passage home, all of us in a manner naked, not having had Time to get another Shirt, or a Pair of Shoes.
Having obtained Leave to go on Board the Pyrates, and a Promise of Safety, several of the Chief of them knew me, and some of them had failed with me, which I found of great Advantage; because, notwithstanding their Promise, some of them would have cut me, and all that would not enter with them, to Pieces, had it not been for the chief Captain, Edward England, and some others I knew. They talked of burning one of their Ships, which we had so entirely disabled, as to be no farther useful to them, and to fit the Cassandra in her room; but in the End I managed my Tack so well, that they made me a Present of the said shattered Ship, which was Dutch built, called the Fancy, about three hundred Tons, and also a hundred and twenty nine Bales of the Company's Cloth, tho’ they would not giveme a Rag of my Cloathes.
They failed the 3d of September; and with Jury-Masts, and such old Sails as they left me, I made shift to do the like on the 8th, together with forty three of my Ship's Crew, including two Passengers and twelve Soldiers, having but five Tons of Water aboard; and after a Passage of forty eight Days, I arrived here October 26, almost naked and starv'd, having been reduced to a Pint of Water a Day, and almost in despair of ever seeing Land, by Reason of the Calms we met with between the Coast of Arabia and Malabar. —— We had in all thirteen Men killed and twenty four wounded; and we were told, that we had destroyed about ninety or a hundred of the Pyrates. When they left us, they were about three hundred Whites and eighty Blacks in both Ships. I am persuaded, had our Confort the Greenwich done his Duty, we had destroyed both of them, and got two hundred thousand Pounds for our Owners and selves; whereas to his deserting us, the Loss of the Caffandra may justly be imputed. I have delivered all the Bales that were given me into the Company's Warehouse, for which the Governor and Council have ordered me a Reward. Our Governor, Mr. Boon, who is extreme kind and civil to me, has ordered me home with this Pacquet; but Captain Harvey, who had a prior Promise, being come in with the Fleet, goes in my room. The Governor hath promis'd me a Country Voyage, to help make me up my Losses, and would have me stay to go home with him next Year.
Captain Mackra certainly run a great Hazard, in going aboard the Pyrate, and began quickly to repent his Credulity; for though they had promised, that no Injury should be done to his Person, he found their Words were not to be trusted; and it may be supposed, that nothing but the desperate Circumstances Captain Mackra imagined himself to be in, could have prevailed upon him to fling himself and Company into their Hands, perhaps not knowing how firmly the Natives of that Island were attach'd to the English Nation; for about 20 Years ago, Captain Cornwall, Commadore of an English Squadrou, assisted them against another Island called Mohilla, for which they have ever since communicated all the grateful Offices in their Power, insomuch that it became a Proverb,
That an Englishman, and a Juanna Man were all one.
England was inclined to favour Captain Mackra; but he was so free to let him know, that his Interest was declining amongst them; and that the Pyrates were so provoked at the Resistance he made against them, that he was afraid he should hardly be able to protect him; he therefore advised him to sooth up and manage the Temper of Captain Taylor, a Fellow of a most barbarous Nature, who was become a great Favourite amongst them for no other Reason than because he was a greater Brute than the rest. Mackra did what he could to soften this Beast, and ply'd him with warm Punch; notwithstanding which, they were in a Tumult whether they should make an End of him, or no, when an Accident happen'd which turn'd to the Favour of the poor Captain; a Fellow with a terrible pair of Whiskers, and a wooden Leg, being stuck round with Pistols, like the Man in the Almanack with Darts, comes swearing and vapouring upon the Quarter-Deck, and asks, in a damning Manner, which was Captain Mackra: The Captain expected no less than that this Fellow would be his Executioner; —— but when he came near him, he took him by the Hand, swearing, Damn him he was glad to see him; and shew me the Man, says he, that offers to hurt Captain Mackra, for I'll stand by him; and so with many Oaths told him, he was an honest Fellow, and that he had formerly fail'd with him.
This put an End to the Dispute, and Captain Tayior was so mellow'd with the Punch, that he consented that the old Pyrate Ship, and so many Bales of Cloth should be given to Captain Mackra, and so he fell asleep. England advised Captain Mackra to get off with all Expedition, least when the Beast should awake, he might repent his Generosity: Which Advice was followed by the Captain.
Captain England having sided so much to Captain Mackra's Interest, was a Means of making him many Enemies among the Crew; they thinking such good Usage inconsistent with their Polity, because it looked like procuring Favour at the Aggravation of their Crimes; therefore upon Imagination or Report, that Captain Mackra was fitting out against them, with the Company's Force, he was soon abdicated or pulled out of his Government, and marooned with three more on the Island of Mauritius: An Island indeed, not to be complained of, had they accumulated any Wealth by their Villanies that would have afforded some future comfortable Prospect, for it abounds with Fish, Deer, Hogs and other Flesh. Sir Thomas Herbert, says, the Shores with Coral and Ambergrease; but I believe the Dutch had not deserted it, had there been much of these Commodities to have been found. It was in 1722, resettled by the French, who have a Fort at another neighbouring Island, called Don Mascarine, and are touched at for Water, Wood, and Refreshments, by French Ships bound to, or for India; as St. Helena and Cape Bon Esperance, are by us and the Dutch. From this Place, Captain England and his Companions having made a little Boat of Staves and old Pieces of Deal left there, went over to Madagascar, where they subsist at present on the Charity of some of their Brethren, who had made better Provision for themselves, than they had done.
The Pyrates detained some Officers and Men belonging to Captain Mackra, and having repaired the Damages received in their Rigging, they sailed for India. The Day before they made Land, saw two Ships to the Eastward, who at first Sight, they took to be English, and ordered one of the Prisoners, who had been an Officer with Captain Mackra, to tell them the private Signals between the Company's Ships, the Captain swearing he would cut him in pound Pieces, if he did not do it immediately; but unable, was forced to bear their Scurility, till they came up with them, and found they were two Moor Ships from Muscat, with Horses; they brought the Captain of them, and Merchants, on Board, torturing them, and rifling the Ships, in order to discover Riches, as believing they came from Mocha; but being baulked in their Expectation, and next Morning seeing Land, and at the same Time a Fleet in Shore plying to Windward, they were puzzled how to dispose of them; to let them go, was to discover and ruin the Voyage, and it was cruel to sink the Men and Horses with the Ships, (as many of them were inclined to,) therefore, as a Medium, they brought them to an Anchor, threw all their Sails over-board, and cut one of the Ships Masts half through.
While they lay at an Anchor, and were all the next Day employed in taking out Water, one of the aforementioned Fleet bore towards them with English Colours, answered with a red Ensign from the Pyrates, but did not speak with one another. At Night they left the Muscatt Ships, weighed with the Sea Wind, and stood to the Northward after this Fleet: About four next Morning, just as they were getting under sail, with the Land Wind, the Pyrates came amongst them, made no stop, but fired their great and small Guns very briskly, till they got through; and as Day-Light cleared, were in a great Consternation in their Minds, having all along taken them for Angria's Fleet; what to do was the Point, whether run or pursue? They were sensible of their Inferiority of Strength, having no more than 300 Men in both Ships, and 40 of them Negroes; besides, the Victory had then four Pumps at Work, and must inevitably been lost before, had it not been for some Hand-Pumps, and several pair of Standards brought out of the Cassandra, to relieve and strengthen her; but observing the Indifferency of the Fleet, chose rather to chase than run; and thought the best Way to save themselves, was to play at Bullbeggar with the Enemy: So they came up with the Sea Wind, about Gun-Shot to Leeward, the great Ships of the Fleet a-head, and some others a-stern; which latter they took for Fire-Vessels: And these a-head gaining from them by cutting away their Boats, they could do nothing more than continue their Course all Night, which they did, and found them next Morning out of Sight, excepting a Ketch and some few Gallivats, (small sort of Vessels something like the Feluccas of the Mediterranean, and hoists, like them, triangular Sails.) They bore down, which the Ketch perceiving, transported her People on Board a Gallivat, and set fire to her; the other proved too nimble and made off. The same Day they chased another Gallivat and took her, being come from Gogo, bound for Callicut with Cotton. Of these Men they enquired concerning the Fleet, supposing they must have been in it; and altho’ they protested they had not seen a Ship or Boat since they left Gogo, and pleaded very earnestly for Favour; yet they threw all their Cargo over-board, and squezed their Joints in a Vice, to extort Confession: But they entirely ignorant of who or what this Fleet should be, were obliged not only to sustain this Torment, but next Day a fresh easterly Wind having split the Gallivats Sails, they put her Company into the Boat, with nothing but a Trysail, no Provisions, and only four Gallons of Water, (half of it Salt,) and then out of Sight of Land, to shift for themselves.
For the better elucidating of this Story, it may be convenient to inform the Reader, who Angria is, and what the Fleet were, that had so scurvily behaved themselves.
Angria is a famous IndianPyrate, of considerable Strength and Territories, that gives continual Disturbance to the European (and especially the English) Trade: His chief Hold is Callaba, not many Leagues from Bombay, and has one Island in Sight of that Port, whereby he gains frequent Opportunities of annoying the Company. It would not be so insuperable a Difficulty to suppress him, if the Shallowness of the Water did not prevent Ships of War coming nigh: And a better Art he has, of bribing the Mogul's Ministers for Protection, when he finds an Enemy too powerful.
In the Year 1720, the Bombay Fleet consisting of four Grabbs, (Ships built in India by the Company, and have three Masts, a Prow like a Row-Galley, instead of a Boltsprit, about 150 Tons; are officered and armed like a Man of War, for Defence and Protection of the Trade,) the London, Chandois, and two other Ships with Gallivats, who besides their proper Compliments, carried down 1000 Men to bombard and batter Gayra, a Fort belonging to Angria, on the Malabar Coast, which they having performed ineffectually, were returning to Bombay, and, to make amends, fell in with the Pyrates, to the Purpose has been already related. Captain Upon, Commadore of that Fleet, prudently objecting to Mr. Brown, (who went General,) That the Ships were not to be hazarded, since they sailed without their Governor Boon's Orders to engage; and besides, that they did not come out with such a Design. This favourable Opportunity of destroying the Pyrates, angered the Governor, and he transferred the Command of the Fleet to Captain Mackra, who had Orders immediately to pursue and engage, where ever he met them.
The Vice-Roy of Goa, assisted by the English Company's Fleet from Bombay, did attempt the Reduction of Callaba, his principal Place, landed 8or 10000 Men the next Year, the English Squadron of Men of War being then in those Seas; but having viewed the Fortification well, and expended some of their Army by Sickness and the Fatigues of a Camp, carefully withdrew again.
I return to the Pyrates, who, after they had sent away the Gallivats People, resolved to cruise to the Southward; and the next Day, between Goa and Carwar, heard several Guns, which brought them to an Anchor, and they sent their Boat on the Scent, who returned about two in the Morning, and brought Word of two Grabs lying at Anchor in the Road. They weighed and ran towards the Bay, till Day-Light gave the Grabs Sight of them, and was but just Time enough to get under India Diva Castle, out of their reach; this displeased the Pyrates the more, in that they wanted Water; and some were for making a Descent that Night and taking the Island, but it not being approved of by the Majority, they proceeded to the Southward, and took next in their Way, a small Ship out of Onnore Road, with only a Dutch Man and two Portuguese on Board. They sent one of these on Shore to the Captain, to acquaint him, if he would supply them with some Water, and fresh Provisions, he should have his Ship again; and the Master returned for answer, by his Mate Frank Harmless, that if they would deliver him Possession over the Bar, he would comply with their Request; the Proposal the Mate thought was collusive, and they rather jump'd into Harmless's Opinion, (who very honestly entered with them,) and resolved to seek Water at the Laccadeva Islands; so having sent the other Persons on Shore, with threats, that he should be the last Man they would give Quarter too, (by Reason of this uncivil Usage;) they put directly for the Islands, and arrived there in three Days: Where being informed by a Menchew they took (with the Governor of Canwars Pass,) of there being no Anchor-Ground among them, and Melinda being the next convenient Island, they sent their Boats on Shore, to see if there was any Water, and whether it was inhabited or not; who returned with an Answer to their Satisfaction, viz. that there was abundance of good Water, and many Houses, but deserted by the Men, who had fled to the neighbouring Islands on the Approach of Ships, and left only the Women and Children to guard one another. The Women they forced in a Barbarous Manner to their Lusts, and to require them, destroyed their Cocoa Trees, and fired several of their Houses and Churches. (I suppose built by the Portuguese, who formerly used there, in their Voyages to India.)
While they were at this Island, they lost three or four Anchors, by the Rockyness of the Ground, Freshness of Winds, and at last were forced thence by a harder Gale than ordinary, leaving 70 People, Blacks and Whites, and most of their Water Casks: In ten Days they regained the Island again, filled their Water, and took the People on Board.
Provisions were very scarce, and they now resolved to visit their good Friends the Dutch, at Cochin, who, if you will believe these Rogues, never fail of supplying Gentlemen of their Profession. After three Days sail, they arrived off Tellechery, and took a small Vessel belonging to Governor Adams, John Tawke Master, whom they brought on Board very drunk, and he giving an Account of Captain Mackra's fitting out, put them in a Tempest of Passion: A Villain, say they, that we have treated so civilly, as to give him a Ship and other Presents, and now to be armed against us, he ought to be hanged; and since we cannot show our Resentment on him, let us hang the Dogs his People, who wish him well, and would do the same, if clear. If it be in my Power, says the Quarter-Master, both Masters and Officers of Ships shall be carried with us for the future, only to plague them. — d — n England.
Thence they proceeded to Calicut, where they endeavoured to take a large Moor Ship out of the Road, but was prevented by some Guns mounted on Shore, and discharged at them: Mr. Lasinby, who was one of Captain Mackra's Officers, and detained, was under the Deck at this Time, and commanded both by the Captain and QuarterMaster of the Pyrates, to tend the Braces on the Booms, in hopes, it was believed, a Shot would take him before they got clear, asking the Reason why he was not there before? And when he would have excused himself, threat'ned on the like Neglect to shoot him; at which the other beginning to expostulate farther, and claim their Promise of putting him ashore, got an unmerciful beating from the Quarter-Master. Captain Taylor, who was now Successor to England, and whose Priviledge it was to do so, being lame of his Hands, and unable.
The next Day in their Passage down, came up with a Dutch Galliot, bound for Calicut with Lime Stone, and aboard of her they put Captain Tawke, and sent him away, and several of the People interceeded for Lasinby in vain, For, says Taylor and his Party, if we let this Dog go, who has heard our Designs and Resolutions, we overset all our well advised Projections, and partioularly this Supply we are now seeking for, at the Hands of the Dutch.
It was but one Day more before they arrived off Cochin, where, by a Fishing-Canoe, they sent a Letter on Shore; and in the Afternoon, with the Sea-breeze, ran into the Road and anchored, saluting the Fort with 11 Guns each Ship, and received the Return, in an equal Number; a good Omen of the welcome Reception they found; for at Night there came on Board a large Boat, deeply laden with fresh Provisions and Liquors, and with it a Servant (of a favourite Inhabitant) called John Trumpet: He told them they must immediately weigh, and run farther to the Southward, where they should be supplied with all Things they wanted, naval Stores or Provisions.
They had not been long at Anchor again, before they had several Canoes on Board with both black and white Inhabitants, who continued, without Interruption, all good Offices, during their Stay; particularly John Trumpet brought a large Boat of Arrack, than which, nothing could be more pleasing (about 90 Legers,) as also 60 Bales of Sugar; an Offering, its presumed, from the Governor and his Daughter, who, in Return, had a fine Table-Clock sent him, (the Plunder of Captain Mackra's Ship,) and she a large Gold Watch, Earnests of the Pay they designed to make.
When they had all on Board, they paid Mr. Trumpet to his Satisfaction, it was computed, 6 or 7000 l. gave him three Cheers, 11 Guns each Ship, and throw'd Ducatoons into his Boat by handfuls, for the Boat-Men to scramble for.
That Night being little Wind, did not weigh, and Trumpet, in the Morning, waked them to the Sight of more Arrack, Chests of Piece-Goods, and ready made Clothes, bringing the Fiscal of the Place also with him. At Noon, while those were on Board, saw a Sail to the Southward, which they weighed, and chaced after; but she having a good Offing, got to the Northward of them, and anchored a small Distance from Cochin Fort; the aforementioned Gentlemen assuring them, that they would not be molested in taking her from under the Castle, sollicited before hand for the buying her, and advised them to stand in, which they did boldly, to board her; but when they came within a Cable's length or two of the Chace, now near Shore, the Fort fired two small Guns, whose Shot falling nigh their Muzzels, they instantly bore out of the Road, made an easy Sail to the Southward, and anchored at Night in their former Birth, where John Trumpet, to engage their Stay a little longer, informed them, that in a few Days a very rich Ship was to pass by, commanded by the General of Bombay's Brother.
This Governor is an Emblem of foreign Power. What Inconvenience and Injury must the Master's Subjects sustain under one who can truckle to such treacherous and base Means, as corresponding and trading with Pyrates to enrich himself? Certainly such a Man will stickle at no Injustice to repair or make a Fortune. He has the Argumentum bacillum always in his own Hands, and can convince, when he pleases, in half the Time of other Arguments, that Fraud and Oppression is Law. That he imploys Instruments in such dirty Work, expresses the Guilt and Shame, but no way mitigates the Crime. John Trumpet was the Tool; but, as the Dog said in the Fable, on another Occasion, What is done by the Master's Orders, is the Master's Actions.
I cannot but reflect, on this Occasion, what a vile Government Sancho Pancho had of it; he had not only such Perquisites rescinded, but was really almost starved; the Victuals taken from him almost every Day, and only under a Pretence of preserving his Excellency's Health: But Governments differ.
From Cochin some were for proceeding to Madagascar directly; others thought it proper to cruize till they got a Store-Ship, and these being the Majority, they ply'd to the Southward, and after some Days saw a Ship in Shore, which being to Windward of them, they could not get nigh, till the Sea Wind, and Night, favouring, they separated, one to the Northward, the other to the Southward, thinking to enclose her between: But to their Astonishment, and contrary to Expectation, when Day broke, instead of the Chace, found themselves very near five Sail of tall Ships, who immediately making a Signal for the Pyrates to bear down, put them in the utmoft Confusion, particularly Taylor's Ship, because their Consort was at a Distance from them, (at least three Leagues to the Southward) they stood to one another, and joined, and then together made the best of their Way from the Fleet, whom they judged to be commanded by Captain Mackra; of whose Courage having Experience, they were glad to shun any farther Taste of.
In three Hours Chace, none of the Fleet gaining upon them, excepting one Grab, their dejected Countenances cleared up again, the more, in that a Calm succeeded for the Remainder of that Day; and in the Night, with the Land Wind, they ran directly off Shore, and found next Day, to their great Consolation, that they had lost Sight of all the Fleet.
This Danger escaped, they proposed to spend Christmas (the Christmas of 1720) in Carowzing and Forgetfulness, and kept it for three Days in a wanton and riotous Way, not only eating, but wasting their fresh Provisions in so wretched and inconsiderable a Manner, that when they had agreed after this to proceed to Mauritius, they were in that Passage at an Allowance of a Bottle of Water per Diem, and not above two Pounds of Beef, and a small Quantity of Rice, for ten Men for a Day; so that had it not been for the leaky Ship, (which once they were about to have quitted, and had done, but for a Quantity of Arrack and Sugar She had on Board,) they must most of them have perished.
In this Condition they arrived at the Island of Mauritius, about the Middle of February, sheathed and refitted the Victory, and on the 5th of April sailed again, leaving this terrible Inscription on one of the Walls. Left this Place the 5th of April, to go to Madagascar for Limes, and this, least (like Lawyers and Men of Business) any Visits should be paid in their Absence: However, they did not sail directly for Madagascar, but the Island Mascarine, and luckily as Rogues could wish, they found at their Arrival on the 8th, a Portuguese Ship at Anchor, of 70 Guns, but most of them thrown overboard, her Masts lost, and so much disabled by a violent Storm they had met with in the Latitude of 13° South, that she became a Prize to the Pyrates, with very little or no Resistance, and a glorious one indeed, having the Conde de Ericeira, Viceroy of Goa, who made that fruitless Expedition against Angria, the Indian, and several other Passengers on Board; who, as they could not be ignorant of the Treasure she had in, did assert, that in the single Article of Diamonds, there was to the Value of between three and four Millions of Dollars.
The Vice-Roy, who came on Board that Morning, in Expectation of the Ships being English, was made a Prisoner, and obliged to ransome; but in Consideration of his great Loss, (the Prize being Part his own,) they agreed after some Demurrings, to accept of 2000 Dollars, and set him and the other Prisoners ashore, with Promises to leave a Ship that they might Transport themselves, because the Island was not thought in a Condition to maintain so great a Number; and tho’ they had learned from them, the Account of an Ostender being to Leeward of the Island, which they took on that Information, (being formerly the Greyhound Galley of London,) and could conveniently have comply'd with so reasonable a Request; yet they sent the Ostender with some of their People to Madagascar, with News of their Success, and to prepare Masts for the Prize; and followed themselves soon after, without regard to the Sufferers, carrying 200 Mozambique Negroes with them in the Portuguese Ship.
Madagascar is an Island larger than Great-Britain, most of it within the Tropick of Capricorn, and lays East from the Eastern Side of Africa: It abounds with Provisions of all Sorts, Oxen, Goats, Sheep, Poultry, Fish, Citrons, Oranges, Tamarinds, Dates, Coco-Nuts, Bananas, Wax, Honey, Rice; or in short, Cotton, Indigo, or any other Thing they will take Pains to plant, and have Understanding to manage: They have likewise Ebony, a hard Wood like Brasil, of which they make their Lances; and Gum of several Sorts, Benzin, Dragon's Blood, Aloes, &c. What is most incommodious, are the numerous Swarms of Locusts on the Land, and Crocodiles or Alligators in their Rivers. Hither, in St. Augustin's Bay, the Ships sometimes touch for Water, when they take the inner Passage for India, and do not design to stop at Johanna; and we may observe from the sixth general Voyage set forth by the East-India Company, in Confirmation of what is hereafter said in Relation to Currents in general; that this inner Passage or Channel, has its Northern and Southern Currents strongest where the Channel is narrowest, and is less, and varies on different Points of the Compass, as the Sea comes to spread again, in the Passage cross the Line.
Since the Discovery of this Island by the Portuguese, A. D. 1506, the Europeans, and particularly Pyrates, have increased a dark Mulatto Race there, tho’ still few in Comparison with the Natives, who are Negroes, with curled short Hair, Active, and formerly represented malicious and revengeful, now tractable and communicable, perhaps owing to the Favours and Generosity in Cloathing and Liquors, they from Time to Time have received from these Fellows, who live in all possible Friendship, and can, any single Man of them, command a Guard of 2 or 300 at a Minute's warning: This is farther the Native's Interest, to cultivate with them, because the Island being divided into petty Governments and Commands, the Pyrates, settled here, who are now a considerable Number, and have little Castles of their own, can preponderate where-ever they think fit to side.
When Taylor came with the Portuguese Prize here, they found the Ostender had played their Men a Trick, for they, took Advantage of their Drink, rise upon them, and (as they heard afterwards) carried the Ship to Mozambique, whence the Governor ordered her for Goa.
Here the Pyrates came, cleaned the Cassandra, and divided their Plunder, sharing 42 small Diamonds a Man, or in less Proportion according to their Magnitude. An ignorant, or a merry Fellow, who had only, one in this Division, as being judged equal, in Value to 42 small, muttered very much at the Lot, and went and broke it in a Morter, swearing afterwards, he had a better Share than any of them, for he had beat it, he said, into 43 Sparks.
Those who were not for running the Hazard of their Necks, with 42 Diamonds, besides other Treasure, in their Pockets, knocked off, and stay'd with their old Acquaintance at Madagascar, on mutual Agreements, the longer Livers to take all. The Residue having therefore no Occasion for two Ships, the Victory being leaky, she was burnt, the Men (as many as would) coming into the Cassandra, under the Command of Taylor, who we must leave a Time, projecting either for Cochin, to dispose of their Diamonds among their old Friends the Dutch, or else for the Red or China Seas, to avoid the Men of War, that continually clamoured in their Ears, a Noise of Danger, and give the little Account we are able, of that Squadron, who arrived in India, early in the Year 1721.
At Cape Good Hope, in June, the Commadore met with a Letter, which was left for him by the Governor of Madras, to whom it was wrote by the Governor of Pandicherry, a French Factory, on the Coromondel Coast, signifying, the Pyrates at the Writing of it, were then strong in the Indian Seas, having 11 Sail and 1500 Men, but that many of them went away about that Time, for the Coast of Brazil and Guinea; others settled and fortified themselves at Madagascar, Mauritius, Johanna and Mohilla: And that others under Conden, in a Ship called the Dragon, took a large Moor's Vessel, coming from Iudda and Mocho, with thirteen Lackies of Rupees on Board, (i. e. 1300000 half Crowns,) who having divided the Plunder, burnt their Ship and Prize, and sat down quietly with their other Friends at Madagascar.
The Account contain'd several other Things which we have before related. — Commadore Matthews, upon receiving this Intelligence, and being fond of the Service he came out for, hastened to those Islands, as the most hopeful Places of Success; at St. Mary's would have engaged England with Promises of Favour, if he would communicate what he knew, concerning the Cassandra, and the rest of the Pyrates, and assist in the Pilotage; but England was wary, and thought this was to surrender at Discretion, so they took up the Judda Ship's Guns that was burnt, and the Men of War dispersed themselves on several Voyages and Cruises afterwards, as was thought likeliest to succeed, tho’ to no Purpose: Then the Squadron went down to Bombay, were saluted by the Fort, and came home.
The Pyrates, I mean those of the Cassandra, now Captain Taylor, fitted the Portuguese Man of War, and resolved upon another Voyage to the Indies, notwithstanding the Riches they had heaped up; but as they were preparing to sail, they heard of the four Men of War coming after them to those Seas, therefore they altered their Minds, sail'd for the Main of Africa, and put in at a little Place called Delagoa, near the River de Spiritu Sancto, on the Coast of Monomotapa, in 268 South Latitude. They believed this to be a Place of Security, in regard that the Squadron could not possibly get Intelligence of them, there being no Correspondence over Land, nor any Trade carried on by Sea, between that and the Cape, where the Men of War were then supposed to be. The Pyrates came to in the Evening, and were surprized with a few Shot from the Shore, not knowing of any Fortification or European Settlement in that Part of the World; so they anchored at a Distance that Night, and perceiving, in the Morning, a small Fort of six Guns, they run up to it, and battered it down.
This Fort was built and settled by the Dutch East-India Company, a few Months before, for what Purpose, I know not, and having left 150 Men upon the Place, they were then dwindled to a third Part by Sickness and Casualties, and never after received any Relief or Necessaries; so that Sixteen of those that were left, upon their humble Petition, were admitted on Board the Pyrates, and all the rest would have had the same Favour (they said) had they been any other than Dutch. I mention this, as an Instance of their Ingratitude, who had been so much obliged to their Countrymen for Support.
Here they staid above four Months, carreened both their Ships, and took their Diversions with Security, till they had expended all their Provisions, and then put to Sea, leaving considerable Quantities of Muslins, Chintzes, and such Goods behind, to the half starved Dutch Men, which enabled them to make good Pennyworths to the next that came, to whom they bartered for Provisions, at the Rate of three Farthings an English Yard.
They left Delagoa the latter End of December 1722, but not agreeing where, or how to proceed, they concluded to part, so those who were for continuing that sort of Life, went on Board the Portuguese Prize, and steered for Madagascar to their Friends, with whom I hear they are now settled; and the rest took the Cassandra and sailed for the Spanish West-Indies. The Mermaid Man of War happening then to be down on the Main with a Convoy, about 30 Leagues from these Pyrates, would have gone and attacked them; but on a Consultation of the Masters, whose Safety he was particularly to regard, they agreed their own Protection was of more Service than destroying the Pyrate, and so the Commander was unwillingly withheld. He dispatched a Sloop to Jamaica, with the News, which brought down the Lanceston, only a Day, or two, too late, they having just before he came, surrendered with all their Riches, to the Governor of Porto Bello.
Here they sate down to spend the Fruits of their dishonest Industry, dividing the Spoil and Plunder of Nations among themselves, without the least Remorse or Compunction, satisfying their Conscience with this Salvo, that other People would have done as much, had they the like Opportunitiess. I can't say, but that if they had known what was doing in England, at the same Time by the South-Sea Directors, and their Directors, they would certainly have had this Reflection for their Consolation, viz. That what ever Robberies they had committed, they might be pretty sure they were not the greatest Villains then living in the World.
It is a difficult Matter to make a Computation of the Mischief that was done by this Crew, in about five Years Time, which is much more than the Plunder they gained, for they often sunk or burnt the Vessel they took, as it suited their Humour or Circumstances, sometimes to prevent giving Intelligence, sometimes because they did not leave Men to navigate them, and at other Times out of Wantonness, or because they were displeased at the Master's Behaviour; for any of these, it was but to give the Word, and down went Ships and Cargoes to the Bottom of the Sea.
Since their Surrender to the Spaniards, I am informed several of them have left the Place, and dispersed themselves elsewhere; eight of them were shipp'd about November last, in one of the South-Sea Company's Assiento Sloops, and passed for Ship-wreck'd Men, came to Jamaica, and there sailed in other Vessels; and I know one of them that came to England this Spring from that Island. ’Tis said that Captain Taylor has taken a Commission in the Spanish Service, and commanded the Man of War that lately attack'd the English Log-Wood Cutters, in the Bay of Honduras.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07