WE have placed this Life in the Appendix, which will not perhaps be thought a proper Place; but we could not gather the Particulars, which were collected out of several different Journals, Time enough to insert it in the Body of the Book, and therefore, thought of reserving this Life for Part of another Volume; but when we had compiled it, and found it was a Sort of Recapitulation of the Adventures of the Madagascarpyrates which went before, we judged it more proper to give it in the Appendix than to separate this Gentleman from his Companions; and we were the rather induc'd to this, as the Reader will here find an Account of Bowen's Death, which we had not learn'd at the Time we wrote his Life; the Papers which we got after a long Search, and which has furnish'd us with some other Particulars of that Rover's Life, not being at that Time to be found.
Captain North was born at Bermudas, and was the Son of a Sawyer, which Business he himself was bred up to, but took, at last, to the Seas, at the Age of 17 or 18, shipping himself Cook on board a Sloop, built at Bermudas, for some Gentlemen of Barbadoes, with Design to fit her out for a Privateer. She was bound to her Owners, but the Master took Santa Udas in the Way, and loaded with Salt. When they came to Barbadoes all the Crew was press'd, and North with his Companions were put on board the Reserve.
The Master applied himself to the Governor, and got all his Men clear'd, North excepted, who, as he was a Lad, was neglected, and left on board the Man of War, which soon after sail'd for Jamaica; some Time before the Reserve was relieved from this Station, he laid Hold of an Opportunity to run away, and shipp'd himself on board a Sugar Drover, in which Way of Life he continued about two Years, and being an able Sailor, tho’ no Artist, he was offer'd to go Master of one of these Coasters, which he refus'd, and went on board a Privateer.
The first Voyage he made, as a Privateer, they took a couple of good Prizes, which made every Man's Share very considerable; but North, as he had got his Money lightly, so he spent it, making the Companions of his Dangers the Companions of his Diversions, or rather joining himself with them, and following their Example; which all (who are acquainted with the Way of Life of a successful Jamaica Privateer) know is not an Example of the greatest Sobriety and Oeconomy.
His Money being all spent, he took the same Method for a Recruit, that is, he went a second Time a Privateering, and met with such Success, that he engag'd very heartily in this Course of Life, and made several lucky Cruizes.
Some Time after he grew tir'd, thought of trading, and shipp'd himself on board a Brigantine, bound for the Spanish Coast, commanded by one Captain Reesby: This Vessel went both on the Trading and Privateer Account, so that the Men shipp'd for half Wages, and equal Shares of what Prizes they should make, in the same Manner, as to the Shares, as on board a Privateer; their trading answer'd very poorly, and their privateering Business still worse, for they return'd without making any Prize.
They were forced to leave the Spanish Coast, on Account of a Spanish Guarda la Costa, of 40 Guns and Three hundred and fifty Frenchmen, commanded by a Captain of the same Nation. When they made the Island of Jamaica, they fell in with Bluefields, off which Place two French Privateer Sloops were cruizing, one of which was formerly a Privateer of Jamaica, called the Paradox; they immediately clapp'd Capt. Reesby on board, taking him for a Trader, come from the Spanish Coast, and weakly mann'd; however, they were soon made sensible of the Mistake, for they came to fetch Wool, and one of them went away shorn; I mean Reesby took one of them, and the other was obliged to a good Pair of Heels for his Safety. Reesby lost ten Men, killed outright in the Engagement, and had seven wounded; the latter, tho’ he had made but a broken Voyage, he put ashore at Bluefields, and ordered great Care to be taken of them, at the Owners Expence: Here he took in fresh Provision, and then beat up to Port Royal, where Reesby paid them very honourably, gave them a handsome Entertainment, and begg'd they would not leave him, as he had a very great Value for them all; but for North particularly, who was a good Swimmer, manag'd a Canoe, with great Dexterity, and fear'd nothing.
Upon this Desire of the Captain's, North and the greater Part staid ashore till Captain Reesby was refitted, and went a second Voyage with him to the Coast, at seventeen Dollars a Month, and no Share; they carried 300 Negroes, beside Bale Goods; they staid four Months on the Coast, and dispos'd of all the Slaves and Goods to great Advantage. Upon their Return to Jamaica, after some Stay on the Island, Captain Reesby not going out again, North went once more a Privateering, and made a considerable Booty. While North was ashore after a Cruize, he was press'd on board the Mary Man of War: He made a Cruize in her to the Spanish Coast, and return'd to Jamaica; but hearing the Mary was soon to go to England, he, and three more, resolv'd to swim ashore from the Keys, where the Men of War lie, but he was taken as he was going off the Head, and whipp'd; he, however, found Means to make his Escape, before the Ship left the Island, and went on board the Neptune Sloop, a Privateer, commanded by Captain Lycence, then Lieutenant of the Reserve, who, while the Ship was in the Carpenter's Hands, got a Commission of the Governor to take a Cruize. Captain Moses, who commanded the Reserve, went on board their Sloop, under the Command of his Lieutenant, for Diversion only: They cruized off Hispaniola, where they met with a French Letter of Mart Merchant Man, of 18 Guns, and 118 Men, who had the Day before engaged the Swan Man of War, and shook her off.
The Neptune attack'd her, and Captain Moses was wounded one of the first, and carried down; Lycense order'd to board, but the Quarter-Master, who steer'd, mistook the Helm, the Sloop fell off, and the French pouring in a Volley of small Shot, Captain Lycence was kill'd, which being told to Moses, as the Surgeon dress'd him, he order'd North to the Helm, bid them not be discouraged, and he would be upon Deck immediately. Accordingly he came up as soon as dress'd, laid the Ship on board, where they made a very obstinate
Resistance; but the French Captain being kill'd, who received eleven Shot before he dropp'd, they, at length, became Masters.
The Privateer lost ten Men, and twenty were wounded: The French had fifty Men killed and wounded, among whom was the Captain, who had received two Shot, as he was going down to the Surgeon to get his Blood staunch'd, and came upon Deck just as he was boarded, where, encouraging his Men, he was distinguished and aimed at.
When they had brought the Prize into Jamaica, as she was an English Bottom, built at Bristol, and called the Crown, the former Owners sued to have half the Ship and Cargo, and recovered one third.
North went again a Privateering, Captain Moses his Ship being not fitted, he would take a second Cruize, and North with him. Some Time after their Return, Captain Moses being a cruizing in the Reserve, North, who was ashore, was press'd on board the Assistance Man of War; and on the Reserve's coming, being recommended by Captain Moses to his own Captain, he was handsomely treated, and made one of the Barge's Crew: He was very easy till the Assistance was order'd to England, and then, as he was apprehensive of going into a cold Climate, he took his Leave of the Man of War, and said nothing. He then went on board a Privateer again, and made several Prizes, two of which were English Bottoms, and sued for by former Owners; North thinking it hard to venture his Life, and have Part of his Prize Money taken away, and the Press being hot in Jamaica, he resolved to sail no more with the English; but went to Curasoe into the Dutch Service, and sail'd with a Spanish Trader to the Coast of New Spain several Voyages. In the last he made, they were chased ashore by a couple of French Sloops, one of which was commanded by a Dutchman, named Lawrence, who, with his Comrade, took Possession of their Vessel, and rifled her; the Crew of the Prize called to them, and asked, if they would give them good Quarters? which they promis'd; took them all on board, and used ’em very handsomely.
The French gave the Prisoners a small Sloop they took a while after, and they returned to Curaso.
He having now forgot his Resentment, he return'd to Jamaica, and went on board and cruiz'd in a Spanish Barca Longa, of 10 Guns, commanded by Captain Lovering, born at Jamaica; they cruiz'd three Months in the West Indies, and making but a small Hand of it, they put for Newfoundland, to try their Fortune on the Banks: Here they met a Man of War, who renew'd their Commission for six Months longer. The first Prize they made was a French Ketch, with a Spanish Pass, and would have pass'd for a Spaniard, but by strict Search, and threatning of the Men, they discovered her to be what she really was, tho’ she had, as a Spaniard, slipp'd thro’ the Fingers of a Man of War before.
They carried their Prize into Harbour, went again upon the Cruize, met with a French Letter of Mart Merchant Man, a Bristol built Ship, called the Pelican, of 18 Guns, and Seventy five Men, half laden with Fish: This Ship stood them a long Argument; they clapp'd her on board, and two of their Men enter'd, but missing lashing, the Barca Longa fell a-stern, and the two Men were made Prisoners; however, they came up with her again, clapp'd her on board a second Time, and carried her into the same Port where they had left the Ketch.
They after this put to Sea again, and being discovered by the French Settlement ashore, they went into St. Mary's Bay, where they fell in with a large French Fly-Boat, of 800 Tons, eighty Men, and 18 Guns, and laden with Fish: They chased and came up with her, under French Colours; when they were pretty near the Frenchman they haled, and ask'd, whence they came? a Guernsey Man, at the Bowsprit End, answer'd, from Petit Guavers; that they had been cruizing on the Banks, and were going into the Bay for Refreshment. The Frenchman bid them come no nearer, but send their Boat on board; they keeping on the Chase he fired at them, they did not mind this, but run up a long Side and boarded him; the French ran to their close Quarters, and disputed the Ship three Quarters of an Hour, when they all call'd for Quarters except one Man, who wou'd take none, but ran like a Madman into the Thick of the English, and wounded several, tho’ he was soon dispatch'd by their Pistols.
They carried this Prize to join the others, and turning all the Prisoners ashore, except what were necessary to condemn their Prizes; they stood, with a Fleet of four Sail, for Rhode Island.
Here they condemn'd the Fly-Boat and Ketch, but found a great Difficulty in getting the Pelican condemn'd, the English Owners putting in their Claim; but, at length, a Scotch Lawyer did their Business, upon leaving 300 l. in his Hands to bear the Charge of any future Suit. Captain Lovering dying here, the Ship's Company bought the Pelican, broke up the Barca Longa, sent her Owners their Shares, and got a Commission for the Master to cruize Southward as far as the Line, and to be valid for eighteen Months certain, two Years allowing for Accidents.
They fitted this Ship for a long Voyage, out of the Joint Stock of the Company; but Iron Hoops being scarce in New England, they were obliged to take Casks hoop'd with Wood, which I mention, because it proved the Ruin of their Voyage to the East Indies for a whole Year.
They being fitted for the Sea, they set Sail and steer'd for the Cape of Good Hope, which they doubled in the Month of June, made the best of their Way to Madagascar, and went into Augustine Bay, where they victualled and watered, but before this was done it was August, which was too late to go to the East-Indies; which they propos'd to do with Design, to cruize on the Moors, not intending to Pyrate among the Europeans, but honestly and quietly to rob what Moors fell in their Way, and return home with clean Consciences, and clean, but full Hands, within the limited Time of their Commission.
From Augustine they went to Johanna, and the Provisions they had salted up at Madagascar not being well done, it began to spoil; this and their Cloaths wanting Repair, made them desperately resolve to take the King of Johanna and make him ransome himself, but the Master wou'd not take Charge of the Ship, being unacquainted with the Coast: They cruiz'd among the Islands, landed at Comaro, and took the Town, but found no Booty, excepting some Silver Chains, and check'd Linnen. From hence they went to Mayotta, where they took in a Frenchman who had been morooned there, and maintain'd by the King; they consulted with him about the surprizing and taking his Town. The Frenchman was averse to it, as he owed him the Obligation of being preserved; however, he was in their Hands, and must do as they would have him: They surrounded the King's House after they had been three Days in his Town, and took him and all the Inhabitants; but the King's Son made his Way thro’ the thickest of them with his Cutlash, tho’ he was shot afterward. The Pretence they made use of for this inhospitable Manner, was, that the King had poison'd the Crew of a Ship, which was their Consort; he denied it, as well he might, for they themselves never heard of a Ship of the Name they gave this fictitious one. The King they carried on board, the other Prisoners they put into a Sort of a Temple, with a Guard over them of 36 Men.
The Alarm being given in the Country, the Natives came down in a Body of some Thousands, and attack'd the Guard; but the Ship hearing the Fire, and seeing the Hills covered with Blacks, discharged several great Guns, loaded with Patridge, which making a very great Slaughter, obliged them to retire.
The King ransom'd himself for some Silver Chains to the Value of a thousand Dollars, and for what Provision they demanded; and at the setting him ashore, swore Allegiance to them as Masters of the Country, and took an Oath besides, never to poison any more white Men.
After this notable Expedition, they staid here a Fortnight, tho’ always on their Guard, and then went back for Augustine with about 20 Slaves, they carried away with them for Servants.
Here a Sickness coming among them, they built Huts ashore; they lost, notwithstanding all their Care and Precaution, their Captain and thirty Men, by the Distemper which they contracted; but it abating, they thought of going to Sea again, but on examining their Water Casks, they found the Hoops all worm eaten and rotten, so that there was no Proceeding, but this Defect was repaired by their Cooper, who was an ingenious Fellow; he went into the Woods with the Mayotta Slaves, and with Withies and other Stuff he gathered, fitted them up, and made them tight, in acknowledging of which Service, they chose him Captain, and North was made Quarter-Master.
At Augustine they pick'd up some Straglers, among whom was David Williams, and on a Muster, they found they had a hundred and five Men. They then made their Vessel a free Ship, that is, they agreed every Man should have an equal Share in all Prizes; and proceeded for the Mouth of the Red Seas.
In the Night, after they had reach'd their Station, they made two Ships, one was the Mocha Frigate, of 40 Guns, commanded by Culliford: she had been an East India Man, and under the Command of one Captain Stout; the other Ship was called the Soldada, a Ship of 16 Guns, the Captain's Name Shivers; they haled one another, and on both Sides gave the same Answers, from the Seas, and upon Agreement, they all lay by that Night: In the Morning they consorted, and agreed to make an equal Division of all Prizes, which any of the three should take from that Time for two Months to come.
The Pelican spared Wood, Water, and some of her Hands to Captain Culliford, and here Williams shifted on board him. About ten Days after, these three had join'd Company a large Moor's Ship, on which they afterwards mounted 70 Guns, hove in Sight.
They all gave Chase, but the small Ship came first up with the Moor, who exchang'd several Shot with the Soldada and Pelican; but the Soldada clapp'd her on board, and before the Pelican could enter a Man, the Moors call'd for Quarters: In boarding the Moor, she fired a Broadside upon the Soldada, but only two Shot hull'd her, and kill'd two Men, which was the only Loss they had in taking a thousand Prisoners, Passengers, and Sailors.
All the Money was carried on board the Mocha Frigate, and divided between her Crew and the Soldada, excluding without other Reason than sic volumus, the Pelican from any Share.
The Crew of the Pelican expostulated with them, and bid them remember they had spared both Wood and Water, or the Mocha could not have kept the Station; instead of any Answer, they receiv'd a Command to be gone, or they would sink them; they answering, they could not go by themselves, wanting the Water and Wood they had spared. The two Consorts gave them a thousand Dollars, and some Water out of the Moor, bidding them buy Wood, where they could purchase it, and so left the Pelican to her self, going away for the Coast of Malabar, where they put the Prisoners and Horses they had taken ashore, sunk the Soldada, and thence went to the Isle of St. Mary's on Madagascar, where the Moor's Ship now lies sunk. They shared out of this Prize a thousand Pounds a Man in Silver and Gold besides other Goods; and the two pyrates amounted to the Number of 350 Men.
The Pelican kept the same Station for some Days, when a large Moor Ship hove in Sight, they gave Chase, and the Moor, not suspecting her for an Enemy, did not endeavour to get away; when the Pelican came up, she fired for the Moor to bring to, which made him set his small Sails, tho’ with the Loss of several Men; for the Pelican being close up, brought them down with the small Arms. When the Moor had, at length, hove out his small Sails, the Pelican could not gain upon him enough to board, tho’ she was not a Pistol Shot a-stern; whenever she came upon his Lee Quarter, the Moor being a tall Ship, took away the Wind from the Pelican, and she could never get to Windward of him. She ply'd her fore Chase all this while, and drove the Moors from their stern Chase, but could not, as they endeavour'd to do, strike the Moors Rudder, or any other Way disable him. At length, by the Fear and bad Steerage of the Moor, the Pelican ran up along Side of them, but as she miss'd lashing, she was obliged to shoot a head; in the mean while the Moor Wore round, the Pelican put to Stays after him but not Staying, and they being all in Confusion, they Wore also; but in this Time the Moor had got the Start, and setting all the Canvas he could pack on his Ship's Back, wrong'd the Pelican, and got off.
The Loss of this Ship made the Crew almost distracted, and made, for some Time, a great Division among them, some cursing the Ship for a heavy Sailor, and proposing to return home, others cursing themselves, and the ill Management by which they miss'd lashing, and propos'd going to Madagascar, and the breaking her up, since as she was a single Bottom, she must be worm-eaten; but Time, which mollifies the greatest Rage, abated these Contentions, and put an End to the Animosities which sprung from their Disappointment.
They being cool, resolved for the Malabar Coast, on which they took three Moor Ships in a little Time; the first they discharged, after taking out 6000 Dollars; the second they took for their own Use, mounted her with 26 Guns, and called her the Dolphin; the third they sold on the same Coast for 18000 Dollars. Their own Ship they set adrift. From this Coast they made for Madagascar, and near the Island Mascarenas lost all their Masts in a Hurricane. They put up Jury-Masts, came to
St. Mary's and new masted. Here they found Captain Culliford, Captain Shivers, and their Prize, with three Merchant Men from America, which were come to trade with them, one of which was the Pembrook, commanded by Samuel Burges, belonging to Frederick Phillips, Merchant at New-York. The Captain of the Dolphin, and some of the Men being weary of this Life, went home in these Merchant Ships, and the Crew chose one Samuel Inless, who lived on the Island, for their Captain; they fitted out for the Streights of Malacca, where they made several Prizes of Moor Ships, but of little value to them.
North on board one of the Prizes, was separated from the rest by bad Weather, and drove to great Straights for Water. The Moor Merchant, who was on board with him, and whom he had treated very humanely, shewed him a Draught, by which he came to a small Island not far from the Dutch Settlement, and watered. The Moor told him, that he ran the Risque of his Life should it be known that he had given him a Sight of this Draught. In return for this Service, when he met with his Companions, he got the Moor's Ship discharged.
They, after this, made for Nicobar, near Achen, and, in the Way, met a large Dane Ship, which they plunder'd, and hove down by, clean'd, and return'd to Madagascar, where they shar'd their Booty, which was, besides Goods, between 3 and 400 l. a Man. A Month after their Arrival three English Men of War appear'd in Sight, the Anglesea, Captain Littleton, the Hastings, Captain White, and the Lizard, Captain Ramsey. These Ships occasioned their hawling up the Dolphin, which, as they could not get her as high as they design'd, they set Fire to.
Commadore Littleton brought a Pardon for such of the pyrates as would accept it, and many of them, among whom were Culliford and Shivers did, and went home with Merchant Men. North accepted it also, but would not trust to it, finding the Time fixed for their Surrender was elapsed before the Men of War arrived.
Most of the pyrates having left the Isle of St. Mary's, where the King's Ships lay, North thought it not safe for him to stay, and therefore putting all he had into the Dolphin's Boat, he design'd to join his Comrades on the Main of Madagascar; but being overset by a Squawl, all the People were lost except himself, who swam four Leagues, and a Negroe Woman, whom he put on the Bottom of the Boat.
Being now on the Main, and quite naked, he frighted the Negroes he met with, as he got out of the Water, for they took him for a Sea-Devil; but one Woman, who had been used to sell Fowls at the white Mens Houses, had the Courage not to run away, and, when he came near, knew him; she gave him half her Petticoat to cover his Nakedness, and calling a Negroe Man who carried her Things, and was run into the Woods; they help'd him to perform his Journey to the Dwelling of some white Men, which was sixteen Miles from the Place where he come on Shore; a great Journey for a Man so feeble with swimming. He was kindly received and cloathed by his Comrades, whom he staid with, till he had recovered his Strength, and then he went to a black Prince of his Acquaintance, with whom he staid till the Arrival of Captain Fourgette, which was a full Year.
In this Vessel (which I have already said in White's Life was taken) he went round the North-End to the West-Side, and came into Methelage, where they surprized the Speaker; the Manner of which Surprize is also mentioned in the same Life; and, after the Death of Captain Booth, was chosen Captain's Quarter-Master, by Bowen, who succeeded in the Voyage, and the Consequences of it are already set down, for he was in the Speaker till she was lost.
The next Voyage he made was in the Speedy Return (taken from Captain Drummond,) in the Capacity of Company's Quarter-Master, with Design to cruise in the Red Seas; but touching at the Island of Mayotta, they consorted with Captain Howard, whom they met with at the Island, as is already said. From thence they went and victualled at Augustine, having promised Captain Bowen to meet him in two Months; accordingly returning thither, and missing him, they went to Mayotta to enquire after him; but hearing there that he was gone a Voyage, and as the Place of Rendezvous was off the Highlands of St. John's, they steered their Course thither, to join him, and lie for the Moor's Fleet from Mocoa.
In their Passage they met with a violent Storm, in which they were near foundering, it beat in their Stern, and obliged them to throw over all their Guns (two excepted, which lay in the Hold) and forced them into the Gulf of Persia, where they took several small Vessels, which they ripp'd up to mend their Ship.
Being very much in want of Water, having staved all their Casks, to save themselves in the Storm, and meeting with little in the Vessels taken, they hoisted out the Canoe to chase a Fishing Vessel, that they might be inform'd where they should find Water. This Boat made from them with all their Force, but the Ship firing, the People all leap'd into the Water, some of whom were drowned, and the rest got ashoar, except one Man, whom they came up with; but as soon as they thought to lay hold on him, he dived, and kept them in play near an Hour and a half: They would not shoot him, because it did not answer their Ends; but, at length, North, who was in the Boat, took the Sprit, and struck at him as he rose, hoping to disable him, but he broke his Jaw. They took him by this Means, brought him on board, sent him to the Surgeon, and when they despair'd of his being able to speak, he asked for a Pipe of Tobacco, which he smoak'd, and drunk a Dram; after which he seem'd very hearty. As the pyrates had on board several black Slaves, who spoke the East-India Tongue, one of them was ordered to enquire of him where they might find Water, promising him his Liberty if he would direct them. On this Promise he carried them to a convenient landing Place, where he shewed a Well full of Dirt, out of which, after a great deal of Trouble to come at it, they drew but three Buckets of Water, which sufficed those only who went on Shoar, to the Number of 30. Enraged with this Disappointment after so much Labour, they threaten'd their Prisoner with Death, who told them, if they would have Patience till the Sun was set, they would have Plenty, for the Spring would rise, and flow all Night; which they found to be Fact, and filled twenty Tun of Water, and return'd on board, carrying the Man with them, for whom they made a gathering of some Goods, and about thirty Dollars; these they gave him, and exacted a Promise, that whenever he saw any Ship on that Coast, which made the same Signals they had made, he would go on board and render them what Service he could, assuring him he would always meet with civil Treatment, and be well rewarded.
After this they cruised on the Gulf of Persia some Days, in hopes of meeting their Consort, not doubting but she had some Share in the Storm.
The Time of their Consortship being now over, and she not appearing, they steered for the Highlands of St. John near Surat, the Place of Rendezvous. When they made the Land they spied a tall Ship, and immediately making all clear for an Engagement, they gave chase. The other Ship doing the like, they soon met, and, to the great Joy of both Parties, she proved their Consort. Upon Enquiry they found the Prosperous had been ten Days on this Station, and had not met with the Storm which had so roughly handled the Speedy Return, on giving an Account of their Misfortune, viz. their being obliged to throw over their Guns, and a Quantity of Provisions, Captain Howard spared them some fresh Provisions, and expressing great Concern for the Accident, renewed his Consortship for two Months longer; that is, they agreed whatever Prizes were taken should be equally divided between the Crews of both Ships. After they had cruised here fourteen Days, they spied seven Sail of tall Ships, which proved to be the Moors from Mocoa; they both gave Chace, but the Speedy Return being the better Sailor first came up with one of them, laid her on board, and carried her in a very little Time, with little more Damage than the Loss of her Bowsprit. The Prosperous kept on the Chace, and having Captain Whaley on board as a Pilot, took another at an Anchor, as is said (so need not be repeated) in Captain Howard's Life.
The Speedy Return steered with her Prize for the Coast of Malabar, where, by Agreement, she was to wait ten Days for her Consort. In six Days the Prosperous joined them, but without any Prize, having rifled her, as is before said in another Life.
Here they made an equal Dividend of their Prizes, burnt the Speedy Return, sunk the Prosperous, went all on board the Moor's Ship, put to Sea, and cruised on this Coast, where they made several Prizes. When they came over against Cachine, some black Merchants, Goldsmiths, and several Dutch Men, came on board to trade with them, bringing a great many Sequins, and other Gold Coin, to change for Spanish Dollars; as many of the pyrates designed to knock off and return home, they gave 500 Dollars for 200 Sequins, for the Conveniency of close Stowage about them. The Goldsmiths set up their Forges on board the Ship, and were fully employed in making them Buttons, Buckles, and what else they fancied, so that they had a fair Opportunity of putting what Alloy they thought proper. They here also furnished themselves with a good Quantity of Arrack, Provisions, and Stores, and then leaving the Coast, shaped their Course for Madagascar, but, in the Way, fell in with the Island of Mauritius, and put into a Port called the North-West Harbour. Here they wooded and watered. This Port affords great abundance of a poisonous Fish called the Red-Snapper, the Nature of which was well known to Captain Bowen, who perswaded his Men not to eat of them, but they were in Port, and then are all Commanders, so that this wholesome Advice was thrown away upon them. The Captain seeing their Obstinacy, and that they could not be disswaded, eat with them, chusing rather to share the same Fate than be left alone to the Mercy of the Dutch, as he was conscious of what he merited.
They supp'd plentifully on the Fish, and drank very heartily after it. Soon after they began to swell in a frightful Manner. The next Morning some Planters came on board with Fowls, Goats, &c and seeing the pyrates in a miserable Condition, and some of these Fish lying on the Decks, asked if they had not eat of them? Being answer'd they had, advised their drinking plentifully of strong Liquors, which was the only way to expel the Poyson, which had dispatch'd them all in less Time, had they not done it after their unfortunate Meal. They readily followed this Advice, as the Prescription was agreeable, and by this Means, with the Care of the Surgeons, of whom they had several expert in their Business, and stock'd with good Medicines, they all recovered, four excepted, who paid their Obstinacy with their Lives.
They here heel'd their Ship, scrubb'd, tallow'd, and took in what they wanted. When they had staid three Months in this Port, the Governor sent and desired them to put to Sea, for he expected the Arrival of the Dutch East-India Men; they accordingly got every Thing ready, and went out, but left several of their Men behind them, as we have said in Bowen's Life.
From hence they steered for Madagascar, and in their Passage stopped at Don Mascarenas, where they took in a Quantity of Hogs, Goat, Sheep, Fowls of all Sorts, and Green Turtle. Captain Bowen here went ashoar with 40 of his Men, having obtained the Governor's Protection by the Force of Presents. These Men design'd to give over their Pyracy, and return home the first Opportunities offer'd them. In six Months after they had staid here, Captain Bowen was taken ill of the dry Belly Ach, a Distemper as rise here as in the West-India Islands, and was buried in the Highway, for the Priests would not allow him holy Ground, as he was a Heretick.
But to return; when Bowen went ashoar North was chosen Captain. The Ceremony of this Installation is, the Crew having made choice of him to Command, either by an unanimous Consent, or by a Majority of Suffrages, they carry him a Sword in a very solemn Manner, make him some Complements, and desire he will take upon him the Command, as he is the most capable among them. That he will take Possession of the great Cabin; and, on his accepting the Office, he is led into the Cabin in State, and placed at a Table, where only one Chair is set at the upper End, and one at the lower End of the Table for the Company's Quarter-Master. The Captain and he being placed, the latter succinctly tells him, that the Company having Experience of his Conduct and Courage, do him the Honour to elect him for their Head, not doubting his behaving himself with his usual Bravery, and doing every Thing which may conduce to the publick Good; in Confidence of which, he, in the Name of the Company, promised to obey all his lawful Commands, and declared him Captain. Then the Quarter-Master takes up the Sword, which he had before presented him, and he had returned, puts it into his Hand, and says, This is the Commission under which you are to act, may you prove fortunate to your self and us. The Guns are then fired round, Shot and all; he is saluted with three Chears; the Ceremony is ended with an Invitation from the Captain to such as he thinks fit to have dine with him, and a large Bowl of Punch is ordered to every Mess.
Captain North leaving this Island steered for Madagascar, and came to Cape Dolphin at the South End, as is said in White's Life, where he came to an Anchor, and took on board some Refreshments, but it blowing hard, he was obliged to put to Sea, and leave his Boat with 30 Men behind him. He ran along the East-Side of the Island, and came to a Place called Ambonavoula, in the Latitude of 17. 38. where they put on Shore some of their Goods, and settled themselves among the Negroes, several living in a House; here they lived as Sovereign Princes among the Inhabitants.
The Moor Prisoners they kept on board, and allowed them sufficient fresh Provisions. North privately bid the Boatswain of the Moors take the Advantage of the Land Breeze in the Night Time, and go off with the Ship, and what Goods were left on board; or the pyrates would soon hawl up the Ship, take every Thing on Shore, and they (marooned there) would never see their own Country again.
Accordingly the Boatswain following this Advice, laid hold of the Opportunity of a dark Night, and communicating his Design to the other Moors, whom he did not acquaint with this Advice, as North charg'd him not, till he was on the Point of executing his Design, they weigh'd with great Silence and stood to Sea.
The next Morning some of the pyrates propos'd to go on Board and fetch off some Iron and other Things to trade with in the Country; but they were strangely surpriz'd when they miss'd the Ship; they alarm'd the rest of their Comrades, and went in a Body to Captain North to tell him what had happen'd. He answer'd, if the Moors were gone off with the Ship, it was their own Fault; they ought to have left a sufficient Number of Hands on Board to have secur'd her; that there was now no Remedy but Patience, for they had no Vessel to pursue with, except they thought the Canoe proper.
Some of the pyrates thought as she lay in foul Ground the Cable might be cut by some Rock, and the Ship blown off to Sea by that Accident; on starting this, some of them ran up to an Eminence, and from thence spy'd the Ship as far as they could well see, with all Sails set, which was a cruel and convincing Proof that their Loss was irreparable.
They endeavoured to make themselves easy, since there was no Help; and transporting their Goods to different Abodes, at small Distances, they settled themselves, buying Cattle and Slaves, and lived in a neighbourly Manner one among another five Years; clear'd a great deal of Ground, and planted Provisions as Yamms, Potatoes, &c. The Natives among whom they fix'd, had frequent Broils and Wars among themselves, but the pyrates interposed, and endeavoured to reconcile all differences; North deciding their Disputes not seldom, with that Impartiality and strict Regard to distributive Justice (for he was allowed, by all, a Man of admirable good natural Parts) that he ever sent away, even the Party who was cast, satisfied with the Reason, and content with the Equity of his Decisions.
These Inclinations which the pyrates shewed to Peace, and the Example they set of an amicable Way of Life; for they carefully avoided all Jars, and agreed to refer all Cause of Complaint among themselves which might arise, to a cool Hearing before North, and twelve of their Companions, gave them a great Character among the Natives, who were before very much prejudiced against the white Men. Nay, in this Point of keeping up a Harmony among themselves, they were so exact, that whosever spoke but in an angry or peevish Tone, was rebuked by all the Company, especially if before any of the Country, tho’ even but a Slave, of their own; for they thought, and very justly, that Unity and Concord were the only Means to warrant their Safety; for the People being ready to make War on one another upon the slightest Occasion, they did not doubt but they would take the Advantage of any Division which they might observe among the whites, and cut them off whenever a fair Opportunity offered.
North often set this before them, and as often made them remark the Effects of their Unanimity, which were, the being treated with great Respect and Deference, and having a Homage paid them as to sovereign Princes. Nature, we see, teaches the most Illiterate the necessary Prudence for their Preservation, and Fear works Changes which Religion has lost the Power of doing, since it has been looked upon as a Trade, and debased by the scandalous Lives of those who think it their Business to teach it only, and, satisfied with the Theory, leave the practical Part to the Laity: For these Men whom we term, and not without Reason, the Scandal of humane Nature, who were abandoned to all Vice, and lived by Rapine; when they judged it for their Interest, not only (politickly) were strictly just, both among themselves, and in composing the Differences of the neighbouring Natives, but grew continent and sober, as no doubt they esteemed their Security to depend on shewing the Blacks they could govern those Passions to which they themselves were Slaves. Its true, they were all Polygamists, but that was no Scandal among a People who thought the cohabiting with a pregnant Woman a Sin against Nature in acting contrary to her Design, which is by Generation to propagate the animal Race; and who should be guilty of this Crime among them, they esteemed worse than Beasts, which following Nature, obey her Orders exactly, and set Men a Lesson of Prudence. When then, I say, they were continent, I mean they never invaded the Rights either of their Compations, or of the Natives.
The Reader may, perhaps, be well enough pleased to hear how on the smallest Difference they proceeded to a Reconciliation; for, as I have said, it was a Maxim with them, that the least Discord among a few Particulars would be the Ruin of a whole Body; as from a small neglected Spark, a general Conflagration may arise and lay the noblest City waste.
On any Mistake from which a Dispute arose, or on any ill-manner'd Expression let fall in Company, they all broke up, and one of the Company poured what Liquor was before them on the Ground, saying, no Contention could creep in among them without Loss; and therefore he sacrificed that Liquor to the evil Fiend, to prevent a greater Damage. Then both the contending Parties, on Pain of being banished the Society, and sent to another Part of the Island, were summon'd to appear at Captain North's, the next Morning, and, in the mean while, they were commanded to keep their respective Houses.
The next Morning both the Parties being met, and all the whites summon'd to attend, the Captain set the Plaintiff and Defendant on one Side, and told them, that till the Aggressor had consented to do Justice, and till the Person injured had forgot his Resentment, they must esteem them both Enemies to the Publick, and not look upon them as their Friends and Companions. He then wrote down the Names of all the Assembly, roll'd them up, and put them into a Hat, out of which, each Party shaking the Hat, chose six Tickets; and these twelve Rowls or Tickets contained the Names of the assistant Judges, who, with the Captain, heard and determined in the Cause, calling and examining the Witnesses. When the Matter was fully debated, the Court was adjourned to the next Day, and the Litigators commanded to appear again, and, in the Interim, not to stir out their Houses, to which they were respectively conducted by two or three each, lest the Slaves, or the neighbouring Blacks, should, by a greater Number, have any Suspicion of their Disagreement.
The second Day the Examination began afresh, and the Witnesses were sifted, as if they had not before been examined, and this to try if they were consistent with their former Evidence, which was noted down. Then the Court was again adjourned, and the disagreeing Parties remanded home till next Morning, when Judgment was given, which was a Fine in Proportion to the Affront.
The Reason of confining those who had Dissension was to deter them, by this small Punishment, from all future Quarrels, and to prevent any ill Accident which might happen by their being at full Liberty.
The Example they set, and the Care they took to accommodate Differences among their Neighbours, had calmed all the Country round them. After they had staid here near three Years, Captain North, and some of his Companions, had a Mind to visit the Country Southward, and trade for more Slaves and Cattle; to which End taking a considerable Quantity of Powder and Arms, beside what they might use, with 50 whites and 300 Natives, he set forward on his Journey. When they had travelled about fourscore Miles Southward, they came to a Nation rich in Slaves and Cattle, who inhabited the Banks of the largest River on the East-Side the Island, called Mangora. With these People he trafficked for a great Number of Slaves and Cattle, which he purchased for Guns and Powder: They being at War when Captain North came among them, with a neighbouring Prince, he was intreated to give his Assistance, for which they, the Mangorians, promised him a hundred Slaves with 500 Head of Cattle, and all the Prisoners they should take. On these Conditions he joined them, and marched to a very large Town of the Enemy's, which was naturally very strong, and esteemed by the Natives impregnable, being situated on a high and craggy Rock, which could be ascended by the Way only leading to the Gate, where was kept a strong Guard. The Blacks in North's Army were for leaving this Town unattempted, and marching farther into the Country, in search of Booty; but North told ’em it was not safe to leave a Garrison of Enemies at their Backs, which would continually infest them, by falling on their Rear, and which would be an Obstacle to their carrying off what Plunder they might get together; beside, it would be an Azyle for all the Country, which would fly thither till they had gather'd a Body considerable enough to come down and face them in the Field, which the Enemy might do with reasonable Hopes of Success, as their Men would be all fresh, while those of his Party would be fatigued with Marches, may be encumbered by Plunder, and worn down with the Inconveniencies of lying exposed in the Fields.
The chief of his Allies allowed his Reasons good, were an Attempt on the Town practicable, which Experience told him was not; for, tho’ several times besieged, it never could be taken, it would be the Loss of a great deal of Time, and many Mens Lives to offer at it.
North desired he would leave the Management of this Siege to him.
The Chief answered, he should do as he pleased, but it was against his Judgment to attack a Town which Nature her self had fortified, which God Almighty would never suffer to be taken, and which had, to no Purpose, cost the Lives of a
Number scarce to be told, of his Countrymen, in the several Attempts they had made to be Masters of it.
North disposed his Army, and invested the Rock on every Side, then sent Word to the Town, if they did not surrender he would give no Quarter to either Sex or Age. The Inhabitants laugh'd at his Message, told him, they did not believe he had learnt the Art of flying, and till he had, they thought themselves very secure from his putting such Menaces in Execution.
Out of the White Men, North chose 30, whom he set at the Head of 3 Companies, consisting of 100 Blacks each; and as he had some Grenade-Shells with ’em, soon dispersed the Guard at the Foot of the Rock, and made a Lodgment; tho’ the Blacks were acquainted with Fire-Arms, the Shells were entirely new to them, and as they saw their terrible Effect, threw down their Arms, and gained the Middle of the Rock, where they had another Corps de Guarde, tho’ not without some Loss. Those who were at the Bottom of the Rock being put to flight, North sent 10 whites and 500 Blacks to take that Post, and Orders to the other whites to mount the Rock, and having beat that Guard, if possible, to enter the Town with them. They accordingly ascended in this Order, as the Road was so narrow, only three could pass on a-breast, and the Enemy, when within Cast of a Dart, threw down a Shower upon them, three unarmed Blacks with their Shields march'd before three small Shot Men, and shelter'd them from the Enemies Weapons; these were followed by others, with the same Precaution, the white Men being mix'd with those who thus went up, that is to say, one White Musketeer to two Blacks.
The Enemy seem'd resolute to defend the Pass, but when they had, to no Purpose, spent a Number or Darts, and had lost some Men by the Shot, they swiftly took to the Top of the Rock, where, joined with fresh Men from the Town, they made a Stand and Shew of Resistance; North's Men followed, and pouring in a Volley, put them into Confusion, which gave the Assailants an Opportuty to come near enough to throw in their Shells, half a dozen of which bursting with considerable Damage, and the Slaughter of several Men, they thought to shelter themselves in the Town, but the Inhabitants fearing the Enemy's entering with them, shut the Gates against both, so that the Blacks of North's Army, notwithstanding all the Whites could do to the contrary, made a great Slaughter; however, they saved some, whom they sent Prisoners to the Camp, desiring, at the same Time, a Supply of Powder to make a Petarde.
In the mean while the Enemy from the Town threw a prodigious Quantity of Darts, which the Besiegers received upon their Shields, at least, the greater Part.
The Town was again summon'd, but they refus'd to surrender, wherefore, they were obliged to shelter themselves as well as they could, and expect the Powder from the Camp; tho’ in the mean while, the small Shot from without being warmly plied, made the throwing Darts from the Town less frequent, for none could shew his Head but with the greatest Danger.
When the Powder came, they cut down and hollowed a Tree, which they filled with Powder, and plugg'd up very tight, and under the Protection of their Shields and Muskets got it to the Gate, under which they dug a Hole large enough to receive it, then setting Fire to the Fuze, it burst with a terrible Crack, tore their Gate to
Shatters, and left an open Passage, which the Besiegers, who had been join'd with 500 more Blacks, who came up with the Powder, enter'd, and began a very great Slaughter; the Whites protected all they could who submitted, but notwithstanding their Diligence, the Town was strew'd with dead and dying Men. At length what with being tir'd, and what with Persuasion, the Slaughter ceas'd, the Town was reduced to Ashes, and the Conquerors return'd to the Camp with 3000 Prisoners, whom his Allies led to their own Quarters, where calling out, the old Women, Children, and useless Slaves, they sent them to North, as if by these, they thought themselves releas'd from the Promise made to induce his Assistance.
When North saw the Dishonesty of these People, he sent for their Prince, and told him, ‘According to Agreement all the Slaves belong'd to him; nay, according to Justice he alone had a Right to them, since he despair'd of taking the Town, so far as to dissuade his besieging it; and that he not only owed to him their Success, but even the Safety of his Army, and all the Plunder they should make in the Prosecution of the War, for Reasons already given, and by himself allow'd to be good. That he thought he had allied himself with a People of Integrity, but he was sorry to say, he found himself quite mistaken in his Opinion, since they were so far from making good their Treaty; that they sent him out of the Slaves taken, instead of all, those only whom they knew not what to do with; that they must not imagine him so blind as not to perceive how disingenuously he was dealt with; or that he wanted either Strength or Resolution to resent the Usage.’
He then ask'd what was become of a Number of young and handsome Women he had seen among the Captives?
The Prince answer'd, ‘That those he enquired after were his and his Countrymens Relations, and as such they could not consent to, nor could he require their being made Slaves.
This Answer made, the Chief left him; as it was delivered in a pretty haughty Tone, it did not a little nettle both North and his Comrades; the latter were for immediately doing themselves Justice, but the former begg'd they would have Patience and rely on him; they followed his Advice, and he sent an Interpreter, who privately enquired among the Women what Relation they had to the People of the River; the Prisoners answered, that some of their Forefathers had inter-married with that Nation.
I must here take Notice, that notwithstanding the Inhabitants of Madagascar have but one Language which is common to the whole Island, the Difference of the Dialect in different Nations makes it very difficult for any but the Natives, or those who have been a great many Years (more than North and his Companions had been) among them to understand them perfectly, which is the Reason he made use of an Interpreter, as well between him and the Chief, as between the Slaves and him.
When he had received this Answer from the Prisoners, he went to the Prince, and told him, It was very odd he should make War on his Relations, however, he should keep them since he declared them such, till he could prove his Right better than the Prince could his Nearness of Blood; that as he had once taken them, he would try if he could not support the Justice of his Claim, and bid him therefore be upon his Guard, for he openly declared, he was no longer the Ally, but the profess'd Enemy of faithless People.
Saying this, he and his Blacks separated themselves from the Mangorians, and North divided them into Companies, with his White Men at the Head of each, and order'd them to fire Ball over the Heads of their late Allies; the first Volley was a prodigious Astonishment to the Mangorians, several of whom ran away, but North firing two more immediately, and marching up to them, brought the Prince and the Head Officers of his Army to him, crawling on all four; they (as the Custom of shewing the greatest Submission is among them) kiss'd the Feet of the Whites, and begg'd they would continue their Friendship, and dispose of every Thing as they thought proper.
North told him, ‘Deceit was the Sign of a mean and coward Soul; that had he, the Prince, thought too considerable, what, however, was justly his Due, because not only promised to, but taken by him, he ought to have expostulated with him, North, and have told him his Sentiments, which might have, it was possible, made no Division, for neither he nor his Men were greedy or unreasonable; but as the Prince had not the Courage publickly to claim the Slaves, he would have basely stolen them by false Pretences of Kindred, it was a Sign he did not think such Claim justifiable, as certainly it was not, for all his Captains could witness their Prince had agreed the Prisoners taken should be given to the Whites, and his Companions, a sufficient Title, to mention no other. That he had resolved to shew them, by a severe Chastisement, the Abhorrence those of his Colour have to Ingratitude and Deceit, and what Difference there was in fighting on the Ground of Justice, and the supporting Wrong and Injury; but as they acknowledg'd their Error, he should not only forgive but forget what was past, provided no new Treachery, in his Return, which he resolved upon, refresh'd his Memory. He then order'd them to bring all the Slaves, and they punctually complied without Reply.
North chose out the finest and ablest among them, and dividing the whole Number of Prisoners into two equal Bands, he kept that in which he had placed the chosen Slaves, and sent the other to the Prince, telling him, ‘tho’ neither Fraud nor Compulsion could wring a Slave from him, yet Justice, as some of his Troops had shared the Danger, and a generous Temper, had sent him that Present, which was half the Spoil; tho’ he could not think of going any farther on with the War, that he ought to content himself with the taking a Town they thought impregnable, and blame his own Conduct, if he should continue in the Field, and hereafter find the Want of his Assistance.
The Prince and his People admired the Penetration, Bravery, and Generosity of the Whites, and sent them Word, ‘He was more obliged to them for the Lesson they had taught him by their Practice, than for the Slaves they had presented him, tho’ he esteem'd the Present as he ought. That for the future he should have an Abhorrence from every mean Action, since he had learned from them the Beauty of a candid open Procedure. At the same Time he thank'd him for the Present, and the not suffering his Resentment to go farther than the frightning him into his Duty; for he was sensible his Balls were not fir'd over their Heads, but by Orders proceeding from the Humanity of the Whites, who, he observed, tender over the Lives of of their Enemies, contrary to the Custom of his Countrymen, who give Quarter to none, the Females and Infants excepted, that there may hereafter be none to take Revenge; he begg'd, that he would suffer their Submission to get the better of his Design to depart. This could not prevail, the Whites and their Friends, who came with them, turn'd their Faces towards home, taking their Slaves and Cattle with them; tho’ the Mangorians were sensibly touch'd at the Obstinacy of North's Resolution, yet they parted very amicably.
As the Whites were returning home with their Company, they fell in with another Nation, the Timouses, whose Prince join'd North, with 500 Men, and swore a strict Amity with him and his Crew.
The Ceremony used among the Natives, as it is uncommon, so an Account of it may, perhaps, be agreeable to my Readers. The Parties, who swear to each other, interweave their Toes and Fingers, so that they must necessarily sit very close to each other. When they have thus knit their Hands and Feet, they reciprocally swear to do each other all friendly Offices, to be a Friend or Enemy to the Friend or Enemy of the Party to whom they swear; and if they falsify the Oath they make, they imprecate several Curses on themselves, as may they fall by the Lance, be devoured by the Alligator, or struck dead by the Hand of God; then an Assistant scarifies each of the contracting Parties on the Chest, and wiping up the Blood with a Piece of Bread, gives this bloody Bread to each of them to eat, that is, each eats the Blood of the other; and this Oath whether it be with equal Parties, or with a Prince and his Subject, where the one promises Protection, and the other Obedience (which was the Nature of that taken between North and this Prince) is look'd upon inviolable, and they have few Examples of its being broken; but where any has been wicked enough to violate this solemn Oath, they say, they have been ever punish'd according to their Imprecations.
As this Prince had War with powerful Neighbours, he left his Country, taking with him all his great Men, Wives, and Relations, and with a Company of about 500 fighting Men, followed North, and settled by him, where he staid two Years, the Time North staid; during this Space, being supplied with Arms, Powder, and several Natives by Captain North, he made several Inroads into his Enemies Countries, and made all he conquer'd, swear Allegiance to Capt. North.
At the Expiration of two Years, Captain Halsey came in with a Brigantine, as is said in the Life of Captain White.
This Crew having made a broken Voyage were discontented with their Captain, and desired North to take the Command upon him; but he declined it, saying, Halsey was every Way as capable, and that they ought not to depose a Man, whom they could not tax with either Want of Courage or Conduct; and for his Part, he would never take the Command from any who did not justly merit to be turn'd out, which was not Halsey's Case.
The Crew were not, however, satisfied, and they made the same Offer to White, but by North's Industry, they were, at last, prevail'd on to continue their old Commander; and as North and his Companions had expended their Money in the settling their Plantations, and wanted Cloaths, the former, therefore, accepted of the Quarter-Master's Post under Halsey, and the others went in the Capacity of private Gentlemen Adventurers, I mean plain foremast Men, as may be gathered in the
Life of that Pyrate, to which I refer for an Account of the Expedition they made in the Red Seas, beginning at Page 113. Captain Halsey on board a Prize left North to command the Brigantine they set out in.
The two Commanders were separated by a Storm, but both made for Madagascar; Halsey got to Ambonavoula, but North fell in with Maratan, where, finding the Brigantine was very much worm eaten, and made a great Deal of Water, with one Consent they took ashore all their Goods, and laid up their Vessel.
They were all very well received; the King being then at War with his Brother, North prevail'd on his Majesty's Sister to pass her solitary Hours with him; at the King's Return, having defeated his Brother, he was very much incens'd against North, for being so free with the Royal Family, and resolved to fine him 200 Sequins for the Affront done to his illustrious House; but North having some Inkling of his Design, pacified him, by making a Present of one hundred.
The pyrates continued here a whole Year, when being desirous to go to Ambonavoula, they ask'd the King's Assistance to build a Boat, and he for 1000 Dollars, set Negroes to work, under the Directions of Captain North, and a Vessel of 15 Tons was set up and launch'd with great Dispatch.
In this Boat they went to a River, called Manangaro, thirty Leagues to the Northward of Maratan: Here some of their Comrades came to them in a Boat belonging to the Scotch Ship Neptune, and help'd to transport their Goods to Ambonavoula, where he had before settled, and had a Woman and three Children.
He had not been long return'd before his neighbouring Natives reported, that the Timouses, who had followed him from the Southward, had a Design to rebel against, and murder him and the other Whites, which giving too easy Credit to, he made War upon, and drove these poor People out of the Country.
Some Time after he built a Sloop, and went to Antonguil, where he purchas'd 90 Slaves, and took in the Scots Supercargo, Mr. George Crookshank, with a Design to carry him to Mascarenas; but all his Comrades were against it, saying, when he got to Europe he would prove their Destruction. North answered, nothing could be more cruel, after they had taken the greater Part of what the poor Gentleman had, than to keep him from his Country, Family, and Friends; for his Part were he his Prisoner, he should not ask their Consents in doing an Act of Humanity, and the only one they were able towards making him some Reparation, since they could not return his Goods, which were parcel'd out into so many Shares.
On North's saying thus much, they put the Affair in Question to the Vote, and there being many who had Obligations to North, and whom he influenced in Favour of the Supercargo, 48 out of 54 voted for the discharging him. North having gained this Point, the pyrates ask'd if he also designed to take with him one J. B. a great Favourite of his, who had been Midship Man on board the Neptune (a young Scotch Man, who was a good Artist, a thorough Seaman, and very capable of taking on him the Command in any Voyage) he answered there was a Necessity of taking him, since he should want his Assistance in the Voyage; as he depended on his Knowledge, his Companions said J. B. would certainly give him the Slip, which would be a Loss to them all, as he was an Artist, and a clean hail young Fellow, and therefore his being detained was necessary to their common Good. To this North answered, his own Security would oblige his taking Care that he should not get from him, since no other on board was capable to find the Way back to Ambonavoula.
He went to Mascarenas, where the Supercargo and his Negroe were put on Shore with all the Money he had, which was about 1600 Dollars; for when the pyrates made Prize of the Neptune, in the Manner already said, they took none of the Money, they themselves had before paid for Liquors, &c. either from the Captain, Supercargo, or any other on board; for that, they look'd upon it a base, as well as dishonest Action, but for the Ship and remaining Part of the Cargo, they had a fair Title to, viz. they wanted both. It is true, they made the Merchants of the Greyhound refund what Money they had taken; but before the Reader taxes them with Injustice, and acting against the above Maxim, let him consider Circumstances, and call to Mind the whole Story.
They did not take that Ship, on the contrary, they sent her away well victualled, and provided with Necessaries for her Voyage; and, I hope, it will be allow'd, they had a lawful Claim to her, as she belong'd to an Enemy, and came into a Port of theirs, without a Pass: Again, they did not rob these Merchants of the Money they had before laid out with them, but took it in Payment for the Liquors they had put on board the Greyhound, out of the Neptune, which the Merchants themselves, if they had any Honesty, could not expect for nothing: But let us suppose they had taken this Money by Force, and not traded for it on the fair Foot, as its evident they did; yet, was it no more than an Act of Justice, such as might reasonably be expected from the Probity of these Gentlemen, who never suffer an ill Action to go unpunished: And no Body can justify the Proceedings of those Merchants who advised the seizing the Scots Ship. But to return.
North would not suffer J. B. to go ashore; however, to make him amends for his Confinement, he gave him four Negroes, whom he sold for 300 Dollars, and took Care that he should live plentifully and well on board. North's Business, at this Island, was to get Leave to carry his Children there to be educated in the Christian Faith, which after some rich Presents made the Governor, he obtained, and return'd to Madagascar. In the Voyage, as J. B. was very greatly in his Favour, and his Confident, he told him, his Design was to leave his Children at Mascarenas, and place Fortunes for them in the Hands of some honest Priest, who would give them a Christian Education (for he thought it better to have them Papists, than not Christians) and would then go back to Maratan, and endeavour, by his Penitence, to make Attonement for his former Life, and never more go off the Island on any Account; that he would give his Sloop to J. B. with two hundred Dollars, that he might find some Means to return home, since he very wisely refus'd to join with the pyrates.
When he came on the Madagascar Coast, he heard a French Ship had touch'd there, and left some Men behind her; upon which Account, North ran to the Southward 100 Leagues out of his Way, to enquire after and assist these People: A Piece of Humanity which ought not to be pass'd by in Silence, for it may shame not a few among us who carry a Face of Religion, and act with greater Barbarity than those whom we hunt and destroy as a Nusance to the World, and a Scandal to the Name of Man. If any thinks this Reflection severe, let him examine into the Number of Thousands who are perishing in Goals, by the Cruelty of Creditors, sensible of their Inability to pay: Let him take a View of the Miseries which reign in those Tombs of the Living, let him enquire into the Number of those who are yearly starved to Death, to gratify an implacable Spirit, and then, if he can, clear the English Laws, which allow a Creditor to punish an unfortunate Man, for his being so, with the most cruel of all invented Deaths, that of Famine; let him, I say, clear them from the Imputation of Barbarity. I beg Pardon for this Digression, which my Concern for the English Character, for this only Reason sunk among Foreigners forced me into.
North found but one Man, whom he took home with him, cloathed and maintained him. When he came back to Ambonavoula, he found the Country all in an Uproar, and the Rest of his Companions preparing for a War with the Natives, but his Arrival restor'd their former Quiet. After four Months Stay at home, he fitted his Sloop to go out and purchase Slaves at Antonguil; but finding few there to his Mind, for in two Months he bought but forty, he return'd to his Settlement. He design'd now to carry his Children to Mascarenas, but dissuaded on Account of the Season, by J. B. he went to Methelage on the West Side of the Island, to trade for Samsams.
Having purchas'd a considerable Quantity of Samsams he went to Johanna, and thence to Mayotta, return'd again to Madagascar, but not being able to get round the North End, on Account of the Current, he put for Mayotta again; on the West Side of this Island put into a Port, called Sorez, where, some Time before, came a Ship from England to trade, commanded by one Price, who going ashore with his Doctor was detained (as was also his Boat's Crew) till he redeem'd himself and Surgeon, with 200 Barrels of Powder and 1000 Small Arms; but was forced to leave his Boat's Crew, not having wherewithal to ransom them, tho’ the Demand was only two Small Arms for each Man. These poor Creatures were afterwards sold to the Arabians; in Revenge North and his Crew landed, burnt a large Town, and did all the Damage they could. From Mayotta he went again to Madagascar, where a King of his Acquaintance told him, the Whites and Natives were at War at Ambonavoula; he bought thirty Slaves, refreshed his Crew, and went home. On the News of his Arrival the Natives sent to conclude a Peace, but he would not listen to them; on the contrary, rais'd an Army, burnt a Number of Towns, and took a great many Prisoners.
This Success brought the Natives to sue in a very humble Manner for a Cessation of Arms, that a general Peace might follow: This he agreed to about four Months after his Arrival.
His Enemies, having now the Opportunity, corrupted some of his neighbouring Natives, and in the Night surprized and murder'd him in his Bed. His Comrades, however, being alarmed, took to their Arms, drove the treacherous Multitude before them with great Slaughter; and to revenge North's Death continued the War seven Years, in which Time they became Masters of all the Country round, and drove out all who did not swear Allegiance to them.
North had his Will lying by him, which directed J. B. to carry his Children to Mascarenas, in his Sloop which he left to the said J. B. who was at the Charge to fit her up, and laid out the greater Part of the Money North bequeathed him; but the pyrates would not suffer him to stir while the Wars lasted, fearing he would not return, having never join'd them in any Pyracies; and therefore, by one Consent, setting Fire to the Sloop, they detained him several Years, if he is not still there.
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Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:49