The History of the Pyrates, by Daniel Defoe

Of Capt. Halsey, And his Crew.

JOHN Halsey was a Boston Man, of New England, commanded the Charles Brigantine, and went out with a Commission from the Governor, to cruize on the Banks of Newfoundland, where he took a French Banker, which he appointed to meet him at Fyal; but missing his Prize here, he went among the Canary Islands, where he took a Spanish Barcalonga, which he plundered and sunk; from thence he went to the Island of Bravo, one of the Cape de Verd, where he wooded and watered, turn'd ashore his Lieutenant, and several of his Men here running away from him, the Governor sent them on board again, his Commission being as yet in Force; from hence he stood away then to the Southward, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope, made for Madagascar and the Bay of Augustine, where he took in Wood and Water, with some straggling Seamen, who were cast away in the Degrave India Man, Capt. Young, Commander. After this, he shap'd his Course for the Red Sea, and met with a Dutchman of 60 Guns, coming from Mocha, whom he kept Company with a Week. Tho’ he was resolved upon turning Pyrate, he intended to rob only the Moor Ships, which occasioned a Dispute between him and his Men; they insisting on the Ship's being a Moor, he as strenuously asserting she was Dutch, was positive in his Resolve of meddling with no European Ships. The Men were for boarding, but his Obstinacy not being to be conquered, they broke Halsey and his Gunner, confining both, and were ready to board the Dutchman, when one of the Crew perceiving he was about to run out his lower Tire, knock'd down the Quarter-Master (whose Business it is to be at the Helm in Time of Chase or Engagement, according to the Rules of pyrates) clapp'd the Helm hard a Weather, and wore the Brigantine: The Dutchman staid, and fired a Shot, which taking a Swivel Gun carried it aft, narrowly miss'd the Man at Helm, and shatter'd the Tafrel; the Men perceiving they had catch'd a Tartar, made the best of their Way to shake her off, and some were running down between Decks, whom the Surgeon prick'd up again with his Sword, tho’ he no Way was consenting to their design'd Pyracy. The Captain and a Gunner were again reinstated after they had seen their Mistake, and then they steer'd for the Nicobar Islands, where they met with a Country Ship, called the Buffalo, commanded by Captain Buckley, an Englishman, coming from Bengal, which they took after a short Engagement, there being only three Europeans aboard, the Captain and two Mates, the rest were Moors. This Ship fell seasonably in their Way, she being bound for Achen, with Butter, Rice, and Cloath, and the pyrates, at that Time, being in great Streights both for Provision and Cloathing. They took the two Mates to Sea with them, but left the Captain and the Moors at Cara Nicobar, at an Anchor, and then took a Cruize. Captain Buckley, who was sick, died before their Return; in the Cruize they met with Captain Collins in a Country Sloop, bound also to Achen: He had also two English Mates with him, but the rest of his Company consisted of Moors; him they carried to the same Harbour where they left the Buffalo.

Here a Dispute arose among the pyrates, some were for returning to the West Indies, others were against it, for they had got no Money, and that was what engaged their Search; they parted upon this; one Part went on board the Buffalo, made one Rowe Captain, and Myers, a Frenchman, Master, whom they had pick'd up at Madagascar. The Sloop's Deck they ripp'd up, and mended with it the Bottom of the Brigantine, which Halsey still commanded; the Ship shaped her Course for Madagascar, and the Brigantine made for the Streights of Malacca, to lie in the Tract of the Manila Ships. I must observe, that Capt. Buckley's two Mates, whom they intended to force with them, were by Strength of Intreaty, permitted to go away with a Canoe. In these Streights, they met an Europe built Ship, of 26 Guns, which they had not the Courage to attack, being sour'd by the Dutchman. They afterwards stood in Shore, and came to an Anchor; few Days after they made a Vessel, which they supposed a China Jonque, and gave Chase, but when they came pretty nigh, notwithstanding the Pilot assured them, she was what they supposed, they swore it was a Dutchman, and would not venture upon him; so leaving off their Chase stood in Shore, and came again to an Anchor under the Peninsula; they lay here some Days, and then spied a tall Vessel, which they chased, and proved the Albemarle East India Man, Captain Bews, Commander, come from China; they came up with him, but thinking it too warm a Ship, after exchanging a few Shot, the Brigantine made off, and the Albemarle chased in her Turn: They however got clear, having a better Share of Heels, and came again to an Anchor, having not above 40 Hands, their Water growing scarce, and not daring to venture ashore for Fear of the Dutch, a Council was called, and it was resolved to make the best of their Way to Madagascar, to pick up more Hands, refresh, and set out on new Adventures; pursuant to this Resolution, they steer'd for that Island, but fell in their Way on Mascarenas where, making a small Present to the Governor, they were supplied with what they wanted; from hence they went to a Place on Madagascar, call'd by the pyratesHopeful Point; by the Natives, Harangby, near the Island of St. Mary's, on the Lat. of 17. 40 S. where they met with the Buffalo, and the Dorothy, a Prize, made by Captain Thomas White and his Company, being about 90 or 100 Men, settled near the same Place, in petty Governments of their own, having some of them 500 or 600, some 1000 Negroe Subjects, who acknowledged their Sovereignty. Here they again repaired their Brigantine, took in Provisions and all Necessaries, augmented their Company to about 100 Men, and set out for the Red Sea; they touch'd at Johanna, and there took in a Quantity of Goats and Cocoa Nuts for fresh Provisions, and thence in eleven Days reach'd the Streights of Babel Mandel: They had not cruised here many Days, when they spied the Moors Fleet from Mocha and Jufa, consisting of 25 Sail, which they fell in with, and had been taken, if their Oars had not help'd them off, it falling a dead Calm. They had not apprehended the Danger so great, if they had not judged these Ships convoy'd by some Portuguese Men of War: Some Days after this, they met a one Mast Vessel, called a Grab, coming from Mocha, which they spied within Gun-Shot, in a thick Fog; they fired a Shot which out her Halliards, and then they took Possession of her with their Boats; she was laden with Drugs, but they took only some Necessaries and 2000 Dollars, and having learned that 4 English Vessels lay at Mocoa, of which one was from Jufa, they let her go.

Three Days after they spied the 4 Ships, which they at first took for the Trees of Babel Mandel; at Night they fell in with, and kept them Company till Morning, the Trumpets sounding on both Sides all the Time, for the Pyrate had two on board as well as the English. When it was clear Day the four Ships drew into a Line, for they had haled the Pyrate, who made no Ceremony of owning who he was, by answering according to their Manner From the Seas. The Brigantine bore up till she had slung her Garf. One of the Ships perceiving this, advised Captain Jago, who led the Van, in a Ship of 24 Guns and 70 Men, to give Chace, for the Pyrate was on the Run; but a Mate, who was acquainted with the Way of working among pyrates, answered he would find his Mistake, and said he had seen many a warm Day, but feared this would be the hottest. The Brigantine turn'd up again, and coming a Stern, clapp'd the Rising Eagle aboard, a Ship of 16 Guns and the Sternmost; tho’ they entered their Men, the Rising Eagle held them a warm Dispute for 3 Quarters of an Hour, in which Captain Chamberlain's chief Mate and several others were killed, the Purser was wounded, jumped over-board, and drowned: In the mean while the other Ships call'd to Captain Jago to board the Pyrate; who bearing away, to clap him aboard, the Pyrate gave him a Shot, which raked him fore and aft, and determined Captain Jago to get out of Danger; for he run away with all the Sail he could pack, tho’ he was fitted out to protect the Coast against pyrates. His Example was followed by the rest, every one steering a different Course: Thus they became Masters of the Rising Eagle. I can't but take Notice, that the second Mate of the Rising Eagle, after Quarters were called for, fired from out of the Forecastle, and killed two of the pyrates, one of whom was the Gunner's Confort, who would have revenged his Death by shooting the Mate, but several Irish and Scots, together with one Captain Thomas White, once a Commander among the pyrates, but then a private Man, interposed and saved him, in regard that he was an Irishman. They examined the Prisoners to know which was the Ship came from Juffa, for that had Money on board; and having learn'd it was the Essex, they gave Chace, came up with her, hoisted the bloody Flag at the Mainmast-head, fired one single Gun, and she struck; tho’ the Essex was fitted for close Quarters, there were not on board the Brigantine above 20 Hands, and the Prize was a Stern so far, that her Top-mast scarce appeared out of the Water; in chacing this Ship, they pass'd the other two, who held the Fly of their Ensigns in their Hands ready to strike. When the Ship had struck, the Captain of her asked who commanded that Brigantine, he was answered, Captain Halsey; asking again who was Quarter-Master? He was told, Nathaniel North, to whom he called, as he knew him very well. North learning his Name was Punt, said Captain Thomas Punt, I am sorry you are fallen into our Hands; he was civilly treated, and nothing belonging to himself or the English Gentlemen, who were Passengers, touch'd, tho’ they made bold to lay Hands on 40000 l. in Money belonging to the Ship. They had about 10000 l. in Money out of the Rising Eagle. They discharged the Essex, and with the other Prize and the Brigantine, steer'd for Madagascar, where they arrived and shared their Booty. Some of the Passengers, who had been so well treated, came afterwards with a small Ship from India (with License from the Governor of Maderas) called the Greyhound, laden with Necessaries, in Hopes to barter with the pyrates for the dry Goods they had taken, and recover them at an easy Rate: They were received very kindly, an Invoice of their Goods was asked, the Goods agreed for, shared and paid in Money and Bale Goods. In the mean while came in a Ship from Scotland, called the Neptune, 26 Guns, 54 Men, commanded by Captain James Miller, with a Design to slave, and to go thence to Batavia to dispose of her Negroes (having a Supercargo on board, brought up among the Dutch) and thence to Malacco, to take on board the Cargo of a Ship, call'd the Speedwell, lost on her Return from China; but finding here another Ship trading with the pyrates, and having many Necessaries, French Brandy, Madera Wine, and English Stout on board, Captain Miller thought it better to trade for Money than Slaves. The Merchants of the Greyhound nettled to see any but themselves take Money, for the pyrates never haggled about a Price, told ’em, They could not do the Governor of Maderas a more grateful Piece of Service, than to make Prize of the Neptune, which was a Ship fit for their Purpose. To which some of the Scotch and Irish answered, they had not best put such a Design on Foot, for if the Company once got it into their Heads to take one, they'd go nigh to take both Ships. In a short Time after came on a Hurricane, which obliged the Neptune to cut away all her Masts, and lost the three Ships belonging to the pyrates, which was their whole Fleet. They having now no Ship, and several of them no Money, having been stripp'd at Play, their Thoughts were bent on the Neptune. The Chief Mate of her Daniel Burgis, who had a Spleen to the Captain, joining privately with the pyrates (among whom he died) got all the small Masts and Yards ashore; and the pyrates being requested to find him proper Trees for Masting, told Captain Miller, they had found such as would serve his Turn, desiring he would take a Number of Hands ashore to get them down to the Water, which he (suspecting no harm) accordingly did, and he and his Men were seized, and the Long Boat detained ashore. The Captain was forced to send for the second Mate, and afterwards for the Gunner; the Mate, who was the Captain's Brother, went, but the Gunner suspecting foul Play refused: In the Evening Burgess came on board, and advised the Surrender of the Ship, which, tho’ but sixteen were left on board, they scrupled, and proposed going under the Cover of their own Guns to fetch their Top-masts and Yards, and with them to put to Sea; but the Chief Mate Burgess, whose Villany was not then known, persuaded them to give up a Ship they could neither defend nor sail; which was no small Satisfaction to the Merchants in the Greyhound, little thinking how soon they would meet with the same Treatment; for two Days after the pyrates mann'd the Neptune's Pinnace, seized the Greyhound, took away all the Money they had paid, and shifting out of the Neptune ten Pipes of Madera, with two Hogsheads of Brandy, into the Greyhound, and putting on board the Captain, second Mate, Boatswain and Gunner of the Neptune, and about 14 of her Hands, ordered her to Sea; the rest of the Neptune's Company being young Men fit for their Purpose, they detained, most of which, by hard drinking, fell into Distempers and died. As to Captain Halsey, while the Scotch Ship was fitting, he fell ill of a Fever, died and was buried with great Solemnity and Ceremony; the Prayers of the Church of England were read over him, Colours were flying, and his Sword and Pistol laid on his Coffin, which was covered with a Ship's Jack; as many Minute Guns fired as he was Years old, viz. 46, and three English Vollies, and one French Volley of small Arms. He was brave in his Person, courteous to all his Prisoners, lived beloved, and died regretted by his own People. His Grave was made in a Garden of Water Melons, and fenced in with Pallisades to prevent his being rooted up by wild Hogs, of which there are Plenty in those Parts.

P. S. The Neptune seized as above, was the Year after Captain Halsey's Death, ready to go to Sea; but a Hurricane happening she was lost, and prov'd the last Ship that Gang of pyrates ever got Possession of.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:53