Sources in England
State Papers. Foreign. Spain. Vols.
34-72. (Abbreviated in the footnotes as S.P.
Additional MSS. Vols. 11,268; 11,410-11;
12,410; 12,423; 12,429-30; 13,964; 13,975;
13,977; 13,992; 18,273; 22,676; 36,314-53.
Egerton MSS. Vol. 2395.
Sloane MSS. Vols. 793 or 894; 2724; 2752;
Stowe MSS. Vols. 305f; 205b.
Rawlinson MSS. Vols. a. 26, 31, 32, 175,
347. Tanner MSS. Vols. xlvii.; li.
Manuscript Sources in
Archives du ministère des Colonies:
Correspondance générale de
Saint-Domingue. Vols. i.-ix.
Historique de Saint-Domingue. Vols.
Correspondance générale de Martinique.
Archives du ministère des affaires
Mémoires et documents. Fonds divers.
Amérique. Vols. v., xiii., xlix., li.
Correspondance politique. Angleterre.
Manuscrits, nouvelles acquisitions. Vols.
Calendar of State Papers. Colonial
series. America and the West Indies.
1574-1699. (Abbreviated in the footnotes as
Calendar of State Papers. Venetian.
1603-1617. (Abbreviated in the footnotes as
Dampier, William: Voyages. Edited by J.
Masefield. 2 vols. London, 1906.
Gage, Thomas: The English American ... or
a new survey of the West Indies, etc.
Historical Manuscripts Commission:
Reports. London, 1870 (in progress).
Margry, Pierre: Relations et mémoires
inédits pour servir à l'histoire de la
France dans les pays d'outremer. Paris,
Pacheco, Cardenas, y Torres de Mendoza:
Coleccion de documentos relativos al
describrimiento, conquista y colonizacion de
las posesiones españoles en América y
Oceania. 42 vols. Madrid, 1864-83;
continued as Coleccion de documentos
ineditos ... de ultramar. 13 vols. Madrid,
Pointis, Jean Bernard Desjeans, sieur de:
Relation de l'expedition de Carthagène faite
par les François en 1697. Amsterdam, 1698.
Present state of Jamaica ... to which is
added an exact account of Sir Henry Morgan's
voyage to ... Panama, etc. London, 1683.
Recopilacion de leyes de los reynos de
las Indias, mandadas imprimir y publicar por
rey Carlos II. 4 vols. Madrid, 1681.
Sharp, Bartholomew: The voyages and
adventures of Captain B. Sharp ... in the
South Sea ... Also Captain Van Horn with his
buccanieres surprising of la Vera Cruz, etc.
Thurloe, John. A collection of the State
papers of, etc. Edited by Thomas Birch. 7
vols. London, 1742.
Venables, General. The narrative of, etc.
Edited by C.H. Firth. London, 1900.
Wafer, Lionel: A new voyage and
description of the Isthmus of America, etc.
Winwood, Sir Ralph. Memorials of affairs
of State ... collected from the original
papers of, etc. Edited by Edmund Sawyer.
Among the printed sources one of the
earliest and most important is the
well-known history of the buccaneers written
by Alexander Olivier Exquemelin (corrupted
by the English into Esquemeling, by the
French into Oexmelin). Of the author himself
very little is known. Though sometimes
claimed as a native of France, he was
probably a Fleming or a Hollander, for the
first edition of his works was written in
the Dutch language. He came to Tortuga in
1666 as an engagé of the French West
India Company, and after serving three years
under a cruel master was rescued by the
governor, M. d'Ogeron, joined the
filibusters, and remained with them till
1674, taking part in most of their exploits.
He seems to have exercised among them the
profession of barber-surgeon. Returning to
Europe in 1674, he published a narrative of
the exploits in which he had taken part, or
of which he at least had a first-hand
knowledge. This "history" is the oldest and
most elaborate chronicle we possess of the
and customs of these freebooters who played
so large a part in the history of the West
Indies in the seventeenth century, and it
forms the basis of all the popular modern
accounts of Morgan and other buccaneer
captains. Exquemelin, although he sadly
confuses his dates, seems to be a perfectly
honest witness, and his accounts of such
transactions as fell within his own
experience are closely corroborated by the
(Biographies of Exquemelin are contained
in the "Biographie Universelle" of Michaud,
vol. xxxi. p. 201, and in the "Nouvelle
Biographie Générale" of Hoefer, vol.
xxxviii. p. 544. But both are very
unsatisfactory and display a lamentable
ignorance of the bibliography of his history
of the buccaneers. According to the preface
of a French edition of the work published at
Lyons in 1774 and cited in the "Nouvelle
Biographie," Exquemelin was born about 1645
and died after 1707.)
The first edition of the book, now very
rare, is entitled:
De Americaensche Zee-Roovers.
Behelsende eene pertinente en
waerachtige Beschrijving van alle de
voornaemste Roveryen en onmenschliycke
wreend heden die Englese en France
Rovers tegens de Spanjaerden in America
gepleeght hebben; Verdeelt in drie
deelen ... Beschreven door A. O.
Exquemelin ... t'Amsterdam, by Jan ten
Hoorn, anno 1678, in 4º.
(Brit. Mus., 1061. Cf. 20 (2). The
date, 1674, of the first Dutch edition cited
by Dampierre ("Essai sur les sources de
l'histoire des Antilles Françaises," p. 151)
is doubtless a misprint.)
(Both Dampierre (op. cit., p. 152)
and Sabin ("Dict. of Books relating to
America," vi. p. 310) cite, as the earliest
separate account of the buccaneers, Claes G.
Campaen's "Zee-Roover," Amsterdam, 1659.
This little volume, however, does not deal
with the buccaneers in the West Indies, but
with privateering along the coasts of Europe
This book was reprinted several times and
numerous translations were made, one on the
top of the other. What appears to be a
German translation of Exquemelin appeared in
1679 with the title:
Americanische Seeräuber. Beschreibung
der grössesten durch die Französische
und Englische Meer-Beuter wider die
Spanier in Amerika verübten Raubery
Grausamheit ... Durch A. O. Nürnberg,
("Historie der Boecaniers of Vrybuyters
van America ... Met Figuuren, 3 Deel.
t'Amsterdam, 1700," 4º.—Brit. Mus., 9555. c.
This was followed two years later by a
Spanish edition, also taken from the Dutch
Piratas de la America y luz a la
defensa de las costas de Indias
Occidentales. Dedicado a Don Bernadino
Antonio de Pardinas Villar de Francos
... por el zelo y cuidado de Don Antonio
Freyre ... Traducido de la lingua
Flamenca en Espanola por el Dor. de
Buena-Maison ... Colonia Agrippina, en
casa de Lorenzo Struickman. Ano de 1681.
(Brit. Mus., G. 7179. The appended
description of the Spanish Government in
America was omitted and a few Spanish verses
were added in one or two places, but
otherwise the translation seems to be
trustworthy. The portraits and the map of
the isthmus of Panama are the same as in the
Dutch edition, but the other plates are
different and better. In the Bibl. Nat.
there is another Spanish edition of 1681 in
This Spanish text, which seems to be a
faithful rendering of the Dutch, was
reprinted with a different dedication in
1682 and in 1684, and again in Madrid in
1793. It is the version on which the first
English edition was based. The English
translation is entitled:
Bucaniers of America; or a true
account of the ... assaults committed
... upon the coasts of the West Indies,
by the Bucaniers of Jamaica and Tortuga
... especially the ... exploits of Sir
Henry Morgan ... written originally in
Dutch by J. Esquemeling ... now ...
rendered into English. W. Crooke;
London, 1684. 4º.
(Brit. Mus., 1198, a. 12 (or) 1197, h.
2.; G. 7198.)
The first English edition of Exquemelin
was so well received that within three
months a second was published, to which was
added the account of a voyage by Captain
Cook and a brief chapter on the exploits of
Barth. Sharp in the Pacific Ocean. In the
same year, moreover, there appeared an
entirely different English version, with the
object of vindicating the character of
Morgan from the charges of brutality and
lust which had appeared in the first
translation and in the Dutch original. It
The History of the Bucaniers; being
an impartial relation of all the
battels, sieges, and other most eminent
assaults committed for several years
upon the coasts of the West Indies by
the pirates of Jamaica and Tortuga. More
especially the unparalleled achievements
of Sir Henry Morgan ... very much
corrected from the errors of the
original, by the relations of some
English gentlemen, that then resided in
those parts. Den Engelseman is een
Duyvil voor een Mensch. London,
printed for Thomas Malthus at the Sun in
the Poultry. 1684.
(Brit. Mus., G. 13,674.)
The first edition of 1684 was reprinted
with a new title-page in 1695, and again in
1699. The latter included, in addition to
the text of Exquemelin, the journals of
Basil Ringrose and Raveneau de Lussan, both
describing voyages in the South Seas, and
the voyage of the Sieur de Montauban to
Guinea in 1695. This was the earliest of the
composite histories of the
buccaneers and became the model for the
Dutch edition of 1700 and the French
editions published at Trevoux in 1744 and
The first French translation of
Exquemelin appeared two years after the
English edition of 1684. It is entitled:
Histoire des Aventuriers qui se sont
signalez dans les Indes contenant ce
qu'ils ont fait de plus remarquable
depuis vingt années. Avec la vie, les
Moeurs, les Coutumes des Habitans de
Saint Domingue et de la Tortuë et une
Description exacte de ces lieux; ... Le
tout enrichi de Cartes Geographiques et
de Figures en Taille-douce. Par
Alexandre Olivier Oexmelin. A Paris,
chez Jacques Le Febre. MDCLXXXVI., 2
(Brit. Mus., 9555, aa. 4.)
This version may have been based on the
Dutch original; although the only indication
we have of this is the fact that the work
includes at the end a description of the
government and revenues of the Spanish
Indies, a description which is found in none
of the earlier editions of Exquemelin,
except in the Dutch original of 1678. The
French text, however, while following the
outline of Exquemelin's narrative, is
greatly altered and enlarged. The history of
Tortuga and French Hispaniola is elaborated
with details from another source, as are
also the descriptions of the manners and
customs of the cattle-hunters and the
freebooters. Accounts of two other
buccaneers, Montbars and Alexandre
Bras-le-Fer, are inserted, but d'Ogeron's
shipwreck on Porto Rico and the achievements
of Admiral d'Estrees against the Dutch are
omitted. In general the French editor, the
Frontignières, has re-cast the whole story.
A similar French edition appeared in Paris
in 1688, (Brit. Mus., 278, a. 13, 14.) and
in 1713 a facsimile of this last was
published at Brussels by Serstevens
(Dampierre, p. 153). Sabin (op. cit.,
vi. 312) mentions an edition of 1699 in
three volumes which included the journal of
Raveneau de Lussan. In 1744, and again in
1775, another French edition was published
in four volumes at Trevoux, to which was
added the voyage of Montauban to the Guinea
Coast, and the expeditions against Vera Cruz
in 1683, Campeache in 1685, and Cartagena in
1697. The third volume contained the journal
of R. de Lussan, and the fourth a
translation of Johnson's "History of the
Pirates." (Brit. Mus., 9555, aa. 1.) A
similar edition appeared at Lyons in 1774,
but I have had no opportunity of examining a
copy. (Nouvelle Biographie Générale, tom.
xxxviii. 544. The best bibliography of
Exquemelin is in Sabin, op. cit., vi.
Of the secondary works concerned with the
history of the buccaneers, the oldest are
the writings of the French Jesuit historians
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Dutertre (Histoire générale des Antilles.
Paris, 1667-71), a chronicler of events
within his own experience as well as a
reliable historian, unfortunately brings his
narrative to a close in 1667, but up to that
year he is the safest guide to the history
of the French Antilles. Labat, in his
"Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l'Amerique"
(Paris, 1722), gives an account of eleven
years, between 1694 and 1705, spent in
Martinique and Guadeloupe, and although of
little value as an historian, he supplies us
a fund of the most picturesque and curious
details about the life and manners of the
people in the West Indies at the end of the
seventeenth century. A much more important
and accurate work is Charlevoix's "Histoire
de l'Isle Espagnole ou de S. Domingue"
(Paris, 1732), and this I have used as a
general introduction to the history of the
French buccaneers. Raynal's "Histoire
philosophique et politique des
établissements et du commerce européen dans
les deux Indes" (Amsterdam, 1770) is based
for the origin of the French Antilles upon
Dutertre and Labat and is therefore
negligible for the period of the buccaneers.
Adrien Dessalles, who in 1847 published his
"Histoire générale des Antilles," preferred,
like Labat and Raynal, to depend on the
historians who had preceded him rather than
endeavour to gain an intimate knowledge of
In the English histories of Jamaica
written by Long, Bridges, and Gardner,
whatever notice is taken of the buccaneers
is meagre and superficial, and the same is
true of Bryan Edwards' "History, civil and
commercial, of the British colonies in the
West Indies." Thomas Southey, in his
"Chronological History of the West Indies"
(Lond. 1827), devotes considerable space to
their achievements, but depends entirely
upon the traditional sources. In 1803 J.W.
von Archenholz published "Die Geschichte der
Flibustier," a superficial, diffuse and even
puerile narrative, giving no references
whatever to authorities. (It was translated
into French (Paris, 1804), and into English
by Geo. Mason (London, 1807).) In 1816 a
"History of the Buccaneers in America" was
published by James Burney as the fourth
volume of "A chronological History of the
Discoveries in the South Seas or Pacific
Ocean." Burney casts but a rapid glance over
the West Indies, devoting most of the volume
to an account of the voyages of the
freebooters along the coast
of South America and in the East Indies.
Walter Thornbury in 1858 wrote "The
Buccaneers, or the Monarchs of the Main," a
hasty compilation, florid and overdrawn, and
without historical judgment or accuracy. In
1895 M. Henri Lorin presented a Latin thesis
to the Faculty of History in Paris,
entitled:—"De praedonibus Insulam Santi
Dominici celebrantibus saeculo septimo
decimo," but he seems to have confined
himself to Exquemelin, Le Pers, Labat,
Dutertre and a few documents drawn from the
French colonial archives. The best summary
account in English of the history and
significance of the buccaneers in the West
Indies is contained in Hubert H. Bancroft's
"History of Central America" (ii. chs. 26,
28-30). Within the past year there has
appeared an excellent volume by M. Pierre de
Vaissière describing creole life and manners
in the French colony of San Domingo in the
century and a half preceding the Revolution.
(Vaissière, Pierre de: Saint Dominigue.
(1629-1789). Paris, 1909.) It is a reliable
monograph, and like his earlier volume,
"Gentilshommes campagnards de l'ancienne
France," is written in a most entertaining
style. De Vaissière contributes much
valuable information, especially in the
first chapter, about the origins and customs
of the French "flibustiers."
I have been able to find only two Spanish
works which refer at all to the buccaneers.
One is entitled:
Piraterias y agresiones de los
ingleses y de otros pueblos de Europa en
la America espanola desde el siglo XVI.
al XVIII., deducidas de las obras de D.
Dionisio de Alcedo y Herrera. Madrid,
Except for a long introduction by Don
Justo Zaragoza based upon Exquemelin and
Alcedo, it consists of a
collection of extracts referring to
freebooters on the coasts of Peru and Chili,
and deals chiefly with the eighteenth
century. The other Spanish work is an
elaborate history of the Spanish navy lately
published in nine volumes by Cesareo
Fernandez Duro, and entitled:—
Armada espanola desde la union de los
reinos de Castilla y de Aragon. Madrid,
There are numerous chapters dealing with
the outrages of the French and English
freebooters in the West Indies, some of them
based upon Spanish sources to which I have
had no access. But upon comparison of Duro's
narrative, which in so far as it relates to
the buccaneers is often meagre, with the
sources available to me, I find that he adds
little to what may be learned on the subject
here in England.
One of the best English descriptions of
the Spanish colonial administration and
commercial system is still that contained in
book viii. of Robertson's "History of
America" (Lond. 1777). The latest and best
summary account, however, is in French, in
the introduction to vol. i. of "La traite
négrière aux Indes de Castille" (Paris,
1906), by Georges Scelle. Weiss, in vol. ii.
of his history of "L'Espagne depuis Philippe
II. jusqu'aux Bourbons" (Paris, 1844),
treats of the causes of the economic
decadence of Spain, and gives an account of
the contraband trade in Spanish America,
drawn largely from Labat. On this general
subject Leroy-Beaulieu, "De la colonization
chez les peuples modernes" (Paris, 1874),
has been especially consulted.
The best account of the French privateers
of the sixteenth century in America is in an
essay entitled: "Les corsairs français au
XVIe siècle dans les Antilles"
(Paris, 1902), by Gabriel Marcel. It is a
short monograph based on the collections of
Spanish documents brought together by
Pacheco and Navarrete. The volume by E.
entitled, "Les corsairs sous l'ancien
regîme" (Bayonne, 1895), is also valuable
for the history of privateering. For the
history of the Elizabethan mariners I have
made use of the two works by J. S. Corbett:
"Drake and the Tudor Navy" (Lond. 1898), and
"The successors of Drake" (Lond. 1900).
Other works consulted were:
Arias de Miranda, José: Examen
critico-historico del influyo que tuvo en el
comercio, industria y poblacion de Espana su
dominacion en America. Madrid, 1854.
Blok, Pieter Johan: History of the people
of the Netherlands. Translated by C. A.
Bierstadt and Ruth Putnam. 4 vols. New York,
Brown, Alex.: The Genesis of the United
States. 2 vols. Lond., 1890.
Crawford, James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th
Earl of: Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Handlist of
proclamations. 3 vols. Aberdeen, 1893-1901.
Dumont, Jean: Corps universel
diplomatique. 13 vols. Hague, 1726-39.
Froude, James Anthony: History of England
from the fall of Wolsey to the defeat of the
Spanish armada. 12 vols. 1870-75. English
seamen in the sixteenth century. Lond.,
Gardiner, Samuel Rawson: History of the
Commonwealth and Protectorate, 1649-1660. 3
vols. Lond., 1894-1903.
Geographical and historical description
of ... Cartagena, Porto Bello, La Vera Cruz,
the Havana and San Augustin. Lond., 1741.
Gibbs, Archibald R.: British Honduras ...
from ... 1670. Lond., 1883.
Hakluyt, Richard: The principal
navigations ... of the English nation, etc.
3 vols. Lond., 1598-1600.
Herrera y Tordesillas, Antonio: Historia
general de las Indias. 4 vols. Madrid,
Hughson, Shirley C.: The Carolina pirates
and colonial commerce. Baltimore, 1894.
Lucas, C. P.: A historical geography of
the British colonies. 4 vols. Oxford, 1905.
Vol. ii. The West Indies.
Monson, Sir William: The naval tracts of
... Edited ... by M. Oppenheim. Vols. i. and
ii. Lond., 1902—(in progress).
Oviedo y Valdes, Gonzalo Fernandez de:
Historia general de las Indias. Salamanca,
Peytraud, Lucien: L'Esclavage aux
Antilles françaises avant 1789, etc. Paris,
Saint-Yves, G.: Les compagnes de Jean
d'Estrées dans la mer des Antilles, 1676-78.
Strong, Frank: Causes of Cromwell's West
Indian expedition. (Amer. Hist. Review. Jan.
Veitia Linaje, Josef de: Norte de la
Contratacion de las Indias Occidentales.
Vignols, Leon: La piraterie sur
l'Atlantique au XVIIIe siècle.