THE BUCCANEERS IN THE WEST INDIES IN THE XVII CENTURY

By C.H. Haring

CHAPTER VI


THE BUCCANEERS TURN PIRATE

On 25th May 1682, Sir Thomas Lynch returned to Jamaica as governor of the colony.424 Of the four acting governors since 1671, Lynch stood apart as the one who had endeavoured with singleness and tenacity of purpose to clear away the evils of buccaneering. Lord Vaughan had displayed little sympathy for the corsairs, but he was hampered by an irascible temper, and according to some reports by an avarice which dimmed the lustre of his name. The Earl of Carlisle, if he did not directly encourage the freebooters, had been grossly negligent in the performance of his duty of suppressing them; while Morgan, although in the years 1680 and 1681 he showed himself very zealous in punishing his old associates, cannot escape the suspicion of having secretly aided them under the governorship of Lord Vaughan. The task of Sir Thomas Lynch in 1671 had been a very difficult one. Buccaneering was then at flood-tide; three wealthy Spanish cities on the mainland had in turn been plundered, and the stolen riches carried to Jamaica; the air was alive with the exploits of these irregular warriors, and the pockets of the merchants and tavern-keepers of Port Royal were filled with Spanish doubloons, with emeralds and pearls from New Granada and the coasts of Rio de la Hacha, and with gold and silver plate from the Spanish churches and cathedrals of Porto Bello and Panama. The old governor, Sir Thomas Modyford, had been popular in  his person, and his policy had been more popular still. Yet Lynch, by a combination of tact and firmness, and by an untiring activity with the small means at his disposal, had inaugurated a new and revolutionary policy in the island, which it was the duty of his successors merely to continue. In 1682 the problem before him, although difficult, was much simpler. Buccaneering was now rapidly being transformed into pure piracy. By laws and repeated proclamations, the freebooters had been offered an opportunity of returning to civilized pursuits, or of remaining ever thereafter outlawed. Many had come in, some to remain, others to take the first opportunity of escaping again. But many entirely refused to obey the summons, trusting to the protection of the French in Hispaniola, or so hardened to their cruel, remorseless mode of livelihood that they preferred the dangerous risks of outlawry. The temper of the inhabitants of the island, too, had changed. The planters saw more clearly the social and economic evils which the buccaneers had brought upon the island. The presence of these freebooters, they now began to realize, had discouraged planting, frightened away capital, reduced the number of labourers, and increased drunkenness, debauchery and every sort of moral disorder. The assembly and council were now at one with the governor as to the necessity of curing this running sore, and Lynch could act with the assurance which came of the knowledge that he was backed by the conscience of his people.

One of the earliest and most remarkable cases of buccaneer turning pirate was that of "La Trompeuse." In June 1682, before Governor Lynch's arrival in Jamaica, a French captain named Peter Paine (or Le Pain), commander of a merchant ship called "La Trompeuse" belonging to the French King, came to Port Royal from Cayenne in Guiana. He told Sir Henry Morgan and the council that, having heard of the inhuman treatment of  his fellow Protestants in France, he had resolved to send back his ship and pay what was due under his contract; and he petitioned for leave to reside with the English and have English protection. The Council, without much inquiry as to the petitioner's antecedents, allowed him to take the oath of allegiance and settle at St. Jago, while his cargo was unloaded and entered customs-free. The ship was then hired by two Jamaican merchants and sent to Honduras to load logwood, with orders to sail eventually for Hamburg and be delivered to the French agent.425 The action of the Council had been very hasty and ill-considered, and as it turned out, led to endless trouble. It soon transpired that Paine did not own the cargo, but had run away with it from Cayenne, and had disposed of both ship and goods in his own interest. The French ambassador in London made complaints to the English King, and letters were sent out to Sir Thomas Lynch and to Governor Stapleton of the Leeward Isles to arrest Paine and endeavour to have the vessel lade only for her right owners.426 Meanwhile a French pirate named Jean Hamlin, with 120 desperadoes at his back, set out in a sloop in pursuit of "La Trompeuse," and coming up with her invited the master and mate aboard his own vessel, and then seized the ship. Carrying the prize to some creek or bay to careen her and fit her up as a man-of-war, he then started out on a mad piratical cruise, took sixteen or eighteen Jamaican vessels, barbarously ill-treated the crews, and demoralized the whole trade of the island.427 Captain Johnson was dispatched by Lynch in a frigate in October 1682 to find and destroy the pirate; but after a fruitless search of two months round Porto Rico and Hispaniola, he returned to  Port Royal. In December Lynch learned that "La Trompeuse" was careening in the neighbourhood of the Isle la Vache, and sent out another frigate, the "Guernsey," to seize her; but the wary pirate had in the meantime sailed away. On 15th February the "Guernsey" was again dispatched with positive orders not to stir from the coast of Hispaniola until the pirate was gone or destroyed; and Coxon, who seems to have been in good odour at Port Royal, was sent to offer to a privateer named "Yankey," men, victuals, pardon and naturalization, besides £200 in money for himself and Coxon, if he would go after "La Trompeuse."428 The next news of Hamlin was from the Virgin Islands, where he was received and entertained by the Governor of St. Thomas, a small island belonging to the King of Denmark.429 Making St. Thomas his headquarters, he robbed several English vessels that came into his way, and after first obtaining from the Danish governor a promise that he would find shelter at St. Thomas on his return, stood across for the Gulf of Guinea. In May 1683 Hamlin arrived on the west side of Africa disguised as an English man-of-war, and sailing up and down the coast of Sierra Leone captured or destroyed within several weeks seventeen ships, Dutch and English, robbing them of gold-dust and negroes.430 The pirates then quarrelled over the division of their plunder and separated into two companies, most of the English following a Captain Morgan in one of the prizes, and the rest returning in "La Trompeuse" to the West Indies. The latter arrived at Dominica in July, where forty of the crew deserted the ship, leaving but sixteen white men and twenty-two negroes on board. Finally on the 27th the pirates dropped anchor at St. Thomas. They were admitted and kindly received by the governor, and allowed to bring their plunder ashore.431  Three days later Captain Carlile of H.M.S. "Francis," who had been sent out by Governor Stapleton to hunt for pirates, sailed into the harbour, and on being assured by the pilot and by an English sloop lying at anchor there that the ship before him was the pirate "La Trompeuse," in the night of the following day he set her on fire and blew her up. Hamlin and some of the crew were on board, but after firing a few shots, escaped to the shore. The pirate ship carried thirty-two guns, and if she had not been under-manned Carlile might have encountered a formidable resistance. The Governor of St. Thomas sent a note of protest to Carlile for having, as he said, secretly set fire to a frigate which had been confiscated to the King of Denmark.432 Nevertheless he sent Hamlin and his men for safety in a boat to another part of the island, and later selling him a sloop, let him sail away to join the French buccaneers in Hispaniola.433

The Danish governor of St. Thomas, whose name was Adolf Esmit, had formerly been himself a privateer, and had used his popularity on the island to eject from authority his brother Nicholas Esmit, the lawful governor. By protecting and encouraging pirates—for a consideration, of course—he proved a bad neighbour to the surrounding English islands. Although he had but 300 or 350 people on St. Thomas, and most of these British subjects, he laid claim to all the Virgin Islands, harboured runaway servants, seamen and debtors, fitted out pirate vessels with arms and provisions, and refused to restore captured ships and crews  which the pirates brought into his port.434 The King of Denmark had sent out a new governor, named Everson, to dispossess Esmit, but he did not arrive in the West Indies until October 1684, when with the assistance of an armed sloop which Sir William Stapleton had been ordered by the English Council to lend him, he took possession of St. Thomas and its pirate governor.435

A second difficulty encountered by Sir Thomas Lynch, in the first year of his return, was the privateering activity of Robert Clarke, Governor of New Providence, one of the Bahama Islands. Governor Clarke, on the plea of retaliating Spanish outrages, gave letters of marque to several privateers, including Coxon, the same famous chief who in 1680 had led the buccaneers into the South Seas. Coxon carried his commission to Jamaica and showed it to Governor Lynch, who was greatly incensed and wrote to Clarke a vigorous note of reproof.436 To grant such letters of marque was, of course, contrary to the Treaty of Madrid, and by giving the pirates only another  excuse for their actions, greatly complicated the task of the Governor of Jamaica. Lynch forwarded Coxon's commission to England, where in August 1682 the proprietors of the Bahama Islands were ordered to attend the council and answer for the misdeeds of their governor.437 The proprietors, however, had already acted on their own initiative, for on 29th July they issued instructions to a new governor, Robert Lilburne, to arrest Clarke and keep him in custody till he should give security to answer accusations in England, and to recall all commissions against the Spaniards.438 The whole trouble, it seems, had arisen over the wreck of a Spanish galleon in the Bahamas, to which Spaniards from St. Augustine and Havana were accustomed to resort to fish for ingots of silver, and from which they had been driven away by the governor and inhabitants of New Providence. The Spaniards had retaliated by robbing vessels sailing to and from the Bahamas, whereupon Clarke, without considering the illegality of his action, had issued commissions of war to privateers.

The Bahamas, however, were a favourite resort for pirates and other men of desperate character, and Lilburne soon discovered that his place was no sinecure. He found it difficult moreover to refrain from hostilities against a neighbour who used every opportunity to harm and plunder his colony. In March 1683, a former privateer named Thomas Pain439 had entered into a conspiracy with four other captains, who were then fishing for silver at the wreck, to seize St. Augustine in Florida. They landed before the city under French colours, but finding the Spaniards  prepared for them, gave up the project and looted some small neighbouring settlements. On the return of Pain and two others to New Providence, Governor Lilburne tried to apprehend them, but he failed for lack of means to enforce his authority. The Spaniards, however, were not slow to take their revenge. In the following January they sent 250 men from Havana, who in the early morning surprised and plundered the town and shipping at New Providence, killed three men, and carried away money and provisions to the value of £14,000.440 When Lilburne in February sent to ask the Governor of Havana whether the plunderers had acted under his orders, the Spaniard not only acknowledged it but threatened further hostilities against the English settlement. Indeed, later in the same year the Spaniards returned, this time, it seems, without a commission, and according to report burnt all the houses, murdered the governor in cold blood, and carried many of the women, children and negroes to Havana.441 About 200 of the inhabitants made their way to Jamaica, and a number of the men, thirsting for vengeance, joined the English pirates in the Carolinas.442

In French Hispaniola corsairing had been forbidden for several years, yet the French governor found the problem of suppressing the evil even more difficult than it was in Jamaica. M. de Pouançay, the successor of d'Ogeron, died toward the end of 1682 or the beginning of 1683, and in spite of his efforts to establish order in the colony he left it in a deplorable condition. The old fraternity of hunters or cow-killers had almost disappeared; but the corsairs and the planters were strongly united, and galled by the oppression of the West India Company, displayed their strength in a spirit of indocility which caused great embarrassment to the governor. Although in time of  peace the freebooters kept the French settlements in continual danger of ruin by reprisal, in time of war they were the mainstay of the colony. As the governor, therefore, was dependent upon them for protection against the English, Spanish and Dutch, although he withdrew their commissions he dared not punish them for their crimes. The French buccaneers, indeed, occupied a curious and anomalous position. They were not ordinary privateers, for they waged war without authority; and they were still less pirates, for they had never been declared outlaws, and they confined their attentions to the Spaniards. They served under conditions which they themselves imposed, or which they deigned to accept, and were always ready to turn against the representatives of authority if they believed they had aught of which to complain.443

The buccaneers almost invariably carried commissions from the governors of French Hispaniola, but they did not scruple to alter the wording of their papers, so that a permission to privateer for three months was easily transformed into a licence to plunder for three years. These papers, moreover, were passed about from one corsair to another, until long after the occasion for their issue had ceased to exist. Thus in May or June of 1680, de Grammont, on the strength of an old commission granted him by de Pouançay before the treaty of Nimuegen, had made a brilliant night assault upon La Guayra, the seaport of Caracas. Of his 180 followers only forty-seven took part in the actual seizure of the town, which was amply protected by two forts and by cannon upon the walls. On the following day, however, he received word that 2000 men were approaching from Caracas, and as the enemy  were also rallying in force in the vicinity of the town he was compelled to retire to the ships. This movement was executed with difficulty, and for two hours de Grammont with a handful of his bravest companions covered the embarkation from the assaults of the Spaniards. Although he himself was dangerously wounded in the throat, he lost only eight or nine men in the whole action. He carried away with him the Governor of La Guayra and many other prisoners, but the booty was small. De Grammont retired to the Isle d'Aves to nurse his wound, and after a long convalescence returned to Petit Goave.444

In 1683, however, these filibusters of Hispaniola carried out a much larger design upon the coasts of New Spain. In April of that year eight buccaneer captains made a rendezvous in the Gulf of Honduras for the purpose of attacking Vera Cruz. The leaders of the party were two Dutchmen named Vanhorn and Laurens de Graff. Of the other six captains, three were Dutch, one was French, and two were English. Vanhorn himself had sailed from England in the autumn of 1681 in command of a merchant ship called the "Mary and Martha," alias the "St. Nicholas." He soon, however, revealed the rogue he was by turning two of his merchants ashore at Cadiz and stealing four Spanish guns. He then sailed to the Canaries and to the coast of Guinea, plundering ships and stealing negroes, and finally, in November 1682, arrived at the city of San Domingo, where he tried to dispose of his black cargo. From San Domingo he made for Petit Goave picked up 300 men, and sailed to join Laurens in the Gulf of Honduras.445 Laurens, too, had distinguished himself but a short time before by capturing a Spanish ship bound from Havana for San Domingo and Porto Rico with about 120,000 pieces of eight to pay off the soldiers. The freebooters  had shared 700 pieces of eight per man, and carrying their prize to Petit Goave had compounded with the French governor for a part of the booty.446

Vera-Cruz

The buccaneers assembled near Cape Catoche to the number of about 1000 men, and sailed in the middle of May for Vera Cruz. Learning from some prisoners that the Spaniards on shore were expecting two ships from Caracas, they crowded the landing party of about 800 upon two of their vessels, displayed the Spanish colours, and stood in for the city. The unfortunate inhabitants mistook them for their own people, and even lighted fires to pilot them in. The pirates landed at midnight on 17th May about two miles from the town, and by daybreak had possession of the city and its forts. They found the soldiers and sentinels asleep, and "all the people in the houses as quiet and still as if in their graves." For four days they held the place, plundering the churches, houses and convents; and not finding enough plate and jewels to meet their expectations, they threatened to burn the cathedral and all the prisoners within it, unless a ransom was brought in from the surrounding country. The governor, Don Luis de Cordova, was on the third day discovered by an Englishman hidden in the hay in a stable, and was ransomed for 70,000 pieces of eight. Meanwhile the Spanish Flota of twelve or fourteen ships from Cadiz had for two days been lying outside the harbour and within sight of the city; yet it did not venture to land or to attack the empty buccaneer vessels. The proximity of such an armament, however, made the freebooters uneasy, especially as the Spanish viceroy was approaching with an army from the direction of Mexico. On the fourth day, therefore, they sailed away in the very face of the Flota to a neighbouring cay, where they divided the pillage into a thousand or more shares of 800 pieces of eight each.  Vanhorn alone is said to have received thirty shares for himself and his two ships. He and Laurens, who had never been on good terms, quarrelled and fought over the division, and Vanhorn was wounded in the wrist. The wound seemed very slight, however, and he proposed to return and attack the Spanish fleet, offering to board the "Admiral" himself; but Laurens refused, and the buccaneers sailed away, carrying with them over 1000 slaves. The invaders, according to report, had lost but four men in the action. About a fortnight later Vanhorn died of gangrene in his wound, and de Grammont, who was then acting as his lieutenant, carried his ship back to Petit Goave, where Laurens and most of the other captains had already arrived.447

The Mexican fleet, which returned to Cadiz on 18th December, was only half its usual size because of the lack of a market after the visit of the corsairs; and the Governor of Vera Cruz was sentenced to lose his head for his remissness in defending the city.448 The Spanish ambassador in London, Ronquillo, requested Charles II. to command Sir Thomas Lynch to co-operate with a commissioner whom the Spanish Government was sending to the West Indies to inquire into this latest outrage of the buccaneers, and such orders were dispatched to Lynch in April 1684.449

M. de Cussy, who had been appointed by the French  King to succeed his former colleague, de Pouançay, arrived at Petit Goave in April 1684, and found the buccaneers on the point of open revolt because of the efforts of de Franquesnay, the temporary governor, to enforce the strict orders from France for their suppression.450 De Cussy visited all parts of the colony, and by tact, patience and politic concessions succeeded in restoring order. He knew that in spite of the instructions from France, so long as he was surrounded by jealous neighbours, and so long as the peace in Europe remained precarious, the safety of French Hispaniola depended on his retaining the presence and good-will of the sea-rovers; and when de Grammont and several other captains demanded commissions against the Spaniards, the governor finally consented on condition that they persuade all the freebooters driven away by de Franquesnay to return to the colony. Two commissioners, named Begon and St. Laurent, arrived in August 1684 to aid him in reforming this dissolute society, but they soon came to the same conclusions as the governor, and sent a memoir to the French King advising less severe measures. The king did not agree with their suggestion of compromise, and de Cussy, compelled to deal harshly with the buccaneers, found his task by no means an easy one.451 Meanwhile, however, many of the freebooters, seeing the determined attitude of the  established authorities, decided to transfer their activities to the Pacific coasts of America, where they would be safe from interference on the part of the English or French Governments. The expedition of Harris, Coxon, Sharp and their associates across the isthmus in 1680 had kindled the imaginations of the buccaneers with the possibilities of greater plunder and adventure in these more distant regions. Other parties, both English and French, speedily followed in their tracks, and after 1683 it became the prevailing practice for buccaneers to make an excursion into the South Seas. The Darien Indians and their fiercer neighbours, the natives of the Mosquito Coast, who were usually at enmity with the Spaniards, allied themselves with the freebooters, and the latter, in their painful marches through the dense tropical wilderness of these regions, often owed it to the timely aid and friendly offices of the natives that they finally succeeded in reaching their goal.

In the summer of 1685, a year after the arrival of de Cussy in Hispaniola, de Grammont and Laurens de Graff united their forces again at the Isle la Vache, and in spite of the efforts of the governor to persuade them to renounce their project, sailed with 1100 men for the coasts of Campeache. An attempt on Merida was frustrated by the Spaniards, but Campeache itself was occupied after a feeble resistance, and remained in possession of the French for six weeks. After reducing the city to ashes and blowing up the fortress, the invaders retired to Hispaniola.452 According to Charlevoix, before the buccaneers sailed away they celebrated the festival of St. Louis by a huge bonfire in honour of the king, in which they burnt logwood to the value of 200,000 crowns, representing the greater part of their booty. The Spaniards of Hispaniola, who kept up a constant desultory warfare with their  French neighbours, were incited by the ravages of the buccaneers in the South Seas, and by the sack of Vera Cruz and Campeache, to renewed hostilities; and de Cussy, anxious to attach to himself so enterprising and daring a leader as de Grammont, obtained for him, in September 1686, the commission of "Lieutenant de Roi" of the coast of San Domingo. Grammont, however, on learning of his new honour, wished to have a last fling at the Spaniards before he settled down to respectability. He armed a ship, sailed away with 180 men, and was never heard of again.453 At the same time Laurens de Graff was given the title of "Major," and he lived to take an active part in the war against the English between 1689 and 1697.454

These semi-pirates, whom the French governor dared  not openly support yet feared to disavow, were a constant source of trouble to the Governor of Jamaica. They did not scruple to attack English traders and fishing sloops, and when pursued took refuge in Petit Goave, the port in the cul-de-sac at the west end of Hispaniola which had long been a sanctuary of the freebooters, and which paid little respect to the authority of the royal governor.455 In Jamaica they believed that the corsairs acted under regular commissions from the French authorities, and Sir Thomas Lynch sent repeated complaints to de Pouançay and to his successor. He also wrote to England begging the Council to ascertain from the French ambassador whether these governors had authority to issue commissions of war, so that his frigates might be able to distinguish between the pirate and the lawful privateer.456 Except at  Petit Goave, however, the French were really desirous of preserving peace with Jamaica, and did what they could to satisfy the demands of the English without unduly irritating the buccaneers. They were in the same position as Lynch in 1671, who, while anxious to do justice to the Spaniards, dared not immediately alienate the freebooters who plundered them, and who might, if driven away, turn their arms against Jamaica. Vanhorn himself, it seems, when he left Hispaniola to join Laurens in the Gulf of Honduras, had been sent out by de Pouançay really to pursue "La Trompeuse" and other pirates, and his lieutenant, de Grammont, delivered letters to Governor Lynch to that effect; but once out of sight he steered directly for Central America, where he anticipated a more profitable game than pirate-hunting.457

On the 24th of August 1684 Sir Thomas Lynch died in Jamaica, and Colonel Hender Molesworth, by virtue of his commission as lieutenant-governor, assumed the authority.458 Sir Henry Morgan, who had remained lieutenant-governor when Lynch returned to Jamaica, had afterwards been suspended from the council and from all other public employments on charges of drunkenness, disorder, and encouraging disloyalty to the government. His brother-in-law, Byndloss, was dismissed for similar reasons, and Roger Elletson, who belonged to the same faction, was removed from his office as attorney-general of the island. Lynch had had the support of both the assembly and the council, and his actions were at once confirmed  in England.459 The governor, however, although he had enjoyed the confidence of most of the inhabitants, who looked upon him as the saviour of the island, left behind in the persons of Morgan, Elletson and their roystering companions, a group of implacable enemies, who did all in their power to vilify his memory to the authorities in England. Several of these men, with Elletson at their head, accused the dead governor of embezzling piratical goods which had been confiscated to the use of the king; but when inquiry was made by Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth, the charges fell to the ground. Elletson's information was found to be second-hand and defective, and Lynch's name was more than vindicated. Indeed, the governor at his death had so little ready means that his widow was compelled to borrow £500 to pay for his funeral.460

The last years of Sir Thomas Lynch's life had been troublous ones. Not only had the peace of the island been disturbed by "La Trompeuse" and other French corsairs which hovered about Hispaniola; not only had his days been embittered by strife with a small, drunken, insolent faction which tried to belittle his attempts to introduce order and sobriety into the colony; but the hostility of the Spanish governors in the West Indies still continued to neutralize his efforts to root out buccaneering. Lynch had in reality been the best friend of the Spaniards in America. He had strictly forbidden the cutting of logwood in Campeache and Honduras, when the Spaniards were outraging and enslaving every Englishman they found upon those coasts;461 he had sent word to the Spanish governors of the intended sack of  Vera Cruz;462 he had protected Spanish merchant ships with his own men-of-war and hospitably received them in Jamaican ports. Yet Spanish corsairs continued to rob English vessels, and Spanish governors refused to surrender English ships and goods which were carried into their ports.463 On the plea of punishing interlopers they armed small galleys and ordered them to take all ships which had on board any products of the Indies.464 Letters to the governors at Havana and St. Jago de Cuba were of no avail. English trade routes were interrupted and dangerous, the turtling, trading and fishing sloops, which supplied a great part of the food of Jamaica, were robbed and seized, and Lynch was compelled to construct a galley of fifty oars for their protection.465 Pirates, it is true, were frequently brought into Port Royal by the small frigates employed by the governor, and there were numerous executions;466 yet the outlaws seemed to increase daily. Some black vessel was generally found hovering about the island ready to pick up any who wished to join it, and when the runaways were prevented from returning by the statute against piracy, they retired to the Carolinas or to New England to dispose of their loot and refit their ships.467 When such retreats were available the laws against piracy did not reduce buccaneering so much as they depopulated Jamaica of its white inhabitants.

After 1680, indeed, the North American colonies became more and more the resort of the pirates who were being driven from West Indian waters by the stern  measures of the English governors. Michel Landresson, alias Breha, who had accompanied Pain in his expedition against St. Augustine in 1683, and who had been a constant source of worriment to the Jamaicans because of his attacks on the fishing sloops, sailed to Boston and disposed of his booty of gold, silver, jewels and cocoa to the godly New England merchants, who were only too ready to take advantage of so profitable a trade and gladly fitted him out for another cruise.468 Pain himself appeared in Rhode Island, displayed the old commission to hunt for pirates given him by Sir Thomas Lynch, and was protected by the governor against the deputy-collector of customs, who endeavoured to seize him and his ship.469 The chief resort of the pirates, however, was the colony of Carolina. Indented by numerous harbours and inlets, the shores of Carolina had always afforded a safe refuge for refitting and repairing after a cruise, and from 1670 onwards, when the region began to be settled by colonists from England, the pirates found in the new communities a second Jamaica, where they could sell their cargoes and often recruit their forces. In the latter part of 1683 Sir Thomas Lynch complained to the Lords of the Committee for Trade and Plantations;470 and in February of the following year the king, at the suggestion of the committee, ordered that a draft of the Jamaican law against pirates be sent to all the plantations in America, to be passed and enforced in each as a statute of the  province.471 On 12th March 1684 a general proclamation was issued by the king against pirates in America, and a copy forwarded to all the colonial governors for publication and execution.472 Nevertheless in Massachusetts, in spite of these measures and of a letter from the king warning the governors to give no succour or aid to any of the outlaws, Michel had been received with open arms, the proclamation of 12th March was torn down in the streets, and the Jamaica Act, though passed, was never enforced.473 In the Carolinas, although the Lords Proprietors wrote urging the governors to take every care that no pirates were entertained in the colony, the Act was not passed until November 1685.474 There were few, if any, convictions, and the freebooters plied their trade with the same security as before. Toward the end of 1686 three galleys from St. Augustine landed about 150 men, Spaniards, Indians and mulattos, a few leagues below Charleston, and laid waste several plantations, including that of Governor Moreton. The enemy pushed on to Port Royal, completely destroyed the Scotch colony there, and retired before a force could be raised to oppose them. To avenge this inroad the inhabitants immediately began preparations for a descent upon St. Augustine; and an expedition consisting of two French privateering vessels and about 500 men was organized and about to sail, when a new governor, James Colleton, arrived and ordered it to disband.475 Colleton was instructed to arrest Governor Moreton on the charge of encouraging piracy, and to punish those who entertained and abetted the freebooters;476 and on 12th February 1687 he had a new and more explicit law to suppress the evil enacted by  the assembly.477 On 22nd May of the same year James II. renewed the proclamation for the suppression of pirates, and offered pardon to all who surrendered within a limited time and gave security for future good behaviour.478 The situation was so serious, however, that in August the king commissioned Sir Robert Holmes to proceed with a squadron to the West Indies and make short work of the outlaws;479 and in October he issued a circular to all the governors in the colonies, directing the most stringent enforcement of the laws, "a practice having grown up of bringing pirates to trial before the evidence was ready, and of using other evasions to insure their acquittal."480 On the following 20th January another proclamation was issued by James to insure the co-operation of the governors with Sir Robert Holmes and his agents.481 The problem, however, was more difficult than the king had anticipated. The presence of the fleet upon the coast stopped the evil for a time, but a few years later, especially in the Carolinas under the administration of Governor Ludwell (1691-1693), the pirates again increased in numbers and in boldness, and Charleston was completely overrun with the freebooters, who, with the connivance of the merchants and a free display of gold, set the law at defiance.

In Jamaica Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth continued in the policy and spirit of his predecessor. He sent a frigate to the Bay of Darien to visit Golden Isle and the Isle of Pines (where the buccaneers were accustomed to make their rendezvous when they crossed over to the South Seas), with orders to destroy any piratical craft in that vicinity, and he made every exertion to  prevent recruits from leaving Jamaica.482 The stragglers who returned from the South Seas he arrested and executed, and he dealt severely with those who received and entertained them.483 By virtue of the king's proclamation of 1684, he had the property in Port Royal belonging to men then in the South Seas forfeited to the crown.484 A Captain Bannister, who in June 1684 had run away from Port Royal on a privateering venture with a ship of thirty guns, had been caught and brought back by the frigate "Ruby," but when put on trial for piracy was released by the grand jury on a technicality. Six months later Bannister managed to elude the forts a second time, and for two years kept dodging the frigates which Molesworth sent in pursuit of him. Finally, in January 1687, Captain Spragge sailed into Port Royal with the buccaneer and three of his companions hanging at the yard-arms, "a spectacle of great satisfaction to all good people, and of terror to the favourers of pirates."485 It was during the government of Molesworth that the "Biscayners" began to appear in American waters. These privateers from the Bay of Biscay seem to have been taken into the King of Spain's service to hunt pirates, but they interrupted English trade more than the pirates did. They captured and plundered English merchantmen right and left, and carried them to Cartagena, Vera Cruz, San Domingo and other Spanish ports, where the governors took charge of their prisoners and allowed them to dispose of their captured goods. They held their commissions, it seems,  directly from the Crown, and so pretended to be outside the pale of the authority of the Spanish governors. The latter, at any rate, declared that they could give no redress, and themselves complained to the authorities in Jamaica of the independence of these marauders.486 In December 1688 the king issued a warrant to the Governor of Jamaica authorizing him to suppress the Biscayans with the royal frigates.487

On 28th October 1685 the governorship of the island was assigned to Sir Philip Howard,488 but Howard died shortly after, and the Duke of Albemarle was appointed in his stead.489 Albemarle, who arrived at Port Royal in December 1687,490 completely reversed the policy of his predecessors, Lynch and Molesworth. Even before he left England he had undermined his health by his intemperate habits, and when he came to Jamaica he leagued himself with the most unruly and debauched men in the colony. He seems to have had no object but to increase his fortune at the expense of the island. Before he sailed he had boldly petitioned for powers to dispose of money without the advice and consent of his council, and, if he saw fit, to reinstate into office Sir Henry Morgan and Robert Byndloss. The king, however, decided that the suspension of Morgan and Byndloss should remain until Albemarle had reported on their case from Jamaica.491 When the Duke entered upon his new government, he immediately appointed Roger Elletson to be Chief Justice of the island in the place of Samuel Bernard. Three assistant-judges of the Supreme Court thereupon resigned their positions on the bench, and one was, in revenge,  dismissed by the governor from the council. Several other councillors were also suspended, contrary to the governor's instructions against arbitrary dismissal of such officers, and on 18th January 1688 Sir Henry Morgan, upon the king's approval of the Duke's recommendation, was re-admitted to the council-chamber.492 The old buccaneer, however, did not long enjoy his restored dignity. About a month later he succumbed to a sharp illness, and on 26th August was buried in St. Catherine's Church in Port Royal.493

In November 1688 a petition was presented to the king by the planters and merchants trading to Jamaica protesting against the new régime introduced by Lord Albemarle:—"The once flourishing island of Jamaica is likely to be utterly undone by the irregularities of some needy persons lately set in power. Many of the most considerable inhabitants are deserting it, others are under severe fines and imprisonments from little or no cause.... The provost-marshal has been dismissed and an indebted person put in his place; and all the most substantial officers, civil and military, have been turned out and necessitous persons set up in their room. The like has been done in the judicial offices, whereby the benefit of appeals and prohibitions is rendered useless. Councillors are suspended without royal order and without a hearing. Several persons have been forced to give security not to leave the island lest they should seek redress; others have been brought before the council for trifling offences and innumerable fees taken from them; money has been raised twenty per cent. over its value to defend creditors. Lastly, the elections have been tampered with by the indebted provost-marshal, and since the Duke of Albemarle's death are continued without your royal  authority."494 The death of Albemarle, indeed, at this opportune time was the greatest service he rendered to the colony. Molesworth was immediately commanded to return to Jamaica and resume authority. The duke's system was entirely reversed, and the government restored as it had been under the administration of Sir Thomas Lynch. Elletson was removed from the council and from his position as chief justice, and Bernard returned in his former place. All of the rest of Albemarle's creatures were dismissed from their posts, and the supporters of Lynch's régime again put in control of a majority in the council.495 This measure of plain justice was one of the last acts of James II. as King of England. On 5th November 1688 William of Orange landed in England at Torbay, and on 22nd December James escaped to France to live as a pensioner of Louis XIV. The new king almost immediately wrote to Jamaica confirming the reappointment of Molesworth, and a commission to the latter was issued on 25th July 1689.496 Molesworth, unfortunately for the colony, died within a few days,497 and the Earl of Inchiquin was appointed on 19th September to succeed him.498 Sir Francis Watson, President of the Council in Jamaica, obeyed the instructions of William III., although he was a partizan of Albemarle; yet so high was the feeling between the two factions that the greatest confusion reigned in the government of the island until the arrival of Inchiquin in May 1690.499

The Revolution of 1688, by placing William of Orange on the English throne, added a powerful kingdom to the European coalition which in 1689 attacked Louis XIV. over the question of the succession of the Palatinate. That  James II. should accept the hospitality of the French monarch and use France as a basis for attack on England and Ireland was, quite apart from William's sympathy with the Protestants on the Continent, sufficient cause for hostilities against France. War broke out in May 1689, and was soon reflected in the English and French colonies in the West Indies. De Cussy, in Hispaniola, led an expedition of 1000 men, many of them filibusters, against St. Jago de los Cavalleros in the interior of the island, and took and burnt the town. In revenge the Spaniards, supported by an English fleet which had just driven the French from St. Kitts, appeared in January 1691 before Cap François, defeated and killed de Cussy in an engagement near the town, and burned and sacked the settlement. Three hundred French filibusters were killed in the battle. The English fleet visited Leogane and Petit Goave in the cul-de-sac of Hispaniola, and then sailed to Jamaica. De Cussy before his death had seized the opportunity to provide the freebooters with new commissions for privateering, and English shipping suffered severely.500 Laurens with 200 men touched at Montego Bay on the north coast in October, and threatened to return and plunder the whole north side of the island. The people were so frightened that they sent their wives and children to Port Royal; and the council armed several vessels to go in pursuit of the Frenchmen.501 It was a new experience to feel the danger of invasion by a foreign foe. The Jamaicans had an insight into the terror which their Spanish neighbours felt for the buccaneers, whom the English islanders had always been so ready to fit out, or to shield from the arm of the law. Laurens in the meantime was as good as his word. He returned to Jamaica in the beginning of  December with several vessels, seized eight or ten English trading sloops, landed on the north shore and plundered a plantation.502 War with France was formally proclaimed in Jamaica on the 13th of January 1690.503

Two years later, in January 1692, Lord Inchiquin also succumbed to disease in Jamaica, and in the following June Colonel William Beeston was chosen by the queen to act as lieutenant-governor.504 Inchiquin before he left England had solicited for the power to call in and pardon pirates, so as to strengthen the island during the war by adding to its forces men who would make good fighters on both land and sea. The Committee on Trade and Plantations reported favourably on the proposal, but the power seems never to have been granted.505 In January 1692, however, the President of the Council of Jamaica began to issue commissions to privateers, and in a few months the surrounding seas were full of armed Jamaican sloops.506 On 7th June of the same year the colony suffered a disaster which almost proved its destruction. A terrible earthquake overwhelmed Port Royal and "in ten minutes threw down all the churches, dwelling-houses and sugar-works in the island. Two-thirds of Port Royal were swallowed up by the sea, all the forts and fortifications demolished and great part of its inhabitants miserably knocked on the head or drowned."507 The French in Hispaniola took advantage of the distress caused by the earthquake to invade the island, and nearly every week hostile bands landed and plundered the coast of negroes and other property.508 In December 1693 a party of 170  swooped down in the night upon St. Davids, only seven leagues from Port Royal, plundered the whole parish, and got away again with 370 slaves.509 In the following April Ducasse, the new French governor of Hispaniola, sent 400 buccaneers in six small vessels to repeat the exploit, but the marauders met an English man-of-war guarding the coast, and concluding "that they would only get broken bones and spoil their men for any other design," they retired whence they had come.510 Two months later, however, a much more serious incursion was made. An expedition of twenty-two vessels and 1500 men, recruited in France and instigated, it is said, by Irish and Jacobite refugees, set sail under Ducasse on 8th June with the intention of conquering the whole of Jamaica. The French landed at Point Morant and Cow Bay, and for a month cruelly desolated the whole south-eastern portion of the island. Then coasting along the southern shore they made a feint on Port Royal, and landed in Carlisle Bay to the west of the capital. After driving from their breastworks the English force of 250 men, they again fell to ravaging and burning, but finding they could make no headway against the Jamaican militia, who were now increased to 700 men, in the latter part of July they set sail with their plunder for Hispaniola.511 Jamaica had been denuded of men by the earthquake and by sickness, and Lieutenant-Governor Beeston had wisely abandoned the forts in the east of the island and concentrated all his strength at Port Royal.512 It was this expedient which doubtless  saved the island from capture, for Ducasse feared to attack the united Jamaican forces behind strong intrenchments. The harm done to Jamaica by the invasion, however, was very great. The French wholly destroyed fifty sugar works and many plantations, burnt and plundered about 200 houses, and killed every living thing they found. Thirteen hundred negroes were carried off besides other spoil. In fighting the Jamaicans lost about 100 killed and wounded, but the loss of the French seems to have been several times that number. After the French returned home Ducasse reserved all the negroes for himself, and many of the freebooters who had taken part in the expedition, exasperated by such a division of the spoil, deserted the governor and resorted to buccaneering on their own account.513

Colonel, now become Sir William, Beeston, from his first arrival in Jamaica as lieutenant-governor, had fixed his hopes upon a joint expedition with the Spaniards against the French at Petit Goave; but the inertia of the Spaniards, and the loss of men and money caused by the earthquake, had prevented his plans from being realized.514 In the early part of 1695, however, an army of 1700 soldiers on a fleet of twenty-three ships sailed from England under command of Commodore Wilmot for the West Indies. Uniting with 1500 Spaniards from San Domingo and the Barlovento fleet of three sail, they captured and sacked Cap François and Port de Paix in the French end of the island. It had been the intention of the allies to proceed to the cul-de-sac and destroy Petit Goave and Leogane, but they had lost many men by sickness and bad management, and the Spaniards, satisfied with the booty already obtained, were anxious to return home. So the English fleet sailed away to Port  Royal.515 These hostilities so exhausted both the French in Hispaniola and the English in Jamaica that for a time the combatants lay back to recover their strength.

The last great expedition of this war in the West Indies serves as a fitting close to the history of the buccaneers. On 26th September 1696 Ducasse received from the French Minister of Marine, Pontchartrain, a letter informing him that the king had agreed to the project of a large armament which the Sieur de Pointis, aided by private capital, was preparing for an enterprise in the Mexican Gulf.516 Ducasse, although six years earlier he had written home urging just such an enterprise against Vera Cruz or Cartagena, now expressed his strong disapproval of the project, and dwelt rather on the advantages to be gained by the capture of Spanish Hispaniola, a conquest which would give the French the key to the Indies. A second letter from Pontchartrain in January 1697, however, ordered him to aid de Pointis by uniting all the freebooters and keeping them in the colony till 15th February. It was a difficult task to maintain the buccaneers in idleness for two months and prohibit all cruising, especially as de Pointis, who sailed from Brest in the beginning of January, did not reach Petit Goave till about 1st March.517 The buccaneers murmured and threatened to disband, and it required all the personal ascendancy of Ducasse to hold them together. The Sieur de Pointis, although a man of experience and resource, capable of forming a large design and sparing nothing to  its success, suffered from two very common faults—vanity and avarice. He sometimes allowed the sense of his own merits to blind him to the merits of others, and considerations of self-interest to dim the brilliance of his achievements. Of Ducasse he was insanely jealous, and during the whole expedition he tried in every way to humiliate him. Unable to bring himself to conciliate the unruly spirit of the buccaneers, he told them plainly that he would lead them not as a companion in fortune but as a military superior, and that they must submit themselves to the same rules as the men on the king's ships. The freebooters rebelled under the haughtiness of their commander, and only Ducasse's influence was able to bring them to obedience.518 On 18th March the ships were all gathered at the rendezvous at Cape Tiburon, and on the 13th of the following month anchored two leagues to the east of Cartagena.519 De Pointis had under his command about 4000 men, half of them seamen, the rest soldiers. The reinforcements he had received from Ducasse numbered 1100, and of these 650 were buccaneers commanded by Ducasse himself. He had nine frigates, besides seven vessels belonging to the buccaneers, and numerous smaller boats.520 The appearance of so formidable an armament in the West Indies caused a great deal of concern both in England and in Jamaica. Martial law was proclaimed in the colony and every means taken to put Port Royal in a state of defence.521 Governor Beeston, at the first news of de Pointis' fleet, sent advice to the governors of Porto Bello and Havana, against whom he suspected that the expedition was intended.522 A squadron of thirteen vessels was sent out from England under  command of Admiral Nevill to protect the British islands and the Spanish treasure fleets, for both the galleons and the Flota were then in the Indies.523 Nevill touched at Barbadoes on 17th April,524 and then sailed up through the Leeward Islands towards Hispaniola in search of de Pointis. The Frenchman, however, had eluded him and was already before Cartagena.

Cartagena

Cartagena, situated at the eastward end of a large double lagoon, was perhaps the strongest fortress in the Indies, and the Spaniards within opposed a courageous defence.525 After a fortnight of fighting and bombardment, however, on the last day of April the outworks were carried by a brilliant assault, and on 6th May the small Spanish garrison, followed by the Cabildo or municipal corporation, and by many of the citizens of the town, in all about 2800 persons, marched out with the honours of war. Although the Spaniards had been warned of the coming of the French, and before their arrival had succeeded in withdrawing the women and some of their riches to Mompos in the interior, the treasure which fell into the hands of the invaders was enormous, and has been variously estimated at from six million crowns to twenty millions sterling. Trouble soon broke out between de Pointis and the buccaneers, for the latter wanted the whole of the plunder to be divided equally among the  men, as had always been their custom, and they expected, according to this arrangement, says de Pointis in his narrative, about a quarter of all the booty. De Pointis, however, insisted upon the order which he had published before the expedition sailed from Petit Goave, that the buccaneers should be subject to the same rule in the division of the spoil as the sailors in the fleet, i.e., they should receive one-tenth of the first million and one-thirtieth of the rest. Moreover, fearing that the buccaneers would take matters into their own hands, he had excluded them from the city while his officers gathered the plunder and carried it to the ships. On the repeated remonstrances of Ducasse, de Pointis finally announced that the share allotted to the men from Hispaniola was 40,000 crowns. The buccaneers, finding themselves so miserably cheated, broke out into open mutiny, but were restrained by the influence of their leader and the presence of the king's frigates. De Pointis, meanwhile, seeing his own men decimated by sickness, put all the captured guns on board the fleet and made haste to get under sail for France. South of Jamaica he fell in with the squadron of Admiral Nevill, to which in the meantime had been joined some eight Dutch men-of-war; but de Pointis, although inferior in numbers, outsailed the English ships and lost but one or two of his smaller vessels. He then manœuvred past Cape S. Antonio, round the north of Cuba and through the Bahama Channel to Newfoundland, where he stopped for fresh wood and water, and after a brush with a small English squadron under Commodore Norris, sailed into the harbour of Brest on 19th August 1697.526

The buccaneers, even before de Pointis sailed for France, had turned their ships back toward Cartagena to reimburse themselves by again plundering the city. De  Pointis, indeed, was then very ill, and his officers were in no condition to oppose them. After the fleet had departed the freebooters re-entered Cartagena, and for four days put it to the sack, extorting from the unfortunate citizens, and from the churches and monasteries, several million more in gold and silver. Embarking for the Isle la Vache, they had covered but thirty leagues when they met with the same allied fleet which had pursued de Pointis. Of the nine buccaneer vessels, the two which carried most of the booty were captured, two more were driven ashore, and the rest succeeded in escaping to Hispaniola. Ducasse, who had returned to Petit Goave when de Pointis sailed for France, sent one of his lieutenants on a mission to the French Court to complain of the ill-treatment he had received from de Pointis, and to demand his own recall; but the king pacified him by making him a Chevalier of St. Louis, and allotting 1,400,000 francs to the French colonists who had aided in the expedition. The money, however, was slow in reaching the hands of those to whom it was due, and much was lost through the malversations of the men charged with its distribution.527


With the capture of Cartagena in 1697 the history of the buccaneers may be said to end. More and more during the previous twenty years they had degenerated into mere pirates, or had left their libertine life for more civilised pursuits. Since 1671 the English government had been consistent in its policy of suppressing the freebooters,  and with few exceptions the governors sent to Jamaica had done their best to uphold and enforce the will of the councils at home. Ten years or more had to elapse before the French Court saw the situation in a similar light, and even then the exigencies of war and defence in French Hispaniola prevented the governors from taking any effective measures toward suppression. The problem, indeed, had not been an easy one. The buccaneers, whatever their origin, were intrepid men, not without a sense of honour among themselves, wedded to a life of constant danger which they met and overcame with surprising hardiness. When an expedition was projected against their traditional foes, the Spaniards, they calculated the chances of profit, and taking little account of the perils to be run, or indeed of the flag under which they sailed, English, French and Dutch alike became brothers under a chief whose courage they perfectly recognised and whom they servilely obeyed. They lived at a time when they were in no danger of being overhauled by ubiquitous cruisers with rifled guns, and so long as they confined themselves to His Catholic Majesty's ships and settlements, they had trusted in the immunity arising from the traditional hostility existing between the English and the Spaniards of that era. And for the Spaniards the record of the buccaneers had been a terrible one. Between the years 1655 and 1671 alone, the corsairs had sacked eighteen cities, four towns and more than thirty-five villages—Cumana once, Cumanagote twice, Maracaibo and Gibraltar twice, Rio de la Hacha five times, Santa Marta three times, Tolu eight times, Porto Bello once, Chagre twice, Panama once, Santa Catalina twice, Granada in Nicaragua twice, Campeache three times, St. Jago de Cuba once, and other towns and villages in Cuba and Hispaniola for thirty leagues inland innumerable times. And this fearful tale of robbery and outrage does not  embrace the various expeditions against Porto Bello, Campeache, Cartagena and other Spanish ports made after 1670. The Marquis de Barinas in 1685 estimated the losses of the Spaniards at the hands of the buccaneers since the accession of Charles II. to be sixty million crowns; and these figures covered merely the destruction of towns and treasure, without including the loss of more than 250 merchant ships and frigates.528 If the losses and suffering of the Spaniards had been terrible, the advantages accruing to the invaders, or to the colonies which received and supported them, scarcely compensated for the effort it cost them. Buccaneering had denuded Jamaica of its bravest men, lowered the moral tone of the island, and retarded the development of its natural resources. It was estimated that there were lost to the island between 1668 and 1671, in the designs against Tobago, Curaçao, Porto Bello, Granada and Panama, about 2600 men,529 which was a large number for a new and very weak colony surrounded by powerful foes. Says the same writer later on: "People have not married, built or settled as they would in time of peace—some for fear of being destroyed, others have got much suddenly by privateers bargains and are gone. War carries away all freemen, labourers and planters of provisions, which makes work and victuals dear and scarce. Privateering encourages all manner of disorder and dissoluteness; and if it succeed, does but enrich the worst sort of people and provoke and alarm the Spaniards."530

The privateers, moreover, really injured English trade as much as they injured Spanish navigation; and if the  English in the second half of the seventeenth century had given the Spaniards as little cause for enmity in the West Indies as the Dutch had done, they perhaps rather than the Dutch would have been the convoys and sharers in the rich Flotas. The Spaniards, moreover, if not in the court at home, at least in the colonies, would have readily lent themselves to a trade, illicit though it be, with the English islands, a trade, moreover, which it was the constant aim of English diplomacy to encourage and maintain, had they been able to assure themselves that their English neighbours were their friends. But when outrage succeeded upon outrage, and the English Governors seemed, in spite of their protestations of innocence, to make no progress toward stopping them, the Spaniards naturally concluded that the English government was the best of liars and the worst of friends. From another point of view, too, the activity of the buccaneers was directly opposed to the commercial interests of Great Britain. Of all the nations of Europe the Spaniards were those who profited least from their American possessions. It was the English, the French and the Dutch who carried their merchandize to Cadiz and freighted the Spanish-American fleets, and who at the return of these fleets from Porto Bello and Vera Cruz appropriated the greater part of the gold, silver and precious stuffs which composed their cargoes. And when the buccaneers cut off a Spanish galleon, or wrecked the Spanish cities on the Main, it was not so much the Spaniards who suffered as the foreign merchants interested in the trade between Spain and her colonies. If the policy of the English and French Governments toward the buccaneers gradually changed from one of connivance or encouragement to one of hostility and suppression, it was because they came to realise that it was easier and more profitable to absorb the trade and riches of Spanish America through the peaceful agencies of treaty and  concession, than by endeavouring to enforce a trade in the old-fashioned way inaugurated by Drake and his Elizabethan contemporaries.

The pirate successors of the buccaneers were distinguished from their predecessors mainly by the fact that they preyed on the commerce of all flags indiscriminately, and were outlawed and hunted down by all nations alike. They, moreover, widely extended their field of operations. No longer content with the West Indies and the shores of the Caribbean Sea, they sailed east to the coast of Guinea and around Africa to the Indian Ocean. They haunted the shores of Madagascar, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and ventured even as far as the Malabar Coast, intercepting the rich trade with the East, the great ships from Bengal and the Islands of Spice. And not only did the outlaws of all nations from America and the West Indies flock to these regions, but sailors from England were fired by reports of the rich spoils obtained to imitate their example. One of the most remarkable instances was that of Captain Henry Avery, alias Bridgman. In May 1694 Avery was on an English merchantman, the "Charles II.," lying near Corunna. He persuaded the crew to mutiny, set the captain on shore, re-christened the ship the "Fancy," and sailed to the East Indies. Among other prizes he captured, in September 1695, a large vessel called the "Gunsway," belonging to the Great Mogul—an exploit which led to reprisals and the seizure of the English factories in India. On application of the East India Company, proclamations were issued on 17th July, 10th and 21st August 1696, by the Lords Justices of England, declaring Avery and his crew pirates and offering a reward for their apprehension.531 Five of the crew were seized on their return to England in the autumn of the same year, were tried at the Old Bailey  and hanged, and several of their companions were arrested later.532

In the North American colonies these new pirates still continued to find encouragement and protection. Carolina had long had an evil reputation as a hot-bed of piracy, and deservedly so. The proprietors had removed one governor after another for harbouring the freebooters, but with little result. In the Bahamas, which belonged to the same proprietors, the evil was even more flagrant. Governor Markham of the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania allowed the pirates to dispose of their goods and to refit upon the banks of the Delaware, and William Penn, the proprietor, showed little disposition to reprimand or remove him. Governor Fletcher of New York was in open alliance with the outlaws, accepted their gifts and allowed them to parade the streets in broad daylight. The merchants of New York, as well as those of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, who were prevented by the Navigation Laws from engaging in legitimate trade with other nations, welcomed the appearance of the pirate ships laden with goods from the East, provided a ready market for their cargoes, and encouraged them to repeat their voyages.

In 1699 an Act was passed through Parliament of such severity as to drive many of the outlaws from American waters. It was largely a revival of the Act of 28, Henry VIII., was in force for seven years, and was twice renewed. The war of the Spanish Succession, moreover, gave many men of piratical inclinations an opportunity of sailing under lawful commissions as privateers against the French and Spaniards. In this long war, too, the French filibusters were especially numerous and active. In 1706 there were 1200 or 1300 who made their headquarters in  Martinique alone.533 While keeping the French islands supplied with provisions and merchandise captured in their prizes, they were a serious discouragement to English commerce in those regions, especially to the trade with the North American colonies. Occasionally they threatened the coasts of Virginia and New England, and some combined with their West Indian cruises a foray along the coasts of Guinea and into the Red Sea. These corsairs were not all commissioned privateers, however, for some of them seized French shipping with as little compunction as English or Dutch. Especially after the Treaty of Utrecht there was a recrudescence of piracy both in the West Indies and in the East, and it was ten years or more thereafter before the freebooters were finally suppressed.


Footnote 424:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 501, 552. Cf. also Nos. 197, 227.

Footnote 425:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 364-366, 431, 668.

Footnote 426:  

Ibid., Nos. 476, 609, 668. Paine was sent from Jamaica under arrest to Governor de Cussy in 1684, and thence was shipped on a frigate to France. (Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9325, f. 334.)

Footnote 427:  

Ibid., Nos. 668, 769, 963.

Footnote 428:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 769, 963, 993.

Footnote 429:  

Ibid., Nos. 1065, 1313.

Footnote 430:  

Ibid., No. 1313.

Footnote 431:  

Ibid., Nos. 1190, 1216.

Footnote 432:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 1173.

Footnote 433:  

Ibid., Nos. 1168, 1190, 1223, 1344; cf. also Nos. 1381, 1464, 1803.

In June 1684 we learn that "Hamlin, captain of La Trompeuse, got into a ship of thirty-six guns on the coast of the Main last month, with sixty of his old crew and as many new men. They call themselves pirates, and their ship La Nouvelle Trompeuse, and talk of their old station at Isle de Vaches." (Ibid., No. 1759.)

Footnote 434:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 777, 1188, 1189, 1223, 1376, 1471-1474, 1504, 1535, 1537, 1731.

Footnote 435:  

Ibid., Nos. 1222, 1223, 1676, 1678, 1686, 1909; cf. also Nos. 1382, 1547, 1665.

Footnote 436:  

Ibid., Nos. 552, 599, 668, 712.

Coxon continued to vacillate between submission to the Governor of Jamaica and open rebellion. In October 1682 he was sent by Sir Thos. Lynch with three vessels to the Gulf of Honduras to fetch away the English logwood-cutters. "His men plotted to take the ship and go privateering, but he valiently resisted, killed one or two with his own hand, forced eleven overboard, and brought three here (Port Royal) who were condemned last Friday." (Ibid., No. 769. Letter of Sir Thos. Lynch, 6th Nov. 1682.) A year later, in November 1683, he had again reverted to piracy (ibid., No. 1348), but in January 1686 surrendered to Lieut.-Governor Molesworth and was ordered to be arrested and tried at St. Jago de la Vega (ibid., 1685-88, No. 548). He probably in the meantime succeeded in escaping from the island, for in the following November he was reported to be cutting logwood in the Gulf of Campeache, and Molesworth was issuing a proclamation declaring him an outlaw (ibid., No. 965). He remained abroad until September 1688 when he again surrendered to the Governor of Jamaica (ibid., No. 1890), and again by some hook or crook obtained his freedom.

Footnote 437:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 660, 673.

Footnote 438:  

Ibid., Nos. 627, 769.

Footnote 439:  

He is not to be confused with the Peter Paine who brought "La Trompeuse" to Port Royal. Thomas Pain, a few months before he arrived in the Bahamas, had come in and submitted to Sir Thomas Lynch, and had been sent out again by the governor to cruise after pirates. (C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 769, 1707.)

Footnote 440:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1509, 1540, 1590, 1924, 1926.

Footnote 441:  

Ibid., Nos. 1927, 1938.

Footnote 442:  

Ibid., Nos. 1540, 1833.

Footnote 443:  

Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. viii. p. 130. In 1684 there were between 2000 and 3000 filibusters who made their headquarters in French Hispaniola. They had seventeen vessels at sea with batteries ranging from four to fifty guns. (C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 668; Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9325, f. 336.)

Footnote 444:  

Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. viii. pp. 128-30.

Footnote 445:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 963, 998, 1065.

Footnote 446:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 709, 712.

Footnote 447:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 1163; Charlevoix, liv. viii. p. 133; Narrative contained in "The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Barth, Sharpe and others in the South Sea." Lon. 1684.

Governor Lynch wrote in July 1683: "All the governors in America have known of this very design for four or five months." Duro, quoting from a Spanish MS. in the Coleccion Navarrete, t. x. No. 33, says that the booty at Vera Cruz amounted to more than three million reales de plata in jewels and merchandise, for which the invaders demanded a ransom of 150,000 pieces of eight. They also carried away, according to the account, 1300 slaves. (Op. cit., v. p. 271.) A real de plata was one-eighth of a peso or piece of eight.

Footnote 448:  

S.P. Spain, vol. 69, f. 339.

Footnote 449:  

Ibid., vol. 70, f. 57; C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 1633.

Footnote 450:  

During de Franquesnay's short tenure of authority, Laurens, driven from Hispaniola by the stern measures of the governor against privateers, made it understood that he desired to enter the service of the Governor of Jamaica. The Privy Council empowered Lynch to treat with him, offering pardon and permission to settle on the island on giving security for his future good behaviour. But de Cussy arrived in the meantime, reversed the policy of de Franquesnay, received Laurens with all the honour due to a military hero, and endeavoured to engage him in the services of the government (Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. viii. pp. 141, 202; C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1210, 1249, 1424, 1461, 1649, 1718 and 1839).

Footnote 451:  

Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. viii. pp. 139-145; C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, No. 378.

Footnote 452:  

Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. ix. pp. 197-99; Duro., op. cit., v. pp. 273-74; C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 193, 339, 378, 778.

Footnote 453:  

According to Charlevoix, de Grammont was a native of Paris, entered the Royal Marine, and distinguished himself in several naval engagements. Finally he appeared in the West Indies as the commander of a frigate armed for privateering, and captured near Martinique a Dutch vessel worth 400,000 livres. He carried his prize to Hispaniola, where he lost at the gaming table and consumed in debauchery the whole value of his capture; and not daring to return to France he joined the buccaneers.

Footnote 454:  

"Laurens-Cornille Baldran, sieur de Graff, lieutenant du roi en l'isle de Saint Domingue, capitaine de frégate légère, chevalier de Saint Louis"—so he was styled after entering the service of the French king (Vaissière, op cit., p. 70, note). According to Charlevoix he was a native of Holland, became a gunner in the Spanish navy, and for his skill and bravery was advanced to the post of commander of a vessel. He was sent to American waters, captured by the buccaneers, and joined their ranks. Such was the terror inspired by his name throughout all the Spanish coasts that in the public prayers in the churches Heaven was invoked to shield the inhabitants from his fury. Divorced from his first wife, whom he had married at Teneriffe in 1674, he was married again in March 1693 to a Norman or Breton woman named Marie-Anne Dieu-le-veult, the widow of one of the first inhabitants of Tortuga (ibid.). The story goes that Marie-Anne, thinking one day that she had been grievously insulted by Laurens, went in search of the buccaneer, pistol in hand, to demand an apology for the outrage. De Graff, judging this Amazon to be worthy of him, turned about and married her (Ducéré, op. cit., p. 113, note). In October 1698 Laurens de Graff, in company with Iberville, sailed from Rochefort with two ships, and in Mobile and at the mouths of the Mississippi laid the foundations of Louisiana (Duro, op. cit., v. p. 306). De Graff died in May 1704. Cf. also Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9325 f. 311.

Footnote 455:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1958, 1962, 1964, 1991, 2000.

Dampier writes (1685) that "it hath been usual for many years past for the Governor of Petit Guaves to send blank Commissions to Sea by many of his Captains, with orders to dispose of them to whom they saw convenient.... I never read any of these French Commissions ... but I have learnt since that the Tenor of them is to give a Liberty to Fish, Fowl and Hunt. The Occasion of this is, that ... in time of Peace these Commissions are given as a Warrant to those of each side (i.e., French and Spanish in Hispaniola) to protect them from the adverse Party: But in effect the French do not restrain them to Hispaniola, but make them a pretence for a general ravage in any part of America, by Sea or Land."—Edition 1906, I. pp. 212-13.

Footnote 456:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 668, 769, 942, 948, 1281, 1562, 1759; ibid., 1685-88, No. 558.

In a memoir of MM. de St. Laurent and Begon to the French King in February 1684, they report that in the previous year some French filibusters discovered in a patache captured from the Spaniards a letter from the Governor of Jamaica exhorting the Spaniards to make war on the French in Hispaniola, and promising them vessels and other means for entirely destroying the colony. This letter caused a furious outburst of resentment among the French settlers against the English (cf. also C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 1348). Shortly after, according to the memoir, an English ship of 30 guns appeared for several days cruising in the channel between Tortuga and Port de Paix. The sieur de Franquesnay, on sending to ask for an explanation of this conduct, received a curt reply to the effect that the sea was free to everyone. The French governor thereupon sent a barque with 30 filibusters to attack the Englishman, but the filibusters returned well beaten. In despair de Franquesnay asked Captain de Grammont, who had just returned from a cruise in a ship of 50 guns, to go out against the intruder. With 300 of the corsairs at his back de Grammont attacked the English frigate. The reception accorded by the latter was as vigorous as before, but the result was different, for de Grammont at once grappled with his antagonist, boarded her and put all the English except the captain to the sword.—Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9325 f. 332.

No reference to this incident is found in the English colonial records.

Footnote 457:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, No. 963.

Footnote 458:  

Ibid., Nos. 1844, 1852.

Footnote 459:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1246, 1249, 1250, 1294, 1295, 1302, 1311, 1348, 1489, 1502, 1503, 1510, 1562, 1563, 1565.

Footnote 460:  

Ibid., No. 1938; ibid., 1685-88, Nos. 33, 53, 57, 68, 128, 129, 157.

Footnote 461:  

Ibid., 1681-85, Nos. 668, 769; ibid., 1685-88, No. 986.

Footnote 462:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1163, 1198; Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9325, f. 332.

Footnote 463:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1796, 1854, 1855, 1943; ibid., 1685-88, Nos. 218, 269, 569, 591, 609, 706, 739.

Footnote 464:  

Ibid., 1681-85, Nos. 1163, 1198, 1249, 1630.

Footnote 465:  

Ibid., Nos. 963, 992, 1938, 1949, 2025, 2067.

Footnote 466:  

Ibid., Nos. 963, 992, 1759.

Footnote 467:  

Ibid., Nos. 1259, 1563.

Footnote 468:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1845, 1851, 1862, 2042.

His ship is called in these letters "La Trompeuse." Unless this is a confusion with Hamlin's vessel, there must have been more than one "La Trompeuse" in the West Indies. Very likely the fame or ill-fame of the original "La Trompeuse" led other pirate captains to flatter themselves by adopting the same name. Breha was captured in 1686 by the Armada de Barlovento and hung with nine or ten of his companions (Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. ix. p. 207).

Footnote 469:  

Ibid., Nos. 1299, 1862.

Footnote 470:  

Ibid., No. 1249.

Footnote 471:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1681-85, Nos. 1560, 1561.

Footnote 472:  

Ibid., Nos. 1605, 1862.

Footnote 473:  

Ibid., Nos. 1634, 1845, 1851, 1862.

Footnote 474:  

Ibid., 1685-88, Nos. 363, 364, 639, 1164.

Footnote 475:  

Ibid., Nos. 1029, 1161; Hughson: Carolina Pirates, p. 24.

Footnote 476:  

Ibid., 1681-85, No. 1165.

Footnote 477:  

Hughson, op. cit., p. 22.

Footnote 478:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 1277, 1278.

Footnote 479:  

Ibid., No. 1411.

Footnote 480:  

Ibid., No. 1463.

Footnote 481:  

Ibid., No. 1602; cf. also ibid., 1693-96, No. 2243.

Footnote 482:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 116, 269, 805.

Footnote 483:  

Ibid., Nos. 1066, 1212.

Footnote 484:  

Ibid., Nos. 965, 1066, 1128.

Footnote 485:  

Ibid., 1681-85, Nos. 1759, 1852, 2067; ibid., 1685-88, No. 1127 and cf. Index.

For the careers of John Williams (alias Yankey) and Jacob Everson (alias Jacobs) during these years cf. C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 259, 348, 897, 1449, 1476-7, 1624, 1705, 1877; Hist. MSS. Comm., xi. pt. 5, p. 136 (Earl of Dartmouth's MSS.).

Footnote 486:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 1406, 1656, 1670, 1705, 1723, 1733; ibid., 1689-92, Nos. 52, 515; Hist. MSS. Commiss., xi. pt. 5, p. 136.

Footnote 487:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, No. 1959.

Footnote 488:  

Ibid., No. 433.

Footnote 489:  

Ibid., Nos. 706, 1026.

Footnote 490:  

Ibid., No. 1567.

Footnote 491:  

Ibid., Nos. 758, 920, 927, 930, 1001, 1187, 1210.

Footnote 492:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, Nos. 1567, 1646, 1655, 1656, 1659, 1663, 1721, 1838, 1858.

Footnote 493:  

Dict. of Nat. Biog.

Footnote 494:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1685-88, No. 1941; cf. also 1906.

Footnote 495:  

Ibid., No. 1940.

Footnote 496:  

Ibid., 1689-92, Nos. 6, 29, 292.

Footnote 497:  

Ibid., No. 299.

Footnote 498:  

Ibid., No. 493.

Footnote 499:  

Ibid., Nos. 7, 50, 52, 54, 85, 120, 176-178, 293, 296-299, 514, 515, 874, 880, 980, 1041.

Footnote 500:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1689-92, Nos. 293, 467; Ibid., 1693-96, Nos. 1931, vii., 1934.

Footnote 501:  

Ibid., 1689-92, Nos. 515, 616, 635, 769.

Footnote 502:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1689-92, Nos. 873, 980, 1021, 1041.

Footnote 503:  

Ibid., No. 714.

Footnote 504:  

Ibid., Nos. 2034, 2043, 2269, 2496, 2498, 2641, 2643.

Footnote 505:  

Ibid., Nos. 72-76, 2034.

Footnote 506:  

Ibid., Nos. 2034, 2044, 2047, 2052, 2103.

Footnote 507:  

Ibid., Nos. 2278, 2398, 2416, 2500.

Footnote 508:  

Ibid., 1693-96, Nos. 634, 635, 1009, 1236.

Footnote 509:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1693-96, Nos. 778, 876; Archives Coloniales, Corresp. Gen. de St. Dom. III. Letter of Ducasse, 30 March 1694.

Footnote 510:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1693-96, Nos. 1109, 1236 (i.).

Footnote 511:  

Ibid., Nos. 1074, 1083, 1106, 1109, 1114, 1121, 1131, 1194, 1236; Charlevoix, I. x. p. 256 ff.; Stowe MSS., 305 f., 205 b; Ducéré: Les corsaires sous l'ancien regime, p. 142.

Footnote 512:  

The number of white men on the island at this time was variously estimated from 2000 to 2400 men. (C.S.P. Colon., 1693-96, Nos. 1109 and 1258.)

Footnote 513:  

C.S.P. Colon, 1693-96, No. 1516.

Footnote 514:  

Ibid., Nos. 207, 876, 1004.

Footnote 515:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1693-96, Nos. 1946, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1983, 2022. According to Charlevoix, it was the dalliance and cowardice of Laurens de Graff, who was in command at Cap François, and feared falling into the hands of his old enemies the English and Spaniards, which had much to do with the success of the invasion. After the departure of the allies Laurens was deprived of his post and made captain of a light corvette. (Charlevoix, I. x. p. 266 ff.)

Footnote 516:  

Ducéré, op. cit. p. 148.

Footnote 517:  

Narrative of de Pointis.

Footnote 518:  

Narrative of de Pointis; C.S.P. Colon., 1696-97, No. 824.

Footnote 519:  

Narrative of de Pointis; C.S.P. Colon., 1696-97, No. 868.

Footnote 520:  

Narrative of de Pointis.

Footnote 521:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1696-97, Nos. 373-376, 413, 661, 769.

Footnote 522:  

Ibid., Nos. 715, 868.

Footnote 523:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1696-97, Nos. 375, 453.

Footnote 524:  

Ibid., 944. 978.

Footnote 525:  

The mouth of the harbour, called Boca Chica, was defended by a fort with 4 bastions and 33 guns; but the guns were badly mounted on flimsy carriages of cedar, and were manned by only 15 soldiers. Inside the harbour was another fort called Santa Cruz, well-built with 4 bastions and a moat, but provided with only a few iron guns and without a garrison. Two other forts formed part of the exterior works of the town, but they had neither garrison nor guns. The city itself was surrounded by solid walls of stone, with 12 bastions and 84 brass cannon, to man which there was a company of 40 soldiers. Such was the war footing on which the Spanish Government maintained the "Key of the Indies." (Duro, op. cit., v. p. 287.)

Footnote 526:  

Narrative of de Pointis. Cf. Charlevoix, op cit., liv. xi., for the best account of the whole expedition.

Footnote 527:  

Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. xi. p. 352.

In one of the articles of capitulation which the Governor of Cartagena obtained from de Pointis, the latter promised to leave untouched the plate, jewels and other treasure of the churches and convents. This article was not observed by the French. On the return of the expedition to France, however, Louis XIV. ordered the ecclesiastical plate to be sequestered, and after the conclusion of the Peace of Ryswick sent it back to San Domingo to be delivered to the governor and clergy of the Spanish part of the island. (Duro, op. cit., v. pp. 291, 296-97).

Footnote 528:  

Duro, op. cit., v. p. 310.

Footnote 529:  

C.S.P. Colon., 1669-74, No. 697.

Footnote 530:  

Ibid.; cf. C.S.P. Colon., 1669-74, No. 138: "The number of tippling houses is now doubly increased, so that there is not now resident upon the place ten men to every house that selleth strong liquors. There are more than 100 licensed houses, besides sugar and rum works that sell without licence."

Footnote 531:  

Crawford: Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Handlist of Proclamations.

Footnote 532:  

Firth: Naval Songs and Ballads, pp. l.-lii.; cf. also Archives Coloniales, Corresp. Gén. de St Dom., vols. iii.-ix.; Ibid., Martinique, vols. viii.-xix.

Footnote 533:  

Archives Coloniales, Corresp. Gén. de Martinique, vol. xvi.


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