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Title: Captain William Kidd and Others of the Buccaneers
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE BUCCANEERS***


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      Internet Archive. See
      https://archive.org/details/captainwilliamki00abbo



CAPTAIN WILLIAM KIDD AND OTHERS OF THE BUCCANEERS

by

JOHN S. C. ABBOTT



[Illustration]

New York
Dodd, Mead and Company
Publishers

Copyright 1874,
By
Dodd & Mead.

Copyright 1902,
By
Laura Abbott Buck.



PREFACE.


There can scarcely anything be found in the literature of our language,
more wild and wonderful, than the narrative contained in this volume.
The extraordinary career of Captain Kidd, a New-York merchant, the
demoniac feats of those fiends in human form, Bonnet, Barthelemy, and
Lolonois; the romantic history of the innocent female pirate Mary Read,
and of the termagant Anne Bonney; the amazing career of Sir Henry
Morgan, and the fanaticism of Montbar, scarcely surpassed by that of
Mohammed or Loyola, combine in creating a story, which the imagination
of Dickens or Dumas could scarcely rival.

And yet these incidents seem to be well authenticated. The writer has
drawn his facts from Esquemeling’s _Zee Roovers_, Amsterdam, 4to, 1684;
Oexemelin’s _Histoire des Aventuriers_, 12mo, Paris, 1688; Johnson’s
_History of the Pirates_, 2 vols., London, 1724; Thornbury’s _Monarchs
of the Main_, 3 vols., London, 1855; _History of the Buccaneers
of America_, 1 vol. 8vo, Boston, 1855; with many other pamphlets,
encyclopædias, and secondary works.

In exploring this hitherto almost unknown field of research, the writer
has been as much surprised at the awful scenes which have opened before
him, as any of his readers can be. There are but few thinking men who
will peruse this narrative, to whom the suggestion will not arise,
“What a different world would this have been, and would it now be, were
all its inhabitants conscientiously, prayerfully, with brotherly love
striving to do right.” And this is the religion of Jesus. He has taught
us to pray “Thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven.”

                                                    JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
  FAIR HAVEN CONN



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  _Origin of the Buccaneers._                                   PAGE

  Renown of Captain Kidd.--Wild Legends.--Demands of
  Spain.--Opposition of the Maritime Powers.--The Rise of the
  Buccaneers.--The Pirates’ Code.--Remonstrance of Spain.--Reply
  of France and England.--Confession of a Buccaneer.--Adventures
  of Peter the Great.                                              9

  CHAPTER II.

  _William Kidd becomes a Pirate._

  Ravages of the Pirates.--The King’s Interview with Earl
  Bellomont.--William Kidd, the New-York Merchant.--His
  Commission.--Sailing of the Adventure.--Recruiting in
  New York.--Circuitous Trip to Madagascar.--Perils and
  Sufferings.--Madagascar the Pirates’ Home.--Murmurings of the
  Crew.--Kidd reluctantly turns Pirate.--His Repulses, and his
  Captures.                                                       29

  CHAPTER III.

  _Piratic Adventures._

  Audacity of Kidd.--Fate of the November.--Kidd kills William
  Moore.--The Renowned Ballad.--Kidd’s Compunctions.--Kidd at
  Madagascar.--Piratic Carousals.--The Artificial Hell.--Kidd’s
  Return to the West Indies.--Exaggerated Reports of Avery.--His
  wretched Career and wretched End.                               51

  CHAPTER IV.

  _Arrest, Trial, and Condemnation of Kidd._

  Appalling Tidings.--Trip to Curacoa.--Disposal of the Quedagh
  Merchant.--Purchase of the Antonio.--Trembling Approach toward
  New York.--Measures for the Arrest of Kidd.--He enters Delaware
  Bay.--Touches at Oyster Bay and Block Island.--Communications
  with the Government.--Sails for Boston.--His Arrest.--Long
  Delays.--Public Rumors.--His Trial and Condemnation.            75

  CHAPTER V.

  _Kidd, and Stede Bonnet._

  The Guilt of Kidd.--Rumors of Buried Treasure.--Mesmeric
  Revelation.--Adventures of Bradish.--Strange Character of
  Major Bonnet.--His Piracies.--Encounters.--Indications of
  Insanity.--No Temptation to Turn Pirate.--Blackbeard.--Bonnet
  Deposed.                                                        98

  CHAPTER VI.

  _The Adventures of Edward Teach, or Blackbeard._

  Seizure of the Protestant Cæsar.--The Piratic Squadron.--Villany
  of the Buccaneers.--The Atrocities of Blackbeard.--Illustrative
  Anecdotes.--Carousals on Shore.--Alleged Complicity with the
  Governor.--Hiding-place near Ocracoke Inlet.--Arrangements
  for his Capture.--Boats sent from two Men-of-War.--Bloody
  Battle.--The Death of the Pirate.--His Desperate and Demoniac
  Character.                                                     110

  CHAPTER VII.

  _The Close of Stede Bonnet’s Career._

  Bonnet’s Abandonment by Blackbeard.--Avails Himself of the
  King’s Pardon.--Takes Commission as a Privateer.--Rescues
  Blackbeard’s Pirates.--Piratic Career.--Enters Cape Fear River
  for Repairs.--Captured by Colonel Rhet.--The Conflict.--Escapes
  from Prison.--The Pursuit, and Trial and Sentence.             125

  CHAPTER VIII.

  _The Portuguese Barthelemy._

  Commencement of his Career.--Bold Capture.--Brutality of
  the Pirates.--Reverses and Captivity.--Barthelemy doomed to
  Die.--His Escape.--Sufferings in the Forest.--Reaches Gulf
  Triste.--Hardening Effect of his Misfortunes.--His new Piratic
  Enterprise.--Wonderful Success.--The Tornado.--Impoverishment
  and Ruin.                                                      139

  CHAPTER IX.

  _Francis Lolonois._

  Early Life of Lolonois.--His Desperate Character.--Joins the
  Buccaneers.--His Fiend-like Cruelty.--The Desperadoes Rally
  around Him.--Equips a Fleet.--Captures Rich Prizes.--Plans the
  Sack of Maracaibo.--The Adventurous Voyage.--Description of
  Venezuela.--Atrocities at Maracaibo and Gibraltar.--Doom of
  the Victors.                                                   151

  CHAPTER X.

  _The Plunder; the Carousal; and the New Enterprise._

  Gibraltar in Ashes.--The Return to Maracaibo.--Division of
  the Plunder.--Peculiar Scene.--Reception of the Pirates
  at Tortuga.--Fiend-like Carousal.--The Pirates Reduced
  to Beggary.--Lolonois’s New Enterprise.--The “Furious
  Calm.”--Days of Disaster.--Ravaging the Coast.--Capture
  of San Pedro.                                                  170

  CHAPTER XI.

  _The End of Lolonois’s Career._

  The Pirates’ Perfidy.--Capture of a Spanish Ship.--Misery
  of the Pirates.--Desertion of Vauclin.--The Shipwreck.--Life
  upon the Island.--Expedition to Nicaragua.--Its utter
  Failure.--Ferocity of the Indians.--Exploring the River.--The
  Retreat.--Coasting to Darien.--Capture and Death of
  Lolonois.--Fate of the Remnants.                               186

  CHAPTER XII.

  _The Female Pirate, Mary Read._

  Testimony of Charles Johnson.--Marriage of Mary Read’s
  Mother.--Singular Adventure.--Reasons for Disguising her
  Daughter.--Early Training of Mary as a Boy.--She Enlists on
  board a Man-of-War.--The Character she Developed.--Enters
  the Army.--Skill and Bravery.--Falls in Love with a
  Fleming.--Reveals her Sex.--The Marriage.--Happy Days.--Death
  of her Husband.--Adversity.--Resumes Male Attire.              201

  CHAPTER XIII.

  _Anne Bonny, the Female Pirate._

  Rackam the Pirate.--Anne Bonny his Wife.--Her Reasons for
  Assuming a Boy’s Dress.--Infamous Character of Rackam.--Anne
  falls in Love with Mary.--Curious Complications.--The
  Duel.--Chivalry of Frank.--The Capture.--The Trial.--Testimony
  of the Artist.--Death of Mary Read.--Rackam Dies on the
  Scaffold.                                                      214

  CHAPTER XIV.

  _Sir Henry Morgan._

  His Origin.--Goes to the West Indies.--Joins the
  Buccaneers.--Meets Mansvelt the Pirate.--Conquest of St.
  Catharine.--Piratic Colony there.--Ravaging the Coast of
  Costa Rica.--Sympathy of the Governor of Jamaica.--Death
  of Mansvelt.--Expedition of Don John.--The Island Recaptured
  by the Spaniards.--Plans of Morgan.--His Fleet.--The Sack of
  Puerto Principe.--Horrible Atrocities.--Retreat of the
  Pirates.--The Duel.--They Sail for Puerto Velo.--Conquest
  of the City.--Heroism of the Governor.                         225

  CHAPTER XV.

  _The Capture of Puerto Velo, and its Results._

  The Torture.--Sickness and Misery.--Measures of the Governor of
  Panama.--The Ambuscade.--Awful Defeat of the Spaniards.--Ferocity
  of the Pirates.--Strange Correspondence.--Exchange of
  Courtesies.--Return to Cuba, and Division of the Spoil.--Wild
  Orgies at Jamaica.--Complicity of the British Government
  with the Pirates.--The New Enterprise.--Arrival of the
  Oxford.--Destruction of the Cerf Volant.--Rendezvous at
  Samona.                                                        246

  CHAPTER XVI.

  _The Expedition to Maracaibo._

  The Delay at Ocoa.--Hunting Excursions.--The Repulse.--Cities
  of Venezuela.--The Plan of Morgan.--Suggestions of Pierre
  Picard.--Sailing of the Expedition.--They Touch at
  Oruba.--Traverse Venezuela.--Enter Lake Maracaibo.--Capture of
  the Fort.--The City Abandoned.--Atrocities of the Pirates.     260

  CHAPTER XVII.

  _Adventures on the Shores of Lake Maracaibo._

  Preparations for the Defence of Gibraltar.--The Hidden
  Ships.--The Hiding-place of the Governor and the
  Women.--Disaster and Failure.--Capture of the Spanish
  Ships.--The Retreat Commenced.--Peril of the Pirates.--Singular
  Correspondence.--Strength of the Spanish Armament.--The
  Public Conference of the Pirates.--The Naval Battle.--The
  Fire-Ship.--Wonderful Achievement of the Pirates.              273

  CHAPTER XVIII.

  _A New Expedition Planned._

  The Threat to Espinosa.--Adroit Stratagem.--Wonderful
  Escape.--The Storm.--Revelry at Jamaica.--History of
  Hispaniola.--Plan of a New Expedition.--The Foraging
  Ships.--Morgan’s Administrative Energies.--Return of
  the Foragers.--Rendezvous at Cape Tiburon.--Magnitude
  and Armament of the Fleet.--Preparations to Sail.              290

  CHAPTER XIX.

  _Capture of St. Catherine and Chagres._

  The Defences at St. Catherine.--Morgan’s Strategy.--The Midnight
  Storm.--Deplorable Condition of the Pirates.--The Summons to
  Surrender.--Disgraceful Conduct of the Spanish Commander.--The
  Advance to Chagres.--Incidents of the Battle.--The Unexpected
  Victory.--Measures of Morgan.                                  305

  CHAPTER XX.

  _The March from Chagres to Panama._

  Preparations to Ascend the River.--Crowding of the Boats.--The
  Bivouac at Bracos.--Sufferings from Hunger.--The Pathless
  Route.--The Boats Abandoned.--Light Canoes Employed.--Abandoned
  Ambuscades.--Painful Marches, Day by Day.--The Feast on
  Leathern Bags.--Murmurs and Contentions.--The Indians
  Encountered.--Struggling through the Forest.--The Conflagration
  at Santa Cruz.--Battle and Skirmishes.--First Sight of
  Panama.--Descent into the Plain.--Feasting.                    319

  CHAPTER XXI.

  _The Capture of Panama._

  First Sight of the City.--The Spanish Scouts Appear.--Morgan’s
  Advance.--Character of the Country.--Fears of the
  Spaniards.--Removal of Treasure.--Capture of the City.--The
  Poisoned Wine.--Magnificent Scenery of the Bay.--Description of
  Panama and its Surroundings.--Wealth of the City.--Scenes of
  Crime and Cruelty.                                             335

  CHAPTER XXII.

  _The Return from Panama._

  Return of the Explorers.--The Beautiful Captive.--Sympathy
  in her behalf.--Embarrassments of Morgan.--Inflexible
  Virtue of the Captive.--The Conspiracy.--Efficiency of
  Morgan.--His Obduracy.--The Search of the Pirates.--The
  Return March.--Morgan Cheats the Pirates.--Runs Away.          349

  CHAPTER XXIII.

  _Montbar the Fanatic._

  Partial Solution of a Mystery.--Montbar’s Birth.--His Education
  and Delusions.--Anecdote of the Dramatic Performance.--Montbar
  Runs Away from Home.--Enters the Navy.--His Ferocious
  Exploits.--Joins the Buccaneers.--Desperate Battles on
  the Land and on the Sea.--His Final Disappearance.             360



CAPTAIN KIDD.

CHAPTER I.

_Origin of the Buccaneers._

  Renown of Captain Kidd.--Wild Legends.--Demands of
  Spain.--Opposition of the Maritime Powers.--The Rise
  of the Buccaneers.--The Pirates’ Code.--Remonstrance
  of Spain.--Reply of France and England.--Confession
  of a Buccaneer.--Adventures of Peter the Great.


There are but few persons, in the United States, who have not heard
the name of the renowned pirate, Captain Kidd. There are also but few
to be found who have any intelligent conception of his wild and guilty
career. The banks of the Hudson, the islands scattered through the
Sound which skirts the southern New-England coast, and the wild rivers
and craggy harbors which fringe the rugged shores of Maine, are all
rich with legends of the exploits and hiding-places of this notorious
buccaneer.

Thousands of fanatical people have employed themselves in digging among
the rocks and sands, in search of treasure of gold and jewels supposed
to have been buried, in iron-bound chests, by this chief of outlaws. It
was well known that he had plundered many a rich Spanish galleon, laden
with golden coin, bound to or from the colonies. Many a Spanish lady
had been compelled to walk blindfolded the awful plank, until she was
jostled into the sea, while her chests of golden ingots and diamonds
fell into the hands of brutal assassins.

It was not always easy for the pirates to dispose of these treasures.
They were sometimes pursued by men-of-war. Doubtless, as a measure of
safety, they did at times bury their spoil, intending at a convenient
hour to return and reclaim it. And it can hardly be questioned that,
in some cases, pursued, harassed, cut up, they never did return.
Therefore it may be that there is treasure still hidden in some
secluded spot, which may remain, through all coming ages unless by some
accident discovered. This belief has, in bygone days, nerved many a
treasure-seeker to months of toil, all along our northern coast, from
Passamaquoddy Bay to the Jerseys.

Half a century ago, when superstition exerted much more powerful sway
than now, the wildest stories were told, around the fireside, of the
complicity of the robber with the Archfiend himself, and of the agency
of the Prince of the Power of the Air in protecting his subjects.
Hundreds of parties, equipped with hazel rods, whose dip should guide
them to the treasure, and with spades to dig, have gone to the most
lonely spots at dead of night, in search of these riches. It was
believed that not a word must be spoken, and particularly that Satan
was so jealous, that if the Divine name were uttered, some terrible
doom would befall them.

The writer remembers hearing, sixty years ago at the kitchen fireside,
many of these wondrous stories. One or two may be given in illustration
of them all. A fortune-teller had told some men where Captain Kidd
had buried a chest. They were to go to the spot, in the darkness of
a moonless midnight. Not one word was to be spoken. A lantern, dimly
burning, was to guide their steps. One carrying a hazel rod was to lead
the party of four. When they reached the precise spot the hazel rod
would bend directly down to indicate it. By digging they would find,
five feet beneath the surface, an oaken chest, bound with iron, filled
with doubloons.

They obeyed all the directions implicitly. The spot was found. In
silence and with energy they plied their spades. At the depth of five
feet they struck the chest. There it was, beyond all question, in
its massive strength of oak and iron. The size of the chest and the
difficulty with which it could be moved, proved that they had come upon
an amount of treasure which would enrich them all beyond the dreams of
romance. One thoughtlessly, in the excess of his excitement, exclaimed,
“Thank God!” In an instant there was a flash of lightning which blinded
them all; a peal of thunder which stunned them all. Those in the pit
were violently thrust out, and every one was thrown helpless and
senseless upon the ground.

After a time they recovered one by one. The darkness was like that of
Egypt, which could be felt. The rain was falling in torrents. Their
pit was entirely closed up, and replaced by a ledge of solid granite.
Terrified, they crept to their homes, fearing ever again to seek the
treasure which the pirate, as an emissary of Satan, had seized with
bloody hands, and with bloody hands had buried.

Again, there was a young woman who had a sacred atone into which she
looked and saw whatever she wished to have revealed. She could read
the fortunes of others. She could foresee all future events. She could
reveal any secrets of the past. Into this mysterious crystal she gazed,
and saw a small vessel, under an immense cloud of canvas, flying
before a huge man-of-war. But the smaller vessel was the fleetest.
The larger vessel was firing upon it with heavy cannon, and the balls
were bounding over the waves. She looked upon the deck of the little
schooner, and it was crowded with the fiercest-looking armed men. Among
them stood a man, in rich uniform, with drawn sword, and pistols in his
belt, who was evidently their leader. She at once recognized him as
Captain Kidd.

It was in the evening twilight. The pirate ran in at the mouth of the
Kennebec River. The man-of-war could not venture to follow amid the
rocks and shoals. The commander, however, felt that the pirate was
caught in a trap and that he could not escape. He decided to lay off
and on until morning, carefully watching the mouth of the river. Then
he would send his war-boats thoroughly manned, and the pirates would
soon swing at his yard-arms, and their treasures would be transferred
to his chests and his ship’s hold.

Captain Kidd had a large amount of treasure on board his vessel,
which he had plundered mainly from the rich argosies which carried
on the commerce between Spain and her colonies. At the same time he
was not at all particular in his inquiries as to what nationality the
ship belonged to, if the cargo of goods or coin were valuable. His
adventurous sail ran along the shores of both the Indies, and all
richly freighted ships he encountered were doomed.

The swift-sailing schooner which had run into the mouth of the Kennebec
was heavily laden with gold and silver coin, rich silks, and others
of the most precious fabrics of the two Indies. To save these from
capture, so the story goes, and to lighten his vessel, so as to be able
to creep away over the shallow waters out of reach of the man-of-war,
he threw the heaviest and least valuable articles overboard. Then
landing a portion of the crew in the night, he searched out a secluded
spot, where he dug a deep hole, and placed in it an immense iron-bound
hogshead. Here he carefully packed away his gold and silver coin
in strong canvas bags. His silks and satins were wrapped in canvas
envelopes, and then protected with tarred cloth, impervious to both air
and moisture. Thus the cask soon held treasure amounting to countless
thousands. This was carefully covered up and concealed, Captain
Kidd taking notes which would enable him to find the place without
difficulty!

Then in the darkness he again spread his sails, and stealing out of one
of the unfrequented mouths of the river, crept along the shore unseen,
and turning his course south, was soon again engaged in his piratic
cruise among the islands of the West Indies. He never returned to
regain his treasure.

The next morning the man-of-war sent up three boats well manned and
armed to capture the pirate. But not the slightest vestige of his
vessel could be found. It was believed that Satan had aided them to
escape. Some of the sailors declared that in the night they had seen
the schooner under full sail in the clouds, passing over their heads,
and that they had heard shouts of merriment from the demoniac crew.

The girl, looking into her enchanted stone, saw all this. She informed
those inquiring of her, of the precise spot where the treasure was
buried. To obtain it they must go at dead of night, and work in perfect
silence. The utterance of a single word would bring disaster upon all
their efforts.

They went, and worked with a will, in the darkness, by dim torchlight.
Not a word was spoken. They reached the cask, spaded away the earth
around it, and were just ready to open it and rifle it of its contents,
when to their astonishment a little negro boy was seen sitting upon
the head of the cask, entirely naked. One of them in his surprise
thoughtlessly exclaimed, “Who are you?”

The spell was broken. Instantly one of the blackest of thunder-clouds
enveloped them, with a tornado which wrecked the skies. Carousing
fiends were seen with bat-like wings through the gloom. Shrieks of
derisive laughter were heard. Every man was seized, and whirled
through the air to distances several miles apart. Awaking from stupor,
terror-inspired, they with difficulty found their way to their homes.
Upon subsequently revisiting the spot they found no traces of their
labor.

Such was the general character of the legends which were floating
about very freely half a century ago. Captain Kidd was the hero of
all these marvellous tales. It is not easy to account for the fact
that his name should have attained such an ascendency over that of all
other buccaneers. Though there was nothing so very remarkable in his
achievements, there was something strange in the highest degree, in his
partnership with men in England occupying the most exalted position in
rank and power.

After the discovery of the New World, Pope Alexander VI. issued a
proclamation dividing all the newly discovered lands, in both the East
and West Indies, between the crowns of Portugal and Spain, to the
exclusion of all other powers. This _bull_ as it was called, excited
great discontent throughout all Christendom. This was nearly two
hundred years ago. France, England, and the Netherlands, the three
remaining great maritime nations, combined against Spain and Portugal.
These courts would give any man a commission to take a ship, fill it
with armed men, and prey upon the commerce of Spain and Portugal. There
was no court to decide upon the validity of prizes. The captors were
responsible to nobody. They decided for themselves whether the prize
they had taken was their legitimate booty. The whole spoil was divided
among them according to their own agreement.

Very soon all seas swarmed with these adventurers. They sailed in
fleets. In armed bands they landed and ravaged the coasts, battering
down forts and capturing and plundering cities. They did not deem
themselves pirates, but took the name of buccaneers. Though often
guilty of great enormities, they assumed the air of legitimate
privateersmen. With heads high uplifted they swaggered through the
streets of England, France, and the Netherlands, with lavish hand
scattering their ill-gotten gold. They were welcomed at every port
they entered, for they proved very profitable customers. They sold
their booty very cheap. They purchased very freely, regardless of
price. In drunken frolics they had been known to scatter doubloons
in the streets to see men and boys scramble for them. The merchants
all welcomed them, not deeming it necessary to ask any questions for
conscience’ sake. Their numbers became so great and their depredations
so audacious, that no ship could sail in safety under any flag. The
buccaneers were not careful to obtain any commission. Assuming that
they were warring against the enemies of their country, even when there
was no war existing between the two nations, they ravaged the seas at
their pleasure.

Generally their bands were well organized and under very salutary
discipline. The following articles of agreement, signed by the whole
crew, were found on board one of these ships:

“Every man is entitled to a vote in affairs of importance, and to an
equal share of all provisions and strong liquors which may be seized.
Any man who defrauds the company in plate, jewels, or money, shall be
landed on a desert island. If he rob a messmate, his ears and nose
shall be slit, and then he shall be landed on a desert island. No man
shall play at cards or dice for money. The lights are to be put out at
eight o’clock at night. No woman is to be allowed on board. Any man who
brings a woman to sea disguised shall be put to death. No man shall
strike another on board, but quarrels shall be settled on shore with
sword or pistol.

“Any one deserting, or leaving his quarters, during an engagement,
shall be either landed on a desert island or put to death. Every man
losing a limb or becoming crippled in the service shall have eight
hundred dollars. The captain and quartermaster shall receive two shares
of every prize; the master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a
half, and all other officers one and a quarter. Quarter always to be
given when called for. He that sees a sail first is to have the best
pistols and small arms on board of her.”

Thus it will be seen that these buccaneers were regularly organized
bands, by no means ashamed of their calling. They were morally scarcely
inferior to the robber knights and barons of the feudal ages, from
whom the haughtiest nobles of Europe are proud to claim their lineage.
They were not petty thieves and vulgar murderers. They unfurled their
banners and waged open warfare on the sea and on the land, glorying
in their chivalric exploits, and ostentatiously displaying, in all
harbors, the trophies of their wild adventures.

These freebooters assumed the most gorgeous and extravagant dresses.
Their favorite ornament was a broad crimson sash, of bright scarlet,
passing round the waist, and fastened on the shoulder and hip with
colored ribbons. This was so arranged that it formed a belt into which
they could thrust three or four richly mounted pistols. These pistols
were often sold at auction, on shipboard, for two hundred dollars each.
Cocked hats, with a showy embroidery of gold lace, formed a conspicuous
feature of their costume.

The captain, in time of battle, was invested with dictatorial power.
He could stab or shoot any one who disobeyed his orders. His voice was
generally decisive as to the treatment of prisoners. The large cabin
was appropriated to his exclusive use. Often the freebooters combined,
in several armed vessels, to attack some richly freighted fleet under
convoy. Occasionally they landed, and captured and plundered very
considerable cities.

These buccaneers were generally, as we have said, Englishmen,
Frenchmen, or Germans. Still, adventurers from all nationalities
crowded their decks. The Spanish Court remonstrated with the several
Governments of Europe against these outrages. France replied:

“The people complained against act entirely on their own authority and
responsibility, not by any commission from us. The King of Spain is at
liberty to proceed against them according to his own pleasure.”

Elizabeth, England’s termagant queen, with characteristic tartness
replied:

“The Spaniards have drawn these inconveniences on themselves, by their
severe and unjust dealings in their American commerce. The Queen of
England cannot understand why her subjects, or those of any other
European prince should be debarred from traffic in the West Indies. As
she does not acknowledge the Spaniards to have any title to any portion
of the New World by the donation of the Bishop of Rome, so she knows
no right they have to any places other than those of which they are
in actual possession. Their having touched only here and there upon a
coast, and given names to a few rivers or capes, are such insignificant
things as can in no ways entitle them to a property in those parts, any
further than where they have actually settled and continue to inhabit.”

Some curious anecdotes are told illustrative of the great respect some
of these adventurers entertained for religion and morality. In many
cases all bolts, locks, and fastenings of any kind were prohibited, as
implying a doubt of the honor of their comrades. Not a few men of noble
birth became buccaneers. A captain of one of these bands shot one of
his crew for behaving irreverently in church. Sir Raveneau de Sussan,
being deeply involved in debt, joined the freebooters because, he said,
“he wished, as every honest man should do, to have withal to satisfy
his creditors.”

The French called the buccaneers _nos braves_. The English papers were
filled with admiring accounts of their unparalleled exploits. A French
buccaneer; Francois l’Olonnais, at the head of six hundred and fifty
men, captured the towns of Maracaibo and Gibraltar, in the Gulf of
Venezuela, and extorted half a million dollars for the ransom of those
places. A French priest extolled the deed as one of chivalric heroism.

The pirates seized the Island of Tortuga, built a town there, and
erected a strong fort on an eminence which commanded a view of the
encircling sea to the horizon. This island is situated a few leagues
north of the magnificent Island of San Domingo, then called Hispaniola.
It is long and narrow, running east and west, and is about sixty
miles in circuit. It is mainly a mountainous island of rock, but at
that time was densely covered with a gigantic forest. The western part
of the island was uninhabited. It was very rugged and barren, and had
no harbor or even cove into which a vessel or boat could run. On the
southeastern shore there was one good harbor, so landlocked that it
could be easily defended. The island abounded with wild boars, and at
some seasons, the very air seemed darkened with the flocks of pigeons
which frequented its groves.

The buccaneers seized this island, and sent to the French governor of
St. Christopher’s to furnish them with aid to fortify it. The governor
sent them a ship full of men, with all needful supplies. With this
assistance they built a fort on a high rock, which perfectly commanded
the harbor. There was no access to the fort but by climbing a narrow
passage, along which but two persons could pass at a time. With great
difficulty two guns were raised and mounted. There was a plentiful
supply of fresh water on the summit, from an abundant spring gushing
from the rock.

One of these buccaneers, John Esquemeling, has given quite a minute
account of the achievements of himself and comrades. His narrative,
which is deemed authentic, was written in Dutch, but was translated
and published in London in the year 1684. He had sailed from
Havre-de-Grace, in France, for the New World, in the year 1666, to seek
his fortune. He gives the following reason for joining the buccaneers:

“I found myself in Tortuga like unto Adam when he was first created
by the hand of his Maker; that is, naked and destitute of all human
necessaries. Not knowing how to get a living, I determined to enter
into the wicked order of pirates or robbers of the sea. Into this
society I was received by common consent both of the superior and
vulgar sort. I continued among them six years, until the year 1672.
Having assisted them in all their designs and attempts and served
them in many notable exploits, of which I here give the reader a full
account, I returned to my own native country.”

We will give one incident illustrative of the mode in which these
buccaneers operated.

There was at Tortuga a man born in Dieppe, Normandy. From his gigantic
stature and his bold carriage he was familiarly called Peter the Great.
He took a large boat, and with twenty-eight companions, desperate men,
thoroughly armed, set out from the harbor in search of booty. For a
long time they sailed over those tropical seas, keeping a vigilant
watch from the mast-head, but no vessel appeared in sight. Their food
was rapidly disappearing, and they began to be in despair.

At length they espied, one afternoon, in the distant horizon, a sail.
As they approached it, they found, somewhat to their alarm, that it
was a huge Spanish galleon laden to the gunwales with treasure. It
probably contained passengers and crew, and perhaps soldiers, three or
four times outnumbering the buccaneers. The sagacious Peter immediately
surmised that the galleon was one of a merchant fleet which had
recently sailed from Spain under a strong convoy, and being heavily
laden, had, in some storm, got separated from the squadron. It was one
of the most desperate of enterprises to attack such a ship with their
little boat. The ship, though a merchantman, had, without any doubt,
some heavy guns, and the crew was well armed.

But they were desperate men; their provisions were exhausted; they were
in danger of actual starvation. The captain assembled them all around
him, and addressed them in a very glowing and inspiring speech. We
cannot quote his identical words. But we have a record of the motives
he urged to rouse his men to a frenzy of courage.

“Our cruise,” said he, “has been thus far a failure. We have no money.
We have no food. We must soon perish by the most miserable of all
deaths, lingering starvation. In that ship there is food in abundance,
wine in abundance, gold in abundance. We are now beggars. Let us take
that ship, and we are princes. We can revel in luxury. Our fortunes
are made for our lives. We can sail to any land we please, and there
live in independence. Even if some of us must die, it is better to die
suddenly than to starve. We can take the ship if we all do our duty. I
call upon every one now to take a solemn oath either to capture the
ship or to die in the attempt.”

To this appeal the piratic crew responded with cheers, and the oath was
promptly taken. The captain of the Spanish ship had been informed that
there was a boat in sight, and that it probably was manned by pirates.
He came upon deck, examined it carefully with his glass, and then,
turning upon his heel, said contemptuously:

“We need not care for such a pitiful concern as that. It is a mere
cockle-shell. If you wish, you may rig the crane out, and we will hoist
the whole thing, crew and all, on board. We need fear no ship which is
not bigger and stronger than our own.”

The pirates had the advantage of the wind. They kept away until dark.
Peter, or Pierre as they called him, informed them of his desperate
plan. He would, in the gloom of night, put on all sail, and run
his boat directly alongside of the galleon. Grappling-irons were
immediately to be thrown over the gunwale of the ship, with ropes
attached, by which the boat’s crew were instantly to leap on board. The
carpenter was to have tools ready and bore a large hole in the bottom
of the boat, so as to sink it at once. He was then to leap on board.

Every man was to have three or four loaded pistols in his belt, and a
sabre in his hand. Escape was impossible. If they failed to capture
the ship, and were captured themselves, their inevitable doom was death
by hanging. The programme was carried out in full. The night was dark.
There was no vigilance, no suspicion of danger on board the ship. The
boat came alongside the huge bulk of the galleon so noiselessly that it
was not perceived.

The pirates rushed pell-mell on board. With their sharp sabres they
cut down the terrified crew on the right hand and on the left. Pierre,
leading a party, plunged into the cabin. The captain with several of
his officers was playing cards. He sprang from his seat exclaiming:

“Lord Jesus; are these devils?”

Pierre, presenting a pistol at his breast, demanded the surrender of
the ship. Had the captain or any of his officers raised a hand in
self-defence, death would have been their immediate fate. They were all
disarmed and bound. Another party, sweeping the decks with sword and
pistol, drove all whom they did not kill into the hold, and shut the
hatches upon them. They then seized the gun-room, where all the arms
and ammunition were stored.

In almost less time than it has taken to describe the scene, this
majestic ship with its vast treasures was captured. Not a single pirate
was killed or wounded. With three cheers the pirates proclaimed their
astounding victory. They were nearly all seamen, and familiar with
those waters. They turned the ship to sail to Europe. Coming in sight
of an island, they landed the captain and all the ship’s company in
a cove, and giving them a small supply of provisions, left them to
shift for themselves. Several of the crew remained on board the ship,
enlisting in the service of the pirates. This being done, they set sail
for France, where they sold their ship, divided their immense booty,
scattered, and were heard of no more.

The inhabitants of Tortuga soon received tidings of this brilliant
achievement. It seemed to inspire them all with the intense desire to
go and do likewise. All Tortuga was in an uproar. Every one applauded
a deed which they deemed so glorious as well as so profitable. They
saw that by a single enterprise, Pierre had made his fortune for life.
In a few months, more than twenty piratic vessels were fitted out at
Tortuga.



CHAPTER II.

_William Kidd becomes a Pirate._

  Ravages of the Pirates.--The King’s Interview with Earl
  Bellomont.--William Kidd, the New-York Merchant.--His
  Commission.--Sailing of the Adventure.--Recruiting in
  New York.--Circuitous Trip to Madagascar.--Perils and
  Sufferings.--Madagascar the Pirates’ Home.--Murmurings of the
  Crew.--Kidd reluctantly turns Pirate.--His Repulses, and his
  Captures.


In the year 1695, the King of England, William III., summoned before
him the Earl of Bellomont, who had been governor of Barbadoes, and whom
he had recently appointed governor of New York, and said to him:

“The buccaneers have so increased in the East and West Indies, and
all along the American coast, that they defiantly sail under their
own flag. They penetrate the rivers; land in numbers sufficient to
capture cities, robbing palaces and cathedrals, and extorting enormous
ransom. Their suppression is vital to commerce. They have possessed
themselves of magnificent retreats, in Madagascar and other islands of
the Indian Ocean. They have established their seraglios, and are living
in fabulous splendor and luxury. Piratic expeditions are fitted out
from the colonies of New England and Virginia; and even the Quakers
of Pennsylvania afford a market for their robberies. These successful
freebooters are making their homes in the Carolinas, in Rhode Island,
and along the south shore of Long Island, where they and their children
take positions among the most respectable in the community.

“The buccaneers are so audacious that they seek no concealment. Their
ships are laden with the spoil of all nations. The richest prizes
which can now be taken on the high seas are the heavily laden ships of
the buccaneers. I have resolved, with the aid of others, to fit out
a private expedition against them. We have formed a company for that
purpose. By attacking the pirates we shall accomplish a double object.
We shall in the first place check their devastating operations, and we
shall also fill our purses with the proceeds of the abundant spoil with
which their ships are laden.”

This second consideration was doubtless the leading one in the
movement. The king was in great need of money. His nobles were
impoverished by extravagance. They were ready to resort to any measures
to replenish their exhausted treasuries. This royal company was
therefore organized, not as a national movement, sustained by national
law, but as a _piratic_ expedition against the _pirates_. The reclaimed
treasure was not to be restored to its owners, nor to be placed in the
treasury of the kingdom, but to be divided among the captors as their
legitimate spoil. And still the king was to give the commission in his
kingly name.

The king informed the Earl of Bellomont that he was about to invest him
with the government of New York, and wished him to suggest the name of
some suitable person, who was familiar with the North American coast
and the West Indian seas, to whom he could intrust the command of the
frigate they were then fitting out. It so chanced that an illustrious
Englishman, Mr. Robert Livingston, the first of that name who had
emigrated to the New World, was then in London. The earl consulted with
him. He was informed that just the man he needed had accompanied him
from New York to London, leaving his family behind. He was a merchant,
by the name of William Kidd, a man of tried courage and integrity.

In the last war with the French, Captain Kidd had commanded a
privateersman, and had gained signal honor in many engagements. He had
sailed over all the seas frequented by the buccaneers, and was familiar
with their haunts. The commission which the king gave to Captain Kidd
is a curious document. It is here given abridged of its excessive
verbiage:

“William the Third, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland,
France, and Ireland, to our true and well-beloved Captain William Kidd,
commander of the ship Adventure. Whereas divers wicked persons commit
many and great piracies, robberies, and depredations on the seas, upon
the coasts of America and other parts, to the hindrance of trade and
the danger of our subjects, we have thought fit to give to the said
William Kidd full authority to seize all such pirates as you may find
on the seas, whether our subjects or the subjects of other nations,
with their ships, and all merchandise or money which shall be found on
board, if they willingly yield themselves. But if they will not yield
without fighting, then you are, by force, to compel them to yield. We
do also require you to bring, or cause to be brought, such pirates,
freebooters, or sea rovers, as you shall seize, to a legal trial, to
the end they may be proceeded against according to the law in such
cases.

“We enjoin you to keep an exact journal of your proceedings, giving the
names of the ships you may capture, the names of their officers and
crew, and the value of their cargoes, and stores. And we command you,
at your peril, that you do not molest our friends or allies under any
pretence of authority hereby granted. Given the 26th of January, 1695.”

Captain Kidd at the same time received another document, which
was called a commission of reprisals. This authorized him, as a
privateersman, to take any French merchant ships he might chance to
meet; for there was then war between France and England.

A ship was purchased, for thirty thousand dollars, called the
Adventure. Of this sum, Captain Kidd and Mr. Livingston furnished three
thousand each. The remainder was contributed by the Earls Bellomont
and Romney, Lord Chancellor Somers, the Lord High Admiral, the Duke
of Shrewsbury, and Sir Henry Harrison. The king, rather ingloriously,
paid nothing. He purchased his share in the enterprise by the royal
patronage.

It seems that Captain Kidd was a man of high reputation at that time.
It was a large amount of property to be intrusted to his hands; for
the vessel and its outfit must have cost at least fifty thousand
dollars. Mr. Livingston became Kidd’s security that he would faithfully
discharge his duties and account for all his captures. It is said that
Kidd was not pleased with this arrangement, as he was very unwilling
that Mr. Livingston should be his bondsman. He probably, even then,
felt that it might prove an obstacle in his future course. The
operations of the human mind are often inexplicable. He might wish to
_steal_ the ship and turn _pirate_ on his own account. And he could not
_honorably_ do this while his friend was his bondsman. Such pressure
was put upon him that he was constrained to yield.

Armed with the royal commission, and in command of the Adventure,
Captain Kidd sailed from Plymouth, England, in May, 1696. The frigate
had an armament of thirty guns, and a crew of eighty men. He was
ordered to render his accounts to the Earl of Bellomont in New York.
He sailed up the Narrows, into New York harbor, in July. His wife and
children were in his home there. In crossing the Atlantic, Captain
Kidd came across a French merchantman, which he captured. The prize
was valued at but seventeen hundred dollars. This was considered a
legitimate act of war.

Captain Kidd knew full well that the enemy he was to encounter would
fight with the utmost desperation, and that he might meet a fleet of
piratic ships, or a single ship, more powerful in men and armament than
his own. He therefore sent out recruiting officers through the streets
of New York, to enlist volunteers. The terms he offered were that every
man should have an equal share of every prize that was taken, after
reserving for himself and the owners forty shares. With these offers he
soon increased his crew to one hundred and fifty-five men.

Sailing from the harbor of New York, he made first for Madeira, to lay
in a stock of wine. Then he directed his course to the Cape de Verd
Islands, for a supply of salt and provisions. Having obtained these, he
spread his canvas for a long voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, to
the Island of Madagascar, on the eastern coast of Africa. This island
had become renowned as one of the most important rendezvouses of the
pirates.

Madagascar is larger than Great Britain. The pirates, by aid of their
firearms, their desperate courage, and their superior intelligence, had
gained possession of a considerable portion of the island. The natives
were an inefficient race, copper-colored, with long, black hair. The
pirates had treated them with such enormous cruelty, that the savages
fled before them as if they had been demons.

In this retreat, so far distant from the abodes of civilization,
the buccaneers had reared forts, and built mansions which they had
converted into harems. From their voyages they returned here enriched
with the plundered commerce of the world, to revel in all sensual
indulgence. They made slaves of their prisoners; married, in their
rude way any number they pleased of the most beautiful of the native
females; “so that every one,” writes one of their number, “had as great
a seraglio as the Grand Seignior at Constantinople. At length they
began to separate from each other, each living with his own wives,
slaves, and dependants, like independent princes. As power and plenty
naturally beget contention, they sometimes quarrelled, and attacked
each other at the head of their several armies. In these civil wars
many of them were killed.”

These reckless men used their power like tyrants. They grew wanton in
cruelty. Nothing was more common than, upon the slightest displeasure,
to cause one of their dependants to be tied to a tree and shot through
the heart. The natives combined for their extermination. The plan would
have succeeded but for betrayal by a woman. They trembled in view of
their narrow escape, and combined for mutual defence.

These ruffians assumed all the airs of the ancient baronial nobility.
Their dwellings were citadels. They generally chose for their residence
some dense forest, near running water. The house was surrounded by
a rampart and a ditch. The rampart was so high that it could not be
climbed without scaling-ladders. The dwelling was so concealed, in the
dense tropical forest, that it could not be seen until you were very
near it. The only approach was so narrow that two could not pass it
abreast. It was contrived in so intricate a manner that, to all not
perfectly familiar with it, it was a perfect labyrinth, with cross
paths where one might wander for hours, lost in the maze.

All along these narrow paths, large and very sharp thorns, which grew
in that country, were planted in the ground, so as to pierce the feet
of the unshod natives. If any should attempt to approach the house by
night, they would certainly be pierced and torn by those cruel thorns.

It was a long voyage to Madagascar. Before he reached the island nine
months had elapsed since leaving Plymouth. Captain Kidd had expended
all his money, and his provisions were nearly exhausted. Not a single
prize had they captured by the way. This ill luck caused a general
feeling of murmuring and contention on board. The most amiable are in
danger of losing their amiability in hours of disaster. Rude seamen,
but one remove from pirates, in such seasons of disappointment and
chagrin become almost demons in moroseness.

One morning the whole ship’s crew were thrown into a state of the most
joyous excitement by the sight of three ships in the distant horizon.
They had no doubt that it was some buccaneer, with two prizes,
heavily laden with the treasures of the Orient. Suddenly all became
very good-natured. Eagerly they prepared for action. They had no fear
that the pirate, with his prizes, could escape their swift-sailing
frigate. The supposed pirate was apparently conscious that escape was
impossible; for he bore down boldly upon them.

Terrible was the disappointment. Captain Kidd, gazing upon the
approaching vessels through his glass, exclaimed, with an oath, “They
are three English war-ships.”

Captain Warren was in command of the men-of-war. Meeting thus in
mid-ocean, the two captains interchanged civilities, visited each
other, and kept company for two or three days. It was in the month
of February, 1666, that Captain Kidd, coasting along the shores of
Madagascar, approached the harbor upon the island frequented by the
pirates. Here he expected to find treasure in abundance. He had very
decidedly exceeded his orders in leaving the waters of America for the
distant shores of Africa and Asia. Triumphant success, which he was
sanguine of achieving, might cause the disobedience of instructions not
only to be forgiven but applauded. Failure would be to him disgrace and
irretrievable ruin.

Again Captain Kidd and his crew were doomed to disappointment. It so
happened that they arrived at the island at a time when every vessel
was out on a piratic cruise. There was not a single vessel there. All
were growing desperate. Captain Kidd had but very little money left,
and nearly all his provisions were consumed. As hastily as possible he
replenished his water-casks, and taking in a few more stores, weighed
anchor, and voyaged thirteen hundred miles farther east to Malabar, as
the whole western coast of Hindostan was then called, from Cape Comorin
to Bombay.

He came within sight of these shores in June, four months after his
arrival at Madagascar. For some time he cruised up and down this
coast unavailingly. Not a single sail was to be seen on the boundless
expanse of ocean. There was universal discontent and murmurings on
board the Adventure. The situation of the ship’s company was indeed
deplorable. One-half of the globe was between them and their homes.
Their provisions were nearly all gone, and they had no means with which
to purchase more. It was clear that unless Providence should interpose
in their favor, they must either steal or starve.

And Providence did, for a time, singularly interpose. As they were one
day sailing by a small island, called Joanna, they saw the wreck of
a ship on shore. Captain Kidd took a boat and was rowed to the land,
where he found that it was a French vessel. The crew had escaped,
having saved quite a quantity of gold. The ship and cargo were a total
loss. The Frenchman, so the narrative goes, _loaned_ this gold to
Captain Kidd. Perhaps he did. It is more probable that it was a forced
loan. Captain Kidd had, as we have mentioned, a double commission,
one against the pirates, and the other a regular commission as a
privateersman against the French. Had he captured the ship before
the wreck it would have been his lawful prize. It is hardly probable
that he had any scruples of conscience in seizing the doubloons when
transferred to the shore.

With this gold he sailed to one of the ports on the Malabar coast,
where he purchased food sufficient for a few weeks only. There was,
at that time, in Asia, one of the most powerful nations on the globe,
called the Mongols. The emperor, who was almost divinely worshipped,
was titled the Great Mogul. His gorgeous palaces were reared in the
city of Samarcand, in the province of Bokhara. This magnificent city,
thirty miles in circumference, glittered with palaces and mosques
of gorgeous architecture, constructed of white marble. The empire
was founded by the world-renowned Gengis Khan, and extended by the
equally celebrated Tamerlane. The sails of Mongol commerce whitened
all the East-Indian seas. Piracy then so abounded that this commerce
was generally carried on in fleets under convoy. Upon this cruise of
disappointment and anxiety, Captain Kidd passed several of the ships
of the Great Mogul. He looked upon them with a wistful eye. They were
merchantmen. With his force he could easily capture them. There could
be no doubt that they contained treasure of great value.

There was loud murmuring among the crew. They could not understand
those scruples of conscience which would allow them to plunder a few
shipwrecked Frenchmen, and yet would turn aside from the rich argosies
of the East.

But Captain Kidd, a respectable New-York merchant, held in high esteem
by the community, and who had been sent on this expedition expressly to
capture and punish the pirates, was not then prepared to raise himself
the black flag, and thus join the robbers of the seas.

The struggle, in his mind, was probably very severe. He was daily
growing more desperate. Starvation stared him in the face. His crew was
growing mutinous. He had reason to fear that they would rise, throw him
overboard or land him upon some island, and then, raising the black
flag of the pirate, scour the seas on their own account, and join the
riotous band defiantly established at Madagascar.

He had no doubt that the powerful company, who had sent him on this
cruise, would overlook any irregularities in plundering wrong vessels,
and would make no troublesome inquiries into his mode of operations, if
he would only bring them home an abundance of gold. On the other hand,
should he fail, he would be dismissed from their service in disgrace,
an utterly ruined man.

He had learned that the Great Mogul was about to send from the Red
Sea, through the Straits of Babelmandel, a richly freighted fleet of
merchantmen, under convoy, bound to China. The Straits are but about
fifteen miles wide. Consequently there could be no difficulty in
intercepting the fleet.

Captain Kidd had probably, in his silent thoughts, decided to turn
freebooter. Though as yet he had divulged his secret to no one, and had
committed no overt act, he had passed the Rubicon, and was in heart a
pirate. The change was at once perceptible. He ran his ship in toward
the shore, and coasted along until he came in sight of a village of the
natives, where herds were seen in the fields, and harvests were waving,
and the boughs of the groves were laden with the golden fruit of the
tropics. Doubtless he would have been glad to purchase these stores.
But he had no money. He had reached that point in his career at which
he must either steal or starve.

He sent several armed boats to the land, and robbed the unresisting
natives without stint. He was not a man to pursue half measures. Having
well revictualled his ship, he turned her bows toward the entrance to
the Red Sea. Summoning his crew before him, he informed them of the
change in his plans.

“We have been unsuccessful hitherto, my boys,” he said; “but take
courage. Fortune is now about to smile upon us. The fleet of the Great
Mogul, freighted with the richest treasures, is soon to come out of the
Red Sea. From the capture of those heavily laden ships we will all grow
rich.”

This speech was greeted with shouts of applause by the desperate men
whom he had picked up in the streets of London and New York. He sent
out a swift-sailing boat well manned to enter the Red Sea, and run
along its eastern coast on a voyage of discovery. The boat returned
after an absence of a few days, with the rather alarming intelligence
that they had counted a squadron of fifteen large ships just ready
to sail. While some of them bore the flag of the Great Mogul, at the
mast-head of others floated the banners of England and of Holland.

England was in alliance with Holland, and on the most friendly terms
with the Great Mogul. In the commission given to Captain Kidd by the
king it was written:

“We command you at your peril, that you do not molest our friends or
allies, under any pretence of authority hereby granted.”

Captain Kidd must have pondered the question deeply and anxiously
before he could have made up his mind to become an utter outlaw, by
attacking a fleet composed of ships belonging not only to England’s
friend, and to England’s ally, but also containing England’s ships.
Neither did he yet know how strong the convoy by which the fleet was
guarded.

He, however, while weighing these thoughts in his anxious mind, sailed
to and fro before the mouth of the Strait, keeping a vigilant watch at
the mast-head. After the lapse of four days the squadron hove in sight,
far away on the northern horizon. As the vessels approached, Captain
Kidd carefully scrutinized them through his glass. His experienced eye
soon perceived that the fleet was convoyed by two men-of-war, the one
English, the other Dutch. This added to his embarrassment, and greatly
increased his peril in case he should attempt an assault.

The fleet was much scattered; for, strong in its guard, no danger was
apprehended. Kidd’s vessel was concealed from the general view behind
a headland. His ship was a swift sailer, and he had an immense amount
of canvas, which he could almost instantaneously spread to the breeze.
There was a large, bulky Mongol ship, laden to the gunwales, slowly
ploughing its way through the waves, approaching the point where the
pirate lay concealed. The guard ships were at the distance of several
miles.

Captain Kidd darted out upon the galleon like an eagle upon its prey.
He probably hoped to capture it, plunder it, and make his escape before
the war-vessels could come to its rescue. He opened fire upon the ship.
But the convoy, instantly taking the alarm, pressed all sail, and bore
rapidly down upon him, opening a vigorous fire from their heavy guns.
Kidd could not think of contending with them. His chance was gone. He
sheered off, and soon his cloud of swelling canvas disappeared beyond
the southern horizon. The armed frigates could not pursue him. They
were compelled to remain behind to protect the slowly sailing fleet.

Captain Kidd, imbittered by constant failure, was now a disappointed,
chagrined, exasperated, desperate man. He was ready for any
enterprise, however atrocious, which would bring him money. He ran back
to the coast of Malabar. Cruising along, he soon came in sight of a
native vessel. Kidd captured it without a struggle. It was called the
Maiden, belonged to some merchants of Aden, but was commanded by an
Englishman by the name of Parker. The mate, Antonio, was a Portuguese,
familiar with the language of the country.

There was nothing of value on board. Kidd, having resolutely embarked
on a piratic cruise, impressed the captain, Parker, as pilot in those
unknown waters. The mate he retained as an interpreter. Vexed in
finding no gold, and believing that the crew had concealed it, he
treated them with the utmost cruelty to extort a confession of where
they had hid the coin. They were hoisted up by the arms and beaten with
terrible severity. But all was in vain. No amount of torture could
bring to light gold which did not exist.

The pirate, having robbed the poor men of a bale of pepper and a bale
of coffee, with a few pieces of Arabian gold, contemptuously turned
them adrift, bleeding and almost helpless in their exhaustion. After
continuing his cruise for some time without any success, Kidd ran into
a small port, on the Malabar coast, called Carawar. There were several
English merchants residing in that place. The tidings had already
reached them of the capture of the Aden vessel, the impressment of the
English captain and the Portuguese mate, and the cruel treatment of the
crew.

As soon as Captain Kidd entered the port, it was suspected that he was
the pirate. Two English gentlemen, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Mason, came on
board, and charged him with the crime, asking him what he had done with
his two captives, Captain Parker and the Portuguese mate. Kidd assumed
an air of injured innocence, denied that he had any knowledge of the
event, showed them his commission from the King of England as the head
of a company of the most illustrious nobles to pursue and punish the
pirates. Triumphantly he submitted the question if it were reasonable
to suppose that a man who enjoyed the confidence of the king and his
nobles, and was intrusted by them to lead an enterprise so essential to
the national honor, should himself turn pirate.

The gentlemen were silenced, but not convinced. All this time Parker
and Antonio the Portuguese were concealed in a private place in the
hold. There he kept them carefully guarded eight days, until he again
set sail. Just after he had left the port, a Portuguese man-of-war
entered. The English merchants communicated to the commander their
suspicions. He immediately put to sea in search of the Adventure,
resolved, should he overtake her, carefully to examine the hold, hoping
to find the captives on board, or at least some evidence of their
having been there.

The two ships met. Kidd was by no means disposed to have his vessel
searched. A fierce battle ensued which lasted for six hours. Neither
vessel was disposed to come to close quarters until the other was
disabled. Kidd at length, finding the Portuguese ship too strong for
him, spread all his sails and escaped. With his vast amount of canvas
he could run away from almost any foe. Ten of his men were wounded in
this conflict, but none killed.

Again these desperate men found it necessary to run into the land for
provisions. They entered a small port called Porco. Here they filled
their water-casks, and “bought,” Kidd says, a sufficient number of hogs
of the natives to victual the company. As it is known that Kidd had
no money, it is probable that the swine were obtained by that kind of
moral suasion which is found in the muzzle of a pistol and the edge of
a sabre.

This suspicion is confirmed by the fact that the natives, in their
exasperation, killed one of his men. The retaliation was characteristic
of the crew and the times. Captain Kidd brought his guns to bear upon
the village. With broadside after broadside he laid their huts in
ruins. The torch was applied, and in an hour the peaceful village was
converted into mouldering ashes.

One of the natives was caught. They bound him to a tree, and then a
whole boat’s company, one after another, discharged each a bullet into
his heart. Having achieved this exploit, which they probably thought
chivalric, but which others may deem fiendish, Captain Kidd again
spread his sails for a piratic cruise.

The first vessel he came across was a large Mongol ship richly
freighted. Kidd gave chase, unfurling the French flag. The captain was
a Dutchman, by the name of Mitchel. Seeing that he was pursued under
French colors, he immediately ran up the banner of France. Captain Kidd
at once spread to the breeze the flag of England. He was very exultant.
He could lay aside the odious character of a pirate, and seize the ship
in the less disgraceful capacity of a privateersman. He exclaimed with
an oath, “I have caught you. You are a free prize to England.”

A cannon-ball was thrown across the bows of the ship, and she was
ordered to heave to. The ship was hailed in the French language, and
some one replied in the same tongue. They were then ordered to send
their boat on board. The boat came bearing the captain of the ship, who
was a Dutchman, by the name of Mitchel, and a French gentleman by the
name of Le Roy.

Kidd received them in his cabin, and upon inquiry ascertained that the
ship and cargo belonged to Mongol merchants; that they had intrusted
the command to a Dutch captain, as was not unfrequently the case in
those days, and that the French gentleman was merely a passenger
accidently on board, passing from one port to another.

These tidings, to use a sailor’s phrase, “struck him all aback.”
Holland, as we have mentioned, was England’s ally. The Great Mogul was
England’s friend. Kidd must release the ship, or confess himself a
pirate and an outlaw, and run the imminent risk of being hanged should
he ever return to England. For a moment he seemed lost in thought,
bewildered. Then his wicked mind, now rapidly descending into the abyss
of sin and shame, rested in a decisive resolve.



CHAPTER III.

_Piratic Adventures._

  Audacity of Kidd.--Fate of the November.--Kidd kills William
  Moore.--The Renowned Ballad.--Kidd’s Compunctions.--Kidd at
  Madagascar.--Piratic Carousals.--The Artificial Hell.--Kidd’s
  Return to the West Indies.--Exaggerated Reports of Avery.--His
  wretched Career, and wretched End.


Captain Kidd, with a piratic frown upon his brow, and piratic oaths
upon his lips, turned to Mr. Le Roy and said:

“Do you pretend that this is not a French ship, and that you are but a
passenger on board?”

“It is so,” Mr. Le Roy politely replied. “I am a stranger in these
parts, and have merely taken passage on board this native ship, under
Captain Mitchel, on my way to Bombay.”

“It is a lie,” said the pirate, as he drew from his belt a pistol and
cocked it. “This is a French ship, and you are its captain; and it is
my lawful prize. If you deny this, you shall instantly die.”

The features of Kidd, and his words blended with oaths, convinced Mr.
Le Roy that he was in the hands of a desperate man, who would shrink
from no crime. He was silent. Kidd then added:

“I seize this ship as my legitimate prize. It belongs to a French
subject, and is sailing under the French flag. I have a commission from
his majesty the King of England to seize all such ships in his name.”

It seems strange that Kidd, after the many lawless acts of which he
had already been guilty, should have deemed it of any consequence to
have recourse to so wretched a quibble. But the incident shows that the
New-York merchant, formerly of good reputation, still recoiled from the
thought of plunging headlong into a piratic career. By observing these
forms he could, in this case, should he ever have occasion to do so,
claim the protection of the royal commission authorizing him to capture
French ships.

Kidd took his prize, which he called the November, because it was
captured in that month, into one of the East-Indian ports, and sold
ship and cargo for what they would fetch. What the amount was, or
how he divided it, is not known. Again he resumed his cruise. It was
evident that he had become anxious to renounce the career of pirate,
upon which he had barely entered, and resume that of privateersman.
They soon came across a Dutch ship, unmistakably such, in build and
flag and rigging. The crew clamored for its capture; Kidd resolutely
opposed it. A mutiny arose. A minority of the ship’s company adhered to
the captain. The majority declared that they would arm the boats and go
and seize her.

The captain, with drawn sabre in his hand, and pistols in his belt, and
surrounded by those still faithful to him, stood upon her quarter-deck
and said to the mutineers, firmly:

“You may take the boats and go. But those who thus leave this ship will
never ascend its sides again.”

One of the men, a gunner by the name of William Moore, was particularly
violent and abusive. With threatening gestures he approached the
captain, assailing him in the most vituperative terms, saying:

“You are ruining us all. You are keeping us in beggary and starvation.
But for your whims we might all be prosperous and rich.”

The captain was by no means a meek man. In his ungovernable passion he
seized an iron-bound bucket, which chanced to be lying at his side, and
gave the mutineer such a blow as fractured his skull and struck him
senseless to the deck. Of the wound the gunner died the next day. Not
many will feel disposed to censure Captain Kidd very severely for this
act. It was not a premeditated murder. It was perhaps a necessary deed,
in quelling a mutiny, in which the mutineers were demanding that the
black flag of the pirate should be raised, and which demand the captain
was resisting. And yet it is probable that this blow sent Kidd to the
gallows. Upon his subsequent trial, but little evidence of piracy could
be adduced, and the death of Moore was the prominent charge brought
against him.

Kidd ever averred that it was a virtuous act, and that it did not
trouble his conscience. It was done to prevent piracy and mutiny. He
also averred that he had no intention to _kill_ the man. Had he so
intended he would have used pistol or sabre. In the ballad which, half
a century ago, was sung in hundreds of farm-houses in New England, the
lullaby of infancy, the event is alluded to in the following words:

  “I murdered William Moore, as I sailed, as I sailed,
   I murdered William Moore as I sailed;
   I murdered William Moore, and left him in his gore,
   Not many leagues from shore, as I sailed.”

We will give a few more verses to show the general character of this
ballad of twenty-five stanzas, once so popular, now forgotten:

  “My name was William Kidd, when I sailed, when I sailed,
   My name was William Kidd when I sailed,
   My name was William Kidd, God’s laws I did forbid,
   And so wickedly I did when I sailed.

  “Thus being o’ertaken at last, I must die, I must die,
   Thus being o’ertaken at last, I must die;
   Thus being o’ertaken at last, and into prison cast,
   And sentence being pass’d, I must die.

  “To Newgate now I’m cast, and must die, and must die,
   To Newgate now I’m cast, and must die,
   To Newgate now I’m cast, with sad and heavy heart,
   To receive my just desert, I must die.

  “To Execution Dock I must go, I must go,
   To Execution Dock I must go;
   To Execution Dock will many thousands flock,
   But I must bear my shock, and must die.

  “Come all ye young and old, see me die, see me die,
   Come all ye young and old, see me die;
   Come all ye young and old, you’re welcome to my gold,
   For by it I’ve lost my soul, and must die.”

The Dutchman had no consciousness of the peril to which he had been
exposed. The two ships kept company for several days, and then
separated. Is it possible that all this time Kidd was hesitating
whether to raise the black flag and seize the prize? It looks like it;
for a few days after the Dutch ship had disappeared, quite a fleet of
Malabar boats were met with, laden with provisions and other articles
which Kidd needed. Unscrupulously he plundered them all. Probably he
had no fears that tidings of the outrage would ever reach England. And
even if a rumor of the deed were ever to reach those distant shores, he
had no apprehension that England would trouble herself to punish him
for a little harsh treatment of semi-savages on the coast of Malabar.

A few days after this robbery a Portuguese ship hove in sight. Kidd’s
moral nature was every hour growing weaker. He could no longer resist
the temptation to seize the prize. He robbed the vessel of articles to
the estimated value of two thousand dollars, and let her go, inflicting
no injury upon the ship’s company.

For three weeks they continued to cruise over a sailless sea, when one
morning, about the middle of December, an immense mass of canvas was
seen rising over the distant horizon. It proved to be a native ship of
four hundred tons burden. The ship was called the Quedagh Merchant, was
very richly laden, and was commanded by an Englishman, Captain Wright.
The wealthy merchants of the East were fully aware of the superior
nautical skill of the English seaman, and were eager to intrust their
important ventures to European commanders.

Kidd unfurled the French flag, chased the ship, and soon overtook
it. A cannon-ball whistling over the heads of the crew was the very
significant hint with which the ship was commanded to heave to. Kidd
ordered the captain to lower his boat and come on board the Adventure.
The captain obeyed and informed the pirate that all the crew were East
Indians, excepting two Dutchmen and one Frenchman, and that the ship
belonged exclusively to East-Indian merchants.

Kidd took piratic possession of the ship. He had not the shadow of a
claim to it on the ground of his commission as a privateersman. He
landed the officers and the crew, in boatload after boatload, upon
the shore, and left them to shift for themselves. One or two of the
merchants who owned the ship and cargo were on board. They offered the
pirate twenty thousand rupees, which was equivalent to about fifteen
thousand dollars, to ransom the property. Kidd declined the offer.

His own ship, after such long voyaging, was leaky and much in want
of repairs. The Quedagh Merchant was far superior to the Adventure.
He therefore transferred all his stores to his prize. The torch was
applied to the Adventure, and the ill-fated ship soon disappeared in a
cloud of smoke and flame. Kidd, now a confirmed pirate, directed his
course toward the great rendezvous of the pirates at Madagascar. Here
the prize was valued at sixty-four thousand pounds, or about three
hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

Still this strange man assumed that he was acting under the royal
commission, in behalf of the London company; and these treasures were
the legitimate plunder of a piratic ship. He therefore reserved forty
shares for himself and the company. There were about one hundred and
fifty men composing this piratic crew. Each man received about two
thousand dollars. Kidd’s portion amounted to nearly eighty thousand
dollars.

In the pirates’ harbor at Madagascar, Kidd found a large ship, the
Resolution, belonging to the East India Company, which the captain, a
man by the name of Culliford, with the crew, had seized and turned into
a pirate. It was clearly Kidd’s duty, under his commission, at once
to attack and capture this piratic ship. When Captain Culliford saw
him entering the harbor with his powerful and well-armed ship, he was
terrified. The pirates had heard of Captain Kidd’s commission, and had
not yet learned that he had turned pirate himself. Captain Culliford,
with the gallows in vision before him, and trembling in every nerve,
for there was no possibility of escape, sent some officers, in a boat,
on board the Quedagh Merchant, to ascertain Captain Kidd’s intention.

It was testified at the subsequent trial of Kidd, that he stood upon
his deck and received with open arms the piratic officers as they came
up over the ship’s side, that he invited them to his cabin, where they
had a great carouse in drinking and smoking; and that in the frenzy of
drink he offered for a toast:

“May damnation seize my soul if I harm a hair of the head of any one on
board the Culliford.”

It was declared that he received large presents of bales of silk from
the piratic captain, and sold him some heavy ordnance, with suitable
ammunition, for two thousand dollars; and that he was on the most
friendly terms with Culliford, exchanging frequent visits with him.

On the other hand, Kidd emphatically denied all these charges. He said,
“I never stepped foot on board Captain Culliford’s ship. When I entered
the harbor and ascertained the character of the craft, I ordered my men
to prepare for action. But the mutinous crew, who had already compelled
me to resort to measures against which my soul revolted, peremptorily
refused, saying that they would rather fire two shots into my vessel
than one into that of Captain Culliford. The mutiny became so menacing
that my life was in danger. The turbulent crew rifled my chest, stole
my journal, took possession of the ammunition. I was compelled to
barricade myself in the cabin. The mutineers held the ship, and being
beyond all control, acted according to their own good pleasure. I was
in no degree responsible for their conduct.”

The captain’s statement was not credited by the court. At the same
time it was quite evident that he had lost the control of his crew.
His testimony was, however, in some degree borne out by the fact that
ninety-five of his men in a body deserted him, and joined the piratic
crew of Captain Culliford. This would seem to prove conclusively that
Captain Kidd was not sufficiently piratical in his measures to satisfy
the demands of the mutineers.

For several weeks these guilty and wretched men remained in the “own
place” of the pirates, indulging in every species of bacchanal wassail
and sensual vice, amidst their palaces and in their harems. Their
revelry could not have been exceeded by any scenes ever witnessed in
Sodom or Gomorrah. There were between five and six hundred upon the
island. They were continually coming and going. Some of them were so
rich that they remained at home cultivating quite large plantations by
slave labor. They amused themselves by hunting, and in the wide meadows
and forests found abundant game. The arrival of a ship in the harbor
was the signal for an universal carouse. They endeavored to magnify the
charms of their women by dressing them gorgeously in silks and satins,
with glittering jewelry.

Often a pipe of wine would be placed upon the shore, the head taken
out, and the community would drink of it as they pleased, as freely
as if it were water. Drunken pirates reeled through the streets. Oaths
filled the air. Knives gleamed, and pistols were discharged, and there
were wounds and death. In the midst of all their revelry and wantonness
and brawls, it is evident from the record we have of those days, that
a more unhappy, wretched set of beings could scarcely be found this
side of the world of woe. There was not a joy to be found there. There
were no peaceful homes; no loving husbands and wives; no happy children
climbing the parental knee and enfolded in parental arms; and in death
nothing but a “fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.”

These wretched pirates were hateful and hating. Satiated with vice,
they knew not where to turn for a single joy. Their shouts of laughter
fell discordantly upon the ear like the revelry of demons. Satan never
allows his votaries any happiness either in this world or in that which
is to come. Wisdom’s ways only are ways of pleasantness, and her paths
alone are those of peace.

How far Captain Kidd entered into these godless carousals is not
known. But it is not probable that he was then able to throw off all
restraint, and become hail-fellow with these vulgar, degraded, profane
wretches, whom in heart he must have despised. Neither is it probable
that one accustomed to the society in which an honored New-York
merchant would move, could so soon have formed a taste for the drunken
revelry of the lowest and vilest creatures on earth.

It is evident that these men had occasionally reproaches of conscience,
and some faint sense of their terrible responsibility at God’s bar.
Four of them decided one day to make a little artificial hell for
themselves, that they might see who could stand its pains the longest.

A cloudless tropical sun blistered the deck with its blazing rays.
The cabin was heated like an oven. In addition to this, they built a
fire in the stove, till the iron plates were red hot. They then with
blaspheming oaths entered this furnace, and sprinkled brimstone upon
the fire till the room was filled with its suffocating fumes. One of
these wretches, apparently as fiend-like as a man could be, bore the
pains of this little artificial hell for five minutes. None of the
others could endure them so long. The victor came out very exultant.
One would have thought that the idea would have occurred to their minds
that there was some considerable difference between five minutes and
eternity.

We do not learn that any of these men were made better by the brief
endurance of their self-inflicted tortures. The mind is appalled by
the thought that these same men, when transferred to the spirit land,
_may_ be as persistent in their hostility to all God’s laws as they
were here.

Captain Kidd found himself abandoned by nearly all his crew. He
remained in port only long enough to recruit sufficient men to navigate
his ship, and then, spreading the sails of his stolen vessel, the
Quedagh Merchant, he set out for the West Indies, with his ill-gotten
treasure of eighty thousand dollars. The news of Kidd’s piratic acts
had been reported to the home government by the East India Company.
Orders had accordingly been issued to all the governors of the American
colonies to arrest him wherever he should appear.

The voyage from Madagascar to the West Indies was long and tempestuous.
Not a single sail appeared in sight. Day after day the ocean was spread
out in all its solitary grandeur before these guilty, discontented men.
At length, in a very destitute condition, the ship reached Anguilla,
or Snake Island, so called from its tortuous figure. This is the most
northerly of the Caribbee Islands, and there was a small English colony
here.

As Kidd dropped anchor in the little harbor he was greeted by the
intelligence that he had been officially, in England, proclaimed a
pirate; that his conduct had been discussed in Parliament; that
a committee had been appointed to inquire into the character of
the company which had commissioned him, and into the nature of
the commission he had received; that a British man-of-war, the
Queensborough, had been dispatched in pursuit of him, and that a royal
proclamation had been issued, offering pardon to all who had been
guilty of piracy, eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, before the last
day of April, 1699, excepting William Kidd, and another notorious
buccaneer by the name of Avery.

This Avery had obtained great renown, and the most extravagant
stories were reported and universally believed in reference to his
achievements. It was said that this pirate had attained almost imperial
wealth, dignity, and power; that he had become the proud founder of
a new monarchy in the East, whose sceptre he swayed in undisputed
absolutism. His exploits were celebrated in a play called, “The
Successful Pirate,” which was performed to admiring audiences in all
the theatres.

According to these representations, Avery had captured a ship,
belonging to the Great Mogul, and laden with the richest treasures. On
board the imperial ship there was a beautiful princess, the daughter
of the Great Mogul. Avery had married her. The father, reigning over
boundless realms, had recognized the union, and had assigned to Avery
vast territories in the East, where millions were subject to his
control. He occupied one of the most magnificent of Oriental palaces,
had several children, and was surrounded with splendors of royalty
quite unknown in the Western world. He had a squadron of ships manned
by the most desperate fellows of all nations. In his own name he issued
commissions to the captains of his ships and the commanders of his
forts, and they all recognized his princely authority.

His piracies were still continued on a scale commensurate with his
power. Many schemes were offered to the royal council of England for
fitting out a squadron to disperse his fleets and to take him captive.
Others affirmed that he was altogether too powerful to be assailed in
that way. They urged the expediency of sending an embassage to his
court, and inviting him and his companions to come to England with
all their treasures, assuring him of a hospitable reception and of
the oblivion of all the past. They feared that unless these peaceful
measures were adopted, his ever-increasing greatness would enable him
to annihilate all commerce with the East.

These rumors were so far from having any foundation in truth, that at
the same time that such wondrous tales were told, the wretch was a
fugitive, wandering in disguise through England, trembling in view of
the scaffold, and with scarcely a shilling in his pocket. His career
was sufficiently extraordinary to merit a brief notice here.

Avery was born in one of the western seaports of England, and from a
boy was bred to the hardships and the degradation of a rude sailor’s
life. He was educated only in profanity, intemperance, and vice. As
he grew up to stout boyhood he became a bold smuggler, even running
contraband goods on shore on the far-away coasts of Peru. The Spaniards
were poorly provided with war-ships to guard from what they deemed
illicit traffic their immense regions in the New World.

They therefore hired at Bristol a stout English ship, called the Duke.
It was manned chiefly by English seamen. Captain Gibson was commander.
Avery was first mate. The captain was a gambler, fond of his cups, and
he often lingered many days in foreign ports, spending his time in
haunts of dissipation.

Avery was a fellow of more cunning than courage. He despised the
captain, and formed a conspiracy with the most desperate men on board,
to get rid of the captain and any sailors who might adhere to him, run
away with the ship, and crossing over to the distant waters of the East
Indies, reap a harvest of wealth from the commerce which whitened
those seas.

The ship was one day at anchor in a South American port. The plan had
been, that night, when the captain was on shore, to weigh anchor,
leaving the captain behind, and to set out on their cruise. But it so
happened that the captain, that night, having drank deeply, did not go
on shore as usual, but, at an early hour, went to bed. All the crew,
excepting the conspirators, were either on shore or had retired to
their berths.

At ten o’clock at night the long-boat of the Duke came to the ship’s
side, bringing sixteen stout desperadoes, whom Avery had enlisted from
the vagabonds of all nations who thronged the port. They were received
on board; the hatches were closed; and then, everything being secure,
the anchor was leisurely weighed, and the ship put to sea.

The motion of the ship and the noise of the running tackles awoke the
drunken captain, and he rang his bell. Avery, with two sailors, entered
the cabin. The captain was sitting up in his berth, rubbing his eyes,
and evidently much alarmed.

“What is the matter?” he exclaimed in hurried Accents. “Something is
the matter with the ship. Does she drive? What weather is it?”

“Nothing is the matter,” said Avery coolly; “only we are at sea, with a
fair wind and good weather.”

“At sea!” said Gibson. “How can that be?”

“Don’t be in a fright,” Avery replied. “Put on your clothes, and I will
tell you a little secret. _I_ am now captain of this ship. This is my
cabin, and you must walk out of it. I am bound to Madagascar, with
the design of making my own fortune and that of all the brave fellows
joined with me.”

The captain was now completely sobered. In anticipation of immediate
death his terror was pitiable. Avery endeavored to console him with the
not very consolable words:

“You have nothing to fear, captain, if you will join us, keep sober,
and do your duty. If you behave well, I may, perhaps, some time, make
you one of my lieutenants. Or, if you prefer, here is a boat along
side, and we will put you ashore.”

The terror-stricken man begged to be landed. The rest of the crew
were brought up, and all who wished to go on shore with the captain
were permitted to do so. But five or six availed themselves of the
privilege. All the rest joined the piratic crew. The captain and his
few adherents were placed in the boat and turned adrift, to make their
way to the land as best they could. The carousing pirates directed
their course to Madagascar. Here they found two piratic vessels, with
whose crews they entered into close alliance. The three vessels, under
Avery as admiral, set out on a cruise.

Upon the Arabian coast, near the mouth of the Indus, the man at the
mast-head cried out, “A sail.” They ran down upon her, and fired a
cannon-ball across her bows. But the vessel, instead of yielding at
once, hoisted the Mogul’s colors, and cleared her decks for battle.
Avery kept at a distance, cannonading her with his heavy guns, and not
approaching within reach of the shot of his foe. He thus lost greatly
reputation with his men, who regarded him as a coward. The crews of the
two accompanying sloops, with their decks swarming with pirates, ran
one upon the bow and the other upon the quarter, and clambering over
the bulwarks of the heavily laden merchantman, took her by storm.

It is true, as the story had it, that the vessel belonged to the
emperor, or Great Mogul, himself. His daughter was on board, as well as
several of the most distinguished personages of his court. They were
bound on a pilgrimage to Mecca, with the richest treasures to present
at the shrine of Mohammed. They had costly silks, precious jewels,
vessels of gold and silver, and large sums of money. The booty obtained
from this prize was immense.

Having plundered the ship of everything they wanted, the pirates let
her go. The Mogul, when he heard the tidings, was greatly enraged. He
threatened to send an army, with fire and sword, utterly to exterminate
the English in all their East-Indian colonies. The East India Company,
in England, was greatly alarmed. They immediately dispatched an
embassage to the Great Mogul to pacify him. They promised, in the name
of the British Government, to pursue the pirates with the utmost vigor,
and, if captured, to deliver them over into his hands.

In the mean time the successful buccaneers were making their way back
to their rendezvous at Madagascar. There they intended to store their
booty, erect a fortification for its defence, garrison it with men of
desperate valor, and then to set out again on another cruise. As they
were sailing along, with this design, each of the vessels having a
portion of the plunder, the villanous Avery sent for the chief officers
of each of the vessels to come on board the Duke. He then said to them:

“We have immense treasure, sufficient to enrich us all for life, if
we can only get it to some secure place on shore. But we are in great
danger of being separated by bad weather. In that case, should either
of the sloops meet any ship of force, it would be captured. But the
Duke, in build and armament, is superior to any ship to be encountered
in these waters. My ship is so well manned that she can defy any foe;
and moreover, she is such a swift sailer, that she can easily escape
any other ship, if she does not wish to fight.

“I therefore propose, for our mutual safety, that we put all the
treasure on board the Duke. We can seal up each chest with three seals,
of which each vessel shall keep one. The chests shall not be opened
until we open them together at the rendezvous.”

This proposal seemed so reasonable that they all agreed to it. All the
treasure was transferred to the Duke. Avery then said to the villains
who surrounded him:

“We have now the whole treasure at our own control. Let us, at night,
give the rest a slip, and sail for unknown parts in North America. We
can go ashore, divide our wealth, and with ample riches settle wherever
we please.”

We have heard that there is honor among thieves. Among these thieves
there was none. Not a dissentient voice was heard. All agreed to
the plan. In the darkness of the ensuing night the ship changed her
course, and in the morning the crews of the two sloops searched the
horizon in vain for any sight of her. They knew by the fairness of the
weather, and the course they were pursuing, that the flight had been
intentional. The reader must be left to surmise the scenes of confusion
and profanity which must have been witnessed on board these piratic
crafts.

The first land the Duke made in America was the Island of Providence.
Here Avery sold the ship, pretending that it had been fitted out as a
privateer, but having been unsuccessful, the owners had ordered her
to be disposed of, as soon as any purchasers could be found. With a
portion of the proceeds a small sloop was bought, and the buccaneers
sailed for Boston, New England. Avery, thief as he was, had concealed
the greater part of the diamonds, of whose great value the crew were
ignorant.

At Boston they landed. Many of the men received their shares, and
scattered throughout New England. Avery was afraid to offer his
diamonds for sale there, where diamonds were so unusual a commodity,
lest suspicion should be excited. He persuaded a few of his companions
to accompany him to Ireland. They landed at one of the northern ports
and there separated. Avery went to Dublin. He was still afraid to offer
his diamonds for sale, lest inquiry should lead to the discovery of his
manner of acquiring them. He thus found himself in poverty with all
his wealth.

After remaining some time in Ireland under a feigned name, and ever
trembling at his shadow he crossed over to Bristol. Here he fell in
with some sharpers, who, getting a hint of the treasures he had to
dispose of, took him under their especial care. They wormed most of
his secrets out of him, and then recommended that he should dispose
of his jewels to an established firm of wealth and credit, who, being
accustomed to great transactions, would make no inquiries as to the way
he obtained his treasure.

Avery, not knowing what to do, assented to this proposal. The sharpers
brought some men whom they introduced to Avery as gentlemen of the
highest standing in the jewelry business. Avery exhibited to them his
diamonds and pearls, and many vessels of massive gold. They took them
to sell on commission. This was the last he saw of his stolen wealth.
To his remonstrances he received only the reply:

“If you speak a word out loud, we will have you hung for piracy.”

Utterly beggared, and terrified by these menaces, he again, in
disguise, and under a feigned name, crossed over to Ireland. Here
his destitution and distress became so great, for he was absolutely
constrained to beg for his bread, that he resolved to go back to
Bristol, and demand payment for his treasure at whatever hazard. He
worked his passage in a small coasting vessel to Plymouth, and walked
to Biddeford. Here, overcome with fatigue and suffering, both mental
and bodily, he was seized with a fever, died, and, not one penny being
found in his pockets, was buried at the expense of the parish as a
vagabond pauper.

Such was the end of the pirate Avery, of whom such extravagant stories
had been told. It was while he was in this extreme of poverty in
England, and when it was supposed that he was rioting in successful
piracy in the East, that the Government coupled his name with that of
Captain Kidd, denouncing them as outlaws, and declaring that their sins
were too great to be forgiven, and that if arrested, the gallows was
their inevitable doom.



CHAPTER IV

_Arrest, Trial, and Condemnation of Kidd._

  Appalling Tidings.--Trip to Curacoa.--Disposal of the Quedagh
  Merchant.--Purchase of the Antonio.--Trembling Approach toward
  New York.--Measures for the Arrest of Kidd.--He enters Delaware
  Bay.--Touches at Oyster Bay and Block Island.--Communications
  with the Government.--Sails for Boston.--His Arrest.--Long
  Delays.--Public Rumors.--His Trial and Condemnation.


Captain Kidd was greatly disturbed in learning at Anguilla that he had
been denounced as a pirate, proscribed as an outlaw, and that he with
the notorious Avery was expressly excluded from the pardon offered
by the king to other buccaneers. He had thus far flattered himself
with the hope that he could make it appear that all the prizes he had
captured belonged to the French, and were legitimately taken under his
commission as a privateersman. He also had placed much confidence in
the support of the distinguished men composing the company by which he
had been commissioned. The large wealth which he had expected to bring
back to them, he thought, would unite their powerful influence in his
support.

But instead of this, it now appeared that the company was disposed to
make him their “scapegoat.” They had been so severely condemned, as if
responsible for the conduct of their agent, that in self-defence they
became the loudest of his assailants, denouncing him in the severest
terms, and clamoring most loudly that all seas should be explored to
catch and hang the miscreant. It was these political complications,
united with the renown of the company of king and nobles, which gave
the name of Captain Kidd prominence far above anything which his
achievements would warrant. It was known that he had been scouring the
East-Indian seas with one of the most powerful of English ships, and
it was surmised that he had accumulated wealth sufficient to found an
empire. What became of this boundless wealth? This was the question
which agitated England and America, and which set the money-diggers at
work in so many different places.

Captain Kidd and his crew, at Anguilla, were greatly alarmed. They kept
a careful watch of the horizon from the mast-head, fearing every hour
that they should see the flag of an English man-of-war approaching to
convey them to trial and the scaffold. About a thousand miles south of
Anguilla, there was, on the coast of Venezuela, the little island of
Curacoa. It was but about forty miles long, and fourteen broad, and,
belonging to the Dutch, was quite outside of the usual course of the
British ships.

To this place Kidd repaired to lay in supplies, of which he was greatly
in need. Though he had heard of his proscription, he was not fully
aware of the strength of hostility which was arrayed against him. He
still clung to the hope that no evidence could be brought to prove that
he had acted in any other capacity than that of a privateersman.

But the very ship in which he sailed was evidence against him. The
Quedagh Merchant, the property of the Great Mogul, was undeniably an
East-Indian ship belonging to a friendly power, whom Kidd was expressly
prohibited from assailing. He could not safely approach any English
port in this ship. He accordingly purchased at Curacoa the small
sloop Antonio, from Philadelphia. In this he placed his most portable
treasures of doubloons, gold-dust, jewels, and vessels of silver and of
gold, and with a crew of forty men set sail for New York. He kept the
Quedagh Merchant in company with him as far as the southern coast of
San Domingo. There he left the bulky ship, with a crew of twenty-two
pirates, under command of a man by the name of Bolton. The ship had a
very valuable cargo of one hundred and fifty bales of the finest silks,
eighty tons of sugar, ten tons of junk iron, fifteen large anchors,
and forty tons of saltpetre. The ship was also well provided with
ammunition, had thirty guns mounted, and twenty more in the hold.

This was the division of the piratic plunder. The share which fell to
Bolton and twenty-two of the men was the ship and this portion of the
cargo. These wretches are heard of no more. It is to be hoped that
the next storm which rose engulfed them all. It is more probable that
for months they continued to range the seas, perpetrating crimes over
which demons should blush, until, in drunken brawls and bloody fights,
they one by one sank into the grave, and passed to the judgment-seat
of Christ. Unreliable rumor says that Bolton transferred his cargo and
crew to a more swiftly sailing ship, and then applied the torch to
the Quedagh Merchant. Many other rumors were in circulation, but none
worthy of credence.

Earl Bellomont was then in authority at New York. Kidd was hoping
for his protection. But the earl felt that very active measures were
requisite to exculpate himself, the king, and the ministry from all
responsibility for the robberies of Kidd. He therefore, so soon as he
heard of Kidd’s arrival upon the coast, ordered out an armed sloop in
pursuit of him.

It is evident that Kidd was then one of the most wretched of men. His
reputation was ruined; his prospects in life were all blighted; his
companions were bloodthirsty pirates, whom he could not but despise,
and he was in imminent danger of an ignominious death upon the scaffold.

Tremblingly he approached New York. As his vessel needed some repairs,
he ran into Delaware Bay, and tarried for a short time at Lewiston.
This was early in June, 1699. It was from this place that Bellomont
heard of his arrival. Here one of the pirates, a man by the name of
Gillam, left, being in possession of a heavy chest, laden with the
fruits of his robberies.

Kidd soon departed from the harbor, and thus escaped the sloop sent
in pursuit of him. Instead of sailing directly to New York, in his
perplexity he followed along the southern coast of Long Island, until
he reached its eastern extremity, and then, turning into the Sound,
crept cautiously along to Oyster Bay. From this place he wrote a letter
to Bellomont, and also another very loving letter to his wife and
children. In his letter to the earl he wrote:

“The reason why I have not gone directly to New York, is that the
clamorous and false stories that have been repeated of me, have made me
fearful of visiting or coming into any harbor, till I could hear from
your lordship.”

In response to these letters, a lawyer by the name of Emot came from
New York, and visited Kidd on board the Antonio. He brought the captain
tidings respecting his family, and also the important intelligence that
the Earl of Bellomont was then absent in Boston. Kidd employed Emot to
repair immediately to Boston, to secure from the earl the promise of
safety if Kidd should visit him there.

“Inform the earl,” said Kidd, “that unquestionable piracies have been
committed by men nominally under my command. But this has never been by
my connivance or consent. When these deeds have been performed, the men
have been in a state of mutiny, utterly beyond my control. Disregarding
my imperative commands, they locked me up in the cabin, and committed
crimes over which I had no control, and for which I am in no sense
responsible.”

To this the earl replied, “Say to Captain Kidd that I give him the
promise of my protection if his statement can be proved to be true.”

Kidd was still in a state of pitiable agitation. It might not be
easy to prove his declarations. There was no evidence which he could
possibly bring forward but that of the pirates themselves. And it was
not at all probable that they would be willing greatly to exaggerate
their own guilt by exonerating him. He, however, ventured as far as
Block Island. From that place he wrote to Bellomont again, protesting
his innocence, and dwelling much upon the devotion with which he had
consecrated himself to the interests of the owners of the Adventure. He
also sent to Lady Bellomont a present of jewels, to the value of three
hundred dollars. The earl’s lady, for a time, retained these presents
from the proscribed pirate and outlaw. When subsequently reproached
with this, they were surrendered to the general inventory of Kidd’s
effects. The earl apologized for retaining them by saying that he
feared, if they were rejected, the giver would be so offended that the
earl would not be able to get the developments he wished to obtain.

While at Block Island, Mrs. Kidd and the children joined Captain Kidd,
under the care of Mr. Clark. They were all received on board the
Antonio, and Kidd, with a pale cheek and a trembling heart, set sail
for Boston. As Mr. Clark wished to return to New York, Kidd turned
from his course and landed him at Gardiner’s Island. Captain Kidd did
not venture ashore at this place. But, for some unexplained reason, he
deposited with Mr. Gardiner, the proprietor of the island, for safe
keeping, a very considerable portion of his treasures. He then sailed
for Boston, and entered the harbor on the first of July, 1699.

For nearly a week he remained in his vessel or traversed the streets
unmolested. On the sixth of July, an officer approached him, placed his
hand upon Kidd’s shoulder, and said, “You are my prisoner.” The pirate
endeavored to draw his sword. It might have been an instinctive motion.
It might have been that he deliberately preferred to be cut down upon
the spot rather than undergo a trial. Others interposed. He was seized
and disarmed, while his sword remained in its scabbard.

It is evident that there were very many chances that the trial might
terminate in Kidd’s favor. It is a maxim of law that every man is to be
considered innocent until _proved_ to be guilty. Kidd’s piracies were
perpetrated on the other side of the globe. None of his victims could
possibly appear against him. There were none to be brought upon the
witness’s stand but his own sailors, who would be slow to admit that
they had been engaged in a piratic cruise, which would condemn them
to the gallows. It would seem, therefore, that there were insuperable
difficulties in the way of his condemnation.

Mrs. Kidd, in coming from New York to Block Island with her children
to join her husband, had brought with her a servant-girl, about three
hundred dollars in money, and several valuable pieces at plate. These
were all seized, together with all the effects on board the Antonio,
and the treasure deposited at Gardiner’s Island, which was brought to
Boston by a vessel sent to the island for that purpose.

The whole amount proved much less than had been expected. There were
eleven hundred and eleven ounces of gold, two thousand three hundred
and fifty-three ounces of silver, fifty-seven bags of sugar, forty-one
bales of goods, and seventeen pieces of canvas. Mrs. Kidd petitioned
the governor and council to have her property restored to her, which
was done.

The small amount of property found led to the suspicion, that as Kidd
slowly passed over the waters of Long Island Sound, he must have
buried, at Thimble Island and other places along the coast, a large
amount of gold and jewels. And it is indeed difficult to account for
what became of the vast treasures of that kind which it is supposed he
found in the Quedagh Merchant. These rumors were intensified by the
statement that while Kidd was at Block Island, three sloops came from
New York and departed with a portion of his treasure. Kidd admitted
this, but said that the goods belonged to his men and were shipped by
them.

Immediately upon Kidd’s arrival the earl sent for him, and held quite
a long interview, though he was careful to do so in the presence of
witnesses. A narrative was very carefully drawn up of his alleged
proceedings. Mrs Kidd took up her residence in a boarding-house kept
by Mr. Duncan Campbell. The earl kept a close watch upon Kidd, fully
intending, as he said, eventually to arrest him. But he thought it
expedient to dally with him for a while, in order to discover the
extent of his adventures, and the disposition he had made of the
property acquired. Kidd sent to the boarding-house some gold-dust and
ingots, which he said were intended as a present for the earl’s lady.
They were valued at about four thousand dollars. When searching the
house they were found between two feather beds.

As Kidd did not seem disposed to unbosom himself very freely, and as
the earl feared that some stormy night he might escape, he decided
to hold him secure in prison. This led to his arrest, which we have
already alluded to, on the sixth day after his arrival. The arrest took
place in the streets of Boston, near the door of the earl’s residence.
At the same time some commissioners took possession of his sloop.
They seized and examined all his papers, and placed a guard over the
property. Quite a number of his men were also arrested, twelve in all,
under charge of piracy and robbery on the high seas. It is supposed
that the others escaped.

On the seventeenth of July, Captain Nicholas Evertse arrived in Boston,
with the statement to which we have referred, that Bolton, who was left
in charge of the Quedagh Merchant, had transferred her cargo to another
vessel, conveyed the goods to Curacoa, and set the Merchant on fire. He
testified that he saw the flames of the burning ship as he was skirting
the coast of San Domingo.

Kidd and his confederate pirates were held in close custody in Boston
for several months. In the mean time intelligence of their capture was
sent to London. The home government dispatched a ship of war to take
them to England for trial. The excitement throughout Great Britain and
in this country was intense, in consequence of the rumor which had so
extensively prevailed of Kidd’s partnership with the king and several
of the ministry. Many months had already elapsed since his arrest,
and yet he had not been brought to trial. The ship sent to transport
him to London encountered a severe storm and put back. This caused an
additional delay, and increased the excitement. It was said that the
ministry, out of regard to their own reputation, were determined not to
bring him to justice. Thus, throughout all England, he ceased to be
regarded as an ordinary pirate, and was raised to the dignity of one
entitled to a state trial.

Immediately upon Kidd’s arrival, the House of Commons addressed a
petition to the king, praying to have his trial postponed until the
next Parliament. The question of his guilt or innocence had become so
involved in political issues, that there was a strong party ready to
make the greatest exertions to secure his condemnation. They urged the
postponement on the ground that this length of time was requisite to
obtain, from the Indies, documents and affidavits in reference to his
transactions. Kidd and his companions were consequently confined in
Newgate prison for a whole year.

At that very time the House of Commons had impeached the Earl of
Oxford and Lord Somers, for their connection with Kidd, and for the
extraordinary commission which they had been instrumental in placing in
his hands. It was said that commission and grants had been conferred
upon him, which were highly prejudicial to the interests of trade and
dishonorable to the king. In accordance with this commission, Kidd
could capture any ship, and, without referring the question to any
court of inquiry, could, of his own pleasure, declare the ship to be
a pirate. He could then confiscate ship and cargo to his own use, and
dispose of the crew in any way which to him might seem best. This was
the course which, under the commission, he did pursue.

These were certainly very extraordinary powers. It was contended that
they were contrary to the law of England and to the Bill of Rights.
To these arguments it was replied, by the friends of the impeached
nobles, that pirates were the enemies of the human race; that as such
any person had a right to destroy them, and seize the property they
had so iniquitously acquired, and to which they had no legitimate
title. It was also declared, though perhaps the royal commission
would hardly sustain the statement, that Kidd was authorized to seize
only that property for which no other owner could be found. Certainly
there was no provision made for searching out such ownership. It was,
however, urged, and very truthfully, that the commission contained the
all-important clause:

“We do also require you to bring, or cause to be brought, such pirates,
freebooters, or sea-rovers, as you shall seize, to legal trial, to the
end they may be proceeded against according to the law in such cases.”

The fact that Kidd entirely ignored these instructions, constituting
himself the court to try and condemn, could not justly be brought as a
charge against the ministers who commissioned him.

Upon these questions popular feeling ran high. Parties took sides.
Agitating rumors filled the air. It was confidently affirmed that the
lords then on trial, with the connivance of the ministry, that they
might escape the investigation which the trial of Kidd would involve,
had set the Great Seal of England to the pardon of the pirate. This
roused the anti-ministerial party to the highest state of exasperation.
They resolved at all events to hang Kidd, hoping thus to prove that
the ministers were alike guilty with him. And on the other hand, the
ministers themselves had come to the conclusion that any attempt to
shield Kidd would redound to their own ruin. It had become essential
to their own reputation that they should manifest more zeal than any
others to bring Kidd to the scaffold.

Thus the wretched pirate had no chance of a fair trial. Undoubtedly he
was guilty. But it is very doubtful whether he were proved to be guilty
when called before the court. The bill of impeachment against the lords
was not carried. Though their participation with Kidd in the profits
of an expedition which was authorized only by their own official acts
was deemed very censurable, when the vote was taken there were but
twenty-three in favor of the impeachment, while there were fifty-six
opposed to the bill.

The Earl of Bellomont, harassed by the procedure in the House of
Commons, and knowing that measures were about to be instituted against
him for his recall from the provincial government, and perhaps for his
still more severe punishment, was taken sick and died in New York,
in March, 1700. Thus he escaped from the further troubles of this
ever-troubled world.

At the close of the year 1700, the papers which had been sent for
arrived from the East Indies. A petition came from several of the
East-Indian merchants, subjects of the King of Persia, giving a minute
recital of the capture of the Quedagh Merchant, and praying that the
property of which they had thus been robbed, and much of which had been
conveyed to the North American colonies, might be restored to them.
A very distinguished East Indian, by the name of Cogi Baba, came to
London in behalf of the petitioners. He was summoned to appear before
the House of Commons. At the same time Kidd himself was brought from
his prison before the bar.

After an examination, a motion was made to the House to declare the
grant made to the Earl of Bellomont and others of the company, of all
the treasure taken by Kidd, to be null and void. But this motion was
negatived. A vote was then taken requesting the king to institute
immediate proceedings against Captain Kidd for piracy and murder. He
was accordingly brought to trial, under this indictment, at the Old
Bailey, in the year 1701.

Several of Kidd’s confederates were tried with him. Some of them
pleaded the king’s pardon, saying that they had surrendered themselves
within the time limited in the royal proclamation. The governor of New
Jersey, Colonel Bass, then in court, testified to the truth of this
assertion, the surrender having been made to him.

To this it was replied, “There were four commissioners named in
the proclamation, Thomas Warren, Israel Hayes, Peter Delanoye, and
Christopher Pollard. These commissioners were sent to America to
receive the submission of such pirates as should surrender. No other
persons were entitled, to receive their surrender. They therefore have
not complied with the conditions of the proclamation.”

They were condemned and hanged. One of the crew, Darby Mullens, made
the following strong defence:

“I served under the king’s commission. I could not therefore disobey
my commander, without exposing myself to the most severe punishment.
Whenever a ship goes out upon any expedition, under the king’s
commission, the men are never allowed to call their officers to
account. Implicit obedience is required of them. Any other course would
destroy all discipline. If anything unlawful is done, the officers
are to answer for it, for the men, in obeying orders, only do what is
imperiously their duty.”

The court replied, “When a man is acting under a commission, he is
justified only in doing that which is lawful, not in that which is
unlawful.”

The prisoner responded, “I stand in need of nothing to justify me in
what is lawful. But the case of a seaman is very hard, if he is exposed
to being scourged or shot if he refuse to obey his commander, and of
being hung if he obey him. If the seaman were allowed to dispute the
orders of his captain, there could be no such thing as command kept up
at sea.”

The court replied, “The crew, of which you were one, took a share of
the plunder; they mutinied several times; they undertook to control
the captain; they paid no regard to the commission; they acted in all
things according to the customs of pirates. You are guilty, and must be
hanged.” He was hanged.

Kidd was tried for piracy, and for the murder of William Moore. He
was not allowed counsel, but was left to make his own defence. On the
whole, he appeared remarkably well while passing through this dreadful
ordeal. In opening his defence, he said:

“I was a merchant in New York, in good repute and in good
circumstances, when I was solicited to engage, under the royal
commission, in the laudable employment of suppressing piracy. I had no
need of embarking myself in piratic adventures. The men were generally
desperate characters, and they rose in mutiny against me. I lost all
control over them. They did as they pleased. They threatened to shoot
me in my cabin. Ninety-five deserted at one time, and destroyed my
boat. I was thus disabled from bringing the ship home. Consequently
I could not bring the prizes before any court to have them regularly
condemned. They were all taken by virtue of the commission, under the
Broad Seal, and they had French papers.”

When the jury was impanelled, and he was invited to find cause, if he
wished to do so, for the exclusion of any of them, he replied:

“I shall challenge none. I know nothing to the contrary but that they
are all honest men.”

Kidd was greatly agitated during the trial, and frequently interrupted
the court with his exclamations and explanations. He was first tried
for the murder of William Moore. This indictment gave a very particular
account of the event, stating that the gunner died of a mortal bruise
received at the hands of the captain; that from the thirtieth day of
October to the one-and-thirtieth day, he did languish and languishing
did live, but that on the one-and-thirtieth day he did die; and that
William Kidd, feloniously, voluntarily, and of malice aforethought, did
kill and murder him.

To this Kidd replied, and probably with entire truth, as we have before
said, that he had no intention of killing the man; that he struck him
down to quell a mutiny, and to prevent the crew from engaging in an
atrocious act of piracy; that his conscience never had condemned him
for the deed, and that he then felt that for it he merited approbation
rather than censure.

He told a very plain, simple story, which, if true, and its truth could
not be disproved, would exonerate him in this affair from blame. The
intelligent reader of this narrative will perceive that there were many
corroborative circumstances to substantiate the accuracy of his account.

“I will inform the court,” he said, “of the facts precisely as they
occurred in this case. We were within about three miles of the Dutch
ship, when I perceived that many of my men were in a state of mutiny,
clamoring for her capture. Moore, addressing the mutineers, said that
he could propose a plan by which the ship could be captured, and yet
all who were engaged in the enterprise might be perfectly safe.

“‘And how is that to be done,’ I inquired?

“He replied, ‘We will hail the ship, and have the captain and officers
invited on board to visit our officers. While they are in the cabin
with our captain, we will man the boats and plunder the ship. The
captain will shut his eyes and close his ears, and then he and the
officers can testify that the ship was not captured.’

“To this I said, ‘This would be Judas-like treachery, to rob the ship
under the guise of friendship. I dare not do such a thing.’

“‘We must do it,’ Moore replied. ‘We are already beggars. We have no
other resource. You have brought us to utter ruin.’

“‘Shall we be guilty of the crime,’ I said, ‘of capturing this ship
because we are poor?’

“Upon this Moore and the mutineers were so violent that I seized a
slush-bucket, which chanced to be at hand. With it I struck him in my
passion, not intending to kill him. If I had premeditated his death, I
should not have made use of so rude and chance-directed a weapon. I am
heartily sorry that I killed him. And if the deed cannot be justified
as a preventive of mutiny, it certainly should not be adjudged
anything more than manslaughter.”

There was much force in these arguments. It is at least doubtful
whether an intelligent jury of the present day would under such
testimony have brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first
degree. One who has carefully examined all the proceedings of the court
on this occasion, writes:

“Yet, it being determined to hang him at all odds, the lawyers
were given hints, the witnesses were browbeaten, and the jury were
instructed, after tedious iteration, to bring him in guilty.”

This was done. He was pronounced to be the murderer of John Moore, and
was, for that crime, doomed to die.

The next day he was tried on the indictment for piracy. Two of his
crew, who, by their confession, were sharers in his piratic adventures,
turned state’s evidence. One of these was a deck hand, by the name
of Palmer. The other was a surgeon, Bradingham by name. Kidd closely
cross-examined them, but their stories perfectly agreed, being
straightforward and consistent.

Kidd’s only defence was that he had acted only as a privateersman,
under his Majesty’s commission. He declared that he had never captured
a ship which he had not evidence was a French ship, belonging to
French owners, and sailing under French papers. It scarcely admits of
a doubt that this statement was utterly false. Kidd assumed of both of
the witnesses against him that they were miserable vagabonds, whose
testimony was unworthy of the slightest credence. In reference to the
testimony of Bradingham, he exclaimed:

“This man contradicts himself in a hundred places. He tells a thousand
lies. He knows no more of these things than you do. This fellow used to
sleep five or six months together in the hold.”

At another time, when the testimony was going strongly against him, he
cried out bitterly:

“It is hard that the life of one of the king’s subjects should be taken
away upon the perjured oaths of such villains as these. Because I would
not yield to their wishes, and turn pirate, they now endeavor to prove
that I was one.”

When the solicitor general asked if Kidd had any further questions to
put to the witnesses, he despairingly replied:

“No! no. Bradingham is saving his life by taking away mine. I will not
trouble the court any more, for it is a folly. So long as these men
swear as they do, no oaths of mine will be of any avail.”

The verdict of _guilty_ was rendered. The judge pronounced the awful
doom:

“William Kidd, the sentence that the law hath appointed to pass upon
you for your offences, and which this court doth therefore award, is,
that you, the said William Kidd, shall go from hence to the place from
whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, where you
shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead. And may the God of
infinite mercy be merciful to your soul.”

Kidd replied, “My lord, it is a very hard sentence. For my part, I am
the most innocent person of them all. I have been sworn against by
perjured persons.”



CHAPTER V.

_Kidd, and Stede Bonnet._

  The Guilt of Kidd.--Rumors of Buried Treasure.--Mesmeric
  Revelation.--Adventures of Bradish.--Strange Character of Major
  Bonnet.--His Piracies.--Encounters.--Indications of Insanity.--No
  Temptation to Turn Pirate.--Blackbeard.--Bonnet Deposed.


Mr. Charles Elliot, in his History of New England, writes: “It seems
to have been felt necessary by those who were charged, in England,
with complicity with Captain Kidd, that a vigorous prosecution should
be urged, and that an example should be made of him, to satisfy a
clamorous public opinion. He was brought to trial, and was convicted
and sentenced for the murder of William Moore, one of his own sailors,
whom he had struck in an altercation.

“This appears to have been the only blood laid against him; and the
charge of piracy could hardly have been proved. As was the custom of
that day, Kidd was not allowed counsel. He plead his commissions for
what he had done, but was roughly treated by the court; and Livingston,
who was one of his partners and sureties, had got possession of his
papers, and refused to give them up to him.

“Kidd probably had no idea of being charged with piracy, nor did he
consider himself a pirate; and if there had been no charge made against
his partners, he would not have died on the gallows. He was hanged at
Execution Dock, May 12, 1701; and all England was agog with the doings
of the pirate Kidd. It was a mere accident that Kidd was hanged as a
pirate instead of being feasted as a victor.”

These scenes occurred one hundred and seventy-five years ago. And
yet, for some inexplicable reason, while hundreds of other events of
vastly greater moment have passed into oblivion, the name of Captain
Kidd, from that hour to this, has been almost a household word in both
England and America.

Many believed that the Quedagh Merchant, instead of being burned at
sea, was brought into the Hudson River at night, and sunk near the
Highlands, with most of her treasure on board. Several circumstances
seemed to corroborate this assertion. At the base of the Dunderberg,
there could be seen sunk, deep in the bed of the river, and almost
buried in its sands, the wreck of some large ship. A pamphlet was
published, entitled:

“An Account of Some of the Traditions and Experiments Respecting
Captain Kidd’s Piratical Vessel.”

The traditions here referred to asserted that Kidd’s vessel, the
Quedagh Merchant, laden with the treasures of the East, was chased
up the North River by an English man-of-war. Kidd, finding escape
impossible, collected as much money as he could carry, and set fire to
the ship, having left by far the larger part of the gold and silver on
board. With a portion of the crew he ascended the river much farther,
in boats, and then crossed the country, through the wilderness, to
Boston.

These traditions are embellished with many romantic stories. It is said
that as he and his piratic comrades were journeying along, they came to
a log house in the woods. The man of the household was absent at his
work. The woman, thinking that they were savages, in terror fled at
their approach. In her fright she left one of her children behind. The
bloodthirsty pirate, Kidd, in pure wantoness thrust his sword through
the child.

An old Indian, who had wandered far away to Michigan, declared that he
was on the river-bank when the pirates set fire to the ship and took
to their boats. Very graphically he described the midnight scene as,
buried in the glooms of the forest, he witnessed it in the brilliant
illumination of the blazing vessel. He was induced to come all the way
from Michigan to the Hudson to point out the spot of the sunken vessel.
And deep in the water the charred timbers were to be seen. Another
pamphlet was published, entitled:

“A Wonderful Mesmeric Revelation, giving an Account of the Discovery
and Description of a Sunken Vessel, near Caldwell’s Landing, supposed
to be that of the Pirate Kidd; including an Account of his Character
and Death, at a distance of nearly three hundred miles from the place.”

This strange mesmeric revelation came from a Mrs. Chester, the wife
of Charles Chester, of Lynn, Massachusetts. She declared that she had
never heard anything about the sunken vessel; that never had she been
upon the Hudson River; that she had never read or heard of the career
of Kidd; and that she had never even been spoken to upon the subject,
until, when placed in the magnetic state, the extraordinary revelation
had been made to her.

While in this mesmeric condition, she saw, with clearest vision, the
sunken vessel. Her eyes, with supernatural powers, pierced water,
timbers, sand, and chests. There she saw bars of massive gold, heaps
of silver coin, and precious jewels including many large and brilliant
diamonds. The jewels had been enclosed in shot-bags of stout canvas.
The bags had decayed, and the jewels were clustered in brilliant
heaps. She also saw “gold watches, like ducks’ eggs in a pond of
water,” and the wonderfully preserved remains of a very beautiful
woman, with a necklace of large and lustrous diamonds around her neck.

A man was seen just leaving the spot, who was preternaturally revealed
to Mrs. Chester as Captain Kidd. He was a large, stout man, not very
tall, with broad chest and shoulders, thick neck, aquiline nose,
piercing eyes, and a head indicative of great power and all destructive
qualities.

A very able writer in the Merchant’s Magazine, of 1846, writes
sarcastically of this mesmeric announcement:

“This most singular revelation, as it is corroborated by the
traditions, presents us with another triumph of animal magnetism, and
must serve not only to advance that science, but to demonstrate how
much safer it is to rely upon tradition, than upon record evidence
made in courts of justice held contemporaneously with the events, or
official documents preserved in the public archives.

“In the present case, mesmerism has taken a progressive step; for it
has not only disclosed what _is now_ to be found in the waters of
_Cocks-rack_, but also who _was there_ one hundred and forty-five
years ago. In this new application of the science we may hope not only
to see the earth disembowelled, but the very forms and features of the
ancient time brought up to our present view.

“What is more remarkable, if the traditions existed, as is pretended,
is, that no individual or company should have undertaken, when the
witnesses were living, to raise the vessel, especially as so many
persons were found, near the time of the transactions of Kidd,
credulous enough to ruin themselves in vain explorations after his
money. But that perhaps was not an age of enterprise like the present,
nor of humbug.”

There is usually some ground for a tradition. Its basis is generally
truth.

As we have mentioned, in the days of Captain Kidd the seas were
swarming with pirates. It would require volumes to relate their
adventures. Many of these lawless men performed deeds far more
extraordinary and infamous than any perpetrated by Kidd. There was,
however, at that time, a pirate by the name of Bradish, whose actions,
in the popular mind, were blended with those of Kidd.

He was boatswain of a ship, of the same name with that in which Kidd
sailed from New York, the Adventure. The ship was bound to Borneo,
the largest island in the world, if Australia is recognized as a
continent, and sailed from England in March, 1697. On the voyage
the vessel stopped at the Island of Polonais for water. Bradish, a
desperate man, had formed a conspiracy with several of the sailors
to watch their opportunity, seize the ship, and set out on a piratic
cruise.

At Polonais, the captain and several of his officers went on shore in
one of the boats. Bradish assumed the command, silently raised the
anchor, spread the sail, and ran out to sea. The wide world was before
them to go where they pleased. The commerce of the seas spread its
wealth for their plunder. There was the sum of about forty thousand
dollars in gold on board. This money Bradish divided equally with his
piratic crew. He then cleared his decks for action, placed a lookout
at the mast-head, and commenced his cruise in search of additional
treasure.

They directed their course toward the American coast. What vessels they
captured on the way is not known. Upon reaching Long Island, Bradish
went ashore and deposited with some confederate there a large amount of
money and jewels. If pursued by a man-of-war, he could easily run his
vessel ashore, and the crew could disperse through the woods. Much of
his treasure would still be safe.

He ran along to Block Island. Here they purchased two small vessels,
and, dividing into two parties, separated, each party taking its
share of the remaining treasure. It is said that there was enough to
load both of the small vessels. Many of the men landed on the Rhode
Island and Connecticut shore. They behaved very civilly; called at
the farm-houses, and bought horses and food, for which they paid
abundantly. The rumor of the landing and dispersion of the pirates
spread. A proclamation was issued for their arrest. The captain and
about eighteen of the men were apprehended, sent to England, tried, and
executed. What became of the large ship, the Adventure, is not known.

By many it was supposed that she ran into the North River, and was
scuttled and abandoned when near the Highlands.

We now bid adieu to Captain Kidd, leaving it with our readers to form
their own opinion, from the facts here given, of the degree of praise
or blame to be attached to his character.

About the same time when William Kidd was passing through his strange
adventures, there was another buccaneer appearing upon the stage,
whose character and career were still more astonishing. There was a
gentleman in Barbadoes, of wealth, position, and education, by the
name of Stede Bonnet. He had a large fortune, and was highly esteemed
for his intellectual culture and his honorable character. He seemed
to be exposed to no temptation whatever to enter upon the guilty and
perilous life of a pirate. His melancholy fate excited pity rather
than condemnation, as it was generally believed that he was the victim
of some strange mental hallucination, which, in some degree at least,
exonerated him from moral responsibility.

Some domestic griefs rendered him unhappy in his home. He fitted out,
entirely at his own expense, a sloop armed with ten guns, and manned
by seventy sailors, desperate men, ready for any deeds of violence and
crime. The sloop he named the Revenge. It was his avowed intention to
prey upon the Spanish commerce, which none of the English courts would
then punish as piracy.

But he immediately entered upon the career of a pirate, capturing and
plundering every vessel he came across, without any regard to the flag
under which she sailed. His first cruise was off the Capes of Virginia.
The first vessel he encountered was the Anne, from Glasgow. A few
cannon-balls thrown across her bows brought her to. His boats, filled
with demoniac men armed to the teeth, boarded the ill-fated prize,
and plundered her of everything the pirates desired, money, clothes,
provisions, and ammunition. The ship was then allowed to go on her way.

A day or two passed, and another sail was discerned in the distant
horizon. She was soon overtaken by the swift-sailing sloop, which
spread a wonderful cloud of canvas. It proved to be the Turbet, from
his own island, Barbadoes. Instead of treating her kindly on that
account, he plundered her mercilessly, put the crew in boats, to find
their way to the shore as they best could, and set the vessel on fire.

Scarcely had the smoke and flame of the burning vessel vanished from
their view, when another sail was descried. She proved to be the
Endeavor, from Bristol. She was robbed of everything valuable. Another
vessel soon underwent the same fate. It was the Young, from Leith.

Stede Bonnet was no sailor. He had no acquaintance with navigation. He,
however, employed a skilled seaman to manage the ship in obedience to
his commands as owner of the whole concern. After this short and very
successful cruise on the Virginia coast, he ordered the sloop to be
taken to the shores of New England. As they were passing the eastern
end of Long Island, they met a vessel bound from one of the New England
colonies to the West Indies. It was promptly plundered.

Stede Bonnet stood in for Gardiner’s Island, where he landed with a
portion of his crew. He behaved in a very gentlemanly way, addressing
all whom he met courteously, making many purchases and paying
liberally for all he took. He then directed his course to South
Carolina, and ran up and down before the harbor of Charleston. Two
vessels, entering the harbor, he seized almost at the same time. One
was a sloop from Barbadoes, laden with rum, sugar, and negroes. The
other was a brigantine from New England. The hold of the Revenge was
already packed full of plunder; and they had no room for the negroes.
Taking, therefore, such few articles as they needed, they landed the
crew and the negroes on an island, and wantonly ran the Barbadoes sloop
ashore and set her on fire. The New England brigantine they plundered
of all the money on board and such other articles of value as they
needed, and let her go.

While on this cruise they met, in rogues’ companionship, another
piratic ship, commanded by a desperado, an Englishman, by the name of
Edward Teach. From the mass of hair which covered his face he was known
by the name of Blackbeard. His beard came up to his eyes, was intensely
black, and so long that he was accustomed to braid it and twist it
with ribbons into cues, or tails, which he would hang over his ears.
It is said that in aspect he was a revolting monster. This villain had
captured a large and very strongly built East-Indian ship, upon which
he had mounted forty heavy guns. With this powerful armament he swept
the seas, bidding defiance to all assailants. Upon one occasion he
encountered a British man-of-war of thirty guns. After sustaining an
action of some hours, the man-of-war fled before him, and took shelter
in the harbor of Barbadoes, under protection of the guns of the fort.

As Teach continued his triumphant cruise, he came across Bonnet’s
piratic sloop. Finding that Bonnet understood nothing of maritime
affairs, he, without difficulty, got up a conspiracy among his men,
deposed him, and placed one of his own crew, a man by the name of
Richards, in command of the Revenge. Thus he had two vessels with which
to prosecute his lawless career. He took the deposed captain on board
his own ship, saying to him with a sarcastic smile:

“I perceive, my dear sir, that you are not used to the cares and
fatigues of commanding a vessel, and I will relieve you from them. It
will be much pleasanter for you to live at your ease in my cabin. There
you will have no duty to perform, and can follow your own inclinations.”

The career of this most ferocious of pirates was so strange that we
must leave Stede Bonnet for a time, and devote a chapter to that fiend
in human form, called Blackbeard.



CHAPTER VI.

_The Adventures of Edward Teach, or Blackbeard._

  Seizure of the Protestant Cæsar.--The Piratic Squadron.--Villany
  of the Buccaneers.--The Atrocities of Blackbeard.--Illustrative
  Anecdotes.--Carousals on Shore.--Alleged Complicity with the
  Governor.--Hiding-place near Ocracoke Inlet.--Arrangements
  for his Capture.--Boats sent from two Men-of-war.--Bloody
  Battle.--The Death of the Pirate.--His Desperate and Demoniac
  Character.


Blackbeard having, as it were, captured the Revenge, raised the black
flag of piracy upon both of his vessels. Soon he captured a third
vessel, which he manned and armed and added to his piratic squadron.
Entering the Bay of Honduras, he took a ship, from Boston, called the
Protestant Cæsar, and four sloops. Captain Wyar, of the Protestant
Cæsar, as the pirates’ balls whistled over his decks, abandoned his
ship, and taking to his boats, with all his crew, escaped to the
shore. One of the sloops also belonged to Boston. After plundering the
ship and sloop of all they wanted, they set both on fire, in revenge,
because they belonged to Boston, where some men had been hung for
piracy. The other three sloops they plundered and then let go.

They then continued their cruise, for some time, among the West India
Islands, capturing vessel after vessel. Thence sailing to the South
Carolinian coast, they ran up and down before the harbor of Charleston
for a week. Here they took a ship, bound out for London, with several
passengers, Captain Robert Clark commander. They also captured three
vessels entering the port, one of which had fourteen negroes on board.

Such a strong piratic force appearing before that important harbor,
struck the whole province with terror. They were quite unable to resist
such an armament. There were eight vessels in the harbor ready for sea.
They dared not venture out, and even feared that the pirates would come
into the harbor and take them. The trade of the place was thus, for a
season, utterly destroyed. It added much to the weight of this calamity
that the province had just passed through an expensive and exhaustive
war with the Indians.

Teach was in great want of medicines. He therefore detained all the
vessels he had taken, with their crews and passengers, and sent Captain
Richards, in the Revenge, to Charleston, with the following message to
the governor:

“I want a chest of medicines. Send me such a chest, by the bearer. If
you do not comply with this my demand immediately, without offering
any violence to the persons of my ambassadors, I will cut off the heads
of all the prisoners in my hands, and send them to you, and will burn
all the ships.”

Mr. Marks, one of the prisoners, was sent with Richards and the other
pirates to present this demand. While Mr. Marks was making this
application to the governor and council, Richards and his piratic gang
were insolently riding through the streets, with sabres in their hands
and pistols in their belts. The citizens were in a state of the highest
indignation; and yet they dared not speak a word or even look with a
frown. The villains returned to their ships with impunity, bearing a
chest of medicines valued at two thousand dollars. The lives of so many
husbands, sons, and brothers were at stake that the community was eager
to conciliate the pirates.

Blackbeard, having received the chest, liberated the vessels and the
prisoners. He had taken from the vessels gold and silver coin to the
amount of seven thousand dollars, besides provisions and other articles
of much value. They then sailed to the coast of North Carolina.
Blackbeard’s ship they called the Man-of-War. One sloop, as we have
mentioned, was commanded by Richards. Blackbeard placed upon another,
as commander, a fellow by the name of Hands. He had also another
vessel, which served as a tender. Thus this piratic squadron was now
composed of four vessels.

The amount of plunder, in money and goods, was very great. Blackbeard
formed a plan to secure nearly the whole for himself, and for a few
others of his favorites in the gang. He therefore, under pretence of
running his ship into Ocracoke Inlet for repairs, grounded her. He
summoned Hands’ sloop to his aid and ran her on shore.

He then went on board the tender sloop, where he had assembled his
confederates, forty in number, and had stored all the coin and many
of the most valuable goods. Seventeen of the crew, whom he wished to
get rid of, he landed on a small, sandy island three miles from the
mainland. Here they were exposed to perish, without food or water, or
any opportunity to escape. There was neither bird, beast, nor herbs on
the island.

The king, as we have mentioned, had issued a proclamation of pardon
for all the pirates who would surrender themselves. This consummate
villain, with about twenty of his comrades, sailed to the residence
of the governor, and surrendered themselves to his majesty’s
proclamation, and received a full pardon for all their past offences,
while they still retained their ill-gotten wealth. This was done with
no intention of abandoning their mode of life, but only to obtain a
respite, and prepare for future operations.

Bonnet was left behind, with the Revenge. He again, with a portion of
the men, assumed the command of the ship, of which he had been robbed.
But we must leave him for a time until we have followed out the career
of Blackbeard.

Charles Eden was then governor of North Carolina. He was either a very
corrupt man or a very simple one. The governor gave Blackbeard full
possession of the ship he had captured, and which he had named the
Queen Anne’s Revenge. A court of admiralty was held, and though Teach
had never received any commission as a privateersman, and it was a time
of peace, and the Queen Anne belonged to English merchants, she was
condemned as a prize taken from the Spaniards, and adjudged to belong
to Teach.

Blackbeard remained for a few weeks at the capital of the province;
paid his addresses to a beautiful young girl of sixteen, and was
married to her by the governor, who had probably received very rich
presents from the pirate. His biographer says that this was the
fourteenth wife of Teach, twelve of whom were still living. Soon he
again went to sea, beneath the pirate’s black flag. He directed his
course toward the West Indies, capturing two or three English ships by
the way, which he plundered, but left the ships and crew unharmed. He
then captured two French ships. The cargoes of both he stored in one.
The crews of both he placed in the other, and turned them adrift. With
his rich prize he returned to North Carolina, and shared the booty with
the governor.

Blackbeard and four of his crew went ashore, and took a solemn oath
that they found the French ship at sea abandoned, and without a soul
on board. It is curious to witness the expedients to which men will
resort to appease the qualms of conscience. After removing all the
ship’s company from their prize the captain and a boat’s crew boarded
her, and truly found her “without a soul on board.” Thus they satisfied
themselves that they did not take a false oath. In accordance with this
testimony the court adjudged the French vessel to be a lawful prize.
The governor had sixty hogsheads of sugar for his share. Mr. Knight,
his secretary, collector of the port, had twenty. All the remainder of
the booty the pirates divided among themselves.

The French vessel was still on the pirate’s hands. He greatly feared
that some vessel might come into the river acquainted with her, and
that his villany might be discovered. He set her on fire and burning
her to the water’s edge, her bottom sunk. Blackbeard remained for
some time cruising along the shores of Pamlico Sound. He was rich, and
prodigal of his wealth. Sometimes, in mere wantonness, he would plunder
a vessel. Again he would purchase articles, paying for them three or
four times their worth.

He often went ashore with his armed followers, and spent the night and
sometimes days in boisterous revelry. The planters did not dare to make
any remonstrances. He was a brutal wretch, and often, when frenzied
with drink, the wives and daughters of the planters were exposed to the
most terrible indignities. At times he was very courteous, presenting
his entertainers with rum, sugar, and other valuable articles. He
frequently assumed a very lordly air, levying heavy contributions, and
even bullying the governor, simply to show him what he dared to do.

The traders and planters consulted together to decide what course to
pursue in this terrible emergence. It was plain that the governor was
either in complicity with the pirate or was overawed by him. It was in
vain, therefore, to hope for redress through his interposition. They,
therefore, as secretly as possible, sent to the governor of Virginia,
soliciting an armed force from the men-of-war then lying before
Jamestown, to take and destroy this formidable pirate.

There were two men-of-war in the James River, the Pearl and the
Lime. The governor consulted with the two commanders. It was agreed
between them that the governor should hire two small sloops, of light
draft, which could run easily into the coves and among the shoals of
Pamlico Sound. The men-of-war were to place on board these sloops a
strong picked crew of thoroughly armed men. They were to take small
arms alone, as mounted cannon would require such depths of water as
to embarrass their operations. These sloops, rapidly propelled by
both sails and oars, could follow the pirate in all his coverts;
could overtake him should he attempt to escape by flight, and, by
simultaneously boarding the piratic craft, could overpower and cut down
the crew.

The expedition was speedily fitted out. At the same time the Virginia
governor issued a proclamation, offering a reward of five hundred
dollars for the capture, dead or alive, of Captain Teach, commonly
called Blackbeard; two hundred dollars for every other commander of a
pirate ship; for all inferior officers seventy-five dollars; for every
pirate on board such ship forty dollars. This proclamation, a copy of
which now lies before me, was dated at Williamsburg, November 24th,
1718, and was signed by the governor, A. Spottswood.

On the 21st of November the two sloops entered the mouth of Ocracoke
Inlet, and caught sight of the pirate. The governor of North Carolina,
and his secretary, Mr. Knight, hearing of these preparations, and
fearing that the capture of the pirate would bring their misdeeds to
light, sent him warning of his danger. Knight wrote to him:

“I have sent you four of your men. They are all I can meet with about
town. Be upon your guard.”

Blackbeard, one of the most reckless and determined of desperadoes, put
his vessel in posture for defence. He had with him then a crew of but
twenty-five men. Seeing the approach of the sloops, and anticipating
a battle with the morning’s dawn, he spent the night in drunken
carousals. Lieutenant Maynard, in command of the expedition, found the
water too shoal and the channel too intricate for him to reach the ship
that night. Under cover of the darkness he sent out a boat to mark the
way.

The morning was cloudless and calm. There was scarcely a breath of
wind; and not a ripple was to be seen on the mirrored surface of the
Sound. There was no escape for the pirate. The gentle breath which
swept the waters was fair. The sloops spread their sails, and with
lusty arms at the oars bore down upon the pirate. As they approached,
Blackbeard stood upon his deck, and with revolting oaths, which we
shall omit, interlarding his speech, shouted out:

“You villains, who are you, and what do you want?”

“Our colors show,” Lieutenant Maynard replied, “that we are no pirates.”

“Send your boat on board,” exclaimed Blackbeard, “that I may learn who
you are.”

“I have no boat to spare,” Maynard responded; “but as soon as I can
reach you with my sloops, I will come on board myself.”

Blackbeard took a tumbler of raw brandy. As he poured the burning fluid
down his throat he exclaimed in tones of rage and in that fearful
profanity with which his every utterance was mingled, that if they fell
into his hands they should receive no quarter.

“I expect no quarter,” Maynard responded, “neither do I ask for any.”

The gunwale of Maynard’s sloop, which took the lead, was scarcely
a foot high. The men on the deck were entirely exposed. Blackbeard
poured in upon them a broadside of grape-shot. The carnage was awful.
Twenty men, by that one discharge, were either killed or wounded.
Maynard, apprehensive of another discharge, ordered all the survivors
immediately into the hold, he alone remaining on deck, at the helm. The
men were directed to have their swords and pistols ready for a rush in
boarding, the moment the command should be given.

As the sloop approached the pirate they threw in upon her deck a new
sort of hand-grenades. They consisted of common junk bottles, filled
with powder, balls, and slugs, and were exploded by a fuse passing
through the mouth. They would have done great execution had not the men
been concealed in the hold.

The moment the bows of the sloop touched the pirate’s ship, as the
smoke cleared away a little, Blackbeard, seeing but few on deck,
shouted to his men:

“The villains are all knocked in the head, excepting three or four. Let
us jump on board and cut them down.”

The order was instantly obeyed. Fourteen pirates, with flashing sabres,
leaped over the bows of Maynard’s sloop, upon his deck. There were but
twelve men unwounded in the hold. At a given signal they rushed up, and
a battle of utter desperation ensued.

Blackbeard sprang toward Lieutenant Maynard, who was at the helm.
Their pistols were discharged simultaneously. The pirate received a
slight, but not a disabling wound. They rushed upon each other with
their swords. In the fierce conflict the blade of Maynard’s sword broke
in his hand. He stepped back to cock a pistol. Blackbeard was just in
the act of cutting him down, when one of Maynard’s men struck him from
behind, inflicting a terrible gash upon his neck. At the same moment
the desperado, who seemed to be almost insensible to wounds, received a
shot in his body from the lieutenant’s pistol.

The other sloop, called the Ranger, now came up and boarded the pirate.
Blackbeard fought like a tiger. At length a pistol-shot pierced
some vital part and he fell dead, after having received twenty-five
wounds. Eight more of the pirates who had boarded Maynard’s sloop were
weltering in their blood. The rest, many of them severely wounded,
leaped overboard. The drowning wretches cried for quarter. It was
granted. They were reserved only that they might be hanged.

Blackbeard’s head was cut from his body, and hung at the end of the
bowsprit of Maynard’s sloop. With this revolting trophy he sailed into
Newbern to obtain relief for his wounded men. In examining the papers
found on board the pirate’s vessel, the correspondence was discovered
between Governor Eden and his secretary with the pirate. There were
also several merchants in New York who were in friendly communication
with him. These papers would doubtless have been destroyed had it not
been for the desperate resolve which the pirate had formed.

Blackbeard had but little hope of escaping. He therefore posted one of
the most demoniac of the pirates, with a match, in the powder-room.
Assuring him that if they were taken they would assuredly be hanged,
and that it was far better to die by their own action, in an instant,
than to perish upon the scaffold, he instructed him that should the
ship be boarded and captured, he was to apply the match and blow them
all up together. It chanced that there were two prisoners in the ship’s
hold. They seized the pirate, and prevented him from executing his
design.

It was this same Blackbeard, to whom we have already alluded, who one
day, when flushed with drink, said to his boon companions:

“Come, let us make a hell of our own, and see who can stand it longest.”

One night, when drinking, in his cabin, with two or three companions,
he secretly drew out a small pair of pistols, blew out the candle,
and, crossing his hands, discharged them at random into the midst of
the company. One of the bullets struck an officer on the knee, and
crippled him for life. The other bullet fortunately harmed no one.
Being asked why he did this, he replied:

“If I did not now and then kill some of you, you would forget who I am.”

The following entries were found in his logbook, written with his own
hand, under different dates:

“Rum all out; our company somewhat sober.

“Confusion among us; rogues a-plotting.

“Great talk of separation.

“Took a vessel with a great deal of liquor on board; so kept the
company hot.”

It is evident that these godless wretches passed joyless and miserable
lives. Experience verifies the declaration of the Bible that “the way
of the transgressor is hard.”

The ship and stores captured by Lieutenant Maynard were in value
estimated at but twelve thousand five hundred dollars. Though this
wretched pirate had squandered his plunder with great prodigality, it
was generally supposed that he had valuable treasure secreted. In the
carousal of the night before his capture, one of the men asked if, in
case anything should happen to him in the engagement, his wife knew
where he had buried his money. He replied, “The devil and I alone knew
where it is. The one of us two who lives the longest will have the
whole.”

There were sixteen pirates, all of whom were wounded, who were taken
prisoners. They were conveyed to Virginia and hanged, excepting two who
were pardoned. Governor Eden was so terrified by the discovery which
had been made of his complicity with Blackbeard, and so apprehensive
that he would be called to account for his conduct, that he fell
sick with the fright, and in a few days died. His sixty hogsheads of
sugar, and the twenty which had been given to Knight, were seized by
Lieutenant Maynard, and confiscated. Thus all these guilty ones were
ruined. It is often and truly said, that Satan helps his dupes into
difficulty, but never helps them out.



CHAPTER VII.

_The Close of Stede Bonnet’s Career._

  Bonnet’s Abandonment by Blackbeard.--Avails Himself of the
  King’s Pardon.--Takes Commission as a Privateer.--Rescues
  Blackbeard’s Pirates.--Piratic Career.--Enters Cape Fear River
  for Repairs.--Captured by Colonel Rhet.--The Conflict.--Escapes
  from Prison.--The Pursuit, and Trial and Sentence.


It will be remembered that Stede Bonnet was deposed by Blackbeard. When
Blackbeard abandoned most of his crew, at Ocracoke Inlet, and landed
others on a desert island, that he might rob them of their share of
the spoil, Bonnet was left behind with the rest. His own sloop, the
Revenge, was ashore. He got her off, assumed the command, manned her
with pirates, and sailed to Bathtown, where he surrendered himself,
taking advantage of the king’s proclamation, and received a certificate
of pardon.

Just then war broke out between England, France, and Holland, as
allies, on the one hand, and Spain upon the other. Bonnet sailed from
Bathtown for the Island of St. Thomas, to get a commission to go
privateering against the Spaniards. When he was on his way to the
inlet he accidentally learned from two of the pirates that Blackbeard
and his gang were gone; and that, carrying away all the money and
effects of value, they had left several men to perish on a desert
island. Bonnet sailed for their relief. They were nearly starved,
and had been a day and two nights without any food. Bonnet found the
island, and rescued them, adding them to his crew.

Then, instead of going to St. Thomas for his commission, he directed
his course to the coast of Virginia. Meeting a vessel loaded with
provisions, he took from it twelve barrels of pork and four hundred
weight of bread. Assuming that he was an honest man, and not a pirate,
he gave in return eight casks of rice and an old cable. No bargain was
made. He took what he wanted, and gave what he pleased. Two days after
this, Bonnet pursued and captured a sloop of sixty tons. It was an act
of unmitigated piracy. He took from his prize two hogsheads of rum and
two of molasses. The crew were turned adrift. Eight men were sent to
take charge of the prize. In the night they ran away, to go pirating on
their own account.

Bonnet threw off all restraint. Assuming the name of Captain Thomas,
he ranged the seas, plundering every vessel he encountered. A few
miles off from Cape Henry he captured two ships from Virginia, bound
to Glasgow. They were comparatively valueless prizes, containing only
tobacco. The next day he captured a small sloop. With the strange
inconsistency which marked his character, he took from the sloop
twenty barrels of pork, which he replaced by two barrels of rice and a
hogshead of molasses. From this sloop two men voluntarily joined his
company.

The next ship they captured was bound to Glasgow from Virginia. They
found nothing on board they wanted but some combs, pins, and needles.
For these Bonnet paid a barrel of pork and two barrels of bread.
Directing his course toward Philadelphia, he captured a schooner bound
to Boston. It proved a barren prize.

Soon after this he took three vessels, two bound from Philadelphia to
Bristol, England, and one to Barbadoes. In these Bonnet found nearly a
thousand dollars in coin. He robbed them and let them go. The two last
days in July he captured two quite rich prizes. They were well supplied
with provisions, and had between two and three thousand dollars in
money on board. He turned the crews adrift in their boats and kept both
the vessels and cargo. His own sloop of war, which he had renamed the
Royal James, had become leaky, and needed repairs. He ran into Cape
Fear River to find some secluded cove, where, far from observation, he
could careen his vessel. One hundred and fifty years ago this stream
presented a vast solitude, fringed by the dense and boundless forest.

As Bonnet was entering the river he captured a small vessel, which he
ripped to pieces to mend his own. In one of the coves of the broad
stream he was detained two months in making repairs. In the mean time
a new governor had come to South Carolina. Tidings reached Charleston
that a piratic vessel, with two prizes, was concealed up the river. The
whole community was alarmed, fearing another visit. The governor and
council met to deliberate.

Colonel William Rhet appeared before them and generously offered to
fit out two vessels, at his own expense, and attack the pirates. His
proposal was accepted, and a commission granted him accordingly. In a
few days two sloops were equipped. One, called the Henry, had eight
guns and seventy men and was commanded by Captain John Masters. The
other, the Sea Nymph, of eight guns and sixty men, Captain Fayser Hall
commanded. Both were under the direction of Colonel Rhet.

On the 14th of September the two vessels sailed. When they reached
Sullivan’s Island, a small ship from Antigua came in. The captain
brought the intelligence that just off the bar he was taken and
plundered by a piratic vessel of twelve guns and ninety men, commanded
by Charles Vane; that two other vessels had also been captured, one
from the coast of Guinea, with between ninety and a hundred negro
slaves on board. A pirate, by the name of Yeats, with twenty-five men,
had been placed in command of the slaver. Vane had also captured two
ships bound from Charleston to London.

Colonel Rhet, upon hearing these tidings, resolved to pursue Vane. It
was rumored that the pirates had sailed south. Colonel Rhet, with his
two sloops, crossed the bar, on the 15th of September, and directed his
course along the southern coast, searching every bay and inlet. Not
finding Vane, he turned north, and entered Cape Fear Rivet in pursuit
of his first design. In ascending the river both sloops ran aground,
which caused considerable delay. Thus the watchful pirates learned that
there were two sloops aground in the river. Bonnet sent down three
boats, crowded with pirates, to attack them. The crews soon found their
mistake, and rowing hastily back to Bonnet, gave him the unwelcome news
that two well-armed sloops were ascending the river with the evident
design to attack him.

Bonnet made immediate preparations for a battle. He had several
prisoners with him. He wrote a letter to the governor, intrusting it to
one of these prisoners, Captain Mannering. It was as follows:

“If the sloops now ascending the river are sent out against me by the
governor, I shall get clear off. And I will burn and destroy all ships
or vessels going in or coming out of South Carolina.”

What effect this letter had upon the governor we know not. But the next
morning the tide floated Colonel Rhet’s sloops, and he advanced to the
attack. The masts of the three piratical vessels were soon plainly seen
over a forest-crowned point of land. The sloops pressed forward to
attack on each quarter of the pirate, intending to board him. Bonnet,
perceiving this, edged in as near the shore as possible. The water was
shoal, and the tide being out, soon both sloops ran upon sandbanks. One
was very near the Royal James, and could open fire upon her. The other
was at more than gunshot distance. The pirates’ ship also grounded,
and, fortunately for them, careened over with her deck sloping from her
foe. Thus the sides of the vessel afforded a rampart, which protected
the pirates from shot, and over which they could take deliberate aim at
their antagonists.

To add to this calamity, the Henry, in which Colonel Rhet was, and
which had grounded within pistol-shot of the pirate, leaned with her
deck inclined toward the pirate. Thus every man was exposed. This gave
the pirates an immense advantage, which they were not slow to improve.
Neither of them could use their cannon. For five hours the antagonists
kept up a brisk fire with their small arms. The pirates spread to
the breeze their blood-red flag, and assailed their foes with oaths,
taunts, and insults.

“Why don’t you come on board?” they shouted. “We are all waiting for
you. Come as quick as you can. We will give you the warmest reception
you ever had.”

Rhet’s men replied, “Be patient. We are busy just now. Very soon we
will pay you a visit which you will never forget.”

The rising tide first floated Colonel Rhet’s sloop. Hastily repairing
his rigging, which had been much shattered by the fire, he bore down
upon the pirate, intending to give a finishing stroke by boarding
him. The other sloop would, in a few moments, be afloat to join in
the assault. Bonnet saw his case to be hopeless, and sent a boat to
Colonel Rhet bearing the white flag of truce. After some time spent in
capitulating, Bonnet was compelled to surrender unconditionally.

In the severe battle which had taken place, ten men had been killed
and fourteen wounded on board Rhet’s sloop, the Henry. Six of the
wounded died of their wounds. A few shot had struck the other sloop,
the Sea Nymph, killing two men, and wounding four. The pirates,
protected by the position of their vessel, lost seven killed, and five
wounded. Two of the latter soon died of their wounds.

Colonel Rhet weighed anchor on the 13th of September, and on the 3d
of October entered Charleston with thirty-four pirates as prisoners,
and their vessels. The capture excited great rejoicing throughout the
whole province. As there was no public prison on the shore, the pirates
were all kept, for two days, under a careful guard, in the hold of
one of the vessels. The watch-house was in the mean time enlarged and
strengthened, and they were transferred to that building, over which a
guard of the provincial militia was placed.

Major Bonnet was committed into the custody of the marshal, and
imprisoned in a strong room in his house. Two of these miserable men,
David Hariot, the sailing-master, and Ignatius Pell, the boatswain,
offered to turn state’s evidence. They were also taken to the house
of the marshal, that they might be separated from the rest of the
crew. They were carefully locked up, and two sentinels, every night,
patrolled the house with loaded muskets.

Three weeks passed before suitable preparations could be made for
the trial. On the night of the 24th of October, Bonnet and his
sailing-master made their escape. The boatswain refused to go with
them, as he was assured of pardon in consideration of the evidence he
bore against his comrades. The flight of the prisoners made a great
noise throughout the province. The people were open in their indignant
declaration that the governor, and others of the magistracy, had
connived at their escape.

The whole community was panic-stricken. It was feared that Bonnet would
get up another company of pirates, and take a terrible revenge for
the hanging of his comrades. The government was alarmed both by the
reproaches and the peril. A proclamation was issued offering a reward
of three thousand five hundred dollars for the capture of the fugitive
pirate. Several armed boats were sent to skirt the shore, north and
south, in pursuit of him.

Bonnet had, in some way, got on board a small sail-boat in the harbor,
and put to sea. But a storm arose, and he had no provisions. He was
therefore compelled to put back to Sullivan’s Island. In some way
the governor got an intimation of this. He promptly communicated the
intelligence to Colonel Rhet, and gave him a commission to pursue
Bonnet. That night the energetic colonel set out in his sloop, with a
number of men for Sullivan’s Island. The two pirates had left their
boat at the shore and wandered into the woods, where they had concealed
themselves. Colonel Rhet tracked them to their covert. They were
discovered in a thicket, with a negro and an Indian. As they endeavored
to escape they were fired upon. A bullet pierced Hariot’s heart, and
he fell dead. Both the negro and the Indian were struck down severely
wounded. The wretched Bonnet, seeing escape hopeless, and utterly
disheartened, surrendered. He was carried back to Charleston in irons.

On the twenty-eighth of October, 1718, a court of vice-admiralty
was held, and continued, by several adjournments, until the twelfth
of November. Nicholas Trot, chief justice of the province of South
Carolina, presided, with other assistant judges. Before this tribunal,
Bonnet, and thirty-four of his crew, were arraigned. The indictment
enumerated the various acts of piracy which they had committed. All but
two pleaded not guilty.

There was but little defence attempted. The crew pleaded that they had
been taken off a desert island, and shipped to go to St. Thomas. Being
at sea, without provisions, and in a starving condition, they were
compelled, to save their lives, to take some food from other vessels.
Major Bonnet took the same ground--that they had helped themselves to
food which did not belong to them, but as the only way by which they
could save their lives.

But their piratic acts were clearly proved, and that they had shared
among themselves their ill-gotten booty. The speech of the lord
chief-justice, in pronouncing sentence upon Bonnet, was so admirable in
tone, that it deserves, with slight abbreviation, insertion here:

“You, Stede Bonnet, stand convicted of piracy. It is fully proved that
you piratically took and rifled no less than thirteen vessels since you
sailed from North Carolina, having accepted the king’s act of grace,
and pretended to leave that wicked course of life.

“You know that the crimes you have committed are contrary to the law
of nature, as well as to the law of God, by which you are commanded
that you shall not steal. And the apostle Paul expressly affirms that
‘thieves shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’

“To theft you have added the greater sin of murder. How many you have
killed, in your piracies, I know not. But this we know, that you killed
no less than eighteen persons of those sent, by lawful authority, to
put a stop to your rapines.

“However you may fancy that that was killing men fairly in open fight,
yet this know, that the power of the sword not being committed into
your hands, you were not empowered to use any force, or fight any one.
Therefore those persons that fell in the action, in doing their duty to
their king and country, were murdered. And their blood now cries out
for vengeance against you. For it is the voice of nature, confirmed by
the law of God, that ‘whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his
blood be shed.’

“And consider that death is not the only punishment due to murderers;
for they are threatened to have ‘their part in that lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’

“As your own conscience must convince you of the many and great evils
you have committed, by which you have highly offended God, so I suppose
I need not tell you that the only way of obtaining pardon and the
remission of your sins from God, is by a true and unfeigned repentance,
and faith in Christ, by whose death and passion you can alone hope for
salvation.

“You, being a gentleman, and having had the advantage of a liberal
education, I believe it will be needless for me to explain to you the
nature of repentance and faith in Christ. They are so fully mentioned
in the Scriptures that you can not but know them. But, considering
the course of your life, I have reason to fear that the principles of
religion which had been instilled into you by your education, have been
corrupted, if not entirely defaced by the infidelity of this wicked
age; and that the time you allowed for study was rather applied to the
polite literature than to a serious search after the law and will of
God.

“In the Scriptures is found the great mystery of fallen man’s
redemption. They would have taught you that sin is the debasing of
human nature, and that religion and walking by the laws of God are
altogether preferable to the ways of sin and Satan. I hope that the
present afflictions, which God has laid upon you, have now convinced
you of this.

“And consider how he invites all sinners to come to Him, and He will
give them rest; for He has assured us that ‘He came to seek and to save
that which was lost;’ and that ‘whosoever cometh to Him, He will in
nowise cast out.’ So that now, even at the eleventh hour, if you will
sincerely turn to Him, He will receive you.

“But do not mistake the nature of repentance to be only bare sorrow for
the evil and punishment which sin has brought upon you. Your sorrow
must arise from the consideration of your having offended a gracious
and merciful God. But I need not give you any particular directions
as to the nature of repentance. I speak to one whose offences have
proceeded, not so much from his not knowing, as from his slighting and
neglecting his duty.

“I only heartily wish that what, in compassion to your soul, I have
now said, may have that effect upon you that you may become a true
penitent. Having now discharged my duty to you as a Christian, by
giving you the best council I can with respect to the salvation of your
soul, I must now do my office as a judge. The sentence which this court
awards to you is:

“That you, Stede Bonnet, shall go from hence to the place whence you
came, and from thence to the place of execution; where you shall be
hanged by the neck until you are dead. And may God have mercy upon you.”

On Saturday, November 8th, 1718, twenty-two of the pirates were hung
upon the same gallows, at White Point, near the provincial city of
Charleston. A few days after, Stede Bonnet, the gentleman of wealth,
position, and culture, swung from the same gallows.



CHAPTER VIII.

_The Portuguese Barthelemy._

  Commencement of his Career.--Bold Capture.--Brutality of
  the Pirates.--Reverses and Captivity.--Barthelemy doomed to
  Die.--His Escape.--Sufferings in the Forest.--Reaches Gulf
  Triste.--Hardening Effect of his Misfortunes.--His new Piratic
  Enterprize.--Wonderful Success.--The Tornado.--Impoverishment
  and Ruin.


One of the most bold and renowned of the buccaneers was a Portuguese,
by the name of Barthelemy. He was a man of some property, and followed
the great tide of emigration to the West Indies. At Kingston, Jamaica,
he heard of the great fortunes which were made by buccaneers preying
upon Spanish commerce. Engaging in several expeditions, he became quite
rich. Finally he fitted out a small vessel, at his own expense, which
he armed with four three-pounders, and a crew of thirty desperate men,
armed with muskets, pistols, and sabres. This sloop was fitted out in a
British port, to rob the ships of Spain, just as openly as if it were
bound upon a fishing excursion.

He commenced his cruise upon the southern coast of Cuba. But a few
days passed ere he caught sight of a large ship, richly laden and well
armed, bound from the Spanish colonies in Venezuela to Havana. It had,
as he afterward found, a crew of seventy men, with about the same
number of passengers and marines, and carried twenty guns.

When Barthelemy’s crew saw the size of the ship and the indications of
her strong armament, they hesitated to venture upon an attack. All were
assembled around the mast to discuss the question. The general voice
was discouraging. Barthelemy’s speech was short and decisive. He was a
man of few words and prompt action.

“We came out,” said he, “for prizes. Here is a splendid one. The
opportunity must not be lost. Nothing great can be accomplished without
risk.”

They gave chase. The ship quietly awaited their approach; “as much
astonished at the attack,” writes Thornbury, “as a swallow would be if
it were pursued by a gnat.” The pirates made a desperate endeavor to
board the ship. We are not informed of the particulars of the fight.
The result only is known. After several repulses, and a long and bloody
conflict, the pirates raised shouts of victory on the blood-stained
deck of their prize. Ten of them were killed; four wounded. All on
board the ship but forty were killed. Many of these were severely
maimed with bullet wounds and sword-cuts.

The pirates, having searched the pockets of the dead for their loose
doubloons, threw the bodies overboard. Those helplessly wounded
suffered the same fate. The survivors, after being stripped of
everything valuable, were placed in a boat and cut adrift, to fare
as they might. The prize proved to be worth between eighty and a
hundred thousand dollars. Barthelemy found himself in command of a
truly splendid ship, well armed, and well stored with ammunition and
provisions. He had also his little sloop as a tender. Though he had
a crew of but twenty men, he could at any time double or treble his
number in the thronged ports of Kingston or Tortuga. As he was sailing
around the western end of the Island of Cuba, he came unexpectedly upon
three large ships bound to Havana. The pirate ship was heavily laden
and ploughed the waves slowly. The Spanish ships gave chase; captured
the buccaneers; stripped them; drove them with sabre-strokes under the
hatches, and left them there to meditate upon the reverses of fortune
and their own approaching ignominious death by hanging.

The notoriety of Barthelemy, as one of the most terrible of human
monsters, had spread far and wide. He concealed his name, and his
captors were not aware what a prize they had taken. The ship,
containing the crew of pirates, was separated from the rest by a storm.
She took refuge at Campeachy, on the western coast of the immense
peninsula of Yucatan. Crowds flocked on board to see the pirates
in irons. Among them came one who, in former years, had well known
Barthelemy. Lifting up his hands in astonishment, he proclaimed in
presence of the multitude:

“This is Barthelemy the Portuguese. He is the most wicked rascal in the
world. He has done more harm to Spanish commerce than all the other
pirates put together.”

The glad news spread through the town. There were joyful assemblages in
the streets. All hearts were glowing with the desire to take vengeance
on the man who had put so many Spaniards to death. The people appealed
to the governor to demand the pirate in the name of the king. He was
arrested, more heavily ironed, and placed on board another vessel. A
gibbet was erected upon which to hang him. The governor did not deem
any trial necessary. From his cabin window Barthelemy could see the
workmen building the gallows, upon which he was to be hung in chains,
there to swing, in sunshine and storm, till the action of the elements
should dissolve both skin and bones.

The wretch had a strange power of winning friends. The captain by whom
he was captured wished to save him. Some one secretly conveyed to him
a file. He soon freed himself from his irons. There were in his cabin
two large earthern jars, empty and very buoyant. Carefully he closed
the orifices; bound them loosely together by a strong cord; lowered
them cautiously into the water, when midnight darkness covered the sea.
A sentry was placed at the door of the cabin. He had fallen asleep.
Fearful that he might awake and give the alarm, the pirate stealthily
approached him with a huge knife in his hand. By a well-directed blow
the glittering blade pierced his heart, and the sentinel died without a
struggle or a groan.

The pirate noiselessly dropped himself down into the water. Grasping,
with one hand, the strong cord attached to the two jars, with the other
he slowly paddled himself to the shore. The current floated him to the
very spot where the gibbet was erected. There it stood, in its awful
gloom, with the hangman’s chain dangling from its timbers. Even the
iron-hearted Barthelemy shuddered, as at midnight’s dismal hour, he
contemplated the doom from which he was endeavoring to escape.

He took to the woods. But few of our readers can imagine the
entanglements of the tropical forest through which he struggled.
Conscious that blood-hounds might be put upon his track, he sought a
running stream, and waded along for a great distance in the darkness.
He was torn cruelly by overhanging thorns, and bruised as he stumbled
over rocks and stones. As the morning dawned he hid himself in a pile
of brush, half covered with water.

The windings of the stream were such that he had advanced but a short
distance from the town. The tidings of his escape roused the whole
population. It was known that he could not have forced his way far
through the entanglement of briers and thorns and interlacing vines,
in the few hours between midnight and the dawn. The whole forest
seemed alive with his pursuers. A thousand slaves were shouting in
their barbarian eagerness. Packs of blood-hounds were rushing to and
fro, smelling at every track, and making the forest resound with
their deep-mouthed bayings. The alarm-bells of the city were rolling
forth their loud and solemn peals. Bands of Spanish cavaliers, with
indignation in their hearts and oaths upon their lips, passed within
sight of the hiding wretch; and he heard their vows of vengeance. Thus
passed the wretched day. “The way of the transgressor is indeed hard.”

Barthelemy, bleeding, exhausted, starving and tormented with the bite
of insects, endured these long hours of mental and bodily torture,
until night again darkened the scene. With the darkness he resumed his
terrified flight, he scarcely knew where. His general plan was to reach
some distant seaport in disguise, where he hoped to effect his escape
as a sailor. Every hour he trembled in danger of being caught, and his
only food was roots and berries, and the raw shell-fish he scraped from
the rocks.

He forded streams where he was in imminent danger of being snapped
up by the jaws of crocodiles. He waded through swamps, and narrowly
escaped being suffocated in the mire. His shoes were torn from his
feet, his clothes from his limbs. For fourteen days and nights he
endured these tortures. His only guide was the roar of the ocean.
He was travelling in a southwesterly direction. It was his constant
endeavor to keep the ocean within hearing distance on his right.

There is manifestly no tendency in misery to make men better. The
pirate, with all his woes, grew more obdurate and more cruel. “In
these fourteen days,” writes one of his biographers, “he must have
literally tasted death and anticipated the horrors of hell.” But this
almost demoniac wretchedness led him to no prayers of penitence, and
to no promises of amendment. They served only to whet his appetite for
revenge.

At length he reached a large ocean bay, about one hundred and twenty
miles from Campeachy, appropriately called Gulf Triste. Here, to his
immense relief, he found a large ship of buccaneers riding at anchor.
He signalled the ship, and a boat was sent to take him on board. With
feigned glee the wretch told the story of his adventures. Not a word of
penitence was uttered. There was not the slightest recognition that the
punishment he had received was merited. On the contrary, he said to the
pirates:

“I know of a ship at Campeachy, which is richly laden, and but feebly
armed. It can be captured with all ease. Furnish me with a boat and
thirty good men, and in a few days I will bring the ship and all its
cargo to you.”

His request was granted. The boat was equipped, and he sailed along
the coast, assuming that he was a smuggler, with contraband goods. In
eight days he reached Campeachy. As the boat entered the harbor, the
piratic character of the craft was so concealed that no suspicions
were excited. At midnight the pirates cautiously approached the doomed
vessel. As the crew supposed themselves safe in the harbor, there was
but one sentry pacing the deck. He hailed the boat. Barthelemy, who
spoke Spanish perfectly, stood upon the bows, and replied:

“We are a part of the crew. We have a boatload of goods from the land
for the vessel, upon which no duty has been paid.”

At that moment the bows of the boat touched the ship. Barthelemy and
his crew leaped on board, drawn cutlass in hand. One plunge of a sabre
pierced the heart of the sentinel, and he fell dead. A few others who
chanced to be on deck were driven below, and the hatches were closed
upon them. Scarcely five minutes elapsed ere the thirty pirates, all
veteran sailors, were in perfect command of the ship, and all the
officers and crew were firmly barricaded, as prisoners, beneath the
deck. No noise had been made. No alarm was given to other ships in the
harbor. They raised the anchors, spread the sails, and put out to sea.

Thus suddenly the wheel of fortune turned. The trembling fugitive, in
danger of the gallows, in rags and starvation, wandering through the
wilderness, but a few days before, now found himself treading the deck
of one of the finest of Spanish ships, well provisioned, well armed,
and with a rich cargo stored in her hold. He was the captain and mostly
the owner of the majestic craft. His dictatorial power was recognized
by thirty desperate men, ready implicitly to obey his will. The
commerce of all seas was apparently within the reach of his piratical
grasp.

The imprisoned crew were disposed of as these pirates usually got rid
of those who were a trouble to them. They were either crowded into a
boat and cut adrift, or landed upon the nearest shore, or thrown into
the sea. Familiarity with misery and death rendered the pirates as
insensible to human suffering as the fisherman becomes to the struggles
of the fish in the bottom of his boat.

Barthelemy, instead of returning with his prize to his comrades in
Gulf Triste, spread his sails for Jamaica. He was greatly elated, and
boasted loudly of the still greater enterprises which he was about to
undertake. With his suddenly found wealth he would create a fleet; he
would have crews of five hundred men at his command; his blood-red flag
should sweep all seas; he would collect an army and ravage provinces;
he would seize some large island, of which he would be the monarch,
with his fleets and his armies. Thus the Portuguese pirate dreamed. He
did not take God into the account. God had decided otherwise.

It was a beautiful morning, as Barthelemy paced the deck, lost in these
ambitious imaginings. The sky was cloudless. A fresh breeze swelled the
sails, and delightfully tempered the heat of a tropical sun.

A few leagues south of the Island of Cuba is the majestic Isle of
Pines. Large as it is, its prominence is lost in the overpowering
grandeur of its sister island. The ship was running along its southern
coast.

A small cloud was seen in the southwestern horizon. Rapidly it
increased in size and blackness. It was a tropical tornado. Already its
roar could be heard as it ploughed and lashed the seas. The terrible
gale struck the ship and whirled it along as though it had been a
bubble. God was there, in his sore displeasure. What could man do?
Nothing. The pirates threw themselves upon their knees, and called upon
the Virgin and all the saints to come and help them. But neither Virgin
nor saint came.

The ship struck the rocks--was dashed to pieces; the silver, the gold,
the cargo, everything disappeared before those terrific blasts. Many
were drowned. Barthelemy and a few of the crew were swept ashore by
the mountain billows. Their clothes were torn from their backs. Their
bodies were sorely bruised, and some of their bones broken, by being
dashed against the rocks. Exhausted, panting, maimed, and half dead,
Barthelemy found himself utterly beggared upon a lonely isle. This was
the work of one short half-hour. This was the disposal God made of the
pirates’ stolen spoil.

A wretched, starving straggler, Barthelemy found his way to Jamaica.
Here he enlisted as a common sailor on board a pirate ship, and we hear
of him no more. Without doubt, he came to a miserable end; and his body
was probably thrown into the sea as food for sharks.



CHAPTER IX

_Francis Lolonois._

  Early Life of Lolonois.--His Desperate Character.--Joins the
  Buccaneers.--His Fiend-like Cruelty.--The Desperadoes Rally
  around Him.--Equips a Fleet.--Captures Rich Prizes.--Plans the
  Sack of Maracaibo.--The Adventurous Voyage.--Description of
  Venezuela.--Atrocities at Maracaibo and Gibraltar.--Doom of
  the Victors.


One of the most demoniac of those pirates who were ravaging sea and
land, calling themselves buccaneers, and assuming that they were
conducting a sort of legitimate warfare on their own private account,
was a bold wretch by the name of Francis Lolonois. He was a Frenchman.
When quite a young man, he, with other adventurers, went to the West
Indies, paying for his passage, in accordance with a custom of the
times, by being sold as a servant for a certain term.

Having obtained his freedom, he went to the Island of St. Domingo.
Here he lived a vagabond life, sometimes hunting, and again engaged
as a common sailor in the commerce of the islands. He soon acquired
the reputation of being a reckless desperate fellow, and attracted
the attention of the piratic governor of the piratic rendezvous, at
the Island of Tortugas. He was intrusted with the command of a small
vessel, to prey upon Spanish commerce. His success was extraordinary.
He became rich. So terrible were his cruelties, that his fame extended
through both of the Indies. Death was the doom of his captives; often
death by torture.

He had all his wealth, gold, jewels, and goods in a great ship, armed
with heavy guns. It was wrecked on the coast of Campeachy. The crew
barely escaped with their lives. The angry waves dashed to pieces and
swallowed up the ill-gotten gains of the pirate. The enraged Spaniards,
overjoyed at the wreck, pursued those who had escaped to the dry land,
and shot most of them down, mercilessly. Lolonois, disguised as a
common sailor, was severely wounded. He smeared himself with blood, and
feigned death. Being left on the field unburied, when the Spaniards
left, he crept into the woods. It was universally believed that he
was dead. The removal of such a wretch from the world was a matter of
almost national rejoicing. Bonfires blazed. Cannon were fired. The
undevout drank, and swore in their carousal. The devout repaired to
the churches, and thanked God that the world was delivered from so
cruel a pirate.

Lolonois, slowly recovering from his wounds, disguised in a Spanish
habit, entered Campeachy. He made friends with a few slaves, stole a
small boat, and, as his piratic biographer has it, “came to Tortugas,
the common place of refuge of all sorts of wickedness, and the
seminary, as it were, of all manner of pirates and thieves.”

His reputation as a successful pirate was such, that he speedily
obtained command of another vessel, manned by a crew of twenty-one
desperadoes. On the south side of the Island of Cuba, there was a
flourishing little village called Cayos. The inhabitants carried on
an active trade in tobacco, sugar and hides. Their harbor had not
sufficient depth of water for large vessels. The traffic was in boats.
Lolonois decided to sack the place.

It was not far across the island to Havana. Some fishermen informed
the inhabitants of the approach of the pirate. In terror they sent to
Havana for aid. The governor instantly dispatched a war-ship, of ten
guns and seventy-five men, for their relief. The governor, astonished
that Lolonois had again come to life, issued written orders, as follows:

“You are not to return until you have utterly destroyed all those
pirates. Every one is to be immediately hung, excepting Lolonois, their
captain. If possible, you are to bring him alive to Havana.”

The ship arrived at Cayos before the pirates had made their attack.
They cast anchor just outside the harbor. The pirates, through their
confederates, had been informed of their approach. They captured two
fishing boats. In the darkness of the ensuing night, they ran these
boats, one on each side of the ship, and with sword and pistol leaped
on board. The attack was so sudden, so entirely unprovided for, that
the few of the crew who were on deck were speedily struck down or
driven below.

Lolonois was in command of the ship, with all his prisoners beneath
the hatches. One by one they were brought up, and their heads cut off.
Not one was spared. The dismembered bodies were cast into the sea. The
bloody decks were washed. The pirate, proud of his achievement, and
admired by his men, strode to and fro, the proprietor of a strong,
well-armed ship, amply provided with everything he could need to
aid him in his career of rapine and blood. He wrote a letter to the
governor, and sent it to him by one of his captive fishermen. It was as
follows:

“I shall never, hereafter, give quarter to any Spaniard. I have great
hopes that I shall yet have the pleasure of exercising upon your own
person, the punishment I have now inflicted upon those you have sent
against me. It is thus that I requite the kindness, which you designed
for me and my companions.”

The governor was greatly troubled and perplexed by these tidings. In
his anger he took a solemn oath that he would never hereafter grant
quarter to any buccaneer who should fall into his hands. But the
citizens of Havana implored him not to persist in the execution of this
oath. They sent a delegation to him to say:

“If this threat is followed out, the pirates will certainly do the
same. They have a hundred times more opportunity of revenge than the
governor can have. We must get our living by fishery. Hereafter, if
this threat is executed, we shall always be at the peril of our lives.”

Lolonois cruised for some time among the islands, without success. He
then directed his course south toward Maracaibo, an important port in
the extreme north of the South American continent. After a run of six
or eight hundred miles, he reached the entrance of the vast bay which
leads up to the city. Here he captured an outward-bound ship, richly
laden with plate and silver from the mines.

What he did with the crew we know not. They vanished. They were
probably all thrown into the sea. With ship and cargo he returned to
Tortugas, where he was received with public rejoicing. Though now
rich enough to live at his ease, his ambition was roused to attain
still greater renown. Publicly he proclaimed to all the pirates on the
island, that he was about to fit out a fleet sufficient to carry five
hundred men. With these he would sail to the Spanish dominions in South
America, and sack all the cities, towns, and villages along the coast.
He would then capture Maracaibo itself.

All the desperadoes were eager to engage in the service of so brave and
successful a leader. His fleet was soon equipped, and his gang engaged.
There was a celebrated buccaneer at Tortugas, by the name of Michael
Basco. He had become very rich, and filled an important governmental
office. The proclamation of Lolonois fired anew his piratic zeal. He
had in former years ravaged all those regions by sea and by land. He
proposed to Lolonois to become a partner in his enterprise, if he could
be placed in command over the land forces. The articles of agreement
were soon signed. Eight vessels sailed. The crews amounted to six
hundred and seventy-five men. First they directed their course to St.
Domingo, and cast anchor in a little harbor called Bayala. Here they
laid in stores for their voyage, and added to their crews quite a
number of vagabond Frenchmen.

On the last day of July they again spread their sails. Whether they
implored the Divine blessing upon their enterprise we know not. It is
not improbable. One of these pirates ran his sword through one of the
crew for behaving irreverently in church.

“How can we expect,” he said indignantly, “the blessing of the Virgin,
if we behave in an unseemly way in her presence?”

Lolonois was admiral of the fleet. He occupied the largest ship, which
mounted ten guns. They ran along the northern shore of St. Domingo, and
just as they were doubling its most eastern cape, they came in sight
of a large, heavily laden Spanish merchantman, bound from Spain to her
colonies. But a few leagues beyond them, on the south-east side of St.
Domingo, was the Island of Savona. Lolonois ordered the fleet to make a
harbor there, and wait for him. He then sailed to capture the Spanish
galleon.

Unexpected resistance was encountered. The Spaniards knew that they
had no mercy to expect from Lolonois. They fought with desperation,
preferring to die in the fierce battle, rather than be massacred by the
pirates. The conflict lasted three hours. The ship was captured, and
the survivors put to the sword.

Lolonois was delighted on finding the prize much richer than he had
anticipated. The ship was one of the strongest and best built of
Spanish vessels, and mounted sixteen guns. There were fifty men on
board, some doubtless passengers. But they were no match for the
reckless pirates, who were veterans in such warfare. The ship, in
addition to a very rich cargo, had forty thousand dollars in coin, and
ten thousand more in jewels.

Lolonois sent the ship back to Tortugas to be unloaded, and then
immediately to rejoin him at Savona, to accompany the expedition.
In the mean time another large ship was captured, which was bound
to Hispaniola with military supplies and a sum of money to pay the
garrison. The ship mounted eight guns. Being entirely surrounded by the
hostile fleet, the captain surrendered without resistance.

The passengers and crew were disposed of after the pirates’ usual
fashion. This important capture contained seven thousand pounds of
powder, a large number of muskets and other small arms, and twelve
thousand dollars in specie. The governor of Tortugas, a Frenchman,
ordered the cargo to be removed as quickly as possible from the ship,
and placing on board fresh provisions and a reënforcement of pirates,
to make good the loss of those who had fallen in battle or by sickness,
sent it back to Savona.

Lolonois made this his flagship, as the largest and best of the fleet.
The city of Maracaibo was situated on an island, in the lake of the
same name, and at the head of the Bay of Venezuela. The island was
about sixty miles long by thirty-six broad. The passage to the city was
by a narrow channel which was guarded by a fort. The city contained
a mixed population of about four thousand, and carried on a thriving
trade in hides and tobacco. The dwellings were delightfully situated,
on an eminence running along the western shore of the lake, and
commanding a charming view of land and water scenery. There was a large
stone church in the place, four capacious monasteries, and a hospital.
A deputy governor, subject to the governor at Caraccas, administered
alike both civil and military affairs.

The inhabitants of the province were rich in cattle. Immense herds
grazed over the luxuriant pastures, extending nearly one hundred
miles around. The cattle were kept mainly for their hides, which ever
commanded a ready market. Oranges, lemons, bananas, and other tropical
fruits were also very abundant. The harbor was spacious and secure,
with the very best of timber at hand. There were many fierce Indians in
the morasses and thickets around. They were comparatively powerless,
though occasionally committing wolfish depredations.

About one hundred and twenty miles beyond Maracaibo, farther up the
lake, there was another quite important colonial Spanish town, called
Gibraltar. It had a population of about fifteen hundred. These were
nearly all engaged in trade, purchasing the products of the country
and sending them to other markets. On the plantations around, large
quantities of sugar were made. Also immense stores of cacao, from which
our word cocoa is derived, were gathered. This was the flat oblong seed
of the chocolate-tree, which was one of the most important articles of
commerce. They also raised a very superior kind of tobacco, which was
in great demand in Europe, called priests’ tobacco.

Still farther south, over a high ridge of mountains, there was another
settlement called Merida. The summits of these mountains reached the
region of intense cold, and were covered with perpetual snow. There
were a few narrow passes through this craggy barrier, which could be
traversed only by the sure-footed mule.

As soon as Lolonois entered the Gulf of Venezuela, he crept cautiously
along its shores, and cast anchor behind a wooded promontory, where
he was concealed from all observation. In the early dawn of the next
morning he again unfurled his sails, and, with a fair wind, swept
rapidly toward the Lake of Maracaibo. Secretly all the men were landed.
They marched to attack, on the land side, the fort, about four or five
leagues from the city, which guarded the entrance to the harbor. The
defences here consisted only of stout wicker baskets, about seven feet
high, filled with earth and stones. Within the fort there were sixteen
heavy guns.

Notwithstanding all their precautions to attack the fort by surprise,
eagle eyes had detected their approach, and had given the alarm. The
commandant sent out a party of men to place themselves in ambuscade,
on the only route by which the pirates could approach the fort. They
were to wait until the pirates had passed that point, then, at a given
signal, when the governor attacked them in front, from behind his
rampart, they were to fall fiercely upon the rear of the foe.

Lolonois was a demon, with a demon’s ability. He discovered the
stratagem; crept around the ambuscade; attacked the detachment in
its rear, and cut nearly every man to pieces. He then marched upon
the fort. The Spaniards were not cowards. For three hours the battle
raged, with equal desperation on either side. The reverberation of the
artillery explosions alarmed the whole city. The tidings ran through
the streets, exaggerated of course:

“The pirates, two thousand strong, are marching upon us.”

Their atrocities were well known. The whole community fled, seizing
such articles of value as they could--some in boats, some on land. Men,
fainting women, and crying babes, they pressed along, in a tumultuous
mass, to seek refuge in Gibraltar.

The fort was taken. Nearly all its defenders lay silent in death. The
ships, having nothing more to fear, spread their sails and entered the
harbor. The pirates demolished the fort, burst all the cannon they
could, and spiked the rest. Lolonois practised his accustomed caution.
All the adjacent thickets were swept with grape-shot. Under the
protection of his guns, the boats, crowded with armed men, approached
the shore. One-half landed. The others remained in the boats with guns
in their hands, sabres at their sides, and pistols in their belts, to
act as reserves.

To their assault there was no response. Not a human being was to be
seen. The town was utterly abandoned. They found provisions in great
abundance, with large quantities of wine and other intoxicating
liquors. These fiend-like men then commenced a scene of feasting, which
continued for several days. Their hideous orgies cannot be described.
Probably they experienced something of what they called joy, in these
revels. But they were only such joys as demons have. Milton describes
Satan, exulting over some of his plots, as “grinning horribly a ghastly
smile.”

At length, satiated with their unrestrained excesses, they turned
their attention to the collection of plunder. It will be remembered
that it was a hundred and twenty miles to Gibraltar. There were aged
men, feeble women, the sick, and newly born babes in the place. It was
evident that many of these could not have escaped far, and that they
must be concealed in the woods around. Neither could it be doubted that
much treasure, which could not be transported to a distance, had been
buried.

Gangs of armed men, amounting in all to over two hundred, were sent
to explore the woods. They went out every morning, for several days,
and returned at night. The first night they brought in twenty thousand
dollars in coin, eight mule-loads of goods, and twenty prisoners,
men, women, and children. Lolonois put several of these to the rack,
to compel them to reveal where other people were concealed, and where
other treasures were buried. The fiend tortured little children, before
the eyes of their parents, to extort confession.

Terrible was the condition of the Spaniards in the woods. They were
suffering from every kind of exposure. They were devoured by insects.
They were starving. They were watching over sick and dying friends. And
they were every moment in danger of being captured, and exposed to the
most horrible torments, to extort the confession of hidden treasures,
when they had no treasure to hide.

The next night another party of prisoners was brought in, with other
plunder. Lolonois summoned the captives before him. Drawing his sharp
sabre, he, without apparently the slightest emotion, hewed one of them
to pieces before the eyes of all the rest. He did this slowly and
deliberately, so as to prolong life as much as possible. Then, turning
to the rest, he said, with a pirate’s oath:

“If you do not reveal to me where you have concealed the rest of your
goods, I will serve every one of you in the same manner.”

For fifteen days the pirates remained at Maracaibo. They perpetrated
cruelties upon their captives so terrible, that we are compelled to
spread a veil over them. They then prepared to move on to Gibraltar.

The governor of this province, which was called Venezuela, or Little
Venice, from its many marshes, resided at Merida. He was a veteran
soldier, who had gained renown in the wars in Flanders. He was,
moreover, somewhat of a braggadocio. The panic-stricken inhabitants
of Gibraltar, sent imploring appeals to him for aid. He returned the
boastful reply:

“Give yourselves no uneasiness. I will soon be with you, at the head
of four hundred experienced soldiers. The pirates shall be utterly
exterminated.”

He reached Gibraltar with his little army. Rallying the inhabitants,
he soon had at his command a force of eight hundred well-armed men. He
raised two batteries to command the approaches to the town. Upon one he
mounted twenty guns; upon the other eight. He also barricaded the main
entrance to the town. To deceive the pirates, he opened a road which
led circuitously away into impassable swamps.

As Lolonois approached the town he saw the royal banner of Spain
floating over its defences, indicating that he could not take
possession of the place without a battle. He called his officers around
him, and thus addressed them:

“The difficulties of our enterprise have become very great. The
Spaniards have had much time to prepare for their defence. They have
an ample supply of ammunition, and have assembled a large number of
men. Still, let us be of good courage. We must either defend ourselves
like valiant soldiers, or lose our lives with all the riches we have
gained. I am your captain. Do as I do. We have fought with fewer
men than we have now. We have conquered foes more numerous than can
possibly oppose us here. The more they are, the greater our glory, and
the greater our riches. But know ye this, that the first man who gives
any indication of fear, I will pistol with my own hand.”

They landed from their ships, a little after midnight. In all, they
numbered three hundred and eighty. Each man had a musket with thirty
bullets, cartridges, a cutlass, and two or three loaded pistols in his
belt. As they commenced their march, which they knew must lead to the
death of some of them, they shook hands with each other in pledge of
mutual support.

“Come, my brothers,” said Lolonois, “follow me, and be of good courage.”

Upon reaching the barricade, where they encountered a heavy fire, they
turned aside into the new road which had been opened to insnare them.
This battle in the woods, amid swamps and thickets, and intertwining
vines and torturing thorns, can not be described. The combatants were
sometimes up to their waists in mire. The entanglements of a tropical
forest were such that they often could not see or approach each other.
Much of the firing was at random. The air was heavy with moisture.
The large guns of the batteries hurled balls and grape-shot, crashing
through the branches. The sulphurous smoke settled down upon the morass
in stifling folds.

The pirates cut down branches of the trees and threw them into the
marsh, and thus gradually struggled through, until they reached the
firm ground beyond. Here the Spaniards were again ready to receive
them, with opposing batteries. Many of the pirates had perished in the
swamp. Their situation now seemed desperate. Lolonois was equal to the
occasion. He feigned a panic. The pirates fled tumultuously, crying
out, “Save himself who can.” Their flight was toward the ships.

The Spaniards, deceived by the feigned discomfiture, rushed from behind
their intrenchments in eager pursuit, shouting joyfully, “They fly;
they fly!” Lolonois and his men, having drawn them some distance from
their batteries, turned upon them with the reckless ferocity of tigers.
Their bloody work was soon accomplished. A few of the Spaniards escaped
in terror to the woods. All the rest were cut down. Gibraltar was at
the mercy of the pirates.

Five hundred Spaniards lay dead upon the ground. Many of those who
escaped to the woods were wounded, and of these not a few died, for
they were destitute of all aid in dressing their wounds. Fearing that
so many dead bodies might create contagion, the pirates piled them all
in two large boats, and sunk them in the lake. Still many putrefying
corpses were left scattered through the woods. The pirates admit that
they lost eighty in the conflict. The number was probably greater.
Though most of the inhabitants escaped from the town, the victors held
about one hundred and fifty prisoners, men, women, and children. They
prized these captives because, by torturing them, they hoped to find
where money was concealed.

The town was plundered effectually. Every nook and corner they
searched. The miserable captives were shut up in the church. Gangs
of men were sent out to ravage the plantations around. As provisions
became scarce, the prisoners were left without any supply of bread or
water. The hearts of the pirates were no more moved by their piteous
moans than were the stone blocks with which the church was built.
During the four weeks the pirates held Gibraltar, nearly all these
captives died of actual starvation.

Their gangs ranged the woods for great distances, bringing in plunder
and prisoners. Many women were brought in. Every conceivable measure
was resorted to, to get money. The whole region was wantonly turned
into a blackened, smouldering desert. Lolonois wished to pursue his mad
career over the mountains to Merida. But a pestilential and contagious
disease sprang up among his men. God’s hand seemed to smite them. All
were sick. Skeleton forms staggered through the streets. These men
were not ignorant of the crimes they were committing. There were no
loving hands to attend them in the languor of sickness, in the agonies
of death. In misery, many of these wretches were burned with fever.
Moaning and blaspheming they died, and their guilty souls passed to the
tribunal of that God who cannot look upon sin but with abhorrence. They
had seized their ill-gotten gold, and it had indeed turned to ashes in
their grasp.



CHAPTER X.

_The Plunder; the Carousal; and the New Enterprise._

  Gibraltar in Ashes.--The Return to Maracaibo.--Division of
  the Plunder.--Peculiar Scene.--Reception of the Pirates
  at Tortuga.--Fiend-like Carousal.--The Pirates Reduced
  to Beggary.--Lolonois’s New Enterprise.--The “Furious
  Calm.”--Days of Disaster.--Ravaging the Coast.--Capture
  of San Pedro.


Disease was now cutting down the pirates faster than the bullets or
sabres of the Spaniards had done. The victors, with an abundance of
gold and booty, were starving. The provisions in the place were all
consumed, and no fresh supplies had been brought in. The woe-stricken
wretches were quarrelling among themselves about the division of the
spoil.

Lolonois sent several parties of men into the region around, to search
out fugitives from Gibraltar, and say to them that if, within two days,
they would send in to him fifty-eight thousand dollars, he would not
burn the city; otherwise he would lay every building in ashes. He set
at liberty several of his prisoners also, to convey to their friends
the same information. Disappointed in the money he had found, he still
believed that large sums had been secreted by the fugitives.

The two days passed, and the money did not come. Lolonois set fire to
the four corners of the town, and in six hours reduced it to ashes.
By beat of drum he assembled his sick and starving men, and embarked,
with all the riches which were movable. He took several captives with
him, male and female. Sailing down the bay, they soon reached Maracaibo.
Quite a number of the inhabitants, who had returned tremblingly to
their desolated homes, he captured. Beggared as the poor creatures
already were, the merciless pirate said to them:

“If you will supply me with five hundred cows, and bring me thirty
thousand dollars in coin, I will spare your city. If you do not yield
to this demand, I will treat your city as I have served Gibraltar. Not
one building shall be left standing.”

The cows were driven in. The money was paid. The people, still
trembling, and not daring to manifest their joy, saw these Goths and
Vandals of modern times, spread their sails, and slowly disappear
in the distant horizon. But who can imagine the condition in which
the town was left? The people were utterly despoiled. The homes were
desolated. Widows and orphans wept and wailed, with life-long penury
before them. Not a few of the people with ruined constitutions,
tottered through the streets, slowly recovering from the crushings and
the lacerations of the rack. When we read of such crimes perpetrated by
man upon his brother, one almost shrinks from owning himself a man. And
the weary heart finds little comfort in the thought that the Spaniards
deserved it all. These woes came upon them as a righteous retribution.
With equal cruelty they had treated the native Cubans, the Mexicans,
and the Peruvians.

The fleet sailed for Gonaves on the Island of Hispaniola. There the
spoil was to be divided. Each one took a solemn oath, on the Bible,
that he had concealed nothing, but that he had thrown everything into
the public stock.

The gathering of the pirates for this distribution on the shores of a
lovely bay of the Island of St. Domingo, must have presented a very
singular spectacle. In the centre of a small verdant lawn, spread upon
the grass, were bales of richest silk; cloths of great variety of
texture; baskets of gold and silver coin, pistols, sabres, and muskets
of the best construction, and costly jewels, and golden cups, vases,
and ornaments, of which the churches had been despoiled. Around stood
wild groups of heavily armed, half-naked pirates, in ferocity of aspect
resembling fiends rather than men. Some countenances were disfigured
with sabre gashes; while some hobbled upon crutches. Native Indians
had gathered around, their long, black hair streaming in the wind,
and their almost naked bodies shining like coin fresh from the mint.
Several Spanish captives were there, men and women, looking sadly on
at the distribution of the wealth of which their own homes had been
plundered. There were also a large number of negro slaves present,
with their black limbs and woolly, hatless heads, whom the pirates had
brought with them to perform their heavy or menial tasks.

After an exact calculation of the whole spoil in coin, jewels, and
goods, the sum total was estimated at only about five hundred thousand
dollars. The property was really worth much more. But a very low
estimate was placed upon most of the goods. Silver in bullion was
valued at eight dollars a pound. The pirates were so ignorant of the
real value of jewels, that they were prized at nothing like their real
worth. Many of the stores and fabrics were also greatly undervalued.

Still, even at this low estimate, the average was over a thousand
dollars for each pirate. Having finished this important business,
they set sail for Tortuga, where most of them were, in a few days, to
squander all the fruits of their robberies and murders, in the most
riotous dissipation. After a four-weeks’ voyage they reached the great
rendezvous of the buccaneers. The island was crowded with gamblers and
abandoned women, and every conceivable haunt of dissipation.

For three weeks Tortuga presented a spectacle of frenzied and maddened
carousal, which could not have been surpassed. Men, insane with
drink, rushed through the streets, slashing with their sabres in all
directions. Casks of rum and wine were placed in the streets, standing
on end, with the heads knocked out, and every passer-by was compelled
to drink. The women, more loathsome in their wickedness than the men,
reeled through the thoroughfares, in the richest silks and satins, and
bedecked with glittering jewelry of which a duchess might be proud.
There were oaths and brawls and bloody duels. In the delirium of these
demoniac orgies gold watches were fried for a costly breakfast, and
were served up with boiled pearls and jewels.

Two French vessels chanced just then to enter the port, laden with wine
and brandy. This was throwing fresh fuel upon the fiery conflagration
of violence, sin, and shame then raging in this miniature city of all
the fiends. In the course of three weeks nearly all of these thieves
had squandered everything. The riches they had gained by murder and
the endurance and the infliction of untold miseries, had all passed
into the hands of the gamblers, the liquor dealers, and the abandoned
women. John Esquemeling, who witnessed these scenes, of which he wrote
an account, says that the governor of the island bought of these
buccaneers a shipload of cocoa, for not one-twentieth part its real
value. He sent it to Europe, and realized over five hundred thousand
dollars from the profits. Lolonois, though fiercely brave, and with
unusual native strength of mind, was a low, degraded, brutal man. He
indulged in these bacchanal orgies with the meanest of his crew. No one
was guilty of greater excesses. No one sank to greater depths in the
mire of loathsome wickedness. Not one short month had passed ere he was
reeling through the streets a filthy and ragged beggar. He was also
deeply involved in debt.

He could conceive of but one mode of extrication. That was to set out
upon another piratic expedition. The ravages of the pirates had been so
great that the commerce of those seas was almost annihilated. Merchant
ships abandoned the ocean, unless attended by a very strong convoy.
This it was which led the buccaneers to go in fleets, so as to land
in sufficient strength to desolate the coasts and to sack towns and
cities.

Lolonois’s success had given him high reputation as a pirate. There
were many on the island ready to furnish him with the means for
another adventure. There were hundreds of penniless, starving wretches
staggering through the streets, eager to enlist under his banner for
any service whatever. Inscrutable is the mystery of God’s government.
He has allowed miniature hells to exist on earth, and to be crowded
with demons in human form. No philosophy, no theology can explain this.
The heart, in its anguish, often cries out, “O Lord, how long! how
long!” Faith tremblingly and sadly exclaims, “What we know not now we
shall know hereafter.”

This demoniac man had sense enough to abandon his cups, until his brain
was sufficiently clear to organize, even to its details, the plan for a
new expedition. The enterprise was communicated to a few men of capital
and unscrupulous shrewdness. Money was promptly raised. Six vessels
were purchased. There were generally vessels enough in the harbor, from
the prizes that were brought in, and from the large number of piratic
ships.

Lolonois placarded a proclamation upon the walls, calling for
volunteers. More than seven hundred eager applicants thronged his
doors. Three hundred of these he took, with himself, on board his
largest ship. The rest were placed in five other ships. None but the
leading officers were informed of the destination of the fleet.

They first sailed to a port called Bayaha, on the Island of San
Domingo, then, as we have mentioned, called Hispaniola; or Little
Spain. Here they filled their water-casks and supplied themselves with
provisions. Thence they sailed to Matamana, a solitary but commodious
harbor on the south side of Cuba. This region was famous for its rich
turtles. Native Cuban fishermen, in large boats, pursued these animals,
alike valuable for their flesh and their shells. The pirates were fond
of turtle soup. Lolonois needed a large number of boats, that he might
simultaneously land the crews, from his ships, upon any doomed city.

These poor men were mercilessly robbed of their boats, into many of
which forty sailors could be crowded. The poor fishermen, having no
other means of subsistence, were overwhelmed with grief and dismay.
Lolonois was as heedless of their sorrows as he was of the manifest
trouble of the tortoise when deprived of its young. Again they spread
their sails, and had advanced about three hundred miles along the
southern coast of Cuba, when they were overtaken by what the Spaniards
call a “furious calm.”

For four weeks there was not a breath of air. Day after day the
tropical sun rose, pouring down upon their blistered decks his
scorching rays. The cabins became as furnaces. There was relief
nowhere. The pirates swore, prayed, called upon the Virgin and
the saints. All was in vain. Twenty eight days of this terrible
imprisonment passed slowly away. In the mean time a strong, but
imperceptible and resistless current swept them along into the Gulf of
Honduras, which deeply penetrates the eastern coast of Central America.
Upon leaving Cuba, the crews had been informed of the enterprise before
them. They were to coast along the province of Nicaragua and plunder
all its settlements, great and small.

This important Spanish province extended entirely across the Isthmus
of Panama, then called Darien, from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific
Ocean. It was bounded on the north by Honduras, and on the south by
Costa Rica. By the current, the pirates had been swept nearly five
hundred miles west of the point which they wished to make. To return,
they must coast, for that distance, along the bleak, almost uninhabited
northern shore of Honduras.

The Gulf stream, pouring into the Bay of Honduras, pressed strongly
against them. The calm was followed by fresh winds. But these winds
were strong and contrary. It was impossible to beat against both wind
and current.

Another dreary month thus passed away, as they struggled against
adversity. Their provisions were consumed. Their water-casks were
empty. Famine compelled them to seek the land. Entering the mouth of a
large river, which they called Xagua, and which afforded a harbor for
their fleet, they cast anchor. The region was quite densely inhabited
by Indians, inoffensive and friendly. They had for some years conducted
trade with the Spaniards, which was profitable to both parties. The
Indians received, in exchange for cocoa, articles from Europe, to them
of priceless value.

There were many picturesque Indian villages, scattered along the
banks of the river, beneath cocoa groves, and surrounded by orange
plantations and fields of Indian corn. The natives had also learned
the value of swine and poultry, and were well supplied with both. When
they saw the fleet approaching they were not alarmed, but rejoiced, as
they were eager both to sell and to buy. They sprang into their canoes,
loading them with vegetables, fruit, and fowls, and with smiling faces
paddled out to the ships.

How shall I describe the scenes which ensued? Burke, I think, says,
“to speak of atrocious crime in mild language is treason to virtue.”
These incarnate fiends shot down the poor Indians, men and women, in
mere wantonness--for the fun of it. Boats filled with these armed
demons then went ashore. They shot the men, as they could. They took
many women captives. They stripped the Indians of everything, swine,
poultry, fruit, corn, and then burned their villages.

The renowned French historian, Michelet, though an unbeliever in
the Christian religion, says that when writing the account of the
atrocities perpetrated by the ancient nobility of France upon the
peasantry, he found himself praying to God that there might be
some future punishment, where these tyrants, clothed in purple and
sumptuously feeding, might receive the due award for their crimes.

The amount of food obtained, furnished but a few days’ supply for seven
hundred hungry mouths. Lolonois decided to remain there at anchor until
the weather should prove more favorable. In the mean time he sent his
armed boats up the river and along the shores in both directions for
indiscriminate plunder. The whole region was devastated. The terrified
Indians fled in all directions, taking with them what they could.
Notwithstanding the utmost diligence of the plunderers, they could each
day bring in barely enough for the day’s supply.

When the pirates had got everything here upon which they could lay
their hands, they weighed anchor and worked their way slowly along
the coast several leagues, until they reached a harbor called Port
Cavallo. This was a trading-post of the Spaniards. They had here two
capacious store-houses, to hold the goods which they received from the
natives, and the articles brought from Spain to give to them in return.
Ships occasionally arrived with fresh supplies, and to transport the
purchases to Spain.

There was at that time in the harbor a large Spanish ship, which
mounted twenty-four guns and sixteen mortars. But this one ship could
make no effectual resistance against the fleet of the pirates. It was
immediately seized. Its cargo had been mostly unloaded and carried back
into the country, to be exchanged, in barter, with the Indians. They
stripped the store-houses, and plundered and destroyed all the adjacent
dwellings. They captured many prisoners, and put them to dreadful
torture to compel them to confess, often when they had nothing which
they could disclose.

Lolonois hacked them to pieces with his sabre; tore out their tongues;
dislocated their joints with the rack. He committed upon them, writes
Esquemeling, “the most insolent and inhuman cruelties that ever
heathens invented, putting them to the cruelest tortures they could
imagine or devise. Oftentimes it happened that some of these miserable
prisoners, being forced thereunto by the rack, would promise to
discover the places where the fugitive Spaniards lay hidden; which,
being not able afterward to perform, they were put to more enormous and
cruel deaths than they who were killed before.”

About twenty miles from Port Cavallo there was, not far from the coast,
a small but thriving town called San Pedro. Lolonois took three hundred
men and commenced his march to sack the place. He left his lieutenant,
Moses Vauclin, in command of the men who were left behind with the
ships. A few boats, well armed, were sent along the coast to render
such assistance as might be needful. Before starting he told his troops
that he would always march at their head, sharing all their dangers;
but that he would cut down the first one who manifested any disposition
to retreat or gave the least sign of fear.

There were no broad roads to traverse, but only intricate mule-paths,
which could with difficulty be followed through the dense growth of
a tropical forest. Two Spanish captives were taken as guides. The
inhabitants of San Pedro, informed of their approach, sent out a party
of men to intrench themselves in ambush on the way. The narrow road led
through gigantic forests with almost impenetrable thickets of brambles
and thorns and interlacing vines on either side.

When the pirates had advanced about nine miles, the Spaniards in ambush
opened fire upon them. Taking deliberate aim, at the first discharge
many of the pirates were killed, and more wounded. The battle which
ensued was desperate on both sides. Lolonois, assuming that his guides
had led him into the ambush, instantly cut them both down.

The fury of the pirates was irresistible, and the Spaniards were put
to flight. They left behind many dead and wounded. The pirates put to
death all of the wounded, excepting one or two whom they reserved as
guides. These they threatened with instant death if they did not guide
them safely to the city. There was but one available path leading
there. Intimidated by the awful threats of Lolonois, when he asked them
if there were other ambuscades farther on, they said that there were.
He then asked them if there were not some other path to the city, by
which they could avoid the ambuscades. The guides replied that they did
not know of any.

Lolonois was in a great rage. He drew his sabre and cut one of the
captives to pieces before the rest. He cut out his heart, seized it,
and began to gnaw it, like a ravenous wolf. Then turning to the other
captives, he said:

“I swear unto you, by the death of God, that I will serve you all the
same way if you do not lead me to the city by another route.”

Terror-stricken, the poor creatures endeavored to lead through the
thickets. But they could not force their way. Lolonois was compelled
to return to the former path. But he swore the most terrible oaths
that the Spaniards should pay dearly for causing him so much trouble.
The same evening they encountered another ambuscade. Lolonois fell
upon his foes with the same fury with which the tiger leaps upon its
prey, apparently regardless of his own life, if he can but destroy his
victim. In less than an hour the Spaniards were routed, and scarcely
one escaped.

The pirates, though victorious, were faint with fatigue, hunger, and
thirst. They threw themselves down in the woods that night, and,
probably with consciences utterly seared, slept that sound sleep which
toil and danger often bring.

The next morning, at break of day, the pirates resumed their march.
Ere long, they came upon a third ambuscade. This was much stronger and
better planned than either of the others. The pirates had provided
themselves with a large number of fire-balls, which they showered down
with much effect upon their foes. Lolonois seemed inspired with the
fury of a madman. He foamed at the mouth and gnashed his teeth as he
shouted:

“No quarter; no quarter! The more we kill here, the less we shall meet
in the town.”

But few of the Spaniards escaped to San Pedro. Nearly all were killed;
for the wounded were immediately dispatched. The pirates had now
arrived within sight of the town. There was but one narrow approach,
and that the Spaniards had thoroughly barricaded. The thorny shrubs
which grew densely around were utter impenetrable. Nothing remained for
the pirates but to make an instantaneous attempt to storm the works.
Several times they were driven back, but only to renew the conflict
with increasing fury. This conflict, of fiend-like ferocity, continued
four hours. The white flag of surrender was then unfurled from the town.

After a brief parley, the citizens agreed to yield up the town, without
further resistance, if they were allowed two hours to retire with such
articles as they could take away with them. Lolonois, who in this last
battle had lost forty men, agreed to the terms. The Spaniards, with
their wives and children, fled, with such few articles as they could
carry in their arms or on the backs of mules.



CHAPTER XI.

_The End of Lolonois’s Career._

  The Pirates’ Perfidy.--Capture of a Spanish Ship.--Misery of the
  Pirates.--Desertion of Vauclin.--The Shipwreck.--Life upon the
  Island.--Expedition to Nicaragua.--Its utter Failure.--Ferocity
  of the Indians.--Exploring the River.--The Retreat.--Coasting to
  Darien.--Capture and Death of Lolonois.--Fate of the Remnants.


Lolonois waited patiently the two hours which he had agreed to grant
the inhabitants to vacate the place. He then entered the town, and, in
perfidious disregard of the spirit of his engagement, dispatched armed
bands to pursue the fugitives, and not only rob them of everything in
their possession, but also to bring them all back as prisoners.

This was done. But the thieves were much disappointed in the amount
of plunder they found, San Pedro was by no means a wealthy place. The
inhabitants gained a comfortable but frugal living, mainly by raising
indigo.

The pirates, in their great disappointment, supposed, as usual, that
much treasure had been concealed. They therefore put their captives to
the torture, to force them to point out the places of concealment.
Though many died under the terrible infliction, no discoveries were
made. The pirates, in revenge, laid the town in ashes. In this
fruitless expedition they lost about one hundred men in killed and
wounded, endured great suffering, and inflicted inconceivable misery
upon their brother man.

About one hundred and fifty miles southwest of San Pedro was the rich
old Spanish town of Guatemala, capital of the capacious province of
that name. Lolonois, in his frenzied state of mind, was determined
to send back to the ship for reënforcements, and then to march upon
Guatemala. But his piratic crew refused to accede to so insane a
proposal.

For eighteen days these marauders lingered around San Pedro, before
they applied the torch. They then, leaving only ruins and misery behind
them, returned to the fleet. Those left there had employed their time
in robbing the Indians, burning their huts, and inflicting all manner
of evil upon their families. Some of these captives on the coast
informed them that about sixty miles west, at the mouth of the great
river of Guatemala, called Montagua, there was a large Spanish ship,
which had recently arrived from Spain.

As soon as Lolonois arrived, several boats filled with pirates,
thoroughly armed, were sent to capture the ship. The Indians had
informed the inmates of the ship of the presence of the pirates.
Anticipating a visit, they had made such preparations as they could to
repel them. The ship mounted forty-two guns, was well supplied with
small arms, and had a select crew of one hundred and thirty fighting
men.

The pirates, after opening fire upon the ship for some time, from one
of their vessels with twenty-two heavy guns, sent four boats, each
carrying about forty men, to clamber over the bulwarks of the ship,
cutlass in hand, at four points. In this assault they were much aided
by a dense fog, which, blending with the smoke of the powder, had
settled down so heavily as to conceal the approach of the boats.

The crew were sailors. The pirates were veteran soldiers. The conflict
was like that between well-trained regulars and raw militia. Very
soon the pirates were masters of the ship, and the deck was covered
with the dead and the dying. But again these wretched plunderers
were disappointed. The vessel had been almost entirely unladen. Its
remaining cargo consisted of twenty thousand reams of paper and one
hundred tons of iron bars. Neither of these were of any use to the
pirates. The ship, however, with its great guns, its small arms, and
its abundance of ammunition, was deemed a great acquisition. But God
so ordered it that even this capture proved a calamity rather than an
aid to the enterprises of Lolonois.

The desperate leader of this piratic gang called a general council,
and insisted upon the march across the country to Guatemala. It was
a stormy session. The general discontent was expressed in curses and
oaths, and bitter recriminations. Nearly one-fourth of their number
had perished. They had endured almost intolerable sufferings. As yet
they had accomplished nothing in the way of enriching themselves. And
now they were urged to embark on a desperate enterprise, where they
certainly would be exposed to the greatest hardships, and where all
would probably perish.

These men had embarked from Tortuga, with the expectation that dollars
and doubloons would be gathered by shovelfuls. They were now poor,
hungry, mutinous, angry with each other, and the prospect before them
was discouraging in the extreme. All thoughts of ravaging Nicaragua,
in their present state of despondency and with the great diminution of
their numbers, were relinquished.

Moses Vauclin had charge of the splendid ship recently captured. His
ship was a swift sailer. With one or two officers conspiring with him,
and his crew of nearly one hundred and fifty men gained over, they
decided to run away and cruise on their own account. In the night
they silently raised their anchors, took advantage of a fresh breeze,
and, before the morning’s dawn, disappeared beyond the horizon. When
Lolonois awoke and found that he was thus deserted, the madman paced
his deck in a frenzy of impotent rage.

The fugitives could not endure the idea of returning penniless to
Tortuga, where they would thus become the laughing-stock of the whole
community. The wind favored them. They ran along the coast of Honduras
and Nicaragua to the south, until they reached the province of Costa
Rica. In their desperation, being resolved to accomplish something,
they landed and attacked and sacked the poor little town of Veruguas,
killing many of the inhabitants. The furniture in the huts of these
poor people was of no value to them. They gained only the pitiful sum
of about forty dollars’ worth of gold, which the slaves had washed out
from the mud of the rivers.

This region was low and unhealthy. The Spanish grandees, who owned
the mines and cultivated them by the compulsory labor of slaves, had
their residences in the more healthy region of Nata, at the distance
of several leagues. The Spaniards began to gather in large numbers to
repel the invaders. The pirates, alarmed, fled to their ship, and
returned to Tortuga. Here they disbanded, and we learn no more of the
fate of this portion of Lolonois’s army. Each one, doubtless, found his
way, through crime and misery, to death and to the judgment-seat of
Christ.

Lolonois was left at Port Cavallo, with but about two hundred men. He
was almost destitute of food; most of his ammunition was consumed;
many were sick from the insalubrity of the climate, and all were
dissatisfied, clamorous, and angry.

Lolonois remained for some time in the Bay of Honduras. Esquemeling
writes: “His ship was too great to get out at the time of the reflux of
those seas, which the smaller vessels could more easily do.”

Every day he sent his boats ashore for food. The fruit of the region
was soon all consumed, and they fed on the flesh of parrots and
monkeys. Slowly working their way along the coast by the night breeze,
they found the days generally calm. Casting anchor in the morning, they
sought provisions in fishing and hunting. At length they rounded the
extreme eastern point of Honduras, at Cape Gracios à Dios. Just beyond,
a group of islands called the Pearl Islands, hove in sight.

The indomitable Lolonois was still determined to ravage a portion of
the rich province of Nicaragua. It was his plan to anchor his vessels
at the mouth of the river St. John, by which the great inland sea
called Lake Nicaragua empties its waters into the ocean, and then to
ascend the majestic stream in his armed boats. While sailing among the
islands in an almost unknown sea, he ran his ship upon a sandbank. All
his efforts to float the ship again were in vain. With infinite labor
he took out the heavy guns and the iron; but the ship had sunk too deep
in the sand to be moved.

Finding his ship thus hopelessly wrecked, he decided to break her to
pieces, and with her planks and nails to construct a large and strong
boat with which he could ascend the river. The crew all landed upon
an island, built themselves huts in the Indian fashion, and, with
a reckless disregard of misfortune, commenced building their boat.
Expecting that it might be necessary to spend some time there, they dug
gardens and planted peas and other vegetables.

The island upon which they were was large, and was inhabited by a
very fierce tribe of Indians. But their clubs and lances armed with
crocodiles’ teeth were but impotent weapons, when met by the muskets,
the pistols, and the sabres of the pirates. The Indians had doubtless
heard of the atrocities committed by these rovers over seas and land,
for they fled precipitally at their approach, and taking to their
canoes, actually abandoned the island.

The vegetables which the pirates sowed grew rapidly. It was six months
before their large boat, or rather small vessel, was completed. In the
mean time they raised quite large crops of beans, wheat, potatoes, and
bananas. It is strange that this experience did not teach them that
they could much more easily and happily gain a living by honest than by
dishonest means. But still they clung to the misery of piracy, with its
crime, its cruelty, and its wild revelry.

When the vessel was finished, Lolonois took one-half of his company,
or about one hundred men, in this vessel and a ship which remained to
him, and sailed for the mouth of St. John’s River. The other half were
left behind. As nothing was said about the other smaller vessels of
the fleet, it is probable that they all had been lost in the various
casualties of their voyage, or had escaped with Vauclin. It was known
that the Indians on the river had very large boats, formed by hollowing
out the trunk of a gigantic tree. These boats, ingeniously made, and
the result of almost incredible labor, would accommodate forty or fifty
warriors. It was Lolonois’s intention to rob the Indians of some of
their boats, send them back to the island for the pirates who were
left behind, and then, with his whole party, to ascend the river in an
invincible fleet.

Lolonois set sail, and in a short time reached the mouth of the St.
John’s River. But the Indians, who had fled from the island, had spread
the news, all along the coast, of the arrival of the terrible pirates.
Spaniards and Indians were thus influenced to combine to meet them
wherever they might land. Their progress in building their vessel had
been carefully watched by spies, who effectually concealed themselves
from sight.

As Lolonois and his party entered the river they expected to take
the inhabitants by surprise, and had not the slightest idea of
being surprised themselves. But their vessel had been watched as it
approached. There was a pleasant sheltered cove surrounded by the
luxuriant and magnificent growth of the tropics. It could not be
doubted that this spot would be selected for their landing-place.
Nature had decked it with the charms of Eden. Here a well-armed band of
Spaniards and Indians posted themselves in ambuscade. Palm-trees and
cocoanut-trees rose gracefully around them. Golden oranges and lemons
hung profusely from orchards which God had planted and cultivated.
Birds of every variety of brilliant plumage flitted from bough to
bough. All the sights and sounds of nature seemed to say that God
had made this for a happy world; that his children might live here in
fraternal love, surrounded by abundance.

The pirates cast anchor in the lovely cove, where the glittering sand
could be seen fathoms deep, beneath the water of crystal clearness.
They had several small boats. All were impatient to reach the land.
Scarcely had their boats touched the beach, and the men were clustered
together in landing, when the Eden-like scene of peace and loveliness,
was changed into an earth-like scene of noise and tumult and smoke and
groans and blood.

There was a sudden discharge of musketry from the surrounding thickets
within half gun-shot. The Spaniards had armed the Indians and taught
them to take unerring aim. Both Spaniards and savages united in
the most hideous yells to appal the pirates with an idea of their
superior numbers. Rapidly the unseen foe continued the discharge of
the murderous bullets. Scarcely a minute elapsed ere many were dead,
weltering in their blood. Others were severely wounded. And still the
pitiless storm of leaden hail swept through the group, crashing bones
and tearing nerves, and still the yells of the invisible assailants
resounded through the forest. There was not a breath of air. The
sulphurous smoke settled down, half concealing the awful spectacle of
blood and death.

Even the demoniac pirates were so panic-stricken that they dared not by
a charge rush into the very jaws of destruction. Every instant their
comrades were dropping. There was no time for thought. Those not yet
struck leaped into the boats and pushed from the shore, leaving the
dying and the dead in the water and upon the sand. Still the pelting
storm pursued them till they were beyond gun-shot reach.

Lolonois, the greatest villain of them all, escaped unharmed. Did God
preserve him that he might drain to the dregs the cup of mental and
bodily misery which he had so often presented to the lips of others? In
view of what he had yet to endure, he might indeed have deemed it one
of the richest of mercies had a bullet pierced heart or brain, and laid
him instantly with the dead.

The wretch had sufficient intelligence to perceive that he was ruined.
There was no longer any hope of ravaging Nicaragua. His provisions
were exhausted. He had no doubt that the whole coast was armed against
them. As by lightning-bolts he had lost nearly one-half of his crews.
Desponding, starving, he divided his company into two bands, to sail
where they could, to save themselves from perishing by hunger.

Lolonois, with thirty or forty men ran along the coast toward South
America, till they reached the region of Carthagena. They were few and
feeble, and feared to land. The atrocities committed by the pirates
were everywhere known. Upon every league of the coast either the
Spaniards or the Indians were watching for their approach, ready to
give the general alarm, and to summon all who could be rallied to repel
them.

Their water-casks were empty. They must obtain fresh water or perish of
thirst. Having passed the Gulf of Darien, he ventured to land, taking
his whole force with him. It so chanced, or Providence so ordered
it, that he landed on the territory of one of the fiercest tribes
of Indians known in all that region. They were called Bravos. The
Spaniards had never been able to subdue them. These fierce and cunning
savages surrounded the pirates and shot down or captured the whole
band. Still not a bullet struck Lolonois. He was reserved for another
doom. Most of the captured pirates were burned alive. But the savages
thought that too merciful a death for the leader of the band.

They bound him to a tree. Hour after hour, according to their custom,
they tortured him, being careful to prolong his sufferings by not
piercing any vital point. Every device of savage ingenuity was resorted
to, which might extort agony from his quivering nerves. There was no
one to pity. Even humanity says he merited it all. At last the savages,
howling in frenzied merriment around him, and raising new shouts
whenever they could force from him new shrieks of agony, weary with
the demoniac pastime, hewed off one of his arms and threw it into the
fire. They then hewed off the other and committed it to the flames. The
same was done with his legs. Then his head was cut off, and with his
memberless body was consumed to ashes. Such was the earthly life, and
such the earthly death of Francis Lolonois. We say the _earthly_ life.
There is another life. There is a second death. Lolonois still lives in
the spirit-land. What is his character there?

The pirates who remained upon the island, weary of waiting for the
boats, were quite in despair. But one morning their eyes were cheered
by the sight of a very large ship passing near by. Their signals were
seen and the ship hove to. It proved to be a pirate bound for the sack
of Carthagena. The captain was delighted to add a hundred desperate
fellows to his gang. The pirates, who had now been ten months upon the
island, and were in a state of great despondency, destitution, and
suffering, were as glad as such wicked men could be in this escape from
their miseries, and this new opportunity to renew their ravages.

There were several Carthagenas in the various provinces of the New
World. The one they were to attack was in Honduras, on the river
Segoria, which empties into Cape Gracios à Dios. Their plan was to
cast anchor in the mouth of the river, and ascend the stream in boats.
The piratic captain was greatly elated, for he had now at his command
between five and six hundred men.

They reached the mouth of the river in safety. A few men were left in
charge of the ship. Over five hundred were crowded into the boats.
There was no space for storing provisions; neither was it thought
necessary. It was supposed that an ample supply of food would be
found in the villages on the river banks. But the Indians transmitted
intelligence with almost the rapidity of telegraphic dispatches. From
village to village the tidings ran.

The Indians, conscious of their inability to contend with the
well-armed pirates, fled. They took with them all the food they could.
The rest they destroyed. The invaders found themselves reduced almost
to starvation. They ate roots and herbs, and even the leaves of the
trees. A blazing tropical sun poured its rays down upon their crowded
open boats, blistering their skin with the intense heat. Sickness came,
with languor, pain, wretchedness. Their own crimes were chastising them
with scorpion lashes.

There was but misery in those boats, with universal discontent and
oaths and fightings. In their despair they landed, five hundred
maddened, starving men, hating themselves and hating each other.
They hoped that at a little distance back from the river they might
find some villages which had not been abandoned. In this they were
disappointed. The natives watched them closely, and fled before them.

They commenced a retreat back to the ship. Many died. Many fell by the
wayside and were captured by the savages. The Indians pursued them,
watching every opportunity to strike a blow. They were too weak to
resist. They could scarcely wield a paddle or lift a musket. Their
starvation and misery was so great that they resolved to kill and
devour the first Indian they could meet. But this kind of game kept
beyond the reach of their balls. They ate their shoes, their leather
belts, even the sheaths of their swords.

At length a skeleton band reached the ship. There was but little food
there. Still they spread their sails, and disappeared. We hear of them
no more.



CHAPTER XII.

_The Female Pirate, Mary Read._

  Testimony of Charles Johnson.--Marriage of Mary
  Read’s Mother.--Singular Adventure.--Reasons for
  Disguising her Daughter.--Early Training of Mary
  as a Boy.--She Enlists on board a Man-of-war.--The
  Character she Developed.--Enters the Army.--Skill
  and Bravery.--Falls in Love with a Fleming.--Reveals
  her Sex.--The Marriage.--Happy Days.--Death of her
  Husband.--Adversity.--Resumes Male Attire.


In writing the account of Captain Kidd and other conspicuous pirates of
his day, we have had occasion to refer to many ancient documents. In
their examination we have come across numerous incidents, extraordinary
in their character. Among these are the well-accredited careers of
two female pirates, Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Their lives illustrate
the common remark that fact is often stranger than fiction. We are
mainly indebted, for the wild and wondrous story of their adventures,
to the narrative of Captain Charles Johnson. The second edition of his
valuable history of the pirates now lies before me. It was published in
London, in the year 1724. In the preface to this work the writer says:

“As to the lives of our two female pirates, we must confess they may
appear a little extravagant, yet they are nevertheless true. But as
they were publicly tried for their piracies, there are living witnesses
enough to justify what we have laid down concerning them. It is certain
that we have produced some particulars which were not publicly known.
The reason is we were more inquisitive into the circumstances of their
past lives than other people who had no other design than that of
gratifying their own private curiosity. If there are some incidents
and turns in their stories, which may give them a little the air of a
novel, they are not invented or contrived for that purpose. It is a
kind of reading this author is but little acquainted with. But as he
himself was exceedingly diverted with them, when they were related to
him, he thought they might have the same effect on the reader.”

A young girl in one of the seaports in England, about one hundred and
seventy-five years ago, married a sailor. Not many months after their
marriage the sailor left home for a distant voyage, and never returned.
She never knew whether he deserted her, or whether he died far away.
When he sailed she was expecting soon to become a mother. She resided
with her husband’s relatives. In due time the child was born, and
proved to be a boy.

The mother was a young, light, trifling girl, of fair reputation, and
not very careful habits, who ere long found that she was about to
become a mother again. As the months advanced, in order to conceal her
shame, she took leave of her husband’s relatives, informing them that
she was going to visit her own friends at some distance in the country.
Her little boy, who accompanied her, was then not a year old.

Soon after her departure her son died; and she, ere long, gave birth
to another child, who proved to be a girl. The mother remained away
four years. In the mean time she had very little communication with
her former relatives; and they had no knowledge of the death of her
son, or of the birth of her daughter. Her husband’s mother was still
living. She was in comfortable circumstances, though aged and infirm,
with impaired vision. The mother of the little girl thought that if
she could pass her child upon the aged mother of her husband, as his
son, whom she had seen and loved, the child would be liberally provided
for. But the changing of a girl into a boy seemed to be an insuperable
difficulty. She, however, dressed the child up as a boy, and presented
it to her mother-in-law as her husband’s son. No one suspected the
deception. The good old woman embraced it cordially, and was anxious
to adopt it as her own, promising amply to provide for it.

But the cunning mother declared that it would break her heart to
part with the child that she could not be separated from it. It was,
however, agreed that the child should reside with the mother, while the
supposed grandmother should allow a crown a week for its maintenance.
The child was thus brought up as a boy. The mother watched over her
with the utmost vigilance, instructing her to guard the secret of her
sex with the greatest possible care.

At length the grandmother died: the little property vanished, and the
mother and child were in a situation of much destitution. The child
was now thirteen years of age, bright, well formed, and good looking,
with a thoroughly boyish character. There was a French lady, in the
neighborhood, who took the child into her service, as page and footboy.
The feminine nature was soon entirely swallowed up in manly yearnings
and desires.

She was bold and strong, and developed a roving disposition and a
love for wild adventures. We are not informed of her masculine name.
Her feminine name was Mary. For convenience’ sake we will call her
Frank, during the period of her disguise. Frank enlisted on board a
man-of-war, and served in the capacity of a sailor, energetically and
successfully, for several months. No one was more nimble in running up
the shrouds, or in taking in reefs when the majestic fabric was tossed
like a bubble upon the gigantic waves.

Soon weary of this employment, Frank, apparently a graceful, well-built
boy of nineteen, enlisted in the army. Shouldering a musket, and
very rapidly becoming a proficient in military drill, she fell into
the line and accompanied a regiment of foot to Flanders. She was in
several severe battles. It is said that in time of action, no one
of the regiment conducted with more reckless bravery. She seemed to
lose all consciousness of danger, and, if we may so express it, in a
state of frenzy which rendered her calm by its very intensity, was as
regardless of shells, cannon-balls, and bullets, as though they had
been snowflakes.

She would certainly have been promoted could merit have secured that
honor. But in mercenary England, at that time, no commission could be
obtained but such as was purchased with gold. Ever consumed by restless
desires, Frank, ere long, succeeded in exchanging the infantry service
for a situation in a regiment of horse. Here Frank’s lithe and graceful
figure showed to great advantage. There was not in the company a bolder
rider, a more dexterous manager of the war-horse than she.

Even the steed she strode seemed conscious that he bore a more than
ordinarily precious burden. There was something in the gentle tones
of her voice, and in her caressings, which the proud horse seemed
to recognize, ever welcoming her approach with his neighings. The
officers greatly admired Frank, and felt a strange kind of interest in
the unboastful yet chivalric heroism he displayed in several bloody
engagements.

The old Latin maxim hath it, “Amor omnia vincit,” _Love conquers all
things_. It so happened that there was in the ranks a comrade, ever
riding by the side of Frank, who was a very handsome young Fleming,
about twenty-three years of age. He was a gentle, lovable fellow, and
equally brave as his gentle, lovable comrade, for whom he formed a very
strong friendship. He slept in the same tent, and by the side of Frank.
They were ever together helping each other.

The girl nature of Frank could not resist all this. She fell
desperately in love with the fair-faced, flaxen-haired Flemish boy.
Whenever the young Fleming was ordered out upon any party, Frank
insisted upon accompanying him; and the more desperate the adventure,
the more resolute were her importunities to share the peril with him.
It was observed that frequently Frank would rush into the greatest
danger, simply that she might be near her friend, even when she could
render him no assistance.

This extraordinary devotion of Frank to her comrade the Fleming,
attracted the attention of the whole company. As no one suspected, in
the slightest degree, her disguise, it was supposed that there must
be a vein of insanity in the nature of the quiet, retiring, handsome
soldier boy.

One morning, in her tent, she made known to her fellow soldier that she
was a woman. The Fleming was speechless with astonishment. Here, then,
was the secret of the wild devotion that had led her to expose her life
recklessly wherever his own had been in peril.

The strangeness of the situation added to its romance. From being a
warm friend he became a devoted lover. As his memory went back to the
many scenes of danger they had together faced, and the cool bravery
she had shown, he could not but see that here was a helpmeet worth
having. Mary was instinctively proud. Though for years she had led the
rough life of the camp with all its hardships, she was no whit less a
true woman. She was more than ready to be wooed and won as a wife.
But no lady in the parlor of home could be more modest and reserved in
receiving the addresses of a lover, than was Mary in her intercourse
with the lover who shared her tent. Her good sense taught her that if
she would secure and maintain his love, she must, by indubitable proof,
win his highest confidence and respect.

Strange as this story may appear to the reader there seems to be no
reason to doubt its accuracy. The young Fleming urged her to become
his wife. To this proposal she did not long hesitate to accede. They
plighted their mutual faith. The campaign soon ended. The regiment went
into winter quarters. The two lovers united their purses, and purchased
a woman’s wardrobe as the bridal outfit for Frank. She assumed her new
garb, and announced her sex to her amazed fellow-soldiers.

These strange tidings created great excitement an the camp. They
were publicly married. A great crowd attended the espousals. Many of
the officers assisted in the ceremony, and the bride received many
presents. There was a general contribution among all her comrades to
raise a sum to assist her in commencing housekeeping. Frank had been a
universal favorite, and had secured the esteem of all.

Being thus comfortably established, they both had a desire to quit the
service. The circumstances were so romantic and peculiar that they
found no difficulty in obtaining their discharge. They then established
themselves in Flanders, in a restaurant or eating house. Their little
inn, kept with British neatness, was near the Castle of Breda, and was
known far and wide by the name of its sign, “The Three Horse Shoes.”
They had a large run of custom, and were particularly patronized by the
officers of the army.

They were very happy. But prosperity, in this world, does not long
shine upon any one. Peace came. The army was dispersed. There were no
longer any guests at “The Three Horse-Shoes;” and Mary’s husband was
taken sick, and died. She was left childless and without any means of
support. She had been trained to the pursuits of manhood. She was a
young widow, but little more than twenty years of age. As a woman, she
knew not in what direction to turn to obtain a living. Only for a few
months had she assumed the character of a woman, and worn the garb of
a woman. All the rest of her years she had worn the dress and followed
the pursuits of a man. As a man, there were many opportunities opening
before her, and all congenial ones, for obtaining a support.

Again she assumed her masculine attire, sold out all her effects, and
with gold enough in her purse to meet her immediate wants, set out
for Holland, where, a perfect stranger, she entered again upon her
masculine career, without any fear of detection. Quartered upon one of
the frontier towns of Holland there was an English regiment of foot. It
was a time of peace, and the soldiers were living in indolence, with
nothing to do. It was easy, under these circumstances, to join the
regiment, and to purchase a release, at any time when one might wish to
do so.

Again Frank enlisted. After a few months, weary of the monotonous life,
she obtained a discharge, and shipped herself, as a common sailor, on
board a vessel bound for the West Indies. It was a Dutch vessel. Frank
was the only English person on board. On the voyage, an English pirate
hove in sight and ran down upon the merchant-ship. The pirate was so
well armed, and such a throng of desperate men crowded its decks, that
resistance would have been but folly. The ship was captured without a
struggle.

The pirate, after plundering the ship of all its treasures, impressed
the English Frank as an addition to its own crew; and then turned the
despoiled ship adrift, inflicting no personal injury upon the officers
or sailors. As we have before mentioned, these buccaneers did not
regard themselves, at that time, neither were they regarded by others,
as ordinary pirates would now be judged. They were acting in a certain
sense under the royal commission. They were authorized to plunder all
_Spanish_ ships. And if they occasionally made a mistake, and did not
read the flag aright, it was an irregularity not entirely unpardonable.

This piratic ship continued its cruise of plundering for several
months. Frank had been impressed on board, and could not escape had she
wished to do. Probably her moral sense was not sufficiently instructed
to lead her to make any remonstrances, which would, of course, have
been entirely unavailing, or to feel any special qualms of conscience.
Accustomed as she ever had been to the masculine dress, and to all
the habits of the sailor and the soldier, she did not feel the least
embarrassment in her new situation. No one moved about the decks or
clambered the shrouds with more free motion than Frank.

Just about this time the royal proclamation, to which we have
referred, came out, offering pardon to all pirates who would surrender
themselves, excepting Kidd and Avery. The crew of this ship of
buccaneers decided to take advantage of this proclamation.

The West-Indian group, called the Bahamas, consists of several
hundred islands of various magnitudes. One of these, San Salvador, was
the first land, in the New World, which was discovered by Columbus.
The most important of the group, from its excellent harbor, and its
situation in reference to Florida, is New Providence. The island
was originally settled by the English in 1629. It was captured by
the Spaniards, and the English were expelled, in the year 1641. The
merciless Spaniards murdered the governor, and committed many other
great outrages. Again, in the year 1666, the thunders of British
broadsides echoed along its shores, and the banners of England were
again unfurled over its mountains and fertile vales. Forty-seven years
passed away, over this war-cursed globe, when, in 1703, a united fleet
of French and Spanish ships expelled the English, and, neglecting
to take military possession of the island, it became a rendezvous
for pirates, where scenes of revelry, sensuality, and crime were
perpetrated which no pen can describe.

Thus for eighty years Heaven looked down upon its enormities. It was
then again formally ceded to the English, and has since remained in
their possession. At the time of which we are writing, England held the
island, and a British governor was in command there. The buccaneers,
with their purses well filled with gold, the result of their cruises as
freebooters, ran into the harbor of New Providence. They made their
surrender to the governor, and received the royal pardon.

Frank had been but a short time among them. Her purse was not a heavy
one. It is not known that she added anything to it during her short
and compulsory cruise on board the buccaneer. Her money was soon
expended. The British governor at New Providence was at that very time
fitting out several armed vessels to cruise against the Spaniards, as
privateersmen. He was eager to enlist any of the bold buccaneers who
could be lured to enter that service. Nothing could be more congenial
to the wishes of these desperate men. Frank, being out of employment,
enlisted as privateersman, on board of one of these Government ships.



CHAPTER XIII.

_Anne Bonny, the Female Pirate._

  Rackam the Pirate.--Anne Bonny his Wife.--Reasons for Assuming
  a Boy’s Dress.--Infamous Character of Rackam.--Anne falls in
  Love with Mary.--Curious Complications.--The Duel.--Chivalry of
  Frank.--The Capture.--The Trial.--Testimony of the Artist.--Death
  of Mary Read.--Rackam Dies on the Scaffold.


There was upon the island of New Providence, at that time, a very
consummate villain by the name of Rackam. He had been captain of a
pirate ship, and shared his cabin with his wife, a very depraved
woman, who was disguised in boy’s clothes. She apparently discharged
the duties of a cabin-boy. This Captain Rackam had taken advantage of
the king’s proclamation, had surrendered himself as a pirate, and had
received a pardon.

Eagerly he enlisted, with his wife in man’s garb, as a messmate, in
one of the governor’s privateers. No one on board the ship was aware
of the sex of his companion. She was truly his wife, and her real name
was Anne Bonny. She had been a rude, ungovernable girl, and her parents
were so displeased that she should have married such a worthless
wretch as Rackam was known to be, that they would no longer recognize
her. Having nothing to live upon, she assumed a sailor’s dress, and
they both shipped for New Providence. He doubtless intended there to
resume the career of a pirate.

Rackam and Anne Bonny enlisted on board the same ship. Here then there
were two women in male attire, neither of whom had any suspicion of
the real sex of the other. No one could associate with such companions
as those of Mary Read, or encounter the influences to which she was
constantly exposed, without becoming in some degree corrupted.

The privateersman had been out but a few days when Rackam, who had
many of his old confederates on board, formed a conspiracy, rose
upon the officers, set them adrift, seized the ship, and turned to
his old trade. Mary Read, in the character of Frank, was, as we have
mentioned, a very handsome young fellow. The captain’s cabin-boy,
Anne Bonney, fell desperately in love with Frank, and revealed to
_him_, as she supposed, her sex. She approached Frank with all the
seductions and allurements with which Potiphar’s wife solicited Joseph.
Thus importuned, Frank confided to her that she was also a woman in
disguise. This led to increased intimacy between the two young sailor
women.

Captain Rackam became intensely jealous of his wife, in consequence of
her familiarity with Frank. He threatened Anne that he would certainly
cut Frank’s throat. Anne, well aware of the desperate character of the
pirate, felt constrained, that she might save Mary’s life, to let the
captain into the secret also. He did not divulge it, knowing that she
might be exposed to very cruel treatment from the unprincipled wretches
who thronged his decks.

But again the all-devouring passion took possession of the bosom of
Frank. Many vessels were captured. After being plundered they were
generally turned adrift again, with their crews. If the pirates,
however, found on board these ships any one who could be of use to
them, he was detained on board their ship. It so chanced that one
day they took a ship where there was a young English artist. Rackam,
thinking that the artist might be of service to him, in sketching
scenes and drawing charts, detained him as a captive. He was a genteel
young fellow, handsome, of fascinating manners, very skilful with his
pencil, and possessed of very attractive conversational powers. Frank
and the young artist were instinctively drawn toward each other.

And when Frank told her companion that she loathed the life of a
pirate, that she was one of the crew by compulsion, and that she
should embrace the first possible opportunity to escape, a new bond
of union was formed between them. They became messmates, and were
always together. He never had a doubt that the masculine pronoun, _he_,
belonged to his bronzed but smooth-cheeked and soft-voiced companion.

Even on board a pirate ship there are many opportunities for seclusion.
In the dark and tempestuous night, when the wine-heated officers were
carousing in the cabin, and the crew were rioting in the forecastle,
Frank and the artist, wrapped in those thick sailor-jackets which defy
both wind and rain, would seek some retired position upon the deck,
beneath the stormy sky, and beguile the weary hours in relating to each
other the story of the past, and in planning measures for escape. Frank
was the younger of the two, and in these hours of midnight communings,
loved to recline with her head in the lap of her unsuspecting comrade.

The inevitable result ensued. The whole passionate nature of the
woman, still almost in her girlhood, became aglow with love of the
young artist. In one of these midnight communings she revealed to
her astonished friend her sex. His friendship was speedily converted
into impassioned love. He had ever, under her assumed character,
had occasion to respect her. He could not recall a single action of
immodesty or impropriety. Alone in the darkness of the night, upon the
solitary deck with the stars alone looking down upon them, they went
through the ceremony of what they both deemed a secret _marriage_.

Mary Read ever averred that she regarded those nuptials as sacred as if
the rite had been performed in the church, by the robed priest, and in
the presence of any number of witnesses. She was never accused of being
unfaithful to her marriage vows, or of ever having been even indiscreet
in her conduct.

Still the months passed away. The ship continued its piratic cruise.
Frank, though secretly the wife of the artist, had excited no suspicion
of her disguise. In her sailor’s garb she still performed every duty
imposed upon others of the crew. There were several bloody actions
fought. In these engagements both she and Anne Bonny were called upon,
like the rest, to work at the guns.

It was one of the laws of the ship, that if any quarrel arose between
any two of the crew, there should be no contention on board the ship,
but that when they next approached an island, they should, with their
friends, land in a boat, and settle the quarrel in a duel on the
shore. The artist was so grossly incited by one of the pirates, that
he either challenged him, or accepted a challenge from him to fight a
duel. Frank would not have had her husband, on any account, refuse the
hostile meeting. Public sentiment was such among the pirates, that had
he done this, there would have been no end to the insults and abuse he
would have received as a reward.

Frank was in a state of great agitation and anxiety for the fate of her
lover. She was an admirable swordsman, and no one of the piratic crew
was a truer shot with the pistol. Her love was so passionate that she
felt that she could not live without that husband, whose union with her
was so enhanced by the attractions which secrecy and romance give. She
was far more ready to peril her own life than to have his endangered.

She therefore deliberately provoked such a quarrel with the pirate who
was soon to have a hostile meeting with her husband, as to compel him
to an immediate and angry challenge. Adroitly she succeeded in having
the time appointed for their meeting two hours before the duel was to
be fought with her husband. In her intensely excited frame of mind she
resolved to make sure work of it.

They were to meet at but a few paces distance, discharge their pistols
at each other, and then, with drawn swords, advance and fight until
one or the other was effectually disabled or killed. The pistols were
discharged. Neither of them was seriously wounded. They then crossed
swords. There was a fierce clashing of the weapons for a few minutes
and then the agile Frank passed her sword through the body of her
adversary, and he fell before her a bloody corpse.

Such rencontres were too common with that ship’s crew, and Frank had
been too conversant all her days with such scenes of blood to have it
produce any serious impression upon her mind. With much composure she
wiped her crimsoned sword and returned to the ship, exulting in the
thought that she had saved her husband’s life. The attachment between
Frank and her lover before this seems to have been very strong. But
this event bound them more firmly together than ever before.

Almost invariably, even in this world, retribution follows crime.
After many successful captures, and much rioting and revelry with this
godless crew, the hour of vengeance came. One day a swift-sailing
English frigate, of powerful armament, caught sight of the pirate and
gave chase. The vessel was overtaken and captured, and all her crew,
in irons, were carried to England for trial. There was no disposition
to deal tenderly with these wretches, whose crimes could scarcely be
numbered. The trial was expeditious and the execution prompt. The
young artist easily proved that he was a prisoner on board the ship,
and had never taken any part in their piratic exploits. He was promptly
released. Frank was one of the pirates. Her assertion that she was
reluctantly so, was of no avail. She had been of their recognized
number; she had been identified with them in all the employments of a
sailor; she had taken an active part in their battles.

One of the witnesses, who had been taken a prisoner by Rackam, and
detained for some time on board the pirates’ craft, gave the following
testimony against Frank, or rather against Mary Read; for during the
trial her sex had been divulged, and the embarrassing fact had been
discovered that, ere long, she was to become a mother. The testimony
was as follows:

“I was taken prisoner by Rackam, and was detained for some time on
board the pirate ship. One day I accidentally fell into discourse with
the prisoner at the bar. She was dressed like the ordinary seamen, and
I did not suppose her to be anything different. Taking her for a young
man, I asked her what pleasure she could find in such enterprises,
where her life was continually in danger by fire or sword; and not only
so, but she must be sure of dying an ignominious death if she should
be taken alive?

“She replied, that as to hanging, she deemed it no great hardship; for
were it not for that, every cowardly fellow would turn pirate, and so
infest the seas that men of courage must starve. She said that were it
put to the choice of the pirates, they would not have the punishment
less than death; for it was only the fear of death which kept many
dastardly rogues honest. Many of those, she said, who are now cheating
the widows and orphans, and oppressing their poor neighbors who have no
money to obtain justice, would then rob at sea. Thus the ocean would
be crowded with rogues like the land. No merchant would venture out.
Trade in a little time would not be worth following. It is the fear of
hanging alone which restrains thousands from piracy.”

When we consider the impossibility of making an exact report of
conversation, and when we consider the situation of Frank among the
pirates, and that her life would instantly have been forfeited if they
had suspected her of unfaithfulness, we can imagine that essentially
these remarks might have been made, without indicating any special
moral delinquency. Frank did not deny having made them.

Several of the crew, however, brought forward much more damaging
testimony. When, to the astonishment of all, the sex both of Mary
Read and Anne Bonny was made known to the court, the pirates seemed
very desirous that their fate should be inseparably connected with
their own. The testimony against Anne Bonny was very strong. She had
accompanied her infamous husband in most of his adventures, and had
rendered herself very conspicuous by her courage and her energetic
action.

When the frigate took the pirate there was a short conflict. But the
great guns of the frigate swept the pirate’s deck with such a storm of
grape-shot, that every one rushed into the hold, excepting Mary Read
and Anne Bonny. Mary Read, it was said, called upon those under the
deck to come up and fight like men. As they refused, in her rage she
fired her pistol down among them, killing one and wounding others. This
latter charge, which went far to condemn her, she utterly denied. Such
bravado was not at all in accordance with her general character. But it
was just the conduct to be expected of Anne Bonny. She was a desperado,
as robust in person as she was masculine in character. Rumor said that
before she entered upon her piratic career she stabbed a servant-maid
with a carving-knife, and so severely beat a young fellow whom she
disliked that he narrowly escaped with his life.

They were both pronounced guilty of piracy, and condemned to be hung.
As it was not deemed right that Mary Read’s child should forfeit its
life in consequence of its mother’s sins, Mary was allowed a reprieve,
until after the birth of her child. Being remanded to her gloomy
and solitary cell in Newgate prison, she awaited, with anguish, her
approaching maternity, to be immediately followed by an ignominious
death upon the scaffold. The horror of her situation threw her into a
fever, of which she fortunately died. Thus she escaped the scaffold:
and she and her unborn babe slept in the grave together.

Rackam was hanged just before the time appointed for the execution of
his wife. The morning on which he was led to the scaffold, he was first
conducted to the cell of Anne Bonny. Her characteristic speech to him
was:

“I am sorry to see you here; but if you had fought like a man, you need
not have been hanged like a dog.”

In an hour from that time he was struggling in death’s agonies. Anne
was reprieved from time to time, and finally escaped execution. What at
last became of her no one knows.



CHAPTER XIV.

_Sir Henry Morgan_

  His Origin.--Goes to the West Indies.--Joins the
  Buccaneers.--Meets Mansvelt the Pirate.--Conquest of St.
  Catharine.--Piratic Colony there.--Ravaging the Coast of
  Costa Rica.--Sympathy of the Governor of Jamaica.--Death of
  Mansvelt.--Expedition of Don John.--The Island Recaptured by the
  Spaniards.--Plans of Morgan.--His Fleet.--The Sack of Puerto
  Principe.--Horrible Atrocities.--Retreat of the Pirates.--The
  Duel.--They Sail for Puerto Velo.--Conquest of the City.--Heroism
  of the Governor.


Though the name of Sir Henry Morgan has not attained equal notoriety
with that of Captain William Kidd, his achievements were far more
wonderful and infamous. He was born of a good and wealthy family in
Wales. Early developing a roaming disposition, he left his home for the
seacoast, and there took passage for Barbadoes. In those days any man
could obtain a passage to the colonies; by agreeing to pay the fare in
service on the other side. Labor was in great demand. Upon the arrival
of the ship the planters would hasten on board and pay the passage
money, which the emigrant was to repay by certain stipulated months of
labor.

In this way Henry Morgan reached Barbadoes. Here his labor was sold to
pay his passage, and he faithfully served out his term. He had come
from a virtuous home, but rapidly the reckless boy yielded to the
influences which surrounded him, until he became the worst of the bad.
From Barbadoes he wandered over to Jamaica, seeking his fortune. Though
there was then peace between England and Spain, the British Government
was encouraging private piratical excursions against the commerce of
Spain. As we have had frequent occasion to mention, these buccaneers
had nothing to fear from the English courts so long as they confined
themselves to robbing the Spanish ships.

At Jamaica, Morgan found two vessels openly fitting out for these
buccaneering expeditions. He shipped on board one of them, and made
two or three very successful voyages. Some men seem born to command.
Such do not long remain in a subordinate position. Morgan was a man of
the imperial mould. As he now had considerable money at his disposal,
he proposed, to some of his comrades, that they should join stocks,
purchase a vessel, and cruise on their own account. This was promptly
done, and Morgan was unanimously chosen commander.

Morgan was already a desperado. With a numerous crew and a well-armed
vessel he set out to cruise along that portion of the Mexican coast
called Campeachy. After an absence of a few months, he returned
triumphantly to Jamaica, his ship laden with the spoil of many
captures. This pirate took refuge beneath the flag of England and under
the guns of her fort. At that time the British Government was the most
atrocious pirate earth had ever known; for while at peace with Spain,
the Government encouraged all private piratical expeditions against her
commerce.

In the streets of Jamaica, Morgan met a notorious pirate by the name
of Mansvelt. The renown of this sea-robber had spread far and wide. He
was then equipping a very considerable fleet, intending to man it with
a sufficiency of troops to enable him to land upon the territory of the
Spaniards and to plunder their cities. Mansvelt, seeing Morgan return
with so many prizes, formed a high opinion of his skill and courage,
and appointed him vice-admiral of his squadron.

A fleet of fifteen ships was soon ready for sea, with a crew of five
hundred pirates. About a thousand miles southwest of Jamaica, in
Central America, was the Spanish province of Costa Rica, reaching
across the narrow Isthmus of Panama from sea to sea. A few leagues from
the shore, and but about one hundred miles north of the river Chagres,
was the Island of St. Catharine, where the Spaniards had a small
garrison. The pirates landed, captured the island, took the Spanish
soldiers prisoners, and garrisoned the fort with a hundred of their own
men. They left a numerous band of slaves, taken from the Spaniards,
to cultivate the soil for their new masters. A Frenchman, by the name
of Le Sieur Simon, was placed in command. He was directed to put the
island in the best posture for defence, and to set all the slaves
at work to raise provisions on the fertile plantations. He was thus
expected to revictual the fleet upon its return. It was evidently the
intention of Mansvelt to establish there a colony of buccaneers, with
fleet and army, of which colony he was to be the king. He had no fears
of being interrupted in his operations by the British Government.

Mansvelt again spread his sails, and, accompanied by his energetic
vice-admiral Morgan, cruised along the eastern coast of Costa Rica. At
various points he sent boats, armed with pirates, ashore to rob the
villages. The Spanish governor of the adjacent province of Panama,
on the south, hearing of these depredations, gathered all the forces
at his disposal, and rousing the whole country, advanced to expel
the pirates. Mansvelt retreated, and returned with his fleet to St.
Catharine. Here he found that his agent had been very efficient, and
that an ample supply of provisions was ready for his ships.

This most infamous of pirates returned to the Island of Jamaica, held
an interview with the governor, informed him frankly of his plans,
and solicited the loan of a portion of his garrison to enable him to
hold the island against any attempt of the Spaniards to regain it.
The governor received the pirate courteously, expressed the fear that
the King of England might not exactly approve of such undisguised
hostility, when there was peace between the two countries, and stating
also that his garrison was then so feeble that he could not with safety
diminish its strength.

Mansvelt then repaired, with one of his ships, to the celebrated
rendezvous of the buccaneers at Tortuga. While endeavoring to raise
recruits among the desperadoes assembled there, he was taken sick, and
passed away, to answer for his guilty life at the tribunal of God.

In the mean time, on the 14th of July, 1665, Don John, the governor of
Panama, commenced organizing an expedition to regain the island. He
sent a ship, under Captain Joseph Ximines, thoroughly equipped, and
manned by three hundred and eighty-two soldiers. The ship touched at
Carthagena, with a letter to the commandant of the Spanish settlement
there. He promptly added to the expedition three small armed vessels,
with one hundred and twenty-six men. On the 2d of August this little
fleet came in sight of the western end of the Island of St. Catharine.
The wind was contrary. It was not until the 12th they entered the
harbor and cast anchor before the pirates’ strong fort.

There was an interchange of a few shots between the stone castle and
the fleet, which effected but little injury on either side. Ximines
sent one of his officers on shore bearing a flag of truce, with the
following summons:

“In the name of the King of Spain, I demand the surrender of this
island. It was taken in the midst of peace between England and Spain.
If the surrender is refused, and I am forced to take the works by
storm, I shall certainly put all the garrison to the sword.”

The piratic commander returned the answer. “This island once belonged
to the King of England. It rightly belongs to him now. We will sooner
die than surrender.”

During the night of Friday, the 13th, three slaves swam off to the
ships, and informed the commandant that there were but seventy-two
soldiers in the fort and that they were in great consternation in view
of the force brought against them. Saturday was devoted to preparations
for landing in the boats and storming the works.

The morning of the Sabbath dawned beautifully over the Eden-like
luxuriance of the tropical isle.

The vessels brought their broadsides to bear upon the fort, and, under
cover of their fire, three strong parties were landed in the boats.
Captain Leyva led sixty men to attack the principal gate. Captain
Galeno, at the head of ninety men, took a circuitous route through
the forest to attack the castle in the rear. The commander-in-chief,
Ximines, with a still stronger force, assailed one of the sides. The
conflict was short, but not very bloody. Six of the pirates were
killed, and a pretty large number wounded. The Spaniards lost but one
man killed and four wounded.

The pirates endeavored to escape into the woods, but were cut off and
all captured. There were found, in the fort, eight hundred pounds of
powder, two hundred and fifty pounds of bullets, and also a large
supply of provisions and other material of war. Two Spaniards were
taken who had enlisted with the buccaneers, to rob the commerce of
Spain. They were immediately led out and shot.

The fort proved to be very strong, and an excellent piece of
workmanship. It was built of stone, quadrangular in form, with walls
eighty-eight feet high. While these scenes were transpiring, Captain
Morgan, unconscious of them, was at Jamaica. Hearing of the death of
Mansvelt, he, without opposition, assumed the admiralship. He was
straining every nerve to retain possession of St. Catharine, and so
to strengthen the works as to make the island a safe and convenient
store-house for the vast plunder of the buccaneers.

As the governor of Jamaica declined adding to the piratic force, in St.
Catharine, at the expense of his own garrison, Morgan wrote to leading
merchants in Virginia and New England, urging them, by the promise of
the most liberal pay, to send him provisions, ammunition, and other
necessary articles. When the tidings reached him that the Spaniards
had regained the island, he lost no time in unavailing regrets, but
immediately turned, with demoniac energy, to other enterprises.

With great vigor he commenced organizing a new fleet. His agents
proudly strode through every English port, openly purchasing vessels
and ammunition, and mounting the guns. All the vessels were ordered to
rendezvous, within a given time, at a solitary harbor on the south side
of the Island of Cuba.

This magnificent island is eight hundred miles in length, and from
twenty-five to one hundred and thirty in breadth. The principal towns
of Cuba, at that time, were Havana on the north and Santiago on the
south. Havana was fortified by three strong forts. There were many
other small and flourishing settlements scattered along the extended
coast. There were ten thousand families in Havana, and its commerce was
immense.

Captain Morgan had, in the course of two months, assembled in his
retired harbor a fleet of twelve vessels, large and small, with over
eight hundred fighting men. He called a council of his officers to
decide as to the enterprise upon which they should embark. Several
urged a midnight attack upon Havana. They said that there was immense
wealth in the city, that it might be attacked by surprise, as no one
suspected danger; and that the city could be plundered before the
inhabitants would have any time to organize for defence.

Others affirmed that they were not strong enough for so great an
achievement; that they needed at least fifteen hundred men to attempt
the capture of a city of fifty thousand inhabitants. After much
discussion it was decided to attack a flourishing inland town of Cuba,
called Puerto Principe. It was situated a few leagues from the southern
shore, and was utterly unprepared for such an attack as the pirates
could bring against it. One of the pirates was familiar with the place
and with all of its approaches. He said that the town had never been
sacked, and consequently was very rich.

The whole fleet speedily set sail, and ran along the southern shore
of Cuba toward the doomed town. The nearest available landing-place,
for Principe, was at a bay called St. Mary’s. Here, in the night, a
Spanish prisoner, on board one of the ships, secretly let himself down
into the dark water, and, at the imminent danger of being devoured by
sharks, swam ashore. He hastened through the mule-paths of the forest
to Principe, with the tidings of the terrible danger impending over the
town.

The inhabitants were thrown into an awful state of consternation. They
knew full well that they had as much to dread from the pirates as from
so many fiends from the bottomless pit. Men, women, and children were
running in all directions to convey away and hide their treasures.

All these Spanish towns had a governor appointed over them by the king.
The governor summoned all the able-bodied men he could, and armed the
slaves, and placed his little force in ambush along the route which
he supposed that the pirates must of necessity traverse. He had also
the immense trees of the dense tropical forest felled across the path,
and other obstructions thrown in the way, to retard their march.
But Morgan, as he approached these impediments, cut a new road with
great difficulty through the woods, and thus escaped falling into the
ambuscades.

Morgan had left but a small guard to keep the fleet. Nearly eight
hundred men were on the march with him. The pirates advanced in three
divisions, with beating of drums, flying banners, and an ostentatious
display of military array. The town was in the centre of a smooth
plain. The governor had retreated from his ambush, and, as the pirates
approached, stood before the town at the head of a troop of horsemen.
Morgan formed his men in a semicircle, and marched down upon them.

Both parties fought with desperation. The greatly outnumbering pirates
soon shot down the governor, and so many of his soldiers, that the
remainder attempted to escape to the woods. They were hotly pursued,
and most of them were killed. The battle, with the skirmishing, lasted
nearly four hours.

The pirates, having encountered but little loss, entered the town.
Still, as they marched through the narrow streets which were ever found
in these old Spanish towns, many of the inhabitants continued a brave
resistance. They fired upon the pirates from the windows of their stone
houses, and hurled down heavy articles of furniture upon their heads
from the roofs. Morgan had it loudly proclaimed that if they continued
this resistance he would lay the whole town in ashes, and put every
man, woman, and child to the sword.

The Spaniards, hoping that by submission they might save their own
lives and their houses from conflagration, threw down their arms and
raised the white flag. There were several large stone churches in the
place. The demoniac pirates drove the whole population, men, women,
and children, into these churches, and imprisoned them there. They
then commenced their system of plunder and wanton destruction. Every
house and by-place, and the region all around, were searched. The night
was rendered hideous by their drunken orgies. There was scarcely a
conceivable crime of which these wretches were not guilty. They were
fiends of the foulest dye, with no pity. Their outrages cannot be
described. Even the imagination of most readers cannot conceive of the
crimes they perpetrated.

They either forgot the captives they had crowded into the churches or
intentionally left them to starve. No provision whatever was made for
their wants, and they were not furnished with any food. The piteous
moans of women and children touched not their hearts. Large numbers
perished in the lingering agonies of starvation.

Disappointed in the amount of treasure they found, they began to put
their prisoners to the torture, men, young girls, and even little
children, to extort from them the confession of where riches were
secreted. While perpetrating atrocities which cannot be named, a man
was captured who had letters from the governor of Santiago to some of
the leading inhabitants. In these documents the governor wrote:

“Do not be in too much haste to ransom your town or persons from the
pirates. Put them off as long as you can, with excuses and delays. In a
short time I will certainly come to your aid.”

This alarmed Morgan. He feared that the governor of Santiago might
rally a sufficient force perhaps to seize his ships, perhaps to cut
off his retreat. He ordered his men immediately to march, as rapidly
as possible, to their fleet, with all the plunder they had gathered.
He also made renewed efforts, by all the energies of torture, to wrest
from the wretched inhabitants the treasure which he supposed they had
hidden. Those who had nothing to reveal, had their nerves lacerated and
their bones crushed to force a confession of that which did not exist.
He compelled his captives to drive all the cattle to the bay, kill
them and salt them, and convey the barrels to his ships.

A quarrel arose between two of the pirates. One challenged the other to
a duel. The party consequently went ashore in the boats. As they drew
near the appointed spot, one of the two, treacherously approaching the
other from behind, ran him through the back with his sword, and he fell
dead. Morgan, who had just committed crimes which should cause the foul
fiend himself to blush, said that it was not _just_ and _honorable_ to
kill a comrade thus treacherously. He therefore, with the assent of the
whole demoniac gang, put the offender in irons and hung him.

The fleet speedily set sail for a distant island, where they were to
divide their ill-gotten plunder. Here they were greatly disappointed
in the amount which they had taken. It was all estimated at but fifty
thousand dollars. This was a small sum to be divided among so many
greedy claimants. This being known, it excited a general commotion.
Many of the pirates owed debts in Jamaica, which they were anxious
_honorably_ to pay.

Some of the gang were so dissatisfied that they left, with a part of
the vessels, to cruise on their own account. Morgan soon inspired
those who remained with his own indomitable energy. In a few days he
gathered a fleet of nine sail, manned by four hundred and seventy-five
pirates. Morgan told them that he had formed a plan which would
enrich them all. It was, however, necessary to keep it a profound
secret. If any one should turn traitor and reveal it, the plan might
be frustrated. They must therefore, for the present, trust in him and
implicitly follow his directions. He had already inspired them with
such confidence in his sagacity, zeal, and courage, that, without a
murmur, they yielded to these demands.

The whole fleet set sail for the continent, and, in a few days, arrived
off the coast of Costa Rica. Then Morgan assembled the captains of all
the vessels in his cabin, and informed them of his plan, which they
were to communicate to their several crews.

“I intend,” said Morgan, “to attack and plunder the city of Puerto
Velo. I am resolved to sack the whole city. Not a single corner shall
escape my vigilance. Large as the city is, the enterprise cannot fail
to succeed. We shall strike the people entirely by surprise; for I have
kept my plan an entire secret, and they cannot possibly know of our
coming.”

Some of the captains were alarmed in view of so bold an undertaking.
They said:

“Puerto Velo is the largest Spanish city in the New World excepting
Havana and Carthagena. It contains a population of between two and
three thousand, and has a garrison of three hundred soldiers. It has
two forts, which are deemed impregnable. These forts guard the entry
to the harbor, so that no ship or boat can pass without permission. We
have not a sufficient number of men to assault so strong a place.”

Morgan replied: “If we are few in numbers, we are bold in heart. The
fewer we are the greater will be each man’s share of the plunder.”

This last consideration had great weight with the pirates. The number
engaged in the sack of Puerto Principe was so great, that each one
murmured at the meagre share he received. Morgan was very familiar
with all this region, and was thoroughly acquainted with the avenues
to the city. In the dusk of the evening he ran his little fleet into
a solitary harbor, called Naos, about thirty miles from Puerto Velo.
There was a river, flowing into the harbor from the west, threading a
dense, tangled, almost uninhabited wilderness. Leaving their ships at
anchor, under guard of a few men, the pirates, “armed to the teeth,”
in crowded boats and canoes, ascended the river until, at midnight,
they reached a point but a few miles distant from the city. They
then landed and rapidly marched through a solitary Indian trail,
overshadowed by the gloom of a dense tropical forest, until they came
within sight of the lights gleaming from the battlements of the forts.

On the main avenue to the city, not far from the gate, they came upon
a solitary sentry, pacing his beat. Four men crept cautiously forward
in the darkness, seized him, gagged him, and brought him a prisoner
to Morgan. The pirate questioned his captive minutely, respecting the
troops in the city, and the means for defence. The trembling man was
threatened with death by the most horrible tortures, should it be found
that he had in the slightest degree deceived them. Having gained this
important information, they advanced upon the city.

The march of a mile brought them to the main fort, or Castle, as it was
called. The morning had not yet dawned. In the darkness they surrounded
it so completely that no one could either go in or out. Morgan then
sent the sentinel, whom he had captured, into the fort, with a demand
for its immediate surrender.

“If you yield at once,” said the message of the pirate, “your lives
shall be spared. But if there be the least resistance, or any delay,
I will cut to pieces every individual within the fort. Not one shall
escape.”

The commandant of the castle heeded not the threat, but opened fire
upon his foes. The report of his guns roused the city. The governor, as
speedily as possible, rallied all his forces and made such preparation
as he could for defence. The slumbering garrison, attacked so utterly
by surprise, were speedily overpowered. The pirates, breaking down the
gates, rushed in, and soon gained possession of the works. The castle
was but feebly prepared to repel an assault from the land side.

Morgan wished to strike a blow which should appal the whole city. The
magazine was abundantly stored with powder. There was a room by its
side, into which Morgan drove all his prisoners. Barring them in,
he laid a slow match, applied the torch, and with his gang retired.
There were a few moments of appalling silence. Then came a roar as
of ten thousand thunders. The very earth shook beneath the terrific
convulsion. There seemed to be a volcanic eruption of forked flame,
rocks, earth, guns, and mangled limbs, and the castle disappeared.
Every one of its inmates perished beneath its ruins.

The consternation in the city was terrible. There were runnings to and
fro, cries of anguish from mothers and maidens, while some were seeking
to conceal their treasures by throwing them into the wells or hastily
burying them in the cellars and the fields. In the frenzy of the hour
the governor found his attempts to rally the citizens utterly in vain.
With a few soldiers he threw himself into the second and only remaining
castle. The little band here assembled, knowing that no mercy could be
expected from the pirates, resolved to make as many of them bite the
dust as possible, before they themselves should fall. They therefore
opened an incessant and well-directed fire upon their assailants.

Near by there was a cloister, where there were priests and nuns. The
Spaniards regarded these religious orders with superstitious reverence.
Morgan seized them all as prisoners. He ordered his carpenters
immediately to make a number of scaling-ladders, so broad that four men
could ascend them abreast. He then compelled the ecclesiastics and the
nuns to carry the ladders and place them upon the walls of the fort.
The armed soldiers followed closely behind, shielded by their bodies.

The governor believed that the life of every Spaniard would be
sacrificed should they be taken. And he thought it better for both
priests and nuns that they should die outright than that they should
be left in the hands of the pirates. He therefore opened a vigorous
fire upon the approaching assailants, notwithstanding the rampart of
living bodies they had so infamously placed before them. The unhappy
inhabitants of the cloister cried out piteously to the governor,
imploring him to surrender the castle and thus spare their lives.

But the governor steeled his heart against their appeal. He fought
with desperation. Many of the priests and nuns were shot down. But
the pirates, in overpowering numbers, rushed on. They reached the top
of the wall. They threw down fire-balls and hand-grenades upon the
despairing defenders. When many had perished they leaped down, sword
in hand, amidst smoke and flame, and mercilessly slaughtered all the
survivors.

The heroic governor fought to the last. His wife and children, weeping
bitterly and upon their knees, entreated him to yield, hoping that thus
his life might be spared.

“No!” he exclaimed, “never. I had rather die like a soldier than be
hanged like a coward.”

Covered with wounds, he was at length cut down, and his gory, mangled
body was left uncared for. The castle was taken. The soldiers were
destroyed. The city was at the mercy of the captors. All the surviving
inhabitants of the town, who had not escaped into the woods, were
driven into the castle. Then the pirates commenced a scene of carousal
which pandemonium could not outrival. The nuns and all the mothers
and maidens were at their mercy. A veil must be cast over their horrid
deeds. When satiated with drunkenness, and every conceivable excess,
they commenced plundering the city.



CHAPTER XV.

_The Capture of Puerto Velo, and its Results._

  The Torture.--Sickness and Misery.--Measures of the Governor of
  Panama.--The Ambuscade.--Awful Defeat of the Spaniards.--Ferocity
  of the Pirates.--Strange Correspondence.--Exchange of
  Courtesies.--Return to Cuba, and Division of the Spoil.--Wild
  Orgies at Jamaica.--Complicity of the British Government
  with the Pirates.--The New Enterprise.--Arrival of the
  Oxford.--Destruction of the Cerf Volant.--Rendezvous at Samona.


The wretched citizens of the captured city of Puerto Velo were exposed
to every species of torture to force from them the discovery of where
their riches were concealed. Many of them had no knowledge they could
give of any hidden treasure. Day after day the most horrid scenes
of cruelty were enacted. Multitudes of men and women died under the
torture. For fifteen days the pirates remained amidst the ruins they
had created.

But in this world blows are seldom given without others being received
in return. Sickness came, with languor, pain, and groans of agony.
The deathbed is cheerless enough even when surrounded with all the
attentions of sympathy and love and tender care. To these wretched
men, in their homelessness and their terrible guilt, death must indeed
have come as the king of terrors. A painful, pestilential disease
seized them. Surrounded by the oaths and the clamor of demoniac men
they passed to the seat of final judgment.

In consequence of the unhealthiness of the climate at Puerto Velo, many
of the merchants, who had their warehouses at that port, resided in the
far more attractive city of Panama, but a few leagues distant, on the
Pacific coast. The governor of the province also resided at Panama.
Morgan sent two prisoners to the city to say to the residents there
that unless one hundred thousand dollars were sent to him he would lay
Puerto Velo in ashes.

But the governor had already heard of the arrival of the pirates. He
had collected an armed force, and was on the march to cut off their
retreat. In the mean time the vessels were brought up into the harbor
and were laden with the plunder. The ramparts were repaired, the
guns remounted, and all things put in readiness to repel an attack.
Every day many were put to the torture. Some died under the terrible
infliction. Many were maimed for life.

Hearing that the governor was on the march to attack them, Morgan
placed himself at the head of a hundred of his most determined men,
and marched forward to meet the foe. Every man was armed, in pirate
fashion, with a musket, several pistols in his belt, and a keen-edged
sabre. At a few leagues from the city they came to a narrow defile,
along whose circuitous path but two could march abreast. The tangled
thicket was on each side, with gigantic trees, and huge rocks buried in
the luxuriant verdure of the tropics. Here a whole army might lie in
impenetrable concealment.

And here Morgan, with great skill, placed his troops. Every man took
a position where he could have perfect command of some portion of the
track. With his hatchet he cut a loop-hole through the dense growth of
shrubs and interlacing vines. Thus, while quite invisible, he could
take deliberate aim. They were to wait in perfect silence until the
winding defile was filled with unsuspecting troops. Then, at a signal
from Morgan, every man was to fire. And every man was to take such aim
as to be sure that his bullet would strike down his victim.

The Spaniards, four or five hundred in number, soon appeared in rapid
march. Anticipating a bloody struggle with the pirates behind their
ramparts, they had no thought that they would leave such vantage-ground
to march forth to the encounter. Their only fear was that the pirates
might rush to their ships and thus escape. Hurrying heedlessly along,
they had filled the labyrinthine trail, when the deadly signal was
given. One hundred muskets were instantaneously exploded. One hundred
bullets were sent on their fatal mission. One hundred Spaniards were
either struck down in instantaneous death or wounded.

There was no time for thought; no time to rally. The case was clear.
The defeat was entire and remediless. Rapidly the pirates reloaded and
kept up a continuous fire. The Spaniards discharged their muskets at
random, hitting no one. Pell-mell, in awful confusion, they turned, and
struggling against their own numbers, rushed, as best they could, from
the defile. The narrow path was strewed with the dying and the dead.
With a shattered and bleeding remnant the governor returned to Panama
for reënforcements.

Morgan and his men, wishing that their deeds should strike terror
all around, emerged from their covert, dispatched the wounded with
pistol-shots or sabre-thrusts, searched the pockets of the dead, and,
leaving their bodies unburied, returned in triumph to their comrades.

In triumph! But what a triumph! They had now been fifteen days in
Puerto Velo. Famine and disease were assailing them with more cruel
attacks than sabre or pistol can inflict. Recklessly they had wasted
their provisions. They could not eat their gold or their silver, or the
spoil which they had stored away in the holds of their ships. They had
already consumed the mules and the horses. Their blood, inflamed by
debaucheries and almost boiling beneath a meridian sun, produced the
most loathsome and painful disorders. The slightest wound would fester
and cause death. No wonder they were reckless. Better far to die than
to live in such misery. This was the triumph to which the pirate Morgan
returned.

The Spanish prisoners suffered still more than their captors. Crowded
together in apartments whose awful impurity tainted the air; deprived
of every comfort; witnessing intense sufferings which they could
not alleviate, but which they were compelled to share; despondent,
starving, dying, there was for them no relief but such as death gives.

The Spanish governor, who had shown such utter want of military ability
in marching into the ambuscade, was as self-conceited and boastful as
he was incompetent. Notwithstanding his ignominious repulse, he sent to
Morgan the following message:

“If you do not immediately withdraw, with your ships, from Porto Velo,
I will march upon you with a resistless force. You shall receive no
quarter. Every man shall be put to death.”

Morgan sent back the reply, “If you do not immediately send me one
hundred and eighty thousand dollars in gold, I will lay every building
in Puerto Velo in ashes; I will blow up the forts; and I will put every
captive I have to the sword, man, woman, and child.”

The pride of the governor would not allow him to purchase the retreat
of the pirates. He sent to Carthagena imploring that some ships might
be sent from there to block up the pirates in the river. But they had
no sufficient force to make the attempt. The citizens were very anxious
to have the money sent. But the governor kept them in suspense in hopes
of gaining time.

“He was deaf and obdurate to all the entreaties of the citizens, who
sent to inform him that the pirates were not men, but devils, and
that they fought with such fury that the Spanish officers had stabbed
themselves in very despair, at seeing a supposed impregnable fortress
taken by a handful of people, when it should have held out against
twice that number.”[A]

[Footnote A: The Monarchs of the Main, by George W. Thornbury, Esq.,
vol. ii. p. 35.]

The governor was astonished at their exploits. Four hundred men had
captured a city which he said any general in Europe would have found
it necessary to blockade in due form. It is indicative of the almost
inconceivable state of public opinion in those times, that the governor
of Panama, Don Juan Perez de Guzman, who had acquired considerable
renown for his bravery in the wars in Flanders, should have sent
a courteous message to Morgan, expressive of his astonishment and
admiration in view of his heroic achievement, and begging Morgan to
send him a pattern of the arms with which he had gained so wonderful
a victory. The scornful pirate sent a common musket and a handful of
bullets to the governor, with the following sarcastic message:

“I beg your excellency to accept these as a small pattern of the arms
with which I have taken Puerto Velo. Your excellency need not trouble
yourself to return them. In the course of a twelvemonth I will visit
Panama in person, and will fetch them away myself.”

The governor replied: “I return the weapons you sent me, and thank you
for the loan of them. It is a pity that a man of so much courage is not
in the service of a great and good prince. I hope that Captain Morgan
will not trouble himself to come and see me at Panama. Should he do so,
he surely will not fare so well as he has at Puerto Velo.”

It is very difficult to credit the statement made by Thornbury that
“the envoy, having delivered this message, so chivalrous in its tone,
presented Morgan with a beautiful gold ring, set with a costly emerald,
as a remembrance of his master Don Guzman, who had already supplied the
English chief with fresh provisions.”[A]

[Footnote A: Monarchs of the Main, vol. i. p. 38.]

Puerto Velo was left to its fate. The pirates left scarcely anything
behind but the tiles and the paving-stones. Many of the best guns
Morgan carried off. Of the rest, all which he could not burst
he spiked. He then set sail. Behind him were smouldering ruins,
pestilence, poverty, misery, and death.

Eight days’ sail brought the fleet to Cuba. Upon that vast and sparsely
inhabited island there were many solitary harbors and coves where the
silence of the wilderness reigned. Into one of these lonely spots
Morgan ran his fleet. Here he divided the spoil. It was indeed a
beggarly pittance which they had obtained as the fruit of so much toil,
suffering, and crime. In coin or bullion they counted but two hundred
and sixty thousand dollars. There was a large amount of silks and other
merchandise, which, was not deemed of much value.

The division was amicably made, and they spread their sails to return
to Jamaica, there to squander, in a few days of insane excess, all
that they had gained through weary months of danger, toil, suffering,
and crime. The entrance of a richly laden piratic fleet into the
harbor of Kingston was an occasion of public rejoicing. The gamblers,
the courtezans, the rumsellers were all overjoyed. Even the children
expected to see the strange visitors scatter their doubloons through
the streets to be scrambled for.

We are told that every door was open to them, and that, for a whole
week, all loudly praised their generosity and their courage. At the
end of a month they had squandered all, and every door was shut in
their faces. Morgan was a drunkard as well as a robber. He spent his
gains as infamously and as speedily as did the rest. Shrewder men than
he emptied his purse at the gambling-table. The Delilahs of Jamaica
speedily transferred his jewels to their necks. But one short month had
passed away when Morgan and all his crew, utterly impoverished, were
eager for another expedition.

Undismayed by the past, this bold adventurer planned an enterprise of
such magnitude that he boasted that, at its close, both he and his men
might be able to retire, if they wished, with a sufficiency for the
rest of their days.

A rendezvous was appointed at De la Vaca or Cow Island, on the south
side of the Island of Hispaniola. This would be easily accessible by
the pirates, both French and English, ever swaggering through the
streets of Tortuga. Again the desperadoes rushed to his banner. They
came in boats and in small vessels and by land. Men enough were found
to furnish the adventurer with funds.

A large English ship, which mounted thirty-six guns, entered the harbor
of Kingston, Jamaica, from New England. This ship, the Oxford, carried
a crew of three hundred men. It was on a buccaneering cruise against
Spanish commerce. Oexemelin says that the ship actually belonged to the
King of England, Charles II. He had fitted it out at his own expense,
and the captain was employed in his service. What authority he had for
this astonishing assertion we know not. But it is certain that the
governor at Jamaica felt at liberty to send this ship to join Morgan’s
expedition. And when we subsequently find Charles II. conferring the
honor of knighthood on this desperate marauder, and appointing him
governor of Jamaica, the report receives much confirmation.

The harbor at Isle de la Vaca was a fine one. A large French ship,
the Cerf Volant, on a trading excursion, entered the port. The ship
was well armed, mounting twenty-four iron guns and twelve guns of
brass. The captain and crew, disappointed in the results of trade, were
disposed to try their luck as buccaneers. Morgan, anxious to secure
so powerful a ship, urged them to join his expedition. But the French
officers would not accede to his terms.

The Frenchman was about to weigh anchor and return to Tortuga. Several
of his crew, who were English sailors, had deserted him, and had been
received on board Morgan’s ships. Through them Morgan learned that
the captain of the Cerf Volant, being out of provisions, had stopped
an English vessel, taken from her sundry articles of food, for which
he had paid, not in coin, for he had none on hand, but in bills of
exchange cashable at Jamaica.

Morgan, who was seeking for some pretext under which he might seize the
French ship, decided to consider this an act of piracy. He invited the
officers of the Volant to dine with him, on board the splendid ship
which the governor of Jamaica had sent him. Unsuspicious of treachery,
the captain and his officers all came. While in the cabin, drinking
their wine, Morgan rose and denounced them as pirates who had robbed
an English vessel, and declared them to be his prisoners. At the same
moment a band of armed men came in and put them in irons. They could
make no resistance. He then took possession of the ship.

Soon after this he called a council of his officers to decide upon
their first expedition. They met in the cabin of the Volant. Several of
the French who had refused to join Morgan were prisoners in the hold.
After much deliberation they decided first to repair to the Island
of Savona, a few leagues south-east of San Domingo. A flotilla of
merchant-ships, under convoy, was daily looked for from Spain. It was
to be expected that, during this long voyage, some vessels would get
separated from the rest. These stragglers they hoped to cut off.

Having settled this question, the desperadoes commenced drinking and
carousing. A scene of uproar ensued with the intermingling of drunken
songs and unintelligible blasphemies. While the officers were thus
carousing in the cabin, the sailors, four hundred in number, were
engaged in equally wild orgies in their quarters of the ship. As
the toasts were drained, broadsides were discharged, by men reeling
in drunkenness around their smoking guns. Some were cursing, some
fighting, some sleeping in deathly stupor.

The magazine, amply stored with powder, was near the bows of the boat.
Powder was carelessly scattered over the decks. Suddenly there was a
terrific explosion. The whole ship seemed lifted into the air, as by
some volcanic power. Dense volumes of sulphurous smoke, pierced with
forked flame, enveloped the scene, shutting it out from the view of all
around. Then there were seen, ejected hundreds of feet into the air,
massive timbers, and ponderous cannon, and the mangled bodies of three
hundred and fifty men. But thirty of the crew escaped.

The officers’ cabin, far in the stern of the boat, escaped the force
of the explosion. Though the revellers there were terrified, stunned,
almost smothered with smoke, and many of them severely wounded, they
escaped with their lives.

Such was the end of the Cerf Volant. This only did Morgan gain by his
treachery. “Morgan,” says Esquemeling, “had captured the ship. And God
only could take it from him. And God did so.”

For eight days the bodies of the dead were seen floating upon the
waters of the bay. Morgan sent out boats to collect these bodies, not
for burial, but for plunder. The pockets were searched. The clothing,
when good, was stripped off. The heavy gold rings, which nearly all the
sailors wore, were taken, and then the bodies were abandoned to the
sharks and the carrion birds.

Morgan, upon a review of his forces, found that he had fifteen
vessels, large and small, and eight hundred and sixty men. With these
he set sail for Savona. Head winds impeded their progress. Three weeks
had elapsed ere they reached the eastern extremity of Hispaniola.
Eight hundred hungry men consume a vast amount of food each day. Their
provisions ran short. They chanced to meet an English ship which had
a superfluity for sale. Thus recruited, they pressed on, in a long
straggling line, until eight of the ships reached a harbor called Ocoa,
on the southern coast of the great island. Here he cast anchor to wait
the arrival of the rest of the fleet.



CHAPTER XVI.

_The Expedition to Maracaibo._

  The Delay at Ocoa.--Hunting Excursions.--The Repulse.--Cities
  of Venezuela.--The Plan of Morgan.--Suggestions of Pierre
  Picard.--Sailing of the Expedition.--They Touch at
  Oruba.--Traverse Venezuela.--Enter Lake Maracaibo.--Capture of
  the Fort.--The City Abandoned.--Atrocities of the Pirates.


At Ocoa, on the Island of Hispaniola, the pirates remained several days
waiting for the arrival of the other vessels, which were unaccountably
lagging behind. Every morning Morgan sent a party of eight men, from
each ship, upon the island as hunters, in search of game. He also sent
a body of armed men to protect them from any attack by the Spaniards.
Though there were many Spaniards upon the island, they did not feel
strong enough to assail so great a force as the pirates could muster.
They, however, sent to the city of San Domingo for three or four
hundred men, to kill or drive away all the cattle and game around the
Bay of Ocoa. They hoped thus to starve out the buccaneers, and compel
them to depart.

Goaded by hunger, a band of fifty of Morgan’s men ventured far into
the woods. The Spaniards, who were watching them, drew them into an
ambuscade. The pirates were outnumbered and surrounded. With cries of
“Kill, kill,” the Spaniards opened a sudden and deadly fire. But these
desperadoes, accustomed to every kind of danger, could not be thrown
into a panic. Instantly they formed themselves into a hollow square,
and keeping a rolling fire from the four sides, slowly retreated
to their ships. Many fell by the way, dead or wounded. Many of the
Spaniards were also slain.

The next day, Morgan, rendered furious by the discomfiture, landed
himself, at the head of two hundred men, to take dire revenge upon his
foes. But no foe was to be met. Finding his search useless, he gave
vent to his rage in burning all the dwellings he encountered, from
which the Spaniards had fled.

Still the seven missing ships did not appear. After waiting a few days
more, he decided to delay no longer. Spreading his sails, he steered
his course for the Island of Savona. But none of the missing vessels
were there. While waiting, he sent several boats, with crews amounting
to one hundred and fifty well-armed men, to plunder several of the
small towns upon the San Domingo coast. But in the capital city and
all along the shore scouts were on the watch. Sentinels were placed
upon every headland. The moment the boats appeared in sight, signals
were given. At every point where a landing was attempted such energetic
resistance was presented, that the pirates were compelled to retreat.

They returned to Morgan with this discouraging report. He was in a
towering rage, and with sneers and curses denounced them as cowardly
poltroons. As no longer delay could be safely indulged in, and as the
missing vessels did not arrive, he made another review of his fleet and
army, and found that he had eight vessels of various sizes and about
five hundred men.

Upon the coast of Venezuela there was a large and opulent city, called
Caraccas. It was the capital of the province of Venezuela, and had
been founded nearly one hundred years before, in 1567, by the Spanish
Government. It was a well-built and beautiful city, delightfully
situated, in the enjoyment of a salubrious climate, and enriched by
extensive commerce. Near by were Valencia, Barcelona, and Cumana, all
important commercial ports. The latter place was the oldest city on the
continent of South America. It was established in 1523. The plunder of
these four cities would indeed enrich the marauders. And Morgan, in
command of fifteen vessels, and with an army of fifteen hundred men did
not doubt that he could effect their capture, one by one, if he could
strike them entirely by surprise. But it was folly to attempt it with
eight vessels and five hundred men.

There was a Frenchman in command of one of Morgan’s ships, by the name
of Pierre Picard. This man, several years before, had been the pilot
of Lolonois’s fleet, in his capture and destruction of Maracaibo and
Gibraltar, of which expedition we have already given an account. During
the intervening years those places had, in a very considerable degree,
recovered from their disasters. Again they presented riches sufficient
to entice the buccaneers.

Picard was a remarkable man, of great resources. He was a bold soldier
and a skilful sailor. Familiar with all these waters, fearless and
unscrupulous, with French plausibility of address, and speaking the
English language with volubility and correctness, he gained great
influence over Morgan.

A council of the officers was called. He proposed an attack upon
Maracaibo and Gibraltar. A chart was presented exhibiting the course to
be run, the channels to be threaded, the forces to be encountered, and
the means of overcoming them.

His proposition was received with general acclaim, and the fleet
weighed anchor. After several days’ sail to the south, they reached
an island called Oruba. It was inhabited only by natives. They had a
large stock of sheep, lambs, goats, and kids. Here the pirates cast
anchor, to take in water and provisions. For once these marauders
seemed to come to the conclusion that honesty was more politic than
thievery, and that it was easier to buy a goat with a skein of thread,
than to steal it, and thus rouse the hostility of the whole native
population. They remained here twenty-four hours, acting as nearly
like honest men as such a gang of thieves, drunkards, and desperadoes
could do. They filled their water-casks, and laid in quite a store of
provisions, which they bought, though without money and almost without
price.

They were now within a day’s sail of Maracaibo. They were anxious that
the natives should not know their destination, lest in some way they
might give the alarm. Therefore the anchors were raised and the sails
spread in the night. When the morning dawned the islanders looked in
vain for the fleet.

During the day the ships came in sight of the cluster of islands which
are found at the entrance of the Lake of Maracaibo. A fair breeze from
the north had swept them rapidly through the Gulf of Venezuela. Just
within the narrows which connected the gulf with the lake, there was
a mountainous island called Vigilia. Upon one of its eminences there
was a watch-tower erected, where sentinels were stationed, ever on the
lookout to give warning of the approach of any suspicious craft.

Just as the fleet reached this point the wind died away into a perfect
calm. Though Morgan made every endeavor to cast anchor out of sight
of the watch-tower, the vigilant eyes of the sentinels detected him.
The alarm was instantly sent up to the city. Twelve hours passed away
before there was a breath of wind to ripple the crystal surface of the
lake. It was then four o’clock in the morning. All this time had been
granted the Spaniards to prepare for their defence.

At a little distance beyond Vigilia there was a narrow channel to be
threaded, which was defended by a fort. Not deeming it safe to expose
his vessels to the heavy guns of the Spaniards, and knowing that the
works would be weak on the land side, he manned his boats, and marching
through the woods struck his foes in the rear. The garrison had made
arrangements for the most desperate resistance. They had burned all the
huts around the walls of the fort, and had removed everything which
could afford the assailants any shelter.

The defenders of the works numbered probably not more than thirty or
forty men. Nearly five hundred reckless desperadoes emerged from the
woods for the assault. They were all veterans, and all sharpshooters.
Not a hand could be exposed but a bullet would strike it. Such a storm
of balls were thrown with unerring aim in at every embrasure, that the
guns could not be worked.

When the pirates, in their large numbers, first appeared emerging from
the forest, the fort opened a fire so intense and continuous that it
resembled the crater of a small volcano in most rapid eruption. But
the pirates, who could return ten bullets for every one received, and
who were careful that every bullet should accomplish its mission, soon
caused the fire to slacken. Still the fight continued for many hours,
till night came, with no apparent advantage on either side.

With the darkness the conflict ceased. Morgan sent a party cautiously
forward to reconnoitre. No light was to be seen. No sound was to be
heard. Solitude and silence reigned. The fort was deserted. With shouts
the pirates rushed forward to take possession of the works. The loud
voice of Morgan arrested them. He was as cautious as he was brave. A
party of engineers was dispatched, led by Morgan himself, to search
lest there might be lighted fuses leading to the magazine. Morgan was
the first to enter. His quick eve discerned the gleam of a fuse slowly
creeping toward the magazine, where three thousand pounds of gunpowder
were stored. It was instantly trampled out.

But for this caution, five hundred pirates would have swarmed all
over the fort. There would have been an earthquake roar, a volcanic
upheaval, and not one of those five hundred desperadoes would have
survived to tell the story of the retribution which had so suddenly
befallen them.

The fort was a small but strong redoubt, or outwork, built of stone,
circular in form, with a massive wall thirty feet high. It was only
accessible by an iron ladder which could be let down from a guard-room.
It mounted fourteen cannons, of eight, twelve, and fourteen pound
calibre. There was also found a quantity of fire-pots, hand-grenades,
pikes, and muskets.

The pirates had no time to lose. It was needful to press forward as
rapidly as possible, for every hour the inhabitants of the city might
be adding to their defences. They blew up a portion of the wall; spiked
the cannon, and threw them over the ramparts; burned the gun-carriages,
and destroyed all the material of war which they could not carry away
with them.

The way was now open for the passage of the fleet up the lake to the
very entrance of the harbor. With the earliest dawn the fleet spread
its sails, leaving behind the smouldering ruins of the fort. The
breeze was light, the shoals many, the channel intricate. It was not
until the next day that they came within sight of the city. There was
still another fort to be passed at the very mouth of the port. Morgan
stood upon his quarter-deck, spy-glass in hand. He could see the
Spanish cavaliers at work on the ramparts, and had reason to expect a
very desperate resistance. Again he decided not to expose his ships to
the cannonade which the heavy guns of the fort could bring to bear upon
them.

Casting anchor out of gun-shot, he disembarked his forces in the boats.
They were ordered not to meddle with the fort, but to march in two
divisions through the woods, and attack the town at points which the
artillery of the fort could not protect. The guns of the fleet were
brought to bear upon all the adjacent thickets, that no foe might find
there a lurking-place.

The landing was effected without opposition. The march, through the
narrow mule-paths, was undisputed. The town was reached. But there
was no foe there; no inhabitant there. All had fled. Warned by the
awful fate which had befallen Maracaibo, but a few years before, when
sacked by the pirates under Lolonois, the citizens, men, women, and
children, had fled utterly panic-stricken. It is easy for a man of any
ordinary courage to brave death in the performance of duty. But who can
endure demoniac torture? Who can bear the idea of seeing his wife, his
daughter, his child exposed to every indignity, every cruelty which
demons in human form can devise?

Maracaibo was emptied of its population. All had sought refuge in the
forest, with speed to which terror lent wings. The aged, the sick had
fled. Even the dying were carried away. And it is stated without denial
that the ship, the Oxford, which took the lead in this enterprise,
belonged to Charles II., King of England. This royal buccaneer had
equipped it, had manned it, and was to share in the spoil. And he
rewarded the demoniac leader of this demoniac gang with the honors of
a baronetcy; and appointed him governor over one of the most important
colonies of Great Britain. Such scenes were enacted only two hundred
years ago. Surely the world has made some progress.

The fugitives had taken with them everything they could carry. There
were no carriage roads in those parts. But there were many narrow
mule-paths, leading in various directions. On pack-mules and horses
much treasure had been removed. Two days had elapsed since the alarm
had resounded through the streets, “The pirates are coming.”

The houses were empty. The doors were left wide open. The chambers
were stripped of everything valuable. Nearly all the gold and silver
and jewels had of course disappeared. There were some houses of much
elegance in the place, sumptuously furnished. The pirates rushed
through the streets, searching for the richest palaces for their
barracks. The churches they wantonly defiled and converted into
prison-houses. Not a vessel or a boat was left in the port. All had
been used, by the terrified fugitives, to escape far away upon the wide
lake beyond.

Morgan, chagrined at the loss of so much anticipated treasure,
instantly dispatched one hundred fleet-footed men to pursue the
encumbered and heavily laden refugees, along all the trails. Scarcely
any provisions could be found in the town. The fugitives had taken the
wise precaution to destroy what they could not carry away. The little
fort which guarded the harbor was merely a half-moon rampart facing the
water, and mounting but four cannon. These works the Spaniards had of
course abandoned.

The men who had been dispatched in pursuit of the Spaniards returned
the next evening. They brought with them thirty prisoners, and fifty
mules laden with valuables. The prisoners were feeble men and women
of the poorest class. The owners of the richly laden mules, seeing
the approach of the pirates, had abandoned all, and outstripped the
pursuers in their flight. The unhappy captives were put to the torture,
but nothing could be wrested from them.

This Morgan, subsequently Sir Henry Morgan, governor of Jamaica,
suspended his prisoners by the beard; hung them up horizontally by
cords bound around their toes and thumbs; placed burning matches
between their fingers; scourged them; twisted cords around their
heads till their eyes burst from their sockets, and perpetrated other
enormities too horrible to be mentioned.

“Thus,” writes Esquemeling, “all sort of inhuman cruelties were
executed upon these innocent people. Those who would not confess, or
who had nothing to declare, died under the hands of those tyrannical
men. These tortures and racks continued for the space of three whole
weeks; in which time they ceased not to send out daily parties of men
to seek for more people to torment and rob: they never returned home
without booty and new riches.”

In one of these excursions they captured two negro slaves, who were
faint for loss of food. They were both put to the torture, to compel
them to reveal where their master was concealed. One, the elder of the
two, endured the horrible torment without a word, and almost without
a groan, till death came to his release. The other captive, a young
man, just emerging from boyhood, bore up bravely until the agony became
utterly unendurable. He then offered to lead them to his master. The
wealthy Spaniard was soon taken, and with him the exultant pirates
seized thirty thousand dollars in silver.

In such days of disaster and woe, families, flying into the wilderness,
would cling together. Morgan had gradually captured one hundred of the
most prominent families. He had also acquired an unexpectedly large
amount of plunder, in silver, gold, bullion, and rich merchandise.

Captain Picard was very exultant in view of the success of the
enterprise which he had suggested and guided. He now urged that they
should advance upon the city of Gibraltar. It will be remembered that
this place was at the head of the lake, about one hundred miles south
from Maracaibo. Morgan embarked his prisoners and all of his plunder on
board his fleet and spread his sails for this new enterprise.



CHAPTER XVII.

_Adventures on the Shores of Lake Maracaibo._

  Preparations for the Defence of Gibraltar.--The Hidden
  Ships.--The Hiding-place of the Governor and the
  Women.--Disasters and Failure.--Capture of the Spanish
  Ships.--The Retreat Commenced.--Peril of the Pirates.--Singular
  Correspondence.--Strength of the Spanish Armament.--The
  Public Conference of the Pirates.--The Naval Battle.--The
  Fire-Ship.--Wonderful Achievement of the Pirates.


Before Morgan weighed anchor for his expedition to Gibraltar, he sent
two Spanish prisoners to the city to say that if they made a peaceable
surrender of the place, without attempting to conceal or carry off
their valuables, their lives should be spared. But if any resistance
were offered, the city should be laid in ashes and every individual put
to the sword.

But ample time had been given to the citizens of Gibraltar to prepare
for a vigorous defence. The garrison from Maracaibo had also fled to
her forts. The troops were landed a mile and a half from the town, and
marched through the woods to attack the foe in the rear. The Spaniards
had anticipated this movement and were prepared to meet it. Still
they were baffled by the strategy of Morgan. Instead of advancing by
the regular route, he employed a large party of sappers and miners to
cut a new path through the woods. Thus he approached the city without
exposing his men to storm ramparts bristling with artillery and
musketry.

The Spaniards had no time to throw up new intrenchments. It was
evident, even to the most unintelligent soldier, that all was lost.
Their hearts sank within them, and soldiers and citizens fled with the
utmost precipitation. So general was the flight that the pirates, when
they entered the streets of Gibraltar, found but one single man there,
and he was a semi-idiot. Even that weak creature they tortured. The
poor wretch cried out:

“Do not torture me any more, and I will show you my riches.”

The pirates thought, or pretended to think, that he was some rich
person assuming the disguise of poverty and semi-insanity. He led
them to a miserable hovel containing only a few earthern pots. He dug
up, from under the hearth, three dollars which he had buried there.
Still they affirmed that he was a grandee in disguise, and commenced
torturing him anew. In his agony he cried out:

“In the name of Jesus; in the name of the Virgin Mary, what will you do
with me, Englishmen? I am a poor man. I live on alms. I sleep in the
hospital.”

He died under their hands. They dragged him aside and covered him
with a few shovelfuls of earth. Some of the slaves, who had been
inhumanly treated by their masters, now took revenge, and revealed
their hiding-places to the pirates. A poor lame peasant, with his two
daughters, was brought in. Appalled by the terrors of the rack, he
promised to lead them through the woods to a retreat where several of
the Spaniards were concealed. But the Spaniards, vigilantly on the
watch, fled. The pirates, in the rage of their disappointment, hung the
poor peasant. What became of his daughters we are not informed.

But I cannot torture my readers with a narrative of these horrors. They
were dreadful beyond all powers of description. It seems inexplicable
that God could have permitted such awful deeds.

Parties, thoroughly armed, were sent out to explore the region for many
miles around. One of the slaves promised to conduct Captain Morgan to
a river flowing into the lake, where there was a ship and four large
boats richly laden with merchandise, taken both from Gibraltar and
from Maracaibo. He also promised to lead a party to the place where
the governor of Gibraltar was concealed, with most of the females of
the city. The capture of the governor, for whom a great ransom could
be expected to save him from death by torture, and the capture of the
females, were deemed matters of the greatest moment by these demoniac
pirates.

Morgan himself took a party of two hundred men, with the slave as a
guide, and set out on an expedition to capture the governor and the
women. At the same time he dispatched another party of one hundred men
in two large boats, to seize the ships. They were to coast along the
shores of the solitary lake until they reached the mouth of the river
where the vessels of the refugees were concealed.

The governor was on the alert. His scouts watched all the approaches to
his retreat. It required a very painful and laborious march of two days
for the pirates to reach the spot where the fugitives were intrenched.
The governor, with much sagacity, had selected a large island in a
river. The region was difficult of approach, leading through the
roughest paths of tangled thickets and bogs. God seemed to frown upon
the pirates. The rain fell in floods upon them. They were drenched to
the skin. Many mountain torrents they were compelled to ford, wading up
to the waist through the foaming water. They sank to the hips in the
softened marshes. Their shoes were torn from their feet. Their clothes
were rent and their skin pierced by the thorns.

When they reached the river they found the current rapid and the
channel deep. There were no boats with which to cross. These desperate
men were provided for every emergence. They soon constructed canoes
and crossed the stream. But in the hurried passage many of the canoes
were swamped and the men lost. Upon reaching the island they found that
the governor had taken refuge on a densely wooded and craggy mountain.
The path which led to the summit, winding through the thickets and the
immense rocks, was so narrow that it could only be mounted in single
file.

In fording the rivers and wading through the bogs, and breasting the
rain and the gale, all of the ammunition of the pirates had been
injured, and much of it utterly spoiled. The whole party was in such a
condition, that Esquemeling writes:

“If the Spaniards, in that juncture of time, had had but a troop of
fifty men, well armed with pikes or spears, they might have entirely
destroyed the pirates, without any possible resistance on their side.”

The governor was not aware of this. Prudently he remained upon the
defensive. He had several of the soldiers of the garrison with him,
and an ample supply of ammunition. His men were admirably posted behind
rocks and trees, so that had the pirates persisted in their endeavor to
ascend the mountain, every man must have perished. And it is doubtful
whether they could have inflicted even a wound upon their unseen
assailants.

Morgan perceived that the case was hopeless. Discouraged and maddened
he commenced a retreat. Twelve days passed from the time they commenced
their enterprise before Morgan, with his diminished and shattered
party, returned to Gibraltar. They had, however, captured on the way
quite a number of fugitives whom they had found scattered through
the woods, and also a considerable amount of money. They took a sort
of fiendish pleasure, on their return, in seeing the aged women and
the children swept away by the foaming mountain torrents, which they
forded. They returned to Gibraltar exasperated, and prepared to inflict
severer torture upon all their captives.

The party sent to take the vessels were a little more successful. The
Spaniards had unloaded the vessels and conveyed to unknown distances
much of their cargoes. Hearing of the approach of the pirates, they
fled precipitately, leaving behind them all which they had not removed,
or which they could not immediately destroy. Still there were many
bales of goods left in the vessels and on the shore. These the pirates
seized and carried back to their ships.

When the pirates had been five weeks in Gibraltar, plundering,
torturing, carousing, the failure of provisions rendered it necessary
for them to depart. But first they sent some of their prisoners back
into the woods to find their hidden companions, and to say to them
that unless they sent Morgan, as a ransom for the city, five thousand
dollars, in gold or silver, he would lay every building of the city in
ashes. Those ruined men went forth on this sad mission. After searching
every nook and corner for a long time, they came back to state that
they could not find anybody. The terrified Spaniards had fled far
beyond the reach of a day’s exploration.

They said, however, that if Morgan would have a little patience and
give them eight days, they would endeavor to raise the money. The
pirate replied:

“I am going to Maracaibo. I shall take with me eight of your most
prominent citizens, whom I hold as captives. I shall regard them as
hostages for the payment of the ransom. If within eight days the money
is paid, they will be set at liberty. If the money is not paid, they
must suffer the penalty.”

And what was that penalty? Death; and probably death by torture. Morgan
began to feel a little solicitude about his retreat. In five weeks the
Spaniards must have had time to assemble troops from various parts of
the province, to repair the fortifications of Maracaibo, and to throw
very serious obstacles in the way of his passing through the straits
which connected Lake Maracaibo with the Gulf of Venezuela.

Influenced by this consideration, they moved with haste. Weighing their
anchors and spreading their sails, with their fleet laden with plunder,
they now directed their course toward Maracaibo. Baffled by light or
contrary winds, four days passed before they reached the city. Here
they found the same silence and desolation which they had left behind
them. There was but one person in the place--a poor old man, sick and
almost bed-ridden.

He gave them the alarming intelligence that three Spanish men-of-war
were cruising off the head of the lake, watching their return. They
had also repaired the fort which Morgan had partially destroyed,
had mounted the guns anew, garrisoned the works with experienced
artillerymen, and placed all things in posture for a vigorous defence.
Over the redoubt the flag of Castile was proudly waving.

Morgan sent one of his swiftest boats down the lake to reconnoitre
the state of affairs. The boat came back the next day, confirming the
statements. The ships were large and evidently well manned, as well
as powerfully armed. The largest mounted forty-nine guns; the next,
thirty-eight guns of different calibre, and the smallest, sixteen guns
of large calibre, and eight of less. Morgan could not hope to contend
successfully against forces so much superior to his own. The commander
of this fleet was Don Alonzo Espinosa. He was vice-admiral of the
West-Indian fleet. His little squadron had been sent to those seas to
protect Spanish commerce, and to put to the sword every pirate he could
take. The pirates were thrown into a state of great consternation.
Their largest ship carried but fourteen guns. There seemed no possible
escape for them by sea or by land.

Whatever might have been Morgan’s secret feeling, he assumed an air of
the utmost confidence. With audacity most extraordinary, considering
the circumstances, he sent a Spanish prisoner to Admiral Espinosa, with
the message that unless he immediately forwarded to him twenty-eight
thousand dollars, in silver or gold, he would apply the torch to
Maracaibo, and every building should be consumed.

The reply of the admiral was dated “On board the royal ship Magdalen,
lying at anchor at the entry of Lake Maracaibo, this 24th day of April,
1669.” In it Espinosa wrote:

“My intention is to dispute your passage out of the lake, and to
pursue you wherever you may go. But if you will surrender all that
you have taken, with all your prisoners, I will let you pass without
molestation. But if you make any resistance, I will send my boats up to
Maracaibo, and you shall be utterly destroyed. Every man shall be put
to the sword. This is my fixed determination. I have good soldiers, who
desire nothing more earnestly than to revenge on you, and your people,
the outrages and cruelties you have committed on the Spanish nation.”

Morgan, upon the reception of this letter, summoned all his men to meet
in the market-place of Maracaibo. He submitted the question to them
whether they would avail themselves of this offer, and thus escape with
their lives, or run the risk of a battle with the Spanish squadron. The
vote was unanimous that they would rather shed the last drop of blood
they had, than give up the treasure they had obtained at the expense of
so much danger and suffering. One of the pirates stepped forward, and
said:

“Captain Morgan, I will undertake, with twelve men, to destroy the
largest of those ships. I will convert the large vessel we captured
up the river into a fire-ship. We will fill her full of the most
combustible matter. Then we will place images of men around, and sham
guns, made of logs of wood, at the port-holes, and unfurl the English
flag. The crew of the admiral’s ship, not doubting that we are bearing
down to give them battle, will not think of attempting to escape. We
will run directly upon the Magdalen, throw our grappling-irons aboard,
and, when both ships are instantly wrapped in flames, will, in the
confusion, take to our boats, and reach some vessel near by.”

The proposition was accepted with general acclaim. Still Morgan decided
to make one more effort to escape without the peril and inevitable loss
of a battle. Even should it utterly fail, he would gain time to prepare
for the attack by the fire-ship. He therefore sent two of his prisoners
to Espinosa, with this announcement:

“If the vice-admiral will pledge his honor that I may retire without
being attacked, I will abandon Maracaibo, without burning the town
or exacting any ransom. I will also set at liberty all the Spanish
prisoners I have taken. The hostages I hold from Gibraltar shall be
sent home, without exacting the ransom which was promised.” The admiral
replied:

“I will listen to no terms of accommodation different from those which
I have proposed. If the prisoners and the booty are not voluntarily
surrendered to me within two days, I will advance to your destruction.”

In the mean time all hands were at work constructing the fire-ship.
All the pitch, tar, and brimstone in the city were collected. Dried
palm-leaves were gathered, in vast numbers, and smeared over with tar.
Packages, containing several pounds of powder, were scattered through
the loose mass. New port-holes were cut to let the air in to fan the
flames. Many images of men were stationed along the decks, with caps on
their heads and armed with muskets and pikes. The ship was so disguised
that no one would doubt that it was a war-ship. From such the admiral
of the Spanish fleet would surely make no effort to escape.

All things being ready, Morgan exacted an oath from every man that
he would fight to the last drop of his blood; that he would neither
give nor take quarter. The Spanish fleet had passed through the strait
to the entrance of the lake, and was riding at anchor just above the
fort, which it will be remembered they had occupied, strengthened, and
strongly garrisoned. Thus the pirates, before they could escape into
the Gulf of Venezuela, must not only destroy the fleet, but also sail
by the fort exposed to the terrible cannonade of its heavy ordnance.

On the evening of April 30th, 1669, Morgan spread his sails, and ran
down the lake until he came in sight of the foe. Darkness was then
coming on and he cast anchor. The morning of the first of May dawned
cloudless, over those vast solitudes of land and water, where a few
adventurers from a distance of nearly ten thousand miles had met to
crimson the waves with their blood, and to cause forest and lake and
mountain to resound with the thunders of their demoniac fightings.

With the first gleam of light in the east, Morgan’s fleet weighed its
anchors and spread its sails. A fresh breeze from the south swelled
their canvas. The fire-ship, with its wooden men and wooden guns, and
which was prepared in an instant to flame into a volcano, bore down
upon the Magdalen. Promptly the crew cleared the decks for action.
Little did they dream of the foe whose resistless fury they were to
encounter.

The fire-ship ran with a crash against the Spanish frigate. The boat
of escape was ready with the men at the oars. The torch was applied at
several places to make certainty doubly certain. The boat pushed off
with rapid strokes, and scarcely one single moment elapsed before both
ships were enveloped in densest smoke and flashing, consuming flame.

In an instant it was seen by all that the great achievement was
accomplished; that the majestic man-of-war, in all its pride and
strength, was doomed to immediate destruction. No escape was possible.
No resistance could be of the slightest avail. Not a boat could be
launched. There was no time for thought even. Many of the sailors were
instantly burned to a crisp as the forked flames encircled among them,
wrapping them in its cruel embrace. All, who could, plunged into the
sea. Many were drowned. A few strong swimmers reached the other vessels
and were saved. Among these was the Admiral Espinosa.

The pirates gazed upon the awful spectacle with shouts of exultation.
They had sworn to give no quarter. The drowning wretches presented but
attractive targets for their sharpshooters. Boats put off from several
of their nearer vessels to knock them in the head.

The second Spanish ship in size, which was called the St. Louis,
mounted, as we have said, thirty-eight guns in all. The crew consisted
of two hundred sailors. Seeing the utter destruction of the flagship,
and that they were exposed to be attacked by the whole force of the
pirates, they ran back beneath the guns of the fort. To prevent the
ship from falling into the hands of the pirates they ran her ashore,
scuttled her, and took refuge behind the intrenchments.

The third ship was called the Marquesas. It carried, as we have
mentioned, twenty-four guns, large and small, and a crew of one hundred
and fifty men. This vessel was so surrounded by the pirates that she
could not escape. Her capture was effected with scarcely any conflict.
Infamous as was the cause in which these pirates were engaged, it is
difficult to withhold our admiration from the skill and the courage
with which the great achievement was accomplished.

In less than one hour these Spanish war-ships, armed with the best
Spanish ordnance, and manned by over six hundred combatants, were
utterly destroyed or taken by the pirates, now but about three hundred
in number, and whose largest ship mounted but fourteen guns. It is one
of the most extraordinary feats in naval warfare. One of the historians
of the time says: “The fire-ship fell upon the Spaniard, and clung to
its sides like a wildcat on an elephant.”

But still the pirates were by no means out of their difficulties.
Their ships were all in Lake Maracaibo. A narrow and serpentine strait
was to be threaded before they could enter the Gulf of Venezuela, by
which alone they could gain access to the ocean. Here again the genius
of Morgan came to the rescue. In the first place he collected all the
prisoners he could, men, women, and children, and had them firmly
secured. His plan was to compel the admiral to let him pass the fort
unmolested, by threatening otherwise to put them all to death.

Among his captives there was a pilot of one of the Spanish ships. Upon
being closely questioned, he made the following statement:

“We were sent by orders from the Supreme Council of Spain, with
instructions to exterminate the English pirates. The Spanish court
has made many complaints to the King of England of the hostilities
committed here by the English. The king has ever replied that he had
never given any commissions for such hostilities; that these were
individual acts which the Government could not control, and for which
they were not responsible.

“Hereupon the King of Spain resolved to protect his subjects and punish
the perpetrators of these outrages. He fitted a fleet of six ships.
Three of these, after an extended cruise, hearing of the attack upon
Maracaibo, arrived here. The vice-admiral took possession of the fort,
remounted its guns, adding several of large calibre, and added a
hundred men to its original garrison whom he recalled.”

Morgan returned to Maracaibo to plan for his escape. The Marquesas,
which he had captured, was larger than any vessel of his own, and more
heavily armed. He refitted this, making it his flagship. The one he had
before occupied was intrusted to one of his captains.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_A New Expedition Planned._

  The Threat to Espinosa.--Adroit Stratagem.--Wonderful
  Escape.--The Storm.--Revelry at Jamaica.--History of
  Hispaniola.--Plan of a New Expedition.--The Foraging
  Ships.--Morgan’s Administrative Energies.--Return of
  the Foragers.--Rendezvous at Cape Tiburon.--Magnitude
  and Armament of the Fleet.--Preparations to Sail.


Morgan, in the self-assurance of triumph, sent word to the governor of
Maracaibo, that unless he sent him, within eight days, five hundred
beef cattle, the city of Maracaibo should be reduced to smouldering
ruins. They were sent in within two days. All hands were employed in
butchering, salting, and storing away the meat in preparation for sea.

Returning with his fleet to the mouth of the lake, Morgan sent word
to Admiral Espinosa that he had, on board his ships, between two and
three hundred prisoners, including one hundred and fifty sailors of the
Spanish fleet, who were captured in the Marquesas. He demanded a free
passage, promising, if that were granted him, he would send all his
prisoners unharmed ashore, as soon as his fleet was safe on the other
side of the fort.

If this free passage were not granted him, he declared that he would
force his way through; and that he would bind all his prisoners to the
rigging, that they might be the most exposed to the shot from the fort;
and that having passed by, every one who survived the cannonade should
be killed and thrown overboard. The prisoners, well instructed in the
cruelty and the inflexible will of this demoniac pirate, sent the
most pathetic appeals to the admiral to save them from this dreadful
fate. He, influenced by the pride of the soldier rather than by human
sympathies, unfeelingly replied:

“If you had been as loyal to the king in hindering the entrance of
these pirates as I shall be in hindering their going out, you would
never have caused these troubles either to yourselves or to our whole
nation, which hath suffered so much through your pusillanimity. I shall
not grant your request; but shall endeavor, according to my duty, to
maintain that respect which is due to my king.”

When Morgan heard of this reply he said: “Very well; if the admiral
will not give me permission to pass, I will find a way of passing
without his permission.”

Before attempting to run through the strait, all the pirates landed
for a division of the booty. In making an inventory of their effects it
was found that they had, in gold, silver, and jewels, two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars. They had a still larger sum than this in the
vast amount of merchandise which they had gathered from all the ships
and store-houses of the two cities. They had also a large number of
slaves, who brought cash prices in all the ports of the West Indies.

The escape was effected by the following ingenious stratagem. Morgan
filled his boats with men, and rowed beneath the boughs which hung
densely over the banks of the river, until he arrived at a concealed
spot, where he pretended to land them. He took care, however, so to
conduct the movement that the Spaniards in the fort should catch
glimpses of it. The landing, however, was merely feigned. The men
concealed themselves in the bottom of the boats, and were rowed back
to the ships. Not one was left on the shore. In this way, by repeated
excursions with the boats, apparently several hundred men were
disembarked.

The admiral, well aware of the ferocious courage of the pirates, and
not doubting that they would make a desperate assault upon the fort on
the land side, immediately, and in the greatest haste, removed their
eighteen-pounders to command the approaches by the land. In this way
the sea-coast was left almost defenceless.

The ensuing night the moon rose full-orbed over the silent waters of
the lake. A fresh breeze sprang up from the south. Providence seemed
to be favoring these desperate men. The tide was also in their favor.
And there was always a gentle current flowing through the narrow strait
from the lake into the gulf.

Thus, with their path illumined by the moon’s brilliant rays, and aided
by wind, tide, and current, the pirates spread their sails, and, almost
as by magic, glided by the fort. Every precaution was taken to protect
the crews. No attempt was made to return the fire of the Spaniards.
Most of the crews were placed in the holds of the ships. Only enough
were left on deck for the purpose of navigation. The Spaniards,
astonished, bewildered, and with but few guns at their command, fired
hastily, furiously, and with very inaccurate aim at the ships so
rapidly passing beyond their grasp. But little damage was done, and but
few men were killed.

We are not informed whether Morgan carried out his threat of exposing
his prisoners to the cannonade by binding them to the rigging. What
became of the one hundred and fifty Spanish sailors, is not known. They
were probably all put to death. The prisoners from Maracaibo he sent
ashore. Those from Gibraltar he carried away with him, and probably
relieved himself of the incumbrance by throwing them all into the sea.
As Morgan again set sail, his crews raised three cheers of triumph, and
discharged eight heavy guns, loaded with balls, against the fort, as
his parting salute.

But the very next day, heaven’s frown seemed to succeed heaven’s smile.
One of the most terrible of tropical tornadoes assailed the fleet. All
were in despair. The sailors threw themselves upon their knees, and
called upon the Virgin and all the saints to help them. The gleaming
lightning seemed to be the symbol of God’s wrath, and the pealing
thunder sounded like His angry voice.

Esquemeling, who accompanied this expedition, and to whose pen we
are mainly indebted for an account of its events, says that the ship
which bore him lost both anchors and mainsail. It was with the utmost
difficulty they kept the ship afloat, working at the pumps for weary
hours. The thunder he represents as deafening, and the mountain
billows, rushing by, threatened every moment to ingulf them.

“Indeed,” he writes, “though worn out with fatigue and toil, we could
not make up our minds to close our eyes to that blessed light which
we might soon lose sight of forever. No hope of safety remained.
The storm had lasted four days, and there was no probability of
its termination. On the one side we saw rocks, on which our vessel
threatened every instant to drive. Before us were the Indians, from
whom we could hope for no mercy. Behind us were the Spaniards,
hungering for revenge.”

At length the storm ceased. The fleet put into a harbor, in the Bay of
Venezuela, to repair damages. There seems to be but little reformatory
power in punishment. These wretched men were not made better by the
chastisement which they had received. All unmindful of their prayers to
Virgin and saint, while some were at work on the ships, others formed
themselves into bands to ravage the country far and wide, plundering
all the Spanish and Indian villages within their reach, and inflicting
the most atrocious outrages upon the inhabitants. It is very clear
that there is no hope for this lost world, unless it may be found in
that _change in the heart_ of man which the religion of Jesus Christ
inculcates. “The mind is its own place.” The pirates after the storm
were the same men as before.

Morgan, having refitted his ships, and having added very considerably
to his amount of plunder again spread his sails for Kingston, the
capital of Jamaica. He reached that port in safety, and was very
cordially welcomed by the inhabitants and the British authorities
there. They seemed to regard him as one of the heroes of the age,
worthy of all honor. The sentiments of the English generally, at
that time, in reference to these exploits, may be inferred from the
following:

In a book published in London, in the year 1684, and which now lies
before me, a glowing account is given of these adventures. The book had
then attained to a second edition. The title-page says:

“A True Account of the most remarkable Assaults, committed of late
years upon the Coasts of the West Indies, by the Buccaneers of Jamaica
and Tortuga, wherein are contained more especially the unparalleled
Exploits of Sir Henry Morgan, our English Jamaican Hero, who sacked
Puerto Velo, burnt Panama, etc.”

At Jamaica new scenes of rioting and profligacy were enacted. The
money soon passed from the hands of the pirates to the sharpers in
liquor-shops, gambling-houses, and dancing-halls, who were eager to
grasp it. Morgan’s eulogistic biographer writes:

“Morgan, encouraged by success, soon determined on fresh enterprises.
On arriving at Jamaica, he found many of his officers and soldiers
already reduced to their former indigency by their vices and
debaucheries. Hence they perpetually importuned him for new exploits,
thereby to get something to expend in wine and strumpets, as they had
already done with what they got before.

“Captain Morgan, willing to follow fortune’s call, stopped the mouths
of many inhabitants of Jamaica, who were creditors to his men for
large sums, with the hopes and promises of greater achievements than
ever, in a new expedition. This done, he could easily levy men for any
enterprise. His name was so famous through all those islands, that it
alone would bring him in more men than he could well employ.”

Morgan scattered his proclamations far and wide through all the English
and French ports on the various islands. He wrote particularly to
the governor of Tortuga, soliciting his coöperation. The south side
of this island was appointed as a rendezvous, where Morgan, sailing
from Jamaica, would meet the pirates of Tortuga who wished to join
the expedition. Another and general rendezvous was designated, for
adventurers from all the islands, at Port Couillon, on the south
side of Hispaniola. And here let me give a few explanatory words in
reference to this latter island.

Columbus discovered this magnificent island on the 5th of December,
1495. It was called by the natives Hayti. Its population was estimated
at one million. It was four hundred miles long, with a breadth of
from forty to one hundred and fifty miles, covering an area of nearly
thirty thousand square miles. Columbus called it Hispaniola, or Little
Spain. He established a colony on the northern coast, which he called
Isabella. His brother, Diego, was intrusted with its command. This was
the first colony planted by the Europeans in the New World.

In the year 1665, the French obtained possession of a large portion
of the island, and gave it the name St. Domingo. This was about one
hundred and seventy years after its discovery, and about five years
before Morgan selected a bay on its southern coast as a rendezvous for
his piratic fleet. It is in consequence of these changes that Hayti,
Hispaniola, and St. Domingo frequently occupy so confused a relation in
the public mind.

Punctuality is an essential element of success alike in good and bad
enterprises. With singular promptness, Morgan sailed into the harbor
of Couillon, in a large ship which he called the Flying Stag. It was
crowded with pirates, or buccaneers as they would perhaps prefer to
have been called, whom he had taken from Tortuga. It was the 24th day
of October, 1670. He found twenty-four vessels already there, and
sixteen hundred men. Almost every hour there were new arrivals of both
ships and sailors. Morgan had selected for his flagship a large vessel,
which mounted twenty-two guns. His arrival was greeted with shoutings,
cannon-firing, flag-waving, and the most boisterous drunken revelry.

With energy and administrative ability characteristic of this very able
and yet infamous man, he dispatched four vessels to the mainland, to
cruise along the coast and plunder Spaniards and Indians of provisions,
of corn, poultry, swine, and beeves, to victual his ships. They were
also to sack such small towns as they were able to capture. All this
was merely in preparation for the great enterprise before them.

While the four vessels were absent on this foraging expedition, Morgan
kept his men busy careening, rigging, and calking their vessels, so
as to be ready, immediately upon the return of the foragers, to put
to sea. The magnitude of the enterprise in which this arch-pirate was
engaged may be inferred from the fact that wide regions were to be
devastated, and several towns sacked, merely to gather provisions for
his army.

Hunters were sent into the woods of St. Domingo in search of game. All
cattle and swine were considered fair booty, no matter to whom they
might belong. Each hunting party had a certain region allotted to it.
Portions of the crews were engaged in salting down provisions for the
voyage. There were many swine roving through the woods. Frequently a
hunting party would bring in as many as twenty or thirty men could
carry. The most admirable discipline marked all these arrangements,
over which Morgan presided.

The expedition sent to the continent reached its destination in six
days. Fortunately for the Spaniards, just as the ships arrived within
sight of land, they were becalmed. This gave the Spaniards time to
conceal their treasures and to throw up intrenchments. The little fleet
was at anchor just off the mouth of the river De la Hacha. There was in
the river a large ship from Carthagena, laden with corn. The vessel,
with all its cargo, fell into the hands of the pirates.

The next morning, just at break of day, a gentle breeze sprang up, and
the ships ran in toward the shore. A landing of the men was effected,
notwithstanding a valiant resistance by a small party of Spaniards.
The pirates drove their foes from behind intrenchments which they had
suddenly reared, and pursued them toward a strongly fortified town in
the vicinity, called Rancheria. Here the Spaniards rallied again, and
a desperate battle ensued. Many fell on both sides, for the Spaniards
were by no means cowards. But the pirates were the victors, though at a
heavy loss. They drove their foes into the woods, and took possession
of the town. Several of the Spaniards were captured. As usual, they
were exposed to the most diabolical tortures to compel the confession
of where they had concealed their goods. The pirates remained here
fifteen days. During this time, they were actively employed in taking
captives and collecting booty. Just before their departure, they sent a
number of prisoners to the fugitives dispersed through the woods, with
the message that unless they sent, within a certain number of days,
four thousand bushels of corn, they would destroy the town. The corn
was sent in. The pirates sailed, greatly enriched with booty, and with
all their ships heavily freighted with provisions.

They had been gone five weeks. Morgan began to despair of their return.
The pirates had no confidence in each other. Morgan knew full well that
if they had been triumphantly successful, amassing large quantities of
gold and silver, they would prefer to go to some port where they could
squander all their gains in every species of sensual indulgence. He
also knew that there were large towns, like Carthagena and Santa Maria,
in the region the ships were sent to plunder. There was no little
danger that they might have been cut off by these combined garrisons.

Great, therefore, was his joy when, from the lookout, the returning
ships were discerned in the distance. The provisions were divided among
the fleet. The other booty, of precious metals, jewels, and goods, was
awarded to the plunderers.

Morgan personally inspected every vessel. He then set sail for Cape
Tiburon, at the west end of Hispaniola. This was a convenient spot
to lay in wood and water. Here he was joined by several ships, which
had been refitted at Jamaica to join the expedition. Morgan now found
himself in command of a fleet of thirty-seven vessels, manned by two
thousand two hundred sailors. The admiral’s ship mounted twenty-eight
guns, large and small. Many of the others carried twenty, eighteen, and
sixteen guns. The smallest vessel had four. He had an abundant supply
of ammunition, of fire-balls, hand-grenades, and pots which, upon being
broken, diffused an intolerable suffocating odor.

The fleet was divided into two squadrons. The second squadron was
placed under a vice-admiral. To every captain he gave a commission to
practise every species of hostility against the Spanish nation. “You
are to seize,” he said, “their ships, wherever you can, whether at sea
or in harbor, just as if they were the open and declared enemies of the
King of England, Charles II., my master.”

He assembled all the captains in his cabin to sign certain articles
of agreement. It was stipulated that Morgan should have one hundredth
part of all their booty. Every captain should draw the shares of eight
men. The surgeons were to have two hundred dollars each, besides their
regular share. The loss of both legs entitled one to an addition of
fifteen hundred dollars; both arms, eighteen hundred dollars; one hand
or one foot, six hundred dollars; an eye, one hundred dollars. Whoever
should first pull down a Spanish flag, and raise the English in its
stead, was to receive fifty dollars.

For a little time, it was debated whether they should attack
Carthagena, Vera Cruz, or Panama. The lot fell upon Panama. It was the
richest of the three. Though this city was situated on the western or
Pacific shores of the Isthmus, and though it would be necessary to
leave their fleet in some harbor, and march for several days over an
unknown country, still there would be no difficulty in finding guides,
the Spaniards would be but poorly prepared for so unexpected an attack,
and the amount of booty, particularly in gold and silver, would be
immense. Morgan proudly unfurled from his squadron the royal English
flag. Upon the other squadron he spread to the breeze the blood-red
banner of the pirate; and, strange to say, upon that piratic banner
he placed a white cross, the emblem of the religion of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, who came to this lost world proclaiming “Glory to
God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”



CHAPTER XIX.

_Capture of St. Catherine and Chagres._

  The Defences at St. Catherine.--Morgan’s Strategy.--The Midnight
  Storm.--Deplorable Condition of the Pirates.--The Summons to
  Surrender.--Disgraceful Conduct of the Spanish Commander.--The
  Advance to Chagres.--Incidents of the Battle.--The Unexpected
  Victory.--Measures of Morgan.


On the 16th day of December, 1670, the piratic fleet weighed anchor
from Cape Tiburon. They first directed their course to the recapture of
the Island of St. Catherine upon the coast of Costa Rica. This island
had become a penal colony, the Botany Bay, of Spain. The malefactors
from all the Spanish dominions in the West Indies were transported here.

Four days’ sail brought the fleet within sight of the island. The
settlement was near the mouth of one of the rivers. Morgan sent forward
one of his best sailing vessels to reconnoitre the defences. The river
emptied into a large bay or harbor called the Grande Aguada. Upon the
shores of this harbor the town was beautifully situated, surrounded by
massive and well-garrisoned forts. Several of Morgan’s desperadoes had
been there before. With his whole fleet he entered the harbor in the
night-time.

Guided by instinctive military ability, with his usual promptness
he landed one thousand men. Instead of marching directly upon the
batteries, a corps of able engineers, with their axes, cut a new path
through the tangled forest to the residence of the governor. Here they
found a small rampart which was abandoned. The Spaniards, not being
able to cope with so large a force as Morgan led, had retired to a
stronger position. The pirates pursued. Soon they came upon a massive
fort so fortified with encircling batteries as to seem impregnable. As
soon as the pirates arrived within gun-shot the Spaniards opened upon
them so deadly a fire from their heavy guns, that they were compelled
to retire beyond reach of the balls, and take a position upon the grass
of the open fields.

Night came. The pirates were weary and hungry. No food had been brought
from the ships. It was supposed that food would be found in abundance.
But the Spaniards had destroyed all which they could not remove; and
it took a very large quantity to satisfy the appetites of a thousand
hungry men. Faint from hunger, they threw themselves unsheltered upon
the grass to sleep.

At midnight a tropical tempest arose. The glare of the lightning and
the crashing peals of thunder were terrific. The windows of heaven
seemed to be opened, and the flood fell in sheets. The sailors had
left the ships with no clothing but their trousers and a shirt. In
one moment they were drenched. And yet, hour after hour, in blackest
darkness, the deluge descended, smothering them with its volume and
flooding the fields. Notwithstanding all their efforts, nearly all of
their powder was injured, and much was utterly destroyed.

In the morning, for an hour the rain ceased. They had just begun to
flatter themselves that a pleasant day was opening upon them, when
the clouds again gathered blackness, and the tempest assailed them
with redoubled fury. It did seem as though they were exposed to the
frown and the chastising blows of an indignant God. They found in the
fields a poor old sick horse, “which was,” writes Esquemeling, who was
present, “both lean and full of scabs and blotches, with galled back
and sides. This horrid animal they instantly killed and skinned, and
divided into small pieces among themselves as far as it would reach;
for many could not obtain one morsel. This they roasted and devoured
without either salt or bread more like unto ravenous wolves than men.”

They were at that time, Esquemeling says, in so deplorable a condition
that had the Spaniards fallen upon them with one hundred men they might
have cut them all to pieces. The rain fell in such blinding torrents
that the pirates could not even retreat. At noon there was another
lull. Morgan, assuming an air of great boldness and confidence, sent a
flag of truce to the governor, with the following summons to surrender:

“I solemnly swear unto you, that unless you immediately deliver your
works, yourself, and all your men into my hands, I will put every one
to the sword.”

The governor was appalled. A piratic fleet of thirty-seven vessels of
war, manned by over two thousand of the most fiend-like desperadoes
earth could furnish, presented a force greater than the governor
thought he could withstand. He sent back a request that two hours’ time
might be allowed him to deliberate with his officers, when he would
return a decisive answer. At the appointed time he sent to Morgan the
following humiliating proposal:

“The governor is willing to surrender the island, as he has not
sufficient force to repel the English fleet. But for the saving of
his reputation and that of his officers, he begs that Captain Morgan
would attack him by night, with all his marine and land forces. The
governor will feign an attempt to escape from one fort to another, when
Captain Morgan’s troops can intercept and capture him. There shall be a
continued firing on both sides, but without bullets.”

To these terms, so degrading to the governor, Morgan rejoicingly
acceded. Thus, from apparently hopeless defeat, his sagacity won a
signal and bloodless victory. The sham fight took place according to
the programme. That night there was a great and ridiculous roar of all
the big guns in the fort and on the ships. Powder was burned freely.
The white flag was raised by the governor, the surrender made, and the
island, with all it contained, passed into the hands of the pirates.

The buccaneers were half starved. Several days were spent in feasting.
The island was well stocked with beef cattle, swine, and poultry.
Recklessly they were destroyed. The houses were torn down to build
their fires. Two thousand men, by day and by night, indulged in the
wildest orgies of revelry. Many of the people of the settlement
fled into the woods. But the pirates counted four hundred and fifty
captives. The women, who were subject to every indignity, were
imprisoned in a church.

Morgan, upon inspecting the works, was astonished at their strength
and at his own victory. The main fort, or castle as it was called, was
very strong, built of stone, and surrounded by a wide ditch twenty
feet deep. Heavy guns commanded the port. There were other supporting
batteries which mounted nearly sixty guns. An immense amount of
ammunition, including thirty thousand pounds of powder, were found
in the fort. These were all transferred on board the ships. The guns
were spiked, the gun-carriages burned, and the pirates, with shouts of
victory, again spread their sails.

Among the prisoners there were three desperadoes, notorious robbers,
who professed to be familiar with the route to Panama, and with all the
region around. Eagerly they joined in the expedition with the promise
of sharing in the spoil. Esquemeling, speaking of the proposition made
to these wretches by Morgan, says:

“These propositions pleased the banditti very well. They readily
accepted his proffers, promising to serve him very faithfully;
especially one of these three, who was the greatest rogue, thief, and
assassin among them, and who deserved, for his crimes, to be broken
alive upon the wheel. This wicked fellow had a great ascendency over
the other two, and could domineer over them as he pleased, they not
daring to refuse obedience to his orders.”

The Isthmus of Panama was then celebrated for its gold and silver
mines. It was the seat of a very extensive commerce, and was perhaps
more strongly fortified and more populous than any other of the Spanish
colonies. This narrow tongue of land, which separates the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, is about three hundred miles in length, and from thirty
to forty in breadth.

Chagres, on the Atlantic coast, was a very strongly fortified
settlement at the mouth of the Chagres River. On the other side of the
isthmus, on the Pacific shore, was Panama, a far more important place,
abounding in wealth. Morgan’s plan was to capture Chagres; leave his
fleet in the harbor there; ascend the river in his boats as far as the
stream was navigable, and then to march to the doomed city. With his
two thousand well-armed desperadoes he doubted not his ability to crush
any force which might be brought against him.

Morgan sent, in advance, four ships and a large boat to capture
Chagres. The expedition was intrusted to the vice-admiral Bradley,
the same one who had so successfully led the foraging party to
Rancheria. He was a notorious buccaneer, renowned for his exploits.
Three days’ sail brought his squadron to Chagres. Upon an eminence,
commanding the entrance to the river, there was a strong fort, called
Castle Lawrence. As Bradley approached the harbor, he unfurled at his
mast-head the blood-red flag of the pirate. The garrison immediately
displayed the royal banner of Spain, and foolishly saluted them with a
volley of shot which did not reach their ships.

The buccaneers, according to their usual stratagem, instead of bringing
their wooden walls up to be battered by the guns of the fort, cast
anchor about a mile from the castle, and landing, cut a path with
hatchet and sabre through the tangled forest, to attack the works upon
their weakest side. Early in the morning the landing was effected. By
the middle of the afternoon they had reached a hill, from whose summit
they could throw their shot into the fort, could they but have drawn
their cannon to that spot.

But the marshy ground would not admit of this. The garrison had brought
their guns to bear upon the eminence, and opened a fire before which
many of the pirates fell. Bradley was greatly disheartened. The fort
proved to be of very unexpected strength. It was surrounded by two
high parallel walls of timber, filled in with earth. Well-constructed
bastions were at each corner. The works were enclosed by a ditch,
thirty feet deep. There was but one entrance, and that was by a
drawbridge across this ditch. The north side of the castle was washed
by the broad and rapid river. On the south there was a precipitous
inaccessible crag. Strong batteries guarded the approaches to both the
other sides.

Even the most desperate of the pirates recoiled from the idea of
attempting to carry works so formidable by assault. But Bradley could
not endure the thought of the scorn and rage he would encounter from
Morgan should he retreat without making the attempt. After much
perplexity and disputing it was resolved to hazard the assault. They
hoped with hatchet and sabre to cut down the timber, and then to
clamber over the crumbling earth. The interior of the works was all
of wood. There were barracks and huts, which, beneath the blaze of a
tropical sun, had become dry as powder.

Cautiously the buccaneers descended the hill, throwing themselves upon
their faces as the explosions of the massive guns showered the balls
around them. Their sharpshooters threw bullets through the loops of the
walls, and through the embrasures, to strike down the artillery-men at
the guns. This skirmishing was continued until night, but nothing was
accomplished. Many of the pirates were killed, and Bradley himself had
one of his legs broken by a cannon-ball. The reckless men charged up to
the very walls, threw over fire-balls, and hacked at the timbers.

The pirates, as darkness approached, began to retreat. The Spaniards
shouted to them from the walls:

“Come on, you English devils; you heretics; the enemies of God and of
the king. Let your comrades, who are behind, come also. We will serve
them as we have served you. You shall not get to Panama this time.”

This shout alarmed them. It revealed the fact that, in some way, the
Spaniards had been warned of the expected attack upon Panama, and would
prepare for resistance. As a group of the pirates were conferring
together, in the dusk, an arrow from the castle struck one of them in
the shoulder. He coolly drew the point from the bleeding wound, and
addressing his companions, said:

“Look here, my comrades, I will make this accursed arrow the means of
the destruction of all the Spaniards.”

He then drew from his pocket a quantity of wild cotton, which the
buccaneers carried with them as lint to staunch their wounds. This he
wound around the head of the arrow. Charging his musket with powder
only, he inserted the arrow and fired it back into the castle. It
lighted upon a roof of thatch. The powder set fire to the cotton, and
the cotton to the dry leaves. The roof was instantly in a flame.

The Indians had aided the garrison, and their arrows lay thick around.
Instantly the air was filled with a shower of these flaming meteors.
They fell upon the thatched roofs, and tongues of fire flashed in all
directions. One chanced to fall upon a large quantity of powder, and a
fearful explosion followed. A terrible conflagration blazed forth. A
scene of shrieks, confusion, and horror ensued which is indescribable.
The inmates of the fort found themselves in the crater of a volcano
in its most violent state of eruption. It was in vain to attempt to
extinguish the flames. No one could live in such a furnace.

The night was dark, moonless and starless. The bodies of the Spaniards
were clearly defined against the glowing background of flame. The
pirates, with unerring aim, shot them down. Every bullet struck
its target. The Spaniards, in the horrible tumult, could make but
little resistance. They still, however, taking refuge as they could
in different parts of the fort, fought with impotent desperation.
Oexemelin relates an incident illustrative of the indomitable fury of
the assailants.

One of the pirates was pierced in the eye by an Indian arrow. In
terrible agony he came to Oexemelin to draw it out. Its barbed point
had sunk deep in the socket of the eye, and could only be withdrawn
by cruelly tearing it out. Oexemelin hesitated; he had not sufficient
nerve to inflict such torture. The pirate seized it with both hands,
tore it out with its mangled and bloody adhesions, bound a handkerchief
over the wound, and with a curse rushed forward again to the assault.

The fire raged through the whole night. All the wood-work was consumed.
The walls of earth crumbled down. The pirates, mounting upon each
other’s shoulders, climbed the ramparts and threw down hand-grenades
and fire-balls, and pots of suffocating odors upon the helpless
garrison. “The armor had fallen piecemeal from their giant adversary,
and he now stood before them bare, wounded, and defenceless.”

Still, in one corner of the fort, the heroic governor rallied the few
survivors, twenty-five only in number, resolved to fight to the bitter
end. They were slightly protected from a charge by a deep ditch, which
ran directly before them. This, however, afforded them no shelter from
the bullets of their foes. A dreadful storm of fire-balls and lead fell
upon them. They had no hope of victory--no hope of escape even. Their
only desire was to kill as many of the pirates as they could before
they should die themselves. At last a shot pierced the brain of the
governor. The feeble remnant was easily overpowered.

The garrison had consisted of three hundred and fourteen men. All of
these, excepting fourteen, were either killed or helplessly wounded.
Not a single officer was left alive. The governor had previously
dispatched a courier to Panama to alarm the city. In this sanguinary
conflict the pirates had lost very heavily. One hundred were killed and
seventy grievously wounded. A large pit was dug and the one hundred
dead bodies of the pirates were thrown in and covered up from sight
and smell. The prisoners were compelled to drag the bodies of the dead
Spaniards to the cliff, and cast them into the sea. A large amount of
ammunition and provisions were found in the fort.

Morgan, informed of the fall of Chagres, devastated the Island of St.
Catherine as much as possible, so as to render it quite indefensible.
It was his intention to return and recover the place, so as to make
it a rendezvous for his fleet in future operations. On the cruise to
Chagres a violent storm arose. His fleet was scattered, so that they
were detained many days at sea. But as ship after ship entered the bay,
and the crews beheld the English flag floating from the blackened
walls of Chagres Castle, the bay resounded with their cheers, and with
salutes from their cannon. So eager was the admiral and some of the
others in their heedless joy, that, without waiting for a pilot, his
own and three other vessels were driven upon sunken rocks, where they
broke to pieces. The crew and cargoes were saved.

Morgan immediately set to work with great energy, employing all his
force of engineers, carpenters, and laborers in repairing the castle.
Here he stationed a garrison of picked men, storing the magazines with
provisions and ammunition, as a refuge from any possible disaster at
Panama. The fortunes of war are proverbially inconstant. The pirate
Morgan was a very able general. His plans were generally well formed to
meet adversity as well as prosperity.



CHAPTER XX.

_The March from Chagres to Panama._

  Preparations to Ascend the River.--Crowding of the Boats.--The
  Bivouac at Bracos.--Sufferings from Hunger.--The Pathless
  Route.--The Boats Abandoned.--Light Canoes Employed.--Abandoned
  Ambuscades.--Painful Marches, Day by Day.--The Feast on
  Leathern Bags.--Murmurs and Contentions.--The Indians
  Encountered.--Struggling through the Forest.--The Conflagration
  at Santa Cruz.--Battle and Skirmishes.--First Sight of
  Panama.--Descent into the Plain.--Feasting.


From the prisoners Morgan learned that three weeks before their arrival
the garrison at Chagres was informed, by a message from Carthagena,
that the English were equipping a fleet at Hispaniola for the capture
of Panama. The governor immediately sent one hundred and sixty-four
soldiers to strengthen the garrison at Chagres, which had previously
numbered but one hundred and fifty. Morgan was also informed that the
governor of Panama had placed several ambuscades along the Chagres
River, and that a force of three thousand six hundred men was awaiting
his arrival at Chagres.

These were tidings sufficient to appal any ordinary mind. But the
pirates were accustomed to triumph over vastly superior numbers.
There were several large Spanish boats at Chagres, adapted to river
navigation. All these Morgan seized. They generally mounted two great
iron guns and four smaller ones of brass. These vessels, with those
he took from his ships, made a flotilla of thirty-two gunboats. They
were manned by twelve hundred sailors. Five hundred were left behind to
garrison the castle. One hundred and fifty had charge of the ships.

On the 18th of August, 1670, Morgan put his fleet in motion to ascend
the Chagres River on his advance to Panama. His boats were greatly
crowded, and so heavily laden with men, ammunition, and arms, that he
could take but a small supply of provisions. He expected to provide
himself abundantly from the supplies he should find in the Spanish
ambuscades.

The first day the little fleet ascended the river but eighteen miles,
to a place called Bracos. The men on board his boats were greatly
cramped in their limbs, having but little room to move, and none in
which to lie down. They therefore found it necessary to land for the
night, that they might enjoy a few hours of sleep. They also hoped to
rob some of the neighboring plantations. Nearly all their food had
disappeared in this one day’s sail.

The cheer of camp-fires seems to be essential to all bivouacs. The
gloom of the dense tropical forest was soon illumined by the flames
around which twelve hundred men were congregated. Most of them went
supperless to their mossy beds, consoled only by their pipes of
tobacco. In the morning they ranged the country in vain for food. The
planters had fled, taking with them or destroying everything that could
be eaten.

Again they repaired to their boats. Hungry, disappointed, and
murmuring, they ascended the river about twenty miles farther until
they reached a place called Juan Gallego. Here they were compelled
to leave their boats, as the river was so shallow from want of rain;
it was also much impeded by decayed and fallen trees. Thus ended the
second day.

There was no road for an army through the rough, miry, tangled maze.
They were told by the guides that, at the distance of two leagues, they
would find the country more favorable. With sabre and hatchet these
half-famished men hewed a narrow path for themselves. They fed upon
berries, roots, and leaves. One hundred and sixty men were left to
guard the boats, and to feed themselves as best they could by hunting
or plundering, or obtaining supplies from the fleet.

Morgan had advanced but a mile or two when the gigantic growth and
interlacing vines seemed to render the forest impenetrable. The
river also deepened a little, so that some of his boats would float.
There was imminent danger every moment that he would fall into some
ambuscade. He sent back for some light canoes to be brought up. This
was accomplished with great labor. He then embarked his men, taking
a part at a time, and thus, ascending the river a few miles farther,
reached a place called Cedro Bueno. To accomplish this, the canoes
made several passages. The pirates were very eager to encounter the
Spaniards, as their only means of obtaining any food. But the Spaniards
wisely left them to the hardships of their march and to the pangs of
starvation.

The morning of the fourth day dawned upon these wretched marauders.
Most of them struggled along the banks of the river, led by one of
their guides. Others toiled against the stream, in the canoes, being
often compelled to alight in the water, to cross sandbars or surmount
rapids. To guard against ambuscades the guides were kept a quarter of
a mile in advance. The Spaniards had sent forward their Indian scouts,
and kept themselves informed of every movement of the foe. About noon
of this day they reached a place which from its extreme ruggedness was
called Torna Cavallos.

Here the guides came rushing back to the main body with the
announcement that they had discovered an ambuscade. The half-starved
men were delighted. They knew that the Spaniards, on all their
expeditions, provided themselves luxuriously with food. Examining
their muskets, their priming, and their sabres, that they might be
prepared for a resistless charge, they pressed eagerly yet cautiously
forward. They soon came in sight of an intrenchment, which was shaped
like a half-moon. Their practised eyes told them that it would protect
a garrison of about four hundred men. Twelve hundred men, impelled by
rage and hunger, with hideous yells rushed upon it. Bitter was their
disappointment when they found no foe there. They had captured but an
abandoned and crumbling rampart. There were some coarsely tanned, hairy
leather bags scattered around. Their hunger was so great that these
were cut up, cooked, and eaten. We have a minute account of the cookery
of these unsavory morsels.

First they took the leather and sliced it in pieces. Then they beat
the pieces between two stones rubbing them and dipping them in the
water, to render them supple and tender. Lastly they scraped off the
hair, and roasted or broiled the pieces upon the fire. Being thus
cooked, they cut it into very fine pieces, which “they helped down with
frequent gulps of water, which by good fortune they had nigh at hand.”

“I can assure the reader,” writes Oexemelin, “that a man can live on
such food, though he can hardly get very fat.”

Esquemeling adds, “Some who were never out of their mothers’ kitchens
may ask how these pirates could eat, swallow, and digest those pieces
of leather so hard and dry? Unto whom I would answer that could they
once experience what hunger, or rather famine is, they would certainly
find the manner, as the pirates did, by their own experience.”

On the morning of the fifth day the weary march was resumed. Having
had but little food, save the leather bags, they were in a deplorable
condition. The pirates were not amiable men. They staggered along,
in their weakness, over the rough ways, murmuring, quarrelling, and
cursing each other. As night approached they came to a place called
Barbacoa. Here they found another abandoned ambuscade. Not a particle
of food was to be obtained. Loud and bitter were their oaths against
the Spaniards. Dreadful would have been the fate of any of them who
might have fallen into their hands. Esquemeling says that they were so
consumed by hunger, that if they had caught any of the Spaniards they
would certainly have roasted and eaten them.

Parties were sent out to explore the woods in search of habitations.
But none could be found. The inhabitants, in all directions, had fled,
carrying with them their provisions. The day was spent here. It was a
day of dreadful suffering. Life was preserved by devouring berries,
roots, and leaves. Several plantations were discovered, but there
was generally not an individual, an animal, or a kernel of corn left
behind. In one place they found concealed two sacks of wheat, two jars
of wine, and a few plantains. These Morgan divided among those who were
nearest to perishing of hunger.

The sixth day they continued their march, still along the banks of
the Chagres River. Such as could not walk were paddled along in light
canoes. At night they came to a plantation, which, as usual, was
entirely abandoned. Their supper consisted mainly of leaves and grass.

The next day, at noon, they discovered a barn, full of Indian corn in
the husk. They fell upon it and devoured it dry, with the rapacity of a
herd of swine. Having satiated their hunger, each man loaded himself
with as much as he could carry. With renovated spirits, they pressed
on their way. After journeying along for a couple of hours, they came
upon a band of about two hundred Indians, who fled with the utmost
precipitation. They were far more fleet of foot than the exhausted
pirates, and not one of them was shot or captured. In their flight, the
Indians threw back a shower of arrows, which wounded several of the
pirates, and killed three of them. They shouted out in Spanish: “Ha! ye
dogs, go to the plain, go to the plain.”

They now reached such a bend in the river that it was necessary to
cross it. They therefore bivouacked for the night. This place was
called Santa Cruz.

Loud murmurings filled the camp. Morgan was denounced in unmeasured
terms. They were indeed involved in gloom. To go back was certain
starvation. And destruction seemed equally to threaten them in a
farther advance. There were some, however, who still kept up their
courage, and shouted, “Onward! onward!”

The morning of the seventh day they crossed the river. As it was
supposed that they must soon meet the Spaniards, every man was
required carefully to examine his musket and pistols, to be ready for
any engagement. The guides told them that they were approaching the
important town of Cruz, where they would find provisions and other
stores in abundance. This was called the halfway house between Chagres
and Panama, though it was sixty-eight miles from the former place and
but twenty-four from the latter. To this point the Chagres merchandise
was taken in boats, when the river was full, and, being landed, was
conveyed to Panama on the backs of mules. To give the reader some idea
of the style of Esquemeling’s narrative, written two hundred years
ago,[A] I will quote his graphic description of what ensued:

[Footnote A: His account was written in Dutch, but translated into
English and published in London.]

“While yet at a considerable distance from Cruz, they perceived much
smoke to arise out of the chimneys. The sight thereof afforded them
great joy, and hopes of finding people in the town; and afterwards what
they most desired was plenty of good cheer. Thus they went on, with as
much haste as they could, making several arguments to one another upon
those external signs, though all like castles built in the air. For
said they, ‘There is smoke cometh out of every house. Therefore they
are making good fires for to roast and boil what we are to eat,’ with
other things to this purpose.

“At length they arrived there, in great haste, all sweating and
panting; but found no person in the town, nor any thing that was
eatable, wherewith to refresh themselves, unless it were good fires to
warm themselves, which they wanted not. For the Spaniards, before their
departure, had every one set fire to his own house, excepting only the
store-houses and stables belonging to the king.

“They had not left behind them any beast whatever, either alive or
dead. This occasioned much confusion in their minds; they not finding
the least thing to take hold of, unless it were some few cats and dogs,
which they immediately killed and devoured with great appetite. At
last, in the king’s stables, they found, by good fortune, fifteen or
sixteen jars of Peru wine, and a leather sack full of bread. But no
sooner had they begun to drink of the said wine, when they fell sick,
almost every man.

“This sudden disaster made them think that the wine was poisoned, which
caused a new consternation in the whole camp, as judging themselves now
to be irrecoverably lost. But the true reason was their huge want of
sustenance in that whole voyage, and the manifold sorts of trash which
they had eaten upon that occasion. Their sickness was so great that day
as caused them to remain there till the next morning, without being
able to prosecute their journey, as they used to do, in the afternoon.

“Here Captain Morgan was constrained to leave his canoes and land
all his men, though never so weak in their bodies. But lest the
canoes should be surprised, or take too many men for their defence,
he resolved to send them all back to the place where the boats were,
excepting one, which he caused to be hidden, to the intent it might
serve to carry intelligence, according to the exigency of affairs. Many
of the Spaniards and Indians, belonging to this village, were fled
unto the plantations thereabouts. Hereupon Captain Morgan gave express
orders that none should dare to go out of the village except in whole
companies of one hundred together.

“The occasion hereof was his fear lest the enemies should take an
advantage upon his men by any sudden assault. Notwithstanding, one
party of English soldiers stickled not to contravene these commands,
being thereunto tempted with the desire of finding victuals. But these
were soon glad to fly into the town again, being assaulted with great
fury by some Spaniards and Indians, who snatched up one of the pirates
and carried him away prisoner. Thus the vigilancy and care of Captain
Morgan was not sufficient to prevent every accident which might happen.”

On the morning of the 8th, Morgan reviewed his troops. He found that
he had still eleven hundred resolute men at his command. He selected a
band of two hundred of his best marksmen as an advance guard. They were
to watch vigilantly for ambuscades. The path they were to traverse was
very narrow. At many places but two could pass abreast. Cautiously they
proceeded for ten hours, encountering no sign of an enemy.

At length they reached a dark wooded gorge, which the sunlight could
scarcely penetrate. Apparently no one could enter the dense thickets
around, of bushes, thorns, and intertwining vines, but by hewing his
way with the hatchet. A high mountain rose before them. But nature had
tunnelled it, so that there was a narrow path through. This remarkable
place was called Quebrada Obscura.

Suddenly, from the impenetrable forest which enveloped the mountain, a
shower of arrows fell upon them, like hailstones from the clouds. They
probably exaggerated the number in estimating them at between three
and four thousand. They came rushing, as by some supernatural impulse,
through the leaves. No hand was seen. No sound was heard. No movement
was perceptible. There was but that one flight of arrows and no more.
Those who, with sinewy arms, had thrown them, in some mysterious way
escaped--as it were, vanished.

This singular and inexplicable assault threw the army into great
confusion. For a moment, these reckless men were staggered. It seems
strange that but eight of the pirates were killed and ten wounded by
this shower of arrows. After a few moments’ delay, the pirates moved
cautiously forward, threading the narrow tunnel, through which but two
could walk abreast, until they came out upon a very rough plain on the
other side, encumbered with huge rocks and a growth of gigantic trees.
To this vantage-ground the Indians had retreated, and here they seemed
disposed to make a stand.

Quite a fierce battle ensued. The Indians could be seen, in large
numbers, dodging from rock to rock, and from tree to tree. They fought
with great bravery. Their chief was a very handsome young fellow,
gorgeously dressed, and with a very brilliant coronet of variegated
feathers. He seemed to have no fear. At length, in his zeal, he
plunged headlong upon the pirates, utterly regardless of numbers, and
endeavored to thrust his javelin through one a little in the advance.
The blow was parried, and he was instantly shot down.

As he was seen to fall, there was a loud cry from his followers
and, without discharging another shaft, they all fled. The pirates
impetuously pursued. The fugitives could not be overtaken. A few of the
boldest concealed themselves behind trees and thickets, whence they
could make good their retreat, and worried the pirates with a random
fire, which sorely wounded a few, without accomplishing any important
results.

The buccaneers entered soon upon a broad, treeless prairie. Here
they halted to tend the wounded. At some distance before them there
was another rocky and wooded eminence. The Indians, who seemed to be
swarming there, were evidently preparing for another battle. A party of
fifty men was sent, by a circuitous route, to attack them in the rear.
Their watchful eyes detected the movement. With nimble feet, they fled,
shouting to their assailants, “To the plain, to the plain, you English
dogs.”

The pirates rightly interpreted these words to mean that on the plain
before Panama a large body of Spaniards was assembled, and that there
the great struggle was to take place. Many Spaniards were with the
Indians. At this point, which was but a few miles from Panama, they
disappeared. The next night there came one of those flooding rains with
which tropical lands were so often deluged. The pirates in vain sought
shelter from the drenching storm. There was the blackness of darkness,
with thunderings and lightnings, and the howlings of the tornado.
There were many plantations on the route where houses and huts had
been reared. But the Indians had applied the torch. Every building was
in ashes. The cattle were driven away. All provisions were removed or
consumed. These wretched men, on their fiend-like mission, were still
starving.

The next morning, which was the ninth of their journey, the rain
ceased. Heavy clouds floated through the sky, darkening the sun, and
thus enabling them to march sheltered from its scorching rays. A
well-mounted troop of twenty Spaniards appeared at some distance in the
advance, watching all the movements of the invaders. During the day
they came to quite a high mountain, which it was necessary to cross.
From its summit they first caught sight of the Pacific Ocean, and of
the Bay of Panama, upon whose shores the city of the same name was
situated. In the bay there was a large Spanish ship riding at anchor.
Six boats were under sail, directing their course toward the islands of
Tavoga and Tavogilla, which were about eighteen miles distant.

At this sight the pirates raised shouts of joy. Never doubting their
own prowess, they considered their toils as ended, and the city, with
all its treasures, as already in their possession. At the foot of the
mountain there was a large grassy plain, over which thousands of cattle
were grazing, cows, horses, bulls, mules, and donkeys. With a rush,
the piratic gangs descended the mountain, and, with the voracity of
famished wolves, fell upon the cattle.

“One shot a horse. Another felled a cow. But the greater part
slaughtered the mules, which were most numerous. Some kindled fires;
others collected wood; and the strongest hunted the cattle, while the
invalids slew and skinned and flayed. The whole plain was soon alight
with a hundred fires. The hungry men cut off lumps of flesh, carbonaded
them in the flame, and ate them half raw, with incredible haste and
ferocity. ‘They resembled,’ Esquemeling says, ‘rather cannibals than
Christians, the blood running down their beards to the middle of their
bodies.’”[A]

[Footnote A: Monarchs of the Main, vol. ii. p. 114.]



CHAPTER XXI.

_The Capture of Panama._

  First Sight of the City.--The Spanish Scouts Appear.--Morgan’s
  Advance.--Character of the Country.--Fears of the
  Spaniards.--Removal of Treasure.--Capture of the City.--The
  Poisoned Wine.--Magnificent Scenery of the Bay.--Description of
  Panama and its Surroundings.--Wealth of the City.--Scenes of
  Crime and Cruelty.


Morgan was an extraordinary man. Fear never appalled him. He was never
discouraged by disasters. Passion was never allowed to throw him off
his guard. He shared, in full, all the hardships of his demoniac crew.
Though hungry and weary himself, and sympathizing with his starving
men in their sufferings, he did not in the least degree remit his
watchfulness or lose his self-control.

Perceiving the danger that his men, in their famished condition,
indulging in such reckless gluttony might induce sickness which would
incapacitate them for battle, he ordered a false alarm to be sounded.
Instantly every man seized his musket and ran to his appointed place
in the ranks. Morgan had taken the precaution, before descending the
mountain, to order every musket to be discharged and loaded afresh,
from fear that the powder might have become damp.

There were several miles yet to be traversed over plains and through
forests, before the pirates could enter the streets of the city, which
they had discerned in the distance. Cautiously they continued their
march until the approach of evening when they ascended an eminence
which commanded a perfect view of the city, with its steeples, houses,
and streets all aglow with the rays of the setting sun. Here the shouts
of exultation were renewed. The pirates, strengthened by their feast,
danced for joy, beating their drums, sounding their trumpets, firing
off their muskets, and exulting as in the hour of perfect victory. Here
they encamped for the night, waiting impatiently for the morning, which
would usher in the decisive battle.

In the evening two hundred mounted Spaniards rode out from the city,
dashed along until they came within hailing distance of the pirates,
and shouted out to them words which could not be understood. Morgan
established double sentinels, and all his men slept upon their arms.

At daybreak on the tenth day the Spaniards, from their walls, sounded
with bugle-peal and drum-beat a challenge to their foes. The pirates
were equally eager for the fight. Rapidly they advanced into the
plain. The Spaniards, on horseback and on foot, crowded out to meet
them. In glittering battalions they were drawn up upon the plain,
outnumbering the pirates three to one. There were two squadrons of
cavalry, four regiments of foot, and, most singular to relate, “a huge
number of wild bulls, roaring and tossing their horns, driven by a
great number of Indians and a few mounted matadores.”

It is recorded that the pirates were surprised and alarmed in view of
the force thus to be encountered. Many of them wished they were at
home. No quarter was to be expected. There was no hope for them but in
fighting with the utmost desperation. All were conscious of this. They
therefore bound themselves, by the most solemn oaths, to conquer or to
spend the last drop of their blood.

Morgan formed his men into three battalions, after selecting a band
of two hundred sharpshooters to skirmish in the advance. Many of the
Spaniards were armed in glittering coats of mail. Their silken banners,
richly embroidered, presented a beautiful appearance as they fluttered
in the rays of the morning sun. The Spaniards sent forward a squadron
of horse. As they came galloping over the plain, Morgan’s skirmishers
fell upon one knee, in the tall grass, and opened upon them a very
destructive fire. Several riders dropped from their horses. Several
horses, struck by the bullets, and appalled by the sudden explosion of
two hundred guns, became uncontrollable, and rushed wildly over the
plain in all directions.

“The bulls,” writes Thornbury, “proved as fatal to those who employed
them as the elephants to Porus. Driven on the rear of the buccaneers,
they took fright at the noise of the battle, a few only broke through
the English companies, and trampled the red colors under foot; but
these were soon shot by the old hunters. A few fled to the savanna, and
the rest tore back and carried havoc through the Spanish ranks.”

The plain was rough with ravines and quagmires, so that the cavalry
could not operate to advantage. The desperate pirates were all reckless
in their courage, and nearly all unerring in their aim. The Spaniards
were also men of war and blood, who had been guilty of the greatest
atrocities as they had cut down and robbed the native tribes. They
fought with ferocity equal to that of the pirates. In this battle it
was, in reality, fiend against fiend. The Spaniards were as bad as the
pirates.

For two hours the battle raged with intensest fury. There was neither
tree, stump, nor rock to protect either party from the bullets which
with deadly velocity swept the plain. On the one side there were eleven
hundred pirates. Esquemeling estimated the force of the Spaniards at
four hundred cavalry and two thousand four hundred infantry. There were
also one or two hundred Indians and negroes to drive the wild bulls
through the English camp, hoping thus to break their lines and throw
them into confusion. The Spaniards had also dug trenches and raised
batteries to arrest the advance of their foes.

Morgan, as usual, ordered his men to approach the city by a circuitous
route, so as to avoid the batteries. In preparation for this movement
he ordered a review of the troops. He concealed from his troops the
number of pirates who had fallen, but announced, probably with some
exaggeration, that six hundred of the Spaniards lay dead upon the field.

It would seem that the Spaniards had not been very sanguine as to the
result of the battle; for they had shipped to the Island of Tavoga much
of their portable wealth and all of their women. In the battle thus
far, the Spaniards had been so decidedly beaten that they had abandoned
the field, and horse and foot had taken a new stand behind the
ramparts. Many prisoners had been taken, including quite a number of
Catholic priests. Morgan, not wishing to be encumbered with prisoners,
ordered them all to be pistolled. The pirates had lost heavily, but
their loss exasperated instead of disheartening them.

Esquemeling writes: “The pirates were nothing discouraged, seeing their
numbers so much diminished, but rather filled with greater pride than
before, perceiving what huge advantage they had obtained against their
enemies. Thus, having rested themselves some while, they prepared to
march courageously towards the city, plighting their oaths to one
another that they would fight till never a man were left alive. With
this courage they recommenced their march either to conquer or to be
conquered.

“They found much difficulty in their approach unto the city. For within
the town the Spaniards had placed many great guns at several quarters
thereof, some of which were charged with small pieces of iron and
others with musket bullets. With all these they saluted the pirates
at their drawing nigh unto the place, and gave them full and frequent
broadsides, firing at them incessantly. From whence it happened that
they lost, at every step they advanced, great numbers of men.

“But neither these manifest dangers of their lives, nor the sight of
so many of their own dropping down continually at their sides, could
deter them from advancing farther and gaining ground every moment upon
the enemy. Thus, although the Spaniards never ceased to fire and act
the best they could for their defence, yet, notwithstanding, they were
forced to deliver the city after the space of three hours’ combat. And
the pirates, having now possessed themselves thereof, both killed and
destroyed as many as attempted to make the least opposition against
them.

“The inhabitants had caused the best of their goods to be transported
unto more remote and occult places. Howbeit, they found within the
city, as yet, several warehouses well stocked with all sorts of
merchandise, as well silks and cloths as linen and other things of
considerable value. As soon as the first fury of their entrance into
the city was over, Captain Morgan assembled all his men, at a certain
place which he assigned, and there commanded them, under very great
penalties, that none of them should dare to drink or taste any wine.

“The reason he gave for this injunction was because he had received
private intelligence that it had been all poisoned by the Spaniards.
Howbeit it was the opinion of many that he gave those prudent orders
to prevent the debauchery of his people, which he foresaw would be
very great at the beginning, after so much hunger sustained by the
way; fearing withal lest the Spaniards, seeing them in wine, should
rally their forces, and use them as inhumanly as they had used the
inhabitants before.”

Morgan was now master of Panama. The city, with nearly all of its
wealth, had fallen into his hands. And still the vanquished Spaniards
could rally a force greatly outnumbering his own. The Bay of Panama
is one of peculiar beauty. At that time its shores were fringed with
luxuriant groves of oranges, figs, and limes. The feathery tops of the
cocoanut trees towered over all the rest, rivalled only by the lofty
tamarinds. Through the rich foliage there peeped, in much picturesque
beauty, numerous cane-built huts. Indian children, entirely unclothed,
were running about upon the beach, while birch canoes, light as
bubbles, were skimming the placid waves.

The islands of Tavoga and Tavogilla appeared in the distance as masses
of foliage. The mines of Mexico and Peru had emptied their floods
of wealth into that port. Many of the mansions were architecturally
magnificent. They were adorned with the richest paintings and with the
most costly furniture. The Spanish grandees had hung upon their walls
the masterpieces of Titian, Murillo, and Velasquez. The streets of the
city were broad, an unusual circumstance in Spanish cities, and were
lined with the most beautiful and ever-flowering of tropical trees.

Within the walls of the city there was a cathedral of imposing
magnitude and towering splendor. There were also eight monasteries,
massive buildings, occupied by the religious orders, and abundantly
supplied with works of art. The broad avenues were lined with two
thousand mansions of the wealthy; and five thousand smaller houses and
shops crowded the more busy streets. The most imposing block in the
city was what was called the Genoese Warehouses. These belonged to a
company who had enriched themselves by the slave trade. An immense
number of horses and mules were used in transporting goods across the
isthmus, from one ocean to the other. These were kept in long rows
of stables admirably arranged. The products of the mines of gold and
silver were melted down into solid bars called plate or bullion, and in
that form were sent to the Old World. The city was surrounded with rich
plantations and highly artistic gardens.

“Panama was the city to which all the treasures of Peru were annually
brought. The plate fleet, laden with bars of gold and silver, arrived
here at certain periods, brimming with the crown wealth, as well as
that of private merchants. It returned laden with the merchandise of
Panama and the Spanish main, to be sold in Peru and Chili; and still
oftener with droves of negro slaves that the Genoese imported from the
coast of Guinea to toil and die in the Peruvian mines.

“So wealthy was this golden city that more than two thousand mules were
employed in the transport of the gold and silver from thence to Porto
Bello, where the galleons were loaded. The merchants of Panama were
proverbially the richest in the whole Spanish West Indies. The governor
of Panama was the suzerain of Porto Bello, Nata, Cruz, and Veragua. The
bishop of Panama was primate of the Terra Firma and the suffragan to
the archbishop of Peru. The district of Panama was the most healthy of
all the Spanish colonies, rich in mines, and so well wooded that its
ship-timber covered with vessels both the northern and the southern
seas. Its land yielded full crops, and its broad savannas pastured
innumerable herds of wild cattle.”[A]

[Footnote A: Monarchs of the Main, vol. ii. p. 159.]

Such was the city and province which had fallen into the hands of
this gang of pirates. They found the booty, notwithstanding all the
Spaniards had removed, rich beyond their most sanguine expectations.
The stores were still crowded with goods of great value. Wine, spices,
olive oil, silks and cloths of every variety of fabric were found in
great abundance. The magazines were amply supplied with corn and other
provisions.

Morgan himself was surprised at the grandeur of his capture. He was
also alarmed in view of his own peril. The force which could still be
arrayed against him was far greater than he had anticipated. He was in
imminent danger of being cut off from his return to the ships. There
were several Spanish vessels aground in the port. Morgan seized them.
With the high tide they were floated. He manned them with the most
desperate of his gang and sent them to the islands, and to pursue the
vessels which had escaped with treasure along the coast.

There was one royal Spanish mercantile vessel, in particular, of four
hundred tons, which had escaped, laden with church plate and jewels,
and the richest merchandise. It had put to sea in the greatest haste,
with but seven guns and but about a dozen muskets. It was poorly
supplied with food and water, and had only the uppermost sails of the
mainmast to spread. All the females of the nunnery were on board this
ship, with the most valuable ornaments of the church.

Morgan was anxious to make an immediate pursuit of this vessel. Had
he done so the vessel would easily have been captured. But for a time
he lost the control of his demoniac crew. Inflamed with wine--for
Morgan’s prohibition had no effect--and rushing into the most pitiless
debauchery, they spent many hours in scenes which neither Sodom nor
Gomorrah could ever have outrivalled. Thus the ship escaped. It is
said that it contained gold and silver of greater value than all the
treasures found in Panama.

Morgan probably foresaw that unless he could destroy these liquors,
with which the city was filled, his men would become entirely
disorganized, and the Spaniards, falling upon the drunken rabble, would
easily cut them to pieces. He could not destroy liquors before the eyes
of the pirates, for they would not permit it.

He set fire to the city in various quarters, carefully spreading the
report that the conflagration was kindled by the Spaniards themselves.
The fire spread with such rapidity that, in a few hours, nearly all of
the business portion was laid in ashes. Most of the humbler buildings
were of wood, with thatched roofs. They burned like tinder. Two hundred
stores, with all their contents, were destroyed. The Genoese Warehouses
were burned. There were many poor slaves imprisoned in them. They were
consumed by the all-devouring flames.

This energetic commander, as pitiless as any beast which ever howled
in the jungle, had accomplished his purpose. His troops were driven out
of the flaming streets into the fields, and there they were compelled
to encamp. These wretched men, satiated with gluttony, drunkenness,
and debauchery, began now to awake, with new eagerness, to their old
passion for plunder.

Four vessels were dispatched to visit the islands and to cruise along
the coast in both directions. One hundred and sixty men were sent back
to Chagres to convey supplies to the troops in garrison there, and
to inform them of the great victory. Daily companies of two hundred
men, one party relieving another, were sent out to explore the region
around. They returned every night with a group of pale and trembling
prisoners, and with mules laden with treasure. These unhappy captives
were tortured to compel them to reveal where treasure, of which they
knew nothing, was concealed. The father, the mother, the maiden
daughter, and the child were alike stretched on the bed of torture.
Neither innocence, beauty, nor virtue afforded the female captive any
protection.

A pauper Spaniard, not much more than half-witted, wandered, during
the confusion, into a rich man’s house, stripped off his rags, and
clothed himself in costly linen with breeches of bright red taffeta
and a coat of silk velvet. As he was foolishly strutting about admiring
his finery, the pirates broke in, and seized him as their prize. They
believed, or assumed to believe, that he was the master of the house,
and demanded that he should inform them where he had concealed his
treasure.

In vain he pointed to his rags and protested, by all the saints, that
he had lived upon charity. There was nothing he could reveal. These
cruel men stretched him on the rack. They dislocated his joints. They
twisted a cord around his forehead, “till his eyes appeared as big as
eggs, and were ready to fall out.” They hung him up by the thumbs and
scourged him. They cut off his nose and ears and singed his face with
blazing straw. Then with the thrusts of their lances they put him to
death.

“After this execrable manner,” writes Esquemeling, “did many others
of these miserable prisoners finish their days; the common sport and
recreation of these pirates being these, and other tragedies not
inferior to these.”



CHAPTER XXII.

_The Return from Panama._

  Return of the Explorers.--The Beautiful Captive.--Sympathy
  in her behalf.--Embarrassments of Morgan.--Inflexible Virtue
  of the Captive.--The Conspiracy.--Efficiency of Morgan.--His
  Obduracy.--The Search of the Pirates.--The Return March.--Morgan
  Cheats the Pirates.--Runs Away.


The vessels which Morgan sent out to the islands, and to cruise along
the shore, all returned within about eight days. They came laden with
merchandise and with captives. The fate of the female captives was
dreadful. In this treatment none of the men were worse than Morgan
himself. In one of the shiploads of captives there was a Spanish lady
of exquisite beauty. She was quite young, and the wife of a wealthy
merchant, then absent in Peru. She is described by both Esquemeling and
Oexemelin as a lady endowed with such loveliness as is rarely seen upon
earth. Esquemeling writes:

“Her years were few, and her beauty so great as, peradventure, I may
doubt whether, in all Christendom any could be found to surpass her
perfections, either of comeliness or honesty.”

Oexemelin gives a more detailed account of her charms. He says that her
hair was in glossy, silken ringlets of jet black. Though a brunette,
her complexion was of dazzling purity. Her large, lustrous black
eyes beamed with a peculiar expression of tenderness, which won the
admiration of all who beheld her. The roughest pirates were subdued and
softened by her presence. To them she presented almost the image of the
Virgin Mary, and they regarded her charms as angelic.

The moment Morgan cast his eyes upon her he was overawed and captivated
by her beauty, and was inspired with the most intense desire to win her
love. Others had been his slaves, subject to his brutal will. But this
lady, with her beauty, her grace, her accomplishments, her virtue, so
far vanquished him, that he could not approach her but as a suppliant
for her favor.

Love, the essence of the deity, is, under some circumstances, in its
legitimate bearing, the most purifying of influences. Under other
circumstances it is the most debasing and brutalizing of passions.
It was observed that the demeanor of Morgan became quite changed. He
became more social, more gentle, and was particularly attentive to his
dress, clothing himself in his richest attire. He ordered his beautiful
captive to be separated from the other prisoners, appointed a negress
to wait upon her, sent her delicate viands from his own table, and
treated her, in all respects, with the greatest consideration. The
negress was instructed to do everything in her power to convince the
captive lady that her captor was not a beast and a heretic, as she had
been taught to believe, but a gentleman, and a Christian, a man of
polished manners and cultivated mind. Esquemeling writes:

“This lady had formerly heard strange reports concerning the pirates,
before their arrival at Panama, as if they were not men, but heretics,
who did neither invoke the blessed Trinity, nor believe in Jesus
Christ. But now she began to have better thoughts of them than ever
before, having experienced the manifold civilities of Captain Morgan;
especially as she heard him many times swear by the name of God and of
Jesus Christ, in whom she had been persuaded that they did not believe.

“Neither did she now think them to be so bad, or to have the shapes
of beasts, as she had often heard. For as to the names of robbers or
thieves, which was commonly given them, she wondered not much at it,
seeing, as she said, that among all nations there were to be found some
wicked men who naturally coveted to possess the goods of others.”

Morgan visited the lady with smiles and bows and costly presents.
He flooded her chamber with robes, jewels, and perfumes. She was not
deceived. And when he ventured to propose that she should abandon her
husband, and become virtually his wife, and accompany him to the home
of splendor with which he would provide her, she repelled him with
indignation and loathing. Replying to him with all the eloquence of
impassioned innocence, she said:

“Sir, my life is in your hands. But sooner shall my soul be separated
from my body than I will surrender myself to your demands.”

This repulse stirred up the rage of the infamous pirate. He stripped
her of her rich attire, left her only the coarsest garments, and threw
her into a dark and loathsome dungeon. She was supplied with only
enough food to support life. By these brutalities he hoped to break her
spirit, and to compel her to acquiesce in his wishes.

Even demons can appreciate true nobility of character. The beauty and
virtues of this lady had won, in some degree, the sympathy of the
vilest of these wretches. Morgan could not conceal his treatment from
them. They began to murmur, to denounce him, to curse him as a brute.

“I myself,” says Esquemeling, “was an eye-witness of the lady’s
sufferings, and could never have believed that such constancy and
virtue could have been found in the world, had I not been assured
thereof by my own eyes and ears.”

Morgan became alarmed by the threatening aspect assumed by his men.
Various causes had been for some time undermining his authority. He
knew full well that there was not one of these desperadoes who would
hesitate, for one moment, to thrust a poniard into his heart, or to
pierce his brain with a bullet. These pirates were all consummate
villains. There was no sense of honor among them. There was no crime
from which they would shrink did they deem it for their interest to
commit it. Even their sympathy for the beautiful captive lady resolved
itself mainly into jealousy of the captain. Had they seized her
unprotected in the halls of a nunnery, she would have experienced no
mercy whatever at their hands.

The pirates, flushed with their great victory, and the vast amount of
wealth, of every kind, at their disposal, had formed a conspiracy, in
which more than a hundred were implicated. Their plan was to get rid of
Morgan, then to seize one of the islands in the neighborhood as their
rendezvous, and to make it their stronghold. With the vessels they
already had, and the ships they would soon capture, they would have an
invincible fleet. Then they would sweep the Pacific Ocean, and ravage
all the coasts of Chili and Peru. After they had acquired sufficient
plunder to make them all millionnaires, they would return to Europe,
by the way of the East Indies, picking up ships by the way, and would
then disperse to seek new homes and riot in luxury for the remainder of
their days.

In preparation for this movement they had secreted several of the large
guns of the town and an ample store of ammunition. But Morgan was equal
to this emergency. One of the conspirators betrayed the rest. The first
intimation the conspirators had that their design was discovered was in
seeing every vessel and boat in the harbor in flames. Every piece of
artillery in the place was spiked. Thus they were entirely frustrated
in their plan. Orders were then given to pack the mules with treasure,
and to make immediate preparation to return to Chagres.

The plunder of Panama had not yet been divided. Though every pirate
had taken the most solemn oath that all the booty should be thrown
into common stock, and that he would not secrete anything, no one had
any confidence in the oath of another. Morgan ordered every man to
be searched, from the crown of his head to the soles of his shoes.
Though Morgan himself submitted to be first searched, they were all
exasperated by this. Every man was compelled to discharge his musket
to prove that no jewels were hidden in its barrel.

The French portion of the pirates were especially enraged against
Morgan. Many oaths were uttered that they would put him to death before
they reached Jamaica. In a few days all the treasure was packed in
convenient bales, and placed upon the backs of the mules. The church
plate was beaten into shapeless lumps for more convenient stowage.
The treasure which could not be removed they wantonly destroyed. One
hundred and fifty men were sent to Chagres to bring the boats as far up
the river as the stream was navigable. He informed the prisoners that
he should take all, as slaves, to Jamaica, who did not, through their
friends, obtain an ample ransom.

For the ransom of his beautiful captive, from whom he now rather
desired to be relieved, he demanded thirty thousand dollars. Two of
the ecclesiastics were permitted to go to her friends to obtain this
money. It was immediately furnished them. They returned with it, and
treacherously, instead of ransoming her, employed the money for the
ransom of their own particular friends.

This treachery was known throughout the army. Even the pirates
denounced it. The murmurs in the camp were so loud, that Morgan was
compelled to heed them, and he gave the lady her liberty.

On the morning of the 24th of February, 1671, these robbers set out on
their return to Chagres. Many of the captive women implored Captain
Morgan, upon their knees, with loud lamentations, to permit them to
remain with their husbands and their children. Unfeelingly he replied:

“I did not come here to listen to the cries of women, but to obtain
money. Bring me money, and you shall be released. If you do not, you
shall surely go to Jamaica.”

“When the march began,” writes Esquemeling, “those lamentable cries and
shrieks were renewed, insomuch that it would have caused compassion in
the hardest heart to hear them. But Captain Morgan, as a man little
given to mercy, was not moved therewith in the least.”

The line of march was as before. First there were scouts a quarter of a
mile in advance of the troops. Then followed the advance guard in great
strength. The prisoners came next, with the heavily laden mules. The
remainder of the pirates formed the rear guard. They goaded forward the
fainting, tottering, despairing captives with push of javelin and prick
of sabre.

When they reached the blackened ruins of the town of Cruz, which was
at the head of boat navigation, the mules were unloaded, and their
burdens were placed in the canoes. There was a necessary delay here
of several days, and quite a number of the prisoners, who had written
agonizing letters to their friends, received their money and paid their
ransom. Morgan still had with him many woe-stricken Spaniards, and one
hundred and fifty negro slaves. These last he deemed cash articles, for
they would bring the money in any of the ports of the West Indies.

From Cruz the pirates advanced in two parties, one in the boats, and
another on the land. Chagres was reached without any event occurring
of special importance. Immediately after his arrival, Morgan, with his
characteristic energy, sent some of his prisoners to the important town
of Puerto Velo, frequently called Puerto Bello, with the announcement
that if the citizens did not forthwith send him a large ransom, he
would utterly demolish the castle and lay all the works there in ruins.
As Chagres was the all-important port of entry for the whole province,
he thought that this threat would bring the money. They, however, paid
no heed to it.

The booty was now divided. The pirates were bitterly disappointed
in finding that the whole estimated value amounted to but about two
million dollars. Probably ten times that sum, which they could not
remove, had been destroyed in their rapacity. Every man had expected
at least ten thousand dollars. When they found that but one thousand
was their share they were greatly enraged. This pittance was scarcely
sufficient for the carouse of a single week.

Loud and threatening murmurs rose from nearly all lips. They accused
Morgan of cheating them. The consummate knave with great adroitness had
done so. Many of his men had conspired against him. With far greater
ability he was now conspiring against them. He had taken a few into
his confidence to share the spoil which they were to steal from the
rest. The common sailors had no idea of the value of diamonds and other
precious stones. His partisans bought them up at not one hundredth part
of their real value. Massive bars of gold were easily concealed.

Morgan endeavored to engross the attention of his men in plundering,
burning, and destroying Chagres. While apparently his whole force,
in the delirium of intoxication, were engaged in this work, Morgan
and his accomplices repaired on board the ships, quietly in the night
weighed anchor, and taking advantage of a fair wind, before the morning
were out of sight with all their treasure. Their dupes, consisting
of nearly one-half of the piratic crew, were left on the shore amid
the ruins, without food, without a boat, without shelter, in utter
destitution. What ultimately became of them is not known. Probably some
starved; some were shot by the Spaniards; some were caught and hung.
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

We have no more details respecting the final career of this very able,
sagacious, and infamous man. We simply know that he reached Jamaica in
possession of an immense fortune. There he was honored as one of the
great men of his age. Charles II., King of England, whose accomplice
he is said to have been in his piracies, rewarded him for his
achievements, appointed him governor of the island, and conferred upon
him the honors of a baronetcy. We know not when he died. But we do know
that, however Sir Henry Morgan may have escaped the penalty of his sins
in this world, he has long ago appeared before the tribunal of that God
“who will render to every man according to his deeds.”



CHAPTER XXIII.

_Montbar the Fanatic._

  Partial Solution of a Mystery.--Montbar’s Birth.--His Education
  and Delusions.--Anecdote of the Dramatic Performance.--Montbar
  Runs Away from Home.--Enters the Navy.--His Ferocious
  Exploits.--Joins the Buccaneers.--Desperate Battles on the Land
  and on the Sea.--His Final Disappearance.


In reading the narrative of the cruelties practised by the pirates upon
the Spaniards, the mind is often oppressed with the thought that a God
of infinite love and power should have allowed such scenes to have
been enacted. There is nothing conceivable, in intense and protracted
torture, which was not inflicted upon men, women, and children. There
is no satisfactory explanation of this great mystery of earth. Still
there are considerations which may perhaps point in the direction of a
solution.

The pirates seem to have been permitted to revenge upon the Spaniards
the awful sufferings which they had inflicted upon the Indians. The
Spanish armies of Cortez and Pizarro ravaged the homes of the innocent
native inhabitants of those countries with ferocity and cruelty which
Satan and his legions could not possibly have surpassed. The Spaniards
had thrown the Indian into the flames of the most awful misery. And
then God allowed the pirate to throw the Spaniard into the same flames.

There was a celebrated pirate by the name of Montbar, who seemed to
have been inspired with fanatical frenzy approaching maniacal fury
against the whole Spanish nation. He was the child of one of the most
opulent and respected families in Languedoc, in France. He had received
all the advantages of education which wealth could afford. In the
process of this education he had read the account of the atrocities
practised by the Spaniards in their conquest of the islands and the
continents of the New World.

The blood of this ardent young man seemed to boil in his veins, while
pondering these fiend-like crimes. As a child he brooded over these
tortures until he became almost insane. Soon he devoted himself to all
martial exercises, that he might avenge the wrongs of the Indians.
This generous but cruel determination grew rapidly into monomania. The
animal forces of a mind of unusual energy were all concentrated in
this direction. Revenge for the wrongs practised upon the Cubans, the
Peruvians, the Mexicans occupied his thoughts by day and his dreams by
night. This became the all-absorbing passion of his soul.

Even when a child, practising with his cross-bow, he said, “I wish to
shoot well, only that I may know how to kill the Spaniards.” George W.
Thornbury, in his sketch of this singular man, alluding to the Spanish
enormities in the New World, writes:

“Fanaticism, avarice, and ambition had ruled like a trinity of devils,
over the beautiful regions desolated and plague-smitten by the
Spaniards. Whole nations had become extinct. The name of Christ was
polluted into the mere cipher of an armed and aggressive commerce.
These books had impressed the gloomy boy with a deep, absorbing,
fanatical hatred of the conquerors, and a fierce pity for the conquered.

“He believed himself marked out by God, as the Gideon sent to
their relief. Dreams of riches and gratified ambition spurred him
unconsciously to the task. He thought and dreamed of nothing but the
murdered Indians. He inquired eagerly from travellers for news from
America, and testified prodigious and ungovernable joy when he heard
that the Spaniards had been defeated by the Caribs and the Bravos.

“He indeed knew by heart every deed of atrocity that history recorded
of his enemies, and would dilate upon each one, with a rude and
impatient eloquence. The following story he was frequently accustomed
to relate, and to gloat over with a look that indicated a mind capable
of even greater cruelty, if once led away by a fanatic spirit of
retaliation.

“‘A Spaniard’ the story ran, ‘was once upon a time appointed governor
of an Indian province, which was inhabited by a fierce and warlike race
of savages. He proved a cruel governor, unforgiving in his resentments,
and insatiable in his avarice. The Indians, unable any longer to endure
either his barbarities or his exactions, seized him, and showing him
gold, told him that they had at last been able, by great good luck,
to find enough to satisfy his demands. They then held him firm, and
melting the ore, poured it down his throat, till he expired in torments
under their hands.’”

The peculiarities of this young man were singularly exhibited on one
occasion, which showed that his mental operations were so deranged
that he could not calmly reflect upon anything connected with the
Spanish nation. At one of the college exhibitions, a comedy was to be
enacted by the students, in which Montbar was to take a part. During
the performance there was a dialogue to take place between a Spaniard
and a Frenchman. Montbar represented the Frenchman, and one of his
companions the Spaniard.

The Spaniard appeared first upon the stage, and began to utter a
tirade of extravagancies against France, denouncing and ridiculing the
French in unmeasured terms. Montbar listened, with ever-increasing
excitement, until he lost all self-control. The mimic scene in his mind
became a reality. In a perfect fury he broke upon the stage; assailed
the representative Spaniard like a maniac; called him a liar and a
murderer; knocked him down, and would inevitably have killed him, had
he not been dragged away by the terrified bystanders.

The boy developed a very active and powerful mind, and his wealthy
father was very proud of him. His eccentricities did not alarm him,
as he thought that contact with the world would soon remove them all.
He wished his son to study some profession. But Montbar insisted upon
entering the army. “I wish to learn to fight,” said he, “that I may
kill the Spaniards.”

As his friends opposed his entering the army, he ran away from home,
and found his way to Havre. Here he had an uncle who was in command
of one of the king’s ships. France was then at war with Spain. The
ship was just entering upon a cruise against the Spaniards. The uncle,
pleased with the enthusiasm of the boy, and with the intensity of his
desire to join the expedition, wrote to the father, and obtained his
reluctant consent. In a few days the ship sailed.

The young fanatic kept a constant watch for the foe, evincing the most
intense eagerness for an engagement. The moment any sail appeared, he
armed himself, and seemed overjoyed with the thought that he might soon
wreak vengeance on the Spaniards. At length, a Spanish ship appeared.
Soon they met and exchanged broadsides. Montbar was quite intoxicated
with joy. He was perfectly reckless. Not a thought of danger entered
his mind. When the order was given to board, Montbar, sabre in hand,
led the party, and was the first to leap on board the Spanish ship.
He seemed to bear a charmed life, and to be endowed with herculean
strength. He sought no assistance from his comrades, but plunged into
the thickest of the enemy, hewing on his right hand and his left, with
marvellous strength. Twice he rushed from end to end of the vessel,
mowing down all who opposed him. He would give no quarter.

The Spaniards were overpowered. Their slaughter was awful. Montbar,
dreaming that he was God’s appointed minister of vengeance, was in an
ecstasy of exultation, as he cut down some, ran his sabre through the
heart of others, and drove others into the sea. His spirit inspired the
rest. Nearly every Spaniard was killed. His uncle succeeded in saving
one or two.

The prize was found to be of immense value. The hold was crammed with
riches. There was one casket of diamonds of almost priceless worth.
While the captain and the crew were examining these treasures, and
rejoicing over them, Montbar regarded them with entire indifference. He
was counting the dead. Blood, not plunder, was what his soul craved.

As there was now war between France and Spain, the French buccaneers,
even when acting without any formal commission, were regarded by the
Government as engaged in legitimate warfare. The buccaneers of England,
robbing Spanish commerce and Spanish colonies, were encouraged and
aided by the French navy. The conflict we have described took place
near the shores of St. Domingo. Montbar’s uncle learned, from his
prisoners, that the ship he had captured had been separated by a storm
from two others, and that they were bound to Port Margot on the island.

He immediately sailed to the vicinity of that port, where he kept
watch. The vessel he had captured was used as a decoy. He placed French
soldiers on board, unfurled the flag of Spain, and stood off and on,
waiting the arrival of the two vessels. While thus on the watch, some
buccaneers, from the shore, came on board in canoes, with provisions to
sell. They had been wrecked upon the coast; and while a part of their
number had been at a distance from the camp hunting, the Spaniards had
fallen upon them, put them to flight, and plundered their stores.

“Why do you suffer this?” exclaimed Montbar, indignantly.

“We do not mean to suffer it,” they replied. “We know what the
Spaniards are, and what our power is. We are collecting our forces, and
will soon take signal vengeance upon them.”

“Let me go with you,” said Montbar. “I do not ask to be your leader,
but I will go at your head. I will be the first to expose myself, and
will show you how I can fight these accursed Spaniards.”

Gladly they accepted his offer. His ardor and energy inspired them with
great confidence in him. His uncle very reluctantly allowed him to
go, cursing him as a foolish, hair-brained madcap, ever eager to push
his head into danger. Yet the uncle was very proud of him. As young
Montbar descended the side of the ship into a canoe, the captain said
exultingly to one at his side, “There goes as brave a lad as ever trod
a plank.”

The buccaneers returned to their camp, and immediately, in a strong
war-party, set out in search of the Spaniards. They threaded intricate
paths through the woods, until they opened upon a small treeless
prairie, which they called a savanna. Just before entering this field,
which was surrounded by hills and woods, they saw, in the distance, a
mounted party of Spaniards who were evidently on the march to attack
them.

Montbar was transported with rage at the sight of the Spaniards. He
was ready, single-handed, to rush upon them at once--he alone, against
several hundred, regardless whether the others followed him or not. But
an old, experienced buccaneer, who led the party, held him back.

“Stop,” said he; “there is plenty of time. If you do as I tell you, not
one of those fellows shall escape.”

These words, “Not one of those fellows shall escape,” arrested the
impetuous young man. The buccaneers halted, pretending not to have
seen the Spaniards. They allowed one or two of their number to exhibit
themselves, as if belonging to a hunting party. They then pitched their
tent of linen, apparently entirely unconscious that they were near
any foe. Drawing out their brandy-flasks, they feigned a great revel,
singing songs, shouting, and passing the flasks from one to another, as
if in the wildest of drunken bouts. This was done by a small portion of
the company, while most of the buccaneers were hidden in ambush.

The Spaniards, having secreted themselves, watched all these movements.
They supposed that the buccaneers, stupefied with drink, would ere long
fall helplessly asleep. The Spaniards would then creep cautiously upon
them, and kill them all. But the cunning old buccaneer had taken good
care that the brandy-flasks should all be empty. Not a single drop of
intoxicating drink had the feigned revellers taken.

As soon as darkness veiled the scene the buccaneers all assembled in
ambuscade, anticipating a midnight attack. Every musket was in order,
and their brains were cool and uninflamed with drink. The Spaniards
delayed their attack until daylight. As the hours lingered away,
Montbar was restless, and chafed like a caged lion, saying that they
would never come, and imploring permission to march out and attack them.

At daybreak the buccaneers discerned a dark line moving noiselessly
over the ridge, and descending into the plain. They knew full well what
this meant. Every movement was watched by the ambushed buccaneers.
Cautiously the Spaniards advanced. They crossed the prairie, and
entered the forest, intending to encircle the tent, which they supposed
held the sleeping buccaneers.

Suddenly the woods seemed to burst into volcanic flame. The report of
the musketry was followed with shout and yell, and the storm of lead
swept through the ranks of the Spaniards, striking down scores, either
in death or grievously wounded. The buccaneers rushed instantaneously
upon their bewildered, staggered, bleeding foe. Montbar seemed
animated by demonaical frenzy. He rushed upon the Spaniards in utter
recklessness, regardless of their numbers, or of the support he should
receive from his comrades. His heavy sabre flashed in all directions,
as if wielded by tireless sinews of steel.

Soon he was quite in advance of his companions, and was alone in the
very thickest of the Spanish squadron. He would inevitably have been
cut down, had not the other buccaneers, astonished at his audacity,
rushed to his rescue. Montbar’s sword was dripping with blood. He
was in a frenzy of joy. Every blow he struck cut down a Spaniard. He
exulted in the carnage, and ever after declared that this was the
happiest day of his life. One grounded Spaniard clung to his knee
begging for mercy. Montbar brought down his sabre upon his head,
splitting it from crown to chin, fiercely exclaiming, “I wish that you
were the last of this accursed race.” An eye-witness of the battle
describes the carnage as horrible. Nearly every Spaniard was destroyed.
The victors, all absorbed in their bloody work, stumbled over the dying
and the dead, deaf to every cry for mercy.

The buccaneers were astonished and delighted by the prowess which
Montbar had displayed. They entreated him to remain and become their
captain. But a signal gun, fired by his uncle, called him back to the
ship. Montbar was placed as captain on board the large ship which his
uncle had captured. Many of the pirates eagerly engaged to serve under
him.

After a sail of eight days these two vessels encountered four Spanish
war-ships, each one larger than either of those commanded by Montbar
or his uncle. One of the most desperate of naval battles ensued. The
elder Montbar was attacked by two of the ships. For three hours they
struggled, grappled together, receiving and giving the most terrible
broadsides. At last the three sank together in one watery grave. The
uncle, it is said, rejoicing to drag the two other ships with him, went
down laughing.

Montbar, with his crashing shot, succeeded at length in sinking
one of the ships assailing him, and then he boarded the other. The
terror-stricken crew threw themselves into the water. The floating
bodies presented targets for the buccaneers. No quarter was shown.
Montbar rushed up and down the decks killing all he could reach. His
courage and accomplishments were so marvellous, that his comrades
regarded him with superstitious reverence, as endowed with more than
mortal powers. He himself ever averred that he was God’s appointed
messenger, to avenge the wrongs the Spaniards had inflicted upon the
Indians. It is not known that a single individual escaped from these
four Spanish ships.

Montbar had now two vessels at his command. He engaged many other
buccaneers in his service, and soon had an army of nearly eight
hundred men ready to follow him to the death. He swept the seas, and,
often landing, ravaged the coasts. We have no detailed account of his
subsequent career. One of his biographers writes:

“And this completes all that history has preserved of one of
the strangest combinations of fanatic and soldier that has ever
appeared since the days of Loyola. In another age, and under other
circumstances, he might have been a second Mohammed. Equally
remorseless, his ambition, though narrower, seems to have been no less
fervid. If he was cruel, we must allow him to have been sincere even in
his fanaticism. Daring, untiring, of unequalled courage and unmatched
resolution, the cruelty of the Spaniards he put down by greater
cruelty. He passes from us into unknown seas, and we hear of him no
more. He died probably unconscious of crime, unpitying and unpitied.

“Oexemelin, who saw Montbar at Honduras, describes him as active,
vivacious, and full of fire, like all the Gascons. He was of tall
stature, erect and firm, his air grand, noble, martial. His complexion
was sunburnt, and the color of his eyes could not be discerned under
the deep, arched vaulting of his bushy eyebrows. His very glance in
battle was said to intimidate the Spaniards, and to drive them to
despair.”



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

Punctuation has been standardised. Changes to the original publication
have been made as follows:

  Pages v and 29
    William Kidd, the New York Merchant _changed to_
    William Kidd, the New-York Merchant

  Page 19
    was a broad crimsom sash _changed to_
    was a broad crimson sash

  Page 20
    queen, with charteristic tartness _changed to_
    queen, with characteristic tartness

  Page 26
    turning upon his heel, said contemptously _changed to_
    turning upon his heel, said contemptuously

  Page 38
    of February, 1666, that Captain Kidd _changed to_
    of February, 1696, that Captain Kidd

  Page 89
    taken sick and died in New-York _changed to_
    taken sick and died in New York

  Page 105
    dividing into two partions _changed to_
    dividing into two parties

  Page 107
    employed skilled seaman to manage the ship _changed to_
    employed a skilled seaman to manage the ship

  Page 170
    The Carousal; and the New Enterprise _changed to_
    the Carousal; and the New Enterprise

  Page 182
    coast to render such asssistance _changed to_
    coast to render such assistance

  Page 183
    they threatented with instant _changed to_
    they threatened with instant

  Page 187
    mouth of the great river of Gautemala _changed to_
    mouth of the great river of Guatemala

  Page 192
    was inhabitated by a very fierce tribe _changed to_
    was inhabited by a very fierce tribe

  Page 201
    Mary Read and Ann Bonny _changed to_
    Mary Read and Anne Bonny

  Page 204
    week for its maintainance _changed to_
    week for its maintenance

  Page 222
    dying an ignominous death _changed to_
    dying an ignominious death

  Page 242
    repel an asault from the land _changed to_
    repel an assault from the land

  Page 252
    expressive of his astonishmeut _changed to_
    expressive of his astonishment

  Page 315
    They roof was instantly _changed to_
    The roof was instantly

  Page 358
    bought them up at not one hundreth _changed to_
    bought them up at not one hundredth





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