Thursday, October 15, 2020

La Buse: Mutiny on Le Postillon, 3 June 1715

Early events in the Golden Age of Piracy at Saint Domingue

Excerpt from Le capitaine La Buse: L'âge d'or de la piraterie (2018) by Jacques Gasser:

Olivier Le Vasseur, called "La Buse" and ten other mutineers left Fort Saint Louis on the south coast of Saint Domingue (French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, or modern Haiti) aboard a large vessel under Capt. La Lande de Rochefort on June 3, 1715. They took it from that captain as they passed the Isle de la Vache that afternoon and became pirates. One official later stated that this vessel named Le Postillon is an "excellent sailor that was ideally suited to its black designs."

In a letter dated 14 June 1715, Mr. Barthomier, the king's lieutenant at Fort Saint Louis, recounts La Buse’s escape in great detail:

I have the honour to inform Your Lordship that Mr. Devaux, director for the affairs of the Royal Company of Santo Domingo in St. Louis, having purchased on behalf of the company about five months ago a large boat named Le Postillon, the said boat was kidnapped by the crew of eleven men who went pirates. This happened on the 3rd of June at three o'clock in the afternoon when the said boat having left the port of Saint Louis at about one o'clock in the afternoon where it had been loaded with three complete sugar crews consisting of a copper boiler and loot and some other effects.

Hardly then, Monseigneur, the said boat was out of sight of the fort that these eleven men revolted against their captain named La Lande de Rochefort having all taken the weapons they had hidden in the hold and deliberated strongly a long time if they would kill him and the pilot who refused to be with them. But they made up their minds to lock them both up with another male passenger in a room, and when they found themselves strong off Isle à Vache about eight leagues from here, they boarded them the next morning in a small canoe [periagua] that belonged to a poor man who was in the back of the boat; which man took advantage of this opportunity to return to the Isle à Vache from where he had come two days ago. These pirates also sent back along with the others this captain and this pilot, [and] instead of coming straight to the fort to warn, [they] went to the safety of Isle à Vache saying that the sea was too rough to go to the fort's side. So that I was not informed until June 5 at 9 a.m. [such] that these pirates must be far away and that Monsieur de La Rigaudière who arrived at this port on May 30 with two frigates of the Company and I did not feel that it was worth time to go after [them], both for the time that this vessel had in advance [a head start] and because it is one of the best sailing boats in the sea and furthermore we had not yet begun to unload the cargoes of these two [company] ships. Nevertheless, I sent people by land on the coves and at Cape Tiburon to see if this vessel [Le Postillon] would not go on these sides but we did not see or hear it and following all appearances it had taken off and set sail for the coast of Spain (Mainland America) and get to Bocator which is a place where pirates retreat. This pirate ship [Le Postillon] has four mounted guns and has about ten to twelve pounds of gunpowder. 

I have given notice of the theft of this vessel to Mr. [Archibald] Hamilton Governor of Jamaica and to the Governor of Curacao on occasions I found in those days.*


*A.N. Colonies C9 B2 . Lettre du sieur Barthomier, du fort Saint Louis le 14 juin 1715.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Dumas to Maurepas: The Order to Execute La Buse - 1730


FR-ANOM COL C3/5/002 ff. 120 



Sent to France in 1770
Bales of Coffee, harvested in Bourbon [no pirate mentioned here?]


Notice to the arrest or force of pirate Olivier Le Vasseur or La Buse, our Mr. D'Hermitte.
They had read, the condemnation to his execution.


[Document: FR-ANOM COL C3/5/002 ff. 120-121]
Monseigr. The Count of Maurepas

Mr. Dumas
L'isle de Bourbon this December 20, 1730 [J: 9 Dec 1730]*

My lord

This year we are shipping the vessel La Meduse commanded by Sr. D'Hermitte fully responsible for the 770 bales of coffee amounting to 3166 [.] 00[lt: livre] from the region of this Isle [Bourbon]; and we still have a considerable part of it in the store which has not been taken on board.

Sr. D'Hermitte in the last trip he made to Madagascar, having arrested and caught him there [ca. April 1730] named Olivier Le Vasseur known as La Buze, famous pirate captain, his procedure was made at the request of the Attorney General, and he was condemned by order of council of July 17, In.[instant?: 1730; this was the date of his condemnation and order of execution - still he was hanged on 7 July - might be a typo on the original document with an added "1" and repeated - see next doc]

This man made in 1721 in harbor of this Isle [Bourbon] two captures one of a vessel of King of Portugal [Nossa Senhora do Cabo or Vierge de Cap; then of only 21 guns, but pirates refitted her with 60 guns] of 60 pieces of guns, which he boarded, and the other from a vessel called The Ville d'Ostende [City of Ostend] belonging to the Comp. from the same city - he also took and burnt after taking in the same time the vessel of Comp. of France the Duchess of Noailles commanded by Sr. Grâve of St. Malo [Platel was former captain; Sr. Robert was then in command when she was destroyed, Grâve was the owner], this Buze then mounted the pirate ship the Victorious and to have with him another ship named Defense [at this time, it was Cassandra; Defense was the new name given to the refitted Nossa Senhora do Cabo; Dumas mixed up his info after 9 years] commanded by an Englishman called Taylor.*

Rhubarb [an expression or the plant?] is starting to multiply in Isle Bourbon, there are currently more so-called seedlings, I have the honor with deep respect.


Your humble obedient servant

* It should be noted that Pierre Benoist Dumas had not been present for the piratical events in 1721 when Nossa Senhora do Cabo or Vierge de Cap was captured by LeVasseur et al. He arrived on La Bourbon about 1727, replacing Desforges-Boucher, who in turn replaced Beauvollier, who was the governor who originally offered pardons to LeVasseur, Cleyton, Adam Johnson, and their crews in 1724.


From: Archives Colonials – Bourbon, carton 2 – Letter de M. Dumas, 29 December 1730 [J: 18 Dec 1730]; also Mr. Dumas, Governor of Bourbon, to Minister de Maurepas, December 29, 1730, Centre des Archives dOutre Mer, Aix en Provence, Correspondance générale de Bourbon, t. V, 1727-1731.

According to the deliberation of the Superior Council of Bourbon on 7 July 1730 [J: 26 Jun]:

By advice, the criminal proceedings extraordinarily made and instructed at the request and diligence of the Attorney General of the King [illegible] and accusation against Olivier Levasseur nicknamed “La Bouse” accused of the crime of piracy, prisoner in our prisons, defendant in the affirmation made the 26 of March [J: 15 Mar] and 19 of May [J: 8 May] last at the declaration of Sieur d’Hermitte captain of the ship La Méduse, [showing as evidence] the letter of said Levasseur dated March 25, 1724 [J: 14 Mar] addressed to Monsieur Desforges and signed Olivier La Buse, by him recognized and initialed, nor variation.

[Also offered to the court, the] Letter from the Superior Council to Sieur La Buse for response dated 23 September of the same year granting Amnesty and Surety, [and supported in the] interrogation suffered by the accused on 15 May [J: 4 May] and 20 May 1730 [J: 9 May] and 03 [J: 22 Jun] of this month. First general conclusion of the king of the 04 [July] [J: 23 Jun], [and] preparatory judgment of the same day which orders that it will proceed to the final judgment [to be] awaited [by] the public notoriety.
Final conclusion of the Attorney General of the King of the 06 [July; J: 25 Jun], sudden interrogation in the room of the council [illegible] and all considered the council declared and [illegible] the name “Olivier Levasseur dit la Buse,” native of Calais, hard hit of the knowledge of the crime of piracy for several years, for having ordered several pirate ships to be taken and brought to the roadstead of Bourbon Island, a vessel belonging to king of Portugal and another named the City of Ostend belonging to the company of the same city, but equally participated in the capture, plunder, and firing of the vessel La Duchesse de Noailles belonging to the company of France and other [illegible], for repair of which the council condemned him and ordered to make amends in front of the principal door of the church of this parish, naked in a shirt, the rope at his collar, in hand, a torch of two pounds of pitch for there, to say and declare with high and intelligible voice, that For a long time, he was a reckless and reckless man who became a filibuster [pirate] and asked for forgiveness from God, the king and justice. [note that there is no mention in any primary source of him throwing a cipher on a large piece of parchment in the crowd - where would an essentially naked man hide one, anyway?]

This sentence will be carried out in a public place to be hanged and strangled until death ensues on a gallows erected for this purpose. (He) will be hanged in the usual place his dead body will remain there 24 hours and then exposed to the waters’ edge… his belongings are confiscated for the benefit of the king, and he must also pay a fine of one hundred pounds for the offense done to “the Lord King.” Done and declared in the council chamber on July 17, 1730 [J: 6 Jul; note this is probably a typo]. Dumas.**

*Julian dates are included because French dates were based on the Gregorian calendar and were 11 days later than English who used the Julian.

** This is obviously partly copied into his letter of 20 Dec 1730 to Maurepas. 

The Degradation of La Buse - 30 September 1724

ANOM COL C3 4 1-22 - 30 Sep 1724 Desforges Boucher

30 September 1724 

M. Desforge a Boucher to Louis XV

Only forty of these unfortunate degraded people without a ship remain on the island of Madagascar, who implore their amnesty unable to support themselves and perish there of misery, although they have a number of diamonds, which are of no use to them for to obtain the necessary for life, not having, moreover, a penny in cash. There were still about sixty there at the beginning of this year, but eighteen or twenty got loose in a boat of about twenty-five tons and came here to ask for their amnesty and that of the others who remained after them in Madagascar. While the greater part of their colleagues were here ashore [~23 Sep 1724 at Saint-Paul, Ile de Bourbon], those remaining on board murdered at ten o'clock in the evening their own captain, named John Cleyton, English, with a pistol shot charged with three bullets fired from behind, and at the touching point the wadding set his shirt on fire. And immediately removed the boat, after nevertheless having thrown into their small canoe, five of them all chopped from the wounds they had received, wanting to avenge their captain. Those wounded as they were fled to the ground, and since then we have not heard of what became of them. Those who were ashore and those who fled have since remained very dependent on the colony, where their diamonds are not common commodities although they do have quite considerable quantities. I sent to France on the Company's ship, the Royal-Philippe, almost all these wretches with their iniquitous booty, willingly shedding such vermin on a colony which had objects more useful to the State

[…] Most of it has been slaughtered and poisoned by blacks, or by themselves. These are the most miserable of them who remained on the island, among which is the named La Buse [Olivier LeVasseur de la Buse], who was one of their captains, who after having dispelled or lost the unworthy fruit of his piracy, replied to those who escorted him to take advantage of the impunity offered to him. […] But the rest of the population, through the abuses they committed to procure slaves and women, did not support them with difficulty, taking advantage of the slightest disturbance to eliminate them physically or, more subtly, by poisoning them little by little. small. […] They remain distant from each other without any union. They hold this coast of Ambanivoulle from the 13 ° degree 40 minutes where is the large point which, with reefs, forms a kind of fort called Anglebay, to the river of Manangharre, not far from the bay of Antongil, it is across this coast that the island of Sainte-Marie is situated, which has a good port in a small bay, although a little spoiled by ships sunk with their entire cargo. It is not on this island that the pirates have withdrawn, as it has been believed, but only remain on one of the islets which [lies within] it [Ile aux Forbans or "Pirates Island"]. A mulatto saw there entrenched with palisades where he mounted a few pieces of cannon, as each of these brigands do in particular, who have become inhabitants of these islands, being obliged to be on guard against one another. They undertake to come and stay with them, and to take their defenses, the blacks of the surroundings where they make their establishments. Which are so fond of them that they can hope for some benefit from them, and slaughter and poison them when they can get nothing more from them. However, they keep and highly esteem their mulatto children, who came from the alliance of these pirates with the women of the country. Many are masters of such establishments and have a great deal of authority among the blacks who gladly put them at their head when they go to war. Almost all of these mulattoes, when they found the opportunity, followed in their fathers' footsteps and raced [pirated].

Desforges Boucher, Governor of Bourbon. Mail to Louis XV


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The True Story of La Buse's Grave on the Island of La Réunion

"La véritable histoire de La Buse" from the Office of Western Tourism, Department of the Island of La Réunion at :

 March 04, 2020

The tomb of La Buse, surmounted by a cross marked with a skull and crossed tibias, it is quite a story ...

…. and it is impossible that La Buse could have been buried there [at the marine and slave cemetery of Saint-Paul], the cemetery having been created long after his death [58 years].

 It is the site of a number of popular practices. An affixed plaque tells the story ...

 Here is the real story of this "real / fake grave":

Convicted of piracy crime, Olivier Levasseur [said to have been born in Calais, France where a baptism was recorded at Pas-de-Calais archives, Notre Dame de Calais church (5 MIR 193/30,
p.817) for "Olivier, the son of Olivier and Anne Lensse Vasseur" in 1695], nicknamed "La Buse" was executed in Saint-Paul on July 7, 1730 and his body exposed by the sea [see note below]. The exact place of burial remains unknown and the current cemetery was established only in 1788.

[BCBNote: His body was likely buried in a shallow grave below the high-water mark of the shore. "The Judgement of La Buse," available on Laura Nelson's blog The Whydah Pirates Speak, at states that the body of La Buse "will be planted at the usual place his dead body remained there 24 hours and then exposed to the edge from the sea." Pirates were usually treated in this careless fashion, their souls or "last rights" to eternity having been forfeited by their unrepentant criminal lives. So, it's highly likely that his actual remains have washed out to sea.]

[BCBNote: furthermore, as I argue in Sailing East: West-Indian Pirates at Madagascar, this document and all the writings to and from Dumas, the governor who signed his death warrant, about La Buse state that the former pirate was hung in only a night shirt and could not have hidden a parchment containing any cipher to the location of his treasure - and they also never spoke of any parchment that he supposedly threw out at his hanging - so please stop digging up the beautiful tropical islands of the Indian Ocean looking for it! Dumas and his men took whatever treasure might have been in La Buse's possession in 1730 - Dumas even said so! La Buse's operations on Nosy Mangabe in Antongil Bay were also taken over by the man who captured and took him from there, Capt. Hiacynthe d'Hermitte of La Méduse]

On April 11, 1944, the day after a devastating cyclone and tidal wave, the Saint-Paulois Ignace de Villèle found a stone cross among the devastated walls of the cemetery. Since it bears no indication other than pirate symbols, he moves it here and places it against the enclosure of his family's graves.


It was on this site that in the 1970s that the current funeral monument was erected in memory of La Buse. It attracts so many visitors that it has come to be regarded as the real tomb of the character thus contributing to his fame.

Since 2010, it has been discovered that the tombstone used came from an abandoned burial, that of the former slave Delphine Helod. Having been freed in 1835 by her masters, the Mallac family, she could have been buried in the cemetery of the whites and the free unlike the pirate in 1730. The stone had been turned over.

Its engraved face still bears this inscription:

“In memory of Delphine Hélod, born in Sainte-Marie on August 7, 1809, died on May 13, 1836.
His good behavior, his good feelings, his affection for his masters earned him freedom and this weak testimony of their regrets ”

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

La Gazette Pirate References - 1717-1719

p. 323:

From London on June 14, 1717

The Parliament of this country is still extended until August 16. We have heard from Jamaica that the Forbans [Pirates] who have taken a lot of the English, in the American Seas, have seized Isle of Providence, in the Gulf of Florida, after having done a lot of captures, which caused a great prejudice to the Merchants: & they make new instances to obtain aid from three Vessels of war, in order to increase the squadron which is in these countries.

p. 334:

From London, July 1st, 1717

According to the last letters of Jamaica, the Forbans [Pirates] continued their piracies; & one of their Vessels mounted with forty eight guns, had recently taken five richly loaded English Ships, which caused a great disturbance in commerce.

p. 454:

From London, September 9, 1717

... Merchants & others Interested in American Commerce, have obtained a general pardon from Roy [king], for the English Pirates who have done more than a year of damage in the country. This resolution was taken, because we saw that many were ready to accept it, & that it seemed more advantageous to pile in to bring them back by softness, than to use forces as considerable, that it would be necessary to destroy them.

p. 478-479:

From London there on September 10, 1717.

... The Negotiators obtained that the general pardon, which they requested for the Corsairs, who made many [prizes] in America, will be granted to them; & we confirm that Captain Roger, who was made Governor of the Isle of Sapience [Providence?], will wear it, in order to have it published. As this Isle served as their main retreat, it was resolved to make new fortifications there, the Fort which was there being not of great defense, and needing to be repaired. The interested in the commerce of the English Colonies of America, offered to contribute to the greater part of the expense, & to increase the armament which must be employed to oblige these Corsairs to be subjected. This resolution seems all the more necessary, because by a [vessel] recently arrived from America, we received that two of their Vessels: one of forty, the other of thirty-two guns, had taken recently several English vessels & others, on the coasts of Carolina & Virginia, & that they were to join seven or eight others in the Gulf of Florida [possibly a reference to the pirate fleet gathering at Long Island in the lower Bahamas - indicates plans to do so before the taking of La Concorde by Edward Thache].
... A ship from Virginia which arrived in Kinsale in Ireland, met on the road a Forban [Pirate] of those who run indifferently on the Vessels of all Nations, who met him on the road, by the crossing of the Grand Bank, where he had made other takes. Several New Dealers have formed an Insurance Company for Merchant Vessels, the bottom of which must be two million pounds sterling, and they will expect to receive the payments on the 17th of next month.

p. 59:

From London, January 17, 1718.

... We have heard that an English Vessel coming from Buenos Airés, with a considerable load of rich goods, had been attacked near Jamaica, where it had gone to make water, by a forban [pirate ], who had become master of it, after a long resilience in vengeance in which these Corsairs had massacred the whole crew.

p. 129:

From London, March 10, 1718.

On the 3rd of this month, the Commons examined the State of the English Colonies in America, and resolved to request the communication of the Memoirs sent to the Admiralty Commissioners, touching the Pirates who have extremely disturbed the trade in this country: number of the Ships who have been there send, and instructions given to the Commanders, to pursue them, and to destroy them.

p. 154-155:

From London, March 24, 1718

... On the 13th, they examined various clauses added to the Act for the transport of thieves: others relating to the repairs of the Port of Douvre, & on a draft Act which looks at specific regulations for the City of Bristol, in which according that he proposed, it is claimed that there are dangerous consequence clauses for the Anglican Church. Today, they heard the Advocars of the Merchants, who complain about the clauses inserted in the Act, to prevent smuggling, & claim that it gives excessive power & against the Loix, to the Customs & Excise Officers & that the penalties imposed on Ship Masters in the event of a violation are too harsh. The Act for the transport of thieves, passed after various changes, as well as that which ensures the effects of the Vessels which will be wrecked, to prevent them from being plundered. According to the latest news received from the English Colonies in America, the Corsairs, most of the English pirates, as well as had been offered Amnesty on very favorable terms, threatening them with no quartering, if they refused to to submit within the term prescribed by the proclamation published on this subject, had had no regard for it, and they continued their piracy as much as ever. They had recently taken eleven richly loaded English Vessels, and most of the Sailors and soldiers of the crews, had taken sides with these Corsairs, who thus became fortified. Those who had refused to take sides, had been knocked down on the next coasts, when they had surrendered without resistance: the others who had defended themselves, had obtained no quarter. The letters from Lisbon also note that three Corsairs of Salé, notwithstanding the three-month Treve concluded with the King of Morocco, had taken a merchant ship from Bristol: that another from this city which they had attacked, had jumped in the air, with all the crew, the fire having started there with the first cannon shots. The Pirates who are cut off in Bombay, & at Fort Saint Georges, also disturb the trade of the East Indies. The Company has obtained letters patent, to make the trial on the spot, to all those who may be caught. It has resolved to reduce to four percent the interest it paid to individuals, starting June 24, according to the old stile. The squadron of sixteen warships, two Galiotes with bombs & two Brulots designed for the Mediterranean Sea, which was at Buoy de Nore, was ordered to sail, and we still armed such a number of Vessels.

p. 185:

From Madrid, April 5, 1718.

... Some vessels have been detached, to cross on the coasts, in order to hunt down the Corsairs of Barbary [North Africa], particularly those of Salé * & some English Forbans [Pirates] who made various captures.

*The Salé Rovers, also Sale Rovers or Salle Rovers, were a dreaded band of Barbary corsairs in the 17th century. They formed the Republic of Salé on the Moroccan coast. The most famous of the rovers was Jan Janszoon, a Dutchman who had been a pirate for Holland in the Mediterranean.

p. 190-191:

From London, April 14, 1718.

... The opinions coming from the English Colonies of America, oblige to a larger armament than that which to have been resolved, to go to drive them from the Isle of Providence, where they are fortified in such a way that it it is difficult to attack them, if not with greater force, all the more since they had armed several buildings which they had taken: whether the sailors and the soldiers who were on them, had enlisted with them willingly or because they did not see no quarter given to those who have refused to do so, and thus continue their piracies with more boldness than ever. Captain Rogers, who was commanded with a warship & a few others to attack them, was ordered to postpone his enterprise, until other measures were taken, to try to reduce them.
... Three of the Pirates [see below] of America who were caught some time ago, were sentenced to death at the sessions of the Old-Baily, for having taken the Vessel Anglesey, and used it to race, after to have exposed the Captain & another Officer in a desert Isle, without letting them eat anything.

Boston News-Letter "London, April 3 [1718]" in 25 Aug 1718 issue.

From Proceeding of the Old Baily:

Tuesday, May 27. 1718.

NB. Those that enquire after, or are desirous to see the strange and unaccountable Letter lately sent to the Ordinary of Newgate, may read it (with Animadversions thereon) in the Printed Paper giving an Account of Tho. Peacock, a Pirate, executed at Wapping on Friday the 25th of April last, and Sold by J. Morphew.

p. 197:

From Madrid, April 12, 1718.

... We write from A Coruña, that four warships of the Squadron that cruises on the costes for the safety of the trade, against the Corsaires de Barbarie [
Salé] and some English Forbans [Pirates], arrived there on the 3rd, & that they had brought two Vessels of Salé: one of forty, the other of forty-eight pieces of cannon: that of two hundred and eighty men of crew, the other of two hundred, which they taken at the height of Vigo [in Galicia, Spain], after a very stubborn fight of more than three hours. They also brought three prizes, two Portuguese and an English one that these Corsairs had made, across the Cape of Finisterre. Two Vessels of the same Wing, arriving on the same day in A Coruña in the evening, with two English Forbans [Pirates] that they took outside of Bilbao, where they have been cruising for a month & disturb the navigation of the Merchants. The orders have been given to cause Cadiz to take all the Corsairs who have been taken, and who number more than six hundred, in order to strengthen the Chiourmes des Galeres [slave-rowed royal galleys]. The two Vessels of Salé must be refitted, having been very damaged in combat; As they make new & good sailboats, they intend to be joined to those who make up the two Wings of nine Vessels each, so one will cross on the costes of Andalusia: the other on the costes of Galicia &: Biscay.

p. 169-170:

From Madrid, May 24, 1718.

... On the 18th, there arrived a Gentleman despatched by the Commander of the South Sea Wing, who had left Cadiz in the first days of 1717, to hunt down the Pirates, who disturbed the commerce of the Nation , & to the Foreigners, who against the old Loix [SE coast of France] of Navigation, & the defenses of their Sovereigns, negotiated on the sides of Peru and Chile. He brought letters of December 9, which learn that this Wing had chased & taken in the ports of Arica & Cobija six large Vessels & a Boat load booty or goods, the value of which was estimated at more than three million piastres. The Commandant having brought them to the port of Callao, two leagues from Lima, where he had had the goods unloaded and put in the store, and he had established an Intendant to make them sell, and receive the rights which belong to the King. As the Vessels were good & ready to serve, three of the best were given to the Prince of San Bono Viceroy of Peru, to strengthen the South Sea fleet, to chase the Corsairs, to prevent the smuggling trade, & ensure the navigation of the Spanish, & the transport of troops, ammunition, & goods, from one Province to another.

p. 306:

From Madrid, June 14, 1718.

... But we learned that the negotiation of the English to obtain Peace,
or a Treve with the King of Morocco, was broken, and that the Corsairs of Salé, had started again to run on Vaille to the merchants of the Nation, and that they had already taken some of them. The orders have been sent to Bilbao & A Coruña, to prefer the arming of some Vessels destined to increase the Wing which believe of this coast there, to give hunt to three or four Ostend Shipowners, who appeared in these seas, with the Emperor's flag, & to English Forbans [Pirates]. We are eagerly working on the construction of several Transport Vessels, and a few others. We have heard from Lisbon, that the Brazilian fleet was not far from the coast, and that two vessels had been detached, to go forward, and escort it against the Corsairs of Barbary.

Printing error on this - page 351

p. 360-361:

From London, July 18, 1718.

... Others who had been condemned to death at the Assizes, must be transported to the Colonies of America, where we sent full powers, to grant the pardon promised by a proclamation to the English Forbans [Pirates], who will come submit. Five Vessels order to go to Portsmouth, where they must be equipped, according to a certain opinion of the naval army of the Republic: it was only believed that the junction of Vessels and Galleys was made.

p. 373:

From London, August 4, 1718

... The Captain of the Ostend Vessel who had taken a loaded Vessel for Bilbao from the Dunes, seeing that he would be condemned as Pirate, promised to return it to the interested parties, provided that he was granted his freedom.

p. 394:

From London. August 11, 1718.

... We have heard from the Colonies of America that several Forbans [Pirates] have provided themselves, and that they have accepted the pardon that had promised them by the proclamation published in the country: but that there were several others who did not take pains to take advantage of this grace, but who continued their pirations, and who had made many considerable catches. Among others a Vessel [Edward Thache's QAR] which carries a black flag, with death tests[tête=head?], & three or four large Rowboats with bloody flags, had taken on the coast of Honduras, a Vessel of four hundred tons, of fifty men of crew, & of twenty-six guns, names the Cesar Protestant [Protestant Caesar]; & having looted all the goods, they had put Captain [William Wyer of Boston] & all his people on the ground, then they had set fire to it.

[Note: though perhaps generic, this reference tells of a black flag not unlike that of Samuel Bellamy, with a skull - not the type with a full skeleton, hourglass, and a spear in a bleeding heart, like that later described for Edward Low]

p. 406:

From London, August 18, 1718.

... That of America is no less so by the Forbans [Pirates], several of whom did not turn away, & who did not want to accept Amnesty, continued their course, and took several English vessels & Dutch.

p. 454-455:

From London, September 15, 1718.

... We also learn from the letters of the English Colonies of America, that the Forbans [Pirates] are starting to disturb trade more than ever: that they had made several considerable takes, and that they had led them to the Isle of Providence, where they fortified themselves in such a way, that it was necessary to send considerable forces there to reduce them. Some of those who had accepted the pardon which they had granted to them, went back to racing, which troubles trade out of this country.

p. 491:

From London there on October 6, 1718.

... We have heard from America that the Scarborough has taken a 30-gun Forban [Pirate] of 300 crew members. There are always quite a number of others, who persist in refusing the forgiveness which has been offered to them, & which are frequent catches.

p. 5:

From Lisbon, December 1, 1718

... The letters of the Bay of all Saints, state that the Count of Vimieyro who is its Governor, arrived there, after seventy-eight days of navigation, but in poor health, because he had embarked before that were fully healed of a disease which he had attacked before his departure. He met on the road a Corsair who wore the Dutch flag & who approached his Vessel, did the black flag & fired a broadside, including a gunner & a soldier who were wounded. But at the first discharge, the Corsair went ill-treated, withdrew by means of veils, & he escaped. It is believed that it can be one of the Forbans [Pirates] which made many takes on the English & other Nations in the Seas of America, because we had noticed that some carried the black flag.

p. 46:

From London, January 19, 1719.

... According to the last withdrawals from the Colonies, the Forbans [Pirates] who committed so many disorders in these countries continued their piracies notwithstanding the offers that had been made to them recently, to forgive them the past, & that of them had taken a Vessel on which were embarked several of those who had been condemned to death, obtained that their punishment would be commuted, in obligation to serve a number of years in America.

p. 70:

From London, February 2, 1719

We heard from Jamaica that the Forbans [Pirates] were continuing their races, and that the Spaniards arm several vessels, to run against the English.

p. 166-167:

From London, March 23, 1719

... The Commons continued to work on the Acts proposed & put into Committee; & on the 20th, the Lottery Act passed in their Room. She also ordered that whoever had to pay for the powder stores would be put on the net. We ask from Barbados that the Pirates of this country continue their races, and that they had taken in January a Merchant Ship from this City: another coming from Guinea, with two hundred and forty Negroes, & gold dust, another from New England is a Françoise Rowboat. They had plundered all these buildings, and they had released two, sunk one to the bottom, and took away the fourth.

p. 262:

From London, May 18, 1719.

... We heard from Lisbon that the Neptune Vessel from Porto, loaded with three hundred pipes of wine, was perished ... Interested in the Compagnie de la Mer du Sud, impatiently await news from several of their Ships, richly charged, fearing that they may have been taken by Forbans [Pirates], who are always very much in disorder, or that they may have been arrested by the Spaniards.

p. 285-286:

From London, on May 20, 1719.

... We press their departure and that of the relief destined for this country, especially since the Negotiators of the English Colonies have already lost several Vessels, some of which have been taken by Spanish Shipowners, & others by the Forbans [Pirates], who are always very hard to exterminate. It is said from Jamaica that, at the wish of Port-Royal, a Spanish shipowner from the island of Trinidad had taken the Kingston from London, whose cargo was very rich. The Frigate the Scarborough, was taken at the height of the Isle of Saint Christopher, by a Forban [Pirate], who after having cannonaded it for a long time, approached it and took it, the Captain & some Officers having been killed. A Spanish Shipowner of forty guns, took the Merchant Ship Saint George, which passed from Cork to Gibraltar & two others including one coming from New England, & the other from Cornouaille. Two other English vessels, other English vessels which preceded Lisbon, were taken by an owner of six pieces of cannon. The Commissioners for the sale of confiscated goods have recommenced the exercise of their Commission, which was suspended during the tenure of Parliament.

p. 526-527:

From London, October 19, 1719.

No news came from the squadron which had left Sainte Helene, with the troops which had assembled at the Isle of Wight; & as during a few days the wind was favorable, we thought it arrived towards the costes of Spain: but we had no opinion yet. On the 14th, the Britannia Vessel pierced with one hundred and twelve pieces of cannon, was launched in Wolwich, in the presence of a large number of people; but the Prince & Princess of Wales who had been invited, attended; point, & he must be taken to Chatam. Two or more vessels of seventy pieces of cannon are being built at Wolwich, and there are a few others on site. The Commissaries of the Admiralty assembled to deliberate on the means of ensuring navigation, which is disturbed on all coasts by the Corsairs, or by the Spanish Shipowners. We had notice from the English Colonies of the Coste de Guinée on July 1, that a Forban [Pirate] whose Nation we do not know, because he had changed their flag, had taken two Vessels which belonged to the Company of Africa; & that after having looted them & put the crews on the ground,
he had taken these same Vessels, on which he had put a part of his [crew?], & that he had started to use them, to continue the race along the coasts.


Monday, June 08, 2020

La Gazette Pirate References - 1720

p. 45-46:

From London, January 18, 1720

We heard from Harwich that on the 15th & 16th, two Transport Vessels, on which eight hundred Dutchmen had embarked, had sailed, and that the preceding days, six hundred others had left on other vessels, en route to The Netherlands. Two ships of thirty guns order to go against the Corsairs [Pirates], who continue to disturb trade in the Colonies of America & the Coast of Guinea, where they appear in greater numbers than ever. They burned several takes they made, & we learn from letters from Barbados, that they looted or burned forty English Vessels of this Colony & other neighbors, & twenty on the coast of Guinea, from different Nations . According to the latest advice from this country, Captain Maxwel, who passed from old Calabar to Virginia, having on board a hundred Negros, had been taken near Isle of Cariscoe [Corisco] by three of these Pirates [almost certainly Olivier LeVasseur, Jeremiah Cocklyn, and Richard Taylor]; that they had taken him to serve as their Pilot; and having learned that two ships from London and one from Bristol had gone to the neighboring coasts to buy Negroes, they had sailed from this coast, and had taken them, as well as another vessel from Glascow. They have since made their way to the Gold Coast, & according to the report of Captain Maxwel who fled at night in a Rowboat, their intention was to go cruising towards the Cape of Good Hope, to await the Vessels returning there from East Indies. In the last sessions of the Justices of the Peace, it was ordered to the Connestables or Commissars of the districts, to have the Loix enforced against those who have seditious libels, or who sing insolent songs in the streets.

p. 214:

From London, April 25, 1720

The Duke of Shandois & others, Bought, the Patent of the Company of Africa, for two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling. We learn from Virginia that the Pirates started their races again, and that they had taken two Bristol Ships.

p. 227:

From London, May 2, 1720

The letters from America and the costes of Africa are known that the Pirates continue to make great disorders there, ransoming or plundering almost all the merchant ships they meet, & even attacking some of them under the cannon of the Forts. Several highway robbers have been executed to death here and in the Provinces, but thefts are very frequent.

p. 370-371:

From London, July 25, 1720

[excellent context:]
The Directors of the African Company wishing to restore their trade which was considerably diminished by the losses which the Pirates caused him to suffer there, made equip ten ships, to send there, besides the two warships of fifty piece of cannon that the Lords Justiciers granted them. The purpose of the Company is to fortify the ports where it has trading posts, & to put them out of insult, because their buildings were not there in rage, & to make a new establishment in the river of Gambia, ten leagues or so from its mouth, hoping by this means to attract the principal trade in elephant teeth, gold dust, and other merchants of the country, with the Cafres [of Southeast African origin] on the continent. She sent for this purpose a large number of all strong laborers, and quantity of materials, in addition to two hundred soldiers divide into four Companies each commanded by a Lieutenant, who will enter in garrison in the Fort which it is intended to build there . The Lords Justiciers having examined the project sent from Ireland, to establish in Dublin a Bank similar to that of England, had approved it: but on the admonitions which were made to them of the prejudice that this one could suffer from it, they have suspended the execution of the project until further notice. Some ships have arrived from Virginia, and others are expected to load tobacco and other country goods. We learn that the Pirates are causing disorder every day, & that the Spaniards have recently taken an English Vessel, because the suspicion of all hostilities, was not yet published in this country. The East India Company has made the sale of the goods which are loaded with the last Vessels which make them arrive, and it has been about seven hundred thousand pounds sterling, instead that above it was much stronger. We attributed this decrease to
little debit that the painted canvases and other manufactures of the Indies had, which the Merchants had obliged to give at low price, because of the Acts of the last Parliament. Notwithstanding the penalties imposed by the last Act of Parliament, highway robbers continue to cause a great deal of disorder: some of their leaders have been arrested, they have declared their accomplices, who are being researched. The Actions on the South Sea Company are today a thousand miles away.

p. 382:

From London, July 29, 1720

... The Directors of the Africa Company having resolved to establish a new dwelling in the Gambia river, ten leagues or approximately from its mouth, must send workers there incessantly, to build a fort there which can put the costes under cover from pirates who take a lot of it, we have even learned recently that they had taken three English Vessels, of which the Officers and the Sailors had been made slaves. On the assurance that the Resident of the Czar in this Court gave the Merchants that they could send their Vessels to the ports of Estats du Roy his Maistre, & traffic freely there, they sent several of them to Russia, & they ship goods every day for these countries.

p. 406-407:

From London there on August 15, 1720.

... The Merchants learned that the Pirates had kidnapped several of their Vessels in the Gambia river, which caused them great losses. They hope that the warships that the Government has granted to the different Companies, for the safety of their Trade, will deliver these Costes from all these Pirates. We write from Plymouth, that there had passed three Vessels from the Mediterranean Sea Wing, and we await the rest of this fleet. It is believed that that which was intended for this Sea, and which was to be commanded by Admiral Wager, will be disarmed, and we have already sent orders to two of the Vessels which compose it, to set sail, to go to the Costes of Guinea, & to assure there the Trade of the Company of Africa, which must make leave at the same time its Vessels. We continue to transport a lot of gold & silver for France, & for Holland.

p. 418-419:

From London, August 22, 1720.

The Lords Justiciers who had referred to the ordinary Judges the decision of the concertation which is between My lord Craven & My lord Londondery, for the property of the Isles of Bahama in America, examined this affair for a third time, in the Council which was held on the 20th of this month, & it was ordered that the Attorney General would draw up an Act to annul the Charter which was granted to My Lord Craven under the reign of Charles II & to reunite these Isles to the Crown. This judgment did not, however, prevent the Company formed by My lord Londo [n] dery in favor of a Patente which was given to him by the Roy [king], to continue his projects to make an establishment in these Isles & she must send there immediately any strong of workers, on the Vessels which leave at the end of the month for the Isle of Providence. The Duke of Grafton, Viceroy of Ireland, to whom the Lords Justiciers had referred the examination of a Request, to establish in Dublin a Insurance Company for fire, having made a very favorable report to this establishment, the interestez hope more than ever to obtain a Charter which authorizes it, & they have chosen a Governor & Directors of this Company, whose project is to establish Insurance Offices in London, Dublin, & in all Trade cities of the Kingdom of Ireland. The South Sea Company Books have been opened to receive new Subscriptions, but the eagerness has not been so great for a few days, which causes them to close them until next week. The East India Company & that of Africa, always continue to engage Officers, soldiers & workers, to send in their establishments, and work to build new there. They become more and more everyday necessary, all the news of these countries containing only the various catches made by the Pirates who make them become so powerful on these coasts, that the Merchant Vessels no longer dare to go to sea without escort.

p. 575-576:

From London, November 21, 1720

... The Attorney General has handed over to the Court of Bench of Roy [king] the information he has given by order of the Lords Justiciers against Mr. Lowther Governor of Barbados who is to be tried at the next term. For the past few days, there have been several proceedings against the commitments made between individuals on the Shares of the Compagnie de la Mer du Sud, but it appears that the Judges will decide nothing on these strong cases only when they will be informed of the intentions of Parliament on these commitments. Interested in the latest Subscriptions, await the Assembly of Parliament with great impatience; & they still hope it will do them justice. There are a very large number of Briefs which must be presented on this case, and particularly against Directors who hope to glue them to justify themselves of what is imputed to them on the discredit of Actions, the price of which has been further reduced since the news come from the considerable bankruptcies that take place in Holland. Six large Vessels & six others a little smaller which belong to the Company of Africa made sail of the Dunes last week, under the escort of two Vessels of war, & there are still in the Thames two large vessels which must incessantly put sailing. This Company has embarked on these Vessels a large number of soldiers and workers, to build new Forts in their establishments. The warships escorting these vessels are ordered to hunt down the Pirates & destroy them entirely, so the Company, whose trade has been much smaller for some time, hopes to make it much more profitable, and to build up Your credit, Don Hyacinthe Pereyra de Castro Envoy Extraordinary of the King [king] of Portugal in this Court, died here on the 20th of this month. Four thousand three hundred and thirteen ounces of gold were sent to Douanne this week for Holland, and two hundred ounces for being transported to France. The shares of the Compagnie de la Mer du Sud are now two hundred and ten.


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