Monday, February 11, 2019

Capt. Frances Hume - Pirate Hunter in a Commonwealth of Pyrates!


32-gun fifth rate frigate
Naval historians N.A.M. Rodgers and Rif Winfield generally regard fifth-rate frigates of the early eighteenth century Royal Navy, "were small two-deckers, generally either 40-gun ships with a full battery on two decks, or "demi-batterie" ships, carrying a few heavy guns on their lower deck (which often used the rest of the lower deck for row ports) and a full battery of lesser guns on the upper deck." HMS Scarborough was one such frigate of the Royal Navy, commissioned in 1711. She had a lower deck with four 9-pounders, a top deck with twenty-two 6-pounders, and a quarterdeck with six 4-pounders.

Her first captain was Francis Cooper, for half a year in 1711, then Edmund Hooke for a year, and back to Francis Cooper for almost two more years. Her next commander from 1715-1718 was a Scotsman of a quite controversial family! Capt. Francis Hume (1682-1753) would make his name as a "pirate hunter" in the Windward and Leeward Islands during the Golden Age of Piracy in what Charles Johnson referred to as a "Commonwealth of Pyrates!" He was referring to that colonial backwater across the pond - in America.

Capt. Francis Hume came from the Scottish Homes* of Blackadder, a family that split radically on two sides: loyal and traitorous Jacobite, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688! Another Francis Hume of Quixwood, was transported/exiled to Virginia in 1716 for his involvement in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, an event that favored James Francis Edward Stuart or the "Pretender" over German-speaking King George I. This event also encouraged many Stuart conservatives in Great Britain as well as the Americas to turn against their government just as the Golden Age of Piracy began with a hurricane on 30 July 1715 in the Bahama or Florida Straits.

*The name is spelled "Home," but is pronounced "Hume" in Scotland. Thus, those serving in England were usually recorded as "Hume." 
Alexis Simon Belle, Portrait of James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) - dated 1712
A George Hume was tried at Marshalsea in September 1716 and hanged for "High-Treason." A "Mr. Hume of Witfield" had also been found guilty and hanged, as was a brother to Earl Hume. Genealogy can be encouraging, however, and demonstrates that not all of one family were necessarily traitors. David Hume, the famous Scottish philosopher and atheist also comes from this same family.  

Capt. Francis Hume had left Scotland for London, became a mariner in the Royal Navy and avoided all those troubles - including the noose! The West Indies in the Golden Age gave him the opportunity to prove himself a loyal and faithful warrior subject of King George I - even though he was a German who spoke no English!

Scarborough was stationed at her home port of Sheerness, Kent through 1714 and most of 1715, undergoing repairs. By October 1715 the repairs, amounting to £1987.17.9d, came to completion. About the same time, Captains Edward Holland of the Bedford Galley, Francis Hume of the Scarborough and Digby Dent of the Lynn sought a tender to procure men and paper for muster records. 

While Barbados underwent a massive hurricane, Capt. Hume, of Edinburgh, Scotland, that October 1715 had just been assigned to Scarborough as her commanding officer. There was much to do to finalize the repairs -he immediately set to work inspecting them and making last-minute adjustments while manning and provisioning his ship. These final efforts still took time. Purser Thomas Townshend came aboard and Hume asked for a ship's master to be appointed. By 9th of November, Scarborough had moved to the Downs where Hume replaced his damaged longboat. By the middle of January 1716, Scarborough had docked in the Hamoaze at Plymouth and sent in her muster reports. She took on provisions there and later at Portsmouth, making her final preparations for her voyage to Barbados in the early summer of 1716. After a mountain of preparation, the warship under Capt. Hume's command finally sailed for her station - Carlisle Bay of Barbados in the West Indies, carrying the new governor, Robert Lowther.

32-gun fifth-rate HMS Scarborough, would make quite a name for herself as a pirate fighter in the West Indies. Even anti-government pirates themselves often held this ship as the iconic warship to be beaten as a test of their pirate metal. But, first, Hume dealt with a lack of crew and those he had were sick and growing sicker. No rest for the weary, as they say. Gov. Robert Lowther, in December 1716, got word that "there were several pirates in those partes [Antigua], and that they had not only taken several vessels, but also greatly molested the Colonies." Thus, he:
... order'd Captain Humes Commander of H.M.S. the Scarborough to go immediately in quest of them, but he represented that his ship was so much disabled by the mortality and desertion of his mariners, that he had not men sufficient to navigate her: upon this representation my friends and I gave him so much mony as inabled him to get pretty nigh his complement of men.
Gov. Walter Hamilton of the Leeward Islands also requested of Gov. Robert Lowther on Barbados "desiring he would order H.M. ship attending that station to cruize among these Islands for some time," to "to disperse those vermine." Capt. Hume sailed Scarborough to St. Christophers by 4th of January. Hamilton "immediatly ordered an officer, with 40 of H.M. troops on board, the better to enable Capt. Hume to secure his ship, and to annoy the pirates in case he met them." Hume was not only low on men - approx. 120 - but many of those were still sick. On January 16th, Hume "had the good fortune to find some of them [pirates] in the harbour of St. Croix, with a ship and a sloop."

Hume cut his teeth on these pirates, vessels of Jean Martel, a French pirate masquerading as an Englishman, who had decided to water at St. Croix in January 1717, some months after Scarborough's arrival in the Virgin Islands - from Antigua west to St. Croix. 

Colin Woodard, in Republic of Pirates, best tells this tale. He asserts there were six vessels in all belonging to Jean Martel and begins his tale on page 153,
Scarborough anchored at the mouth of the harbor and began battering [the pirates'] vessels with her guns. The pirates fought back from the four-gun battery they had set up on shore, but the Scarborough's guns soon took them out of action. For a short time, the pirates thought they might be spared: The fifth-rate frigate was too big to enter the harbor and retreated. The pirates piled aboard Martel's flagship, the twenty-two gun John & Marshall, to make a run for it, only to run aground on a reef.  Seeing the Scarborough tacking back toward them, Martel ordered the men to abandon and burn the galley.
Martel and about nineteen of his pirates mad their escape in the smaller prize sloop they had taken there. About 100 others, white, black, slave [from Greyhound Galley?], and otherwise, escaped in St. Croix's inland forests. Hume was not able to capture any pirates, but he was able to restore the English vessels to their respective masters. Hume became a local hero and built his reputation as a pirate fighter, but his greatest feat was a year and a half away! . 

Still, Hamilton warned of their nearly missing Samuel Bellamy in a 26-gun ship with Paul Williams in a 14-gun sloop. Hamilton requested of the Admiralty that they send him something bigger than the sloop currently on station in the Leeward Islands (St. Christophers and Nevis). That spring, however, also revealed that many English captains had also fallen prey to Spanish guarda-costas. Hostilities were once again building up that would soon break out in war.

The Admiralty responded on 4th of March. The 20-gun sixth-rate HMS Seaford had been dispatched. Admiralty Secretary Josiah Burchett wrote:
I am to acquaint you, that orders are sent to the Captains of H.M. ships employ'd at Jamaica, Barbadoes, and the Leeward Islands, upon intimation of any pirates in those parts, to advise with the respective Governours, and proceed in quest of them as shall be thereupon thought proper, and to use their utmost endeavours to seize or destroy them; the Seaford that sailed for the Leeward Islands in Dec. last was provided with Instructions of this nature, and must in all probability ... have reach'd her station; we are now fitting ships for the Colonies of Virginia, New England, and New York, and their Commanders will also have particular Instructions with relation to pirates. Signed, J. Burchett.
In April, Alexander Spotswood. Lt. Gov. of Virginia, reported Samuel Bellamy in Whydah raiding ships off his coast. In about two more weeks, Whydah wrecked off Cape Codd and most of her pirate crew was killed. Only a handful remained, were imprisoned, and later hanged. Still, a former consort of Samuel Bellamy's had earlier parted from him in the Leewards and sailed to the coast of Brazil: Olivier LeVasseur de la Buse would soon face Francis Hume's Scarborough

Meanwhile, in May 1717, two English traders complained that Marquis de la Varenne, the new governor of the French Islands in the Windwards, had arrested them simply for trying to water at Martinique. Varenne asurred Gov. Walter Hamilton that they had attempted to trade with the inhabitants, yet another violation of law. Nevertheless, one of these English captains had apparently come from Hamilton's government and he wrote to the Board that he "only anchor[ed] in their Roads without having in the least traded," which was probably not true. English traders were notoriously trading in those French Islands. 

Gov. Hamilton, also imperialistically inclined, complained that her majesty's warships were not allowed to fly his own flag on their masts! After all, warships belonged to the king and not to the king's arrogant colonies in America. He wrote:
... this Captain Rose, Commander of H.M. Seaford, has orders from the Admiralty board not to hoyst a flag on board of his ship for the Governour upon any account whatsoever which I take to be a diminution of the honour due to H.M. Commission besides that the Lt. Governours of the respective Islands can never have any notice of the approach of the Chief Governour till he is actually at anchor in their roads or harbours.
The Admiralty apparently had heard some warnings of colonial administrators assuming too much authority in the West Indies and told their captains not to fly any other flag but the British Jack. They may have given them further warnings about these untrustworthy provincial administrators as well... Hamilton may not have planned a revolt against Britain, but the mere suggestion of such imperialistic intent was deemed improper. Capt. Hume would later encounter even greater intransigence from Gov. Robert Lowther of Barbados.

Add to these troubles that the Dutch clandestinely shipped slaves into the islands as well, which damaged the English slave market to their own islands. Capitalism or private free-trade and raiders of a pecuniary sort caused its own problems, not unlike the problems we still face today in America!

Meanwhile, merchants in Bristol made a coordinated effort to alert the Board of Trade to the increasing pirate problem - and, of course, their annoyance. Southern Secretary Joseph Addison wrote to the Council of Trade and Plantations "report to H.M. what expedient you shall think proper for suppressing the pirates in those parts." Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood argued for the pirate nest of the Bahamas as the locus of the problem (a problem he exacerbated himself by commissioning his own man to raid the Spanish wrecks on the coast of Florida - a man soon captured by the Spanish) and the Board repeated this belief:
They further proposed that H.M. be graciously pleased to pardon the said pirates provided they come in and surrender by a certain time to be limited. They took notice to us, that the pirates had made a lodgement at Harbour Island, one of the Bahamas, where they raised a battery and kept a guard of 50 men; and that their usual retreat was at Providence the principal of those Islands, and the general receptacle for pirates at all times.
Warships to America in 1717
Former Jamaican privateer Capt. Matthew Musson was commissioned again by South Carolina to gain intelligence of the "Flying Gang" of pirates at the Bahamas. He reported back in July:
... five pirates made ye harbour of Providence their place of rendevous vizt. [Benjamin] Horngold, a sloop with 10 guns and about 80 men; [Henry] Jennings, a sloop with 10 guns and 100 men; [Josiah] Burgiss, a sloop with 8 guns and about 80 men; White, in a small vessell with 30 men and small armes; [Edward "Blackbeard"] Thatch, a sloop 6 gunns and about 70 men.
The Board was firmly convinced that the Bahamas must be brought under submission to the crown, but they were determined that a pardon, or Act of Grace, combined with a new company of capitalists who would take over the island and bring it to order, would do the job. They responded by late August of that year, which resulted in the vessels being sent to America in the notice shown. Scarborough, already stationed at Barbados, might no longer be as thinly spread as before. Jamaica, maritime trade's crown jewel of the West Indies would get the most support - or scrutiny, depending on your point of view.

Capt. Bartholomew Candler of 20-gun HMS Winchelsea (stationed then at Jamaica) reported from Virgin Gorda, in the Virgin Islands, that:
When we came they hid themselves in the Rocks, one Ham a notorious villain living on Beef Island was on board of [Samuel] Bellame the Pirate when he was here, and as soon as they fired a gun at Virgin Gorda, he betook himself to a Bermuda boat he has and his negroes, and lurkt about the creeks and islands, until we were gone, there are no other Islands here inhabited by H.M. subjects, but those three, nor by any other people except St. Thomas, which is pretty well improved, they have a good harbour, and a fort of about 40 guns, belonging to the King of Denmark, but all rogues and pirates and are compounded of all nations, and yet poor they make some sugar but not good.
Joseph Addison then wrote to Gov. Walter Hamilton of the Leewards that Marquis de la Varenne, the new governor at Martinique, had just suffered a coup d'etat and to warn the English governors not to encourage the rebellion. The Board noted this occurrence nervously and reaffirmed their decision about flying flags just as they sent Tryal sloop to assist in the Leewards! 

Gov. Robert Lowther wrote that there were many problems with Royal Navy warships that he had witnessed: they were prone to sickness, laziness, and complained bitterly "as the law now stands can any mariner in the West Indies be impressed into the King's service upon any account whatever[?]" He also complained that pirates couldn't be tried outside of Great Britain, but that was untrue since 1690 with the advent of Vice-Admiralty Courts.

By February 1718, Capt. Vincent Pearse in HMS Phoenix, arrived at the Bahamas with the King's Act of Grace. He wrote 3 June 1718 that 209 pirates surrendered to him. Gov. Benjamin Bennet of Bermuda also wrote to the Board of the surrender of Henry Jennings, who had raided Spanish Florida on Christmas of 1715, which originally alerted the Board to the troubles caused by the wrecks.Still, these defiant actions of pirates fueled yet another war with Spain...

On the 1st of April 1718, Capt. Frances Hume had been ordered to proceed to Puerto Rico to collect on a debt owed to a slave merchant in London named Richard Harris, second only to Humphrey Morice of the Bank of England. But, Hume would encounter a serious problem. Capt. Hume wrote "So Soon as I arrived before the City I sent my Officer with the pinnis [pinnace; a small boat, with sails or oars] to acquaint them the Reason of my Coming there, and to Desire a Pilote." But the Spanish officers would not allow them even to land their boat. They told him that they "had orders from the King of Spain which" came "about the Second of Aprill, Directing that no English Shipp whatever Should be Admitted to come into any of His harbours and that if I would Come in I must expect to fforce My Way Through 200 pr Cannon." This was no small threat. Hume wondered why the Spanish officers at Puerto Rico would tell him this... unless they had already had enough!


Note: Capt, Hume would receive another communication on 22nd of April 1718 from the Admiralty relating to his dealings with Gov. Robert Lowther at his station of Barbados. This would be of great help to him quite soon when dealing with the legalities involved in the taking of another pirate!

War was then brewing again between England and Spain. As I write in the second e-version of Quest for Blackbeard (to be published later this year), 
The outbreak of war, which caused the seizure of English goods,” noted Elizabeth Donnan, “may be dated from the spring of 1718, though there was no official declaration of war until December.”  Even Johnson-Mist referred to Stede Bonnet planning his return to piracy in Revenge, then renamed Royal James, just after the grounding of QAR in Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina about 10th of June 1718 and wrote “War was now broke out between the Tripple Allies and Spain.”  Johnson-Mist referred here to the last step before war broke out in the War of the Quadruple Alliance, finally declared on 17th of December 1718.
Ejected from Puerto Rico, Hume took Scarborough to the northern South American coast. He made a week-long stop in Amsterdam Harbor of Curaçao in late April, "Chaueven on the Main" by May 8th, past La Guira, spent a week at Awalla Bay 16-23 May, along the north coast of Barcelona, moving east on his way back to his home waters. They watered at "Baratyras" or perhaps Borracha from 2-5 June, to Santa "Fez"/Fe Bay where they careened the 10th of June. Their northward course taken the 11th of June from the bay after careening soon brought him past the western end of Isla Margarita to Isla La Blanquilla, known at this time as the "Island of Blanco." [Analysis of the log records confirm this as the location of "Island of Blanco," as opposed to "Isla Morro Blanco," a little more to eastward.]


On the 13th of June, 1718, Scarborough entered from the western shore of Blanco, and reported in his log "We Saw Ridng under ye West Eand of ye Isle of Blanko a Ship & a Sloop." The Ship was a pirate vessel, ironically named Blanco and the sloop was Boneta of Nevis, Capt. James Davis. The pirate vessel was manned with 70-80 men and commanded by "Lewis Le Bour" or Olivier LeVasseur de la Buse, "a ffrench Man." Thomas Hall, from Scarborough's boarding party, testified "he Was ye Second Person that boarded The Said Pirate Ship w.ch Said Pirate Ship Was Mounted w:th Six Gunns."

La Buse had taken Davis' Boneta the day before who was turtling in those waters, as James Moor testified that Le Buse took "ye Said Sloop Boneeta And Did Put on Board her Same Goods & Went aboard her Armed w.th Musketts Cutlasses & Pistolls." Edward Hunt, a mariner aboard Boneta, testified on 5th of July "Said Pirates finding they Could not With Stand ye Man of Warr Quitted [Blanco] & Went aboard the Said Sloop & Made their Escape Therein haveing first put on board her a Considerable Quantity of Gold & Silver."

After taking Blanco and Boneta, with seventeen captured pirates in their hold, Hume sailed northward for St. Christophers, reaching within five leagues of the east end of St. Croix on the 17th, where they caught Jean Martel the year before. Then, setting course eastward, they reached Saba by the 24h, and finally St. Christophers or St. Kitts on Sunday, the 29th.

Portion of Moll's Map of St. Christophers Ialand
Capt. Hume immediately sent a letter ashore at Basseterre, but the council and assembly were not available. John Davis wrote back to Capt. Hume that day, telling him "We have Noe Preson [Prison] Nor Any Where To Secure the Pirats in [and] Soe Dare Not Medle w.th them." Davis also told him that it would be Thursday, or four more days until he could meet with them. He suggested that Hume go back northward to Antigua, where "there is Proper Accomadations" for his seventeen prisoners.

Annoyed, Hume still waited until Thursday, 3rd of July. Refused again, he wrote "Shall carry them to Nevis, where they have likewise a power to try them and, afterwards Shall Proceed to my Station [Barbados]." They made Nevis on the 5th and a trial for the pirate ship commenced.

Blanco was condemned at Nevis on the 5th of July by William Woodropp, Vice Admiralty Judge surrogate. Still, Nevis' Council also refused to take the prisoners:
... our Act Cant Possibly give any Jursidiction farther them the Legislative Power Your Island reaches, and your letter having Informed us that they were Taken at the Island Blanco, which is West and by South at Least one hundred and fifty Leagues of all the Leeward Islands it must be Absolutely out of our Jurisdiction.
Barbados was closer - why come to the Leewards before Barbados?

Hume departed Nevis with his condemned prize and seventeen pirates growing "gamey" locked in his hold, on the 10th for Montserrat, moved south passed St. Vincent the 13th and St. Lucia the 14th, still with Blanco. Carrying his prize, he made an eastward or larboard turn and moored in Carlisle Bay at 7 pm on the 22nd of July.

Analysis of captain's and master's log data for HMS Scarborough
On the 24th of July, Hume informs that he has brought the pirate ship Blanco "his Maj:ties Court of Admiralty in ye Island of St. Christophers Condemn'd ye Said Ship Blanco as a prize To him." Barbados Collector Henry Lascelles said that "Frances Hume has brought Said Ship Blanco into Carlisle Bay & has refused To Surrend.r her To me for his Maj[es[ties Use but Gives out that he will Dispose of her as a prize," which deprived Lowther and his cronies of the spoils.

The imperial Robert Lowther did not like such defiance - even from a Royal Navy captain! He wrote to Lascelles, ordering him "In his Majestys Name To Command You ye Said Henery Lascelles To Seize Forthwith ye Sd Ship Blanco Now Rideing at Anchor in Carlisle Bay... w.th all her Lading Gunns Tackle Apparell & furniture & To Secure ye Same for his Majesties Use Till You Receive my further Directions." Lowther was probably more concerned with securing the goods for his own use. Just to drive the point home, he also told Lascelles to use "all & Singular, ye Justices of the Peace Majestrat Custome House officers Marshalls Constables & all ye Rest of his Majesties faithfull Ministers officers Subjects And Leise? People Within ye Maritime Jurisfictions of Vice Admiralty of Barbados To Assist & Obey You the Said Henery Lascelles in ye Execution of the Premises... Und:r ye Penalty of the Law!" Lowther would have that ship and its cargo - which included "on Board abundance of Chests of Gold and Silver" all totaling upwards of £4,000 - if he had to rip it from the bay!


Word of pirate ship Blanco reaches Boston - Capt. MacDowell apparently relayed some blustery information and got a few details wrong. Capt. Bedlow (below) fared little better, although he got the "17" prisoners part right and suggested (new info) they were all French! He was probably right about Blanco having been a Portuguese ship taken on the coast of Brazil.

Capt, Hume wrote back two days later informing Lowther that his instructions from the Admiralty received "of late Aprill ye 22d 1717 thatt Pyrates Goods now perqussites [responsibility] of Adm:ty and thatt I Should [take?] his care To [allow] no embezelments," including from the governors themselves! Apparently, HMS Shoreham's dealings in South Carolina in 1716 had made some changes in Admiralty rules (see Quest for Blackbeard) Furthermore, Hume told him "I adrestt his Maj:e judge of ye Admiralty then att Stt Christophers for a legall tryall of the prize, her Condemnation I herewith Send a Copy."

I had wondered why Capt. Frances Hume carried his pirate prize to the Leewards, rather than directly to his station of Barbados. This was the reason:

Hume, and likely the Board of Trade and Admiralty (re: 22 April 1718 instructions), suspected that the governor would "embezzle" whatever prize Hume took - including the £4,000 worth of ship and goods - for himself and his friends. Hume had the ship condemned first and then took the vessel to Barbados where it would already have been legally placed in his hands by a court of law. Hume's plan was brilliant! Hume also wrote that he ordered the "Officer on b[oar]d here to use no resistance butt to oversee ye Collectors directions when he orders ye people outt of the Ship" to make certain that, if anyone on Barbados committed a piracy of the pirate ship, it would be a clear violation of the law.

Lowther and Lascelles grumbled for days while they debated how much trouble they could actually handle. They made repeated attempts to sway Capt. Hume. Finally, on 6 August 1718, Capt. Frances Hume made a formal protest against:
... all manner of Proceedings Stopage or Seizure had, made, or done, or caused to be had made, or done, by His Excellen:y Rob:t Lowther Esq:r Gov:r of Barbados or Henry Lascelles Esq:r Collector of the Customes here, or any Marshall, Agent or Agents, by them Employed or Directed as well for all Losses Damages Dettriments, or Hindrances whatsoever, that may in any wayes happen or Accrue to him the said Francis Hume, Officers and Ships Company, by any wayes or means whatsoevewr in, or by Seizing or causing to be Seized the Ship Blanco Pyrate... All which proceedings of the s:d Rob:t Lowther & Hen:y Lasscelles & the ?? of their Agents is hereby declared contrary to Law & Justice.
Barbados' Notary Public, John Lenoir, had received this protest of Hume's in his office and must have read it with wide eyes. He wrote back to Hume:
Finding some Scruples within my self, whether I ought to act as a Notary Publick here - not knowing any Authority for soe doeing; and Likewise observing that you was pleas'd to leave Evidences to take Notice that you tender'd your Protest to me, and Desired to have it Recorded in the Notary's Books in the Secretary's Office, I thereupon applied my self to the Kings Attorney Gen:ll Who is of opinion, that I cannot act as Notary Publick, and that I ought not to Record the Paper you left Yesterday, in the Office.
The same day, he sent his letters and paybooks home by way of a merchant vessel, March Catt, Capt. Thomas Ward.

The very next day, Hume wrote the governor and made excuse: that, because of the dangers of this hurricane season, he was moving Scarborough and, by association with, Blanco pirate ship and its treasures. A week went by without hearing from Lowther, so Hume wrote again. This time, he suggested that he may need to go to St. Lucia to better "Secure his Maj:tie Ship Und.r my Com:d the better from bad Accidents of that Nature." Finally, by the 20th of August, Hume - still with pirate prisoners aboard - wrote "Att My first Arrival from Leeward [Nevis and St. Christophers] I Acquainted Your Excellency that I had on board 17 Prisoners Taken on board the Pirate Ship[.] You Was pleased To Tell me that there were No Commissions To try Them" which was not true and Hume knew it. Hume Was going to have the prisoners off his ship and into a Barbados prison! He shamed the governor, but gave him a way out when he wrote "I hereby Conceive that in Case Yo.r Excellancy Wil Direct the proper officer for their being Committed To the Common Goale [Jail] of this Island it Will the better Enable me on all Urgent Ocassions To Answer the Service."

That same day, Hume heard from a sloop from Tobago that he was taken there by pirates, but upon investigating at Tobago, Hume determined that the ships were Spanish guarda-costas, for there were no pirates heard of in that locale.

What happened with the seventeen prisoners is still not known! 

Scarborough continued his cruise around the Caribbean. Hume visited Curacao again by February 1719 and sent his "Muster Books with the Captain of the Harper Galley." By that August, HMS Scarborough was back in Deptford, England, leaving a properly chastised pirate-governor Robert Lowther behind him.

Sorta makes Donald Trump appear fairly common, huh? In America, that is - our "Commonwealth of Pyrates!"

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06s6zfx

BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS.
from BBC Radio Bristol

300 years ago on Thursday - 22 November 1718 - Bristol born Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard, the most famous pirate in the history of the world), was killed in a violent battle off the coast of North America. And after 300 years we can finally separate the truth from the myth. You can hear the whole story this Thursday at 9am in a one off BBC Radio Bristol special: BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS. With new research by Baylus C. Brooks, narrated by Bristol born Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and produced by Tom Ryan and Sheila Hannon this is a very different Blackbeard from the one in the story books...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s6zfx

You can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_bristol

Author Spotlight

#Blackbeard #pirate #twitterstorians


Also:



Three Centuries After His Beheading, a Kinder, Gentler Blackbeard Emerges - Smithsonian Online

By Andrew Lawler
smithsonian.com
November 13, 2018




http://www.lulu.com/shop/baylus-c-brooks/murder-at-ocracoke/paperback/product-23588556.htmlRead about the final end of Edward Thache:
Murder at Ocracoke! Power and Profit in the Killing of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache



In commemoration of "Blackbeard 300 Tri-Centennial":











As always, drop by baylusbrooks.com and check out the primary source transcriptions

Friday, January 11, 2019

Who is Pirate Advocate Richard Fitzwilliam?

Dictionary of Virginia Biography (DVB) notes: 
Richard Fitzwilliam (d. by 19 April 1744), member of the Council, was probably the son of Thomas Fitzwilliam and Mary Luttrell Fitzwilliam of County Dublin, Ireland. Very little is known about his personal life, including the dates of his birth and death and whether he married or had children.
"Very little is known about his personal life"... sound familiar? Isn't this the exact same thing that people used to claim about Edward "Blackbeard" Thache? A genealogical-historical study proved the formerly "mysterious" pirate quite an average wealthy British-American gentleman with a large Jamaican family - even a daughter and also a conservative grandfather who studied the ministry at Oxford! - not such an unknown or "villainous" enigma.

Well, again, let's blow this "very little is known" thing apart, shall we?

The same source also noted that: "Vain, self-centered, stubborn, inflexible, and greedy, Fitzwilliam often found fault with others, and his combative willfulness annoyed numerous influential Virginians."

I certainly do not doubt that Richard Fitzwilliam was a controversial man, but many English gentlemen (the 1% in any century) who gave up everything that such privileged blowhards enjoyed about their ancient English (and Irish) civilization to make their lives and futures in the jungle wilderness of early America did often exhibit similar characteristics!

Also, when's the last time you considered living in the Amazon rain-forest... without internet or cellphones?

Still, many American historians have difficulty contemplating that a wealthy, privileged man like Richard Fitzwilliam - or Edward Thache, for that matter - would ever venture to this godforsaken and remote cesspool of European religious detritus, with wild unknown beasts and Jacobite rebel prisoners - a land which Native Americans liked, understood well, lived upon for thousands of years, and from which they simply wished Europeans would just bugger off!

Fitzwilliam Museum Interior
This bias often crept into their analyses. A similar bias infects our British cousins who tend to think that absolutely no British Fitzwilliam ever had anything to do with America! And... if you look at the interior of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, you could hardly believe that any British family who inspired such artistic grandeur could ever have lived in a remote provincial backwater like early 18th-century America!

Likewise, the American-focused DVB saw Richard Fitzwilliam as an "outsider," just another foreign Blackbeard-ish interloping enigma: "January 1715 Fitzwilliam received an appointment as comptroller of customs in Currituck, North Carolina. A year or two later he moved to Virginia to be collector of customs for the lower district of James River. On 13 August 1717 Fitzwilliam petitioned the governor and Council for a grant of land in Hampton and permission to erect a wharf there."

Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood (essentially another foreign interloper and relative of the king) regarded Fitzwilliam's customs accounts - and his favor of pirates (specifically, Edward Thache's quartermaster, but also a few others at New Providence Island) - as contrary to his service "to his Majesty" and on 18 August 1719 informed the commissioners of customs in London that he was "guilty of malfeasance." A Royal Navy ally of Spotswood, Capt. Ellis Brand of HMS Lyme, mentioned in a letter to the Admiralty of "One [Richard] Fitzwilliams a Costom house Officer in Virginia as being an Agent for the pyrats and in what Manner we ware perplext with law Suits...." For Brand and Spotswood, Virginia, much like North Carolina, was wholly filled with pirates and their supporters, for Brand also regarded the Virginian Judge of Vice-Admiralty, John Holloway, as if he were a corrupt Donald Trump appointee, bearing a huge conflict of interest, actually serving as a lawyer for pirate William Howard, Blackbeard's quartermaster! Holloway also had Capt. George Gordon of HMS Pearl arrested for false arrest of William Howard and fined ₤500!

Fitzwilliam eventually left the office of collector of customs on 17 November 1720, obviously (from a modern point-of-view) because of the "contrary and factious people" of Virginia, but he returned to that position on 1 April 1721.

Why were Virginians seen by Spotswood and modern Americans as "contrary and factious"? The subject of piracy in America involves a complicated political-historical and intentional misunderstanding, involving early media and both sides of the Atlantic, deftly hiding the early beginnings of our nation... you'll just have to read my book to fully understand what I mean.

It's not a stretch to say that the wealthy English-appointed govermor Spotswood had a particularly low opinion of the average Virginia "ignorant" citizen, as he styled them on 22 December 1718, when he explained to the Board of Trade why he illegally assassinated Edward Thache in North Carolina - not in his own colony (actually, a privately-owned one), by the way. The very English (and anti-American) Spotswood also called Fitzwilliam, who "undertook" the cause of pirates, and his ilk "knavish," causing the citizens to choose "such Representatives as are agreable to them."Clearly, Spotswood saw Americans as a low class sort.

The DVB then tells:
The conflicts with officials [actually local Burgesses] in Virginia did no injury to Fitzwilliam's career. By late in July 1725 he was appointed surveyor general of customs for the southern district of America, which included the mainland colonies from Pennsylvania southward and also the Bahamas and Jamaica.
Eventually, as the DVB also notes, Fitzwilliam left Virginia after even the House of Burgesses censured him, "relinquished his position as surveyor general of customs in September 1731 and by 3 January 1733 had received an appointment as governor of the Bahamas... Richard Fitzwilliam died four years later, probably in Dublin, and was buried there on, or shortly before, 19 April 1744 in the Parish of Donnybrook."

 Yes... he was appointed to yet another supposedly grandiose position - though the Bahamas were even more remote and lacking in resources than the mainland American wilderness!



Richard, 5th Viscount FitzWilliam of Merrion's will in England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 - PROB 11; Piece: 732 - dated 20 April 1744


Imagine my surprise at finding Richard, 5th Viscount FitzWilliam of Merrion's will in England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 - PROB 11; Piece: 732 - dated 8 January 1743, but probated in 20 April 1744! Remember the death date of 19 April 1744 given by the DVB? Burke's Peerage, as quoted on the Wikipedia page, imagines the 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam to be a totally different person (but, certainly not): "Richard FitzWilliam, 5th Viscount FitzWilliam PC [a member of the Privy Council of Ireland] (c. 1677 – 6 June 1743) was an Irish nobleman and politician. The will was written and dated several months before this latest date of death assessment, so it does not disqualify the comparison with the Virginian collector Fitzwilliam.

In reality, the family's history is well-preserved. From this genealogical perspective (with little, if any political bias), Richard was the only son of Thomas FitzWilliam, 4th Viscount FitzWilliam and his first wife Mary Stapleton, daughter of the English statesman Sir Philip Stapleton." Still, I think I know why 19 April 1744 was assumed by the DVB to be his date of death... I'll come back to this.

Thomas 4th Viscount and Mary Stapleton Fitzwilliam, parents of Richard 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.

Moreover, Thomas and Mary "Luttrell" Fitzwilliam (as quoted by the DVB) versus Thomas and Mary "Stapleton" Fitzwilliam (quoted by Burkes)? Why the confusion? Well, the Luttrells were related, but not that way: Thomas Luttrell married Richard Fitzwilliam's aunt Mary, sister of Thomas 4th Viscount Fitzwilliam. Mary Stapleton (shown in the picture above) was clearly Richard's mother.

The first line of this will states "Richard Fitzwilliam Esquire late Governor of the Bahama Islands in America," and his wife is shown as "Right honourable Frances [Shelley] Lady Viscountess Fitzwilliam" so if there's any question about whether this is the same Richard Fitzwilliam who gave Spotswood multiple ulcers, let's just settle that question here and now! It's our guy!


Portrait of Richard (5th Viscount FitzWilliam of Merrion) & Frances Shelley FitzWilliam, b. circa 1677; 1685, d. 06 June 1743; aft 1762. Frances separated from her husband c.1730. She entered a convent abroad. The fact that she entered a convent indicates that she stayed Catholic, even as her children were bapt. Protestant. Source: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.

Again, the history given by Wikipedia (about the English statesman) for Richard, 5h Viscount Fitzwilliam states that he "became a member of the Irish Privy Council in 1715. He was elected Member of Parliament for Fowey in 1727, a seat he held until 1734."

It might surprise the reader that I have no dispute with these dates or the positions which he held.

According to the DVB, he received a commission in January 1715 as "surveyor of Elizabeth River" and "comproller of customs in Currituck, NC" but that he moved to America within the next two years and settled instead in Virginia. These positions he received as a result of patronage, or favor, and they carried a definite financial reward:

Richard FitzWilliams, Surveyor of Elizabeth River, Virginia; same time
₤22
10
0
Richard FitzWilliams, Comptroller at Currituck, North Carolina; 11 July 1715 to Midsummer 1716
₤47
17
6

Note that he simply collected the money - he never had to actually assume the responsibility. This is similar to the corruption that later sparked the American Revolution. For example, you may not realize that Alexander Spotswood was not actually the governor of Virginia in Blackbeard's time, but the "Lt. Gov." The actual governor at this time was George Hamilton, Lord Orkney, who had responsibilities to the Prince of Wales at the time and never left England for America! He still received the appointment as a political favor and still collected his ₤2000 salary, though! Spotswood's salary was only half of Orkney's despite the fact that he is the one who actually administered Virginia for the Crown!

Even the Treasury assumed that Lord Orkney would not actually assume the governorship of Virginia - perhaps they did not expect the refined aristocratic gentleman to travel to such a dangerous and remote wilderness - but they didn't mind paying him for it!:
    September 1711:
George, Earl of Orkney, Lieutenant and Governor General: by letters patent: with the salary of 2,000l. per an.
    Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant Governor: by royal commission: with an allowance of half the Governor's salary in the latter's absence.
Later, Fitzwilliam became a collector for the lower district of James River - which brought him into direct contact with pirates not even a year later. "On 13 August 1717 Fitzwilliam petitioned the governor and Council for a grant of land in Hampton and permission to erect a wharf there." So, there's no evidence that he was in America much before this date.

Being elected a member of the Irish parliament for Fowey in 1727 appears to pose more difficulty - probably also due to a misunderstanding of how patronage worked. DVB states "On 14 December 1727 the governor and Council appointed him one of the commissioners to survey and settle the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina. He offered to sell the colony a tent for the expedition, suggesting that his interest was more mercenary than altruistic. Fitzwilliam's investment in an iron foundry the following year [1728] reflects a similar desire for personal profit without regard for improving Virginia's infrastructure.

No dispute that he was a corrupt rich guy! 

But, this appointment did not prevent him from assuming his position in Parliament. Again, such appointments were often political and not pragmatic positions. Indeed, The Excise Crisis: Society and Politics in the Age of Walpole, in its Appendix C shows "Richard Fitzwilliam, Viscount Fitzwilliam, Fowey" on a list of "Absent Members." He did not have to actually live and serve in Ireland in 1727! Still, the survey of the Virginia-North Carolina boundary did not actually begin until spring of 1728. He really could have been anywhere in 1727 - at least until he accompanied his fellow commissioners on the 1728 survey! Furthermore, another peerage account showed that he served on "his Majesty's Privy-Council" since September 1714, marrying Frances, only daughter of Sir John Shelley of Michalgrove in Sussex - another position for which he was no doubt absent. He apparently ignored a lot of his "official" responsibilities! I have to wonder if his wife accompanied him in America for any of these remote appointments - perhaps he ignored her, too! After all, she later left him for a convent and I did compare him to Donald Trump... lol.

Location of "Mount Fitzwilliam," still the official governor's residence in Nassau, New Providence, the Bahamas
Mount Merrion House (Dublin, Ireland) - The Fitzwilliams built Merrion Castle on lands which are today the property of the Sisters of Charity and St Mary's Home and School for the Blind. By 1710 Merrion Castle was in such a bad state of repair that Richard, the 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam, selected 100 acres (0.4 km²) on which he built Mount Merrion House, surrounding the house by an 8-foot-high (2.4 m) granite wall. The house was completed in 1711 and served as a new seat by the 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam on the hill at Mount Merrion. The Fitzwilliam family left for England (Dover Street in St. George, Hanover Square, Middlesex) around 1726. Although the family no longer lived in Mount Merrion House, they retained possession of it, and rented the house out. "Mount Merrion and Its History" by Francis Elrington Ball, in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Fifth Series, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Dec. 31, 1898), pp. 329-344.

Fitzwilliam was removed from his "absent" responsibilities in Fowey in 1733, about the time he became governor of the Bahamas (replacing Woodes Rogers), where, despite making a lot of useful lime in his kilns and building his home on his newly purchased "Mount Fitzwilliam" estate (reflecting the name of his "Mount Merrion" estate in Dublin) in Nassau, was considered a controversial governor and later removed. As Michael Craton and Gail Saunders wrote in Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People,
The records in general were in a deplorable state. “Tis impossible to get an exact Account of the Persons born, christen’d or buried yearly in this Government,” complained Fitzwilliam, “because no Register has hitherto been kept thereof, nor could the Inhabitants be prevailed upon to acquaint anybody appointed by the Governor [Rogers] when any such happened.”

Efforts to repair the records were made through the SPG-appointed Reverend William Smith, and Governor Fitzwilliam set about making a census with his customary mixture of force and tactlessness. The New Providence free coloreds were especially incensed by the governor and council’s decision to list them separately.
Note that Englishmen of this day were nowhere near as racist as Americans after the Civil War, so this bias against African-Bahamians happened to carry a strongly conservative tone in the 18th century. 

His eldest son, Richard succeeded him as Viscount upon his death on 20 June 1743, which is the date shown on the Wikipedia page. His will was not probated until 20 April 1744, but this is not at all uncommon at this time - Fitzwilliam had possessions in three countries, requiring administration with long letter response times. Thus, the DVB's date of death assumed as "19 April 1744." This demonstrates a modern, if inexperienced, historical presentism. Past historians, inexperienced in modern genealogical methods, obviously assumed that he died the day before, as is most common today. Better training in genealogical methods for historians could easily cure this.

Researched by Baylus C. Brooks - 2019

Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke (died 1794), husband of Mary, daughter of Richard 5th Viscount Fiztwilliam. At the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.

Obviously, the Virginian statesman and pirate favorite was the same man as the wealthy Irish member of the Privy Council and Parliament. Admittedly, Irish records were quite sparse for the early 18th century, but this Fitzwilliam was well known and recorded in England, as well - he actually died in his home on Dover Street in St. George Hanover Square in Middlesex, England - not in Dublin! So, we can now establish that he was born about 1677, died 20 June 1743 (the date given by Wikipedia and from English records), and had his will (written 8 January 1743 with codicil 12 January) probated 20 April 1744. His mother was Mary Stapleton Fitzwilliam... NOT Luttrell! That was simply an honest genealogical mistake! The confusion, I hope, is finally over! Now, somebody go and fix the DVB and Wikipedia pages!


-------------------------

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06s6zfx

BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS.
from BBC Radio Bristol

300 years ago on Thursday - 22 November 1718 - Bristol born Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard, the most famous pirate in the history of the world), was killed in a violent battle off the coast of North America. And after 300 years we can finally separate the truth from the myth. You can hear the whole story this Thursday at 9am in a one off BBC Radio Bristol special: BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS. With new research by Baylus C. Brooks, narrated by Bristol born Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and produced by Tom Ryan and Sheila Hannon this is a very different Blackbeard from the one in the story books...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s6zfx

You can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_bristol

Author Spotlight

#Blackbeard #pirate #twitterstorians


Also:



Three Centuries After His Beheading, a Kinder, Gentler Blackbeard Emerges - Smithsonian Online

By Andrew Lawler
smithsonian.com
November 13, 2018




http://www.lulu.com/shop/baylus-c-brooks/murder-at-ocracoke/paperback/product-23588556.htmlRead about the final end of Edward Thache:
Murder at Ocracoke! Power and Profit in the Killing of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache



In commemoration of "Blackbeard 300 Tri-Centennial":











As always, drop by baylusbrooks.com and check out the primary source transcriptions

Sunday, January 06, 2019

More Primary Sources Available!

There are a few new transcriptions available on my website at http://baylusbrooks.com/index_files/Page7226.htm



Keep watching... more coming!

Author Spotlight: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bcbrooks

#Blackbeard #pirate #twitterstorians
---------------------------

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06s6zfx

BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS.
from BBC Radio Bristol
300 years ago on Thursday - 22 November 1718 - Bristol born Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard, the most famous pirate in the history of the world), was killed in a violent battle off the coast of North America. And after 300 years we can finally separate the truth from the myth. You can hear the whole story this Thursday at 9am in a one off BBC Radio Bristol special: BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS. With new research by Baylus C. Brooks, narrated by Bristol born Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and produced by Tom Ryan and Sheila Hannon this is a very different Blackbeard from the one in the story books...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s6zfx

You can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_bristol

Author Spotlight

#Blackbeard #pirate #twitterstorians


Also:



Three Centuries After His Beheading, a Kinder, Gentler Blackbeard Emerges - Smithsonian Online

By Andrew Lawler
smithsonian.com
November 13, 2018




http://www.lulu.com/shop/baylus-c-brooks/murder-at-ocracoke/paperback/product-23588556.htmlRead about the final end of Edward Thache:
Murder at Ocracoke! Power and Profit in the Killing of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache




In commemoration of "Blackbeard 300 Tri-Centennial":











As always, drop by baylusbrooks.com and check out the primary source transcriptions



admiralty, adventure, Africa, african, alternative facts, appalachee, arcadia, art glass, bahamas, bar harbor, Barbados, barham, baylus, baylus brooks, bbc, blackbeard, bonnet, book, boston, boston news-letter, bourbon, bristol, British, brooks, burgaw, burrington, buse, calusa, cape fear, capitalism, caribbean, carolana, carolina, castillo, charles johnson, church, cimaroon, cimarroon, clone, cnn, cocklyn, colchester, colonial, condent, confederacy, confederate, congdon, conservative, corruption, Davis, democrat, depression, document, dunn, dutch, east carolina, east indies, ecu, England, fake news, family, florida, french, gale, Gambia, genealogy, genetics, glass, grovesnor, hispaniola, historian, history, hornigold, howell davis, indians, iron gall, itchetucknee, jamaica, jersey, jesus knocking, jolly roger, kkk, la concorde, lawler, lawson, levasseur, liberal, lighthouse, lillington, lyme, lyndon, madagascar, maine, Manhattan, maritime, maroon, martel, maynard, McLaggin, mist, moore, mortar, moseley, mount desert, New York, newfoundland, newspaper, north carolina, original, painting, panama, paper, pearl, pender, pestle, phenney, philadelphia, phoenix, piracy, pirate, pirates, plantation, politics, privateer, profit, progressive, pyrate, QAR, racism, rebel, republican, rice, robert e. lee, rogers, romance, rothschild, Royal African, royal navy, Salem Towne, sawtelle, seager, seal cove, seminole, shark, Sierra Leone, slave, slavery, smithsonian, south, south carolina, southern, spanish, St. Augustine, st. helena, stained glass, staines, symonds, Taylor, teach, thache, thatch, theach, timberlake, time travel, timucua, traitor, treason, treasure, trump, victory, walker, west indies, windows, windsor, witchcraft, witches, woodard, worley, wrecking, write

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Plate, Silver, Gold, Jewels and other Merchandise!

1754 Bellin Map of Veracruz, Mexico

 From a traditional English perspective, the 1716 capture of Virginia's sloop Virgin and her crew were acts of Spanish piracy. However, their captor was Don Joseph Rocher de la Peña (b.1651-d.1737 while mayor of Veracruz City), the Rear-Admiral of their elite Barlovento squadron, stationed at Veracruz, Mexico since 1640 -  not exactly a pirate. The state of Veracruz (within which the city of Veracruz sits), comprised most of the Mexican western shoreline in the Bay of Campeche, plagued incessantly by English pirates who liked to steal Spanish logwood from the Bay of Campeche since the days of 17th-century English Buccaneers. In 1684, the Spanish attacked the main stronghold of these "buccaneers" in Charles Town, now known as Nassau - on the Island of Providence in the Bahamas.

Bay of Campeche

Virgin's crew had been confined under allegedly extreme conditions, if we are to believe the reports from their captain Harry Beverley, a wealthy Virginian and former House of Burgesses representative for Middlesex County. Beverley owned more than 3,000 acres of prime Virginia real estate by the time of his 1716 venture to seek pirates - but perhaps more importantly - to seek the wrecked Spanish flota or squadron (in hurricane of 1715) presumed by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood to be somewhere between the Bahamas and the then-Spanish territory of La Florida's east shore.

Was Spotswood merely interested in preserving the recent Treaty of Utrecht between his mother country of Great Britain and Spain? Or, was he a pirate facilitator himself, interested mostly in the spilled treasure on the coast of Spanish Florida?

For a simple colonial statesman, Spotswood concentrated a great deal of his attention at this time on wreck-fishing technology... and on finding out exactly where the wrecks lay! Spotswood specifically suggested fishing the Spanish wrecks as a way of increasing British income, despite the dubious legalities. English Jamaicans wholly supported this effort as well, as Capt John Balchen of HMS Diamond testified. Gov. Lord Archibald Hamilton of Jamaica was determined guilty of exactly the same method: commissioning privateers to take pirates, but then fishing illegally on the Spanish wrecks instead - i.e. becoming a pirate!

Oddly enough, Spotswood later claims that Beverley was blown off course and captured near Bermuda: "The said sloop was taken upon the high seas near the Island of Bermuda, and had never been within some hundreds of leagues of any of the Spanish Dominions." The story he told almost a year later went:
 On 23rd June Beverley departed from Virginia since wch, there is advice from him by letters dated at St. Domingo on Hispaniola the 14th Aug., that two days after he left the Capes of Virginia he mett with a strong wind at South West, which carry'd him into the latitude of 28d. 40m. [approx. latitude of Orlando, Florida] and longitude of 6 degrees [east or west?; 6 deg. west puts him in Florida, near the wrecks] from the said Capes, where on 5th July he found himself close by a ship and a sloop, which proved to be a Spanish man of war called the St. Juan Baptista, commanded by Don Joseph Rocher de la Pena, and the sloop his tender. The man of war fired three shots at Beverley's sloop (which had the English colours flying on board) and then ordered him to come on board, where (without ever looking into his papers or so much as asking for them) only demanding from whence he came, he was made prisoner and his boats crew confined apart. The men of the Spanish ship immediately went on board his sloop, beat and stript all the men broke open their chests, plundered and carry'd off all the cargo, and brought the men prisoners on board the man of war, where they were forced naked as they were to work as the Spaniards ordered them, except Beverley himself, and Mr. Peter Whiting and George Heeble his officers. On the 30th they arrived at Porto Rico, where the Spaniards sold most of the goods belonging to Beverley's sloop, and then on 11th May, they came to St. Domingo. At both which places Beverley conscious of his honest intentions, desired a trial but was denyed, untill they should arrive at La Vera Crux, whither the Spanish Commander declared he intended to carry his prisoners.
The coordinates could mean that Beverley was taken, six weeks after leaving the Capes of Virginia, by Admiral Rocher precisely at the location of the wrecks - which the Spanish still guarded - or he could have been hundreds of miles east of the Bahamas - but, nowhere near Bermuda! Spotswood simply interpreted it as the latter, for the preservation of his own representation - having signed Beverley's letter of marque.

Beverley's instructions in that letter of marque from Spotswood, like those of Hamilton's to his "privateers," were to go to the Bahamas (in the other direction from Bermuda) and report back... especially on the whereabouts of the wrecks that Bahamians were fishing... on the coast of La Florida - a Spanish territory! My suspicions are that Beverley did just that... with six weeks between leaving Virginia and being captured.

What exactly was he doing if not fishing the wrecks or spying on the Spanish who were? Again, how far was he captured from the wrecks by Admiral Rocher in the warship St. Juan Baptiste?

Actually, 28 degrees, 40 minutes was the latitude of Cape Canaveral, Florida - about the northernmost range of the known wrecks' location and near the Spanish salvage camps at St. Sebastien Inlet. Nassau, the main town of the Bahamas, where Beverley was supposed to go first to gather intel on pirates, lay at about 25 degrees. The longitude given, if 6 deg. west, put him dead on Florida, west of Orlando. But, 6 deg. east put Beverley and his sloop Virgin, far east from Florida, at approx. 70 deg. of current longitude or 500 miles east of the Bahamas - still nowhere near Bermuda! Admiral Rocher had no reason to be out there. He would remain closer to the wrecks on the Florida shore to guard them against pirates, as were the Barlovento squadron's orders since 1640.

Nassau, New Providence Island in the Bahamas is at latitude 25 deg.


I'd love to know the official Spanish account of the capture... including the exact location. But... Spotswood claims the official English version (Beverley's more than six weeks of being "off course"... possible, yes... probable? You decide. He may have needed an excuse for being so far north after so much time.)...  Spotswood lied for his pirate. And, Beverley likely covered his aft quarters after being caught red-handed fishing illegally, if you get my drift (the puns are far too easy here, huh?).

Furthermore, Spotswood added "and since 14th Aug. [1716] Beverley nor any of his men have been heard of" as though the Spanish Catholics were evil (religious discrimination? racism?) and did all of this on purpose just to evilly torture some Englishmen! Spotswood's story, if you'll pardon yet another pun, just doesn't hold water for me... I say he facilitated piracy and Beverley was the one committing a crime.

Discrimination against the Spanish is a long-time American tradition! The English came to America to steal Spanish wealth - not much had changed after more than a century - even since the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 - a defeat that originally signaled the weakness of the Spanish Empire! Englishmen literally first came to America as pirates!

It's not much of a surprise that English wills of the time included bequeathals of "Plate, Silver, Gold, Jewels, and other Merchandise," material reflections of Spanish American wealth!

There's a lot more to this international political episode related thru "English-colored glasses" for the past few centuries in Capt. Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates. Perhaps the best way to look at this event is not by reading Johnson... er... London newspaper publisher Nathaniel Mist's... highly controversial polemic that pretends to be a "history."  Historians don't use polemics! The primary sources combined with good old fashioned professional history should do nicely!

I here present to you the actual primary English (and probably quite biased) evidence involved in this case - evidence that may have jump-started British merchants to go against "pirates" in America! I'm still looking for Admiral Rocher's version...

YeahYeah... I blame the British War on the Golden Age of Piracy on Alexander Spotswood, but he wrote a lot of letters and annoyed a lot of people... so he was a good candidate!



----------------------------------------

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06s6zfx

BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS.
from BBC Radio Bristol

300 years ago on Thursday - 22 November 1718 - Bristol born Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard, the most famous pirate in the history of the world), was killed in a violent battle off the coast of North America. And after 300 years we can finally separate the truth from the myth. You can hear the whole story this Thursday at 9am in a one off BBC Radio Bristol special: BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS. With new research by Baylus C. Brooks, narrated by Bristol born Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and produced by Tom Ryan and Sheila Hannon this is a very different Blackbeard from the one in the story books...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s6zfx

You can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_bristol

Author Spotlight

#Blackbeard #pirate #twitterstorians


Also:

Three Centuries After His Beheading, a Kinder, Gentler Blackbeard Emerges - Smithsonian Online

By Andrew Lawler
smithsonian.com
November 13, 2018




http://www.lulu.com/shop/baylus-c-brooks/murder-at-ocracoke/paperback/product-23588556.htmlRead about the final end of Edward Thache:
Murder at Ocracoke! Power and Profit in the Killing of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache



In commemoration of "Blackbeard 300 Tri-Centennial":










As always, drop by baylusbrooks.com and check out the primary source transcriptions



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