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.
From London, September 9, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
... 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.
... 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.
... 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.
... 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.
... 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.
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.
We heard from Jamaica that the Forbans [Pirates] were continuing their races, and that the Spaniards arm several vessels, to run against the English.
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.
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.
... 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.
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.