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.
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.
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.
From London, July 25, 1720
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Baylus C. Brooks (Author) Format: Kindle Edition