|Defense and Cassandra with tender attack Fort Lijdzaamheid on Rio Delagoa (Southeast Africa) circa 30 April 1722|| |
Occupation of Fort Lijdzaamheid (Fort Agility) & Debauchery of the Pirates: 22 April - 30 June, 1722:
Narrative of Jacob de Bucquoy in his "Zestien Jaarige Reize Naar de Indien," published in 1757, 27-36, concerning the attack and two-month stay of pirates Richard Taylor in 72-gun Defense (formerly Portuguese Viceroy of Goa's vessel, Nossa Senhora do Cabo) and Olivier LeVasseur (La Buse) in 44-gun Cassandra (former East India Company vessel of Capt. James Macrae) and their crews at the newly-built Dutch fort on Rio De La Goa or modern Maputo Bay on southeast shore of Africa.
Narrative broken up for easier reading...
We lived in the Fort, apart from sickness among our new recruits, and death, in a moderate rest, and feared no foreign enemies: but then often the danger is near, as will appear in the following.
It was on the 11th April [22 April by Gregorian calendar], (a year after we arrived here) that the natives informed us that there were three ships in the Bay, but they had not raised the flags: at once an order was given to ship to the corner [bend] of the River constantly setting out posts to learn what kind of Ships they might be:
Every day the Natives came to our Fort, with pieces of Indian Lynwaet [lijnwaet; "linen"] for the body, which they said they had bartered from other Ships; What they had left they used for flags and pennants on their canoes and tubes.
It lasted until the 19th of April [G: 30 April] when the said ships, bearing an English King's flag and pennant, approached the mouth of the River; we could not imagine what this might mean. English King's ships to be seen here in an unknown region, where there was no War, seemed strange, and on Sea Rovers no suspicion [English pirates were usually welcome]; but the outcome soon showed us; what people they behold.
We prepared our pieces [canon], and enabled us to resist, if they should be against us: to this end we took a crowd of Blacks in the Fort, and led the Hoeker there, to defend us like a Watercastle, meanwhile the approaching ships; as two large ones, one of 72 [Defense], and the other of 44 cannon [Cassandra], plus a Brigantin up to the Lodge [entry building before Fort?]; they were crammed with people, who blew on the Kampanje [trumpets] lustily; then the largest ship dropped anchor and fired a shot in front of the Hoeker and our Fort, and then gave the whole broadside, likewise the other. We did not owe it to the shore, and gave them in the same language [returned fire], but in such a way that with the first volley the largest Pieces shook in the sand, for we had no fixed batteries yet, but loose planks deposited on the sand. We recovered as much as we could, when we saw with amazement that the Hoeker had already lowered the flag, and prepared as a prize.
Jacob de Bucquoy, Plattegrond van Fort Lijdzaamheid on Rio de Lagoa, 1721.
They were still firing steadily with their 12-pounders, loaded with bullets and scrap; all the Blacks rushed over the patisfaden [palisade?], and fled into the woods. We saw that 78 men who were still alive at the Fort, and many of them sick, could not stand this crowd: but it seemed reasonable with the Commande while I was busy getting the Pieces ready to fire.
As I acted for Opperkonstapel [Chief], I was told that someone had lowered the flag in the hole; This dropping of the flag communicated to the ships that we had surrendered: at once boats full of people came to the shore. Our Chief, Monsr. [Jean] Michel exclaimed "par Dieu wat dat ly wat dat! What that, I said, they have cut the flag in the hole, and we are taken."
Under this message of Monsieur the people came ashore, four of whom emerged from the heap with pistol in one hand and saber in the other as far as the Lodge [entrance battery?]; Each of them looked with astonishment that so few men had such boldness; while one asked in a gruff voice, Where is the Chief? who answered here, asking them at the same time what kind of people they were? They answer that they were Kings of the Sea and of the World.
Each was silent and looked at the other, and did not know what the further consequence would be, which we learned shortly. He immediately commanded the people to lay down their rifles, and at once ordered the Chief [acting-Chief Jean Michel] to sail aboard the great ship [Defense]: against which he long protested, [to no avail.] I [Bucquoy] accompanied him, and meanwhile they made sure of their accommodation.
Round about, and seeing it necessary, they set up sentries, and divided the defenders (whom they immediately disarmed) here and there: while more and more people came ashore for their reinforcements. We left the second, one Jan van de Capelle, ashore, and sailed with the barge from the shore to board the great ship, where the Sea-robbers' flags were waving from the top of the stern and aft.
When we were on the side of the ship, the Captain [Richard Taylor] stood with a saber in hand, aboard, waiting for us. Monsr. Michel, seeing a Negro approaching from his sight, Did not want him to climb over first; I said that to him [the Chief] that honor belonged, that otherwise I wished to be the first, as he then bid me: so I climbed by a rope, so that there was no stairway, and came over. Monsr. Michel was joined by 6 to 7 men;
On his behalf we were ordered to follow the Captain who entered a room, and we with him: there we found the whole Assembly in order, with a box of punch in the middle, accompanied by an agreement of Muzyk, according to the English style, immediately wares we sat, or the punch box went round, and then, after the occasion of the country, and our condition, we were asked very accurately, by articles; whereupon Mr. Michel replied. Furthermore, they asked about Victuals [food provisions] for their ships, Water, etc. were available here.
After we seemed to have satisfied them with a few things, they declared that upon their last visit that they had found a Dutch Comptoir [trading post] here [surprised at the presence of a fort]. They needed a place in these Indian regions, but if they had known this, they would have called upon another; but the matter now being so, it was their custom to lay down the anchors with little effort; Money, Tobacco, and Liquor, were Contrabands, and they were in need of them.
Then our Victuals and Ammunition came, miraculously, and what more they thought could be of service. For the rest we must console ourselves with fate, and be at peace.
Here people played merrily and drank about clearly. After an hour or two, my curiosity caught my eye to go downstairs to go between decks; and there to consider their lives; it seemed like a complete Robber's Fair; all the guests sat about their bowls, and drank profusely. Here I found all sorts of nations among each other, even black Negroes.
Jeder spoke to me, Brother!
Before and after: so the night ended with us: but it had not gone like this normally; for when they are drunk they live boldly with their captives; the Konstaple [leader; in this case, Richard Taylor] had a heart in the Arm [love of arms?], and the others had dutifully queried [parried] with the Sabers: a steady alarm, frightening the peasantry, and in fear for their lives, that the Second [Chief?], with twenty-one men more, would take flight in secret; chests and treasuries were opened with crowbars, and the well demolished;
In the morning the People [pirates] were divided on the shore and on the ships; and I was utilized to trade Vee [cattle] and Victuals for them. I was quite pleased with this; for whole bales of Lynwaat [lijnwaet; "linen"] were but cut up, and exchanged in pieces, for trifles, of Hoenders [Afrikaans: "chicken"], Fruits, etc.; the barrels of Corals and trifles, like Nuremburg Kramery [haberdashery; British: small items used in sewing, such as buttons, zippers, and thread (see thimble below)], which we had for Negotie [negotiating] at the Comptoir [trading post], everything was now in common. This was riotous and rude. I'm glad to have read the Hellish Fair, but it was one hell of a job. Offending women, drinking publicly drunk, and then inflicting violence on the native, was the same work;
Briefly they [pirates] were at war with them [natives]; day and night they shot sharply across the plains: the natives grew so bitter, that is to observe the Ships and Vessels and then throw in with their Assegayen [a slender, iron-tipped, hardwood spear used chiefly by southern African peoples], wherewith several [pirates] have already been killed.
|Thimble | German, probably Nuremberg - Metropolitan Museum of Art|
A curious case occurred on the birthday of King George the Second [must be the First, b. May 28; Second was b. 11 November and was not yet king (1727)], weekday, when they usually spend boozing and like a Sea-robbers Joyful feast.
Captain Tailor and Captain Labous, beside some officers, sat separately with a Punch bowl, drinking together. Tailor, looking before the Fort about Botree, a Native, standing somewhat to the side of the others, standing near the wood, and looking elsewhere, little thinking that death was so near to him, his Snape [Snaphaan; snaphaunce, or flintlock pistol], which sat beside him, and said to his company: Would you see that Karel [derogatory reference to a native] make a cabriolet [type of one-horse carriage]? they, according to their degenerate natures, said yes: Indeed he aims and shoots him, that he fell to the ground and gave up the ghost after a little thrashing; Having done this, he set the Snaphaan [Flintlock pistol or Snaphaunce] aside again, continued his conversation with the same composure as if nothing had happened, and I never heard him speak of it again.
I am ashamed to inform the reader of the liberality which I saw that day, as much about malking [associating with an untidy woman] as the violent treatment of women in public practice, so as not to introduce vexatious ideas of it into anyone's imagination or memory.
This lasted until the 26th June, when they had their ships ready and clean: As for my interest, I changed my clothes daily; the one took everything from me, and the other gave me a skirt again, or vest: in short I had changed fashion all day long; long, short, wide, and narrow, all was my pass; that which I gained in exchange, I again venerated to those who had not, 'Never have I looked better at the world and life, and learned to know its intemperance and futility; now I had it by experience.
Finally being supplied with Victuals, and being there their time of departing again, they shot a lap, and waved the Black Flag to Pitsjaaren [signal].* By this it was well thought to take the Hoeker as foresailer: but so their great ship [Defense] went 22 feet deep [draught], and in the bay was but 18 feet of water by common cyn [average, measurement?], and knowing that I had drawn the map of the bay [see map above], they beseeched me that I might cast them out in the open sea; that in return they would give 5 bales of Lynwaet [lijnwaet; "linen"] to the people, to sustain life; and the Hoeker, after they had removed the masts in advance, before leaving in the Comptoir [trading post] to us for storage.
Though I had little inclination to go with them, as they cannot take much on their word, but we were in need. I suggested this to the Chief [Michel], who advised me to do it: but being like a Frenchman, not trusting much with him, I told him that if he were so to me as Chief, and for that I recognized him, to command my self, I was then ready to obey his commands; which he then did in the presence of the rural folk, and the master of Hoeker, a Frans van Haften; thereupon I beg of them 2 or 3 helmsmen to go with my self, to lay the weights and bearings of the deep with barrels, and to mark as marks of course, for their and my assurance; which they approved. We were here for eight days. On the 30th June (J: 11 July) we lifted our anchors, and after the cannon's praise, we bid farewell to Rio de la Goa.
* Pitsjaaren - To make a sign on ship board for giving notice to the other Commanders that a Council of war is to be kept, or something like to be done. [A Compleat Dictionary, English and Dutch, to which is Added a Grammar, for Both Languages, Volume 2 (Amsterdam: K. de Veer, 1766), 639]