Thursday, January 1, 2009

Affidavit of Philip Middleton

94. I. Affidavit of Philip Middleton, of London, mariner. He served on board the Charles, alias Fancy, under the command of Henry Every, alias Bridgeman, in April last, when she arrived at an island near Providence, whence a letter was writ to Mr. Nicholas Trott, Governor of Providence, promising, provided he would give them liberty to come on shore and depart when they pleased, to give him 20 pieces of eight and two pieces gold a man and the ship and all that was in her. There were no threats. Governor Trott replied in very civil terms and his assurances of welcome were made good on their arrival. A collection was made afore the mast of every sailor, 100 men besides boys, of the above sum for Governor Trott and sent to him by Robert Chinton, Henry Adams and two more. They sailed to Providence and delivered up the ship with what was in her to Major Trott who took possession of her in the Governor's name, and afterwards left her in the custody of the Governor's boatswain and a few negroes, with the result that she came ashore about two days later, though she had two anchors at her bow and one in the hold. As soon as Mr. Trott was in possession he landed the ship's cargo and stores. She had 50 tons of elephants' teeth, 46 guns, 100 barrels of gunpowder, several chests of buccaneer guns, besides small arms for the ship's use. She was firm and tight and making no water. She came ashore about noon in the Governor's sight and tho' James Browne and several others of Providence and several that had been of the ship's crew offered to weigh her with casks, no means were used to get her off. It was generally reported she was run on shore designedly. She was not bilged. She belonged to Sir James Houblon and Co. of London, and deponent verily believes Governor Trott knew as much. Jan. 30, 1697. Copy. 4 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2.Nos. 47, 47 I.; and 25. pp. 309–312.]

T. South to the Lords Justices of Ireland

T. South to the Lords Justices of Ireland. Dublin, 15 Aug. 1696. I have this morning obtained the following account:— The best place to send shipping to meet with the pirates is to Fernando, an island in latitude 3° or 4°, where they must touch to water in February or March. The owners of Captain Wake's ship live in Boston, New England, and were going in a brigantine to bring clothes and necessaries to meet him at Fernando; but hearing that we were coming to Providence they followed us thither but did not arrive till after we came away. Thomas Hollingsworth, now sailed from Galway, will meet Wake at Providence, where Wake will certainly be within six or eight weeks, or else not till after Christmas. Hollingsworth left money with Governor Trott. Wake had already had a pardon for piracy in King James's time. Thomas Jones is concerned in Captain Want's old barque and lives in Rhode Island. Want is gone to the Persian Gulf and in all probability is either at Rhode Island or Carolina by this time. He broke up there about three years ago after a good voyage, and spent his money there and in Pennsylvania. Captain Tew had a commission from the Governor of New York to cruise against the French. He came out on pretence of loading negroes at Madagascar, but his design was always to go into the seas, having about seventy men on his sloop of sixty tons. He made a voyage three years ago in which his share was £8,000. Want was then his mate. He then went to New England and the Governor would not receive him; then to New York where Governor Fletcher protected him. Colonel Fletcher told Tew he should not come there again unless he brought store of money, and it is said that Tew gave him £300 for his commission. He is gone to make a voyage in the Red Sea, and if he makes his voyage will be back about this time. This is the third time that Tew has gone out, breaking up the first time in New England and the second time in New York. The place that receives them is chiefly Madagascar, where they must touch both going and coming. All the ships that are now out are from New England, except Tew from New York and Want from Carolina. They build their ships in New England, but come out under pretence of trading from island to island. The money they bring in is current there, and the people know very well where they go. One Captain Gough who keeps a mercer's shop at Boston got a good estate in this way. On first coming out they generally go first to the Isle of May for salt, then to Fernando for water, then round the Cape of Good Hope to Madagascar to victual and water and so for Batsky (sic), where they wait for the traders between Surat and Mecca and Tuda, who must come at a certain time because of the trade-wind. When they come back they have no place to go to but Providence, Carolina, New York, New England and Rhode Island, where they have all along been kindly received. It is hoped that by means of this information they may be taken. Signed, T. South.

Examination of John Dann

Examination of John Dann. August 3, 1696.[1]
The Examination of John Dann of Rochester, Mariner, taken the 3d of August 1696.
Danns Examination.
This Informant saith that 3 yeares agoe he was Coxwain in the Soldado Prize, That he deserted the said shipp to goe in Sir James Houblons [2] Service, upon an Expedition to the West Indies, under Don Authuro Bourne. hee went on board the James, Captain Gibson Commander, and the whole Company shifted their Ship in the Hope, and went on board the Charles in which they went to the Corunna. The Shipps Company mutinied at Corunna for want of their pay, there being 8 months due to them; some of the men proposed to Captain Every, who was master [3] of the Charles, to carry away the Shipp, which was agreed on and sworne too; accordingly they sayled from the Corunna the 7th of May 1693. [4] when they were gone out they made up about 85 men. Then they asked Captain Gibson, the Commander, whether he was willing to goe with them, which he refusing, they sett him a shoar, with 14 or 15 more.
The first place they came to was the Isle of May, [5] where they mett three English Ships and tooke some provisions out of them, with an Anchor and Cable and about 9 men.
They went next to the Coast of Guinea, and there they tooke about 5 li. of Gold Dust, under the pretence of Trade; from Guinea they went to Philandepo, [6] where they cleaned their ship and tooke her lower; from thence they went to Princes Island, [7] where they mett with 2 Deanes [8] ships, which they tooke after some restraine. in those Shipps they tooke some small Armes, Chestes of Lynnen and perpetuenes, [9] with about 40 l. in Gold dust and a great quantity of Brandy. they putt them on shoar Except 18 or 20 they tooke with them. they carryed the best of the Danes Shipps with them and burnt the other. They stood then for Cape Lopez, and in the way mett with a small portugeese, laden with slaves from Angola. they tooke some Cloathes and silkes from them and gave them some provisions which they were in want of. att Cape Lopaz they only bought Honey, and sunke the little shipp, the men not being satisfied with the Commander. They went next to Annabo [10] and takeing provisions there they doubled the Cape and sailed to Madagascar, where they tooke more provisions and cleared the ship. from thence they sailed to Johanna, [11] where they mett a small Junke, put her a shore and tooke 40 peices out of her, and had one of their men killed. they only tooke in provisions at Johanna. Three English Merchant ships came downe thither at the same time, but they did not speake with them. They went thence to a place called Paddy, [12] and soe back to Johanna, touching at Comora by the way, where they tooke in provisions. at Johanna they tooke a Junke laden with Rice, which they stood in need of; here they tooke in 13 French men that had been privateering in those Seas under English Colours and had lost their ship at Molila, where it was cast away. Then they resolved to goe for the Red Sea. in the way they mett with two English Privateers, the one called the Dolphin, the other Portsmouth Adventure. The Dolphin, Captaine Want Comander, was a Spanish Bottom, had 60 men on board and was fitted out at the Orkells [13] neare Philadelphia. She came from thence about 2 yeares agoe last January. The Portsmouth Adventure was fitted out at Rhode Island about the same time, Captain Joseph Faro Comander. this ship had about the like number of men and about 6 Gunns each and they joyned Company. They came to an Island called Liparan, [14] at the entrance into the Red Sea, about June last was 12 months. they lay there one night and then 3 sale more of English came to them, One comanded by Thomas Wake [15] fitted out from Boston in New England, another the Pearle Brigantine, William Mues Comander, fitted out of Rhode Island, the third was the Amity Sloop, Thomas Tew Comander, [16] fitted out at New Yorke. they had about 6 Guns each. two of them had 50 men on board and the Brigantine betweene 30 and 40. they all Joyned in partnership, agreeing Captain Every should be the Comander. After they had laine there some time they were apprehensive the Moors shipps would not come downe from Mocha, [16a] soe they sent a pinnace thither, which tooke two Boates. they brought away 2 men, which told them the shipps must come downe. In the meane time they stood into the sea about 3 Leagues and came to an Anchor there, and hearing by the Pinnace the Moors Shipps were ready to come downe they weighed and stood to Leparon againe. After they had lain there 5 or 6 dayes the Moores shipps (being about 25 in number) past by them in the night unseen, though the passage was not above 2 miles over. they [17] was in August last on Saturday night. the next morning they saw a Ketch comeing downe, which they tooke, and by them they heard the ships were gone by, whereupon it was resolved they should all follow them and accordingly they wheighed on Monday, but the Dolphin being an ill sayler they burnt her and tooke the men most of them aboard Captain Every and the Brigantine they tooke in two [tow]. the sloop fell asterne and never came up to them. Captain Wake likewise lagged behind but came up to them afterwards. the Portsmouth kept them company. they steered their Course for Suratt, whether the Moores ships were bound. about 3 dayes before they made Cape St. John [18] they mett with one of the Moores ships, betweene 2 and 300 tons, with 6 Guns, which they tooke, she haveing fired 3 shott. they tooke about 50 or 60,000 l. in that ship in Silver and gold, and kept her with them till they made the land, and comeing to an anchor they espied another ship. they made sale up to her. she had about 40 Guns mounted and as they said 800 men. Shee stood a fight of 3 houres and then yeilded, the men runing into the Hold and there they made their Voyage. They tooke out of that ship soe much Gold and Silver in Coyned money and Plate as made up each mans share with what they had taken before about 1000 l. a man, there being 180 that had their Dividents, the Captain haveing a Double share and the Master a share and a halfe. The Portsmouth did not come into the Fight and therefore had noe Divident, but the Brigantine had, which was taken away from them againe by reason that the Charles's men changing with them Silver for Gold they found the Brigantine men Clippt the Gold, soe they left them only 2000 peices of Eight to buy provisions. They gave a share to the Captain of the Portsmouth and brought him away with them. Captain Want went into his ship and sailed into the Gulph of Persia and the Brigantine (he thinkes) went to the Coast of Ethiopia. Captain Wake went to the Island of St. Maries near Madagascar, [19] intending for the Red Sea the next time the Moores ships were expected from thence. Captain Every resolved to goe streight for the Island of Providence. In the way the men mutinied, some being for carrying her to Kian [20] belonging to the French, neere Brazill, but Captain Every withstood it, there being not above 20 men in the Shipp that Joyned with him. when they came to the Island of Mascareen [21] in the Latitude of 21 they left as many men there as had a mind to stay in that Island, and about March or Aprill last they arrived in the Island of Providence with 113 men on board. they came first to an Anchor off the Island of Thera, [22] and by a sloop sent a Letter to Nicholas Trott, Governor of Providence, [23] to propose bringing their ship thither if they might be assured of Protection and Liberty to goe away, which he promised them. They made a collection of 20 peices of 8 a man and the Captain 40, to present the Governor with, besides Elephants Teeth and some other things to the value of about 1000 l. Then they left their Ship which the Governor had and 46 Guns in her. they bought a sloop which cost them 600 l. Captain Every and about 20 more came in her for England and Every tooke the name of Bridgman; about 23 more of the men bought another Sloop and with the Master, Captain Risby, and the rest of the men went for Carolina.
Captain Every alias Bridgman and this Informant landed at Dumfaneky [24] in the North of Ireland towards the latter end of June last, where this Informant parted with Captain Every and heard he went over for Donaghedy in Scotland. [25] when this Informant was at Dublin he heard Every was there, but did not see him. he heard him say he would goe to Exeter when he came into England, being a Plymouth man. This Informant says that he parted with Captain Every at Esquire Rays, within 6 miles of Dumfannaky; That the Land water "[26] of that Port, one Mawrice Cuttle, gave this Informant a Passe to goe to Dublin for himselfe, 5 men more and 2 boyes, and came along with them to a place called Lidderkenny, [27] and there he would have detained their money but this Informant and another of the Company had liberty to goe to Derry [28] to cleere themselves to Captain Hawkins, but by the way Cuttle agreed with them to lett them goe for three pounds weight in Gold, which they gave him at a place called St. Johnstons, [29] and then they had liberty to goe on to Dublin. This Informant heard likewise that the said Cuttle made an agreement with the other men before he lett them goe but he cannot tell what they gave him.
This Informant came from Dublin about 3 weekes agoe and landed at Holyhead and soe to London, where he arrived on Tuesday last. the man that came over with him was Thomas Johnson, who lives neare Chester, and there he left him.
This Informant went to Rochester on Thursday last and was seized there the next morning by meanes of a Maid, who found his Gold Quilted up in his Jackett hanging with his coate. he was carryed before the Mayor, who comitted him to Prison and kept his Jackett, in which and in his pocketts were 1045 l. Zequins [30] and 10 Guineas, which the Mayor now hath in his Custody.
This informant sayes further that the wife of Adams, who was their Quarter Master, came with them from the Island of Providence, that shee was with Captain Every at Donoughedee and beleives they went over together; as this Informant came to London hee saw this woman at St. Albans, who was goeing into a stage Coach. She told this Informant that shee was goeing to Captaine Bridgmans but would not tell him where he was.
This Informant saith that the Sloope they came home in was given to Joseph Faroe, Comander of the above mencioned Portsmouth Adventure, and that he intended to returne in her to America. the vessell is called the Sea Flower, about 50 Tuns and 4 Guns. This Informant heard she was at Derry.
This Informant sayes that the other Sloop, which Captaine Richy came over in, landed somewhere neare Galloway. [31] hee saw some of the men att Dublin. And this Informant beleives that most of the men which came with Captaine Every to Ireland are now in Dublin.
[1] London, Public Record Office, C.O. 323:2, no. 25 IV. Endorsed: "In closed in Mr. Blackborne Secretary to the East India Company his letter of the 18th December 1696", as to which letter see Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1696-1697, pp. 259-264.
[2] An alderman of London and a director of the Bank of England. "Sir Arthur Bourne, an Irish commander, who has served on board the Spanish fleet 5 years; he is to command 5 English and Dutch men of warr, and sail for the West Indies" (1692). Luttrell, Brief Relation, II. 330.
[3] Navigating officer.
[4] Error for 1694.
"[5] Maio, one of the Cape Verde Islands.
[6] Fernando Po, in the Bight of Biafra.
[7] Ilha do Principe. The islands of St. ThomÈ, Principe, and Annobon are fully described, in their then state, in the second edition of Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, pp. 188-204.
[8] Danish. Fourteen of the Danes joined the pirate crew, so says Philip Middleton in a narrative not identical with our DOC_64"no. 64, post (Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1696-1697, p. 261); and the Court of the East India Company, in a letter to the General and Council at Bombay, Aug. 7, 1696, report that Every's motley company "consisted of 52 French, 14 Danes, the rest [104] English, Scottish, and Irish". Beckles Willson, Ledger and Sword, I. 434.
[9] Perpetuana, a durable woolen fabric.
10] The island of Annobon, in lat. 1∞ 24¥ S.; see HYPERLINK ""note 7.
[11] One of the Comoro group of islands, lying between the north point of Madagascar and the mainland of Africa. It may be useful to mention that at this time the East India Company's monopoly of trade in the Indian Ocean had been broken by a declaration of the House of Commons, Jan. 11, 1694, that every British subject had the right to trade with India.
[12] Probably Patta, off British East Africa, but then Portuguese. Comoro is the principal island in the group of which Johanna is one. Molila, below, is most likely Mohelli, another of the group.
[13] Whorekill, i.e. Lewes Creek, Delaware.
[14] Perim, in the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb.
[15] See HYPERLINK ""doc. no. 68, paragraph 8, post.
[16] Tew appears in Jamaica, Rhode Island, and New York, everywhere with an ill reputation. Edward Randolph (Toppan, Edward Randolph, V. 158) declares that from this present voyage he brought £10,000 in gold and silver into Rhode Island. He had gone out with a privateering commission from Governor Fletcher of New York (N.Y. Col. Doc., IV. 310, etc.), though, according to Bellomont, Fletcher must have known of his piratical habits. Fletcher in his not too satisfying "defence" (ibid., IV. 447) says: "This Tew appeared to me not only a man of courage and activity, but of the greatest sence and remembrance of what he had seen, of any seaman I had mett. He was allso what they call a very pleasant man; soe that at some times when the labours of my day were over it was some divertisement as well as information to me, to heare him talke. I wish'd in my mind to make him a sober man, and in particular to reclaime him from a vile habit of swearing. I gave him a booke to that purpose." But it appears from paragraph 9 of our HYPERLINK ""no. 68 that Tew was killed, in the act of piracy, within the year of the issue of his commission, and it is impossible to say how far the reformation of his speech had progressed.
[16a] Mocha lies inside the straits, on the Arabian side of the Red Sea.
[17] This.
[18] Probably Cape Diu.
[19] Off the northeast coast. A celebrated resort of pirates; see Capt. Adam Baldridge's deposition,
[20] Cayenne, French Guiana. The editor remembers that old New England people, in his boyhood, still pronounced the name Ky-ann.
[21] Now RÈunion, then called by the French (to whom it belonged) Bourbon, or Mascaregne, from the Portuguese commander Pedro Mascarenhas, who discovered it in 1512.
[22] Eleuthera.
[23] Governor of the Bahama Islands from 1693 to 1696, when he was removed because of his suspicious dealings with the pirates. He was a cousin of that Chief-Justice Nicholas Trott (1668-1740) who was so great a power in South Carolina, and who in 1718 sentenced Stede Bonnet's company with such severity. See the next document.
[24] Dunfanaghy, co. Donegal, on the north coast of Ireland.
[25] Probably an error for "from Donaghedy to Scotland". Dunaghadee is in Ireland, co. Down, at one of the points nearest to Scotland.
[26] Landwaiter.
[27] Letterkenny, co. Donegal.
[28] Londonderry.
"[29] St. Johnstown, on the Foyle above Londonderry.
[30] A Venetian or Turkish gold coin, worth about nine shillings.
[31] Galway.