He sailed on several voyages as mate aboard a merchantman. He was later appointed first officer in an armed privateer The Duke , Commander Captain Gibson, which sailed from Bristol for Spain, being hired by the Spaniards for service in the West Indies against the French pirates. Avery soon plotted a mutiny, which was carried out while The Duke lay at anchor in Cadiz Harbour; the ship was seized, and the captain put ashore. Avery was elected captain, and he renamed the ship the Charles the Second.
For more than a year Avery sailed in this vessel, preying without distinction upon persons of all nations and religions. After leaving Spain he first sailed to the Isle of May, holding the Portuguese governor for ransom till provisions were sent on board. He took near here three English ships, then sailed to the coast of Guinea to procure slaves. To catch these Avery would anchor off a village and hoist English colours.
The trusting negroes would then paddle off to the ship in canoes, bringing gold to traffic with. At a given signal these natives would be seized, clapped in irons, and thrown into the hold. Avery next sailed to the Island of Princes, where he attacked two Danish ships, and took them both. The next place the pirates touched at was Madagascar, from there they sailed to the Red Sea to await the fleet expected from Mocha. To pass the time and to earn an honest penny the pirates called in at a town called Meat, there to sell to the natives some of their stolen merchandise.
But the cautious inhabitants refused to do any business with these suspicious looking merchants, so in order to punish them the pirates burnt [Pg 42] down their town. They next visited Aden, where they met two other English pirate ships, and were soon joined by three others from America, all on the same enterprise.
Expecting the Mocha fleet to come along, they waited here, but the fleet slipped past the pirates in the night. Avery was after them the next morning, and catching them up, singled out the largest ship, fought her for two hours, and took her. She proved to be the Gunsway , belonging to the Great Mogul himself, and a very valuable prize, as out of her they took , pieces of eight and a like number of chequins, as well as several of the highest persons of the court who were passengers on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
It was rumoured that a daughter of the Great Mogul was also on board. Accounts of this exploit eventually reached England, and created great excitement, so that it soon became the talk of the town that Captain Avery had taken the beautiful young princess to Madagascar, where he had married her and was living in royal state, the proud father of several small princes and princesses.
The Mogul was naturally infuriated at this outrage on his ship, and threatened in retaliation to lay waste all the East India Company's settlements. Having got a vast booty, Avery and his friends sailed towards Madagascar, and on the way there Avery, as admiral of the little fleet, signalled to the captain of the other sloops to come aboard his vessel.
When they arrived Avery put before them the following ingenious scheme. He proposed that the treasures in the two sloops should, for safety, be put into his keeping till they all three arrived in Madagascar. This, being agreed to, was done, but during the night, after Avery had explained matters to his own men, he altered his course and left the sloops, and never saw them again.
He now sailed away with all the [Pg 43] plunder to the West Indies, arriving safely at New Providence Island in the Bahamas, where he offered the Governor a bribe of twenty pieces of eight and two pieces of gold to get him a pardon. Avery arrived in at Boston, where he appears to have successfully bribed the Quaker Governor to let him and some of his crew land with their spoils unmolested. But the pirate did not feel quite safe, and also thought it would be wellnigh impossible to sell his diamonds in the colony without being closely questioned as to how he came by them.
So, leaving America, he sailed to the North of Ireland, where he sold the sloop. Here the crew finally dispersed, and Avery stopped some time in Dublin, but was still unable to dispose of his stolen diamonds. Thinking England would be a better place for this transaction, he went there, and settled at Bideford in Devon. Here he lived very quietly under a false name, and through a friend communicated with certain merchants in Bristol.
These came to see him, accepted his diamonds and some gold cups, giving him a few pounds for his immediate wants, and took the valuables to Bristol to sell, promising to send him the money procured for them. Time dragged on, but nothing came from the Bristol merchants, and at last it began to dawn on Avery that there were pirates on land as well as at sea. His frequent letters to the merchants brought at the most but a few occasional shillings, which were immediately swallowed up by the payment of his debts for the bare necessities of life at Bideford.
At length, when matters were becoming desperate, Avery was taken ill and died "not being worth as much as would buy him a coffin. This buccaneer was killed by an explosion of gunpowder on board the Oxford during a banquet of Morgan's captains off Hispaniola in One of Gasparilla's gang up to , when they were broken up by the United States Navy. His favourite hunting-ground was the Gulf of Mexico. One of Captain Bartholomew's crew in the Royal Fortune. Captured by H. Swallow off the West Coast of Africa. He had been terribly burnt by an explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, and while seated "in a private corner, with a look as sullen as winter," a surgeon of the king's ship came up and asked him how he came to be blown up in that frightful manner.
He died the same night. Third mate on board Woodes Rogers's ship, the Duke , but was by profession a surgeon, in which latter capacity he had sailed on a previous voyage with Dampier. A terror to all shipping in the Gulf of Mexico in the early part of the nineteenth century. Brought to Boston as a prisoner in , taken thence to Kingston, Jamaica, and there hanged.
For some extraordinary reason the American juries seldom would condemn a pirate to death, so that whenever possible the pirate prisoners were handed over to the English, who made short shift with them.
Ran away from Port Royal, Jamaica, in June, , on a "privateering" venture in a ship of thirty guns. Caught and brought back by the frigate Ruby , and put on trial by the Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth, who was at that time very active in his efforts to stamp out piracy in the West Indies. Bannister entirely escaped punishment, capital or otherwise, as he was released by the grand jury on a technical point, surely most rare good fortune for the captain in days when the law was elastic enough to fit most crimes, and was far from lenient on piracy.
Six months later the indefatigable captain again eluded the forts, and for two years succeeded in dodging the frigates sent out by Governor Molesworth to capture him. Finally, in January, , Captain Spragge sailed victoriously into Port Royal with Bannister and three other buccaneers hanging at the yard-arm, "a spectacle of great satisfaction to all good people, and of terror to the favourers of pirates. Barbary Corsair. Son of a Turkish renegade and a Christian mother.
In Barbarossa made his headquarters at Tunis, [Pg 46] in return for which he paid the Sultan one-fifth of all the booty he took. One of his first and boldest exploits was the capture of two richly laden galleys belonging to Pope Julius II. Next year he captured a Spanish ship with soldiers on board. In he was invited by the Moors to assist them in an attempt to retake the town and port of Bujeya from the Spaniards. After eight days of fighting, Barbarossa lost an arm, and the siege was given up, but he took away with him a large Genoese ship.
In Barbarossa changed his headquarters to Jijil, and took command of an army of 6, men and sixteen galliots, with which he attacked and captured the Spanish fortress of Algiers, of which he became Sultan.
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Barbarossa was by now vastly rich and powerful, his fleets bringing in prizes from Genoa, Naples, Venice, and Spain. Eventually Charles V. Master of a Breton ship, the Mychell , of St. Malo, owned by Hayman Gillard. Captured by an English ship in Her crew was made up of nine Bretons and five Scots. In June, , this buccaneer sailed from Port Royal to the Orinoco.
He took and plundered the town of Santo Tomas, and returned the following March. These the pirates, under the command of Captains Barnes and Coxon, carried back to Jamaica and delivered up to Lord Vaughan, the Governor of the island.
Vaughan treated the Bishop well, and hired a vessel specially to send him back to Castagona, for which kindness "the good old man was exceedingly pleased. Turned pirate and served in the Ranger in Pirate, Socialist, and orator.
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A famous West Indian filibuster. He began life as a wrecker in the West Indies, but this business being uncertain in its profits, and Bellamy being an ambitious young man, he decided with his partner, Paul Williams, to aim at higher things, and to enter the profession of piracy.
Bellamy had now chosen a calling that lent itself to his undoubted talents, and his future career, while it lasted, was a brilliant one. Procuring a ship, he sailed up and down the coast of Carolina and New England, taking and plundering numerous vessels; and when this neighbourhood became too hot for him he would cruise for a while in the cooler climate of Newfoundland.
Bellamy had considerable gifts for public speaking, and seldom missed an opportunity of addressing the [Pg 48] assembled officers and crews of the ships he took, before liberating or otherwise disposing of them. His views were distinctly Socialistic. On one occasion, in an address to a Captain Beer, who had pleaded to have his sloop returned to him, Captain Bellamy, after clearing his throat, began as follows: "I am sorry," he said, "that you can't have your sloop again, for I scorn to do anyone any mischief—when it is not to my advantage—though you are a sneaking puppy, and so are all those who will submit to be governed by laws which rich men have made for their own security, for the cowardly whelps have not the courage otherwise to defend what they get by their knavery.
But damn ye altogether for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls! They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is the only difference that they rob the poor under cover of the law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under the protection of our own courage.
Had you not better make one of us than sneak after these villains for employment? Bellamy's fall came at last at the hands of a whaler captain. At the time he was in command of the Whidaw and a small fleet of other pirate craft, which was lying at anchor in the Bay of Placentia in Newfoundland. As the skipper of the whaler knew the coast well, Bellamy made him pilot of his small fleet.
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The cunning skipper one night ran his ship on to a sand-bank near Eastman, Massachusetts, and the rest of the fleet followed his stern light on to the rocks. Almost all the crews perished, only seven of the pirates being saved. These were seized and brought to trial, condemned, and hanged at Boston in The days spent between the sentence and the hanging were not wasted, for we read in a contemporary [Pg 49] account that "by the indefatigable pains of a pious and learned divine, who constantly attended them, they were at length, by the special grace of God, made sensible of and truly penitent for the enormous crimes they had been guilty of.
Bo'son to Captain Gow, the pirate. He had the reputation of being a good sailor but a bloodthirsty fellow. Was hanged at Wapping in June, In this Baltic pirate was cruising off Antwerp, waiting to waylay English merchant vessels. A flourishing pirate, whose headquarters, in the early eighteenth century, were in New Providence Island.
In the year , King George offered a free pardon to all freebooters who would come in and give themselves up. But the call of the brotherhood was too strong for a few of the "old hands," and Bendall, amongst others, was off once again to carry on piracy around the Bahama and Virgin Islands.
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