Pirate Tale's and Lore

Pirate Lore






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"In an honest Service, there is thin Commons, low Wages, and hard Labour; in this, Plenty and Satiety, Pleasure and Ease, Liberty and Power; and who would not balance Creditor on this Side, when all the Hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sower Look or two at choaking. No, a merry Life and a short one shall be my Motto."
Pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts






 Bartholomew Roberts


He was born John Roberts in 1682 in Casnewydd-Bach,[4] between Fishguard and Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales. His father was most likely George Roberts.[5] It's not clear why Roberts changed his name from John to Bartholomew,[6] but pirates often adopted aliases. He may have chosen his first name after the well-known buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp.[7] He is thought to have gone to sea when he was 13 in 1695, but there is no further record of him until 1718, when he was mate of a Barbados sloop.[8]

In 1719, Roberts was second mate on the slave ship Princess under Captain Abraham Plumb. In early June that year, the Princess was anchored at Anomabu (then spelled Annamaboa, which is situated along the Gold Coast of West Africa, present-day Ghana) when she was captured by pirates. The pirates were in two vessels, the Royal Rover and the Royal James, and were led by captain Howell Davis. Davis, like Roberts, was a Welshman, originally from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. Roberts and several other of the crew of the Princess were forced to join the pirates.

Davis quickly discovered Roberts' abilities as a navigator and took to consulting him.[9] He was also able to confide information to Roberts in Welsh, thereby keeping it hidden from the rest of the crew.[10] Roberts is said to have been reluctant to become a pirate at first, but soon came to see the advantages of this new lifestyle. Captain Charles Johnson reports him as saying:





The Most Successful Pirate during the Golden Age



Bartholomew was the most successful pirate during the Golden Age; he captured well over 400 vessels ranging from small fishing boats to large frigates. In April 1721, Roberts, also known as "Black Bart", was sailing the coast of Martinique when he came across a French frigate of fifty-two guns and captured her. Aboard the vessel was the governor of the French colony who was hung by Roberts from the yardarm of his ship. This act proved to be his downfall as it was apparently the final straw; in retaliation for Black Bart's repeated attacks on fleets of merchant ships and his killing of the governor, the French Navy and the Royal Navy dispatched several warships to hunt the pirates. Roberts and his men captured the two French warships off the Senegal River's mouth, the sixteen-gun sloop-of-war Comte de Toulouse and a ten-gun brig. Comte de Toulouse was renamed the Ranger and the brig Little Ranger. After taking the two Frenchmen, the pirates sailed southeast for the present day Gabon.

While on the way, off the coast of Pepper Coast Roberts sighted and captured the Royal Africa Company frigate Onslow which he renamed the Royal Fortune. The frigate mounted over forty guns and the crew consisted of about 250 men, black and white. Black Bart's luck was soon to run out though, as two Royal Navy men-of-war began patrolling the waters of West Africa, at about the same time, Roberts anchored in Cape Lopez for careening. The British vessels on patrol were the fourth-rates HMS Swallow and HMS Weymouth, both mounting fifty guns or more but only the Swallow under Captain Chaloner Ogle encountered Black Bart. When Captain Ogle sailed around the cape he sighted four vessels, three of them pirates and one a merchant ship the 'Neptune' belonging to a Captain Hill, which was illegally trading with the brigands. Ogle spotted a sandbar and quickly ordered his ship to turn out of the way, at the same time raising a Portuguese flag. By this time the pirates had spotted the Swallow so Roberts allowed Captain James Skyrme in the Ranger to capture what he thought was a fleeing merchant ship.

Sensing an opportunity, Captain Ogle chose to let the pirate chase him for several hours until they were far away from the cape and land was no longer in sight. Ogle then turned about, raised the White Ensign and engaged Captain Skyrme, who still did not realize the Swallow was a Royal Navy frigate. After a relatively short action, the sloop was captured, made a prize, and ten pirates were killed. Ogle then patiently sailed back to Cape Lopez where he arrived five days later on February 10, 1722.

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The White Ensign 1707-1800


The Battle of Cape Lopez


The Battle that ended Bartholomew Roberts "Black Bart"


HMS Swallow (1703) A fourth rate "ship of the line" 50 Guns ……. not a merchant ship. 


According to legend; at this time Black Bart Roberts was eating breakfast of salmagundi with Captain Hill of the captured ship 'Neptune' aboard the 'Royal Fortune' when one of his crew shouted that the Ranger was returning from her chase with the merchant ship. A few moments later they discovered the incoming vessel was not their sloop but the Swallow. One of the pirates, a man named Armstrong who had absconded from the 'Swallow's' sister ship 'Weymouth' at Madeira, recognized the British frigate and told Captain Roberts. Without fear Roberts boarded the Royal Fortune and as he did before all of his battles, he dressed in his finest clothing, a red damask waistcoat and a red feather in his hat, and began organizing his escape. Most of the crew from the Little Ranger was ordered to join the crew of the Royal Fortune so as to keep as many pirates as possible aboard the flagship for defense. The 'Little Ranger' which was hauled on her side being cleaned at the time, was abandoned. When the pirates left, Captain Hill's crew went aboard the 'Little Ranger' and looted gold and other valuables, and sailed off for Prince's Island (São Tomé and Príncipe).

Roberts' plan called for him to sail directly for the Swallow in order to quickly pass her and then escape. By doing this the Swallow would have to turn about to engage or chase the Royal Fortune which would give Roberts valuable time to flee. The plan however had one default, by sailing right past the British frigate, the Royal Fortune would be exposed to one of Swallow's deadly broadsides. Captain Roberts set out for his escape and issued the command for Little Ranger and the merchantman to leave. The following action ended badly for the pirates. When Royal Fortune was off Swallow's beam, the British released a massive broadside which raked the ship. The pirates opened fire and then an additional broadside from the Swallow raked the deck where Black Bart was commanding. The pirates got clear and ran ahead of the wind, leaving the 'Swallow' behind. The action took place during a fierce tropical storm, and just as the 'Royal Fortune' seemed to have escaped the ship hit the 'eye' of the storm, and were suddenly becalmed for half an hour. This gave the unaffected 'Swallow' time to catch up, and when they were in range, they fired their swivels (guns mounted on the bow which fired grape shot) at the 'Royal Fortune'. Three men died, one of them being Bartholomew Roberts. A piece of shot no bigger than a penny, hit him in the throat, severed his spinal column, and he died instantly. He settled down onto a gun, to initial observers that he was taking a rest but when the smoke had cleared away Black Bart was dead and Captain Ogle later allowed his crew to bury him at sea, which they did in all his finery, including a diamond studded six inch cross on a chain which he wore around his neck.

The pirates determined to avenge their captain chose to fight the British, they slowed their vessel and turned around to continue the engagement. According to some accounts the action lasted for around three hours before the British sailors dismasted the pirate frigate and boarded. Royal Fortune's colors were struck by force and the remaining pirates were arrested.
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Non-violence as a matter of protocol –

Why ?

Well ….. if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last breath and make victory both very difficult and costly in lives. Hmm, yes that actually make’s sense.  If you could put the situation in perspective.  If your going to die any whey right.  Make the bastards pay !  Fight them! Make them earn every inch , every deck, every door.  Fight them to  the last man.  Or woman, there were some ruthless and hearty women on some vessels.   And then, just when the ship was about to be lost, the last crew member …..

….would put a match to the remaining powder stores , and blow everyone to HELL !

…ok , I was living in that moment for a minute.  Looking around my sword …


Watch this...






Thomas Tew


Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Often, the “treasure” that was stolen was food, water, alcohol, weapons, or clothing. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured (either to sell off or keep because it was better than their ship). Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade. For this reason, there was no need for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured; usually they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last breath and make victory both very difficult and costly in lives. In contrast, ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared. In one well-documented case 300 heavily armed soldiers on a ship attacked by Thomas Tew surrendered after a brief battle with none of Tew’s 40-man crew being injured.


Thomas Tew, born in Newport, Rhode Island, was one of the first pirates to successfully sail the Pirate Round-around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and plunder the treasure ships of the Great Mogul of India.
In 1690, Tew moved to Bermuda to become a privateer. With a commission from Bermudas Governor Isaac Richier, he set sail to take a French factory on the Gambia River in Africa. But once at sea, Tew told his crew that there was little to be gained in Africa and great danger in gaining it. Instead, he offered them a much more lucrative choice: sail to the Red Sea and plunder the treasure-laden ships of the Great Mogul of India. The proposition was greeted with great cheers and the unified cry, A gold chain or a wooden leg, well stand by you!
Captain Tew and his pirate crew of forty, emboldened by their new commitment, had the audacity to attack a huge, heavily armed Mogul treasure ship laden with gold, silver, pearls, gems, spices, ivory, and silk. After a brief battle, the 300 turban-clad Indian soldiers dropped their muskets and scimitars and fell to their knees in surrender. No one in Tew’s crew was injured.
Tew sailed his eight-gun ship Amity to the tiny island of St. Marys, off the coast of Madagascar, where the crew careened the ship, restocked supplies, and divided the plunder. Every man received 3,000 pounds sterling ($3.5 million by todays standards) with a double share for Captain Tew. It was an amazing amount of wealth.
When Tew returned to Rhode Island after his adventure, he was welcomed as a conquering hero and invited to dine with the most prestigious families. He and his wife and two daughters were honored as the special guests of Governor Fletcher of New York. Every colonial wanted to see Tew’s riches and hear his tales of Arabia.
In 1694, Tew embarked on another voyage, promising his family it would be his last. Unfortunately, it was. Roving once again in the Red Sea, his sloop was one of a squadron of six pirate ships led by Henry Every attempting to overpower a fleet of Mogul ships. This time his rich dreams were not to become reality.
In September 1695, Tew met his gory demise during the very first exchange of broadsides with the Mogul ships great guns. His stomach was torn away with a cannon ball, and he was said to be holding his bowels in his hands as he hit the quarterdeck. With their famous captain dead, the crew panicked and surrendered their fate to the enemy.
~~~~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy#cite_note-72

https://www.wprpn.com/2018/05/21/an-honest-service/


https://www.wprpn.com/2018/05/18/2238/


Next up....  Black Beard



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