One of Captain George Lowther's crew in the Happy Delivery. Hanged at St. Kitts on March 11th, 1722.
MAINTENON, Marquis de.
Arrived in the West Indies from France in 1676. In 1678 commanded La Sorcière, a frigate, and, in company with other French filibusters from Tortuga Island, cruised off the coast of Caracas. He ravaged the islands of Margarita and Trinidad. He met with but little success, and soon afterwards his fleet scattered.
el MAJORCAM, Captain Antonio.
At one time an officer in the Spanish Navy. Became a notorious West Indian pirate, but about 1824 he retired from the sea to become a highwayman on shore.
One of Captain Bartholomew Roberts's men. Must not be confused with Edward Mansfield, the famous buccaneer.
A native of the Orkney Islands. At one time was a highwayman. Later on deserted from the Rose, man-of-war. Volunteered to join the pirates at the island of Dominica, and was always keen to do any mischief. He was a bully and a drunkard.
When Roberts's ship was attacked by H.M.S. Swallow and had surrendered after a sharp fight, Mansfield, who had been below all the while, very drunk, came staggering and swearing up on deck, with a drawn cutlass in his hand, crying out to know who would go on board the prize with him, and it was some time before his friends could persuade him of the true condition of things.
At his trial at Cape Coast Castle he said little in his defence, but pleaded that the cause of his backsliding was drunkenness. Hanged in the year 1722 at the age of 30.
MANSFIELD, Captain Edward, or Mansvelt.
A Dutchman born in the Island of Curacao.
He was the chief of the buccaneers, and at his death was succeeded by Henry Morgan. He was the first buccaneer to cross the Isthmus of Darien to the Pacific Ocean. Noted for his charm of manner, he was very popular with the buccaneers of all nationalities. In 1663 he commanded a brigantine carrying four guns and a crew of sixty men. Was chosen admiral of the fleet of buccaneers that gathered at Bleufields Bay in Jamaica in November, 1665, at the invitation of Modyford, the Governor, when he appointed young Henry Morgan to be his vice-admiral. This fleet was to sail and attempt to seize the Island of Curacao, and consisted of fifteen ships and a mixed crew of 500 buccaneers. On the way there they landed in Cuba, although England was at peace with Spain, and marched forty miles inland, to surprise and sack the town of Sancti Spiritus, from which they took a rich booty.
Mansfield, "being resolved never to face the Governor of Jamaica until he had done some service to the King," next made a very daring attack on the Island of Old Providence, which the Spaniards had fortified and used as a penal settlement. This was successful, and Mansfield, with great humanity, landed all the prisoners on the mainland of America. For a long while it had been Mansfield's dream to make this island a permanent home of the buccaneers, as it was close to the Spanish Main, with the towns of Porto Bello and Vera Cruz, and on the trade route of the Spanish galleons, taking their rich cargoes to Spain.
Mansfield's next exploit was to ascend the San Juan River and to sack Granada, the capital of Nicaragua. From there he coasted south along Costa Rica, burning plantations, smashing the images in the churches, ham-stringing cows and mules, and cutting down fruit-trees.
He returned in June, 1665, to Port Royal, with a rich booty. For this inexcusable attack on a country at peace with England, Governor Modyford mildly reproved him!
Mansfield, now an old man, died suddenly at the Island of Tortuga, off Hispaniola, when on a visit to the French pirates there. Another account says that he was captured by the Spaniards and taken by them to Porto Bello, and there put to death.
MARTEEN, Captain David. Buccaneer.
In 1665 he had his headquarters in Jamaica.
MARTEL, Captain John.
An old Jamaican privateer. After the Peace of Utrecht, being out of employment, he took to piracy. His career as a pirate was very successful so long as it lasted. Cruising off Jamaica, Cuba, and other islands, he continued taking ship after ship, with one particularly rich prize, a West African ship containing gold-dust, elephants' teeth, and slaves. His original command was a sloop of eight guns and a crew of eighty men, but after a short while he commanded a small fleet consisting of two ships (each armed with twenty guns), three sloops, and several armed prizes. With these Martel entered a bay in a small island called Santa Cruz, near Porto Rico, to careen and refit. This was in December, 1716, but news had leaked out of the pirate's whereabouts, and soon there arrived on the scene Captain Hume, of H.M.S. Scarborough. Martel tried to escape, but his ship ran aground, and many of the pirates were killed, but a few, with Martel, got ashore and hid on the island. None of them were heard of again except Martel, and it was supposed that they had died of hunger. In the space of three months Martel took and plundered thirteen vessels, all of considerable size. Two years later he was back in New Providence Island, when Governor Rogers arrived with King George's offer of pardon to the pirates, and Martel was one of those who surrendered.
MASSEY, Captain John.
As a lieutenant, he "served with great applause" in the army in Flanders, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough.
He afterwards sailed from the Thames in the Gambia Castle, a ship of the African Company, in command of a company of soldiers which was being sent to garrison the fort. The merchants of Gambia were supposed to victual this garrison, but the rations supplied were considered by Massey to be quite insufficient. He quarrelled with the Governor and merchants, and took his soldiers back on board the ship, and with Lowther, the second mate, seized the ship and turned pirate. Lowther and Massey eventually quarrelled, for the latter, being a soldier, "was solicitous to move in his own sphere"—that is, he wanted to land his troops and plunder the French West Indian settlements. In the end Massey and a few followers were permitted to go off in a captured sloop, and in this sailed for Port Royal, Jamaica. Arrived there, "with a bold countenance he went to the Governor" and told a long and plausible tale of how he had managed to escape from the pirates at the first opportunity. He deceived the sympathetic Governor, and was sent with Captain Laws to hunt for Lowther. Returning to Jamaica without finding Lowther, he was granted a "certificate of his surrender," and came to England as a passenger.
On reaching London, he wrote a narrative of the whole affair—or as much as he deemed wise—to the African Company, who, receiving the story with far less credulity than the Governor of Jamaica, returned him answer "that he should be fairly hanged," and very shortly afterwards he was, at Tyburn on July 26th, 1723.
McCARTHY, Captain Dennis.
Of New Providence, Bahama Islands.
This pirate and prize-fighter was one of those who refused King George's pardon in 1717, and was eventually hanged by his late fellow-pirates. On the gallows he made the following dying speech:
"Some friends of mine have often said I should die in my shoes, but I would rather make them liars." And so, kicking off his shoes, he was hanged.
A Spaniard from San Domingo.
Mention is made of this unlucky mariner in a very interesting document which Mr. A. Hyatt Verrill was fortunate enough to acquire quite recently in the island of St. Kitts. It runs as follows:
"An assize and generall Gaole delivrie held at St. Christophers Colonie from ye nineteenthe daye of Maye to ye 22n. daye off ye same Monthe 1701 Captaine Josias Pendringhame Magustrate &c. The Jurye of our Soveraigne Lord the Kinge Doe presente Antonio Mendoza of Hispaniola and a subjecte of ye Kinge of Spain for that ye said on or about ye 11 Daye of Apryl 1701 feloneousely delibyrately and malliciousley and encontrarye to ye laws off Almightie God and our Soveraigne Lord the Kinge did in his cuppes saucely and arrogantyly speak of the Governour and Lord the Kinge and bye force and armies into ye tavernne of John Wilkes Esq. did entre and there did Horrible sware and cursse and did felonoslye use threatteninge words and did strike and cutte most murtherouslye severalle subjects of our Soveraigne Lord the Kinge. Of w'h Indictment he pleadeth not Guiltie butte onne presente Master Samuel Dunscombe mariner did sware that said Antonio Mendoza was of his knowenge a Blood-thirste piratte and Guiltie of diabolicalle practises & ye Grande Inquest findinge yt a trewe bill to be tryd by God and ye Countrye w'h beinge a Jurie of 12 men sworne finde him Guiltie & for the same he be adjuged to be carryd to ye Fort Prison to have both his earres cutt close by his head and be burnet throughe ye tongue with an Hot iron and to be caste chained in ye Dungon to awaitte ye plesyure of God and Our Soveraigne Lord the Kinge."
Hanged at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1823.
This unique pirate came of an ancient French family of Provence. He was the youngest of a large family, and received a good education. At the age of 15 he had already shown unusual distinction in the subjects of humanity and logic, and had passed quite tolerably in mathematics. Deciding to carve a fortune for himself with his sword, he was sent to the Academy at Angiers for a year, and at the conclusion of his military studies his father would have bought him a commission in a regiment of musketeers. But young Misson had been reading books of travel, and begged so earnestly to be allowed to go to sea that his father got him admitted as a volunteer on the French man-of-war Victoire, commanded by Monsieur Fourbin. Joining his ship at Marseilles, they cruised in the Mediterranean, and the young volunteer soon showed great keenness in his duties, and lost no opportunity of learning all he could about navigation and the construction of ships, even parting with his pocket-money to the boatswain and the carpenter to receive special instruction from them.
Arriving one day at Naples, Misson obtained permission from the captain to visit Rome, a visit that eventually changed his whole career.
It happened that while in Rome the young sailor met a priest, a Signor Caraccioli, a Dominican, who held most unclerical views about the priesthood; and, indeed, his ideas on life in general were, to say the least, unorthodox. A great friendship was struck up between these two, which at length led the priest to throw off his habit and join the crew of the Victoire. Two days out from port they met and fought a desperate hand-to-hand engagement with a Sallee pirate, in which the ex-priest and Misson both distinguished themselves by their bravery. Misson's next voyage was in a privateer, the Triumph, and, meeting one day an English ship, the Mayflower, between Guernsey and Start Point, the merchantman was defeated after a gallant resistance.
Rejoining the Victoire, Misson sailed from Rochelle to the West Indies, and Caraccioli lost no opportunity of preaching to young Misson the gospel of atheism and communism, and with such success that the willing convert soon held views as extreme as those of his teacher. These two apostles now began to talk to the crew, and their views, particularly on the rights of private property, were soon held by almost all on board. A fortunate event happened just then to help the new "cause." Meeting with an English man-of-war, the Winchester, off the island of Martinique, a smart engagement took place between the two ships, at the very commencement of which Captain Fourbin and three of the officers on the French ship were killed. The fight ended by the English ship blowing up, and an era of speech-making may be said to have now begun.
Firstly, Signor Caraccioli, stepping forward, made a long and eloquent address to Misson, inviting him to become captain of the Victoire, and calling upon him to follow the example of Alexander the Great with the Persians, and that of the Kings Henry IV. and VII. of England, reminding him how Mahomet, with but a few camel-drivers, founded the Ottoman Empire, also how Darius, with a handful of companions, got possession of Persia. Inflamed by this speech, young Misson showed what he could do, when, calling all hands up on deck, he made his first, but, as events proved, by far from last, speech. The result was a triumph of oratory, the excited French sailors crying out: "Vive le Capitaine Misson et son Lieutenant le Scavant Caraccioli!" Misson, returning thanks in a few graceful words, promised to do his utmost as their commander for their new marine republic. The newly elected officers retiring to the great cabin, a friendly discussion began as to their future arrangements. The first question that arose was to choose what colours they should sail under. The newly elected boatswain, Mathew le Tondu, a brave but simple mariner, advised a black one, as being the most terrifying. This brought down a full blast of eloquence from Caraccioli, the new lieutenant, who objected that "they were no pirates, but men who were resolved to affect the Liberty which God and Nature gave them," with a great deal about "guardians of the Peoples Rights and Liberties," etc., and, gradually becoming worked up, gave the wretched boatswain, who must have regretted his unfortunate remark, a heated lecture on the soul, on shaking "the Yoak of Tyranny" off their necks, on "Oppression and Poverty" and the miseries of life under these conditions as compared to those of "Pomp and Dignity." In the end he showed that their policy was not to be one of piracy, for pirates were men of no principle and led dissolute lives; but their lives were to be brave, just, and innocent, and their cause the cause of Liberty; and therefore, instead of a black flag, they should live under a white ensign, with the motto "For God and Liberty" embroidered upon it.
The simple sailors, debarred from these councils, had gathered outside the cabin, but were able to overhear this speech, and at its conclusion, carried away by enthusiasm, loud cries went up of "Liberty! Liberty! We are free men! Vive the brave Captain Misson and the noble Lieutenant Caraccioli!" Alas! it is impossible in the space of this work to do justice to the perfectly wonderful and idealistic conditions of this pirate crew. Their speeches and their kind acts follow each other in fascinating profusion. We can only recommend those who feel disposed to follow more closely the history of these delightful pirates, to read the account printed in English in 1726, if they are fortunate enough to come by a copy.
The first prize taken by these pirates under the white flag was an English sloop commanded by one Captain Thomas Butler, only a day's sail out from St. Kitts. After helping themselves to a couple of puncheons of rum and a few other articles which the pirates needed, but without doing any unkindness to the crew, nor stripping them, as was the usual custom of pirates on such occasions, they let them go, greatly to the surprise of Captain Butler, who handsomely admitted that he had never before met with so much "candour" in any similar situation, and to further express his gratitude he ordered his crew to man ship, and at parting called for three rousing British cheers for the good pirate and his men, which were enthusiastically given.
Sailing to the coast of Africa, Misson took a Dutch ship, the Nieuwstadt, of Amsterdam. The cargo was found to consist of gold dust and seventeen slaves. In the latter Captain Misson recognized a good text for one of his little sermons to his crew, so, calling all hands on deck, he made the following observations on the vile trade of slavery, telling his men:
"That the Trading for those of our own Species, cou'd never be agreeable to the Eyes of divine Justice. That no Man had Power of the Liberty of another; and while those who profess a more enlightened Knowledge of the Deity, sold Men like Beasts; they prov'd that their Religion was no more than Grimace, and that they differ'd from the Barbarians in Name only, since their Practice was in nothing more humane. For his Part, and he hop'd he spoke the Sentiments of all his brave Companions, he had not exempted his Neck from the galling Yoak of Slavery, and asserted his own Liberty, to enslave others. That however, these Men, were distinguished from the Europeans by their Colour, Customs, or religious Rites, they were the Work of the same omnipotent Being, and endued with equal Reason. Wherefore, he desired they might be treated like Freemen (for he wou'd banish even the Name of Slavery from among them) and be divided into Messes among them, to the end they might the sooner learn their language, be sensible of the Obligations they had to them, and more capable and zealous to defend that Liberty they owed to their Justice and Humanity." This speech was met with general applause, and once again the good ship Victoire rang with cries of "Vive le Capitaine Misson!" The negroes were freed of their irons, dressed up in the clothes of their late Dutch masters, and it is gratifying to read that "by their Gesticulations, they shew'd they were gratefully sensible of their being delivered from their Chains." But alas! a sad cloud was creeping insidiously over the fair reputation of these super-pirates. Out of the last slave ship they had taken, a number of Dutch sailors had volunteered to serve with Misson and had come aboard as members of his crew. Hitherto no swearword was ever heard, no loose or profane expression had pained the ears of Captain Misson or his ex-priestly lieutenant. But the Dutch mariners began to lead the crew into ways of swearing and drunkenness, which, coming to the captain's notice, he thought best to nip these weeds in the bud; so, calling both French and Dutch upon deck, and desiring the Dutch captain to translate his remarks into the Dutch language, he told them that—
"Before he had the Misfortune of having them on Board, his Ears were never grated with hearing the Name of the great Creator profaned, tho' he, to his Sorrow, had often since heard his own Men guilty of that Sin, which administer'd neither Profit nor Pleasure, and might draw upon them a severe Punishment: That if they had a just Idea of that great Being, they wou'd never mention him, but they wou'd immediately reflect on his Purity, and their own Vileness. That we so easily took Impression from our Company, that the Spanish Proverb says: 'Let a Hermit and a Thief live together, the Thief wou'd become Hermit, or the Hermit thief': That he saw this verified in his ship, for he cou'd attribute the Oaths and Curses he had heard among his brave Companions, to nothing but the odious Example of the Dutch: That this was not the only Vice they had introduced, for before they were on Board, his Men were Men, but he found by their beastly Pattern they were degenerated into Brutes, by drowning that only Faculty, which distinguishes between Man and Beast, Reason. That as he had the Honour to command them, he could not see them run into these odious Vices without a sincere Concern, as he had a paternal Affection for them, and he should reproach himself as neglectful of the common Good, if he did not admonish them; and as by the Post which they had honour'd him, he was obliged to have a watchful Eye over their general Interest; he was obliged to tell them his Sentiments were, that the Dutch allured them to a dissolute Way of Life, that they might take some Advantage over them: Wherefore, as his brave Companions, he was assured, wou'd be guided by reason, he gave the Dutch Notice, that the first whom he catch'd either with an Oath in his Mouth or Liquor in his Head, should be brought to the Geers, whipped and pickled, for an Example to the rest of his Nation: As to his Friends, his Companions, his Children, those gallant, those generous, noble and heroick Souls he had the Honour to command, he entreated them to allow a small Time for Reflection, and to consider how little Pleasure, and how much Danger, might flow from imitating the Vices of their Enemies; and that they would among themselves, make a Law for the Suppression of what would otherwise estrange them from the Source of Life, and consequently leave them destitute of his Protection."
This speech had the desired effect, and ever afterwards, when any one of the crew had reason to mention the name of his captain, he never failed to add the epithet "Good" before it.
These chaste pirates soon took and plundered many rich merchant ships, but always in the most gentlemanly manner, so that none failed to be "not a little surprised at the Regularity, Tranquillity and Humanity of these new-fashioned Pyrates." From out of one of these, an English vessel, they took a sum of £60,000, but during the engagement the captain was killed. Poor Captain Misson was broken-hearted over this unfortunate mishap, and to show as best he could his regret, he buried the body on shore, and, finding that one of his men was by trade a stonecutter, raised a monument over the grave with, engraved upon it, the words: "Here lies a gallant English-Man." And at the conclusion of a very moving burial service he paid a final tribute by "a triple Discharge of 50 small Arms and fired Minute Guns."
Misson now sailed to the Island of Johanna in the Indian Ocean, which became his future home. Misson married the sister of the local dusky queen, and his lieutenant led to the altar her niece, while many of the crew also were joined in holy wedlock to one or more ladies of more humble social standing.
Already Misson has received more space than he is entitled to in a work of reference of this kind, but his career is so full of charming incidents that one is tempted to continue to unseemly length. Let it suffice to say that for some years Misson made speeches, robbed ships, and now and again, when unavoidably driven to it, would reluctantly slaughter his enemies.
Finally, Misson took his followers to a sheltered bay in Madagascar, and on landing there made a little speech, telling them that here they could settle down, build a town, that here, in fact, "they might have some Place to call their own; and a Receptacle, when Age or Wounds had render'd them incapable of Hardship, where they might enjoy the Fruits of their Labour, and go to their Graves in Peace."
This ideal colony was called Libertatia, and was run on strictly Socialistic lines, for no one owned any individual property; all money was kept in a common treasury, and no hedges bounded any man's particular plot of land. Docks were made and fortifications set up. Soon Misson had two ships built, called the Childhood and the Liberty, and these were sent for a voyage round the island, to map and chart the coast, and to train the released slaves to be efficient sailors. A Session House was built, and a form of Government arranged. At the first meeting Misson was elected Lord Conservator, as they called the President, for a term of three years, and during that period he was to have "all the Ensigns of Royalty to attend him." Captain Tew, the English pirate, was elected Admiral of the Fleet of Libertatia, Caraccioli became Secretary of State, while the Council was formed of the ablest amongst the pirates, without distinction of nation or colour. The difficulty of language, as French, English, Portuguese, and Dutch were equally spoken, was overcome by the invention of a new language, a kind of Esperanto, which was built up of words from all four. For many years this ideally successful and happy pirate Utopia flourished; but at length misfortunes came, one on top of the other, and a sudden and unexpected attack by the hitherto friendly natives finally drove Misson and a few other survivors to seek safety at sea, but, overtaken by a hurricane, their vessel foundered, and Misson and all his crew were drowned; and thus ended the era of what may be called "piracy without tears."
He was the mildest-manner'd man
That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat.
An English buccaneer of Jamaica, who flourished in 1663.
Of Shadwell Parish, London.
One of the crew of the Ranger. Condemned to death, but reprieved and sold to the Royal African Company. - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p269.html
MONTBARS, The Exterminator.
A native of Languedoc. He joined the buccaneers after reading a book which recorded the cruelty of the Spaniards to the American natives, and this story inspired him with such a hatred of all Spaniards that he determined to go to the West Indies, throw in his lot with the buccaneers, and to devote his whole life and energies to punishing the Spaniards. He carried out his resolve most thoroughly, and treated all Spaniards who came into his power with such cruelty that he became known all up and down the Spanish Main as the Exterminator. Eventually Montbars became a notorious and successful buccaneer or pirate chief, having his headquarters at St. Bartholomew, one of the Virgin Islands, to which he used to bring all his prisoners and spoils taken out of Spanish ships and towns.
MORGAN, Colonel Blodre, or Bledry.
This buccaneer was probably a relation of Sir Henry Morgan. He was an important person in Jamaica between 1660 and 1670. At the taking of Panama by Henry Morgan in 1670 the Colonel commanded the rearguard of 300 men. In May, 1671, he was appointed to act as Deputy Governor of Providence Island by Sir James Modyford.
MORGAN, Lieut.-Colonel Edward. Buccaneer.
Uncle and father-in-law of Sir Henry Morgan.
In 1665, when war had been declared on Holland, the Governor of Jamaica issued commissions to several pirates and buccaneers to sail to and attack the Dutch islands of St. Eustatius, Saba, and Curacao. Morgan was put in command of ten ships and some 500 men; most of them were "reformed prisoners," while some were condemned pirates who had been pardoned in order to let them join the expedition.
Before leaving Jamaica the crews mutinied, but were pacified by the promise of an equal share of all the spoils that should be taken. Three ships out of the fleet slipped away on the voyage, but the rest arrived at St. Kitts, landed, and took the fort. Colonel Morgan, who was an old and corpulent man, died of the heat and exertion during the campaign.
MORGAN, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas.
Sailed with Colonel Edward Morgan to attack St. Eustatius and Saba Islands, and after these were surrendered by the Dutch, Thomas Morgan was left in charge.
In 1686 he sailed in command of a company of buccaneers to assist Governor Wells, of St. Kitts, against the French. The defence of the island was disgraceful, and Morgan's company was the only one which displayed any courage or discipline, and most of them were killed or wounded, Colonel Morgan himself being shot in both legs.
Often these buccaneer leaders altered their titles from colonel to captain, to suit the particular enterprise on which they were engaged, according if it took place on sea or land.
MORGAN, Sir Henry. Buccaneer.
This, the greatest of all the "brethren of the coast," was a Welshman, born at Llanrhymmy in Monmouthshire in the year 1635. The son of a well-to-do farmer, Robert Morgan, he early took to the seafaring life. When quite a young man Morgan went to Barbadoes, but afterwards he settled at Jamaica, which was his home for the rest of his life.
Morgan may have been induced to go to the West Indies by his uncle, Colonel Morgan, who was for a time Deputy Governor of Jamaica, a post Sir Henry Morgan afterwards held.
Morgan was a man of great energy, and must have possessed great power of winning his own way with people. That he could be absolutely unscrupulous when it suited his ends there can be little doubt. He was cruel at times, but was not the inhuman monster that he is made out to be by Esquemeling in his "History of the Bucaniers." This was largely proved by the evidence given in the suit for libel brought and won by Morgan against the publishers, although Morgan was, if possible, more indignant over the statement in the same book that he had been kidnapped in Wales and sold, as a boy, and sent to be a slave in Barbadoes. That he could descend to rank dishonesty was shown when, returning from his extraordinary and successful assault on the city of Panama in 1670, to Chagres, he left most of his faithful followers behind, without ships or food, while he slipped off in the night with most of the booty to Jamaica. No doubt, young Morgan came to Jamaica with good credentials from his uncle, the Colonel, for the latter was held in high esteem by Modyford, then Governor of Barbadoes, who describes Colonel Morgan as "that honest privateer."
Colonel Morgan did not live to see his nephew reach the pinnacle of his success, for in the year 1665 he was sent at the head of an expedition to attack the Dutch stronghold at St. Eustatius Island, but he was too old to stand the hardships of such an expedition and died shortly afterwards.
By this time Morgan had made his name as a successful and resolute buccaneer by returning to Port Royal from a raiding expedition in Central America with a huge booty.
In 1665 Morgan, with two other buccaneers, Jackman and Morris, plundered the province of Campeachy, and then, acting as Vice-Admiral to the most famous buccaneer of the day, Captain Mansfield, plundered Cuba, captured Providence Island, sacked Granada, burnt and plundered the coast of Costa Rica, bringing back another booty of almost fabulous wealth to Jamaica. In this year Morgan married a daughter of his uncle, Colonel Morgan.
In 1668, when 33 years of age, Morgan was commissioned by the Jamaican Government to collect together the privateers, and by 1669 he was in command of a big fleet, when he was almost killed by a great explosion in the Oxford, which happened while Morgan was giving a banquet to his captains. About this time Morgan calmly took a fine ship, the Cour Volant, from a French pirate, and made her his own flagship, christening her the Satisfaction.
In 1670 the greatest event of Morgan's life took place—the sacking of Panama. First landing a party which took the Castle of San Lorenzo at the mouth of the Chagres River, Morgan left a strong garrison there to cover his retreat and pushed on with 1,400 men in a fleet of canoes up the river on January 9th, 1671. The journey across the isthmus, through the tropical jungle, was very hard on the men, particularly as they had depended on finding provisions to supply their wants on the way, and carried no food with them. They practically starved until the sixth day, when they found a barn full of maize, which the fleeing Spaniards had neglected to destroy. On the evening of the ninth day a scout reported he had seen the steeple of a church in Panama. Morgan, with that touch of genius which so often brought him success, attacked the city from a direction the Spaniards had not thought possible, so that their guns were all placed where they were useless, and they were compelled to do just what the buccaneer leader wanted them to do—namely, to come out of their fortifications and fight him in the open. The battle raged fiercely for two hours between the brave Spanish defenders and the equally brave but almost exhausted buccaneers. When at last the Spaniards turned and ran, the buccaneers were too tired to immediately follow up their success, but after resting they advanced, and at the end of three hours' street fighting the city was theirs. The first thing Morgan now did was to assemble all his men and strictly forbid them to drink any wine, telling them that he had secret information that the wine had been poisoned by the Spaniards before they left the city. This was, of course, a scheme of Morgan's to stop his men from becoming drunk, when they would be at the mercy of the enemy, as had happened in many a previous buccaneer assault.
Morgan now set about plundering the city, a large part of which was burnt to the ground, though whether this was done by his orders or by the Spanish Governor has never been decided. After three weeks the buccaneers started back on their journey to San Lorenzo, with a troop of 200 pack-mules laden with gold, silver, and goods of all sorts, together with a large number of prisoners. The rearguard on the march was under the command of a kinsman of the Admiral, Colonel Bledry Morgan.
On their arrival at Chagres the spoils were divided, amidst a great deal of quarrelling, and in March, 1671, Morgan sailed off to Port Royal with a few friends and the greater part of the plunder, leaving his faithful followers behind without ships or provisions, and with but £10 apiece as their share of the spoils.
On May 31st, 1671, the Council of Jamaica passed a vote of thanks to Morgan for his successful expedition, and this in spite of the fact that in July, a year before, a treaty had been concluded at Madrid between Spain and England for "restraining depredations and establishing peace" in the New World.
In April, 1672, Morgan was carried to England as a prisoner in the Welcome frigate. But he was too popular to be convicted, and after being acquitted was appointed Deputy Governor of Jamaica, and in November, 1674, he was knighted and returned to the West Indies. In 1672 Major-General Banister, who was Commander-in-Chief of the troops in Jamaica, writing to Lord Arlington about Morgan, said: "He (Morgan) is a well deserving person, and one of great courage and conduct, who may, with His Majesty's pleasure, perform good public service at home, or be very advantageous to this island if war should again break forth with the Spaniards."
While Morgan was in England he brought an action for libel against William Crooke, the publisher of the "History of the Bucaniers of America." The result of this trial was that Crooke paid £200 damages to Morgan and published a long and grovelling apology.
Morgan was essentially a man of action, and a regular life on shore proved irksome to him, for we learn from a report sent home by Lord Vaughan in 1674 that Morgan "frequented the taverns of Port Royal, drinking and gambling in unseemly fashion," but nevertheless the Jamaican Assembly had voted the Lieutenant-Governor a sum of £600 special salary. In 1676 Vaughan brought definite charges against Morgan and another member of the Council, Robert Byndloss, of giving aid to certain Jamaica pirates.
Morgan made a spirited defence and, no doubt largely owing to his popularity, got off, and in 1678 was granted a commission to be a captain of a company of 100 men.
The Governor to succeed Vaughan was Lord Carlisle, who seems to have liked Morgan, in spite of his jovial "goings on" with his old buccaneer friends in the taverns of Port Royal, and in some of his letters speaks of Morgan's "generous manner," and hints that whatever allowances are made to him "he will be a beggar."
In 1681 Sir Thomas Lynch was appointed to be Governor, and trouble at once began between him and his deputy. Amongst the charges the former brought against Morgan was one of his having been overheard to say, "God damn the Assembly!" for which he was suspended from that body.
In April, 1688, the King, at the urgent request of the Duke of Albemarle, ordered Morgan to be reinstated in the Assembly, but Morgan did not live long to enjoy his restored honours, for he died on August 25th, 1688 of dropsy.
An extract from the journal of Captain Lawrence Wright, commander of H.M.S. Assistance, dated August, 1688, describes the ceremonies held at Port Royal at the burial of Morgan, and shows how important and popular a man he was thought to be. It runs:
"Saturday 25. This day about eleven hours noone Sir Henry Morgan died, & the 26th was brought over from Passage-fort to the King's house at Port Royall, from thence to the Church, & after a sermon was carried to the Pallisadoes & there buried. All the forts fired an equal number of guns, wee fired two & twenty & after wee & the Drake had fired, all the merchant men fired."
Morgan was buried in Jamaica, and his will, which was filed in the Record Office at Spanish Town, makes provision for his wife and near relations.
Of New Providence, Bahama Islands.
Hanged at New Providence in 1718 by his lately reformed fellow-pirates, and on the gallows taxed them with "pusillanimity and cowardice" because they did not rescue him and his fellow-sufferers.
MORRIS, Captain John.
A privateer until 1665, he afterwards became a buccaneer with Mansfield. Took part in successful raids in Central America, plundering Vildemo in the Bay of Campeachy; he also sacked Truxillo, and then, after a journey by canoe up the San Juan River to take Nicaragua, surprised and plundered the city of Granada in March, 1666.
MORRIS, Captain Thomas.
One of the pirates of New Providence, Bahamas, who, on pardon being offered by King George in 1717, escaped, and for a while carried on piracy in the West Indian Islands. Caught and hanged a few years afterwards.
One of Major Stede Bonnet's crew. Hanged at White Point, Charleston, South Carolina, on November 8th, 1718, and buried in the marsh below low-water mark.
This Irish pirate was born in the north of Ireland, not many miles from Londonderry. Being left an orphan at the age of 18, he was sold to a planter in the West Indies for a term of four years.
After the great earthquake at Jamaica in 1691, Mullins built himself a house at Kingston and ran it as a punch-house—often a very profitable business when the buccaneers returned to Port Royal with good plunder. This business failing, he went to New York, where he met Captain Kidd, and was, according to his own story, persuaded to engage in piracy, it being urged that the robbing only of infidels, the enemies of Christianity, was an act, not only lawful, but one highly meritorious.
At his trial later on in London his judges did not agree with this view of the rights of property, and Mullins was hanged at Execution Dock on May 23rd, 1701.