This formidable South Sea pirate must indeed have looked, as well as acted, the part, since his appearance is described by Captain Johnson as follows: "A Fellow with a terrible pair of Whiskers, and a wooden Leg, being stuck round with Pistols, like the Man in the Almanack with Darts."
This man Taylor it was who stirred up the crew of the Victory to turn out and maroon Captain England, and elect himself in his place. He was a villain of the deepest dye, and burnt ships and houses and tortured his prisoners.
The pirates sailed down the West Coast of India from Goa to Cochin, and returned to Mauritius. Thence sailing to the Island of Mascarine they found a big Portuguese ship, which they took. In her they discovered the Conde de Eviceira, Viceroy of Goa, and, even better, four million dollars worth of diamonds.
Taylor, now sailing in the Cassandra, heard that there were four men-of-war on his tracks, so he sailed to Delagoa Bay and spent the winter of the year 1722 there. It was now decided that as they had a huge amount of plunder they had better give up piracy, so they sailed away to the West Indies and surrendered themselves to the Governor of Porto Bello. The crew broke up and each man, with a bag of diamonds, went whither he would; but Captain Taylor joined the Spanish service, and was put in command of a man-of-war, which was sent to attack the English logwood cutters in the Bay of Honduras.
TEACH, Captain Edward, or Thatch, or Thach, alias Drummond, alias Blackbeard. Arch-pirate.
A Bristol man who settled in Jamaica, sailing in privateers, but not in the capacity of an officer.
In 1716, Teach took to piracy, being put in command of a sloop by the pirate Benjamin Hornigold. In 1717, Hornigold and Teach sailed together from Providence towards the American coast, taking a billop from Havana and several other prizes. After careening their vessels on the coast of Virginia, the pirates took a fine French Guineaman bound to Martinico; this ship they armed with forty guns, named her the Queen Ann's Revenge, and Blackbeard went aboard as captain. Teach now had a ship that allowed him to go for larger prizes, and he began by taking a big ship called the Great Allen, which he plundered and then set fire to. A few days later, Teach was attacked by H.M.S. Scarborough, of thirty guns, but after a sharp engagement lasting some hours, the pirate was able to drive off the King's ship.
The next ship he met with was the sloop of that amateur pirate and landsman, Major Stede Bonnet. Teach and Bonnet became friends and sailed together for a few days, when Teach, finding that Bonnet was quite ignorant of maritime matters, ordered the Major, in the most high-handed way, to come aboard his ship, while he put another officer in command of Bonnet's vessel. Teach now took ship after ship, one of which, with the curious name of the Protestant Cæsar, the pirates burnt out of spite, not because of her name, but because she belonged to Boston, where there had lately been a hanging of pirates.
Blackbeard now sailed north along the American coast, arriving off Charleston, South Carolina. Here he lay off the bar for several days, seizing every vessel that attempted to enter or leave the port, "striking great Terror to the whole Province of Carolina," the more so since the colony was scarcely recovered from a recent visit by another pirate, Vane.
Being in want of medicines, Teach sent his lieutenant, Richards, on shore with a letter to the Governor demanding that he should instantly send off a medicine chest, or else Teach would murder all his prisoners, and threatening to send their heads to Government House; many of these prisoners being the chief persons of the colony.
Teach, who was unprincipled, even for a pirate, now commanded three vessels, and he wanted to get rid of his crews and keep all the booty for himself and a few chosen friends. To do this, he contrived to wreck his own vessel and one of his sloops. Then with his friends and all the booty he sailed off, leaving the rest marooned on a small sandy island. Teach next sailed to North Carolina, and with the greatest coolness surrendered with twenty of his men to the Governor, Charles Eden, and received the Royal pardon. The ex-pirate spent the next few weeks in cultivating an intimate friendship with the Governor, who, no doubt, shared Teach's booty with him.
A romantic episode took place at this time at Bath Town. The pirate fell in love, not by any means for the first time, with a young lady of 16 years of age. To show his delight at this charming union, the Governor himself married the happy pair, this being the captain's fourteenth wife; though certain Bath Town gossips were heard to say that there were no fewer than twelve Mrs. Teach still alive at different ports up and down the West India Islands.
In June, 1718, the bridegroom felt that the call of duty must be obeyed, so kissing good-bye to the new Mrs. Teach, he sailed away to the Bermudas, meeting on his way half a dozen ships, which he plundered, and then hurried back to share the spoils with the Governor of North Carolina and his secretary, Mr. Knight.
For several months, Blackbeard remained in the river, exacting a toll from all the shipping, often going ashore to make merry at the expense of the planters. At length, things became so unbearable that the citizens and planters sent a request to the Governor of the neighbouring colony of Virginia for help to rid them of the presence of Teach. The Governor, Spotswood, an energetic man, at once made plans for taking the pirate, and commissioned a gallant young naval officer, Lieutenant Robert Maynard, of H.M.S. Pearl, to go in a sloop, the Ranger, in search of him. On November 17, 1718, the lieutenant sailed for Kicquetan in the James River, and on the 21st arrived at the mouth of Okerecock Inlet, where he discovered the pirate he was in search of. Blackbeard would have been caught unprepared had not his friend, Mr. Secretary Knight, hearing what was on foot, sent a letter warning him to be on his guard, and also any of Teach's crew whom he could find in the taverns of Bath Town. Maynard lost no time in attacking the pirate's ship, which had run aground. The fight was furious, Teach boarding the sloop and a terrific hand-to-hand struggle taking place, the lieutenant and Teach fighting with swords and pistols. Teach was wounded in twenty-five places before he fell dead, while the lieutenant escaped with nothing worse than a cut over the fingers.
Maynard now returned in triumph in his sloop to Bath Town, with the head of Blackbeard hung up to the bolt-spit end, and received a tremendous ovation from the inhabitants.
During his meteoric career as a pirate, the name of Blackbeard was one that created terror up and down the coast of America from Newfoundland to Trinidad. This was not only due to the number of ships Teach took, but in no small measure to his alarming appearance. Teach was a tall, powerful man, with a fierce expression, which was increased by a long, black beard which grew from below his eyes and hung down to a great length. This he plaited into many tails, each one tied with a coloured ribbon and turned back over his ears. When going into action, Teach wore a sling on his shoulders with three pairs of pistols, and struck lighted matches under the brim of his hat. These so added to his fearful appearance as to strike terror into all beholders. Teach had a peculiar sense of humour, and one that could at times cause much uneasiness amongst his friends. Thus we are told that one day on the deck of his ship, being at the time a little flushed with wine, Blackbeard addressed his crew, saying: "Come let us make a Hell of our own, and try how long we can bear it," whereupon Teach, with several others, descended to the hold, shut themselves in, and then set fire to several pots of brimstone. For a while they stood it, choking and gasping, but at length had to escape to save themselves from being asphyxiated, but the last to give up was the captain, who was wont to boast afterwards that he had outlasted all the rest.
Then there was that little affair in the cabin, when Teach blew out the candle and in the dark fired his pistols under the table, severely wounding one of his guests in the knee, for no other reason, as he explained to them afterwards, than "if he did not shoot one or two of them now and then they'd forget who he was."
Teach kept a log or journal, which unfortunately is lost, but the entries for two days have been preserved, and are worth giving, and seem to smack of Robert Louis Stevenson in "Treasure Island." The entries, written in Teach's handwriting, run as follows:
"1718. Rum all out—Our Company somewhat sober—A damn'd Confusion amongst us!—Rogues a plotting—great Talk of Separation—so I look'd sharp for a Prize.
"1718. Took one, with a great deal of Liquor on Board, so kept the Company hot, damned hot, then all Things went well again.
TEW, Captain Thomas, or Too.
A famous pirate, whose headquarters were at Madagascar. He was mentioned by name in King William III.'s Royal Warrant to Captain Kidd to go hunting for pirates, as a specially "wicked and ill-disposed person."
He sailed with Captain Dew from the Barbadoes with a Commission from the Governor to join with the Royal African Company in an attack on the French factory at Goori, at Gambia. Instead of going to West Africa, Tew and his crew turned pirates, and sailed to the Red Sea. Here he met with a great Indian ship, which he had the hardiness to attack, and soon took her, and each of his men received as his share £3,000, and with this booty they sailed to Madagascar. He was already held in high esteem by the pirates who resided in that favourite stronghold. At one time he joined Misson, the originator of "piracy-without-tears" at his garden city of Libertatia. A quarrel arose between Misson's French followers and Tew's English pirates. A duel was arranged between the two leaders, but by the tact of another pirate—an unfrocked Italian priest—all was settled amicably, Tew being appointed Admiral and the diplomatic ex-priest suitably chosen as Secretary of State to the little republic. Such a reputation for kindness had Tew that ships seldom resisted him, but on knowing who their assailant was they gave themselves up freely. Some of Tew's men started a daughter colony on their own account, and the Admiral sailed after them to try and persuade them to return to the fold at Libertatia. The men refused, and while Tew was arguing and trying to persuade them to change their minds, his ship was lost in a sudden storm. Tew was soon rescued by the ship Bijoux with Misson on board, who, with a few men, had escaped being massacred by the natives. Misson, giving Tew an equal share of his gold and diamonds, sailed away, while Tew managed to return to Rhode Island in New England, where he settled down for a while. To show the honesty of this man, being now affluent, he kept a promise to the friends in Bermuda who originally set him up with a ship, by sending them fourteen times the original cost of the sloop as their just share of the profits.
At last, Tew found the call of the sea and the lure of the "grand account" too great to resist, and he consented to take command of a pirate ship which was to go on a cruise in the Red Sea. Arrived there, Tew attacked a big ship belonging to the Great Mogul, and during the battle was mortally wounded.
His historian tells us "a shot carried away the rim of Tew's belly, who held his bowels with his hands for some space. When he dropped, it struck such terror to his men that they suffered themselves to be taken without further resistance." Thus fell fighting a fine sailor, a brave man, and a successful pirate, and one who cheated the gallows awaiting him at Execution Dock.
THOMAS, Captain, alias Stede Bonnet.
This Welsh pirate was one of Major Stede Bonnet's crew of the Royal James. Hanged at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1718.
THURSTON, Captain. Buccaneer.
Of Tortuga Island.
Refused to accept the Royal offer of pardon of 1670, when all commissions to privateer on the Spanish were revoked. Thurston, with a mulatto, Diego, using obsolete commissions issued by the late Governor of Jamaica, Modyford, continued to prey upon Spanish shipping, carrying their prizes to Tortuga.
A Carolina pirate, accused and acquitted on a charge of having captured a sloop belonging to Samuel Salters, of Bermuda, in 1699.
Of the Island of Jamaica.
One of Major Stede Bonnet's crew. Tried, condemned, and hanged at Charleston, South Carolina, on November 8th, 1718. The prisoners were not defended by counsel, because the members of the South Carolina Bar still deemed it "a base and vile thing to plead for money or reward." We understand that the barristers of South Carolina have since persuaded themselves to overcome this prejudice. The result was that, with the famous Judge Trott, a veritable terror to pirates, being President of the Court of Vice-Admiralty, the prisoners had short and ready justice, and all but four of the thirty-five pirates tried were found guilty.
Sailed with Captain Porter in the West Indies. Captain Johnson gives an account of the meeting between these two pirate novices and the great Captain Roberts at Hispaniola.
TURNLEY, Captain Richard.
A New Providence pirate who received the general pardon from Captain Woodes Rogers in 1718. When, a little later, the scandal of Captain Rackam's infatuation for Anne Bonny was causing such gossip among the two thousand ex-pirates who formed the population of the settlement, it was Turnley who brought news of the affair to the notice of the Governor. In revenge for this action, Rackam and his lady, one day hearing that Turnley had sailed to a neighbouring island to catch turtles, followed him. It happened that Turnley was on shore hunting wild pigs and so escaped, but Rackam sank his sloop and took his crew away with him as prisoners.