SAMPLE, Captain Richard. Buccaneer.
Was at New Providence Island in 1718, and received the royal pardon from King George, offered to those pirates who surrendered themselves to Governor Woodes Rogers. Like many another, he fell again into his former wicked ways, and ended his life by being hanged.
SAWKINS, Captain Richard. Buccaneer.
We know little of the early career of this remarkable buccaneer. He was loved by his crew, and had great influence over them. It is recorded that one Sunday morning, finding some of his men gambling, he threw the dice overboard, saying "he would have no gambling aboard his ship."
We know that on one occasion he was caught in his vessel by H.M.S. Success and brought to Port Royal, Jamaica, and that on December 1st, 1679, he was in prison awaiting trial for piracy. Apparently he got off, for this brilliant young buccaneer is soon afterwards heard of as commanding a small vessel of sixteen tons, armed with but one gun and a crew of thirty-five men. He was one of a party of 330 buccaneers who, under the leadership of Coxon and Sharp, landed on the coast of Darien and marched through the jungle to attack and plunder the town of Santa Maria. The remainder of the journey across the isthmus was done in canoes, in which the pirates travelled down the Santa Maria River until they found themselves in the Pacific. On this expedition each captain had his company and had his own colours, Sawkins's flag being a red one with yellow stripes. Arrived at the sea, they captured two small Spanish vessels, and, the rest of the company being in the canoes, they boldly sailed towards Panama City. Meeting with the Spanish fleet of eight ships, the buccaneers attacked it, and, after a most furious battle, came off victorious. This was one of the most gallant episodes in the whole history of the "brethren of the coast," and was afterwards known as the Battle of Perico. Sawkins fought in the most brave and desperate manner, and took a large share in the successful enterprise. After this action some quarrelling took place, which ended by Captain Coxon going off with some seventy men, to return across the isthmus on foot. The company that remained in the Pacific elected Sawkins to be their leader, as Captain Sharp, a much older man, was away in his ship.
The buccaneers, ever since they defeated the Spanish fleet, had blockaded the harbour, and a correspondence took place between the Governor of Panama and Sawkins, the former wishing to know what the pirates had come there for. To this message Sawkins sent back answer "that we came to assist the King of Darien, who was the true Lord of Panama and all the country thereabouts. And that since we were come so far, there was no reason but that we should have some satisfaction. So that if he pleased to send us five hundred pieces of eight for each man, and one thousand for each commander, and not any farther to annoy the Indians, but suffer them to use their own power and liberty, as became the true and natural lords of the country, that then we would desist from all further hostilities, and go away peaceably; otherwise that we should stay there, and get what we could, causing to them what damage was possible."
This message was just bluff on Sawkins's part, but having heard that the Bishop of Santa Martha was in the city, Sawkins sent him two loaves of sugar as a present, and reminded the prelate that he had been his prisoner five years before, when Sawkins took that town. Further messengers returned from Panama next day, bringing a gold ring for Sawkins from the well-disposed Bishop, and a message from the Governor, in which he inquired "from whom we had our commission and to whom he ought to complain for the damage we had already done them?" To this Sawkins sent back answer "that as yet all his company were not come together; but that when they were come up we would come and visit him at Panama, and bring our commissions on the muzzles of our guns, at which time he should read them as plain as the flame of gunpowder could make them."
After lying off Panama for some while without meeting with any plunder, and their victuals running short, the crews began to grumble, and persuaded Sawkins to sail south along the coast. This he did, and, arriving off the town of Puebla Nueva on May 22nd, 1679, Sawkins landed a party of sixty men and led them against the town. But the Spaniards had been warned in time, and had built up three strong breastworks.
Sawkins, who never knew what fear meant, stormed the town at the head of his men, but was killed by a musket-ball.
Basil Ringrose, the buccaneer who wrote the narrative of this voyage, describes Sawkins as being "a man who was as valiant and courageous as any man could be, and the best beloved of all our company"; and on another occasion he speaks of him as "a man whom nothing on earth could terrifie."
A pirate of New Providence Island in the Bahamas. In this pirate republic this old man lived in the best hut, and was playfully known as "Governor Sawney."
de SAYAS, Francisco.
A Spanish pirate hanged at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1823.
SEARLES, Captain Robert.
In 1664 he brought in two Spanish prizes to Port Royal, but as orders had only lately come from England to the Governor to do all in his power to promote friendly relations with the Spanish islands, these prizes were returned to their owners. To prevent Searle's doing such things again, he was deprived of his ship's rudder and sails. In 1666, Searle, in company with a Captain Stedman and a party of only eighty men, took the Island of Tobago, near Trinidad, from the Dutch, destroying everything they could not carry away.
One of Captain Lowther's crew. Hanged at St. Kitts on March 11th, 1722.
SHIRLEY, Sir Anthony.
In January, 1597, headed an expedition to the Island of Jamaica. He met with little opposition from the Spaniards, and seized and plundered St. Jago de la Vega.
SMITH, Major Samuel. Buccaneer.
At one time a buccaneer with the famous Mansfield.
In 1641 he was sent, by the Governor of Jamaica, with a party to reinforce the troops which under Mansfield had recaptured the New Providence Island from the Spanish. In 1660 he was taken prisoner by the Spanish and carried to Panama and there kept in chains in a dungeon for seventeen months.
de SOTO, Captain Benito.
A most notorious pirate in and about 1830.
In 1827 he shipped at Buenos Ayres as mate in a slaver, named the Defenser de Pedro, and plotted to seize the ship off the African coast. The pirates took the cargo of slaves to the West Indies, where they sold them. De Soto plundered many vessels in the Caribbean Sea, then sailed to the South Atlantic, naming his ship the Black Joke. The fear of the Black Joke became so great amongst the East Indiamen homeward bound that they used to make up convoys at St. Helena before heading north.
In 1832 de Soto attacked the Morning Star, an East Indiaman, and took her, when he plundered the ship and murdered the captain. After taking several more ships, de Soto lost his own on the rocky coast of Spain, near Cadiz. His crew, although pretending to be honest shipwrecked sailors, were arrested, but de Soto managed to escape to Gibraltar. Here he was recognized by a soldier who had seen de Soto when he took the Morning Star, in which he had been a passenger. The pirate was arrested, and tried before Sir George Don, the Governor of Gibraltar, and sentenced to death. He was sent to Cadiz to be hanged with the rest of his crew. The gallows was erected at the water's edge, and de Soto, with his coffin, was conveyed there in a cart. He died bravely, arranging the noose around his own neck, stepping up into his coffin to do so; then, crying out, "Adios todos," he threw himself off the cart.
This man must not be confused with one Bernado de Soto, who was tried for piracy at Boston in 1834.
SPRIGGS, Captain Francis Farrington.
An uninteresting and bloody pirate without one single redeeming character.
He learnt his art with the pirate Captain Lowther, afterwards serving as quartermaster with Captain Low and taking an active part in all the barbarities committed by the latter.
About 1720 Low took a prize, a man-of-war called the Squirrel. This he handed over to some of the crew, who elected Spriggs their captain. The ship they renamed the Delight, and in the night altered their course and left Low. They made a flag, bearing upon it a white skeleton, holding in one hand a dart striking a bleeding heart, and in the other an hourglass. Sailing to the West Indies, Spriggs took several prizes, treating the crews with abominable cruelty. On one occasion the pirates chased what they believed to be a Spanish ship, and after a long while they came alongside and fired a broadside into her. The ship immediately surrendered, and turned out to be a vessel the pirate had plundered only a few days previously. This infuriated Spriggs and his crew, who showed their disappointment by half murdering the captain. After a narrow escape from being captured by a French man-of-war near the Island of St. Kitts, Spriggs sailed north to the Summer Isles, or Bermudas. Taking a ship coming from Rhode Island, they found her cargo to consist of horses. Several of the pirates mounted these and galloped up and down the deck until they were thrown. While plundering several small vessels of their cargo of logwood in the Bay of Honduras, Spriggs was surprised and attacked by an English man-of-war, and the pirates only escaped by using their sweeps. Spriggs now went for a cruise off the coast of South Carolina, returning again to Honduras. This was a rash proceeding on Spriggs's part, for as he was sailing off the west end of Cuba he again met the man-of-war which had so nearly caught him before in the bay. Spriggs clapped on all sail, but ran his ship on Rattan Island, where she was burnt by the Spence, while Captain Spriggs and his crew escaped to the woods.
STANLEY, Captain. Buccaneer.
With a few other buccaneers in their stronghold at New Providence Island in 1660, withstood an attack by a Spanish fleet for five days. The three English captains, Stanley, Sir Thomas Whetstone, and Major Smith, were carried to Panama and there cast into a dungeon and bound in irons for seventeen months.
STEDMAN, Captain. Buccaneer.
In 1666, with Captain Searle and a party of only eighty men, he took and plundered the Dutch island of Tobago. Later on, after the outbreak of war with France, he was captured by a French frigate off the Island of Guadeloupe. Stedman had a small vessel and a crew of only 100 men, and found himself becalmed and unable to escape, so he boldly boarded the Frenchman and fought for two hours, being finally overcome.
Died on January 14th, 1682, on board of Captain Sharp's ship a few days before their return to the Barbadoes from the South Seas. His death was supposed to have been caused by indulging too freely in mancanilla while ashore at Golfo Dulce. "Next morning we threw overboard our dead man and gave him two French vollies and one English one."