Captain John Phillips

Phillips comes to light in the Golden Age of Piracy on the 19th of April 1721. It was on this day that the ship he traveled on to Newfoundland was taken by the pirate Anstis in the brigantine, Good Fortune. Phillips seems to have joined with the pirates and was appointed ship's carpenter. He stayed with Anstis until the crew broke up at Tobago, and sailed to England. He remained in England until he caught word of some of his past compatriots imprisoned in the Bristol Goal. Fearing that he might be found out, he shipped himself on a ship bound for Newfoundland.
Biding his time he and others seized a ship from the harbor and made their way to sea. They chose officers and set down articles to curb any disputes. This was when Phillips was made captain of their ship, the Revenge. Before leaving the area they took several fishing vessels and added to their crew from these. The ship arrived off Barbadoes where they took a couple of prizes, one by bluff alone, and further added to their crew.
The next stop was Tobago where they careened the ship and just finished and snuck away prior to the arrival of a Man of War. Then followed a bit of dissension; the pirates took a snow and some of the crew attempted to make off with the prize. Phillips gave chase and recaptured the ship. At this point there is some confusion, mention is made of the errant pirates being Fern, William Phillips, Wood and John Taylor; Taylor is said to have been wounded in the leg in the above mentioned fight, but then it is said that they had to remove Phillips' leg.
Going north from Tobago, the pirates took a Portugueze ship and two or three sloops; Fern again tried to quit the crew in one of these ships and was killed by Captain Phillips in accordance with the articles. On the 25th of March they took another two ships. Taking several more ships, including a sloop and schooner in early April, they made their way to Newfoundland, where they planned to take on more crew. Along the way they replaced their ship with sloop out of Cape Ann.
It was at this time that several of the crew, anxious to be done with pirating, mutinied and tossed several of the officers over the side. Taking control of the ship they changed course for Boston, where they arrived the 3rd of May. As there is no mention of John Phillips being tried with several others of the pirate crew, it can only be assumed that he died during the mutiny on April 18th, 1724.
Yet another pirate goes to his doom. The interesting point of Phillips story seems to be lack of confederacy between the crew and the officers. While many pirate crews were supposed to have been some sort of democracy, it seems odd that Phillips a relative to tyranny to have had so many dissatisfied crewmen. One of the items we have from Phillips are the articles from this last voyage.

Posted by Under The Black Flag on 6:07 π.μ.. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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