The Goverment Supresses The Buccaneers by C.H. Harring

The new Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica, Sir ThomasLynch, brought with him instructions to publishand carefully observe the articles of 1670 withSpain, and at the same time to revoke all commissionsissued by his predecessor "to the prejudice of the King ofSpain or any of his subjects." When he proclaimed thepeace he was likewise to publish a general pardon toprivateers who came in and submitted within a reasonabletime, of all offences committed since June 1660, assuringto them the possession of their prize-goods (except thetenths and the fifteenths which were always reserved tothe crown as a condition of granting commissions), andoffering them inducements to take up planting, trade, orservice in the royal navy. But he was not to insist positivelyon the payment of the tenths and fifteenths if it discouragedtheir submission; and if this course failed tobring in the rovers, he was to use every means in hispower "by force or persuasion" to make them submit.332Lynch immediately set about to secure the good-will ofhis Spanish neighbours and to win back the privateers tomore peaceful pursuits. Major Beeston was sent to Cartagenawith the articles of peace, where he was given everysatisfaction and secured the release of thirty-two Englishprisoners.333 On the 15th August the proclamation ofpardon to privateers was issued at Port Royal;334 and those{201}who had railed against their commanders for cheatingthem at Panama, were given an opportunity of resortingto the law-courts.335 Similar proclamations were sent bythe governor "to all their haunts," intimating that he hadwritten to Bermuda, the Caribbees, New England, NewYork and Virginia for their apprehension, had sent noticesto all Spanish ports declaring them pirates, and intendedto send to Tortuga to prevent their reception there.336 However,although the governor wrote home in the latter partof the month that the privateers were entirely suppressed,he soon found that the task was by no means a simpleone. Two buccaneers with a commission from Modyford,an Englishman named Thurston and a mulatto namedDiego, flouted his offer of pardon, continued to prey uponSpanish shipping, and carried their prizes to Tortuga.337 ADutchman named Captain Yallahs (or Yellowes) fled toCampeache, sold his frigate for 7000 pieces of eight to theSpanish governor, and entered into Spanish service tocruise against the English logwood-cutters. The Governorof Jamaica sent Captain Wilgress in pursuit, but Wilgressdevoted his time to chasing a Spanish vessel ashore, stealinglogwood and burning Spanish houses on the coast.338A party of buccaneers, English and French, landed uponthe north side of Cuba and burnt two towns, carryingaway women and inflicting many cruelties on the inhabitants;and when the governors of Havana and St. Jagocomplained to Lynch, the latter could only disavow theEnglish in the marauding party as rebels and pirates, and{202}bid the Spanish governors hang all who fell into theirpower.339 The governor, in fact, was having his hands full,and wrote in January 1672 that "this cursed trade hasbeen so long followed, and there is so many of it, that likeweeds or hydras, they spring up as fast as we can cut themdown."340
Some of the recalcitrant freebooters, however, werecaptured and brought to justice. Major Beeston, sent bythe governor in January 1672, with a frigate and foursmaller vessels, to seize and burn some pirate ships careeningon the south cays of Cuba, fell in instead with twoother vessels, one English and one French, which hadtaken part in the raids upon Cuba, and carried them toJamaica. The French captain was offered to the Governorof St. Jago, but the latter refused to punish him for fear ofhis comrades in Tortuga and Hispaniola. Both captainswere therefore tried and condemned to death at PortRoyal. As the Spaniards, however, had refused to punishthem, and as there was no reason why the Jamaicansshould be the executioners, the captains of the port andsome of the council begged for a reprieve, and the Englishprisoner, Francis Witherborn, was sent to England.341Captain Johnson, one of the pirates after whom Beestonhad originally been sent, was later in the year shipwreckedby a hurricane upon the coast of Jamaica. Johnson, immediatelyafter the publication of the peace by SirThomas Lynch, had fled from Port Royal with about tenfollowers, and falling in with a Spanish ship of eighteenguns, had seized it and killed the captain and twelve orfourteen of the crew. Then gathering about him a partyof a hundred or more, English and French, he had robbedSpanish vessels round Havana and the Cuban coast.{203}Finally, however, he grew weary of his French companions,and sailed for Jamaica to make terms with the governor,when on coming to anchor in Morant Bay he was blownashore by the hurricane. The governor had him arrested,and gave a commission to Colonel Modyford, the son ofSir Thomas, to assemble the justices and proceed to trialand immediate execution. He adjured him, moreover, tosee to it that the pirate was not acquitted. Colonel Modyford,nevertheless, sharing perhaps his father's sympathywith the sea-rovers, deferred the trial, acquainted none ofthe justices with his orders, and although Johnson andtwo of his men "confessed enough to hang a hundredhonester persons," told the jury they could not find againstthe prisoner. Half an hour after the dismissal of thecourt, Johnson "came to drink with his judges." Thebaffled governor thereupon placed Johnson a second timeunder arrest, called a meeting of the council, from whichhe dismissed Colonel Modyford, and "finding materialerrors," reversed the judgment. The pirate was againtried—Lynch himself this time presiding over the court—andupon making a full confession, was condemned andexecuted, though "as much regretted," writes Lynch, "asif he had been as pious and as innocent as one of theprimitive martyrs." The second trial was contrary to thefundamental principles of English law, howsoever guiltythe culprit may have been, and the king sent a letter toLynch reproving him for his rashness. He commandedthe governor to try all pirates thereafter by maritime law,and if a disagreement arose to remit the case to the kingfor re-judgment. Nevertheless he ordered Lynch to suspendfrom all public employments in the island, whethercivil or military, both Colonel Modyford and all othersguilty with him of designedly acquitting Johnson.342
The Spaniards in the West Indies, notwithstanding the{204}endeavours of Sir Thomas Lynch to clear their coasts ofpirates, made little effort to co-operate with him. Thegovernors of Cartagena and St. Jago de Cuba, pretendingthat they feared being punished for allowing trade, hadforbidden English frigates to come into their ports, andrefused them provisions and water; and the Governor ofCampeache had detained money, plate and negroes takenout of an English trading-vessel, to the value of 12,000pieces of eight. When Lynch sent to demand satisfaction,the governor referred him to Madrid for justice, "which tome that have been there," writes Lynch, "seems worsethan the taking it away."343 The news also of the imposingarmament, which the Spanish grandees made signs of preparingto send to the Indies on learning of the capture ofPanama, was in November 1671 just beginning to filterinto Jamaica; and the governor and council, fearing thatthe fleet was directed against them, made vigorous efforts,by repairing the forts, collecting stores and marshallingthe militia, to put the island in a state of defence. TheSpanish fleet never appeared, however, and life on theisland soon subsided into its customary channels.344 SirThomas Lynch, meanwhile, was all the more careful toobserve the peace with Spain and yet refrain from alienatingthe more troublesome elements of the population. Ithad been decided in England that Morgan, too, like Modyford,was to be sacrificed, formally at least, to the remonstrancesof the Spanish Government; yet Lynch, becauseMorgan himself was ill, and fearing perhaps that two such{205}arrests might create a disturbance among the friends ofthe culprits, or at least deter the buccaneers from comingin under the declaration of amnesty, did not send theadmiral to England until the following spring. On 6thApril 1672 Morgan sailed from Jamaica a prisoner in thefrigate "Welcome."345 He sailed, however, with theuniversal respect and sympathy of all parties in thecolony. Lynch himself calls him "an honest, bravefellow," and Major James Banister in a letter to theSecretary of State recommends him to the esteem ofArlington as "a very well deserving person, and one ofgreat courage and conduct, who may, with his Majesty'spleasure, perform good service at home, and be veryadvantageous to the island if war should break forth withthe Spaniard."346
Indeed Morgan, the buccaneer, was soon in high favourat the dissolute court of Charles II., and when in January1674 the Earl of Carlisle was chosen Governor of Jamaica,Morgan was selected as his deputy347—an act which musthave entirely neutralized in Spanish Councils the effect ofhis arrest a year and a half earlier. Lord Carlisle, however,did not go out to Jamaica until 1678, and meanwhilein April a commission to be governor was issued to LordVaughan,348 and several months later another to Morgan aslieutenant-governor.349 Vaughan arrived in Jamaica in themiddle of March 1675; but Morgan, whom the king inthe meantime had knighted, sailed ahead of Vaughan,apparently in defiance of the governor's orders, and althoughshipwrecked on the Isle la Vache, reached Jamaica a weekbefore his superior.350 It seems that Sir Thomas Modyford{206}sailed for Jamaica with Morgan, and the return of thesetwo arch-offenders to the West Indies filled the SpanishCourt with new alarms. The Spanish ambassador inLondon presented a memorial of protest to the Englishking,351 and in Spain the Council of War blossomed intofresh activity to secure the defence of the West Indies andthe coasts of the South Sea.352 Ever since 1672, indeed, theSpaniards moved by some strange infatuation, had persistedin a course of active hostility to the English in theWest Indies. Could the Spanish Government have realizedthe inherent weakness of its American possessions, couldit have been informed of the scantiness of the populationin proportion to the large extent of territory and coast-lineto be defended, could it have known how in the midst ofsuch rich, unpeopled countries abounding with cattle, hogsand other provisions, the buccaneers could be extirpatedonly by co-operation with its English and French neighbours,it would have soon fallen back upon a policy ofpeace and good understanding with England. But thenews of the sack of Panama, following so close upon theconclusion of the treaty of 1670, and the continued depredationsof the buccaneers of Tortuga and the declaredpirates of Jamaica, had shattered irrevocably the relianceof the Spaniards upon the good faith of the EnglishGovernment. And when Morgan was knighted and sentback to Jamaica as lieutenant-governor, their suspicionsseemed to be confirmed. A ketch, sent to Cartagena in1672 by Sir Thomas Lynch to trade in negroes, was seizedby the general of the galleons, the goods burnt in themarket-place, and the negroes sold for the Spanish King'saccount.353 An Irish papist, named Philip Fitzgerald, commanding{207}a Spanish man-of-war of twelve guns belongingto Havana, and a Spaniard called Don Francisco with acommission from the Governor of Campeache, roamed theWest Indian seas and captured English vessels sailingfrom Jamaica to London, Virginia and the WindwardIslands, barbarously ill-treating and sometimes massacringthe English mariners who fell into their hands.354 TheSpanish governors, in spite of the treaty and doubtless inconformity with orders from home,355 did nothing to restrainthe cruelties of these privateers. At one time eight Englishsailors who had been captured in a barque off Port Royaland carried to Havana, on attempting to escape from thecity were pursued by a party of soldiers, and all of themmurdered, the head of the master being set on a polebefore the governor's door.356 At another time Fitzgeraldsailed into the harbour of Havana with five Englishmentied ready to hang, two at the main-yard arms, two at thefore-yard arms, and one at the mizzen peak, and as heapproached the castle he had the wretches swung off,while he and his men shot at the dangling corpses fromthe decks of the vessel.357 The repeated complaints anddemands for reparation made to the Spanish ambassadorin London, and by Sir William Godolphin to the SpanishCourt, were answered by counter-complaints of outragescommitted by buccaneers who, though long ago disavowedand declared pirates by the Governor of Jamaica, werestill charged by the Spaniards to the account of the English.358Each return of the fleet from Porto Bello or Vera Cruzbrought with it English prisoners from Cartagena andother Spanish fortresses, who were lodged in the dungeonsof Seville and often condemned to the galleys or to the{208}quicksilver mines. The English ambassador sometimessecured their release, but his efforts to obtain redress forthe loss of ships and goods received no satisfaction. TheSpanish Government, believing that Parliament was solicitousof Spanish trade and would not supply Charles II.with the necessary funds for a war,359 would disburse nothingin damages. It merely granted to the injured partiesdespatches directed to the Governor of Havana, whichordered him to restore the property in dispute unless itwas contraband goods. Godolphin realized that thesedelays and excuses were only the prelude to an ultimatedenial of any reparation whatever, and wrote home to theSecretary of State that "England ought rather to provideagainst future injuries than to depend on satisfactionhere, till they have taught the Spaniards their own interestin the West Indies by more efficient means than friendship."360The aggrieved merchants and shipowners, often onlytoo well acquainted with the dilatory Spanish forms of procedure,saw that redress at Havana was hopeless, andpetitioned Charles II. for letters of reprisal.361 Sir LeolineJenkins, Judge of the Admiralty, however, in a report tothe king gave his opinion that although he saw little hopeof real reparation, the granting of reprisals was not justifiedby law until the cases had been prosecuted at Havanaaccording to the queen-regent's orders.362 This apparentlywas never done, and some of the cases dragged on foryears without the petitioners ever receiving satisfaction.
The excuse of the Spaniards for most of these seizureswas that the vessels contained logwood, a dyewood foundupon the coasts of Campeache, Honduras and Yucatan,the cutting and removal of which was forbidden to anybut Spanish subjects. The occupation of cutting logwoodhad sprung up among the English about ten years after{209}the seizure of Jamaica. In 1670 Modyford writes that adozen vessels belonging to Port Royal were concerned inthis trade alone, and six months later he furnished a listof thirty-two ships employed in logwood cutting, equippedwith seventy-four guns and 424 men.363 The men engagedin the business had most of them been privateers, and asthe regions in which they sought the precious wood wereentirely uninhabited by Spaniards, Modyford suggestedthat the trade be encouraged as an outlet for the energiesof the buccaneers. By such means, he thought, these"soldiery men" might be kept within peaceable bounds,and yet be always ready to serve His Majesty in event ofany new rupture. When Sir Thomas Lynch replacedModyford, he realized that this logwood-cutting wouldbe resented by the Spaniards and might neutralize allhis efforts to effect a peace. He begged repeatedly fordirections from the council in England. "For God's sake,"he writes, "give your commands about the logwood."364 Inthe meantime, after consulting with Modyford, he decidedto connive at the business, but he compelled all whobrought the wood into Port Royal to swear that theyhad not stolen it or done any violence to the Spaniards.365Secretary Arlington wrote to the governor, in November1671, to hold the matter over until he obtained the opinionof the English ambassador at Madrid, especially as somecolour was lent to the pretensions of the logwood cuttersby the article of the peace of 1670 which confirmed theEnglish King in the possession and sovereignty of allterritory in America occupied by his subjects at thatdate.366 In May 1672 Ambassador Godolphin returnedhis answer. "The wood," he writes, "is brought from{210}Yucatan, a large province of New Spain, about 100 leaguesin length, sufficiently peopled, having several great towns,as Merida, Valladolid, San Francisco de Campeache, etc.,and the government one of the most considerable next toPeru and Mexico.... So that Spain has as well toomuch right as advantage not to assert the propriety ofthese woods, for though not all inhabited, these peoplemay as justly pretend to make use of our rivers, mountainsand commons, as we can to enjoy any benefit to thosewoods." So much for the strict justice of the matter.But when the ambassador came to give his own opinionon the trade, he advised that if the English confinedthemselves to cutting wood alone, and in places remotefrom Spanish settlements, the king might connive at,although not authorize, their so doing.367 Here was thekernel of the whole matter. Spain was too weak andimpotent to take any serious revenge. So let us rob herquietly but decently, keeping the theft out of her sightand so sparing her feelings as much as possible. It wasthe same piratical motive which animated Drake andHawkins, which impelled Morgan to sack Maracaibo andPanama, and which, transferred to the dignified councilchambers of England, took on a more humane but lessromantic guise. On 8th October 1672, the Council forthe Plantations dispatched to Governor Lynch theirapproval of his connivance at the business, but theyurged him to observe every care and prudence, tocountenance the cutting only in desolate and uninhabitedplaces, and to use every endeavour to prevent any justcomplaints by the Spaniards of violence and depredation.368
The Spaniards nevertheless did, as we have seen,engage in active reprisal, especially as they knew thecutting of logwood to be but the preliminary step to the{211}growth of English settlements upon the coasts of Yucatanand Honduras, settlements, indeed, which later crystallizedinto a British colony. The Queen-Regent of Spain sentorders and instructions to her governors in the West Indiesto encourage privateers to take and punish as pirates allEnglish and French who robbed and carried away woodwithin their jurisdictions; and three small frigates fromBiscay were sent to clear out the intruders.369 Thebuccaneer Yallahs, we have seen, was employed by theGovernor of Campeache to seize the logwood-cutters; andalthough he surprised twelve or more vessels, the Governorof Jamaica, not daring openly to avow the business, couldenter no complaint. On 3rd November 1672, however,he was compelled to issue a proclamation ordering allvessels sailing from Port Royal for the purpose of cuttingdye-wood to go in fleets of at least four as security againstsurprise and capture. Under the governorship of LordVaughan, and after him of Lord Carlisle, matters continuedin this same uncertain course, the English settlementsin Honduras gradually increasing in numbers andvitality, and the Spaniards maintaining their right to takeall ships they found at sea laden with logwood, andindeed, all English and French ships found upon theircoasts. Each of the English governors in turn had urgedthat some equitable adjustment of the trade be made withthe Spanish Crown, if peace was to be preserved in theIndies and the buccaneers finally suppressed; but theSpaniards would agree to no accommodation, and in{212}March 1679 the king wrote to Lord Carlisle bidding himdiscourage, as far as possible, the logwood-cutting inCampeache or any other of the Spanish dominions, andto try and induce the buccaneers to apply themselves toplanting instead.370
The reprisals of the Spaniards on the score of logwood-cuttingwere not the only difficulties with which LordVaughan as governor had to contend. From the dayof his landing in Jamaica he seems to have conceived aviolent dislike of his lieutenant, Sir Henry Morgan, andthis antagonism was embittered by Morgan's open orsecret sympathy with the privateers, a race with whomVaughan had nothing in common. The ship on whichMorgan had sailed from England, and which was castaway upon the Isle la Vache, had contained the militarystores for Jamaica, most of which were lost in the wreck.Morgan, contrary to Lord Vaughan's positive and writtenorders, had sailed before him, and assumed the authorityin Jamaica a week before the arrival of the governor atPort Royal. This the governor seems to have been unableto forgive. He openly blamed Morgan for thewreck and the loss of the stores; and only two monthsafter his coming to Jamaica, in May 1675, he wrote toEngland that for the good of His Majesty's service hethought Morgan ought to be removed, and the charge ofso useless an officer saved.371 In September he wrote thathe was "every day more convinced of (Morgan's) imprudenceand unfitness to have anything to do in the CivilGovernment, and of what hazards the island may run byso dangerous a succession." Sir Henry, he continued,had made himself and his authority so cheap at the Port,drinking and gaming in the taverns, that the governorintended to remove thither speedily himself for the reputation{213}of the island and the security of the place.372 He recommendedthat his predecessor, Sir Thomas Lynch,whom he praises for "his prudent government andconduct of affairs," be appointed his deputy instead ofMorgan in the event of the governor's death or absence.373Lord Vaughan's chief grievance, however, was thelieutenant-governor's secret encouragement of thebuccaneers. "What I most resent," he writes again,"is ... that I find Sir Henry, contrary to his dutyand trust, endeavours to set up privateering, and hasobstructed all my designs and purposes for the reducingof those that do use this course of life."374 When he hadissued proclamations, the governor continued, declaringas pirates all the buccaneers who refused to submit, SirHenry had encouraged the English freebooters to takeFrench commissions, had himself fitted them out for sea,and had received authority from the French Governor ofTortuga to collect the tenths on prize goods brought intoJamaica under cover of these commissions. The quarrelcame to a head over the arrest and trial of a buccaneernamed John Deane, commander of the ship "St. David."Deane was accused of having stopped a ship called the"John Adventure," taken out several pipes of wine anda cable worth £100, and forcibly carried the vessel toJamaica. He was also reported to be wearing Dutch,French and Spanish colours without commission.375 Whenthe "John Adventure" entered Port Royal it was seizedby the governor for landing goods without entry, contrary{214}to the Acts of Navigation, and on complaint of themaster of the vessel that he had been robbed byDeane and other privateers, Sir Henry Morgan wasordered to imprison the offenders. The lieutenant-governor,however, seems rather to have encouraged themto escape,376 until Deane made so bold as to accuse thegovernor of illegal seizure. Deane was in consequencearrested by the governor, and on 27th April 1676, in aCourt of Admiralty presided over by Lord Vaughan asvice-admiral, was tried and condemned to suffer deathas a pirate.377 The proceedings, however, were not warrantedby legal practice, for according to statutes of the twenty-seventhand twenty-eighth years of Henry VIII., piratesmight not be tried in an Admiralty Court, but only underthe Common Law of England by a Commission of Oyerand Terminer under the great seal.378 After obtaining anopinion to this effect from the Judge of the Admiralty,the English Council wrote to Lord Vaughan staying theexecution of Deane, and ordering a new trial to be heldunder a proper commission about to be forwarded to him.379The Governor of Jamaica, however, upon receiving a confessionfrom Deane and frequent petitions for pardon,had reprieved the pirate a month before the letter fromthe council reached him.380 The incident had good effectin persuading the freebooters to come in, and that resultassured, the governor could afford to bend to popularclamour in favour of the culprit. In the latter part of1677 a standing commission of Oyer and Terminer for the{215}trial of pirates in Jamaica was prepared by the attorney-generaland sent to the colony.381
After the trial of Deane, the lieutenant-governor,according to Lord Vaughan, had openly expressed himself,both in the taverns and in his own house, in vindication ofthe condemned man and in disparagement of Vaughanhimself.382 The quarrel hung fire, however, until on 24thJuly when the governor, in obedience to orders fromEngland,383 cited Morgan and his brother-in-law, ColonelByndloss, to appear before the council. Against Morganhe brought formal charges of using the governor's nameand authority without his orders in letters written to thecaptains of the privateers, and Byndloss he accused ofunlawfully holding a commission from a foreign governorto collect the tenths on condemned prize goods.384 Morganin his defence to Secretary Coventry flatly denied thecharges, and denounced the letters written to the privateersas forgeries; and Byndloss declared his readiness "to go inthis frigate with a tender of six or eight guns and so todeal with the privateers at sea, and in their holes (sic)bring in the chief of them to His Majesty's obedience orbring in their heads and destroy their ships."385 Thereseems to be little doubt that letters were written byMorgan to certain privateers soon after his arrival inJamaica, offering them, in the name of the governor, favourand protection in Port Royal. Copies of these letters,indeed, still exist;386 but whether they were actually usedis not so certain. Charles Barre, secretary to Sir HenryMorgan, confessed that such letters had been written, butwith the understanding that the governor lent them hisapproval, and that when this was denied Sir Henry{216}refused to send them.387 It is natural to suppose thatMorgan should feel a bond of sympathy with his old companionsin the buccaneer trade, and it is probable that in1675, in the first enthusiasm of his return to Jamaica,having behind him the openly-expressed approbation ofthe English Court for what he had done in the past, andfeeling uncertain, perhaps, as to Lord Vaughan's realattitude toward the sea-rovers, Morgan should have donesome things inconsistent with the policy of stern suppressionpursued by the government. It is even likely that hewas indiscreet in some of his expressions regarding thegovernor and his actions. His bluff, unconventional, easygoingmanners, natural to men brought up in new countriesand intensified by his early association with the buccaneers,may have been distasteful to a courtier accustomed to theurbanities of Whitehall. It is also clear, however, thatLord Vaughan from the first conceived a violent prejudiceagainst his lieutenant, and allowed this prejudice to colourthe interpretation he put upon all of Sir Henry's actions.And it is rather significant that although the particulars ofthe dispute and of the examination before the Council ofJamaica were sent to the Privy Council in England, thelatter body did not see fit to remove Morgan from his postuntil six years later.
As in the case of Modyford and Lynch, so with LordVaughan, the thorn in his side was the French colony onHispaniola and Tortuga. The English buccaneers whowould not come in under the proclamation of pardonpublished at Port Royal, still continued to range the seaswith French commissions, and carried their prizes intoFrench ports. The governor protested to M. d'Ogeronand to his successor, M. de Pouançay, declaring that anyEnglish vessels or subjects caught with commissionsagainst the Spaniards would be treated as pirates and{217}rebels; and in December 1675, in compliance with theking's orders of the previous August, he issued a publicproclamation to that effect.388 In April 1677 an act waspassed by the assembly, declaring it felony for anyEnglish subject belonging to the island to serve under aforeign prince or state without licence under the hand andseal of the governor;389 and in the following July thecouncil ordered another proclamation to be issued, offeringample pardon to all men in foreign service who shouldcome in within twelve months to claim the benefit of theact.390 These measures seem to have been fairly successful,for on 1st August Peter Beckford, Clerk of the Council inJamaica, wrote to Secretary Williamson that since thepassing of the law at least 300 privateers had come in andsubmitted, and that few men would now venture theirlives to serve the French.391
Even with the success of this act, however, the path ofthe governor was not all roses. Buccaneering had alwaysbeen so much a part of the life of the colony that it wasdifficult to stamp it out entirely. Runaway servants andothers from the island frequently recruited the ranks of thefreebooters; members of the assembly, and even of thecouncil, were interested in privateering ventures; and asthe governor was without a sufficient naval force to dealwith the offenders independently of the council andassembly, he often found his efforts fruitless. In theearly part of 1677 a Scotchman, named James Browne,with a commission from M. d'Ogeron and a mixed crew ofEnglish, Dutch and French, seized a Dutch ship trading innegroes off the coast of Cartagena, killed the Dutchcaptain and several of his men, and landed the negroes,{218}about 150 in number, in a remote bay of Jamaica. LordVaughan sent a frigate which seized about 100 of thenegroes, and when Browne and his crew fell into thegovernor's hands he had them all tried and condemned forpiracy. Browne was ordered to be executed, but his men,eight in number, were pardoned. The captain petitionedthe assembly to have the benefit of the Act of Privateers,and the House twice sent a committee to the governor toendeavour to obtain a reprieve. Lord Vaughan, however,refused to listen and gave orders for immediate execution.Half an hour after the hanging, the provost-marshalappeared with an order signed by the speaker to observethe Chief-Justice's writ of Habeas Corpus, whereuponVaughan, resenting the action, immediately dissolved theAssembly.392
The French colony on Hispaniola was an object ofconcern to the Jamaicans, not only because it served as arefuge for privateers from Port Royal, but also because itthreatened soon to overwhelm the old Spanish colony andabsorb the whole island. Under the conciliatory, opportunistregime of M. d'Ogeron, the French settlements inthe west of the island had grown steadily in number andsize;393 while the old Spanish towns seemed every year tobecome weaker and more open to attack. D'Ogeron, whodied in France in 1675, had kept always before him theproject of capturing the Spanish capital, San Domingo;but he was too weak to accomplish so great a designwithout aid from home, and this was never vouchsafedhim. His policy, however, was continued by his nephew{219}and successor, M. de Pouançay, and every defection fromJamaica seemed so much assistance to the French toaccomplish their ambition. Yet it was manifestly to theEnglish interest in the West Indies not to permit theFrench to obtain a pre-eminence there. The Spanishcolonies were large in area, thinly populated, and ill-supportedby the home government, so that they were notlikely to be a serious menace to the English islands.With their great wealth and resources, moreover, they hadfew manufactures and offered a tempting field for exploitationby English merchants. The French colonies, on theother hand, were easily supplied with merchandise fromFrance, and in event of a war would prove more dangerousas neighbours than the Spaniards. To allow the French tobecome lords of San Domingo would have been to givethem an undisputed predominance in the West Indies andmake them masters of the neighbouring seas.
In the second war of conquest waged by Louis XIV.against Holland, the French in the West Indies found thebuccaneers to be useful allies, but as usually happened atsuch times, the Spaniards paid the bill. In the spring of1677 five or six English privateers surprised the town ofSanta Marta on the Spanish Main. According to thereports brought to Jamaica, the governor and the bishop,in order to save the town from being burnt, agreed withthe marauders for a ransom; but the Governor ofCartagena, instead of contributing with pieces of eight,despatched a force of 500 men by land and three vessels bysea to drive out the invaders. The Spanish troops, however,were easily defeated, and the ships, seeing the Frenchcolours waving over the fort and the town, sailed back toCartagena. The privateers carried away the governor andthe bishop and came to Jamaica in July. The plunderamounted to only £20 per man. The English in theparty, about 100 in number and led by Captains Barnes{220}and Coxon, submitted at Port Royal under the terms ofthe Act against Privateers, and delivered up the Bishop ofSanta Marta to Lord Vaughan. Vaughan took care tolodge the bishop well, and hired a vessel to send him toCartagena, at which "the good old man was exceedinglypleased." He also endeavoured to obtain the custody ofthe Spanish governor and other prisoners, but withoutsuccess, "the French being obstinate and damnablyenraged the English had left them" and submitted toLord Vaughan.394
In the beginning of the following year, 1678, Countd'Estrées, Vice-Admiral of the French fleet in the WestIndies, was preparing a powerful armament to go againstthe Dutch on Curaçao, and sent two frigates to Hispaniolawith an order from the king to M. de Pouançay to join himwith 1200 buccaneers. De Pouançay assembled the men atCap François, and embarking on the frigates and on somefilibustering ships in the road, sailed for St. Kitts. Therehe was joined by a squadron of fifteen or more men-of-warfrom Martinique under command of Count d'Estrées. Theunited fleet of over thirty vessels sailed for Curaçao on 7thMay, but on the fourth day following, at about eighto'clock in the evening, was wrecked upon some coral reefsnear the Isle d'Aves.395 As the French pilots had been atodds among themselves as to the exact position of thefleet, the admiral had taken the precaution to send afire-ship and three buccaneering vessels several miles inadvance of the rest of the squadron. Unfortunately thesescouts drew too little water and passed over the reefswithout touching them. A buccaneer was the first tostrike and fired three shots to warn the admiral, who at{221}once lighted fires and discharged cannon to keep off therest of the ships. The latter, however, mistaking thesignals, crowded on sail, and soon most of the fleet were onthe reefs. Those of the left wing, warned in time by ashallop from the flag-ship, succeeded in veering off. Therescue of the crews was slow, for the seas were heavy andthe boats approached the doomed ships with difficulty.Many sailors and marines were drowned, and seven men-of-war,besides several buccaneering ships, were lost on therocks. Count d'Estrées himself escaped, and sailed withthe remnant of his squadron to Petit Goave and CapFrançois in Hispaniola, whence on 18th June he departedfor France.396
The buccaneers were accused in the reports whichreached Barbadoes of deserting the admiral after theaccident, and thus preventing the reduction of Curaçao,which d'Estrées would have undertaken in spite of theshipwreck.397 However this may be, one of the principalbuccaneer leaders, named de Grammont, was left by dePouançay at the Isle d'Aves to recover what he could fromthe wreck, and to repair some of the privateering vessels.398{222}When he had accomplished this, finding himself short ofprovisions, he sailed with about 700 men to make a descenton Maracaibo; and after spending six months in the lake,seizing the shipping and plundering all the settlements inthat region, he re-embarked in the middle of December.The booty is said to have been very small.399 Early in thesame year the Marquis de Maintenon, commanding thefrigate "La Sorcière," and aided by some Frenchfilibusters from Tortuga, was on the coast of Caracas,where he ravaged the islands of Margarita and Trinidad.He had arrived in the West Indies from France in thelatter part of 1676, and when he sailed from Tortugawas at the head of 700 or 800 men. His squadron metwith little success, however, and soon scattered.400 Otherbands of filibusters pillaged Campeache, Puerto Principe inCuba, Santo Tomas on the Orinoco, and Truxillo in theprovince of Honduras; and de Pouançay, to console thebuccaneers for their losses at the Isle d'Aves, sent 800 menunder the Sieur de Franquesnay to make a descent uponSt. Jago de Cuba, but the expedition seems to have been afailure.401
On 1st March 1678 a commission was again issued tothe Earl of Carlisle, appointing him governor of Jamaica.402Carlisle arrived in his new government on 18th July,403 butLord Vaughan, apparently because of ill-health, hadalready sailed for England at the end of March, leavingSir Henry Morgan, who retained his place under the newgovernor, deputy in his absence.404 Lord Carlisle, immediatelyupon his arrival, invited the privateers to come inand encouraged them to stay, hoping, according to his own{223}account, to be able to wean them from their familiarcourses, and perhaps to use them in the threatened warwith France, for the island then had "not above 4000whites able to bear arms, a secret not fit to be madepublic."405 If the governor was sincere in his intentions,the results must have been a bitter disappointment.Some of the buccaneers came in, otherspersevered in the old trade, and even those who returnedabused the pardon they had received. In the autumnof 1679, several privateering vessels under command ofCaptains Coxon, Sharp and others who had come backto Jamaica, made a raid in the Gulf of Honduras,plundered the royal storehouses there, carried off 500chests of indigo,406 besides cocoa, cochineal, tortoiseshell,money and plate, and returned with their plunder toJamaica. Not knowing what their reception might be, oneof the vessels landed her cargo of indigo in an unfrequentedspot on the coast, and the rest sent word that unless theywere allowed to bring their booty to Port Royal and paythe customs duty, they would sail to Rhode Island or toone of the Dutch plantations. The governor had takensecurity for good behaviour from some of the captainsbefore they sailed from Jamaica; yet in spite of this theywere permitted to enter the indigo at the custom houseand divide it in broad daylight; and the frigate "Success"was ordered to coast round Jamaica in search of otherprivateers who failed to come in and pay duty on theirplunder at Port Royal. The glut of indigo in Jamaica disturbedtrade considerably, and for a time the importedproduct took the place of native sugar and indigo as amedium of exchange. Manufacture on the island was{224}hindered, prices were lowered, and only the king'scustoms received any actual benefit.407
These same privateers, however, were soon out upon amuch larger design. Six captains, Sharp, Coxon, Essex,Allison, Row, and Maggott, in four barques and twosloops, met at Point Morant in December 1679, and on7th January set sail for Porto Bello. They were scatteredby a terrible storm, but all eventually reached theirrendezvous in safety. There they picked up anotherbarque commanded by Captain Cooke, who had sailedfrom Jamaica on the same design, and likewise a Frenchprivateering vessel commanded by Captain Lessone. Theyset out for Porto Bello in canoes with over 300 men, andlanding twenty leagues from the town, marched for four daysalong the seaside toward the city. Coming to an Indianvillage about three miles from Porto Bello, they were discoveredby the natives, and one of the Indians ran to thecity, crying, "Ladrones! ladrones!" The buccaneers,although "many of them were weak, being three dayswithout any food, and their feet cut with the rocks forwant of shoes," made all speed for the town, which theyentered without difficulty on 17th February 1680. Mostof the inhabitants sought refuge in the castle, whence theymade a counter-attack without success upon the invaders.On the evening of the following day, the buccaneers retreatedwith their prisoners and booty down to a cay orsmall island about three and a half leagues from PortoBello, where they were joined by their ships. They hadjust left in time to avoid a force of some 700 Spanishtroops who were sent from Panama and arrived the dayafter the buccaneers departed. After capturing two{225}Spanish vessels bound for Porto Bello with provisions fromCartagena, they divided the plunder, of which each manreceived 100 pieces of eight, and departed for Boca delToro some fifty leagues to the north. There they careenedand provisioned, and being joined by two other Jamaicanprivateers commanded by Sawkins and Harris, sailed forGolden Island, whence on 5th April 1680, with 334 men,they began their march across the Isthmus of Darien to thecoasts of Panama and the South Seas.408
Lord Carlisle cannot escape the charge of culpablenegligence for having permitted these vessels in the firstplace to leave Jamaica. All the leaders in the expeditionwere notorious privateers, men who had repeatedly been{226}concerned in piratical outrages against the Dutch andSpaniards. Coxon and Harris had both come in aftertaking part in the expedition against Santa Marta;Sawkins had been caught with his vessel by the frigate"Success" and sent to Port Royal, where on 1st December1679 he seems to have been in prison awaiting trial;410while Essex had been brought in by another frigate, the"Hunter," in November, and tried with twenty of his crewfor plundering on the Jamaican coast, two of his menbeing sentenced to death.411 The buccaneers themselvesdeclared that they had sailed with permission from LordCarlisle to cut logwood.412 This was very likely true; yetafter the exactly similar ruse of these men when theywent to Honduras, the governor could not have failed tosuspect their real intentions.
At the end of May 1680 Lord Carlisle suddenlydeparted for England in the frigate "Hunter," leavingMorgan again in charge as lieutenant-governor.413 On hispassage home the governor met with Captain Coxon, who,having quarrelled with his companions in the Pacific, hadreturned across Darien to the West Indies and was againhanging about the shores of Jamaica. The "Hunter"gave chase for twenty-four hours, but being outsailed wascontent to take two small vessels in the company of Coxonwhich had been deserted by their crews.414 In EnglandSamuel Long, whom the governor had suspended fromthe council and dismissed from his post as chief justiceof the colony for his opposition to the new Constitution,accused the governor before the Privy Council of collusionwith pirates and encouraging them to bring their plunderto Jamaica. The charges were doubtless conceived in aspirit of revenge; nevertheless the two years during{227}which Carlisle was in Jamaica were marked by an increasedactivity among the freebooters, and by a lukewarmnessand negligence on the part of the government, forwhich Carlisle alone must be held responsible. To accusehim of deliberately supporting and encouraging thebuccaneers, however, may be going too far. Sir HenryMorgan, during his tenure of the chief command of theisland, showed himself very zealous in the pursuit of thepirates, and sincerely anxious to bring them to justice;and as Carlisle and Morgan always worked together inperfect harmony, we may be justified in believing thatCarlisle's mistakes were those of negligence rather thanof connivance. The freebooters who brought goods intoJamaica increased the revenues of the island, and agovernor whose income was small and tastes extravagant,was not apt to be too inquisitive about the source of thearticles which entered through the customs. There isevidence, moreover, that French privateers, being unable toobtain from the merchants on the coast of San Domingothe cables, anchors, tar and other naval stores necessary fortheir armaments, were compelled to resort to other islandsto buy them, and that Jamaica came in for a share of thistrade. Provisions, too, were more plentiful at Port Royalthan in the cul-de-sac of Hispaniola, and the French governorscomplained to the king that the filibusters carriedmost of their money to foreign plantations to exchange forthese commodities. Such French vessels if they came toJamaica were not strictly within the scope of the lawsagainst piracy which had been passed by the assembly,and their visits were the more welcome as they paidfor their goods promptly and liberally in good Spanishdoubloons.415
A general warrant for the apprehension of Coxon,{228}Sharp and the other men who had plundered Porto Bellohad been issued by Lord Carlisle in May 1680, just beforehis departure for England. On 1st July a similar warrantwas issued by Morgan, and five days later a proclamationwas published against all persons who should hold anycorrespondence whatever with the outlawed crews.416 Threemen who had taken part in the expedition were capturedand clapped into prison until the next meeting of thecourt. The friends of Coxon, however, including, it seems,almost all the members of the council, offered to give£2000 security, if he was allowed to come to Port Royal,that he would never take another commission except fromthe King of England; and Morgan wrote to Carlisle seekinghis approbation.417 At the end of the following JanuaryMorgan received word that a notorious Dutch privateer,named Jacob Everson, commanding an armed sloop, wasanchored on the coast with a brigantine which he hadlately captured. The lieutenant-governor manned a smallvessel with fifty picked men and sent it secretly at midnightto seize the pirate. Everson's sloop was boarded andcaptured with twenty-six prisoners, but Everson himselfand several others escaped by jumping overboard andswimming to the shore. The prisoners, most of whomwere English, were tried six weeks later, convicted ofpiracy and sentenced to death; but the lieutenant-governorsuspended the execution and wrote to the king for instructions.On 16th June 1681, the king in council orderedthe execution of the condemned men.418
{229}The buccaneers who, after plundering Porto Bello,crossed the Isthmus of Darien to the South Seas, had aremarkable history. For eighteen months they cruised upand down the Pacific coast of South America, burning andplundering Spanish towns, giving and taking hard blowswith equal courage, keeping the Spanish provinces ofEquador, Peru and Chili in a fever of apprehension, finallysailing the difficult passage round Cape Horn, and returningto the Windward Islands in January of 1682. Touchingat the island of Barbadoes, they learned that the Englishfrigate "Richmond" was lying in the road, and fearingseizure they sailed on to Antigua. There the governor,Colonel Codrington, refused to give them leave to enterthe harbour. So the party, impatient of their dangeroussituation, determined to separate, some landing on Antigua,and Sharp and sixteen others going to Nevis where theyobtained passage to England. On their arrival in Englandseveral, including Sharp, were arrested at the instance ofthe Spanish ambassador, and tried for committing piracyin the South Seas; but from the defectiveness of theevidence produced they escaped conviction.419 Four of theparty came to Jamaica, where they were apprehended,tried and condemned. One of the four, who had givenhimself up voluntarily, turned State's evidence; two wererepresented by the judges as fit objects of the king'smercy; and the other, "a bloody and notorious villein,"was recommended to be executed as an example to therest.420
The recrudescence of piratical activity between theyears 1679 and 1682 had, through its evil effects, beenstrongly felt in Jamaica; and public opinion was now{230}gradually changing from one of encouragement andwelcome to the privateers and of secret or open oppositionto the efforts of the governors who tried to suppress them,to one of distinct hostility to the old freebooters. Theinhabitants were beginning to realize that in the encouragementof planting, and not of buccaneering, lay the permanentwelfare of the island. Planting and buccaneering, side byside, were inconsistent and incompatible, and the colonistschose the better course of the two. In spite of the frequenttrials and executions at Port Royal, the marauders seemedto be as numerous as ever, and even more troublesome.Private trade with the Spaniards was hindered; runawayservants, debtors and other men of unfortunate or desperatecondition were still, by every new success of the buccaneers,drawn from the island to swell their ranks; and most ofall, men who were now outlawed in Jamaica, driven todesperation turned pirate altogether, and began to wagewar indiscriminately on the ships of all nationalities,including those of the English. Morgan repeatedly wrotehome urging the dispatch of small frigates of light draughtto coast round the island and surprise the freebooters, andhe begged for orders for himself to go on board and commandthem, for "then I shall not much question," heconcludes, "to reduce them or in some time to leave themshipless."421 "The governor," wrote the Council of Jamaicato the Lords of Trade and Plantations in May 1680, "cando little from want of ships to reduce the privateers, and ofplain laws to punish them"; and they urged the ratificationof the Act passed by the assembly two years before,making it felony for any British subject in the WestIndies to serve under a foreign prince without leave fromthe governor.422 This Act, and another for the more effectualpunishment of pirates, had been under consideration in the{231}Privy Council in February 1678, and both were returnedto Jamaica with certain slight amendments. They wereagain passed by the assembly as one Act in 1681, andwere finally incorporated into the Jamaica Act of 1683"for the restraining and punishing of privateers andpirates."423

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