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The Newgate Calendar - Supplement 3

The Newgate Calendar - CAPTAIN MARTEL



            WAR is not the harvest-time of pirates. Those who are naturally of a rambling turn of mind, then find employment in privateering. Provincial mobs are most frequent in times of peace; and those turbulent spirits which give energy to tumult, prove brave and useful soldiers when disciplined and introduced into the ranks. In the same manner, pirates, under the influence of royal clemency, would prove brave and hardy seamen.

            The origin and first adventures of this man, upon whose history we are now to enter, are involved in obscurity. He was commander of a private sloop of eight guns and eighty men, upon the coast of Jamaica, where he took the Berkley galley. Captain Sanders, and plundered him of a thousand pounds; and afterwards he took some money and provisions from a sloop called King Solomon. He proceeded after this to the port of Cavena in the island of Cuba, and in his way captured two sloops, which he plundered and then dismissed. Near the port, he met a fine galley of twenty guns, commanded by Captain Wilson, which was attacked under the black flag, and forced to surrender. Some of the men were put on shore, and others were detained. Captain Martel then desired Captain Wilson to inform his owners, that his sloop would admirably answer his purpose, by removing one deck; and as for the cargo, which consisted chiefly of log-wood and sugar, he would take care it should be carried to a good market.

            This ship being equipped, he mounted her with twenty-two guns and a hundred men, leaving twenty-five hands in the sloop, and went to cruise off the Leeward Islands. Here fortune was propitious to the pirates. After taking two small vessels, they gave chase to a stout ship, which, upon the sight of the black flag, suddenly struck. This was the Dolphin of twenty guns, bound for Newfoundland. The men were made prisoners, and the ship was taken along with our pirates. They seized another vessel in her voyage from Jamaica, put her provisions on board their own ship, and so let her depart. Thus she was obliged to return to Jamaica before she could prosecute her voyage. These fortunate pirates, not long after, captured a small ship and a sloop belonging to Barbados, and having taken out the provisions, and such of the men as chose to go along with them, allowed them to depart. Their next prize was the Greyhound galley of London, from Guinea to Jamaica. They speedily emptied her of her valuable cargo, and permitted her to prosecute her voyage.

            It was necessary to repair to some harbour, both to refit, to obtain provisions, and to dispose of their cargo. Santa Cruz was deemed the most proper place for this purpose; which is ten miles long and two broad, lying south-east by Porto Rico, and belonging to the French settlements. Here they hoped to repose for a while, in order to prepare themselves for greater adventures. Nor did fortune yet forsake these daring adventurers; for on their voyage they captured another vessel, and speedily arrived at the place of their destination. They had now a ship of twenty guns, a sloop of eight, and three prizes. This little fleet they stationed in a small harbour, or road, upon the north-west of the island.

            Their first employment, on their arrival, was to fortify themselves against any attack. They erected a battery of four guns upon the island, and another of two guns, upon the north point of the road. They also stationed one of the sloops, with eight guns, at the mouth of the channel, to prevent any vessel from entering. Having thus fortified themselves, they began to unrig their vessels, in order to clean them.

            General Hamilton sent a sloop with an express to Captain Hume, to acquaint him that two pirate ships infested the coast. The Scarborough, of thirty guns and a hundred and forty men, commanded by Captain Hume, had then near forty sick, and had buried twenty, and was, therefore, in a bad condition for sea; but, having received this intelligence, Captain Hume left his sick men behind, sailed to the other islands for a supply of hands, and went in search of the pirates. After several disappointments, and when now about to return, despairing to meet with these marauders, he was informed by a boat which had come from Santa Cruz, that two pirate ships, with some others, were in that place. On Captain Hume's arrival there, the pilot refused to enter the harbour. They were welcomed by the pirates saluting them with red-hot balls from the shore. At length Captain Hume came to anchor alongside the reef, and cannonaded both the vessels and batteries during several hours.

            The sloop which guarded the channel was at length sunk, and the man-of-war then directed her fire against the large pirate ships. In the following night it calmed, and Captain Hume, fearing that he might fall upon the reef, weighed anchor, and hovered in the neighbourhood, for a few days, to block them up. One evening, the pirates observed the man-of-war set out for sea, and they took the opportunity to warp out, in order to evade the enemy. They soon run aground, and in this situation saw Captain Hume returning to pay them another visit, which threw them into such dreadful consternation, that they quitted their ship, leaving in it twenty Negroes, who all perished. Nineteen of the pirates escaped in a long-boat, while the captain and the rest of the crew fled into the woods, and there, in all probability, perished.

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