The Newgate Calendar - Supplement 3
IT was mentioned in the life of Captain Roberts, that, embracing the opportunity of his absence, the crew of the brigantine run off and made one Kennedy their captain. This originated from the following cause. Captain Roberts was insulted by one of his crew when drunk, and, in the violence of passion, he killed the insulter upon the spot. Many in the ship were displeased, but particularly one Jones, the comrade of the man who was slain. When this accident happened, Jones was on land for water, and, upon his return, being informed of what had been done, he being a bold active fellow, cursed Roberts, saying, that he ought to have been so served himself. Roberts being present, attacked Jones with his sword, and wounded him. Irritated beyond measure by the former and the present injury, Jones, though wounded, seized the captain, threw him over a gun, and gave him a severe drubbing. The whole ship was in an instant thrown into violent commotion, some taking part with the captain, and some applauding the spirit and bravery of Jones. "If the one had received a dry chastisement, the other had some of his blood shed. Nor was the provocation upon the one side equal to that upon the other. And, with regard to the captain's rank, if he acted inconsistently with his dignity and power, he was not to be exempted from punishment" Such were the sentiments that were agitated among the crew during the tumult. The quarter-master, employing his authority and influence, calmed the tumult, and the majority were of opinion, that the majesty of the vessel was insulted in the person of their captain, and that no private member was at liberty to resent any injury received from him, in the manner which Jones had done. The majority, therefore, sentenced Jones to receive two lashes from every man in the ship, as soon as his wound should be healed.
The severity of this sentence did not convince Jones of its equity, and a deep-rooted enmity and a resolution of revenge ensued. To accomplish his design, Jones, with a few who were of his sentiments, confederated with Captain Anstis, of the brigantine, whom they knew to be also disaffected to Roberts, from the haughty manner in which he behaved. Nor was it merely by his domineering conduct that he irritated Anstis; he was likewise accustomed to leave him nothing but the refuse of the plunder, when any prize was taken, though his activity and bravery had, perhaps, gained the booty. In short, the disaffection became so general, that Lieutenant Kennedy headed the party, and eloped with the privateer and the prize, in the absence of Roberts. Kennedy was chosen captain, and a division of sentiments obtained, whether they should retire from that mode of life, or pursue their depredations. But, as there was no pardon then issued for pirates, they were constrained to retain their present character.
The first act of the new government was to grant liberty to the Portuguese prize. The master was, in their language, a very honest fellow, who, upon his being taken, accosted them, saying, that they were welcome to his ship and cargo, and expressed his wish that the vessel had been larger, and the lading richer, for their sakes. In addition to these good wishes, he had given them intelligence of the brigantine, after which Roberts had now gone; and though she should never become a prize, yet it had given them an opportunity to move away, without being saluted by the well-known voice of Captain Roberts. In return for all these favours, he received his ship and men, with the vessel half laden; and, having expressed his gratitude in the most obliging terms, he departed.
In the Rover Captain Kennedy sailed to Barbados, and near that island met with a very peaceable prize, commanded by Captain Knot, a Quaker. There was neither sword, pistol, nor cutlass on board. After taking what he found most necessary, he allowed the placid Quaker to meditate his way home. Meanwhile eight of the pirates embraced this opportunity to leave the Rover, and were by him carried to Virginia. During their voyage, they made him handsome presents, and also several presents to the sailors, and lived in a merry and jovial manner all the way, Knot not daring to interrupt them, lest they should run off with him and his vessel.
When they arrived off the island, four of the pirates went up the bay towards Maryland, and lived among the planters undiscovered. Captain Knot, though he could not, according to his principles, fight, yet he could deceive and inform. Accordingly, leaving four of the pirates on board, he went to the governor, and informed him of what passengers he had on board. They were instantly seized, and, search being made after the other four, they also were found carousing and rambling about in the country. Two Portuguese Jews, whom they had captured upon the coast of Brazil, and had brought along with them, were the principal evidences against them. The honest Quaker, at the same time, surrendered to them everything which belonged to them, and gave them presents, in place of what they had given him and his men.
Not long after, Kennedy, cruising upon the coast of Jamaica, met with a sloop bound from Boston, with bread and flour. Upon this occasion, all those who were disposed to disperse the company, went on board, and, among the rest. Captain Kennedy, who, having been educated as a pick-pocket and a house-breaker, before he entered into the pirate service, his companions now began to entertain such a mean conception of him, that they were about to throw him overboard, saying, that he would inform upon them all, the moment he arrived in England. By solemn oaths and protestations, he, however, assuaged their rage, and they allowed him to accompany them.
It was their misfortune to have only one man on board who knew anything of navigation, and even he proved to be a novice. Kennedy was chosen captain on account of his courage and bravery, but he was so ignorant, that he could neither read nor write. The pilot was desired to steer towards Ireland, but, instead of this, he run to the north coast of Scotland; and, having been tossed about for several days, they thrust the ship into a creek, and all went on shore, leaving her a prize to any who chose to take her.
They passed themselves for shipwrecked mariners, and refreshed themselves at the first village; and they might have passed without detection, had it not been for their unruly and riotous manner of living. Kennedy and another man left them, and shipped for Ireland, where they arrived in safety. A few more separated, and went to London.
But the body of the gang continued together, and, by drinking, rioting, and debauchery, alarmed the country wherever they came. In some places, they treated the whole village, throwing away their money like stones or sand. Continuing their extravagant course, about eighteen of them were apprehended in the vicinity of Edinburgh, and, upon suspicion, thrown into prison. Two became king's evidence, and the rest were tried, condemned, and executed.
Kennedy having wasted all his money, left Ireland, and kept an infamous house at Deptford-road. It was also supposed that he, occasionally, exacted contributions upon the highway. He was exposed to the same misfortune with all those who associate with persons of abandoned lives and dishonourable principles. One of the females in his house informed upon him as a robber; nor was she disposed to do her work partially, but, finding a man whom Kennedy had robbed, when a pirate, she took him to visit the latter in Bridewell, where he had been thrown for the robbery. He identified Kennedy, who was committed to Marshalsea prison.
Kennedy, in order to save his life, turned king's evidence; but, though he informed upon eight or ten of his companions, only one could be found, who was a sober man, and forced into the service, and therefore pardoned. Kennedy was not so fortunate; but inasmuch as he had been an old and a notorious offender, he was condemned and executed.
Those who remained in the Rover soon abandoned her upon the coast of the West Indies, and she was found strolling at sea, by a sloop near St. Christopher's island. The greater part of the crew met the fate they deserved.