The Newgate Calendar - Supplement 3

The Newgate Calendar - CAPTAIN SPRIGGS.



            SPRIGGS sailed with Lowther for some time, and left him in company with Low. He was quarter-master, and, by consequence, had a large share in all the barbarities of that execrable crew. He quarrelled with Low concerning one of the men who had killed another—Spriggs insisting that he should be hanged, and the other that he should not. After this dispute, Spriggs took an opportunity to leave him in the night, along with eighteen men, having seized the Delight, a prize of twelve guns.

            Scarcely were they beyond reach of Lowther and his crew, when Spriggs was elected captain, black colours hoisted, and the guns fired as a salute to themselves and their captain. In their way to the West Indies, they took a Portuguese barque, loaded with rich plunder, and, after using the men in a cruel and barbarous manner, they put them into the boat, with a small quantity of provisions, and set the ship on fire.

            They took another vessel belonging to Barbados, which they plundered, used the men also in a most barbarous manner, then put them into the boat—left them to the mercy of the waves, and set fire to the ship. Some of the men signed their articles, and joined their association. The next capture was a ship from Martinique; and, though they did not burn the vessel, the men were used in the same cruel manner. Some days after, they took one coming from Jamaica, robbed her of stores, arms, ammunition, and everything that they pleased, and what they did not think useful, they threw overboard. They forced the two mates and several other hands into their service, and then sent her off. They were not more fortunate in gaining prizes, than they were wantonly cruel to the men. A sloop from Rhode Island fell into their hands; they constrained all the men to join them; and the mate, being a grave, sober man, he resolutely declined. He was then informed that he should be allowed to go with his discharge written upon his back—this was, a lash from every man in the ship; which was rigorously put in execution.

            The next day one of the mates taken out of the prize signed their articles, which was deemed a great acquisition, because he was a good artist. They gave three huzzas, fired all the guns, and appointed him master. The day was devoted to feasting and carousing, and, among other healths, that of George II . was drunk. It had been related to them that the old king was dead, and they expected a general pardon upon the accession of the new sovereign. Thus they proclaimed his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, saying, "that they doubted not but there would be a general pardon in twelve months, which they would embrace, and come in upon; but, if they should be excepted from it, they would murder every Englishman that should fall into their hands."

            Not long after, they espied a sail and gave her chase. They supposed that she was a Spaniard, and so gave her a broadside. But a lamentable cry for quarter being heard from every part of the ship, they ceased firing. But how mortified were the rogues, when they found that it was the same vessel that they had sent away, not worth a penny. Enraged at this disappointment, about fifteen of these cruel wretches attacked the captain with sharp cutlasses, and would certainly have put an end to his life, had not Burridge, his former mate, rushed in among the thickest of them, and begged for his life. In the madness of their rage, they made a bonfire of the ship, and, even when they were sat down to supper, they called down the unfortunate captain, to have some more cruel sport at his expense. In two days they anchored at an uninhabited island, and, with a musket and some ammunition, they sent on shore the captain and several of his men. They subsisted for some time, and then were taken off by one Jones.

            Spriggs now anchored at a small island and cleaned, and then sailed in search of the Eagle sloop, which had taken Lowther at Blanco, with the determined resolution to put him to death as soon as found, for attacking his friend and brother. But, to his surprise, this vessel proved to be a French man-of-war, on which he crowded all the sail he could. He would, however, have been taken, had not the main-top-mast of the Frenchman been broken.

            Spriggs then sailed northward, took a schooner belonging to Boston, took out the men, sunk the vessel, and, having taken another sloop, they used the men in the most cruel and barbarous manner, hoisting them as high as the main and fore-tops, and letting them fall upon the deck. After using them in that manner, they whipped them about the deck until they themselves were fatigued, then allowed them all to go except two men.

            They next captured a vessel from Rhode Island with provisions and some horses. The brutal pirates mounted the horses, and rode at full gallop upon the deck, until the animals became infuriated, and threw their riders. They then wreaked their vengeance upon the men. In this manner these unnatural wretches continued their cruelties so long as they could maintain their community, to the disgrace of human nature, and to the sad sorrow of all who were so unfortunate as to fall into their hands.

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