Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Pirates of the 18th century

Pirates of the 18th century

By the beginning of the 18th century, piracy was becoming hard work. The Spanish galleons no longer plied the oceans with chests full of dubloons, and responsible governments with large navies were getting tired of pirates preying on their vessels.

Still, there was a living to be made by scoundrels who were prepared to make the effort. The famous pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) plundered successfully for nearly three years until, in a hand-to-hand fight with Lieutenant Maynard of the H.M.S. Pearl, he learned the difference between swinging a cutlass enthusiastically and real skill and training. Twenty-five wounds later, he expired on the deck.

Fans of William Goldman's The Princess Bride may or may not know that the ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ really existed. Captain Bartholomew Roberts is credited with the capture of over 400 vessels. Like Blackbeard, he died in the pursuit of his profession, hit in the throat by grape shot fired from one of His Majesty's warships, the Swallow.

In 1717, George I rather unsportingly offered a general amnesty to all pirates who surrendered themselves before 5th September of the following year. Many members of the profession promptly took their ill-gotten gains and settled down to become respectable citizens. There were a few backsliders, of course. Some men could not bear to give up their lives of piratical adventure but they were hunted down ruthlessly and by 1725 it was pretty much all over. Piracy continued, as it still does today, but in a much smaller way.

In 1924, Philip Gosse published The Pirates' Who's Who containing descriptions of famous (and obscure) pirates and their careers. It used as its primary source a book published in 1724 entitled A General History of the Pyrates, from their first Rise and Settlement in the Island of Providence, to the present Time. The authorship of this latter work is unknown although it has been attributed to Daniel Defoe. Both these works are available in full from Project Gutenberg.

I have gone through and extracted the major pirates of the 18th century and lined them up with their crew members. We also have the ‘Articles of Association’ of several pirates that all crew members would have had to sign (probably not in blood, alas) or at least agree to. The Dread Pirate Roberts even seems to have had musicians on board. They at least got one day off a week. You will find the Articles further down this page.

Click on the pirate of your choice for more information. Aargh!

Captain John Quelch : 1703-1704 »

Quelch’s crew

Larimore, Captain Thomas, or Larramore Carter, John Clifford, John
Austin, James Breck, John Carter, Dennis
Chevalle, Daniel Dorothy, John Dunbar, Nicholas. Pirate
Farrington, Thomas Giddens, Paul Harwood, John
Holding, Anthony Hutnot, Joseph James, Charles
Johnson, Isaac King, Charles King, Francis
King, John Lambert, John Lawrence, Nicholas
Lawrence, Richard Miller, John Norton, George
Parkins, Benjamin Parrot, James Perkins, Benjamin
Peterson, Erasmus Pitman, John Primer, Matthew
Quittance, John Raynor, William Richardson, Nicholas
Roach, Peter Scudamore, Christopher Templeton, John
Way, John Wells, Lieutenant Joseph Whitting, William
Wiles, William Wormall, Daniel

Captain Edward Teach (Blackbeard) : 1716-1718 »

Teach’s crew

Blake, James Caesar Curtice, Joseph
Daniel, Stephen Gates, Thomas Gibbens, Garrat
Gills, John Hands, Israel, also known as Basilica Hands Jackson, Nathaniel
Martin, John Odell, Samuel Phillips, Joseph
Richards, Lieutenant Robbins, James Salter, Edward
Stiles, Richard White, James

Major Stede Bonnet/Captain Thomas : 1717-1718 »

Bonnet’s crew

Amand or Annand, Alexander Baily, Job, or Bayley Booth, Samuel
Boyd, Robert Carman, Thomas Dunkin, George
Eddy, William Herriott, David Hewett, William, or Hewet, or Hewit
King, Matthew Levit, John Liver, William, alias Evis
Long, Zachariah Morrison, William Mullet, James, alias Millet
Patterson, Neal Price, Thomas Ridge, John
Ross, George, or Rose Scott, William Thomas, John
Tucker, Robert Virgin, Henry Wilson, James
Killing, James Pell, Ignatius Clarke, Jonathan
Gerrard, Thomas Nicholls, Thomas, alias Nicholas Sharp, Rowland

Captain Bartholomew Roberts : 1720-1722 »

Articles of Association of
Captain Bartholemew Roberts

  1. Every Man has a Vote in Affairs of Moment; has equal Title to the fresh Provisions, or strong Liquors, at any Time seized, and use them at pleasure, unless a Scarcity (no uncommon Thing among them) make it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a Retrenchment.
  2. Every Man to be called fairly in turn, by List, on Board of Prizes, because, (over and above their proper Share,) they were on these Occasions allowed a Shift of Cloaths: But if they defrauded the Company to the Vaue of a Dollar, in Plate, Jewels, or Money, Marooning was their Punishment.
  3. No Person to Game at Cards or Dice for Money.
  4. The Lights and Candles to be put out at eight o'Clock at Night: If any of the Crew, after that Hour, still remained inclined for Drinking, they were to do it on the open Deck.
  5. To keep their Piece, Pistols, and Cutlash clean, and fit for Service.
  6. No Boy or Woman to be allowed amongst them. If any Man were found seducing any of the latter Sex, and carried her to Sea, disguised, he was to suffer Death.
  7. To Desert the Ship, or their Quarters in Battle, was punished with Death, or Marooning.
  8. No striking one another on Board, but every Man's Quarrels to be ended on Shore, at Sword and Pistol.
  9. No Man to talk of breaking up their Way of Living, till each had shared a £1000. If in order to this, any Man should lose a Limb, or become a Cripple in their Service, he was to have 800 Dollars, out of the publick Stock, and for lesser Hurts, proportionably.
  10. The Captain and Quarter-Master to receive two Shares of a Prize; the Master, Boatswain, and Gunner, one Share and a half, and other Officers, one and a Quarter.
  11. The Musicians to have Rest on the Sabbath Day, but the other six Days and Nights, none without special Favour.

Roberts’ crew

Armstrong Ashplant, Valentine Barrow, James
Bill, Philip Bunce, Charles Church, William
Comry, Adam Davis, William Dennis, Henry
Fernon, William Glasby, Harry Goss, Cuthbert
Griffin, John Hardy, Richard Harper, Abraham
Harper, Abraham Harris, Hugh Harris, James
Harris, Richard How, Thomas Jefferys, Benjamin
Johnson, Jacob Johnson, John, or Jaynson Johnson, Marcus
Johnson, Robert Mackintosh, William Magnes, William, or Magnus
Main, William Main, William Mansfield, Jo
Moody, Captain Christopher Morris, John Oughterlauney, Thomas
Petty, William Philips, James Phillips, William
Rice, David Scot, Roger Scudamore, Peter
Skyrm, Captain James Smith, George Stephenson, John
Sutton, Thomas Sympson, David Walden, John, alias "Miss Nanney"
Watts, Edward Watts, William Williams, William
Wilson, George Wood, William

Captain George Lowther : 1721-1722 »

Articles of Association of
Captain George Lowther

  1. The Captain is to have two full Shares; the Master is to have one Share and a half; the Doctor, Mate, Gunner, and Boatswain, one Share and a quarter.
  2. He that shall be found Guilty of taking up any unlawful Weapon on Board the Privateer, or any Prize, by us taken, so as to strike or abuse one another, in any regard, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.
  3. He that shall be found Guilty of Cowardize, in the Time of Engagement, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority shall think fit.
  4. If any Gold, Jewels, Silver, &c. be found on Board of any Prize or Prizes, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, and the Finder do not deliver it to the Quarter-Master, in the Space of 24 Hours, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority shall think fit.
  5. He that is found Guilty of Gaming, or Defrauding another to the Value of a Shilling, shall suffer what Punishment the Captain and Majority of the Company shall think fit.
  6. He that shall have the Misfortune to lose a Limb, in Time of Engagement, shall have the Sum of one hundred and fifty Pounds Sterling, and remain with the Company as long as he shall think fit.
  7. Good Quarters to be given when call'd for.
  8. He that sees a Sail first, shall have the best Pistol, or Small-Arm, on Board her.

Lowther’s Crew

Candor, Ralph Churchill, John Delve, Jonathan
Freebarn, Matthew Grange, Roger Hunter, Andrew
Levercott, Sam Lewis, Nicholas MackDonald, Edward
Shaw, John Watson, Henry West, Richard
Willis, Robert

Captain John Phillips : 1723-1724 »

Articles of Association of
Captain John Phillips

  1. Every Man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full Share and a half in all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner fhall have one Share and quarter.
  2. If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd, with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm, and Shot.
  3. If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.
  4. If at any Time we should meet another Marrooner [that is,Pyrate,] that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
  5. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses's Law (that is, 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back.
  6. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a Cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.
  7. That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.
  8. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight; if a Limb, 800.
  9. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

Phillips’ Crew

Archer, John Rose Cheesman, Edward Fern, Thomas
Fillmore, John Sparks, James Taylor, William
White, William

Captain John Gow : 1724-1725 »

Gow’s Crew

Belvin, James Booth, William Dobson, George
Harvey, William Machauly, Daniel, or Maccawly, or McCawley Melvin, William
Murphy, Tim Peterson, John Phinnies, Job
Read, Robert Rob, Alexander Rollson, Peter
Teague, Robert Williams, Lieutenant James Winter, John

Female Pirates (and Calico Jack) »

Bonny, Anne
Read, Mary
Rackham, Captain John (alias Calico Jack)

Pirates of the later 18th Century »

Breakes, Captain Hiram
Johnson, Captain Ben
Jones, Captain Paul
M'Kinlie, Peter