Chapter VII: Expedition Against Gheriah
Trouble with the Portuguese-- Madagascar pirates again-- Loss of the Cassandra-- Captain Macrae's brave defence-- The one-legged pirate-- Richard Lazenby-- Expedition against Gheriah-- Mr. Walter Brown-- His incompetency-- Gordon's landing-- Insubordination and drunkenness-- Arrival of the Phram-- General attack-- Failure-- The Kempsant's alliance-- Attack on Deoghur-- The Madagascar pirates, England and Taylor-- Ignominious flight-- Fate of the Phram-- Brown despatched south again-- The pirates at Cochin-- They take flight to Madagascar-- Their rage against Macrae and England-- England marooned-- Taylor takes Goa ship-- Rich prize-- Governor Macrae
This last condition had been repudiated in England, but continued to be claimed by the Portuguese, who harassed the position of the English by levying duties, and impeding the passage of supplies, while they gave asylum to deserters and runaways of all kinds. By the treaty, toleration for the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion had been secured; and there had remained in Bombay a large establishment of Franciscan friars, who made no efforts to conceal their hostility to the Company's government. In addition to other treacherous acts, Boone had to complain of the friars tampering with his soldiers and slaves, and encouraging them to desert. In order to put an end to the evil, he banished all the Portuguese friars, and installed in their place an Italian bishop and some Italian Carmelite friars.
This was held by the Goa authorities to be an infringement of the rights of the King of Portugal. In retaliation, all Roman Catholics in Bombay were forbidden to recognize the authority of the Italian bishop and friars, and the Portuguese General of the North was ordered to prohibit all intercourse with Bombay, and to inflict the severest penalties on all persons attempting to go there or to leave it.
"Those who are captured shall be whipped and put in the galleys for five years, and, if of noble birth, they shall pay the sum of one thousand xeraphims in lieu of working in the galleys, and shall be transported for five years to the fortress of Diu."/1/It seemed as if Boone was to have a Portuguese war added to his other troubles. Fortunately, more moderate counsels prevailed, and, in September, a conciliatory letter was written to Boone by the Viceroy, announcing his approaching departure.
A few days later, the new Viceroy, Francisco José de Sampaio e Castro, arrived in Goa. While the quarrel was in progress, a native ship from Surat, bound for Jeddah, was captured off Bassein by a European pirate ship. This was probably England's ship Victory, of which we shall hear more directly. The ship and cargo, valued at twelve lakhs, were carried off, and the passengers and crew put ashore at Malabar Hill.
A month later, Boone received intelligence of a serious loss to the Company's trade from the Madagascar pirates. On the 7th August, the Greenwich, Captain Kirby, and the Cassandra, Captain James Macrae, bringing the usual yearly investment for Bombay and Surat, were in Johanna roads, engaged in watering. At anchor, near them, was an Ostend ship that had called for the same purpose. A few days before, they had received intelligence that a French pirate, Oliver la Bouche,/2/ had run on a reef off Mayotta and lost his ship, and was engaged in building a new one. Thinking that the opportunity of catching the pirates at a disadvantage should not be lost, Macrae and Kirby agreed to go in search of them and attack them. They had just completed their arrangements when two strange sails hove in sight. They proved to be the Victory, a French-built ship of forty-six guns, commanded by the well-known pirate, Edward England, and the Fancy, a Dutch-built ship of twenty-four guns, commanded by Taylor.
Macrae and Kirby prepared to give them a hot reception, the Ostend ship promising to stand by them. So far were they from simply trying to make their escape, that they looked forward to the handsome reward the Company would give them for the capture of the pirates. From what followed it is easy to see that Macrae's was the guiding spirit in this. Cables were cut, and they stood out to sea, but, owing to the light baffling winds, made little way. By next morning the pirates had closed, and bore down with a black flag (skull and crossbones) at the main, a red flag at the fore, and the cross of St. George at the ensign staff. The Greenwich and the Ostender, having a better wind than the Cassandra, had got some distance away. In vain Macrae fired gun after gun at the Greenwich to make Kirby heave to. In a most dastardly way the captain of the Greenwich pursued his course, taking the Ostender with him, till he had got well to windward; when, at a distance of two or three miles, he hove to and watched the fate of the Cassandra.
The Cassandra was a new ship of 380 tons, on her first voyage. Macrae was a thoroughly good seaman, with a fine crew that were attached to him, and was resolved to fight his ship to the last. Early in the engagement he gave the Victory some shots between wind and water, which made England keep off till he had stopped the leaks. Taylor got out the boats of the Fancy and tried to tow her alongside, to carry the Cassandra by boarding, but such good practice was made by the Cassandra's marksmen that the design was given up. At the end of three hours the Victory had repaired damages, and was closing again.
Macrae had lost so many of his crew that, giving up all hope of assistance from Kirby, he determined to run his ship ashore. The Fancy, which drew less water, followed with the intention of boarding, but got aground within pistol-shot, with her bows towards the Cassandra's broadside, and the action recommenced hotter than ever. There the two ships lay, both fast aground, pelting each other furiously, till the crew of the Fancy, finding the Cassandra's fire too hot for them, left their guns and ran below. Had Kirby come to his assistance at this moment, Macrae's triumph would have been assured; but this was the moment chosen by Kirby to bear up and shape his course for Bombay.
England in the Victory, seeing that the Greenwich might be disregarded, sent three boats full of men to reinforce the Fancy; by which time there had been so many killed and wounded on board the Cassandra, that the crew, losing heart, refused to fight the ship any longer. Thirteen had been killed and twenty-four wounded, among the latter Macrae himself, who had been struck by a musket ball on the head; so some in the long boat and some by swimming reached the shore, leaving on board three wounded men who could not be moved, and who were butchered by the pirates.
Not deeming it safe to linger on the coast, Macrae and his crew hastened inland, reaching the town of the local chief, twenty-five miles off, the following morning. Exhausted with fatigue and wounds, almost naked, they were in a pitiable condition. The natives received them hospitably, supplied their wants to the best of their ability, and refused to surrender them to the pirates, who offered a reward for them.
After the first rage of the pirates at the heavy losses they had sustained, had abated, and [had been] soothed, no doubt, by the capture of a fine new ship with £75,000 on board in hard cash, Macrae ventured to open communications with them. Several among them had sailed with him, and his reputation for considerate treatment of his men was well known. With all their faults, they were not all of them men to resent greatly, after their first fury had cooled, the loss that had been suffered in fair fight; so England gave him a promise of safety, and he ventured himself among them. The Cassandra and the Fancy had been floated, and Macrae was entertained on board his own ship with his own liquors and provisions.
His position was not without danger, as there were many brutal fellows among the pirates. England, who had a reputation for good treatment of prisoners, befriended him; but Taylor, whose influence was greatest among the most brutal of the rovers, insisted he should be made an end of. In the midst of the quarrel, a fierce-looking fellow with a wooden leg and his belt full of pistols, intervened, asking with many oaths for Macrae, who thought his last moment had come./3/ He was pleasantly surprised when the ruffian took him by the hand, and swore with many oaths that he would make mince-meat of the first man that hurt him; and protested, with more oaths, that Macrae was an honest fellow, and he had formerly sailed with him. So the dispute ended. Taylor was plied with punch till he was prevailed on to consent that the Fancy, together with some of the Cassandra's cargo, should be given to Macrae, and before he could recover from his carouse, Macrae had got safe to shore again.
As soon as the pirates had left the coast, in the Victory and the Cassandra, Macrae set to work to patch up the much-battered Fancy, and in a few days sailed for Bombay, with forty-one of his ship's company, among whom were two passengers and twelve soldiers. After forty-eight days of terrible sufferings almost naked, half starved, and reduced to a daily pint of water each, they reached Bombay on the 26th October. It would have been well for the Company if they had had more captains like Macrae. His arrival brought much obloquy on Kirby, whose shameful desertion was now made known.
The pirates only detained one of the Cassandra's crew-- Richard Lazenby, the carpenter's mate, whom they forced unwillingly to go with them. There is still extant a curious account by Lazenby of his cruise with the pirates. He tells of the cruel tortures inflicted on all captured natives; how on the Malabar coast they had friends, especially among the Dutch at Cochin, who bought their plunder, supplied them with provisions, and gave them information of armed ships to be avoided, and rich prizes to be intercepted. Those who wished to retire from the trade were given passages to Europe with their ill-gotten gains, in French ships; and finally, after witnessing the capture of the Portuguese Viceroy, to be related presently, he was put ashore at Bourbon; whence, in time, he made his way to England.
Since the renewal of war by Angria, at the beginning of the year, Boone had resolved to strike another blow against Gheriah, and all through the monsoon preparations had been made for action in September. Great things were expected of the Phram, which was, however, not ready when the expedition sailed. The direction of affairs was on this occasion entrusted to Mr. Walter Brown, who was styled for the occasion "Admiral of the Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces." On the 13th September anchor was weighed, and on the morning of the 19th they arrived off Gheriah.
At Dabul, where they had called in for news, they learned that the Phram and the Chandos might soon be expected, but that there was no prospect of Captain Johnson's machine being ready to take part in the expedition. What Captain Johnson's machine was we do not learn, but the intelligence 'mightily disconcerted the soldiery.' The squadron consisted of the London, which acted as flagship; the Victory, frigate; the Revenge and Defiance, grabs; the Hunter, galley; two gallivats; a bombketch; a fireship; and a number of fishing-boats for landing troops.
The troops for the expedition consisted of 350 soldiers and topasses and 80 chosen sepoys. Brown appears to have been thoroughly incompetent for such a command, and the undertaking was destined to add one more to the dismal list of failures. His first act was to make the London exchange useless shots with the fort at a mile distance. The following day, the bombketch was ordered to run close in within pistol-shot, and bombard the place at night. One shell and one carcass were fired, neither of which went halfway, by reason of the mortars being so faultily constructed that the chambers could not contain a sufficient charge of powder. 'This misfortune set the people a-grumbling.'
On the 21st, Brown held a consultation of his officers, and proposed to land three hundred men at night, a mile from the town, so as to surprise it at daylight. The officers protested against the scheme; they justly remarked that it would be folly to make such an attack before the arrival of the whole force. The Phram and the Chandos, with the platoons of Europeans, were still to come. They represented that the garrison of the fort alone was a thousand strong, to say nothing of the small walled town which must be taken before the fort could be attacked. Such a proposal was not likely to increase their confidence in Brown. Sickness had already set in among the troops, and that evening Captain Jeremiah Easthope died of fever. Brown was all for immediate action, without having any definite plan.
On the 22nd, Gordon was ordered to land with fifty men, and occupy a small building on the top of a hill on the north side of the river. What he was expected to do there does not appear. Soon, a number of boats full of men were observed crossing from the fort to engage Gordon, so a reinforcement of fifty men was sent to him. On reaching the hill, Gordon found that what had been taken for a building consisted only of a natural pile of loose stones, such as are to be frequently seen on the Deccan hills, and there was nothing for it but to re-embark. He managed his retreat to the landing-place in good order, followed by the enemy at musket-shot distance. Several times he faced about, but the enemy always shrank from close quarters. Nothing had been done to cover the place of embarkation, and it was only after the strongest remonstrances from those on board that Brown was prevailed on to order the Revenge and the Hunter to stand in and cover the re-embarkation of Gordon's party. In spite of this precaution, a lieutenant, a sergeant, a quartermaster of the London, and six men were killed, and about twenty men wounded. It is difficult to imagine anything feebler and more aimless than the whole proceeding.
The next day the bombketch was again sent in to bombard the fort, with the same result as before. The proceedings were enlivened by the punishment of Sergeant Passmore, who was reported by Gordon for cowardly behaviour. He was sent round the fleet to receive ten lashes alongside each ship. The next three days were spent in idleness, awaiting the Phram, from which so much was expected. On board ship there was no discipline, but plenty of hard drinking. In order to make the men fight well, Brown's idea was to supply them with unlimited rum: the officers kept pace with the men in their libations, and what little discipline existed soon disappeared. Orders were disobeyed, while drunkenness, violence, and insubordination reigned unchecked. When remonstrances were addressed to Brown, he refused to stop the supply of liquor, saying that the people must not be put out of humour at this juncture, and they must drink as they pleased: all which is duly recorded by Captain Upton of the London. The enemy meanwhile was observed busily constructing new batteries, and boats full of armed men were constantly crossing the river, but nothing was done to intercept them.
At last, the Chandos, Pelham, and Phram arrived, having spent ten days in their voyage from Bombay. Nothing better occurred to Brown than to send the Phram at once to engage the fort. On opening fire, it was found that her ports were so low and the gun-carriages so high, that her guns could only be fired when depressed so as to strike the water twenty yards off. So she was brought out again with one man mortally wounded, and the officers and soldiers so mightily discouraged that they declared [that] unless she could be made serviceable, it was useless to attempt anything further. The ships' carpenters were set to work on the Phram, while the dejection and drinking increased. Fifty men of the Chandos, who had not yet had an opportunity of gauging Brown's incapacity, volunteered, for forty rupees a head, to join a landing party; but not a single seaman in the squadron would consent, 'upon any consideration whatsoever,' to go on board the Phram, till an increased bounty secured the services of the Chandos' sailors.
By the 29th all was ready for the grand attack. Two landing parties, one of three hundred and forty soldiers under Captain Stanton, and the other of two hundred and thirty-seven seamen under Captain Woodward, were held in readiness, and soon after midday the fleet stood into the inner harbour, with the exception of the Phram, which engaged the fort from the outer harbour. Lieutenant Wise had been selected as a fit person to command and point the Phram's guns, which he did so badly that his shot mostly fell in the inner harbour. The Mahrattas were quite ready for them, and all the afternoon the cannonade went on, till sunset put an end to it. Five men on board the Phram were wounded, but it had engaged at too great a distance to do or suffer much harm. Brown, in the London, had kept out of action, and contented himself with sending six dozen of wine and arrack to the men on board the Phram, together with orders to Stanton, who was on board, to warp into the harbour at night and renew the action next morning.
The following day firing recommenced, and it was found necessary to displace Lieutenant Wise, he being continually drunk, and to allow the sailors to point their own guns. The closer range caused numerous casualties on board the Phram. Among the soldiers, Mr. Tuladay and four men were killed, and a great number wounded. The seamen also had several killed and wounded. Many of the casualties were caused by the bursting of a gun on board the Phram. The explosion fired the gun on the opposite side of the deck, which was loaded with grape, and pointing over a boat full of topasses. The flame from the gun ignited their cartridge boxes, and the poor wretches were terribly scorched and injured. The fire of the ships in the inner harbour was successful in destroying a number of Angria's ships that had sought refuge in the river; one of five hundred tons, one of two hundred tons, and ten smaller ones were set on fire and burnt.
By nightfall, all hands thought they had done enough, and told Stanton so, and in spite of Brown's messages of expostulation, they took advantage of a land breeze to come out. At midnight came Captain Woodward, of the Revenge, to report, in a panic, to Brown that he had left his ship on the rocks close to the fort, and that both vessel and crew were as good as lost. Half an hour after, the Revenge was seen coming out with the other vessels. She had not been ashore at all, and the only conclusion was that Woodward was frightened out of his senses; so he was put in irons for his cowardice.
Thus came to an end the grand attack, and nothing better was to be expected. "I have continual disturbances in the ship dayly by the officers excessive drinking, and noe manner of command carryed," wrote Captain Upton, of the London. A few days later he records how Captain S. and Mr. D./4/ fought with their fists in the roundhouse before Mr. Brown, who took no notice of it.
The next few days were spent in repairing damages. While thus employed, messengers came from the Kempsant, offering to join hands with the English in attacking Angria. A quarrel had arisen between the two chiefs, owing to Angria having plundered some of the Kempsant's ships. But he stipulated that Angria's fort at Deoghur, seven leagues to the south, should be first attacked; so, on the 7th October, part of the fleet was sent down to reconnoitre.
On the 16th, fresh stores of arrack, water and provisions having been received from Goa, Brown called a consultation of the officers on board the Addison, and proposed another landing under the Phram's guns. But the officers were disheartened, undisciplined, and under no control. One objection after another was raised, and the council of war came to an end by other officers of the squadron, who had learned what was going on, coming aboard, and conveying to Brown in no measured terms that they would have nothing to do with it. One of them in a passion told Brown he was mad, and did not know what he was about-- which was true enough. The next day, a foolish show of landing was made, and then Brown decided to abandon the attempt and transfer his attack to Deoghur.
Deoghur, or, as it was sometimes called, Tamana, was one of the ten principal forts ceded to Angria in 1713. It commanded the small but good harbour formed by the Tamana river. This was Angria's southernmost stronghold. The name Tamana is still to be found at a small place ten miles up the river. Here Brown brought his squadron on the 18th October. The usual desultory and harmless bombardment followed; the Phram and the bombketch being equally inefficient. Then when Brown suggested a landing party to storm the place, the officers refused to second him, and so, with some additional loss, the attack on Deoghur came to an end. Not a word is said as to any assistance rendered by the Kempsant. At daybreak on the 21st, the whole squadron sailed northward, but the tale of Brown's incompetency was not complete.
A little before noon next morning four strange sails were seen in the offing, which, before long, were made out to be the dreaded Madagascar pirates, with the Cassandra, Victory, and two prizes they had just taken. The sight of them struck Brown with terror, though a little reflection would have shown him that the pirates would have little or no inducement to attack armed ships carrying no valuable merchandise. He directed his whole squadron to anchor off Gheriah, which must have appeared puzzling to his late antagonists in that place. Hoping to evade the pirate ships, anchor was weighed in the night, and the squadron sailed northward, no order being preserved, and the fleet getting much scattered.
As it happened, the pirates had mistaken them for Angria's fleet, and were standing to the northward in search of prey, without any thought of attacking them. Without any hostile intention on either side, the two squadrons became intermingled. While it was still dark, the party on the London was startled by a cannon shot flying over them, and in the faint morning light they saw a large ship on their quarter. On hailing to ask her name, an answer came back that it was the Victory. Brown preferred to believe that it was his own ship of that name; but his answering hail, giving the name of the London, was replied to with a broadside, to which a smart fire was returned by the Revenge and the Defiance, that were close astern.
On both sides there was no willingness to fight. The pirates were at first seized with consternation at discovering their mistake; they had turned their prizes adrift after throwing their sails overboard, and, with only three hundred men for their joint crews, forty of them negroes, were not strong enough to engage the Bombay squadron. But England was a man who preferred fighting to running, so putting a bold face on the matter, the Cassandra ran through the fleet, firing into the Victory, the Chandos, and the Phram. The Chandos, which was towing the Phram, at once cast it loose.
The fleet scattered in all directions, like a flock of sheep when a strange dog runs through it. Upton of the London, a chicken-hearted fellow, persuaded Brown that they ought not to engage, as Boone had sent them to attack Gheriah, but had given them no instructions about the Madagascar pirates. Brown seemingly did not want much persuading, and crowded all sail to escape; at the same time striking his flag to show that he did not intend fighting, which excited the indignation of his own sailors and the derision of the pirates. He next sent orders by a gallivat for the Phram to be burned, and thus that useless machine, from which so much had been expected; and that had cost so much money and labour, came to an end.
These foolish proceedings gave England the measure of his antagonists. 'Observing the indifferency of the fleet,' the best way of saving himself was, he thought, to 'play the Bull-beggar' with them; so he set to work to chase them northward. The superior sailing powers of the pirates enabled them to do as they pleased.
When they overtook the rearmost of the ships Brown had still got with him, they backed their sails and fired into them till they had got well ahead again. In this ignominious fashion the greater part of the fleet was shuffled along for two days by the pirates, as a flock of sheep is driven by a couple of sheep-dogs, till they at last found refuge in Goa. The soldiers on board the London improved the occasion by breaking into the 'Lazaretto' and getting drunk on the wine they found there. Part of the fleet made for Carwar, and others found safety under the guns of Anjediva. The pirates, having effected their purpose of driving them off, turned south and took the Elizabeth at anchor off Honore.
Before long, an indignant letter from Boone ordered Brown to cruise southward and engage the pirates at all hazards; so the unhappy Brown put to sea again. The news of the capture of the Elizabeth was enough for him: on the third day he turned northward again and made for Bombay; to make his peace with the exasperated Governor as he best could. It is not difficult to imagine Boone's disgust at the failure of his schemes, and the worthlessness of those he had to depend upon; but it must be admitted that these desultory attacks, first on one place and then on another, were not calculated to effect anything useful. Had he concentrated his efforts on Kennery, he might have rendered the waters of Bombay more secure.
Brown laid the blame of his failure on the disobedience of his officers, which had been so flagrant as to conceal his own incapacity; so on the 12th December, Boone again despatched him to search for the pirates, and give protection to the country vessels bringing up pepper from the southern factories. He took with him a fine squadron: the Greenwich, 42 guns; the Chandos, 40 guns; the Victory, 26 guns; the Britannia, 24 guns; the Revenge, 16 guns; and a fireship. The pusillanimous Upton was left behind, and, next to himself in command of the expedition, but in reality the moving spirit, he took the gallant Macrae. England and Taylor had meanwhile been constrained to run down to the Laccadives, for want of water and provisions.
Not getting what they wanted, they had come northward again to Cochin, where they were royally entertained by the Dutch authorities. They were supplied with everything they required, including a present from the Governor, of a boat loaded with arrack, and sixty bales of sugar, for all of which handsome payment was made, while handfuls of duccatoons were thrown into the boat for the boatmen to scramble for. A fine clock and gold watch, found in the Cassandra when captured, were sent as a present to the Governor's daughter, and formal salutes were fired on both sides as they entered and left the harbour. No wonder that they were made welcome along the coast.
On leaving Cochin, they took a small vessel from Tellicherry sailing under a Bombay pass. From the master they learned that the Bombay squadron, with Macrae in command, was cruising in search of them. They were roused to fury by this news of Macrae's 'ingratitude,' and vied with each other in devising the tortures to which they would subject him if he fell into their hands again, while their anger was vented on England and all who had stood up for Macrae after the capture of the Cassandra. Before long they were sighted by Brown, who bore down on them and signalled them to heave to. This behaviour, so different from their previous experiences, was little to their liking. They made sail for the southwards, and, for two days, were held in chase, till by superior sailing they lost their pursuers.
Such an extraordinary change in the behaviour of the Bombay squadron taught them that the Indian coast was no longer a safe place for honest rovers. It was expedient to take themselves elsewhere: so sail was made for Mauritius. Against Macrae their curses were loud and deep. A villain they had treated so well as to give him a ship and other presents, and now to be in arms against them! No fate was bad enough for such a man. They had been cruelly deceived. To appease their wrath they turned upon England. But for his foolish championship of Macrae, this would not have happened. Taylor had been right all along. They would only follow him in future. In their rage they first talked of hanging England, till more moderate counsels prevailed, and it was decided to maroon him at Mauritius, which was done. England and three others who had befriended Macrae were set on shore, among them, no doubt, the one-legged pirate, and in due course of time made their way over to St. Mary's./5/
At St. Mary's the command of the Victory was made over to Oliver La Bouche, or La Buze, whose efforts at shipbuilding had apparently not met with success, and the two ships, in company, before long took what was probably the richest prize that ever fell into pirate hands. The ex-Viceroy of Goa, the Conde de Ericeira, had sailed for Lisbon, in January, in the Nostra Senhora de Cabo, a seventy-gun ship, taking with him a rich consignment of jewels for the Portuguese Government, and the proceeds of his own private trading during the three years of his viceroyalty. Off the Cape they encountered a heavy storm, which dismasted the ship, forced them to throw many of their guns overboard, and obliged them to put back to Bourbon to refit.
Taylor and La Buze, learning the helplessness of the Viceroy's ship, sailed into the anchorage under English colours. A salute from the Viceroy's ship was answered with a shotted broadside, and, in the confusion that ensued, the Portuguese ship was boarded and carried almost without resistance. Seldom or never had such a prize fallen into pirate hands so easily. The booty in diamonds and money was in the shape most coveted by the rovers. The jewels alone were estimated at over three million dollars. The hard cash was said to be five hundred thousand crowns, and the Viceroy was forced to raise another two thousand crowns as a personal ransom, which would have been higher, had he not convinced them that part of the jewels and money on board was his own property.
Bourbon was a French possession, but the Governor, M. Desforges, was obliged to observe une grande circonspection in his dealings with the pirates, who came and went as they pleased. Bernardin de St. Pierre, who visited Bourbon nearly fifty years later, repeats a tradition, how La Buze sat at table between the Viceroy and the Governor, and in an access of generosity remitted the Viceroy's ransom. He further tells us that La Buze eventually settled down in the island, and was hung some years later.
Taylor, continuing his cruise in the Cassandra, took a fine Ostend ship, and carried her to St. Mary's. While most of the pirates were on shore, the prisoners overpowered the few left to guard them, and carried off the ship. We get a last glimpse of the Cassandra in a private letter written to the Directors in May 1723, from Jamaica, in which it is stated that the Cassandra was lying at Portobello, while Taylor was engaged in negotiating with the captain of an English man-of-war for a pardon. The negotiations apparently fell through, as Taylor was eventually given a commission by the Spaniards. The letter relates how the crew boasted that they had, each man, twelve hundred pounds in gold and silver, besides a great store of diamonds and many rich goods. Of the sharing of these diamonds, Johnson tells a story how one man, being given for his share one big diamond instead of a number of small ones, broke it up with a hammer, so that he might have as many 'sparks' as the others.
Macrae's defence of the Cassandra, and the boldness and ability he displayed in his dealings with the pirates, brought him into prominent notice. The son of a poor Ayrshire cottager, he had worked himself up from before the mast, to the command of a ship. Soon after his return to England, the Directors appointed him to be their supervisor on the west coast of Sumatra, and, before he sailed, a provisional commission was given him to succeed to the Presidentship of Madras, on a vacancy occurring. Eighteen months later, he took his seat as Governor at Fort St. George. His six years of office were distinguished by his efforts to put an end to many abuses that had grown up in the Company's affairs. He left India with a fortune of £100,000, made by private trade, and settled down near his birthplace, which he had not revisited since he left it as a boy. He died in 1746.
NOTE.--The account of England's cruise in the Cassandra, given in Johnson's "History of the Pirates," is evidently taken from Lazenby's narrative to the E.I.C. Directors. Macrae's account of the capture of the Cassandra, given by Johnson, appears also to have been part of a similar report to the Directors, but the report itself has disappeared. Additional information is to be found in the logs of the Greenwich and London.
issued at Goa, 19th July, 1720 (Danvers).
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