Friday, October 15, 2021

Pirates, Pirates, and More Pirates!

Pirates have been romanticized more and more, and Pirates of the Caribbean helped that along, I'm sure. Who wouldn't cheer for Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp? But many of the pirates who invaded the sea and terrorized ships where not as likeable or as gentlemanly as the famed Jack Sparrow.

Did you know there were two Blackbeards? Today were going to talk about one you may not have heard of from the medieval era.

The first Blackbeard the Pirate was William Maurice. Not a lot is known about him but we do know he was the first man to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in England. That was in 1241 and the form of punishment and death was designed especially for him. For those who don't know what hanged, drawn, and quartered is, the convicted was first hung until he was half-dead. He was then taken down and and his members cut off and disemboweled while he was still alive. Lastly he would be cut into 4 pieces. England would go on to use this form of punishment for high treason.

Henry Jennings wasn't drawn to piracy because of a lack of money. He was an educated man and owned estates in both Bermuda and Jamaica. He was a privateer during the War of the Spanish Succession and operated from Jamaica under Lord Archibald Hamilton. They were sanctioned to stop pirates according to the Law of Arms but only pirates and no one else. But Jennings and Vane captured a Spanish mail ship and discovered where the main Spanish salvage camp was. Several months later Jennings found the camp. By this time much of the goods had been returned to Havana, however Jennings did find some plunder awaiting shipment and took that opportunity to do his first act of piracy. Jennings continued on pirating for two more years. But when the governor of the Bahamas issued a decree to pardon all pirates who surrendered by the end of the year, Jennings came forward and surrendered. He was pardoned and was said to have spent his retirement as a respected member of society, never returning to piracy.

Picture By Geo. S. Harris and Sons - This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, CC0,

Charles Vane served under Henry Jennings. In 1715 a  hurricane had blown through and taken out a Spanish Treasure Fleet. Jennings and their crew came upon the handful of men who had not only survived but had salvaged as much of the gold as they could. The crew went to land and took 87,000 pounds of British gold and silver. Hoping to bring safety and peace to the sea, the king offered a pardon for pirates. While Jennings took the pardon, Vane had no interest in it. Instead, he became captain of Jenning's men who chose not to take the king's pardon. Vane was not only a die hard pirate, he was a mean one. He was known for his cruelty to his prisoners whether they surrendered or fought. He enjoyed beating, torturing, and killing the sailors he caught. He was one of the leaders of the Republic of Pirates, a stronghold of a loose confederacy that called Nassau home on New Providence island in the Bahamas and was run by pirates that were once privateers. Vane seized a lot of ships around the Bahamas. He and one of his other ships were separated in a hurricane they ran into. Vane's ship wrecked on an uninhabited island. He was found by English ships who had stopped to get water. Vane had try to join the crew under a false name but was recognized. He was put in prison and later hung in Port Royal and then his corpse was hung in chains at Gun Cay.

By Unknown author - [1] The History and Lives of All the Most Notorious Pyrates (London, 1725), Public Domain,

Calico Jack pirated during the 'Golden Age of Piracy' (1650-1725). His real name was John Rackham. He is known for the two female pirates that sailed with his crew. Calico Jack served under Charles Vane, but when the captain wouldn't take a larger ship full of booty the crew gave Vane and his fifteen supporters the boot and made Calico Jack their new Captain. In 1719 Rackham accepted a blanket pardon for all pirates, but like so many other pirates, it was in his blood and he would soon return. During this time he had an affair with Anne Bonny. The woman's husband was friends with the governor, who had her whipped for adultery. Anne fled, Rackham gave up his honest life and went back to pirating bringing Anne along with him. Mary Read disguised herself as a man to get on the crew of the pirate ship. Calico Jack pirated from 1718 to 1720, when he was captured by an English privateer. The Governor of Jamaica put him on trial and he was found guilty and hung in November of 1720 in Port Royal with most of his crew. 

Bride by Blackmail

A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness.

Eager to find the traitor that caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass's hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's
#1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 6 1/2 pekin ducks.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! I enjoyed the look into the lives of some pirates. I wonder why so many governors and kings kept trying to pardon these outlaws when most of them went back to their lawless ways.