The Water Tiger

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Richard Lazenby, Part Two

The narrative here shifts back to Richard Lazenby:”They then cruised to the southwards and the next day between Goa and Karwar hearing guns, they sent out their boat to discover what ships were in the roads of Anjediva near by. About two in the morning the boat returned with word of two grabs lying at anchor in the road on which the Pirates weighed and ran down till daylight giving the grabs sight of them, they ran under the walls of the Castle wronging the Pirates. The Pirates held a council to see what they should do whether to make a descent or continue their voyage, and agreeing on the latter they went down to the southwards.

The next morning they came to Honawar Bay wherin they spied a ship at anchor which they took, it having no one aboard but a Dutchman and two Portuguese, the captain being ashore with his officers. They sent to him to acquaint him that he could have his ship again if he would supply them with fresh provisions and water and the master returned for answer that if they would deliver him possession over the bar, he would comply with their request. This proposal the Pirates thought was but a trap, and the mate who honestly entered with them, being of the same opinion, they resolved to go for the Laccadives, first burning the ship.

The same day of their arrival they took a small Manchew near the Island of Amendivi. They then sent their boat ashore which returned giving a good account of abundance of water and a large village. But, at the sight of he ships, the inhabitants fled off in boats to the neighboring Islands leaving abundance of women and children hidden in the bushes, which the Pirates found and forced to their barbarous inclinations. Afterwards they destroyed all the coco-nut trees and everything else they met with and then burnt the houses an churches. Whilst there they had a great gale which drove them off the island, after losing several anchors and leaving 70 people and their water casks ashore.

It was ten days before they again made the Island and took aboard their men and their water. They then went to Cochin to be supplied with provisions by their good friends the Dutch. Three days later they took a small ship belonging to Governor Adam off Tellicherry, John Fawke, Master, who was brought aboard very drunk. He giving them an account of Captain Macrae's fitting out a fleet (incorrect) which put them all into a tempest of passion. 'The Villain,' says they, 'that we treated so civilly as to give him a ship and other presents, and now to come armed against us? He ought to be hanged, and since we cannot shew our resentment on him let us hang the dogs who wish him well if clear,' says the Quartermaster, 'Damn England!'

Then the Quartermaster told me to prepare, for the next day he would hang me like a dog, not doubting that I would take the first opportunity to fight against them as Captain Macrae was doing though they had so civilly used him as to give him a ship to go from Johanna. They next proceeded to Calicut where they endeavoured to take a large ship from out of the roads, but were intercepted by guns fired at them from on shore. At this time I was below, but the Captain and the Quartermaster were so malicious as to order me to the boom in the hope I should be shot. The Quartermaster told me that if ever he knew me off the deck in time of action he would shoot me through the head.

I told him he had better do it at once than keep me in misery there, at which he begged the Captain to correct me, he being lame of his hands. According to his desire Captain Taylor fetched his cane and began to belabour me so unmercifully that in the end some of the people hindered him and said he should be ashamed to so abuse me, telling him they would have me put ashore at Cochin. The next day they came up with a Dutch Galliott laden with limestone bound for Cochin aboard of which they put Captain Fawke. Some of the people told the Captain he might as well let me go, but he answered that if they had a mind to let a dog go that had heard all their designs for the ensuing year, he would never consent to it.

This occasioned a strong debate, and so far enraged the Captain that he swore if I went he would first have a limb of me to his own share. The next day they arrived off Cochin and in the afternoon ran into the road with the sea breeze and anchoring saluted the fort with eleven guns each ship, the Fort returning the same, gun for gun. At night there came a great boat laden with fresh provisions and liquor sent them by one John Trumpett, a Dutchman, which boat told them to weigh and run further south where they would be supplied with all they desired. At night there came aboard the said john Trumpett, bringing a large boatload of arrack which they received with abundance of joy, demanding more.

He said he had procured for them all that the place yielded which was about 90 leaguers (20 gallon barrels). With this came 60 bundles of sugar cane (for punch). The second day they sent ashore a fine table clock from the Cassandra and a large gold watch presents to the governor as earnests of what they would pay if all their demands were satisfied. When they had all on board, they paid Mr. Trumpett to his satisfaction, it was computed, f6,000 to f7,000, and gave him three cheers, fired eleven guns from each ship, and threw ducatoons (5s.) into the boats by handsful for the boatmen to scramble for.

That night, being a little wind, they did not weigh, and the next day, John Trumpett returned with more arrack, piece goods and ready made clothes. At noon they saw a sail to the southward, on which they immediately weighed and stood after her. But she, having a good offing, got away, and anchored under the walls of Cochin Fort. In the morning they had sight of her, and came into the roads, being assured by the aforesaid John Trumpett and the Fiscal of Cochin, that they might take her without any molestation, and if they did, they would buy her from the pirates for as good a price as any.

They stood boldly in to board her, but when within a cable's length, the Fort fired her guns, at which the Pirates instantly bore out of the roads and made sail to their former berth. At night a great boat with water came from John Trumpett, and intimation that if they would wait a few days longer there would come by a very rich ship belonging to the brother of the Governor of Bombay. They spent the night getting in the water, and in the morning continued their cruise. When at sea, they held a council, at which some were for going forthwith to Madagascar, others to stay and cruise for a rich Moors ship.

The latter they at last agreed upon, on which they plied to the southward, where they saw a ship lying in shore, but she having the wind of them, they could not get near her. The night coming on, they separated, thinking in the morning to have her between them, but in this they were disappointed, for when day broke they were very near five sail, which made signals to them to bear down. This put them into great confusion, by reason that their consort was three leagues to the southward, so they immediately stood towards her and joined company, the fleet chasing them all the time. At first they were very dejected, thinking this the fleet under Captain Macrae, sent out after them, and made all sail possible.

After three hours, finding none of the fleet coming up with them, except a grab, which came half way and went back, they began to rejoice, and in the morning, finding the fleet completely out of sight, were very rejoiced, desiring none of Macrae's company. Thinking themselves now out of danger, they caroused, and kept their Christmas in a most riotous manner, destroying most of the fresh provisions they had aboard, of which quite two-thirds was wasted. After three days of such debauchery ad waste, they decided to go to Mauritius to repair the Victory, which was now in a very bad way. In their passage thither, hey expected her to founder every day, and were several times going to quit her, were it not for scarcity of water and provisions, and that there was still a quantity of arrack aboard.

At this time, they were reduced to one bottle of water per man, and two pounds of beef, and a small quantity of rice for each a man for ten days, though the water came every day. Had it not been for the arrack and the sugar, most of them must have perished of hunger and thirst. In this condition they arrived at Mauritius in the middle of February 1721, finding there good provision of all sorts, and materials with which to repair and re-sheath their leaky ship. Having completed their arrangements they sailed for Mascarenhas, on the 5th April , and arrived there at eight in the morning of the 8th inst. They found lying there a large Poryguese ship of 70 guns, which they took with small resistance, by reason she had lost all her masts and all save 21 of her guns in a great storm in latitude 13. Viceroy of Goa, and several other gentlemen that were passengers, and had gone ashore, came aboard the Pirate ship in the morning, believing she and her consort were 'English Company' ships. After they had taken the Viceroy and his ship, the Pirates had account of an Ostender that lay to the leeward of the Island, so they made their way thither and took her. There now happened a great cabal amongst the Pirates on the Viceroy's account, some being for carrying him to Mozambique for a great ransom, and others saying 'twere better to take a smaller sum there than to be troubled further.

At last they compounded for 2,000 dollars for the ransom of the Viceroy. At this place, I John Lazenby, begged earnestly to be put ashore, which in the end was granted, and on the 10th instant, I went ashore with the Viceroy and all the other prisoners. The Governor of this place interceded with the Pirates to leave a ship to carry away all those landed from the Viceroy's ship, they being more than the Island could properly support. With smooth promises, the Pirates said they would call a council to see what should be done. But instead, they sailed away during the night, carrying with them the bests of the sailors taken in the two ships, besides 200 Mozambique laves taken from the Viceroy's ship.

They designed to go for Madagascar and there to clean the Cassandra, and sell their negroes, and from thence to the Red Sea. If they met no success in the Red Sea they would then go to Cochin to sell their Dutch friends the diamonds taken in the Portuguese ship, which the Viceroy since told me were of the value of three or four million dollars.”


This is the end of Lazenby's narrative.

1Grey, Charles, Pirates of the Eastern Seas, (1618 – 1723), A Lurid Page of History, edited by Lieut.-General Sir George MacMunn, Kennikat press, Port Washington, NY/London, 1971, p 316

2 Biddulph, J. (John), The Pirates of Malabar, and an Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago, Smith, Elder, & Co., 15 Waterloo Place, 1907.





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