The Pirate and the Gallows: An Atlantic Theater of Terror and Resistance

In the early afternoon of July 12, 1726, William Fly ascended Boston’s gallows to be hanged for piracy.1 His body was nimble in manner like a sailor going aloft; his rope-roughened hands carried a nosegay of flowers; his weather‑beaten face had “a Smiling Aspect.” He showed no guilt, no shame, no contrition. Indeed, as Cotton Mather, the presiding prelate, noted, he “look’d about him unconcerned.” But once he stood upon the gallows, he became concerned, although not in the way anyone might have expected. His demeanor quickened and he took charge of the stage of death. He threw the rope over the beam, making it fast, and carefully inspected the noose that would go around his neck. He turned in disappointment to the hangman and reproached him “for not understanding his Trade.” But Fly, who like most sailors knew the art of tying knots, took mercy on the novice. He offered to teach him how to tie a proper noose. Fly then “with his own Hands rectified Matters, to render all things more Convenient and Effectual,” retying the knot himself as the multitude who had gathered around the gallows looked on in astonishment. He informed the hangman and the crowd that “he was not afraid to die,” that “he had wrong’d no Man.” Mather explained that he was determined to die “a brave fellow.”2

When the time came for last words on the awful occasion, Mather wanted Fly and his fellow pirates to become preachers À that is, he wanted them to provide examples and warnings to those who assembled to watch the execution.3 They all complied. Samuel Cole, Henry Greenville, and George Condick, perhaps hoping for a last-minute pardon, stood penitently before the crowd and warned all to obey their parents and superiors, and not to curse, drink, whore, or profane the Lord’s day. These three pirates acknowledged the justice of the proceedings against them, and they thanked the ministers for their assistance. Fly, on the other hand, did not ask forgiveness, did not praise the authorities, did not affirm the values of Christianity, as he was supposed to do, but he did issue a warning. Addressing the port city crowd thick with ship captains and sailors, he proclaimed his final, fondest wish: that “all Masters of Vessels might take Warning by the Fate of the Captain (meaning Captain Green) that he had murder’d, and to pay Sailors their Wages when due, and to treat them better; saying, that their Barbarity to them made so many turn Pyrates.”4 Fly thus used his last breath to protest the conditions of work at sea, what he called “Bad Usage,” and was launched into eternity with the brash threat of mutiny on his lips. Mather took pleasure in detecting what he thought was a slight tremor in the malefactor’s hands and knees, but Fly died on his own terms, defiantly and courageously. In any case, the ministers and magistrates of Boston had reserved for themselves the last lines of the drama. If Fly would not warn people in the ways they deemed proper, they would do it themselves, and in so doing they would answer his threat. After the execution, they hanged Fly’s body in chains at the entrance of Boston harbor “as a Spectacle for the Warning of others, especially Sea faring Men.”5

High drama had surrounded Fly and his crew from the moment they were brought into port as captives on June 28, 1726. Fly was a 27-year-old boatswain, a poor man “of very obscure Parents,” who had signed on in Jamaica in April 1726 to sail with Captain John Green to West Africa in the Elizabeth, a snow (two-masted vessel) of Bristol. Green and Fly soon clashed, and the boatswain began to organize a mutiny against his command. Fly and another sailor, Alexander Mitchell, roused Green from his sleep late one night, forced him upon deck, beat him, and attempted to throw him over the side of the ship. When Green caught hold of the mainsheet, one of the sailors picked up the cooper’s broad-axe and chopped off the captain’s hand at the wrist. Poor Green “was swallowed up by the Sea.” The mutineers then turned the axe on the first mate, Thomas Jenkins, and threw him, still alive, after the captain over-board. They debated whether their messmate, the ship’s doctor, should follow them into the blue, but a majority of the crew decided he might prove useful and decided instead to confine him in irons.6

Having taken possession of the ship, the mutineers prepared a bowl of punch and ceremoniously installed a new shipboard order of things. These sailors, who routinely sewed canvas sails and were therefore expert with needle and thread, stitched a skull and crossbones onto a black flag, creating the Jolly Roger, the pirates’ traditional symbol and instrument of terror. They renamed their vessel the Fames’ Revenge, and sailed away in search of prizes. They captured four vessels. After taking the John and Hannah off the coast of North Carolina, Fly punished its captain, John Fulker, tying him to the geers and lashing him before sinking his ship. Fly’s piratical adventures came an end when a group of men he had forced aboard the pirate ship from prize vessels rose up and captured him. Fly and his crew were brought into Boston harbor to stand trial for murder and piracy.7

Awaiting them in Boston was Mather, the pompous, vain, overbearing, 63-year-old minister of Old North Church who was probably the most famous cleric, maybe even the most famous person, in the American colonies at the time.8 He took a personal interest in the case, vowing to bring Fly to salvation. Mather met with the bos’un, exhorted him to reform and repent, commanded him to go to church. Another leading minister, Benjamin Colman, joined the struggle to save Fly’s soul, but it was all to no avail. Boston’s most eminent men of the cloth failed miserably with their prisoner, who defied them, mocked them, and raged against them. Colman wrote that Fly “fell at times into the most desperate ragings . . . cursing the very heavens & in effect the God that judged him.”9 Mather concluded that Fly was “a most uncommon and amazing Instance of Impenitency and Stupidity, and What Spectacles of Obduration the Wicked will be.” At one of these meetings Fly had exploded in anger, “I can’t Charge myself, À I shan’t own myself Guilty of any Murder, À Our Captain and his Mate used us Barbarously. We poor Men can’t have Justice done us. There is nothing said to our Commanders, let them never so much abuse us, and use us like Dogs. But the poor sailors À ” Mather at this point apparently interrupted; he could bear to hear no more. Two discourses, one Christian and providential, the other maritime and social, came together in a cosmic clash.10

The hanging of the “poor man” William Fly was a moment of terror. Indeed, it might be said that the occasion witnessed a clash of two different kinds of terror. One kind was practiced by the likes of Cotton Mather À ministers, royal officials, wealthy men; in short, rulers À as they sought to eliminate piracy as a crime against mercantile property. They consciously used terror to accomplish their aims: to protect property, to punish those who resisted its law, to take vengeance against those they considered to be their enemies, and to instill fear in sailors who might wish to become pirates. This they did in the name of the social order, as suggested by Benjamin Colman, whose execution sermon (which Fly refused to attend) was a meditation on terror, on God as “the king of terrors” and hence creator of social discipline. In truth, the keepers of the state in this era were themselves terrorists of a sort, decades before the word “terrorist” would acquire its modern meaning (as it would do in the “reign of terror” during the French Revolution). And yet we do not think of them in this way, for they have become, over the years, cultural heroes, even founding fathers of sorts. Theirs was a terror of the strong against the weak.11

The other kind of terror was practiced by common seamen like William Fly who sailed beneath the Jolly Roger, which was designed to terrify the captains of merchant ships and persuade them to surrender their cargo. Pirates also consciously used terror to accomplish their aims À to get money, to punish those who resisted them, to take vengeance against those they considered to be their enemies, and to instill fear in sailors, captains, merchants, and officials who might wish to attack or resist pirates. This they did in the name of a different social order.12 In truth, pirates were terrorists of a sort. And yet we do not think of them in this way, for they have become, over the years, cultural heroes, perhaps anti-heroes, at the very least romantic and powerful, if ambiguous, figures in an American and increasingly global popular culture. Theirs was a terror of the weak against the strong. It formed one essential part of a dialectic of terror, which was summarized in the decision of the authorities to raise the Jolly Roger above the gallows when hanging pirates: one terror trumps the other.13

This essay continues and amplifies a theme developed by Peter Linebaugh and myself in The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic: the making of the so-called “Atlantic world” in the early modern era depended profoundly on disciplinary violence and terror of many kinds, enacted from above, and often these were resisted in kind, from below. What I wish to explore in this essay is this dialectic’s theater À in both senses of the word: its geography and dramatic form. The drama took place around the Atlantic, on the hastily-constructed scaffolds of port-city gallows as in Boston, and on the heaving decks of deep-sea ships, as on the Fames’ Revenge. The stages for this fluid theater were thus transient, in motion, both local and global, as were the subjects who enacted a recurrent Atlantic drama about one of the fundamental issues of the age: not exchange, but rather the trans-oceanic terror that made exchange possible.14

Before we go on, some background. The pirates of the years 1716-1726 were among the greatest ever in the long history of robbery by sea. They created the pinnacle of what is called “the golden age of piracy.” These multi-ethnic freebooters created a major crisis in the Atlantic system by capturing hundreds of merchants ships, many of which they burned or sank. Their numbers, around four thousand over the decade, were extraordinary, and their plunderings were exceptional in both volume and value. They disrupted trade in strategic zones of capital accumulation À the North America, the West Indies, west Africa À at a time when the recently stabilized and expanding Atlantic economy was the source of enormous profits and renewed imperial power. Sailors joined pirate ships after working on merchant and naval ships, where they suffered cramped quarters, poor victuals, brutal discipline, low wages, devastating disease, disabling accidents, and premature death. This generation of pirates was perhaps the only one in history that actually embraced the name. Two men cried up “A Pyrate’s Life to be the only Life a Man of any Spirit.” A merry Life and a short one,” was one of their mottoes.15

The state, as terrorist, was more than happy to oblige, and indeed the confrontation between William Fly and Cotton Mather in Boston in 1726 was but one scene in a ten-year drama. The governments of the Atlantic powers, led by Britain, organized an international campaign of terror to eradicate piracy, using the gallows as an essential space in the public sphere. Between 1716 and 1726 rulers hanged pirates in London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; St. Michael’s, the Azores; Cape Coast Castle, Africa; Salvador, Brazil; CuraÐao; Antigua; St. Kitts; Martinique; Kingston, and Port Royal, Jamaica; the Bahama Islands; Bermuda; Charleston, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; New York, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; even in Boston itself, where several pirates had already been executed in recent years. In all of these cities authorities staged spectacular executions of those who had committed banditry by sea. Fly’s hanging was one of the last of these grisly scenes.

It has long been a commonplace among historians that nearly all pirates managed to escape their crimes with their booty and their lives.16 While this may have been true for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when England, France, and the Netherlands supported or tolerated piratical attacks against Spain, it is false for the period under study here, when the numbers of pirates hanged were extraordinary by any measure. In a time when royal mercy and pardons in England routinely commuted death penalties to lesser sentences, especially one or another form of bound labor (after the Transportation Act of 1718), pirates rarely had their sentences lessened and were instead hanged in huge numbers and high percentages.17 Between 1716 and 1726, no fewer than 450 were hanged (this is the number I have been able to document so far), and in truth the actual number was probably a third to a half higher. This means that roughly one in every ten pirates came to an end upon the gallows, a greater proportion than many other groups of capital convicts, and vastly greater than what most historians have long believed. When we add the hundreds of pirates who died in battle, in prison, by suicide, disease, or accident, it would seem that at least one in four died or was killed, and the number may have been as high as one in two. Premature death was the pirate’s lot; his was most decidedly not a romantic occupation. The campaign of extermination would have been visible to the eye of any seaman as he sailed into almost any port city during these years: there, in a prominent place, was a gibbeted corpse of one who had sailed under the black flag, flesh rotting, crows picking at the bones.18

Almost every hanging of pirates around the Atlantic had some of the drama created by Fly, his fellow pirates, and Mather in Boston. The penitents, like Cole, Greenville, and Condick, usually hoping for pardons, said what the authorities wanted them to say, and perhaps they meant it: do not use oaths; do not curse; do not take the Lord’s name in vain; do not sing bawdy songs; do not gamble; do not visit the house of the harlot; do not profane the Sabbath; do not give in to uncleanness and lust; do not be greedy. Instead, obey all authorities: respect your parents; “pay the just Deference to the Rulers”; “Stay in your Place & Station Contentedly.” A very few pirates did win pardons, but most, even the obedient and remorseful ones, did not.19

But what stands out about these hangings À what certainly stood out to the authorities at the time À was the amount of disorder and resistance they created. One gang of pirates was rescued from the gallows by an unruly mob in Kingston, Jamaica in 1717. Royal authorities all around the Atlantic feared the same on other occasions and beefed up their military guard as protection against it. Many pirates, like Fly, refused their prescribed roles and used the occasion for one last act of subversion. An endless train of pirates “Walk’d to the Gallows without a Tear.” Facing the steps and the string in the Bahamas in 1718, pirate Thomas Morris expressed a simple wish: that he had been “a greater Plague to these Islands.” In Jamestown, Virginia in 1720, a group of pirates went to their deaths: as one observer explained, “They died as they lived, not showing any Sign of Repentance.” Indeed, “When they came to the Place of Execution one of them called for a Bottle of Wine, and taking a glass of it, he drank Damnation to the Governour and Confusion to the Colony, which the rest pledged.” When fifty-two were hanged at the slave trading fort, Cape Coast Castle, Africa in 1722, a group of pirates explained that “They were poor rogues, and so must be hanged while others, no less guilty in another Way, escaped.” He referred to the wealthy rogues who bilked sailors of their rightful wages and proper food and thereby turned many toward piracy. On many of these occasions, the authorities displayed the Jolly Roger at the place of execution. Sail under it, they said, and you will die under it. And even the killing was not terror enough: after Virginia governor Alexander Spotswood watched the pirates toast his damnation, he responded in kind, as he wrote to another royal official: “I thought it necessary for the greater Terrour to hang up four of them in chains.” The corpses of many pirates, like that of William Fly, were turned into a “Profitable and Serviceable Spectacle.”20

Terror bred counter-terror, tit for tat. After Boston’s rulers hanged eight pirates, members of Black Sam Bellamy’s crew, pirates still at sea in 1717, vowed to “kill every body they took belonging to New England.” Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, and crew burned a captured ship “because she belonged to Boston alledging the People of Boston had hanged some of the pirates.”21 When Bartholomew Roberts and his crew learned that the governor and council of Nevis had executed some pirates in 1720, they were so outraged that they sailed into Basseterre’s harbor, set several vessels on fire, and offered big money to anyone who would deliver the responsible officials to their clutches so that justice could be served. They made same threat to avenge pirates hanged in Virginia. They made good on such blusterings when they happened to take a French vessel carrying the governor of Martinique, who had also hanged some members of the fraternity. Roberts responded by hanging the poor governor from his own yard arm in revenge.22 Thus did the pirates practice terror against the state terrorists. It was a war of nerves, one hanging for another, a cycle of violence.

But in truth pirates had practiced terror from the beginning, before the authorities had hanged any of them. They had their own reasons, and their own methods. Piracy was predicated on terror, as most all contemporaries of freebooting well understood. Captain Charles Johnson, who knew this generation of pirates (some of them individually) and chronicled their exploits in vivid detail, called them “the Terror of the trading Part of the World.” Cotton Mather called them “Sea-Monsters who have been the Terror of them that haunt the sea.” Pirates practiced terror against those who organized the trade, and against those who carried it out. It all began when a pirate ship approached a prospective prize and raised the primary instrument of terror, the Jolly Roger, whose message was unmistakable: surrender or die.23

Pirates used terror for several reasons: to avoid fighting; to force disclosure of information about where booty was hidden; and to punish ship captains. The primary idea was to intimidate the crew of the ship under attack so that they would not want to defend their vessel. The tactic worked, as numerous merchant ship captains explained: “up goe the Pirate Colours, at sight whereof our men will defend their ship no longer,” wrote one.24 On another ship, a mostly British crew gathered ’round the captain and told him that if the approaching ship proved to be Spanish, they “would stand by him as long as they had Life, but if they were pirates they would not fight.”25 They were indeed pirates, and the crew refused to defend the ship. Why? They knew that if they did resist and were then overpowered, they would likely be tortured, to teach them À and other sailors À a lesson. After all, the pirates would ask: why are you risking your life to protect the property of merchants and ship captains who treat you so poorly?

Pirates also used violence to force prisoners, especially ship captains, to disclose the whereabouts of loot on board the ship. (Pirates were no different in this regard from naval or privateering ships, who did the same thing; indeed no small amount of pirate terror was the standard issue of war-making.) They also practiced violence against the cargo, destroying massive amounts of property in the most furious and wanton ways, as once-captured ship captains never grew tired of recounting. They descended into the holds of ships like “a Parcel of Furies,” slashing boxes and bales of goods with their cutlasses, throwing valuable goods overboard, laughing uproariously as they did so. They also destroyed a large number of ships, cutting away their masts, setting them afire, sinking them, partly because they did not want news of their presence to spread from ship to ship to shore, but also because they wanted to destroy the property of merchants and ship captains they considered to be their enemies. It was indirect terror against the owners of mercantile property.26

Pirates and officials were locked into a reciprocal system of terror based on the underlying principle of class war. But we would be remiss if we stopped our investigation of terror here. We must continue our backward pursuit of the dialectic one more level, which will illuminate the entire progression in necessary ways. For in truth there was not only the terror of the gallows and the terror of the Jolly Roger, there was another more ordinary, more pervasive, more effective, an originary violence and terror that is the key to the whole process. It was the violence of labor discipline as practiced by the ship captain as he moved the commodities that were the lifeblood of the capitalist world economy. This is the deep structure of the dialectic of terror, the maritime chain of violence we have been exploring.27

To understand William Fly and his dispute with the ministers of Boston, and indeed to understand the gallows drama that was repeated in one Atlantic port after another, we must leave Boston and enter the harsh, workaday world of the common sailor in the early eighteenth century. When Fly spoke of “Bad Usage,” of how his captain and mate used and abused him and his brother tars, treating them “barbarously,” as if they were “dogs,” he was talking about he violent disciplinary regime of the deep-sea sailing ship. And even though there is no surviving evidence to show exactly what Captain Green did to Fly and the other sailors aboard the Elizabeth to produce the rage, the mutiny, the murder, and decision to turn pirate, it is not hard to imagine. The High Court of Admiralty records for this period are replete with bloody accounts of lashings, tortures, and killings for any who might want examples.28

The daily violence of life at sea generated among pirates an oppositional ritual enacted upon seizure of a merchantman, something they called “Distribution of Justice.” Once the prize ship had surrendered, the pirate boarding party would call all sailors and officers on deck for a little drama. The pirate quartermaster would turn to the sailors and ask a simple question: how does your captain treat you? If the report was good À if, that is, the captain proved to be “an honest Fellow that never abused any Sailors” À he would be rewarded by the pirates. He would be modestly plundered, if plundered at all; he would witness none of his cargo destroyed; he would find that his ship would not be damaged or sunk. And sometimes he would be given money or goods as a token of appreciation for his good behavior toward the crew. In one case a well-liked merchant captain was given “a large sum of Money,” so he could go home to London “bid the Merchants defiance.”29

If, however, the sailors complained against their captain, claiming that he held back their wages, pinched their provisions, or scratched their backs unfairly with the cat-o’-nine-tails À common practices all À then the pirates seized the moment for a symbolic inversion of power. Captains would be punished in the same social space, on their own ship, where they themselves had employed terror: they were tied up, lashed, “sweated” (as a particular kind of torture was called), or “whipp’d and pickled” (salt rubbed into the wounds).30 Bartholomew Roberts’ crew considered the ritual to be so important that they created a place in the shipboard division of labor for it, formally designating one of their men, George Willson, as the “Dispencer of Justice.” Many captured captains were “barbarously used,” and some were summarily executed. Pirate Philip Lyne announced at his execution in CuraÐao in 1726 that he “had killed 37 Masters of Vessels.” The search for vengeance was in many ways a fierce, embittered, fatal response to the violent, personal, and arbitrary authority wielded by the merchant captain. This was revenge against the ship captain as terrorist.31

How to conclude this bloody tale? In the end, we can say that encounter between Fly and Mather was unusually combative, but it was not uncommon. Indeed, the tale vividly illustrates the three moments of terror that were critical to the origins, growth, and ultimate repression of Atlantic piracy in the eighteenth century: the disciplinary terror of life at sea, or what Fly called the “barbarity” of ship captains, their pervasive “Bad Usage” of the “poor men” in their employ; the counter-terror waged by pirates under the Jolly Roger, the intimidation and violence that was instrumental to the illegal capture of ships and the vengeful punishment of ships’ officers; and the final terror of the gallows and the gibbet, which were meant to reestablish the original order of things but managed, for a time, to bring forth new measures of counter-terror by pirates. The dialectic also had unexpected effects, as when William Fly won the argument with Cotton Mather, convincing the self-righteous minister of one of the primary causes of piracy. During his execution sermon Mather told the assembled ship captains that they must avoid being “too like the Devil in their Barbarous Usage of the Men that are under them and lay them under Temptations to do Desperate Things.” Such were the elements of this eighteenth-century morality play.32

1 This essay builds upon my previous work, “‘Under the Banner of King Death’: The Social World of Anglo-American Pirates, 1716 to 1726,” William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. (1981), Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), (with Peter Linebaugh), The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000), and on new research for “Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age,” to be published by Beacon Press in 2004.

2 Abel Boyer, ed., The Political State of Great Britain . . . (London, 1711‑1740), vol. XXXIII, 272-273; Cotton Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea: A Remarkable Relation of Certain Pirates. . . (Boston, 1726), 47-48, republished in Daniel E. Williams, ed., Pillars of Salt: An Anthology of Early American Criminal Narratives (Madison, Wisc.: Madison House, 1993), 110-117. See also Captain Charles Johnson, A General History of the Pyrates, ed. Manuel Schonhorn (London, 1724, 1728; rpt. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1972), 606-613.

3 The Tryals of Sixteen person for Piracy &c. (Boston, 1726), 14. Mather had written of another crew of pirates who had come to the gallows: “What are these PIRATES now, but so many Preachers of those things, which once they could not bear to hear the Servants of GOD Preach unto them?” See his Instructions to the Living, From the Condition of the Dead: A Brief Relation of Remarkables in the Shipwreck of above One Hundred Pirates . . . (Boston, 1717), 40.

4 Boyer, ed., Political State, vol. XXXIII, 272-273. Mather also recorded Fly’s threat: “He would advise Masters of Vessels to carry it well to their Men, lest they be put upon doing as he had done.” Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 47-48.

5 Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 112; Boston News-Letter, July 7, 1726. Condick, who was considered young, drunk, “stupid and insensible” at the time of his piracy, did indeed get a reprieve. See Benjamin Colman, It is a Fearful Thing to Fall into the Hands of the Living God. . . (Boston, 1726), 37.

6 Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, 606.

7 Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, 606, 608.

8 See the excellent article by Daniel A. Williams, “Puritans and Pirates: A Confrontation between Cotton Mather and William Fly in 1726,” Early American Literature 22(1987), 233-251.

9 Colman, It is a Fearful Thing, 39.

10 Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 47, 21; Daniel A. Cohen, Pillars of Salt, Monuments of Grace: New England Crime Literature and the Origins of American Popular Culture, 1674-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

11 Colman, It is a Fearful Thing.

12 The alternative, democratic, and egalitarian social order of the pirate ship is discussed in Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, ch. 6, and Linebaugh and Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra, ch. 5.

13 For the idea of the pirate as modern antihero, see Hans Turley, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Piracy, Sexuality, and Masculine Identity (New York: New York University Press, 1999).

14 Linebaugh and Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra.

15 Johnson, General History, 628, 244. See also Robert C. Ritchie, Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986), 232-237.

16 See, for example, Hugh F. Rankin, The Golden Age of Piracy (New York, 1969), 22-23.

17 J.M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in England, 1660-1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986); A Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718‑1775 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

18 This theme, and the number and location of the executions, will be treated at length in “Villains of the Nations of the Earth.”

19 Cotton Mather, Useful Remarks: An Essay upon Remarkables in the Way of Wicked Men: A Sermon on the Tragical End, unto which the Way of Twenty‑Six Pirates Brought Them; At New Port on Rhode‑Island, July 19, 1723 . . . (New London, Conn., 1723), 31-44, quotation at 33.

20 Archibald Hamilton to Secretary Stanhope, June 12, 1716, Colonial Office papers (CO) 137/12, f. 19, Public Record Office, London; Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, 286, 643, 660; American Weekly Mercury, Mar. 17, 1720; R.A. Brock, ed., The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood . . . (Virginia Historical Society, Collections, N.S., II [Richmond, 1882]), vol. II, 338; Mather, Useful Remarks, 20. See also Stanley Richards, Black Bart (Llandybie, Wales, 1966), 104.

21 Trials of Eight Persons Indited for Piracy (Boston, 1718), 8-19; “Trial of Thomas Davis,” Oct. 28, 1717, in John Franklin Jameson, ed., Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period: Illustrative Documents (New York, 1923), 308; The Tryals of Major Stede Bonnet and Other Pirates (London, 1719), 45.

22 W. Noel Sainsbury et al., eds., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and the West Indies (London, 1860‑ ), vol. XXXII, #251; H.R. McIlwaine, ed., Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia (Richmond, 1928), vol. III, 542; Richards, Black Bart, 56.

23 Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, 26; Mather, Useful Remarks, 22.

24 “Anonymous Paper Relating to the Sugar and Tobacco Trade (1724),” CO 388-24, ff. 184-188.

25 Boston News-Letter, June 17, 1718.

26 Boston News-Letter, Aug. 15, 1720.

27 That violence was essential to the movement of goods and the establishment of the Atlantic economy was one of the more controversial but still unrefuted arguments of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

28 It was reported that Captain Green had done nothing to deserve his fate, but Mather noted the claim of Fly and other pirates that the murder and piracy were “Revenge, they said, for Bad Usage.” See The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 112. See also Rediker, “The Seaman as Spirit of Rebellion: Authority, Violence, and Labor Discipline at Sea,” in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, ch. 5.

29 Boston News-Letter, Nov. 14, 1720; William Snelgrave, A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea and the Slave Trade (London, 1734), 241; Boston News‑Letter, Nov. 14, 1720.

30 “Proceedings of the Court held on the Coast of Africa,” High Court of Admiralty papers (HCA) 1/99, f. 101, Public Record Office, London; Johnson, General History of the Pyrates, 338, 582; Snelgrave, Account of the Slave Trade, 212, 225; George Francis Dow and John Henry Edmonds, The Pirates of the New England Coast, 1630‑1730 (Salem, Mass., 1923), 301; Nathaniel Uring, The Voyages and Travels of Captain Nathaniel Uring ed. Alfred Dewar (1726: reprint London, 1928), xxviii.

31 G.T. Crook, ed., The Complete Newgate Calendar . . . (London, 1926), vol. III, 59; Boyer, ed., Political State, XXXII, 272; Boston Gazette, Oct. 24‑31, 1720; Rankin, Golden Age of Piracy, 35, 135, 148; Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 21; quotation from Boston Gazette, Mar. 21, 1726.

32 Mather, The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea, 44-45.