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Henry Every and the East India Company
By Cindy Vallar

A note dated 1694 arrived in London with a special missive attached. This declaration had been left at Johanna (Anjouan) in the Comoro Islands to be delivered to any visiting EIC ship. Those captains subsequently delivered the missive to officials in Bombay whose agents forwarded it to the company’s headquarters in England.

To all English Commanders, let this satisfie, That I was riding here at this instant in the Ship Fancy Man of War, formerly the Charles of the Spanish Expedition, who departed from Croniae the 7th of May 1694 Being (and am now) in a Ship of 46 Guns, 150 Men, and bound to Seek our Fortunes. I have never as yet wronged any English or Dutch, nor ever intend whilst I am Commander. Wherefore as I commonly speak with all Ships, I desire whoever comes to the perusall of this to take this Signall, That if you, or any whom you may inform, are desirous to know what wee are at a distance, Then make your Ancient up in a Ball or Bundle and hoist him at the Mizenpeek, the Mizen being furled. I shall answer with the same and never molest you, for my Men are hungry, Stout, and resolute, and should they exceed my Desire I cannot help myself. As yet an Englishmans Friend

Henry Every.
Henry Every Henry Every
Two artistic renderings of Henry Every.
Left: Woodcut from 1725 edition of Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates.
(Source: Beej's Pirate Image Archive)
Right: Unknown artist's 18th-century engraving of Every with his ship attacking the Fancy in the background. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The EIC’s Governor added, “having likewise understood by some fresh Advices from Persia . . . That the said Pirate had in pursuance of his said Declaration pillaged severall Ships belonging to the Subjects of the Mogull in their passage from the Red Sea to Surrat, upon notice whereof the Factoryes of the said Company at Surrat had guards set upon their Houses by the Governour of the place till such time The Mogulls pleasure was known, Whereby the said Governour and Company have reason to fear many great inconveniences may attend them not only from the Reprizalls which may be made upon them at Surrat or other their Factories But also from the Interruption which may be thereby given to their Trade from Port to Port in India, as well as to their Trade to and from thence to England.

"Wherefore your Petitioners do most humbly beseech your Excellencies to use such effectuall means for the preventing the great Loss and damage which threatens them hereby, as to your Excellencies great wisdom shall be thought fit.1
(Jameson, 154-155)

The Lords Justices, who were ruling during William III’s absence, read the missive on 16 July 1696. Two days later, they declared Every and his men pirates and ordered their apprehension. They also deemed the EIC would pay a £500 reward should Every be captured.

Proclamation for the apprehension of Henry
Proclamation for the Apprehending of Henry Every, alias Bridgeman, and sundry other Pirates
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1696. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On 15 March 1695, Every’s Fancy sailed close to Johanna again, but this time several Company ships attempted to capture him. This information was relayed to Bombay, which sent the following warning to the Company in London in a letter dated 28 May.
[H]ee was too nimble for them by much, having taken down a great deal of his upper work and made her exceeding snugg, which advantage being added to her well sailing before, causes her to sail so hard now that shee fears not who follows her. This Ship will undoubtedly [sail] into the Red Seas and Wee fear disappoint us of Our above expected Goods, And it is probable will after shee had ransacked that Gulph proceed to Persia and doe what mischief possible there, which will procure infinite clamours at Suratt and the Government will be for embargoing all that ever Wee have there. (Jameson, 156)
Which is exactly what Every did. He met up with two other pirate ships, the Dolphin and the Portsmouth Adventure, and their commanders, Captains Richard Want and Joseph Faro respectively, and the duo preyed in consort with Every’s Fancy. Upon arriving at the Red Sea, they met two more sea rovers: Thomas Tew and his sloop Amity out of Rhode Island, and a brigantine called the Pearle, commanded by William Mues. They, too, joined with Every and, in 1695, the five vessels lay in wait for a fleet of twenty-five pilgrim and merchant ships coming down from Mocha (Al-Mukhā, Yemen). John Dann, one of Every’s men, would later say in a deposition:
After . . . 5 or 6 dayes the Moores ships (being about 25 in number) past by them in the night unseen, though the passage was not above 2 miles over. . . . the next morning they saw a Ketch comeing downe, which they tooke, and by them they heard the ships were gone by, whereupon it was resolved they should all follow them and accordingly they wheighed on Monday . . . . about 3 dayes before they made Cape St. John they mett with one of the Moores ships, betweene 2 and 300 tons, with 6 Guns, which they tooke, she haveing fired 3 shott. they tooke about 50 or 60,000 l. in that ship in Silver and gold, and kept her with them . . . . 2 (Jameson, 168)
Thomas Tew
                    in Howard Pyle's "He Had Found the Captain
                    Agreeable and Companionable," which appeared in
                    an 1894 issue of Harper's Magazine (Source: Dover's
                    Pirate Clipart)This vessel was the Fateh Muhammed, which belonged to Abd-ul Ghafur, and she, along with the Ganj-i-Sawai, Emperor Aurangzeb’s flagship, had fallen behind the rest of the fleet. Tew’s Amity fired first, then Every’s Fancy unleashed a broadside. As his ships narrowed the distance, the pirates fired pistols and muskets at their prey before boarding her. The 600-ton Fateh Muhammed fired thrice on the pirates during the one- to two-hour engagement, but the pirates survived relatively unscathed. One exception happened aboard Amity, where the crew discovered their captain, Thomas Tew, had been killed. As Charles Johnson wrote: “in the Engagement, a Shot carry’d away the Rim of Tew’s Belly, who held his Bowels with his Hands some small Space . . . .” (Defoe, 439)

Aboard Fateh Muhammed, the pirates found “£50-£60,000 in gold and silver.” (Reddy, 136) Every learned from her master that most of the twenty-five vessels in the pilgrim fleet had already passed and were safely out of his reach. But there was one more to come, the flagship, which was heavily armed. Every consulted his fellow pirates, who decided to pursue that vessel. Leaving a small crew aboard their prize, the pirates reembarked their five ships and sailed away to wait for the flagship to pass. On 5 September, the Ganj-i-Sawai – a 1,600-ton vessel that the English tended to refer to as Gunsway – came into view. Compared to her, Fancy was a dwarf. The only equality between the two vessels was their crews; both numbered around 200. Aside from that, Ganj-i-Sawai carried eighty guns, 600 passengers, and 400 to 500 soldiers.

Fancy gained ground on the other pirate ships and was the first to pull alongside Ganj-i-Sawai. The prey’s response was to let loose a broadside, to which Every responded with his own. His gunners aimed high in hopes of disabling her sails and rigging. An explosion on board Ganj-i-Sawai silenced her guns. An array of hot, iron fragments showered the deck, but only three or four men died from the exploding cannon. Fancy’s next broadside toppled her prey’s mainmast, which crippled the flagship, dumped seaman aloft into the water, and acted like an anchor, slowing the ship. After the pirates boarded and subdued all their victims, a tally was taken of the damages to their brotherhood. Only 180 out of roughly 290 men lived to share the spoils. The total haul from both Muslim vessels ranged somewhere between £155,000 and £600,000.3 According to John Dann, “They tooke out of that ship soe much Gold and Silver in Coyned money and Plate as made up each mans share with what they had taken before about 1000 l. a man, there being 180 that had their Dividents, the Captain haveing a Double share and the Master a share and a halfe.” (Jameson, 168-169)

Portrait of Samuel Annesley by Gustavus
                  Ellinthorpe Sintzenich (Source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Samuel_Annesley_(1619-1696).jpg)Eventually, both Fateh Muhammed and Gang-i-Sawai were released to lumber home to Surat. The former arrived on 11 September, but she only served as proof to the rumors that had already surfaced in the city. Samuel Annesley was the EIC’s president in Surat. He had come to India in 1678 and steadily worked his way up the ranks until he attained his current position in May 1694. When the first rumors reached him, he sent messages to all his employees to return to the factory where the high, thick walls should protect them from any backlash. It proved a wise precaution, because angry mobs congregated outside the factory. Shortly thereafter the city’s military commander, backed by a cavalry troop, demanded to be let inside. Once that was accomplished, he informed Annesley that they would remain there to protect the English.

Things quieted down until 13 September when Ganj-i-Sawai arrived and elevated the ire of the people even more than her predecessor had. Surat’s governor, Ahmanat Khan, had any stray Englishmen in the city taken to the factory, including the captain of the Company’s ship Benjamin, which had recently arrived in port – the same vessel that had conveyed Henry Every’s note from Johanna to Bombay the year before. The anger was such that three other trading posts were also shut down and Indian soldiers guarded those compounds as well.

At this point, everyone inside the EIC’s factory at Surat went from being protected for their own safety to shackled prisoners, three to a cell. They were not permitted to contact anyone outside the walls. Nor could they see beyond their cells since all windows had been boarded over. Some were badly beaten; one was stoned and died. Extra guards were also assigned, enough to ensure that there were four or five guards per man twenty-four seven. Annesley later penned:
It is needless to write of the indignities, slavish usages and tyrannical insultings wee hourly bear day and night; and to expatiate on so hateful a subject would no wayes redress or alleviate our sufferings. (Keay, 187)
In all, sixty-three Englishmen were imprisoned there, and they would remain so until 27 June 1696.

One reason for such vehemence stemmed from the fact that both vessels were Muslim ships carrying pilgrims home from the holy city of Mecca. Making this hajj was one of the Pillars of Islam and every believer was expected to make the journey at least once in his or her lifetime. To attack these ships was deemed a sacrilege – so much so, for some, that the only just recompense would be immediate execution of all Englishmen. Governor Khan questioned whether he had such authority under Islamic law and consulted a qadi or Islamic judge, who informed him that without evidence of collusion with the pirates, Annesley and the other prisoners could not be punished. That answer did not appease the mob; in fact, one man threatened to harm the governor.

In a letter from Bombay, dated 12 October 1695, Governor Sir John Gayer, who was also the Company’s president there, described what happened when news reached Indian officials.
One of Abdull Gofores Ships arriving, their people sent the Governour word, that they were plundered by an English Vessell, severall of their Men killed in fight, and others barbarously used; Upon which there was a great noise in Towne, and the Rabble very much incensed against the English, which caused the Governour to send a Guard to Our Factory to prevent their doing any violence to Our People. the 13th in the Morning, the Gunsway, one of the Kings Ships, arrived from Judda and Mocho, the Nocqueda and Merchants, with one voice, proclaiming that they were robbed by four English Ships near Bombay of a very great Sume, and that the Robbers had carryed their plundered Treasure on Shoar there, on which there was farr greater noise than before. upon this the Governour sent a very strong Guard to the Factory and clapt all our People in Irons, shut them up in a room, planked up all their windows, kept strict Watches about them, that no one should have pen, ink, or paper to write, stopped all the passages, that no Letters might pass to Us. att this time Captain Brown being att Surat, with some of his Officers and Boats Crew, faired in Common with the rest, and so did some others, that were on shoar . . . .

Wee are informed, that one English man in Surrat carrying to Prison, was so wounded by the Rabble, that he dyed three days after, and that severall others were barbarously used. it is certain the Pyrates, which these People affirm were all English, did do very barbarously by the People of the Gunsway and Abdul Gofors Ships, to make them confess where their Money was, and there happened to be a great Umbraws Wife (as Wee hear) related to the King, returning from her Pilgrimage to Mecha, in her old age. She they abused very much, and forced severall other Women, which Caused one person of Quality, his Wife and Nurse, to kill themselves to prevent the Husbands seeing them (and their being) ravished. All this will raise a black Cloud att Court, which We wish may not produce a severe storme.

The Pyrates, being neglected of all hands, begin to grow formidable, and if some Course be nott taken to destroy them, they will yearly increase, having found their trade so beneficiall, and how soon the Companys servants, as well as their Trade, may be sacrificed to revenge the Quarrell of the Sufferers, they know not.4 (Jameson, 156-159)
Gayer also wrote to the Surat Council, the body that had elevated Annesley to his present position.
How often have we been falsely charged. Nay, how often hath it been proved so, and yett upon every fresh alarm of a pyrate on the coast all is still laid upon the English, and the Company’s Chief and Council, and gentlemen of quality, must like the meanest and basest criminals be clapt up in irons, chained together like a company of doggs to secure their lives being made a sacrifice to the rabble . . . . and we further say, suppose it should be proved there is English pyrates in the seas as well as other nations, is the English East India Company to be charged with their crimes? How unreasonable a thing would that be. (Wright, 170)
It didn’t help matters that some crew members from the Ganj-i-Sawai were willing to swear under oath that they knew some of the pirates who had attacked their ship. The reason for this recognition? They had seen these men working for the EIC in Bombay. In the days and months afterward, more details emerged as to what occurred. Facts and rumors merged, depending on who told the story, making it difficult to ascertain embellishment from verity. What could not be contested was the fact that English pirates had assaulted two pilgrim ships laden with great riches, and the EIC bore the brunt of Emperor Aurangzeb’s and his people’s outrage.

Eventually, Annesley received permission to write to his superior, Sir Gayer in Bombay.
For nine years past have been the same false aspersions on us, and all along wee have at last appeared merchants and not pyrates. If wee were the latter, would we live amongst them and bring so many 100,000 rupees’ worth of goods to the City? He might consider how unreasonable and ridiculous it would be to expect anything of the nature from persons meriting such a character. Were wee pyrates, would wee rob under our own colours and tell everybody who wee were? No, rather if wee had plundered the ship wee should have sunk her, that 100 years after none should have known what had become of her. Wee have declared, if it can be proved on us, wee will give two for one, and do the same now again; but if it be false, then those that so wrongfully accuse us to our prejudice must make us a full satisfaction of that damage. Is their King answerable for any of his runagate subjects that may do mischief abroad? No more is our prince or we for those of his that have shook subjection to the laws and pyrate it up and down. If any of the Right Honourable Company’s subjects have done it, its another matter. Our Generall should be informed of the dishonour and tyranny unreasonably laid upon us, and wee hoped a just remedy would be found. (Wright, 167)
In the aftermath of Every’s attacks, Aurangzeb wanted to seize all of the Company’s assets and employees, as well as to capture Bombay. His ultimate purpose was to throw every Englishmen out of his country. He also halted trade with all European companies, not just the English East India Company. The embargo would remain in force until his demands for recompense and protection were met. Cooler heads cautioned the emperor against taking too drastic an action. His prime minister explained that the loss of just England’s trade would be severe. Admiral Kazin Khan wrote:
O King of Kings, the English are great merchants and drive a vast trade in your country. ’Tis well, for in these days Sir John Gayer, Generall for the English that lives in Bombay, does very good service to the subjects of your Majesty and that in every respect. There are a great many hat men (European) thieves in these seas, but such busyness is not from the English cast, nor will ever be. (Wright, 176)
Emperor Aurangzeb from artwork by Nicholas de
                  Larmessin in 1690 (Source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aurangzeb_detail_from-_Estampes_par_Nicolas_de_Larmessin.f153.Aurangzeb,_grand_moghol_(cropped).jpg)Emperor Aurangzeb heeded his advisers and decided not to banish the English, but he did insist that all East India companies, regardless of nationality, had to provide protection for ships carrying pilgrims. They also needed to make a more concerted effort in hunting pirates. Like the EIC at home, President Gayer considered the use of Company ships to escort merchant convoys onerous, but to Annesley it was “a golden opportunity.” (Burgess, 56) He saw this as a way to elevate the Company’s stature and took matters into his own hands. He guaranteed England’s protection with a Bank of England note of credit. He also averred that Every and his men would be hunted down and dealt with severely. After Annesley’s release, Gayer relieved him of his duties. He stayed in Surat until he died in 1732. In spite of his promises to the emperor, the EIC remained relatively passive in hunting down the pirates.

But it was only a matter of time before pirates attacked another convoy. The Mocha fleet had even been under the protection of VOC ships. The pirates plundered four ships, one of which belonged to Ghafur and was deemed a total loss. Although the EIC had nothing to do with this attack, Emperor Aurangzeb closed all their factories and halted trade. Surat’s trading post was looted to compensate Ghafur, and several other posts were also ransacked.

In the aftermath of Every’s attack, as well as those by other pirates, the Privy Council in William III’s name issued orders to its colonial governors to seize all pirates, especially Every and his men.

William By the Grace of GOD, King of Great-Britain, France and Ireland . . . are Informed that Henry Every, alias Bridgeman, together with several other Persons . . . to the Number of about One Hundred and Thirty, did . . . Commit several Acts of Pyrracy under English Colours upon the Seas of India or Persia Contrary to the Law of Nations, and of this Kingdom in particular; And that the said Henry Every, and severals of his Accomplices, since, Committing of the saids Acts of Pyrracy, having left the said Ship in the Island of Providence, are Returned to, and have Dispersed themselves within this Our antient Kingdom, thinking, and intending thereby to Save & Shelter themselves from the Punishment & Execution of Law Due to such Hainous and Notorious Offenders: And We being Resolved, that outmost Diligence shall be Used for Seizing, and Apprehending the Persons of such Open and Villanous Transgressors; Do therefore, with the Advice of the Lords of Our Privy Council, Require, and Command, the Sheriffs . . . and Our Good Subjects . . . to do their outmost Indeavour and Diligence to Seize upon, and Apprehend the Persons of the said Henry Every . . . together with . . . his Accomplices, . . . and such others as were with them in the said Ship (who may be Probably known and Discovered by the Great Quantities of Person and Indian Gold and Silver which they have with them) and Deliver him or them Prisoners to the next Magistrat of any of Our Burghs, to be by them keeped in safe Custody until farther Order be taken for bringing him or them to such . . . Punishment as their Crime does Deserve, and out of Detestation to such a Horrid villany, and to the Effect the same may not go Un-punished; and for Incouraging the Magistrats . . . and any other of Our Good Subjects to Search for, and Apprehend such Nottrorious Rogues: We . . . do make Offer, and Assure the Payment of the Sum of Five Hundred Pounds Sterling for the said Henry Every . . . and Fiftieth Pounds Sterling Money . . . for every one of the other Persons above-named to any Person or Persons who shail Seize and Apprehend them or any of them, and Deliver him or them Prisoners to any of the Magistrats of Our Burghs . . . Indemnifying hereby all and every one of Our Subjects from any Hazard of Slaughter, Mutilation, or other Acts of Violence which they may Commit against the said Henry Every, or any of his Accomplices, or any Persons that shall Assist them, to Hinder and Oppose their being Seized and Taken . . . .
Given under Our Signet at Edinburgh the Eighteenth Day of August, and of Our Reign the Eighth Year, 1696.
. . .

GOD Save the King. (Proclamation)
                  Page of the Trials of Henry Every's Men (Source:
Although Every eluded the authorities, some of his men did not. Six men were eventually tried for the attacks on Fateh Muhammed and Ganj-i-Sawai, but the Crown failed miserably in showing just how tough it could be on the pirates. The jury acquitted the men, and the government did its best to silence any reports about this in the newspapers. Why were they deemed not guilty? As someone within the Company opined, “Some of the old hardened Pirats said, they lookt on it as little or no sin to take what they could from Heathens as the Moors and other Indians were.” (Hanna, 203) At least some of the public shared that sentiment, and not everyone thought well of the EIC. Perhaps a verdict of innocence allowed the jury to give them a bit of comeuppance.

Determined to see the pirates punished, the government tried a different tact. In spite of their acquittals, the six men were tried a second time – just not for their offenses against India. This time they were tried for crimes against England, and this jury gave the Crown what it wanted – convictions and executions. In all, only twenty-four members of Every’s crew were ever brought to justice.

One of these was John Dann, who confessed his sins on 3 August 1696. He had been with Every prior to the taking of the Charles.

The Shipps Company mutinied at Corunna for want of their pay, there being 8 months due to them; some of the men proposed to Captain Every, who was master of the
Charles, to carry away the Shipp, which was agreed on and sworne too; accordingly they sayled from the Corunna the 7th of May 1693. when they were gone out they made up about 85 men. Then they asked Captain Gibson, the Commander, whether he was willing to goe with them, which he refusing, they sett him a shoar, with 14 or 15 more. (Jameson, 165)
Every, who had been the navigator of Charles prior to the mutiny, was elected captain. From Spain they sailed down the west coast of Africa, pillaging along the way, until they reached Johanna, where Every had left his note warning English captains that he and his men had gone on the account. A letter dated 7 August 1696, from the Court of the EIC, reported that his crew “consisted of 52 French, 14 Danes, the rest [104] English, Scottish, and Irish.” (Jameson, 171, n. 8)

William Phillips, another of the original mutineers, also gave a voluntary testimony in August. In it, he described the taking of the two vessels carrying pilgrims.
We . . . met with a ship of 6 guns which we took without resistance. She had a pretty quantity of silver and gold on board. We took her within 10 Leagues of [Surat] where we have an English Factory. He told us the Juda ships were all gone another way, only the Admirall of Mecca a very rich ship was still behind. The next morning we saw a sail . . . standing up to her a prisoner we had on board told us it was the Admirall of Mecca a ship of 70 Guns and 700 men. Our vessel agreed to fight her with guns, and the Brigantine and Ferrar were to board her; but they seeing her so big a ship durst not come near her . . . . When we came within shott she fired two chase guns of 18 pounders at us. They grazed our Missen mast but did us no damage. We not intending to fire at them till we came board and board they fired the first broad side at us, and overshott us being so large a ship, upon which we gave them Eleven broad sides in all and boarded her, they then immediately surrendered, so we were Masters of her in about two hours. They fired very warmly upon us all the while and threw fireworks into us to set our sails etc on fire, but we lost never a man only one wounded in boarding. When we were on board, they being all run into the hold, we called them up and gave them good quarter. We askt the Captain what money he had on board he told us he had one basket of about £2000 that belonged to him, the rest belonged to Turkish merchants which we found in the hold in baskets, there might be in the whole about £150,000. . . . After two days . . . we sail’d . . . to Roger Poole about 30 Leagues from [Bombay] where we have an English Factory. There we watered and shared the money.5 (Pirates, 26-27)
John Sparks, who testified on 10 September 1696, described what happened this way:
abt 20 leagues . . . off Surat they came up with a Moorish ship which after abt an hour’s fight they took and out of her great quantities of gold and silver to ye value of least 20 thousand pound . . . of the same month came up with another Moorish ship called the Gunsway of abt one thousand tons with whom they fought abt three hours and a half and they took her and after having plundered her and taken out great quantities of gold and silver they sent ye two Moorish ships into Surat and so ended their voyage. That he believes there was taken away and plundered out of the last Moorish ship to ye value of abt one hundred and thirty thousand pounds . . . this Examinate was kept onbd . . . as a kind of slave to wash their clothes, sweep the decks and light their pipes and had but upwards of one hundred pounds for his share when others of ye Company had above nine hundred pounds a man. (Pirates, 36)
Among those who gave evidence against Every’s captured men was Philip Middleton, who was an eleven-year-old boy when he joined the crew of Charles II in 1694. (He later received an education compliments of the EIC and, in 1706, became one of their pursers, serving aboard the Halifax, which traveled to Madras and Bengal.) Once he arrived in Ireland, he went to authorities and became an important crown witness. In one of his five depositions he explained what transpired once they arrived in the Red Sea. They
heard of two rich ships from Mocha bound to Surat, but passed them in the night, as they learned from a small junk which they took the next day. They came up with the smaller vessel, which made little or no resistance, but the great ship fought for two hours, having about 1,300 persons on board. The other had 700. They kept possession of both ships, and all the crew except one man boarded her by turns, taking only provisions, necessaries and treasure, which was very great, but little in comparison with what was on board; for though they put several to the torture they would not confess where the rest of their treasure lay. They took great quantities of jewels, and a saddle and bridle set with rubies designed as a present for the Great Mogul. Several of the Indian women on board were, by their habits and jewels, of better quality than the rest. Having taken these prizes the pirate went to Rajapere for water, and then to Mascarenas, where all the Danes and French were set ashore with their share of booty, amounting to £970 per man in value.6 (Pirates, 173)
Many of the pilgrims aboard the ships were women, and one was related to the emperor. (The accounts disagreed on what this relationship was; some identified her as his daughter, others as an elderly relative.) They were among those who protested in the streets and some were willing to testify about what transpired to Indian officials. Khufi Khan, a contemporary Indian historian, recorded that the attackers
busied themselves for a week . . . stripping the men, and dishonouring the women, both young and old . . . . Several honourable women, when they found an opportunity, threw them selves into the sea, to preserve their chastity, and some others killed themselves with knives and daggers.” (Little, 80)
Such treatment of the women and men was unconscionable, and most likely contributed to Emperor Aurangzeb’s anger. The EIC endured the worst of his rage, in part because many in India, including Aurangzeb, believed that all pirates were English.

William Phillips, however, denied that the pirates found any women on the ships.
We killed about fourteen or fifteen of the Admirall of Mecca’s men, but there were no women of any quality on board nor any ravished as is reported, therefore if any thing of that kind was done it was done by some of the ships that are still out. (Pirates, 32)
Another of Middleton’s depositions contradicted Phillips’s assertion. Middleton said that “many of the pirates ‘lay with’ them.” (Pirates, 173, note 203)

The veracity of these accounts was less relevant to the Company. What mattered was that Every’s attack, as well as every other pirate strike, embarrassed the EIC and the Company was expected to make reparations. In addition to the Crown’s reward for the capture of Every and each remaining member of his crew, the EIC promised similar bounties: each accomplice was worth £50 (£10,608 or $13,617 in 2020) and, initially, Every himself was worth £100 (£21,215 or $27,234). The Company later elevated that to match the Crown’s reward of £500 (£106,075 or $136,168).

Although the English bore the brunt of retribution, the VOC and la Compagnie française were also held accountable. In addition to the bribes they paid to continue their trade, they had to participate in safeguarding the convoys. These, as well as some timely intervention from the Royal Navy, helped to drive Western pirates from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean by the time Aurangzeb died in 1707. Until then, pirates, like Every and his men, continued their depredations.

1."Croniac" is Coruña, Spain. Joanna (Anjouan) is the main island of the Comoros, volcanic islands found northwest of Madagascar. "Ancient" is a corruption of the more familiar term for a flag, "ensign."

At the time of Every's attack, India was ruled by the Mughal emperors. The empire began in 1526 and ended in 1761. Emperor Aurangzeb -- whose father built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife -- ruled the most powerful and richest empire of the Asian subcontinent, extending from Afghanistan to Burma. Aurangzeb came to power in 1658 and ruled for fifty years. He is considered one of the greatest of the Mughal emperors, but he also sowed the seeds that would eventually lead to the empire's downfall.

2. According to Jameson, Cape St. John might be a reference to Diu, an island off the west coast of India. For additional information on this historic outpost, see here.

3. The National Archives' currency converter calculates purchasing power in decades. While it doesn't provide a calculation for 1695, a treasure valued at £155,000 in 1690 would be worth £18,574,254.50 in 2017. In comparison, that original sum in 1700 would equal £16,582,411.50 had the pirates captured the booty in 2017. During that decade, it would have taken one skilled tradesman 1,722,222 days or 4,718 years to earn £155,000. In comparison, the £600,000 would have been equivalent to between £71,900,340 and £64,189,980 in 2017. In this case, the tradesman would have to work 6,666,666 days or nearly 18,265 years to amass that sum.

According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, which can provide sums for 1695 (the year the pirates captured the Gang-i-Sawai), £155,000 and £600,000 that year equated to £32,883,274 and £127,290,093, respectively, in 2020. Since each man in the pirate company received £1,000 in 1695, that amount equated to £212,150 in 2020. The captains, as well as anyone else earning more than a single share, earned even more than that. The American equivalent of the treasure in 2020 would be $42,212,259 and $163,402,293; each man's share was worth $272,337.

4. "Abdull Gofores" refers to Abd-ul Ghafar, the richest merchant in Surat. "Noqueda" stems from an Urdu word meaning captain or master of a ship.

5. "Roger Poole" refers to Rajapur. According to the Indian ship owners, their losses amounted to £600,000. The estimate from the EIC's factory in Surat put the losses at closer to £325,000.

6. "Great Mogul" was how the English referred to the emperor of India. "Mascarenas" was the Mascarene Islands -- Réunion, Mauritius, and Rodrigues -- which are east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.


For additional information, I recommend the following resources:
Anderson, John L. “Piracy and World History: An Economic Perspective on Maritime Predation,” Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader edited by C. R. Pennell. New York University, 2001, 82-106.
Antony, Robert J. Pirates in the Age of Sail. W. W. Norton, 2007.
“The Arraignment, Tryal, and Condemnation of Captain Kidd,” British Piracy in the Golden Age: History and Interpretation, 1660-1730 edited by Joel H. Baer. Pickering & Chatto, 2007, 2: 143-208.

Beal, Clifford. Quelch’s Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England. Praeger, 2007.
A Beautiful True Huguenot Story” edited by Randolph Vigne. Ray Magazine issue 3 (September-October 2009), 40-47.
Brooks, Baylus C. Sailing East: West-Indian Pirates in Madagascar. Lulu.com, 2019.

Belgrave, Sir Charles. The Pirate Coast. Roy Publishers, 1966.
Biddulph, John. The Pirates of Malabar and an Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago. Smith, Elder & Co., 1907.
Botting, Douglas. The Pirates. Time-Life, 1978.
Bowen, H. V., John McAleer, and Robert J. Blyth. Monsoon Traders: The Maritime World of the East India Company. Scala, 2011.
Brewer, Benjamin Heymann. Every Kidd Has His Day: A Story of How Pirates Forced the English to Reevaluate Their Foreign Policy in the Indian Ocean (1690-1700). The Honors College, Wesleyan University, 2010. [thesis].
Bruijn, Jaap R. Commanders of Dutch East India Ships in the Eighteenth Century. Boydell, 2011.
Burgess, Douglas R., Jr. The Politics of Piracy: Crime and Civil Disobedience in Colonial America. ForeEdge, 2014.
Burwick, Frederick, and Manushag N. Powell. British Pirates in Print and Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Cabell, Craig, Graham A. Thomas, and Allan Richards. Captain Kidd: the Hunt for the Truth. Pen & Sword, 2010.
Cawthorne, Nigel. Pirates: The Truth Behind the Robbers of the High Seas. Arcturus Publishing, 2019.
Clarke, John. “Aug. 4. East India House, 723. IV. An account of Captain Kidd of the Adventure galley,” Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698 edited by J. W. Fortescue (1905). British History Online, 16:359-368.
Cordani, Andrea, and Cy Harrison. “Ship Bawdon Frigate,” East India Company Ships.

Davidson, James D. G. Scots and the Sea. Mainstream, 2003.
Downing, Clement. A History of the Indian Wars. Oxford University, 1924.

Fox, E. T. King of the Pirates: The Swashbuckling Life of Henry Every. History Press, 2008.
“A Full Account of the Proceedings in Relation to Capt. Kidd,” British Piracy in the Golden Age: History and Interpretation, 1660-1730 edited by Joel H. Baer. Pickering & Chatto, 2007, 2:209-255.
Further Statement of the Ladrones on the Coast of China. Lane, Darling, and Co., 1812.

Glasspoole, Richard. “‘Twenty Dollars for Every Head They Cut Off,’” Captured by Pirates: 22 Firsthand Accounts of Murder and Mayhem on the High Seas edited by John Richard Stephens. Fern Canyon Press, 1996.
Govil, Aditi. “Mughal Perception of European Supremacy and Piracy,” International Journal of Business, Management & Social Sciences 2:1 (September 2012), 142-151.
Graham, Eric J. Seawolves: Pirates and the Scots. Birlinn, 2005.
The Great Trade Routes: A History of Cargoes and Commerce over Land and Sea edited by Philip Parker. Naval Institute Press, 2012.
Greenwich: Journal, British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MAR/B/488A, in Qatar Digital Library.

Grey, Charles. Pirates of the Eastern Seas. Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1933.

Hamilton, Alexander. A New Account of the East-Indies. A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, 1739.
Hanna, Mark G. Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740. University of North Carolina, 2015.
Hanselmann, Frederick H. Captain Kidd’s Lost Ship: The Wreck of the Quedagh Merchant. University Press of Florida, 2019.
Harrison, Cy. “British Merchant frigate ‘Bawden’ (1686)," Three Decks – Warships in the Age of Sail.
Hill, S. Charles. “Episodes of Piracy in the Eastern Seas, 1519 to 1851: X. A Fight at ‘Close Quarters,’ 1686,” The Indian Antiquary vol. XLVIII (November 1919), 199-205.
Hill, S. Charles. "Episodes of Piracy in the Eastern Seas, 1519 to 1851: XV. Three Accounts of the Fight Between the Dorrill and the Mocha, 1697," The Indian Antiquary XLIX (January 1920), 1-7.
Hill, S. Charles. "Episodes of Piracy in the Eastern Seas, 1519 to 1851: XX. The Story of the Cassandra, 1720-1723,"

History of the Pirates Who Infested the China Sea, from 1807 to 1810 translated by Charles Fried Neumann. Oriental Translation Fund, 1831.

Jameson, John Franklin. Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period: Illustrative Documents. Macmillan, 1923.

Keay, John. The Honourable Company: a History of the English East India Company. HarperCollins, 1993.
Konstam, Angus. Scourge of the Seas: Buccaneers, Pirates and Privateers. Osprey, 2007.

Lincoln, Margarette. British Pirates and Society, 1680-1730. Ashgate, 2014.
Lincoln, Margarette. “Henry Every and the Creation of the Pirate Myth in Early Modern Britain,” The Golden Age of Piracy: The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates edited by David Head. University of Georgia, 2018, 167-182.
Little, Benerson. The Golden Age of Piracy: The Truth Behind Pirate Myths. Skyhorse, 2016.
Lunsford, Virginia West. Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Marshall, Peter J. “East India Companies,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History edited by John B. Hattendorf. Oxford, 2007.
Meet Captain Kidd: Captain William Kidd (c. 1645-1701),” USS Kidd.
Menon, K. P. Padmanabha. History of Kerala vol. 1. Cochin Government Press, 1924.
Miller, Harry. Pirates of the Far East. Robert Hale, 1970.
Munro, John. “The Consumption of Spices and Their Costs in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe: Luxuries or Necessities?” University of Toronto. 8 November 1988.
Murray, Dian. “Cheng I Sao in Fact and Fiction,” Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader edited by C. R. Pennell. New York University, 2001, 253-282.

Pérotin-Dumon, Anne. “The Pirate and the Emperor: Power and the Law on the Seas, 1400-1850,” Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader edited by C. R. Pennell. New York University, 2001, 25-54.
The Pirate’s Pocket Book edited by Stuart Robertson. Conway, 2008.
Pirates in Their Own Words: Eye-witness Accounts of the ‘Golden Age’ of Piracy, 1690-1728 edited by E. T. Fox. Fox Historical, 2014.
Pringle, Patrick. Jolly Roger: the Story of the Great Age of Piracy. Dover, 2001.
Proclamation for Apprehending Henry Every, Alias Bridgemen, and Sundry Other Pirates. Scotland. Privy Council. Sovereign William II.

Reddy, Srinivas. “Disrupting Mughal Imperialism: Piracy and Plunder,” Asian Review of World Histories 8:1 (February 2020), 128-142.
Rediker, Marcus. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750. Cambridge University, 1999.
Ritchie, Robert C. Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates. Harvard University, 1986.
Rogozinski, Jan. Honor Among Thieves: Captain Kidd, Henry Every, and the Pirate Democracy in the Indian Ocean. Stackpole, 2000.

Selinger, Gail. Pirates of New England: Ruthless Raiders and Rotten Renegades. Globe Pequot, 2017.
Sutton, Jean. Lords of the East: The East India Company and Its Ships (1600-1874). Conway, 2000.

To James Madison from Edward Carrington, 19 April 1807,” Founders Online, National Archives.
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"The Tryals of Joseph Dawson," British Piracy in the Golden Age: History and Interpretation, 1660-1730 edited by Joel H. Baer. Pickering & Chatto, 2007, 2:109-142.

Volo, Dorothy Denneen, and James M. Volo. Daily Life in the Age of Sail. Greenwood, 2002.

What Life Was Like in the Jewel in the Crown: British India AD 1600-1905. Time-Life, 1999
Wheeler, J. Talboys. A History of the English Settlements in India. W. Newman & Co., 1878.
Wilson, David. “Protecting Trade by Suppressing Pirates: British Colonial and Metropolitan Responses to Atlantic Piracy 1716-1726,” The Golden Age of Piracy: the Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates edited by David Head. University of Georgia, 2018, 89-110.
Wright, Arnold. Annesley of Surat and His Times: The True Story of the Mythical Wesley Fortune. Andrew Melrose, 1918.

Zacks, Richard. The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd. Hyperion, 2002.


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