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Woodes Rogers
Circumnavigator, Privateer, Author, & Governor

By Cindy Vallar

Around the World                    Madagascar                    New Providence

A bold, active, indefatigable officer, one that could not give up his opinions too readily to others and who was not to be flattered by other people giving up their opinion to him . . . [he had] a peculiar art of maintaining authority and resourcefully hitting on expedients in times of difficulty. (Beattie, 146)
John Callander’s assessment of Woodes Rogers appeared in his three-volume series Terra Australis Cognita or Voyages to the Southern Hemisphere (1766-1768). Although not every contemporary of his would agree with Callender, Rogers’s unwavering confidence and dogged perseverance surpassed the setbacks and adversity he encountered throughout his life. He made a significant mark on history, even though that legacy has been largely forgotten today.

Woodes Rogers entered the world around 1679, the third male to be so named and the first of three children. His parents were Woodes and Frances Rogers. His siblings, Mary and John, were born one year and nine years later, respectively. His family initially established their roots in East Dorset, England sometime in the fifteenth century, but later moved to Bristol. In June 1696, they inhabited a house in Redcliffe, a neighborhood of seafarers’ families that was situated across the river from the center of town. Socially prominent and Protestant, the family owned property and Woodes followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become a sea captain. He began his apprenticeship in 1697 with another ship master, John Yeamans, even though at eighteen, Woodes was older than most new apprentices.

When and where the idea came from is problematic, but one theory suggests that near the end of 1707, a friend of Captain Rogers visited Woodes. The visitor was William Dampier, who at fifty-one years old had sailed around the world twice and wanted to do so again. Another possibility is that Woodes himself dreamed of sailing around Cape Horn to plunder Spanish settlements and capture a Manila galleon. Since financing such a proposition was beyond the means of either gentleman, they broached the possibility of sailing west on a round-the-world privateering venture with Admiral William Whetstone, Woodes’s father-in-law. The idea blossomed into a proposal that the admiral put forth to leading members of the Bristol community. The War of the Spanish Succession had been ongoing for six years, pitting England and her allies against France and Spain. Since 1702 (when the conflict began), Woodes was just one of many owners of Bristol privateers who had suffered losses because of enemy attacks on his ships.

Reception of the Manila Galleon by the Chamorro
                    in the Ladrones Islands, ca. 1590 (Source: Wikimedia
Reception of the Manila Galleon by the Chamorro in the Ladrones Islands, c. 1590

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

One such incident involved the Whetstone Galley, a slave ship of 130 tons armed with sixteen guns. Captain Thomas Robbens was her captain and Woodes and three other Bristol merchants owned the vessel. When she set sail on 3 February 1708, she was laden with cargo worth £1,000, which would be used to purchase 270 slaves in Africa before she sailed to Jamaica where the Africans would be auctioned off to the highest bidders. Soon after she reached open water, French privateers captured her.

This new privateering proposal was a means by which Woodes could recoup some of his losses and seek retribution against these two nations. At the time, he was a young family man of twenty-nine. Woodes and Sarah Whetstone had married on 24 January 1705, at the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in London. Six days earlier, her father became the Royal Navy’s Admiral of the Blue. Sir William was named commander of the Jamaica Station several days after the wedding. The two families were neighbors. In December 1702, the senior Captain Rogers bought property at 31-32 Queen’s Square where he built an elegant home for his family, which Woodes inherited upon the death of his father at sea in 1705 or 1706. The Whetstones’ house occupied lot number twenty-nine.

Woodes and Sarah’s firstborn, a daughter also named Sarah, came in 1706. Son William Whetstone entered the world the next year, and a second daughter, Mary, was born in 1708, but died in 1712.

A voyage around the world required a significant amount of money that essentially equated to a substantial wager during a game of whist. In this case, the gamble was twofold: Would the ships even return, and would their holds be laden with riches from the Far East that would net the wagerer a tidy profit? Another drawback was that whoever invested funds in the gamble needed to be able to wait a significant amount of time before realizing any profit from the investment. (Rogers sailed from Bristol in August 1708 and didn’t return to England until October 1711.)

Rather than seek out one person to assume the risk, the decision was made to partition the cost for ships, crews, supplies, and stores among a number of investors. Shares were sold at a rate of £103 10 shillings per allotment. The 256 shares that a small number of merchants purchased raised £26,496. Many of the investors lived in Bristol and were prominent citizens.

Investor Position Shares Purchased
John Hollidge Mayor, 1708 10
Christopher Shuter Mayor, 1711 20
John Romsey/Rumsey
Town Clerk
Sir John Hawkins
Mayor, 1701
Thomas Clemens/Clements
Sheriff, 1709
Philip Freake
Sheriff, 1708
John Batchelor
Thomas Dover
Thomas Goldney II Grocer

Dover, who accompanied Rogers on the voyage, was forty-six and had no experience as a seafarer.1 Yet he served as Duke’s second captain, president of the expedition’s council (which gave him two votes in any shipboard decisions), chief physician for the expedition, and captain of the marines. Goldney, a Quaker, was the largest investor. He inherited much of his fortune from his father-in-law, but shortly after the two ships departed Bristol, he was arrested and imprisoned for indebtedness totaling £9,500. (He didn’t emerge from prison for nearly two years.) In addition to serving on the town council, Batchelor was a linendraper and the Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, through whom all correspondence concerning the venture passed. Hawkins was a brewer and Clements, a shipwright, built the Duke’s hull.

Since this was marketed as a privateering venture, letters of marque were needed for the two merchant ships, the Duke and the Dutchess.2 Woodes Rogers commanded the former, while Stephen Courtney served as captain of the latter.

William Dampier by
                    Thomas Murray, c 1697-1698 (Source:
                    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dampier-portrait.jpg)William Dampier was the expedition’s pilot because of his prior visits to the South Seas (southern Pacific Ocean). On his first circumnavigation, he had sailed with buccaneers such as Lionel Wafer, Basil Ringrose, John Coxon, and Bartholomew Sharp. He also had a penchant for studying the flora, fauna, weather, and peoples that he encountered on his journeys, and had written two books about his adventures. There was “no Englishman [who] could match his knowledge of lands, currents, and winds in eastern waters.” (Farley, 524) When Dampier joined the expedition, he and the owners agreed that he would be paid 1/16th of their proceeds.

Francis Rogers, who was also one of the investors, served as ship’s husband, which meant he was in charge of fitting out the two vessels.3 John Rogers, Woodes’s brother, served as a lieutenant under Captain Courtney aboard the Dutchess. Alexander White served as an interpreter; he once lived in Peru and could converse in Spanish.

Aside from Dr. Dover, five additional men served in medical capacities on the two vessels. Samuel Hopkins, the expedition’s apothecary, happened to be Dover’s brother-in-law. As a lieutenant, he would take part in any raids ashore. Dr. John Ballet had tended the men who accompanied Dampier on his 1703 circumnavigation. James Wasse was a Dutch-trained physician and surgeon. The remaining two men, Charles May and John Lancy, were assistants.

Of the total amount collected to finance the expedition, nearly half was spent to fit out the ships and purchase the necessary provisions. The Duke cost £8,198, while the Dutchess cost £4,990. Although contemporary descriptions and pictures of them are non-existent, they might have been “built on the lines of the famous Bristol runners, which . . . were designed for speed and much admired by the Navy’s shipbuilders.” (Beattie, 2013, 77-79) In 1712, Captain Richard Edwards described them as having “about 28 guns, and breadth of about 28 and 29½ feet, having longer topmasts and square yards than Her Majesty’s ships of 40 guns, which are 33 feet broad.” (Beattie, 2007, 149) An engraving in E. C. Drake’s A New Universal Collection of Authentic and Entertaining Voyages and Travels from the Earliest Accounts to the Present Day (1771) showed Duke “as a two-decked ship looking much like a cut down version of a late seventeenth century ship-of-the-line, and the Dutchess as a single-decked galley.” (Beattie, 2013, 77)

Ceremony of
                    ducking under the Tropic showing the Duke and
                    Dutchess in Voyages and Travels by Edward Cavendish
                    Drake, 1769 (Source:
Engraving entitled "Ceremony of ducking under the Tropic" and showing the Duke and Dutchess
(Source: A New Universal Collection of Authentic and Entertaining Voyages and Travels
by Edward Cavendish Drake, 1771)

The 2 August entry in Rogers’s book described the two vessels as being “the Duke Burden about 320 Tuns, having 30 Guns and 117 Men; and the Dutchess Burden about 260 Tuns by Measure, 26 Guns and 108 Men: both well furnish’d with all Necessaries on board for a distant Undertaking.” (Rogers, 2004, 9) (Her guns were six-pounders.)

Edward Cooke, the second captain of the Dutchess, also published a book about the expedition. In it, he included two descriptions of the vessels.
a. Agreement between the Owners and the Men
. . . the Duke, Burthen about 350 Tuns, 36 Guns . . . and the Dutchess, Burthen about 300 Tuns, 30 Guns . . . (Cooke, 1: Introduction)
b. Cooke's own commentary
. . . the Duke, Burden about 300 Tons, 30 Guns, and 170 Men . . . and the Dutchess . . . Burden about 270 Tons, 26 Guns, and 151 Men. (Cooke, 1:1-2)
Such discrepancies stemmed from the fact that they were estimates of how much cargo the ship could carry or how well she was armed, rather than precise measurements or counts. The former were complicated calculations influenced by various items, and it was rare for shipwright plans of the period to provide exact details as such schematics do today.

Prior to departure, the owners, the officers, and the men who sailed on these vessels signed Articles of Agreement. Aside from stating that the owners were responsible for outfitting the ships, this document also provided details about the division of shares.

2. All Prizes and Purchase, which shall be taken . . . shall be divided viz. two thirds Part of the clear Profits to the Owners . . . and the other third Part to the Officers, Sea-men, and Land-men who shall be at the taking of such Prizes and Purchase.4

3. If any Provisions, or Ships Materials, taken in any Prize, shall be wanting for Use of the . . . Ships, one third Part of the Value of all such Provisions and Materials so made use of, shall be paid for by the Owners to the Officers and Sea-men. (Cooke, Introduction)
Privateering ventures usually sailed under the adage of “no prey, no pay.” In other words, if they took a prize, they received pay; if they failed to take a prize, they earned nothing. Rogers’s expedition gave some men the option of part wages and a portion of shares. Additional funds could be earned by those who participated in onshore raids. Restitution for anyone who incurred a disability or died were also standard in Articles of Agreement. In this case, those officers lower in rank than a pilot received £40 if they lost one or more limbs, while those higher in rank were given £50, and sailors, £30. If a man was married and died, his widow received the same payment according to his standing. In the case of singular bravery while in action, a reward was also offered. All of these payments were made prior to the dispersal of shares. Edward Cooke, in his introduction, outlined how these were divided among the men.

Rank Shares Wages (monthly) and Shares
Captain 24
Second Captain 20
First Lieutenant 16 £3 and 8 shares
Second Lieutenant 10 £2 10s and 5
Third Lieutenant 8 £2 and 4
Master 10 £2 10s and 5
Master’s Mate 6 £2 and 3
Second Mate 5 £1 15s and 2½
Third Mate 4 £1 10s and 2
Surgeon 10 £2 10s and 5
Surgeon’s Mate 6 £1 10s and 3
Owner’s Agent 10 £2 10s and 5
Pilot 8 £2 10s and 4
Carpenter 6 £2 and 3
Carpenter’s Mate 4 £1 10s and 2
6 £2 and 3
Boatswain’s Mate 4 £1 10s and 2
£2 and 3
Gunner’s Mate £1 10s and 1¾
Cooper 5 £1 10s and 2½
Cooper’s Mate £1 5s and 1¾
Midshipman 4 £1 10s and 2
Quartermaster 3 £1 10s and 1½
Sailor £1 8s and 1¼
Landsman 14s and ¾

The owners’ agents during the voyage were Carleton Vanbrugh and William Bath.5 It was their job to represent the owners in all matters. To that end they were provided with specific instructions as to their responsibilities during the voyage. The following example was written for William Bath and included in Cooke’s introduction.
HAving appointed you to be our Agent on Board the Duchess Frigat, we do require you, in our Name, to act for the Interest of the whole, to keep exact and just Accompts of all Transactions in the Ship Dutchess, relating to Prizes or Purchase, that respect the said Ship, be it by Sea, or by Land, in Books provided on purpose for that Use.

When any Prize is taken at Sea, or elsewhere, you are to go aboard her in the first Boat, as near as you can, to take an Account of the Prisoners, or by your own, and you Mens Observation, what Goods, Merchandize, or Treasure, the Capture does consist of, and what in you lies prevent imbezeling, or concealing from the general Distribution.

If any Attempts are made upon Land, and Purchase obtain’d and brought aboard your Ship, you are to register all such Matters in your Book very particularly, and the Value, as near as you can compute. You are punctually to remark the Time and Place of all Captures, how dispos’d of; if ransom’d, for what; if consign’d, whither, and to whom, and copy all the Orders that go with her.

If Gold, Silver, Pearl, or such valuable Goods, of small Bulk, be brought aboard your Ship, you are appointed to secure it in some Chest, Box &c. and to be one of the Clavingers thereof, and so of the Hatches, when any Thing considerable is in the Hold.

You must know all that goes in and out thence, and in your Book make it Debtor and Creditor. In every Thing you are to act on the Owners Behalf, that you may be able to give an exact Accompt of all Particulars coming under your Cognizance, as above; which, together with prudent Conduct towards the Officers and Men, will be the greatest Satisfaction to us at your Return, that you have faithfully discharg’d your Trust; of which we will not doubt, but wish you very well.
The ships’ owners sought to have some control over how the voyage was conducted. To that end they instituted a constitution in hopes of thwarting misconduct. As Rogers explained in his introduction to A Cruising Voyage Round the World, the buccaneers
liv'd without Government; so that when they met with Purchase, they immediately squander’d it away, and when they got Mony and Liquor, they drank and gam’d till they spent all; and during those Revels there was no distinction between the Captain and Crew: for the Officers having no Commission but what the Majority gave them, they were chang’d at every Caprice, which divided them, and occasion’d frequent Quarrels and Separations, so that they cou’d do nothing considerable . . . . (Rogers, 2004, 5)
This constitution dictated that a council would “determine all Matters and Things whatsoever, that may arise, or be necessary for the general Good during the whole Voyage.” (Cooke, I: Introduction)
[A]ll Attempts, Attacks, and Designs upon the Enemy, either by Sea or Land, be first consulted and debated, either in particular, if separated, or in the general Council, if together; and as the Majority thereof shall conclude, how or when to act or do, it shall be indispensably, and without unnecessary Delay, put chearfully in Execution.
In case of any Discontents, Differences, or Misbehaviour among the Officers and Men, which may tend to the Disturbance of the good Concord and Government on Board, either the Men or Persons may appeal to the Captain, to have a Hearing and Decision by a Council, or the Captain shall call a Council, and have it heard and decided, and may prefer or displace any Man. . . . All Decision and Judgment of this Council shall be finally determin’d by the Majority of Voices; and in Case of an Equality, Capt. Dover is to have the double Voice, as President of the Council . . . . (Cooke, I: Introduction)
The constitution was signed by John Batchelor, Christopher Shuter, James Hollidge, Thomas Goldney, and Francis Rogers. Even though Woodes Rogers was in command of the expedition’s fleet, he was not permitted to serve as chairman of the council. That honor went to Thomas Dover and he possessed two votes over Rogers’s single one. This form of governing would cause problems for Rogers during the expedition. One difficulty concerned
the want of Power to try Offenders . . . which oblig’d us to connive at many Disorders, and to be mild in our Punishments: but which was still worse, there was no sufficient Power lodg’d in any one hand to determine Differences amongst our chief Officers; which was a great Omission, and might have prov’d of dangerous Consequence, because of the Divisions which happen’d among us. (Rogers, 2004, 7)
The expedition sailed from Bristol on 1 August 1708. Rogers carried with him sufficient funds to cover expenses during the entire voyage, but the amount proved insufficient because some captured cargo had to be sold in Batavia two years later to repair and restock their ships.

Their first port of call was Cork, Ireland, where forty members of the crew changed their minds about traveling around the world. Sufficient replacements were found for those who had jumped ship, so that when the Duke and Dutchess departed, the tally of both crews came to 334 men. Of that number, 181 composed the crew of Rogers’s Duke and included “Tinkers, Taylors, Hay-makers, Pedlers, Fiddlers, etc.” (Rogers, 1928, xi) John Finch, who had been a “wholesale oilman of London,” served as ship’s steward. (Rogers, 1928, xi) The Duke also carried a mascot, an English bulldog.

One of the first tests of Rogers’s command came on 11 September 1708. The privateers had stopped a vessel flying Swedish colors the day before. “We examin’d the Master, and . . . suspected he had Contraband Goods on board,” but a search turned up nothing and Rogers chose to release her.

While I was on board the Swede yesterday, our Men mutiny’d, the Ringleaders being our Boatswain, and three other inferior Officers. This Morning . . . we confin’d the Authors of this Disorder . . . . We put ten of the Mutineers in Irons, a Sailor being first soundly whip’d for exciting the rest to join him. Others less guilty I punish’d and discharg’d, but kept the chief Officers all arm’d, fearing what might happen . . . the Ship’s Company seeming too much inclin’d to favour the Mutineers . . . . (Rogers, 2004, 14)
The reason for the discontent stemmed from the release of the prize, which the mutineers felt had not been diligently searched and merited plundering. The leaders were shackled, confined, and fed only bread and water. “The most dangerous Fellow among the Mutineers” was Boatswain Giles Cash. On 14 September,

a Sailor came aft . . . with near half the Ship’s Company . . . following him, and demanded the Boatswain out of Irons. I desir’d him to speak with me by himself on the Quarter-Deck, which he did, where the Officers assisted me, seiz’d him, and made one of his chief Comrades whip him. This Method I thought best for breaking any unlawful Friendship amongst themselves; which different Correction to other Offenders, allay’d the Tumult; so that now they begin to submit quietly, and those in Irons beg Pardon, and promise Amendment. This Mutiny would not have been easily lay’d, were it not for the number of our Officers, which we begin to find very necessary to bring our Crew to Order and Discipline . . . . (Rogers, 2004, 15)
Since the Duke and Dutchess were sailing with a convoy bound for Madeira, the council of officers decided it was best if Boatswain Cash no longer remained aboard. Still clapped in irons, he was turned over to the Crown-Galley during the night of 15 September. The next day, Rogers “discharg’d the Prisoners from their Irons, upon their humble Submission, and strict Promise of good Behaviour for to come.” (Rogers, 2004, 15) Those who were petty officers resumed their duties, while Boatswain’s Mate John Pillar replaced Cash as boatswain.

While in the vicinity of the Canary Islands, the privateers captured another vessel – a Spanish bark of about twenty-five tons and carrying forty-five passengers – which a prize crew took to Tenerife. Carleton Vanbrugh, the owner’s agent, was adamant about going ashore and Rogers “consented, tho against my Judgment.” (Rogers, 2004, 16) Once there, Vanbrugh was taken hostage by the governor, who demanded that Rogers return the bark without receiving any ransom. The British counsel to the island seconded the governor’s demand, explaining that the seizure violated an accord between Queen Anne and the Spanish king.

In response, Rogers wrote,

It was Mr. Vanbrugh’s misfortune to go ashore; and if he is detain’d, we can’t help it. To have convinc’d us satisfactorily of what you say; you ought to have sent us a Copy of her Majesty’s Orders or Proclamation; but we doubt there’s no such thing in this case. If Mr. Vanbrugh is unjustly detain’d, we’ll carry the Prisoners we have on board to the Port we are bound to, let the Consequence be what it will.

. . . If you send us Mr. Vanbrugh, and the Man with him, we’ll send you the Prisoners; but we’ll not part from the Bark, unless ransom’d: tho the Value is not much, we will not be impos’d on. We desire you to use all manner of Dispatch without loss of time, which we can’t allow[.] (Rogers, 2004, 18-19)
The governor dithered and dallied, at least from Rogers’s perspective, but eventually agreed to pay a ransom for the vessel. The cargo, however, ought to be returned without any strings attached. Rogers was aware that a privateer usually cruised these waters and was expected at any time. This posed a risk he was not willing to take, so his response brooked little room for wavering on the governor’s part.
[T]ho we could not land our Men, would visit the Town with our Guns by eight next morning: adding, that we hop’d to meet with the Governor’s Frigat, and should repay his Civility in his own way . . . . (Rogers, 2004, 18)
His note had the desired effect. The next day, at the appointed time, they “spy’d a Boat coming off, which prov’d to be one Mr. Crosse an English Merchant, and Mr. Vanbrugh our Agent . . . with Wine, Grapes, Hogs, and other Necessaries, for the Ransom of the Bark . . . we immediately went to work, discharg’d the Bark, and parted the small Cargo between our Ships.” (Rogers, 2004, 18) Mr. Crosse requested that any personal items taken from the captives be returned, especially the friars’ “Books, Crucifixes, and Reliques,” which was done. (Rogers, 2004, 18) With everyone now happy, he divulged that the month before had seen the departure of “four or five French Ships from 24 to 50 Guns” that were bound to the South Seas, just like Rogers’s expedition. Instead of confirming his own destination, Rogers indicated that he was bound only for England’s settlements in the West Indies.

Three days after they resumed their voyage, the council gathered for dinner on the Duke. Vanbrugh had complained about Rogers’s conduct toward him, so Rogers brought the complaint before his fellow officers. They sided with Rogers and deemed “Mr. Vanbrugh to be much in the wrong.” [Rogers, 2004, 19]

The ships crossed the Tropic of Cancer on 25 September 1708.7 Each man who did so for the first time was expected to undergo a time-honored “baptismal rite” that served two purposes: to entertain the crew and to cement their unity.

Line-crossing ceremony aboard frigatge
                          Meduse by Jules de Caudin (Source:
Example of a Crossing the Line Ceremony by Jean de Caudin
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The manner of doing it was by a Rope thro a Block from the Main-Yard, to hoist ’em above half way up to the Yard, and let ’em fall at once into the Water; having a Stick cross thro their Legs, and well fastened to the Rope, that they might not be supriz’d and let go their hold. This prov’d of great use to our fresh-water Sailors, to recover the Colour of their Skins which were grown very black and nasty. Those that we duck’d after this manner three times, were about 60, and others that would not undergo it, chose to pay Half a Crown Fine; the Mony to be levy’d and spent at a publick Meeting of all the Ships Companys, when we return to England. The Dutch Men and some English Men desir’d to be duck’d, some six, others eight, ten, and twelve times, to have the better Title for being treated when they come home. (Rogers, 2004, 19-20)
Although rules regarding plunder were established prior to embarkation, the council deemed it necessary to tweak the specifics of these to pacify the crew. The first occurrence happened as a result of the taking of the Tenerife prize. On 8 October the members needed
to prevent Embezlements in Prizes, and to hinder Feuds and Disorders amongst our Officers and Men . . . the small Prize had shew’d us, that without a Method to be strictly observ’d in Plunder, it might occasion the worst of Consequences to both ships, and such Quarrels as would not easily be laid.

. . . without [the men] being easy, we must unavoidably have run into such continual Scenes of Mischief and Disorder, as have not only tended to the great Hindrance, but generally-to the total Disappointment of all Voyages of this nature, that have been attempted so far abroad in the Memory of Man. (Rogers, 2004, 22)
They decided to equally divide any and all plunder taken from a vessel between the entire company regardless of which ship captured the prize. The officers and owners’ agents would decide what was plunder and what was not. Any man who failed to turn over “any Plunder exceeding one Piece of Eight in value” after twenty-four hours would face severe disciplinary measures, as well as “lose his Shares of the Plunder.” Anyone besotted during a fight, or who disobeyed a command, or hid rather than fight, or abandoned his post would face “[t]he same Penalty.”

Bookkeeping and determining whether anyone concealed plunder was also addressed, as was the awarding of additional monies above a person’s shares.

4. That publick Books of Plunder are to be kept in each Ship attested by the Officers, and the Plunder to be apprais’d by Officers chosen, and divided as soon as possible after the Capture. Also every Person to be sworn and search’d as soon as they shall come aboard, by such Persons as shall be appointed for that purpose: The Person or Persons refusing, shall forfeit their shares of the Plunder[.]

5. In consideration that Capt. Rogers and Capt. Courtney, to make both ships Companies easy, have given the whole Cabin-Plunder (which in all probability is the major part) . . . we do voluntarily agree, that they shall have 5 per Cent, each of ’em, over and above their respective Shares[.]

6. That a Reward of twenty Pieces of Eight shall be given to him that first sees a Prize of good Value, or exceeding 50 Tuns in Burden. (Rogers, 2004, 23)
The last item addressed pertained to anyone who had not yet signed the Articles of Agreement. “[We] do hereby oblige our selves to the same Terms and Conditions as the rest of the Ships Company have done[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 23) This placed everyone on an equal footing, preventing anyone from using the lack of his signature as a viable excuse for what he did or did not do.

While this seemed to address future conflicts, problems continued to surface. One such incident occurred on 22 October, involving the second mate, a man named Page, on the Dutchess. He was to move from that ship to the Duke, while Rogers’s second mate would take his place.

Page disobeying Command, occasion’d Capt. Cook, being the superior Officer aboard, to strike him; whereupon Page struck him again, and several Blows past: but at last Page was forc’d into the Boat, and brought on board of us. And Capt. Cook and others telling us what Mutiny had pass’d, we order’d Page on the Fore-Castle into the Bilboes. He begg’d to go into the Head to ease himself; under that pretence the Corporal and the rest left him for a while: upon which he leapt over board, thinking to swim back to the Dutchess, it being near calm, and the Captains out of the Ship. However, the Boat being along side, we soon overtook him, and brought him on board again. For which and his abusive Language he was lash’d to the Main-Geers and drub’d; and for inciting the Men to Mutiny, was afterward confin’d in Irons aboard the Duke. (Rogers, 2004, 25)
Page was freed seven days later, once he acknowledged that he had been in the wrong and promised not to do so again.

Another incident came four days later on 2 November. Two men had taken “a Peruke . . . two Shirts, and a Pair of Stockings” from the prize seized in the Canary Islands and hidden them. (Rogers, 2004, 25) After the theft was discovered, they were tried, convicted, and placed in shackles. They saw the error of their ways and, after promising there would be no such repetition, they were released.

November 1708 found the crews careening their ships at Isla Granda (Ilha Grande or Big Island), off the coast of Brazil. During this time of cleaning and repairing, the men also enjoyed shore leave. But on the twenty-fifth, Michael Jones and James Brown had had enough. They jumped ship and hid in the jungle – perhaps not their best decision since they were from Ireland and unused to tropical forests.

[I]n the night [they] were so frighted with Tygers, as they thought, but really by Monkeys and Baboons, that they ran into the water, hollowing to the Ship till they were fetch’d aboard. (Rogers, 2004, 28)

Sumatran Tiger by Monika Betley (Source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panthera_tigris_sumatran_subspecies.jpg)Brown Howler
                    Monkey by Peter Schoen (Source:
                    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brown_Howler_Monkey_6.jpgGolden-backed Squirrel
                    Monkey by Cliff (Source:
                    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saimiri_ustus.jpg)Tufted Capuchin by
                    Basile Morin
Sumatran Tiger versus Monkeys of Brazil: Brown Howler, Golden-backed Squirrel, andTufted Capuchin
Source: Wikimedia Commons -- Monika Betley, Peter Schoen, Cliff, and Basile Morin)
Problems with Vanbrugh had continued since his censure and came to a head when he gave chase to a canoe and killed a native. On 30 November 1708, the council decided a change was needed since he had acted without orders and contrary to his assigned duties. They transferred “Mr. Carleton Vanbrugh from being Agent of the Duke Frigate, to bi Agent of the Dutchess and to receive Mr. William Bath Agent of the Dutchess in his Place.” (Rogers, 2004, 32)

The expedition set sail again the next day and, finally, on Christmas Day, a lookout “spy’d a Sail under our Lee-Bow bearing S E. from us, dist. about 4 Ls.” (Rogers, 2004, 60) Sails were unfurled and the chase began. They narrowed the distance, but lost her around ten that evening after the sun set. Thinking she might be sailing for home, they “ran North till Dawning: then we stood to the Westward till it was light[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 60) Finally, around noon, they spotted their target and continued their pursuit.

[I]n the Morning had a very thick Fog, so that I could see neither our Consort nor Chase till an hour after ’twas full Light. When it clear’d up, we saw our Consort on our Larboard-Bow; we fir’d a Gun for her to bear down, but immediately we saw the Chase ahead of her about four miles, which gave us new Life. We forthwith hal’d up for them; but the Wind soon veering a-head, had a great disadvantage in the Chase. We ran at a great rate, being smooth Water; but it coming on to blow more and more, the Chase outbore our Consort: so she gave off . . . Thus this Ship escap’d; which, considering that we always out-went her before, is as strange as our first seeing of her in this place, because all Ships that we have heard of bound out or home this way, kept within Falkland’s Island. (Rogers, 2004, 60-61)
On the first of January 1709, they welcomed in the New Year.
[E]very Officer was wish’d a merry New-Year by our Musick; and I had a large Tub of Punch hot upon the Quarter-Deck, where every Man in the Ship had above a Pint to his share, and drank our Owners and Friends Healths in Great Britain, to a happy new Year, a good Voyage, and a safe Return. We bore down on our Consort, and gave them three Huzza’s, wishing them the like. (Rogers, 2004, 61)
The farther south they traveled, the colder it became. On 2 January 1709, Rogers noted, “Clothes and Liquor were now an excellent Commodity amongst our Ships Company . . . We had six Taylors at work for several weeks to make them Clothing, and pretty well supply’d their Wants by the spare Blankets and red Clothes belonging to the Owners; and what every Officer could spare, was alter’d for the Mens Use” on both vessels. (Rogers, 2004, 61)

Weather and wind became more of an issue, especially as they navigated southern waters and rounded Cape Horn.8 One such incident was recorded by both Rogers and Cooke in their books. Cooke details what happened aboard the Dutchess.

Wednesday, January 5. 1708-9. This Day we had a violent Gale of Wind at N.W. and very bad Weather; at Two in the Afternoon reef’d both Courses, then lower’d our Foreyard, and lay by ’till Five; at which Time our Waste was fill’d with Water, and we expecting the Ship would sink every Moment, got down our Fore-yard as well as we could, and loos’d the Sprit-sail, to ware the Ship, which at last we did, but in waring, we thought she would have founder’d with the Weight of the Water that was in her, by reason she had so deep a Waste. Thus we scudded before the Wind, the Duke following, and at Nine shipp’d a Sea at the Poop, as we were in the Cabbin going to eat; it beat in all the Cabbin-Windows and Bulk-Head and hove the first Lieutenant half way between the Decks, with several Muskets and Pistols that hung there, darting a Sword that was against the Bulk-Head of the Cabbin, through my Man’s Hammock and Rug, which hung against the Bulk-Head of the Steeridge, and had not the Bulk-Head of the great Cabbin given way, all we who were there must inevitably have been drown’d, before the Water could have been vented. Our Yaul was stav’d on the Deck, and it was a Wonder that many were not kill’d with the Shutters, the Bulk-Head, and the Arms, which were drove with a prodigious Force; but God in his Mercy deliver’d us from this and many other Dangers. Only one Man or two were hurt, and some bruis’d, but not one Rag of dry Cloaths left us, our Chests, Hammocks, and Bedding being all soak’d in Water. (Cooke, 32-33)
Rogers’s account was from the perspective of being aboard Duke.

Jan. 5. Just past twelve Yesterday it came on to blow strong: We got down our Fore-Yard, and reef’d our Fore-Sail and Main-Sail; but there came on a violent Gale of Wind, and a great Sea. A little before six we saw the Dutchess lowering her Main-Yard: the Tack flew up, and the Lift unreev’d, so that the Sail to Leeward was in the water and all a-back, their Ship took in a great deal of Water . . . immediately they loos’d their Sprit-Sail, and wore her before the Wind: I wore after her, and came as near as I could to ’em, expecting when they had gotten their Main-Sail stow’d they would take another Reef in, and bring to again . . . but to my surprize they kept scudding to the Southward. I dreaded running amongst Ice, because it was excessive cold; so I fir’d a Gun as a Signal for them to bring to, and brought to our selves again . . . They kept on, and our Men on the look-out told me they had an Ensign in their Maintop-Mast Shrouds as a Signal of Distress . . . so I wore again, our Ship working exceeding well in this great Sea. Just before night I was up with them again, and set our Fore-Sail twice reef’d to keep ’em Company, which I did all night. About three this morning it grew more moderate; we soon made a Signal to speak with them, and at five they brought to: when I came within haile, I enquir’d how they all did aboard; they answer’d, they had ship’d a great deal of Water  . . . and were forc’d to put before the Wind, and the Sea had broke in the Cabin-Windows, and over their Stern, filling their Steerage and Waste, and had like to have spoil’d several Men; but God be thank’d all was otherwise indifferent well with ’em, only they were intolerably cold, and every thing wet. (Rogers, 2004, 61-62)
The next day, he and Dampier went over to the Dutchess and found “all their Clothes drying, the Ship and Rigging cover’d with them from the Deck to the Main-Top[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 62)

On the seventh, one of the men, who had been sick since they departed Isla Granda, died and they held a burial at sea. This sailor was but the first to perish during the voyage.

After rounding Cape Horn, the seafarers headed for Juan Fernandez Island. The cold weather, wet conditions, and scurvy affected a number of crewmen on both ships, so they needed a place where the sick could be put ashore to recuperate. The problem was that no one, not even their pilot, was sure of the island’s exact location, because the sea charts at their disposal disagreed. Finally, at 7:00 a.m. on 31 January 1709, they sighted their destination. That afternoon, they launched a pinnace, with Captain Dover aboard, to go ashore because water and wood needed to be restocked.

As soon as it was dark, we saw a Light ashore; our Boat was then about a League from the Island, and bore away for the Ships as soon as she saw . . . We fir’d one Quarter-Deck Gun and several Muskets, showing Lights in our Mizen and Fore-Shrouds, that our Boat might find us, whilst we ply’d in the Lee of the Island. (Rogers, 2004, 70-71)
The officers thought the shore light might “be French Ships at anchor” and that a fight would ensue before Dover’s men could collect their much-needed supplies. (Rogers, 2004, 71) The next day, however, revealed no such enemy vessels in sight, so around noon on 2 February, the boat again was lowered and went ashore with “Capt. Dover, Mr. Frye, and six Men, all arm’d.” (Rogers, 2004, 71) But no one returned, so a pinnace was sent to discover where they were. When that boat returned, it brought back crawfish and
a Man cloth’d in Goat-Skins, who look’d wilder than the first Owners of them. He had been on the Island four Years and four Months, being left there by Capt’ Stradling in the Cinque-Ports; his Name was Alexander Selkirk a Scotch Man, who had been Master of the Cinque-Ports, a Ship that came here last with Capt. Dampier, who told me that this was the best Man in her; so I immediately agreed with him to be a Mate on board our Ship. (Rogers, 2004, 71)
Rescue of Selkirk
The rescued Selkirk being taken aboard the Duke (seated, right)
from Edward E. Leslie's Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls (circa 1859)

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

It turned out that Selkirk had lit the bonfire they had seen, because he thought they were English and hoped to be saved. Rogers noted details about this man and his experiences, which he later included in his book, A Cruising Voyage, including the fact that
[a]t his first coming on board us, he had so much forgot his Language for want of Use, that we could scarce understand him, for he seem’d to speak his words by halves. We offer’d him a Dram, but he would not touch it, having drank nothing but Water since his being here, and ’twas some time before he could relish our Victuals. (Rogers, 2004, 73)
Rogers dubbed Selkirk “The Governour” and believed that he survived because of God’s grace. Rogers opined, “By this one may see that Solitude and Retirement from the World is not such an unsufferable State of Life as most Men imagine, especially when People are fairly call’d or thrown into it unavoidably, as this Man was,” which also proved that Selkirk’s experience was a shining example “[t]hat Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” (Rogers, 2004, 74)

Photograph of Alexander Selkirk Statue, taken by
              Sylvia Stanley, 2009)
Alexander Selkirk Statue, Fife Scotland

Photograph by Sylvia Stanley
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Those who were sick were taken ashore that afternoon, where they sheltered under a tent. On 3 February,

we got our Smiths Forge put up ashore, set our Coopers to work in another place, and made a little Tent for my self to have the Benefit of the Shore . . . we have a little Town of our own here, and every body is employ’d. (Rogers, 2004, 74)
Selkirk captured goats daily, from which broth was made and given to the sick. Combined with “Turnip-Tops and other Greens,” as well as “the Goodness of the Air they recover’d very fast of the Scurvy[.]” (Rogers, 1928, 96; Rogers, 2004, 74)

During this interlude, the ships were repaired, wood was taken on board, and water casks were filled. They also slaughtered some sea lions and “boil’d up about 80 Gallons of Sea-Lions Oil . . . for the use of our Lamps and to save our Candles[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 75) When they sailed away from Juan Fernandez Island on 13 February, the ships headed for “the Island of Lobos de la Mar,” where they planned “to build our Boats and land our Men.” (Rogers, 2004, 77) It also would serve as a rendezvous point should they become separated from each other.

For whatever reason, a decision was made to once again transfer the owners’ agents back to their original shipboard assignments. Vanbrugh returned to the Duke the day they departed Juan Fernandez Island, a move Rogers “hope[d was] for the best.” (Rogers, 2004, 78) Fourteen days later, after arming two pinnaces with guns, they launched those to serve as “small Privateers.” (Rogers, 2004, 80)

That same month, the council met aboard the Duke for dinner and discussion. Again, they decided to change how plunder was regulated so as to maintain order and discipline. The enforcement of these regulations now fell to eight men – four from each ship – instead of Vanbrugh and Bath. These officers would be in charge of searching the men, and should the vessels become
separated when any Prize is taken, then one of you is to be on board the Prize, and the other to remain on board the Ship; and in each place be very strict, and keep an exact Account of what comes to your hands, and as soon as possible secure it in such manner as the Captain of either Ship shall direct . . .

If any Person nor concerned in this Order, nor employ’d in the same by Capt. Courtney, concerns himself with the Plunder . . . you are to forbid him; and if he disobeys, to give immediate Information of such Person or Persons.

You are not to incumber the Boats with Chests or Plunder out of any Prize at first coming aboard, but mind what you see. And the first thing you are to do, is to take account of what you find aboard that is Plunder, and remove nothing without the Captains of either Ship’s Orders; or in case of their Absence, of the chief Officer or Officers of either Ship that shall be aboard the Prize, to avoid Trouble and Disturbance.

You are by no means to be rude in your Office, but to do every thing as quiet and easy as possible; and to demean your selves so towards those employed by Capt. Courtney, that we may have no manner of Disturbance or Complaint: still observing that you be not overaw’d, nor deceived of what is your Due, in the behalf of the Officers and Men. (Rogers, 2004, 79)
By 4 March, it became necessary to ration water – three pints daily per person – in order to make it last while they hunted for prey. Off the coast of Peru on the fifteenth, they sighted a sail, which Duke captured. The master of the sixteen-ton prize was Antonio Heliagos. From master and crew, Rogers learned the seven French ships known to be in the Pacific were gone because relations with their allies had deteriorated. These nine men also swore that “there had been no Enemy in those parts since Capt. Dampier, which is above four Years ago.” (Rogers, 2004, 81) Another surprising bit of news, especially for Alexander Selkirk, was that his former ship, the Cinque Ports, had “founder’d on the Coast of Barbacour” and Captain Stradling, the man who had marooned him, and a handful of survivors were imprisoned in Lima in far worse conditions than Selkirk had experienced on Juan Fernandez Island. (Rogers, 2004, 81)

The next day they finally reached their destination. A small bark was refitted to be a privateer, while the carpenters constructed a boat that could be used to land men for raiding ashore. The bark, which was armed with four swivel guns, was rechristened Beginning and Edward Cooke became her commander. The Duke’s mainmast was replaced with a spar, while a sail was fashioned from a mizzenmast. The Dutchess was careened, a job that was afterward done to Duke. Those who were sick were taken ashore and rested in tents.

During this interim, Beginning and Dutchess went cruising and captured several prizes. One of these was the Ascensión, “built Galeon-fashion, very high with Galleries, Burden between 4 and 500 Tun”; her new captain was Mr. Frye, who had been Rogers’s first lieutenant. (Rogers, 2004, 84) The number of prisoners continued to grow, but none seemed to cause any problems for Rogers. The man who did was Vanbrugh. This time, he killed “some Carrion-Crows” and ordered someone to carry them. That sailor refused. Vanbrugh also had a run-in with Captain Dover, who insisted that the council address the issue of Vanbrugh’s behavior. Having “committed sundry Misdemeanours, and . . . we not believing him a fit Person to be one of the Committee,” the officers replaced him with Samuel Hopkins, Dover’s brother-in-law. (Rogers, 2004, 85)

Sketch of
              Guayaquil engraved by Paulus Minget, 1741
Engraving of Guayaquil by Paulus Minget
Published in Father Jacinto Moran de Butron's Compendio Historico de la Provincia (1741)
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On 12 April 1709, the council resolved to raid the Spanish town of Guayaquil, Ecuador – a place Dampier had helped sack in 1684. One reason for this was that the expedition now numbered ten vessels and, in addition to the crew, the privateers held in excess of 300 captives who needed to be fed and provisions were running low. Preparations ensued, but three days later, personal tragedy struck Rogers. His brother John came over from the Dutchess where he was serving as her second lieutenant. “[H]e was to be Lieutenant of my Company ashore,” but already having more than enough men of his own, Woodes didn’t want his brother to be involved in the attack. (Rogers, 2004, 89) John resented this, so when Duke’s lookout sighted an enemy ship, John volunteered to join the boarding party. Woodes wasn’t happy about this either, but because of their earlier falling out, he shied away from intervening this time.
[B]eing calm, we sent off both our Pinnaces mann’d and arm’d. But our Men expecting no Resistance from that Ship, they hurry’d from us, left out their Swivel-Gun, and carry’d but a slender Stock of Arms with them . . . About nine a clock our Boat came within shot of the Ship, which prov’d to be the French-built Ship belonging to Lima, the same we have been a cruising for. They hoisted their Spanish Ensign in its place, and a Flag at their Top-Mast-Head . . . [when] the Dutchess Pinnace came up . . . Capt. Cooke, Mr. Frye, and my Brother consulted how to begin the Attack with advantage: They agreed that our Boat should ply her under the Stern, and the other on the Bow, till they could get near enough to board at once. But . . . the Spaniards brought a Gun right aft, and upwards of twenty small Arms pointed into the Boats; so that the Fight began before they could reach the Station agreed on, and both were forc’d to engage the Enemy abaft, where they had five Guns mounted. Our People were constrain’d to fall astern twice, after the loss of one Man kill’d and three wounded. The Boats and Sails were much damag’d by the Enemies Partridge-shot, yet they again attempted to come up and board her. At this Attack my unfortunate Brother was shot thro the Head, and instantly died, to my unspeakable Sorrow: but as I began this Voyage with a Resolution to go thro it, and the greatest Misfortune or Obstacle shall not deter me, I’ll as much as possible avoid being thoughtful and afflicting my self for what can’t be re-call’d, but indefatigably pursue the Concerns of the Voyage, which has hitherto allow’d little Respite. (Rogers, 2004, 89)
The attack was called off at this point, and the boats returned to their respective ships “with two dead and three wounded Men.” (Rogers, 2004, 89)

Captain Edward Cooke, who took part in the attack, summarized what happened in his book.

Our Ships being almost out of Sight, and the Spaniard so near the Coast, and making the best of her Way to run ashore in a sandy Bay, we resolv’d to lay her aboard on each Bow, and accordingly made the best of our Way, I being then on her Weather-Quarter, and Capt. Fry on her Lee. We design’d to have told them we were Friends, ’till got out of the way of their Stern-Chase, but the Duke’s Men, thinking the Spaniards had been going to give us a Volley, pour’d in their Shot among them . . . The Dispute was hot for a long Time, we keeping a constant Fire, and the Enemy answering, who kill’d two of Capt. Fry’s Men, and wounded one of his, and two of mine. One of the dead Men was Mr. John Rogers, our second Lieutenant, and Brother to Capt. Rogers, who behav’d himself very well during the Action. (Cooke, I: 137)
He also described the burial service, which took place around noon the next day (Saturday, 16 April).
This Morning . . . bury’d our Lieutenant in the most decent Manner we could, giving him two Volleys from each Ship, according to the Custom of the Sea, being all much concern’d for the Loss of so good an Officer. (Cooke, I:138)
Rogers’ account provided a bit more detail.
[W]e read the Prayers for the Dead, and threw my dear Brother over-board, with one of our Sailors, another lying dangerously ill.  We hoisted our Colours but half-mast up: We began first, and the rest follow’d, firing each some Volleys of small Arms. All our Officers express’d a great Concern for the Loss of my Brother, he being a very hopeful active young Man, a little above twenty Years of Age. (Rogers, 2004, 89-90)
Two hours later, Rogers and his men captured the enemy vessel. (The Havre de Grâce was laden with pearls, slaves, and wealthy Spaniards.) On 29 April, he recorded that “Roger Booth, one of the Dutchess’s Men, who was wounded through his Wind-pipe . . . died the 20th Instant. William Essex, a stout Sailor, one of our Quarter-Masters, being wounded in the Breast . . . died the 24th Instant: So that out of both Ships we lost 4 Good Men, including my dead Brother[.]" (Rogers, 2004, 103) Quartermaster James Stratton, who suffered a leg wound, survived.
Pirates on the march. Artist: Howard Pyle.
                        Source: Dover
Pirates on the march. Artist: Howard Pyle
(Source: Pirates, Dover Clip-Art)
The time had come to carry out the raid on Guayaquil. A three-pronged attack, consisting of 195 men, would be led by Rogers, Dover, and Courtney. Twenty-one sailors, under the command of William Dampier and Thomas Glendall, would “manage and take care of the Guns, Ammunition, Provisions, &c. which we agree to be lodg’d in a, convenient place, as near as possible to the best Landing-place nearest the Water-side, in order to take care and help ship off the Effects that we may take in the Town[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 86) On 17 April 1709, “[w]e gave each Man a Ticket, that he might remember what Company he belong’d; and appointed the best and soberest Man we could pick to command every ten Men under the Captains.” (Rogers, 2004, 90)

The following afternoon, Rogers and Courtney
settl’d every thing on board our Ships and Prizes, and got all the Men design’d for Landing on board the Barks. We proportion’d the rest, and put Irons on board every Ship . . . We agreed to leave on board the Duke 42 Men and Boys, sick and well, Robert Fry Commander; 37 aboard the Dutchess, Edward Cook Commander; 14 aboard the Galleon, John Bridge Master; 14 aboard the Havre de Grace, Robert Knowlman Master; and 4 aboard the Beginning, Henry Duck Master . . . The Prisoners on board are above 300 . . . The Captain and 7 of the chief Spaniards taken in the last Prize I carried aboard our Bark to go with us to the Town, fearing they might be dangerous Persons to leave behind us. (Rogers, 2004, 90)
Prior to this, the council deemed what constituted purchase and plunder. One reason for revisiting the articles again was because Rogers had learned that some crew members felt they should be compensated for the additional risk in attacking a shore-based target. His hope was that amending the items permissible to plunder might waylay possible mutiny.
Imprim. All manner of Bedding and Clothes without stripping, all manner of Necessaries, Gold Rings, Buckles, Buttons, Liquors, and Provisions for our own expending and use, with all sorts of Arms and Ammunition, except great Guns for Ships, is Plunder, and shall be divided equally amongst the Men of each Ship, with their Prizes, either aboard or ashore, according to the whole Shares.

2. It is also agreed, that any sort of wrought Silver or Gold Crucifixes, Gold and Silver Watches, or any other Movables found about the Prisoners, or wearing Apparel of any kind, shall likewise be Plunder: Provided always we make this Reserve, That Mony and Womens Ear-Rings, with loose Diamonds, Pearls, and precious Stones be excepted. (Rogers, 1928, 114)
On the other hand, anyone secreting away “any wrought or unwrought Gold or Silver, Pearls, Jewels, Diamonds, and other precious Stones, which are not found about the Prisoners, or their wearing Apparel” for himself, rather than adding it to the agreed upon collection point, was to be guilty of “a high Misdemeanour, and punish’d severely.” (Rogers, 2004, 87) The amendments also spelled out when the men might suffer for their behavior or acts.
And to prevent all manner of pernicious and mischievous Ill-Conduct that may accrue by Disorders on shore, we pressingly remind you, that any Officer or other that shall be so brutish as to be drunk ashore in an Enemy’s Country, shall not only be severely punish’d, but lose all share of whatsoever is taken in this Expedition. The same Punishment shall be inflicted on any that disobeys Command, or runs from his Post, discourages our Men, or is cowardly in any Action, or presumes to burn or destroy any thing in the Town without our Order, or for mischief sake; or that shall be so sneakingly barbarous to debauch themselves with any Prisoners on shore, where we have more generous things to do, both for our own Benefit and the future Reputation of our selves and our Country. We shall always take care to keep Prisoners of the best Note, as Pledges for our Men that may be accidentally missing: for as soon as any Man is wanting, we shall engage the Spaniards to bring him to us, or give a satisfactory account of him. But we desire no Man to trust this, or be a moment from his Officers and Post. (Rogers, 2004, 88)
Pirates attack
                        village. Artist: Unknown. Source: DoverTheir first objective was Puna, where a small garrison was stationed. It should have been a surprise attack, but they were sighted as they approached the village. Most Spaniards fled into the woods, but the privateers captured the garrison’s lieutenant, his family, and twenty others. To keep the people of Puna from warning Guayaquil, the privateers stove in the villagers’ canoes. While scavenging the buildings, they discovered “a Spanish Paper . . . that gave us some Uneasiness.” (Rogers, 2004, 91) Word had already reached this side of the world that English privateers were on their way, although the Spaniards believed William Dampier to be the fleet’s commander. The information suggested to the privateers that there was a good chance that no Spaniard yet knew that they were already in the area. In addition, insufficient time had passed since the writing of this warning for reinforcements to have arrived from Lima. As far as Rogers and the other leaders were concerned, they had twenty-four days to attack, plunder, and escape before any enemy troops arrived to hamper the raid.

It took two days to cover the thirty-three miles separating Puna from their intended target. On 22 April at midnight, they reached Guayaquil.
We saw a very great Fire on the top of an adjoining Hill, and Lights in the Town. In half an hour we were a-breast of it, and ready to land, but saw abundance of Lights appear at once coming down the Hill, and the Town full of ’em. We . . . heard a Spaniard from the Shore, talking loudly that Puna was taken, and that the Enemy were coming up the River. This made us conclude it was an Alarm. Immediately after we heard their Bells making a confused Noise, and then a Volly of small Arms, and two Great Guns. (Rogers, 2004, 93)
A debate ensued among the three captains about whether to proceed or not. They concluded it was better to withdraw a short distance down river where they would not be seen and could protect themselves against attack. Captain Dover favored a full retreat, proposing instead that a message should be sent to the Spanish governor to trade prisoners for supplies. Rogers nixed that idea. A vote was called and the majority favored an immediate attack, which would be led by Dover since he was captain of the marines, but the bickering continued on several points. This gave Rogers pause; he felt the likelihood of success had diminished to such a degree that he yielded to a proposal put forth by one of the prisoners. Two of them would go into the town and meet with the governor, while leaving the rest of their comrades with the privateers as hostages. They promised to return within the hour. If they did not, Rogers vowed that the privateers would invade. The Spaniards were true to the word and soon returned with a gentleman who would act as the go-between for the English and Guayaquil’s governor.

Rogers and Don Hieronomo Boza y Soliz agreed to a ransom of 40,000 pieces of eight, but the money didn’t arrive within the agreed-upon nine days. The governor then claimed he could only gather 30,000 pieces of eight, so Rogers and his men attacked his town, while other privateers fired guns on the barks as they landed.
The Enemy drew up their Horse at the End of the Street which fronted our Men and Barks, and also lin’d the Houses with Men within half Musket-Shot of the Bank where we landed. They made a formidable Show in respect to our little Number that was to attack them. We landed, and fired every Man on his Knee at the Brink of the Bank, then loaded, and as we advanc’d, call’d to our Bark to forbear firing, for fear of hurting our Men. We who landed kept loading and firing very fast; but the Enemy made only one Discharge, and retired back to their Guns, where their Horse drew up a Second time; we got to the first Houses, and as we open’d the Streets, saw 4 Guns pointing at us before a spacious Church; but as our Men came in fight, firing, the Horse scower’d off. (Rogers, 2004, 96)
Rogers ordered men to take the Spanish cannon, which proved easier than expected because the soldiers fired once and then fled. Not only did Rogers’s men seize the weaponry, they captured about a dozen prisoners inside the church. The charge so far had taken thirty minutes, and now the cannons were turned to fire upon the Spaniards, who hied out of Guayaquil. A few privateers pursued them, but soon returned only to face Rogers, who chastised them for such disregard for their own safety. By dusk, the town was entirely in the hands of the privateers.
In the Morning we began with Iron Crows and Mauls to break open the other two Churches, and all the Score-houses, Cellars, &c . . . for no body was left at home, nor much of Value to be found, but Flower, Peas, Beans, and Jars of Wine and Brandy in great Plenty. (Rogers, 2004, 97)
Some of the men wanted to rip up the flooring in the church in case the Spaniards had buried their loot among the corpses buried there. Rogers “would not suffer it, because of a contagious Distemper that had swept off a great Number of People here not long before.” (Rogers, 2004, 98)

Again, he sent captives to negotiate a ransom for the town. While he waited, some of the privateers visited “Houses up the River . . . full of Women . . . where our Men got several Gold Chains and Ear-rings, but were otherwise so civil to them, that the Ladies offer’d to dress ’em Victuals, and brought ’em a Cask of good Liquor.” (Rogers, 2004, 98) Rogers believed the value of what they returned with to be in excess of £1,000. From the church, they acquired “5 Jars of Powder, some Match and Shot, with a good Quantity of ordinary Arms, 3 Drums, with several Swords and Launces . . . [a] Gold-headed Cane, and another . . . with a Silver Head[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 99)

Skirmishes continued, but no direct confrontations occurred. On 26 April, negotiations resumed.
About one Yesterday in the Afternoon our Prisoners return’d with an Offer of 50000 Pieces of Eight for the Town, with their Ships and Barks, to be paid in 12 Days, which we don’t approve of, nor should we stay so long for a greater Sum. By these Delays they design to gain Time, that if they don’t fight us, they may draw their Forces from Lima; for we know an Express was dispatch’d thither immediately on our Arrival. (Rogers, 2004, 99)
The privateers sent their response the next morning. If the Spaniards failed to turn over an unspecified number of hostages as a guarantee that the 50,000 pieces of eight would be forthcoming within half the allotted time, Rogers would torch the town. He set the meeting place at Puna. While he waited for an answer, potshots were exchanged from time to time, and several privateers were wounded by misadventures and friendly fire, one death occurring because two men didn’t comprehend how the watch-word system worked.

Once the ransom was decreased to 30,000 pieces of eight, both sides agreed to the terms on 27 April. Only two new hostages arrived, but Rogers decided that with the number of captives already held, he required no new hostages, so these two men returned from whence they came. The agreement was signed and the privateers departed with their plunder: “230 Bags of Flower, Beans, Peas and Rice . . . Jars of Oil, about 100 Jars of other Liquors, some Cordage, Iron Ware, and small Nails, with about 4 half jars of Powder . . . 3 Tun of Pitch and Tar, a Parcel of Clothing and Necessaries . . . about 1200 l. in Plate, Ear-rings, etc. and 150 Bales of dry Goods, 4 Guns, and about 100 Spanish ordinary useless Arms and Musket Barrels, a few Packs of Indigo, Cocoa and Anotto, with about a Tun of Loas-Sugar.” (Rogers, 2004, 101)

They also left with an unintended “prize.” Whatever illness had killed the people buried in the church infected some of the privateers.

Rogers and his men sailed downriver to the agreed-upon meeting place on 28 April, making “what Shew and Noise we could with our Drums, Trumpets and Guns[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 101) Finally, on 2 May, the Spaniards arrived with the ransom, although it was not the expected sum. They “brought us upwards of 22000 Pieces of 8, which we immediately receiv’d” before sending the boat back with a message. They planned to depart in five days and the hostages would be coming with them unless the remaining 8,000 pieces of eight was paid by then. Another 3,500 coins arrived on 7 May, which Rogers felt was the best they would collect. The following day he freed the hostages and, soon after, the raiding parties departed Puna.

It didn’t take long for the sickness that had swept through Guayaquil to surface within the fleet. On 11 May, Rogers wrote,
We had upwards of 20 Men that fell ill within these 24 Hours, and our Consort near 50, of a malignant Fever, contracted as I suppose at Guiaquil, where I was informed, that about a Month or [5] Weeks before we took it, a contagious Disease which raged there swept off 10 or 12 Persons every Day for a considerable time; so that the Floors of all the Churches (which are their usual Burial Places) were fill’d so fast, that they were obliged to dig a large and deep Hole of about a Rod square, close by the great Church, where I kept Guard; and this Hole was almost fill’d with Corps half putrified. The Mortality was so very great, that many of the People had left Town, and our lying so long in the Church surrounded with such unwholsom Scents, was enough to infect us too. (Rogers, 2004, 112)
Among the sick was Captain Courtney. Three days later, the count had risen to fifty on Duke and seventy aboard Dutchess. Samuel Hopkins, the apothecary, succumbed to the illness the evening of 15 May.
[H]e read Prayers once a Day ever since we pass’d the Equinox in the North Sea: He was a very good temper’d sober Man, and very well beloved by the whole Ship’s Company. (Rogers, 2004, 112)
Map of
                        Galapagos Islands from Ambrose Cowley's 1684
                        description. Source:
                        https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gallapagos_Islands_1684.jpgTwo more men died within a few days, yet Captain Courtney slowly improved. On 23 May, Rogers observed that “hardly a Man in the Ship, who had been ashore . . . but has felt something of this Distemper, whereas not one of those that were not there have been sick yet. Finding that Punch did preserve my own Health, I prescribed it freely among such of the Ships Company as were well, to preserve theirs.” The medical personnel complained of having insufficient amounts of medicine, but both Rogers and the owners had thought the stores provided at the beginning of the voyage were enough to last. Now, they found otherwise and, with “so many being sick in both Ships, makes it a melancholy Time with us.” (Rogers, 2004, 113)

The condition of the crew became such that by 30 May those who were able had difficulty doing any of the tasks that required strength, such as hoisting one of the ship’s boats out of the water. Every few days, Rogers continued to record in the ship’s log the passing of more men. Even so, the smaller ships continued to hunt for prizes as the fleet sailed for the Galapagos Islands. Unfortunately, they failed to find enough water there to fill their barrels. This meant their next destination would be an island called Gorgona (seventeen miles off the Colombian coast) because that was as far as their water would last. Another concern was the fact that with “[o]ur Men being very much fatigued, many of them sick, and several of our Good Sailors dead, we are so weak, that should we meet an Enemy in this Condition, we could make but a mean Defence. Every thing looks dull and discouraging, but it’s in vain to look back or repine in this Parts.” (Rogers, 2004, 117)

They dropped anchor at Gorgona on 13 June 1709. A decision was reached to careen and repair the vessels, one at a time, while the remaining vessels provided protection. They also converted the Havre de Grace, one of their prizes that was already armed with twenty guns, into a permanent addition to the fleet. Her crew would come from men chosen from the Duke and Dutchess. Edmund Cooke was selected to serve as her captain. The stay also allowed those who were sick to recover.

Nearing completion of their tasks, the council released the seventy-two prisoners that had been kept aboard the bark captained by Alexander Selkirk. When he and his men returned on 13 July, they brought with them “7 small Black Cattle, about 12 Hogs, 6 Goats, some Limes and Plaintains” – welcome fare indeed. (Rogers, 2004, 122) Four days later, several of the former prisoners returned with some money with which they hoped to purchase some captured goods. At this point, the privateers had acquired quite an assortment of booty: “320 Bails of Linnen, Woolen, a little Silks . . .Boxes of Knives, Scizzars, Hatchets . . . Bones in small Boxes, ticketed with the Names of Romish Saints, some of which had been dead 7 or 800 Years . . . Brass Medals, Crosses, Beads, and Crucifixes, religious Toys in Wax, Images of Saints made of all sorts of Wood, Stone, and other Materials . . . 150 Boxes of Books in Spanish, Latin, &c.” (Rogers, 2004, 125) One article deemed of little value was “[a] large wooden Effigies of the Virgin Mary,” which was “either dropt or thrown over board; indigenous people ashore, however, rescued the idol. (Rogers, 2004, 125)

The crews had been imploring Rogers to divvy up the plunder. In order to accomplish this, the council first had to decide what goods fell under that umbrella and what did not.
Impr. GOLD Rings found in any Place, except in a Goldsmith’s Shop, is Plunder. All Arms, Sea Books and Instruments, all Cloathing and Moveables, usually worn about Prisoners, except Women’s Ear-rings, unwrought Gold or Silver, loose Diamonds, Pearls or Money; all Plate in use aboard Ships, but not on Shoar, (unless about the Persons or Prisoners) is Plunder.

                          & JewelsPistolEarly
                          18th-century clothing from Braun &
                          Scheider's Historic Costume

All manner of Clothes ready made, found on the upper Deck, and betwixt Decks, belonging to the Ships Company and Passengers, is Plunder also, except what is above limited, and is in whole Bundles and Pieces, and not open’d in this Country,  that appears not for the Persons use that owns the Chest, but design’d purposely for Merchandize, which only shall not be plunder. And for Encouragement, we shall allow to James Stratton 40 Rupees to buy him Liquor in India, in Part of Amends for his smart Money. To William Davis and Yerrick Derrickson 20 Rupees each, as smart Money, over and above their Shares. We also give the Boat Crews over and above their Shares, that were engag’d with the Marquis, when taken, four Bails of Goods, to be sold when and where they think convenient; which Bail, shall be 1 of Serges, 1 of Linnen, and 2 of Bays; and this over and above their respective Shares. Also a good Suit of Clothes to be made for each Man that went up the River above Guiaquil, the last time in the Dutchess’s Pinnace. (Rogers, 1928, 170-171)
The next day, the agents set aside those items not deemed plunder and on 1 August, the booty was appraised so it could be shared out according to how much each member of the expedition was entitled. This task was completed in the afternoon of 4 August. Before the shares could be dispersed, the steward informed Rogers that something was afoot. Once again, he feared it pertained to the sharing out.
[S]everal [men] had last Night made a private Agreement, and . . . some Ring-leaders by way of Encouragement, boast to the rest, that 60 Men had already signed the Paper. Not knowing what this Combination meant, or how far it was design’d, I sent for the chief Officers into the Cabin, where we arm’d our selves, secured two of the chief of those mutinous Fellows, and presently seized two others. The Fellow that wrote the Paper we put in Irons; by this time all Hands were upon Deck, and we had got their Agreement from those who were in the Cabin, the Purport of which was to oblige themselves, not to take their Plunder, not to move from thence till they had Justice done them, as they term’d it. There being so many concern’d in this Design, Captains Dover and Fry desired I would discharge those in Confinement upon their asking Pardon, and faithfully promising never to be guilty of the like, or any other Combination again. The Reason we shewed ’em this Favour was, that there were too many guilty to punish them at once; And not knowing what was design’d a-board the Dutchess and Marquiss, we were of Opinion they had concerted to break the Ice first aboard the Duke, and the rest to stand by them. Upon this I us’d what Arguments I could offer, shew’d them the Danger and Folly . . . and exhorted them to believe they would have Justice in England, should any thing seem uneasy to them now . . . With these and other healing Arguments, all appear’d easy and quiet, and every Man seem’d willing to stand to what had been done, provided the Gentlemen that were Officers, and not Sailors . . . had not such large Shares, which they alledg’d was unreasonable . . . in  proportion to the rest of the Ships Company: This we did in part yield to, in order to appease those Malecontents, by making some Abatements on Mr. White’s, Mr. Bath’s, and Mr. Vanbrugh’s Shares; so that we hoped this . . . be brought to a good Conclusion. (Rogers, 2004, 127-128)
Rogers estimated that this agreement cost Courtney and himself dearly, since he estimated they would have received “above 10 times so much as now it is,” but to do otherwise endangered everyone. (Rogers, 2004, 128)

Not everyone agreed with what had transpired during the raid on Guayaquil or with the decisions Rogers had made. These were voiced or written about once they returned home. It rankled. In the introduction to his book, he explained that he never intended to air “our petty Differences” publicly, but when others did so, keeping mum was no longer an option. He felt “oblig’d in Justice to my own Reputation . . . to write what I have done; tho I have only touch’d it where I could not avoid it, and as softly as possible, keeping strictly to the Truth, in which I am not afraid of any Contradiction worth notice.” (Rogers, 2004, 7)

One of those “petty Differences” came from Carleton Vanbrugh. More than a year after the raid, he described what transpired one evening aboard ship.
Last night upon Deck, as Capn. Rogers and I and others were Chatting, and ye main Subject the taking Guayaquill, my opinion made the Enterprise less daring and difficult than Captn. Rogers did – upon wch. he immediately retorted . . . that I Chose to stay in the Bark . . . to eat my dinner, and so to avoid by delay, the Danger, by landing after the others . . . I did tell Capn. R. yt whenever he charg’d me with this I wou’d tell him openly of a worse charge on him; tell him my Author and swear to my Evidence – I will here Deliver it, in case of Mortality – Viz. that Capn. Thos. Dover told me, once in discourse (I can’t say Just the time) that Capn. Rogers turn’d his back on ye Enemy and came Retiring towards the place he was at, under some sham Pretence of our mens being like to shoot him in the Back etc. God knows the Truth.9 (Williams, 149)
When this venture was proposed in Bristol, the primary goal set forth was to capture a Manila galleon, one of the treasure ships that sailed from the Philippines to Acapulco, Mexico each year.10 Laden with silk, silver, and spices, the Manila galleon offered a chance to garner a huge payday in one fell swoop. Unlike their Atlantic counterparts, these galleons sailed without escorts, kept to a fairly regular schedule, and traversed known courses. To this end, the council decided on 24 October 1709, to seek out one of these prizes in the waters near Cabo San Lucas (southern tip of Baja California).

Woodes Rogers
                  Landing in California
Woodes Rogers landing on the coast of California
from a print in the Macpherson Collection
(Source: 1928 edition of Rogers's Cruising Voyage Round the World)

Two months passed without sighting their quarry, and this led to discontent among the crew. Thomas Dover sought quarters on the Dutchess after another argument with Rogers. One man threatened the cooper and was placed in manacles on 4 November, as was Peter Cook, “an ill abusive Fellow . . . because he had wished himself aboard a Pirate, and said he should be glad that an Enemy, who could over-power us, was a-long-side of us.” (Rogers, 2004, 151) Gambling also became a problem, so everyone aboard the Duke signed the following agreement.
WE the Ship’s Company . . . do mutually agree to prevent the growing Evil now arising amongst us, occasion’d by frequent Gaming, Wagering, and abetting at others Gaming, so that some by chance might thus too slightly get Possession of what his Fellow-Adventurers have dangerously and painfully earn’d. To prevent this intolerable Abuse, we shall forbear and utterly detest all Practices of this kind for the future during the whole Voyage, till our safe Arrival in Great Britain . . . We do jointly remit all sorts of Notes of Hand, Contracts, Bills, or Obligations of any kind whatsoever . . . sign’d by either of us . . . provided the Sum in each Note be for Gaming, Wagering, or Abetting . . . and to prevent our being misled for the future, all manner of Obligations of this kind . . . shall be wholly invalid, and unlawful here, and in Great Britain or Ireland; And thoroughly to secure this Method, we farther jointly agree, that no Debt from this Time forward shall be lawfully contracted from Man to Man amongst us, unless by the Commanders Attestation, and enter’d on the Ship’s Book, it shall appear done publickly and justly to prevent each others Frauds being conniv’d amongst us . . . . (Rogers, 2004, 153)
Rogers noted that by 9 December “[w]e were now something dubious of seeing the Manila Ship, because it’s near a Month after the time they generally fall in with this Coast.” (Rogers, 2004, 155) Also, their provisions were diminishing. They would cruise for another eight days; if the Spanish galleon was not sighted during that time, they would have to leave empty-handed.

Finally, around nine o’clock on the morning of 21 December, “the Man at Mast-head cry’d out [he] saw a Sail . . . bearing West half South of us, distant about 7 Leagues. We immediately hoisted our Ensign, and bore away after he, the Dutchess soon did the same; but it falling calm, I order’d the Pinnace to be mann’d and arm’d, and sent her away to make what she was[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 157) Some men thought the vessel might be the Marquis and, by the next day, wagers were being made as to whether it was her or a Manila galleon. She proved to be the latter, but the Spaniards refused to surrender without a fight.

Before night fell on 22 December, the privateers cleared the decks and made ready to engage her at dawn the next day. At that time,
we saw the Chase upon our Weather-Bow, about a League from us, the Dutchess a-head of her to Leeward near about half as far . . . We had no Wind, but got out 8 of our Ships Oars, and rowed above an Hour; then there sprung up a small Breeze. I order’d a large Kettle of Chocolate to be made for our Ship’s Company (having no spiritous Liquor to give them;) then we went to Prayers, and before we had concluded were disturb’d by the Enemy’s firing at us. They had Barrels hanging at each Yard-Arm, that look’d like Powder Barrels, to deter us from boarding ’em. About 8 a Clock we began to engage her by our selves, for the Dutchess being to Leeward, and having little Wind, did not come up. The Enemy fired her Stern Chase upon us first, which we return’d with our Fore Chase several times, till we came nearer, and when close aboard each other, we gave her several Broad-sides, plying our small Arms very briskly, which they return’d as thick a while, but did not ply their great Guns half so fast as WE. After some time we shot a little a head of them, lay thwart her Hawse close aboard, and plyed them so warmly, that she soon Struck her Colours . . . By this time the Dutchess came up, and fired about 5 Guns, with a Volley of small Shot, but the Enemy having submitted, made no Return. (Rogers, 2004, 158)
The Spanish captain and his officers were brought aboard the Duke to be questioned. Their ship was the Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Disengaño, but she was the smaller of two galleons who were sailing together and got separated. If her hold contained “24,289 pieces Chints, divers sorts . . . 5,806 Fans . . . 481 Ribbons flower’d with Gold and Silver . . . 9,719 Pounds of Cinnamon . . . 1,182 Pounds of Cloves,” imagine what the larger galleon might carry. (Cooke, 2:vii-ix) Rather than secure just one prize, the privateers decided Nuestra Señora de Begoña should be captured as well.

The engagement with Disengaño had lasted “about 3 Glasses,” but during that time, only two Dukes were wounded, one being Rogers himself. (Rogers, 2004, 158)
I was shot thro’ the Left Cheek, the Bullet struck away great part of my upper Jaw, and several of my Teeth, part of which dropt down upon the Deck, where I fell[.] (Rogers, 1928, 215)
As a result of this wound, he “was forced to write what I would say, to prevent the Loss of Blood, and because of the Pain I suffer’d by Speaking.” (Rogers, 2004, 158) The other man was landsman William Powell, an Irishman who was injured in his buttocks.

While they waited for the larger galleon to appear, the privateers took stock of their current prize, which they decided to add to their own fleet and rename her Batchelor. The Spanish galleon had “20 Guns, 20 Patereroes, and 193 Men aboard, whereof 9 were kill’d, 10 wounded, and several blown up and burned with Powder.” (Rogers, 2004, 158) Even though Rogers objected, her command went to Thomas Dover. Rogers’s wounds had prevented him from attending the council where this decision was made, but he sent a note that, in part, said that Dover was an inappropriate choice “because his Temper is so violent, that capable Men cannot well act under him, and himself is incapable.” (Rogers, 2004, 166)

Rogers’s wound continued to cause problems. Two days later, during the night,
I felt something clog my Throat, which I swallow’d with much Pain, and suppose it’s a part of my Jaw Bone, or the Shot, which we can’t yet give an account of, I soon recover’d my self; but my Throat and Head being very much swell’d, have much ado to swallow any sort of Liquids for Sustenance. (Rogers, 2004, 158)
The day after Christmas, the Begoña finally came into sight. The Marquiss engaged her “briskly for 4 Glasses and upwards,” before the Dutchess appeared. She had actually encountered the Spanish ship the night before and had “her Foremast much disabled, and the Ring of an Anchor shot away, with several Men wounded, and one kill’d, having receiv’d a shot in their Powder Room, and several in their upper Works[.]” (Rogers, 2004, 160)

Attack on a
                  Galleon by Howard Pyle, 1905 (Source: Dover's
                  Pirates)When the Duke entered the fray,
we stood as near as possible, firing as our Guns came to bear; but the Dutchess being by this time thwart the Spaniards Hawse, and firing very fast, those that miss’d the Enemy flew from the Dutchess over us, and betwixt our Masts, so that we ran the risque of receiving more Damage from them than the Enemy, if we had lain on her Quarters and cross her Stern, as I design’d . . . This forced us to lie along side, close aboard her, where we kept firing round Shot, and did not load with any Bar or Partridge, because the Ship’s Sides were too thick to receive any Damage by it, and no Men appearing in sight . . . The Enemy kept to their close Quarters, so that we did not fire our Small Arms till we saw a Man appear, or a Port open; then we fired as quick as possible. Thus we continued for 4 Glasses, about which time we received a Shot in the Main Mast, which much disabled it; soon after that the Dutchess and we firing together, we came both close under the Enemy . . . so that we could make little use of our Guns. Then we fell a-stern . . . where the Enemy threw a Fire-ball out of one her Tops, which lighting upon our Quarter-deck, blew up a Chest of Arms and Cartouch Boxes all loaded, and several Cartridges of Powder in the Steerage[.] (Rogers, 2004, 161)
The ships continued to close and fire several times until a Spanish shot once again struck Duke’s mainmast. Fearing it would topple, she veered away. After quickly consulting with the other ships, Rogers and the other captains decided to break off the fight. The battle had lasted “about six or seven Hours, during all which time we had aboard the Duke but eleven Men wounded, 3 of whom were scorch’d with Gun powder.” (One of these was Vanbrugh, who was badly burned. He would pass away and be buried on 12 February before the expedition left Cape Town.)

Once again, Rogers did not escape unscathed.
I was again unfortunately wounded in the Left Foot with a Splinter just before we blew up on the Quarter-deck so that I could not stand, but lay on my Back in a great deal of Misery part of my Heel-bone being struck out, and all wider my Ankle cut about half thro’, which bled very much, and weaken’d me, before it could be dressed and stopt. (Rogers, 2004, 162)
Edward Cooke explained how Rogers was wounded. Spanish sailors had thrown “Stink-Pots on Board the Duke, that blew up several Carriages of Powder on the Quarter-Deck.” (Cooke, 349) Dutchess suffered thirty wounded and killed. Two men aboard Marquiss suffered powder burns.

It turned out that their foe was “the Admiral of Manila,” on her maiden voyage. Begoña was “about 900 Tuns, and could carry 60 Guns, about 40 of which were mounted, with as many Patereroes, all Brass” and these were under the command of a master gunner who knew what he was doing. (Rogers, 2004, 162) Aside from the passengers she carried, her crew numbered more than 450, some of whom had once been pirates who had their ill-gotten gains aboard Begoña and “were resolved to defend it to the last.” (Rogers, 2004, 162) As far as Rogers could tell, he and the rest of his men failed to inflict much damage except to Begoña’s sails, rigging, and one mizzen yard. As Edward Cooke would write, “we might as well have fought a Castle of 50 Guns, as this Ship which had about 40, and near as many Brass Pedreros, each carrying as big a Shot as our great Guns; and, as some of the Prisoners told us, 600 Men, whereof 150 were Europeans, many of them English and Irish, some of which had been formerly Pirates.” (Cooke, 351)

On 10 January 1710, the expedition departed California. Rogers made note of what rations they had the next day. “We were forc’d to allow but 1 Pound and half of Flower, and 1 small Piece of Meat to 5 in a Mess, with 3 Pints of Water a Man for 24 Hours, for Drink and Drafting their Victuals.” (Rogers, 2004, 190)

Sample of ship's biscuit
                  (flour)Six days later, the Duke received “some Bread” from the Batchelor, which the crew had found aboard the prize galleon. This meant that Duke and Dutchess each now “had 1000 Weight of Bread,” while Marquiss had “500 Weight.” In exchange, Rogers sent “2 Casks of Flower, one of English Beef, and one of Pork, they having but 45 Days Provision aboard in Flesh.” (Rogers, 2004, 190)

A month later, 14 February, the captains opted to give the men either “half a Pound Flower or Bread more to a Mess.” Since this was Valentine’s Day, Rogers decided to celebrate “the antient Custom in England of chusing Valentines.” With no women aboard, he “drew up a List of the fair Ladies in Bristol, that were any ways related to or concerned with the Ships,” from which the officers drew names and toasted the ladies’ health. (Rogers, 2004, 191) He didn’t record how the men reacted to this remembrance of home, but he either didn’t participate or only managed a small sip because his jaw began to swell. Three days later, he “got out a Piece of my Jaw Bone that lodg’d there since I was wounded.” (Rogers, 2004, 191)

Food supplies continued to dwindle, especially since they were unable to supplement them with many fish. One exception that he mentioned occurred on 26 February when they “[c]aught a Couple of Fine Dolphins, which were very acceptable to us, having had but very indifferent Luck of Fish in this long Passage.” (Rogers, 2004, 191) They reached Guam on 11 March 1710 and were nearly at the end of their provisions, having less than a fourteen-day supply of flour and bread to dole out in minimal amounts purely just to survive. Even though they replenished their supplies before departing Guam on 21 March, they were dining on rats before reaching Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) three months later.

England and the Netherlands might have been allies, but the VOC and the EIC were fierce competitors that jealously guarded their colonies. Rogers and his men received assistance during their four-month stay, but it was provided reluctantly. Ships needed refitting. Fever, desertions, and encounters with sharks necessitated new crewmen to fill vacant spots. Even Rogers worried about his own health.

June. 30. I am still very weak and thin . . . During these 10 Days, I was not able to go much on board . . . 8 Days ago the Doctor cut a large Musket Shot out of my Mouth, which had been there near 6 Months, ever since I was first wounded; we reckon’d it a Piece of my Jaw-bone, the upper and lower Jaw being much broken, and almost closed together, so that the Doctor had much ado to come at the Shot, to get it out. I had also several Pieces of my Foot and Heel-bone taken out, but God be thanked, am now in a fair way to have the Use of my Foot . . . The Hole the Shot made in my Face is now scarce discernable. (Rogers, 1928, 286)
After disposing of all but the Duke, Dutchess, and Batchelor, the expedition set sail for Cape Town on 12 October. They reached the Dutch port on 28 December. In the interim, “nothing remarkable” happened except “Joseph Long, a sailor, fell over Board, and . . . was lost” while stowing one of the anchors; with “near 3 Foot Water in the Hold, and our Pumps being choak’d,” Duke nearly sank (nor was this the only leak to threaten the ship); and “Mr. James Wase our chief Surgeon died.” (Rogers, 2004, 215)

Batavia between 1675 and 1725 (Source: Wikimedia
View of Batavia 1675-1725
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
During the three months in which the ships remained at Cape Town, Dover took the opportunity to have another vessel take a letter back home to John Batchelor, Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers and recipient of all of the expedition’s correspondence. Initially penned on 11 February 1711, Dover poured out his contentiousness toward Rogers.
Woodes Rogers is a person of a different Intrest to ors. Has prov’d a dead weight to all or. Undertakings who scorns to lett his tongue utter anything but Satyr agst. His Country & owners so swoll’d wth. Pride yt. He makes itt a Capitall Offence for any Officer or man to mention or. Names too often punishing merit & too too often advanceing Such as have prostituted their words and Consciences to his exorbitant desires & Commands his Sole Business has been to promote discord amongst us, not valueing what stories he could frame to ye end of assureing(?) ye greatest Falsitys and calling to Wittness in ye Manner of a Corporall Oath for his Justification ye contents of ye Evangelist; Kissing ye same wth. Additions of ye severest Imprecations if what he swor was not true wch, has since appeared to us to be Notoriously false. He first made so strong an Intrest in both ships Company’s by threat and promises yt. He became as though master of both threatening to cutt or. throats to make bloody Noses & warme work holding a Correspondence with or. Enemys this he affected by contriving a Species of plunder to sweeten sailors too many hungry officers wch. I exposed alledging ye Shares and wages Answer’d all & yt. Every man wch. He entred himself aboard was contented to abide by ye printed Encourag’ment given by ye Owners this I was forc’d to sign ytt was hardly Sufficient to preserve me from his Divelish and Underhand Contrivances wch. was no less to Captain Courtney beleiving yt. a removal of either of us might make way to his designs. What can be Expected from a man yt will begin & drink ye Popes health, but I trust ye Divine power will still preserve us. (Beattie, 2013, 103)
Rogers’s take on the papal toasting differed from Dover’s. In his 28 November 1708 entry, he states that it was the Spaniards from town who had come aboard Duke who proposed the toast. According to Rogers, the English toasted the health of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as William Penn, and the Spanish gentlemen did too.

Since England was still at war with France and Spain, they deemed it prudent to wait for homeward-bound ships from India since a convoy provided additional protection from attack. On 6 April, the convoy weighed anchor. Thirty-eight days later, the privateers crossed the equator for the eighth time since departing England.

Once their ships re-entered the Atlantic, Rogers grew concerned that having Batchelor laden with all the captured treasure might not be best because it was a tempting target for pirates, Spaniards, and any other enemy England had at the time. He proposed to the council that it be divided between the three ships, which Captains Dover and Courtney saw as a way for Rogers to misappropriate plunder for himself. This sharing out did not occur, but some booty was still stored aboard Duke. As the days passed, Dover and Courtney feared Rogers would abscond with that and so, on 19 June 1711, they called a meeting – excluding Rogers, of course – for the express purpose of removing those chests from Duke. To cover themselves, just in case anyone back in England felt they overstepped themselves, they claimed to be protecting the owners’ interests since water was getting into his ship and she could sink. Therefore, it was best to take “all Gold Plate, Pearls, Jewells, Ear rings” and stow them aboard the Dutchess. (Beattie, 2013, 105) But the letter recounting this to the owners wasn’t mailed until 16 July when the ships were near the northern coast of Scotland.

According to Dover, Rogers did not respond well to their attempt.
Or. Councell is att last of noe force . . . we . . . would have had a Chest out of Him . . . but he swore by-G: We should not, upon which I propos’d . . . to confine Him; according to His usuall Custom I was threatn’d with Death saying if he cou’d not doe my Business he had one yt. wou’d. We protested aggt. this wch. I said was like hacking a Dead Body. But he says ye Owners are a Pack of Fools yt They did not understand Their orders wn They gave ym & yt he’l dispute ym with ym. (Beattie, 2013, 105)
One of the signers of Dover’s letter was William Dampier, who had attended the meeting. He took no part in the actual dispute between Dover and Rogers, but he had become a supporter of Dover ever since the doctor had moved over to the Dutchess and voted in favor of him becoming the captain of the Batchelor. Courtney, who had signed the letter written at the Cape of Good Hope, did not add his name to this addendum describing Rogers’s above actions.

The same day that Dover sent his correspondence to the owners, Rogers did as well. “Everyone seems weary of the Voyage, & we have not so good an understanding amongst the Officers of Each ship as we ought to have . . . but now the voyage is so near att an End, the consequence of Disagreements, is little, to what itt would have been att the beginning of ye voyage. (Beattie, 2013, 106)

After a stop in Texel, Holland – the convoy’s destination, which was reached on 23 July 1711 – four Royal Navy warships arrived to escort the expedition home. On 14 October, the Duke, Dutchess, and Batchelor reached London’s wharves, more than three years after their voyage began. Word had already reached the Honorable East India Company that Rogers had dealt with their competition, the VOC, in Batavia. This was a no-no as far as the EIC was concerned and they seized the Batchelor. Legal hassling ensued and, in the end, the Bristol shareholders were forced to pay the EIC £6,000 to settle the matter. A bribe of £161 five shillings was paid to someone connected to or on the EIC board of governors in order to secure this agreement. Two years would pass before the goods Rogers and his men had acquired were completely sold.

Geographer Herman Moll's
            map showing track of Woodes Rogers's voyage (Source: Project
Dotted line shows the route Rogers followed in his circumnavigation of the world.
This frontispiece appeared in the 1712 edition of his book and was drawn by Herman Mann, a geographer.
(Source: Project Gutenberg)
During this interim, Woodes Rogers found himself under attack when Stephen Creagh sued him on behalf of members of Rogers’s crew. Creagh was in Texel when the privateers docked and put forth his name to crew members to be their agent. Two hundred nine agreed to pay him five percent of their earnings once those were paid. Creagh’s complaint eventually came before the Court of Chancery, accusing the owners and captains of suspicious conduct and claiming that Rogers had committed “fraud against the Owners.” (Jones, 20) Lord Chancellor the Right Honorable Simon Harcourt heard the case of Creagh vs. Rogers and decided that the sales profits would be divided into three portions. The owners received two-thirds, while the crew got one-third. Any fees were paid prior to the divvying up of the money.

The captured prize goods were stored in warehouses starting on 11 December 1712. Divided into blocks, each group of items was auctioned off at the Marine Coffee House beginning on 27 February 1713 “by the candle.” Once the auctioneer received the highest bid, he lit a candle and scored it one inch from the top. Everyone waited for the candle to burn down to the mark. If no higher bid was offered during the wait, the last bidder became the legal owner of the prize goods. Nine public sales were held between the end of February and May and, together with private sales that brought in £22,387 two shillings five pence, the captured wares amounted to £147,975 twelve shillings four and one-half pence. The Batchelor was purchased for another £895.

From this total of £148,870 12s. 4½d., fees were deducted prior to the allocation between owners and crew. The major expenses included:

East India Company
Wages in lieu of shares
Provisions in Holland
Outsetts on Duke and Dutchess

As a result the sailors garnered a pot of £49,325; the owners received £50,109 eight shillings and ten pence. In spite of this, the crews were still awaiting payment of their prize money nearly three years after their return to England. June 1714 saw them petitioning the House of Lords for redress because they believed the owners and officers were attempting “to defraud your Petitioners of their shares . . . by vile and clandestine practices.” (Jones, 21) They later added Stephen Creagh to their list of grievances, claiming he had threatened them with bodily harm. Thirty-three crewmen also believed that Rogers had concealed some of the booty while they were in Batavia.

Determination of the final outcome of who received what ended up being a complex and convoluted affair and wasn’t legally resolved for five years. In the end, each share of purchase equaled £42 18s, and the distribution of shares was per the original agreement, regardless of whether a person received a promotion during the voyage or had earned a bonus as a result of a deed well done. The only extra amount awarded – called “storm money” – was to those who took part in the raid on Guayaquil. The original agreement did not include this, but the chancery master responsible for determining who got what and how much felt this was an equitable disbursement. A captain, therefore, received £100; a landsman £10; and everyone else, somewhere in between. Shares of plunder, on the other hand, had been a sticking point from the start of the voyage. Lieutenant John Conelly, who had served aboard the Dutchess, earned £504. Captain Courntey’s share equaled £1,115. Amounts from £24 to £250 were doled out to individual crewmembers, depending on their position aboard ship.

Alexander Selkirk’s take included “four gold rings, a silver tobacco box, a gold-headed cane, a pair of gold candlesticks and a silver-hilted sword,” as well as £800, from which some monies were deducted for expenses he incurred once he joined the expedition. (Souhami, 180) Although William Dampier died in 1715, his estate received £1,351 14s 10d. The participant who earned the most from the expedition turned out to be Thomas Dover. His earnings came from three sources: £100 for his participation in the Guayaquil raid; £423 for serving as one of the ship’s doctors; and £1,015 for being a captain.

The owners who financed the voyage received a good return on their investments. Thomas Clemens, who bought four shares for £414, received £758 nine shillings. Those who invested £1,035, had shares that were worth £1,896 two shillings six pence each. John Rumsey, who spent £1,552 ten shillings for fifteen shares, and John Batchelor, who purchased sixteen shares totaling £1,656, nearly doubled their investments. Thomas Goldney, who bought the most shares at thirty-six for £3,726, made a profit of £3,100 one shilling.

On the other hand, the leader of the expedition found himself insolvent by July 1712, the month in which Woodes Rogers was declared bankrupt. He hadn’t been a shareholder, so he only received £1,530 for the expedition. Even so, this voyage was important. Rogers lost few men during his circumnavigation, and he not only captured a Manila galleon; he also brought it back to England.

Enlish graveyard (Source: Canstockphoto.com &
                Steve Allen)Returning home proved fraught with obstacles for Woodes Rogers. Not only did he have to deal with the contentious disputes that arose in the aftermath of the expedition and his inability to pay what he owed, but he also had to confront personal challenges. His physical wounds altered his appearance. Pain impacted him mentally. His fourth son, Woodes, who was born in August 1712, died the following April. Whether these difficulties, when combined with his long absence, played a role in his relationship with Sarah might be unknown, but after their son’s death, they lived separate lives, didn’t communicate with each other, and eventually thought of themselves as being widowed. Woodes’s reputation suffered as well.

In 1712, two accounts of this circumnavigation were published. Captain Edward Cooke wrote two volumes entitled A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World. Rogers penned A Cruising Voyage Round the World. These two men were on the same journey, but wrote in different styles and included different information. Cooke’s version contained history and maps that he acquired from other resources; Rogers chose not to embellish. As he explained at the beginning of chapter one:
Tho others, who give an Account of their Voyages, do generally attempt to imitate the Stile and Method which is us’d by Authors that write ashore, I rather chuse to keep to the Language of the Sea, which is more genuine, and natural for a Mariner. (Rogers, 2004, 9)
He did include brief descriptions of places and people, as was the custom of the day, but purely for the purpose of furthering commerce.11 He also included a dedication to the men who made the expedition possible.

As you did me the Honour to approve my Proposals for the following Voyage, and generously fitted out two Ships, in which you gave me the principal Command; I no sooner resolv’d to publish my Journal, than I determin’d to chuse you for my Patrons: and thereby to take an opportunity of expressing my Gratitude to you, who had the Courage to adventure your Estates on an Undertaking, which to Men less discerning seem’d inpracticable.

I heartily congratulate you on the Success and Profit of this Long and Hazardous Voyage; which might have been greater, but the following Sheets will show it was not my fault.

I shall only add on this Head, that I used my utmost Endeavours to promote your Interest, which was always prefer’d to my own.

I make no doubt, it will be to your lasting Honour, that such a Voyage was undertaken from Bristol at your Expence; since it has given the Publick a sufficient Evidence of what may be done in those Parts, and since the Wisdom of the Nation has now agreed to establish a Trade to the South-Seas, which, with the Blessing of God, may bring vast Riches to GREAT BRITAIN.

I wish you intire Health and Happiness, and am,


– Your most Humble Servant,
Woodes Rogers
(Rogers, 2004, copyright page)

While book sales brought in some funds, Rogers needed more money. He managed to find backers willing to finance a journey to the East Indies where he would sell slaves. The crew for the 460-ton Delicia was carefully selected, because no one wanted any of the men to become pirates. They departed London in the latter part of 1713, and arrived in Cape Town early in the new year, after which Rogers sailed to Madagascar, where the Delicia spent two months.

(Source: Beej's Pirate Images)

Once a thriving pirate haven, the island was home to less than 100 sea marauders in 1711. The year before Rogers departed London, the French captured a Dutch ship and marooned many of her crew on Madagascar. By the time of his arrival in 1714, a fair number of these men were dead, but fifty survivors were supposedly constructing a sloop to use for pirating ships plying the Indian Ocean. Resolute in stopping piracy, he contacted those Englishmen within the remaining pirate colony and told them about a pardon, which Queen Anne was offering to any who forsook their evil ways and returned to honest seafaring. He promised to take their pleas for clemency to Her Majesty upon his return to England.

First, though, he had to complete his journey east to sell the slaves he carried in Delicia’s hold at the East India Company’s Sumatra base (Indonesia). He finally arrived home in 1715, brimming with an idea to establish a new colony on Madagascar, one that did not include pirates. He felt this a good venture since the colony would serve as a port of call for ships in need of provisions. Any investor was certain to earn good profits from such an establishment, while the trade route would be safer and the English could continue to hamper France and Spain in the region.

For this to work, he first had to neutralize the pirates who still considered Madagascar a safe haven.12 There were two possible scenarios for this to be achieved – convert them or exterminate them. He preferred to settle problems through peaceful means when possible, but wasn’t afraid to use force when necessary. Staying true to his first option, he asked the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for books that he might deliver to the pirates and the organization obliged. That, however, was as far as his idea went. He never returned to Madagascar. Instead, his attention was diverted in the opposite direction.

Whereas protecting colonies in the West Indies was of primary importance during the second half of the seventeenth century, the eighteenth saw trade taking center stage. This meant that prominent citizens no longer tolerated the buccaneers. Also, with the cessation of war, privateering was no longer permissible. Those who sought an easy and quick way of gaining wealth opted to turn to piracy and one of their favorite haunts was the Bahamas. This archipelago’s location played a key role in why this was. Its nearness to the Straits of Florida and its many islands made it an ideal place to await prey. “[I]n the Center of 4 or 500 Islands” was Providence Island, which John Oldmixon described as being “28 Miles long, and 11 Miles broad where it is broadest.” (Oldmixon, 423)
The Harbour of Nassau is formed by Hog-Island . . . It runs parallel to it five Miles in Length, lying East and West. At the Entrance of the Harbour is a Bar, over which no Ship of 500 Ton can pass[.] (Oldmixon, 429)
This made it ideal for smaller vessels, like those pirates used. An early collector of customs in Nassau, John Graves, in 1707, thought it would make an ideal “Shelter for Pyrates, if left without good Government and some Strength.” He added that it would only take “one small Pyrat with Fifty Men that are acquainted with the Inhabitants” to “Ruin the Place[.]” (Fictum) Only six years were needed for events to prove his prognostication true.

Map of New
                  Providence, 1751
Map of New Providence, 1751
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Enlargement of 1751 map
Enlargement of lower left portion of above map showing location of Nassau, Hog Island, and the entrance to the town harbor.

Owned by six Lords Proprietors, the Bahamas hadn’t had a new government since 1704. Thomas Walker, who was the last remnant of it, sought help from them against pirates, but nothing came from his request and, eventually, the pirate enclave grew, especially after the loss of the Spanish treasure fleet off the coast of Florida in 1715. How many pirates called the island home was unknown, but in 1716, Alexander Spotswood, the governor of Virginia, considered it “a nest of pirates” – one that would “prove dangerous to British commerce if not timely suppressed.” (Woodard, 165) Captain Vincent Pearse, who commanded HMS Phoenix, brought news of King George I’s pardon to New Providence in 1718. In a letter to the Admiralty, he estimated “[t]he number of Pirates that was on the Island when I first went there [23 Feb] was about 500 all Subjects of Great Britain & young Resolute Wicked fellows.” (Pearse)

Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges, 1736
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alexander_Spotswood_by_Charles_Bridges_(Colonial_Williamsburg_copy).jpg)King George I
                  of England by Geroge Vertue (Source:
Left: Governor Alexander Spotswood (1736 painting by Charles Bridges)
Right: King George I of England (1718 engraving by George Vertue from a painting by Godfrey Kneller
(Sources: Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons, respectively)

If Madagascar wouldn’t serve to establish a new colony, why not take back the Bahamas from the pirates? Rogers, his associates, and his friends, including Joseph Addison who served as Secretary of State for the Southern Department, petitioned the king and the Lords Proprietors to let them attempt this. The latter “executed a surrender of their right to ye civil and military Govermt. of those Islands to H.M. and also have executed a lease to Capt. Roger for one and twenty years of all their remaining rights and interest in the said Islands.” (America, Nov. 6, #183) A number of important men supported this venture, as well as naming Rogers as the man to carry it out. One was Samuel Buck, a London merchant with close ties to the Lords Proprietors. Buck had already sustained a loss of more than £2,700 when pirates seized one of his ships. The petition supporting Rogers as governor identified him as “a person of integrity and capacity, well affected to His Majesty’s government . . . a person in every way qualified for such an undertaking.” (Woodard, 166-167)

On 3 September 1717, the Crown named Woodes Rogers Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of the Bahamas. According to the 24 October issue of The Post Boy,
Captain Rogers, who took the Aquapulca Ship in the South-Seas, kissed his Majesty’s hand at Hampton Court, on his being made Governor of the Island of Providence in the West Indies, now in the possession of the Pirates. (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 1)
What King George I failed to provide was a salary, so Rogers was forced to spend £3,000 of his own money, while six investors contributed £11,000 to finance the venture. On 1 May 1718, he set sail with 100-150 soldiers, some with disabilities, aboard the Delicia and was escorted to his new post by HMS Milford, a fifth-rate warship of thirty-two guns, HMS Rose, a sixth-rate warship of twenty guns, and HM Sloop Shark with ten guns. Three merchantmen also accompanied the Delicia: Willing Mind, Samuel, and Buck.

The pardon Rogers carried guaranteed that any pirate who surrendered before 5 September 1718, would be forgiven his past crimes. News of the King’s Grace, however, had arrived in New Providence in late 1717. The pirates gathered to discuss the issue, but not even Henry Jennings and Benjamin Hornigold could convince everyone that giving up their livelihoods was in their best interest. One of the most vocal of these dissenters was Charles Vane. In the end, more than 400 pirates would join Jennings and Hornigold in taking the pardon.

If Vane were to accept, it must be on his terms rather than those of the king or Rogers. The following missive reached Delicia by boat before the new governor arrived at Nassau.
To his Excellency the Governor of New Providence

July the 24th, 1718.

Your Excellency may please to understand that we are willing to accept his Majesty’s most gracious Pardon on the following Terms, viz.

That you will suffer us to dispose of all our Goods now in our Possession. Likewise, to act as we think fit with every Thing belonging to us, as his Majesty’s Act of Grace specifies.

If your Excellency shall please to comply with this, we shall, with all Readiness, accept of his Majesty’s Act of Grace. If not, we are obliged to stand on our Defence. So conclude

Your humble Servants,
Charles Vane, and Company.
We wait a speedy Answer. (Defoe, 142-143)
Rogers had no intention of allowing any pirate to dictate terms to him. An account of what happened appeared in a London newspaper several months later. The information came from one of the seamen aboard HMS Milford.
We arriv’d at . . . New Providence the 23 of July last, where we found only one Pirate Ship and two Sloops; the Ship was of some Force, having 18 Guns, but could carry 24. Wanting a Pilot for the Port, we durst not go in neither with our Ship nor the Delicia, but sent the Rose and Shark Sloop into the Harbour: They anchor’d something within Gun-shot of the Pirate, and the Rose sent her Boat on Board him, offering the King’s Pardon; but were answer’d, that the Men were all drunk, and had nothing to say to us: Soon after they fir’d several shot at the Rose . . . the Commander, whose Name is Vane, a brisk young Fellow, but very unfit for an Admiral, had endeavour’d to sink a Sloop on the Bar of the Port, and had cut a Hole in the Bottom as large as a Scuttle; but the Rose being aware of it, maim’d their Long-Boat, and cut her loose before she sunk, so that she drove on shore by the set of the Tide. Vane perceiving this, and finding his Escape or Defence equally impracticable, turn’d his Frigat into a Fire-ship, and endeavour’d to put her on Board our Men of War, which indeed put us so to it, that we were oblig’d to cut our Cables, and put out to Sea, and after all we believ’d that the Rose had been burnt, the Fire that we saw was so prodigious great; but in the Morning we saw the Rose at Anchor under our Lee . . . we manned two Sloops belonging to the Island, in order to pursue the Pirates; for by this time Vane had got all his Men on board two Sloops, and was within half a League of us, plying out at the End of the Harbour. When he perceiv’d our Sloops chas’d him, he took down his St. George’s Flag, and hoisted a black Flag with a Death’s Head in it . . . when they came out to Sea, our Sloops gave over the Chase, finding he out-sail’d them two Foot for their one.13 (White-hall, 294)
After Delicia entered the harbor and Rogers disembarked, two rows of 200 pirates stood on the beach and saluted him with muskets. The seaman’s account made no mention of this, but said that “the People appear’d very glad to receive us, gave us very good Words, and told us they long expected us; but in a word, we have a very mean Opinion of their Honesty.” (White-hall, 294)

Rogers preceded the welcoming party to the remnants of the fort, where he
read out his Majesty’s Commission in the presence of my officers, soldiers and about three hundred of the people here, who received me under arms and readily surrendered shewing then many tokens of joy for the re-introduction of government. (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 153)
Then he began governing what he felt could become a profitable and prosperous colony. To that end he instituted policies pertaining to agriculture, commerce, and, most importantly, defense. He also named twelve men who would serve in his government, six of whom had arrived with Rogers, including
Second Lieutenant Robert Beauchamp        Secretary General of the Company of Foot
Christopher Gale                                          Chief Justice
Sir William Fairfax14                                  Deputy Collector of Customs
As far as Rogers was concerned, he needed to protect the island and its residents from two factions. The first were unrepentant pirates who might attempt to retake the island. The second were Spanish soldiers, since the West Indies continued to be fair game even though a peace treaty had ended hostilities. The problem was that Rogers only had the soldiers who had come with him and the seamen who crewed his forty-gun ship to defend the island.15

His first actions in August 1718, were focused on repairing the fort, adding cannons, erecting a palisade around the fort, and clearing any undergrowth that might provide protection for attackers. He also tasked companies of militia with night patrols. By the end of September, Fort Nassau had been fixed and eight guns protected the channel Vane had used to escape. To help combat the potential threat of a pirate attack, Rogers appointed several former pirates whom he felt were trustworthy enough to become pirate hunters. One of these was Hornigold.

Sometimes the day-to-day demands wore on the governor. Not only had he to deal with the pirates, he also had to contend with all the other citizens. One woman by the name of Pritchard deemed herself so important that she demanded to see him in spite of his busy schedule. He recounted what transpired in a letter to his friend, Sir Richard Steele.
At my first arrival I received a formal visit from a woman . . . who by her voluble tongue . . . mentioned some of our quality with some freedom, . . . saying that she was known to you, Mr. Cardonnel, and Sir William Seawen, next to whom she lived, near the Storey’s Westminster, that I gave her a patient hearing. She dressed well, and had charms enough to tempt the pirates; and, when she pleased, could assume an air of haughtiness which indeed showed to me, when I misdoubted her birth, education, or acquaintance with those Noblemen . . . whom she could without hesitation call over, and indeed some very particular private passages. She had often a loose way of speaking, which made me conjecture she endeavoured to win the hearts of her admirers to the Pretender’s interest, and made me grow weary of seeing her.

This my indifference, and a little confinement, provoked her to depart hence for Jamaica, saying that she would take passage for England to do herself justice . . . I thought fit to say thus much of a woman who pretends to such a general knowledge of men, particularly of you and Mr. Addison. If our carpenters had not otherwise been employed, and I could have spared them, I should have been glad to have made her first Lady of the Stool. She went hence, as I thought, with resentments enough; but I have heard since from Jamaica, that she has not only forgot her passion, but sent her friendly service to me; and, as I expect, she now is on her way home, designs to do me all the good offices that she can with all the numerous gentlemen of her acquaintance . . . I beg if you see her soliciting in my behalf, be pleased to let her know I don’t expect her company here, and she can’t oblige me more than to let me and my character alone.16 (Rogers, 1928, xxxii-xxxiii)
Anyone, including those pirates who had taken the King’s pardon, could secure small plots of land. Owners had to clear the property and erect a dwelling – the timber was free because it was plentiful – within a specific time frame. Needless to say, some eventually found such toil irksome and either returned to their drunken ways or went back on the account.

Initially, Rogers hesitated bringing pirates to trial. During the first half of November, “I sent three men prisoners being accused of piracy and the evidences etc. I was at that time too weak to bring them to a tryal, for most of the people here having led the same course of life notwithstanding their seeming concurrence of being quiet under the present Government, I did not know but if I have adventur’d to have try’d them and brought to execution, but an insurrection might have rescued them from the guards.” (America, Dec. 24, #807)

Before year’s end, though, he changed his mind after one reformed pirate broke the trust Rogers had placed in him. The pirate’s name was John Augur, who was deemed worthy enough to acquire provisions to feed the islanders. His sloop encountered two other vessels, which he and ten men pirated to the tune of £500. Rather than return to New Providence, they headed for Hispañola. A storm blew up and drove the pirate sloop onto an uninhabited island.

Governor Rogers dispatched Benjamin Hornigold to bring Augur and his men back to Nassau to face justice. Upon their return, Rogers set up an Admiralty court in a guardroom at the fort to try the accused on 9 December 1718. (The eleventh pirate, Josiah Bunce, had already succumbed to wounds sustained in a fight.) Rogers informed London that he was “glad of this new proof Capt. Hornigold has given the world to wipe off the infamous name he has hitherto been known by, tho in the very acts of piracy he comitted most people spoke well of his generosity.” (America, Dec. 24, #807)

As governor and vice-admiral of the Bahamas, Rogers presided over the proceedings. He appointed seven assistant judges: William Fairfax (Judge of the Admiralty), Robert Beauchamp, Thomas Walker, Captain Wingate Gale, Nathaniel Taylor, Captain Josias Burgess, and Captain Peter Courant. The defendants – John Augur, George Bendall, William Cunningham, William Dowling, John Hipps, William Lewis, William Ling, Dennis Macarty, Thomas Morris, and George Rounsivell – all pleaded not guilty, but were subsequently convicted of “Mutiny, Felony, and Pyracy.” (Defoe, 657)

Prior to their conviction, each man was allowed to defend himself. Augur blamed the fact that he was drunk at the time Bunce staged his mutiny, but lacked any way of proving what he said. Cunningham claimed to have been asleep at the time and, when awakened by Bunce, he could either join the mutineers or be marooned. Hipps swore that he hadn’t partaken in the mutiny; rather Bunce beat him into joining, but he always intended to escape as soon as an opportunity presented itself. A number of witnesses attested to the veracity of Hipps’s testimony and that although compelled to serve as the pirates’ boatswain, he never joined in their attacks or threatened any victims.

Macarty asked several witnesses to testify on his behalf, but they gave conflicting testimony as to his involvement with the pirates. One said that “he heard the Prisoner say he was sorry for his unadvisedness which might bring great troubles on his poor Wife having a small child.” (Ten)

One witness testified for Rounsivell. That man said while Rounsivell had joined the pirates, he afterward “shew’d some tokens of Sorrow, but withal said that as he had begun could not without danger of life desert the Pyrates.” (Ten)

Dowling’s witness proved more supportive of the prosecutor. “[H]e had very little to say for him, because he had seen the Prisoner as consenting to their piratical Designs[.]” (Defoe, 654) Lewis’s defense was that “he wished to be at John Cullemore’s House to drink a Bottle of Beer,” whereas Morris was ill at the time Bunce compelled him to join the mutineers. Even had this been true, a witness testified that Morris “appeared as active as the most capable, and . . . [never] relented.” (Defoe, 654) Bendall wanted to escape the pirates’ clutches, but never did so. Ling’s witness testified against Ling instead of in support of him.
Then the Court summ’d up the Evidences . . . which being debated & considered, all the Prisoners except John Hipps was unanimously Voted Guilty of their Indictment, and ordered the Register to draw up their Sentence, It was thought Convenient to Respite the Judgment on John Hipps Prisoner till Monday next, & the Court Adjourned. (Ten)
At four o’clock on 10 December 1718, court reconvened. “John Hipps was remanded to the Guard Ship in Irons.” The rest were judged guilty and sentenced to “be carried to the Prison from whence you came, & from thence to the place of Execution where You are to be hang’d by the Necks till You be dead, dead, dead, And God have mercy on Your Souls.” (Ten)

                PunishedOn Friday, 12 December, at ten o’clock in the morning, the condemned pirates went to their execution.17
Thos. Robinson Esqr. Commissioned Provost Marshall for that day . . . ordered the Guard appointed to assist him, to lead them to the top of the ramparts fronting the Sea, which was well Guarded by the Governour, Soldiers & People, to the Numbr. of about one hundred. At the Prisoners request several prayers & psalms . . . were read in which all present joyn’d, When the Service was ended, Orders were given to the Marshall, & he conducted the prisoners down a ladder, provided on purpose to the foot of the wall, where was a Gallows erected, & a black Flagg hoisted thereon & under it a Stage, supported by three Butts, on which they assended by another Ladder, where the hangman fastened the Cords as dexterously as if he had been a Servitour at Tybourne, they had 3/4 of an houre Allow’d under the Gallows which was spent by them in Singing of Psalms, & some exhortations to their old Consorts, & the other sort of Spectators who got as near to the foot of the Gallows, as the Marshalls Guard would Suffer them, Then the Governour ordered the Marshall to make ready, & all the prisoners expecting the launch, The Gorvernour thought fit to Order Geo. Rounsivel to be untied, & when brought of the stage fell & the Eight Swang off. (Ten)
A contemporary deemed Rogers prudent, but resolute.
[I]n the condemnation and execution of the pirates he had a just regard of the public good, and was not to be deterred from vigorously pursuing it in circumstances which would have intimidated many brave men. (Rogers, 1928, xxx-xxxi)
Throughout his tenure as governor – indeed, throughout his life – Rogers believed in the justice of harsh punishment, but also understood that sometimes it was better to show mercy for the good of all. Rogers gave George Rounsivell, who was eighteen, a reprieve “under the gallows, till I know H.M. pleasure . . . He is the son of loyall and good parents in Dorsetshire.” (America, Dec.24., #807)

The past few months had taken its toll on Rogers. He wrote,
I would not undergo the like fatigue and rigour I have done ever since I have been here for the profits of any employment on earth but I hope I am now out of danger at least of Pirates. (Thomas, 125-126)
The threat from unrepentant pirates had lessened, yet remained worrisome. On 30 January 1719, he wrote to his friend Richard Steele.
Every capture made by the pirates aggravates the apparent inclinations of the Commanders of our men-of-war; who having openly avowed that the greater number of pirates makes their suitable advantage in trade; for the Merchants of necessity are forced to send their effects in the King’s bottoms, when they from every part hear of the ravages committed by the pirates.

There is no Governor in these American parts who has not justly complained of this grand negligence; and I am in hopes the several representations will induce the Board of Admiralty to be more strict in their orders. There has not been one here almost these five months past; and, as if they wished us offered as a sacrifice both to the threatening Spaniards and Pirates, I have not had influence enough to make our danger prevail with any of them to come to our assistance[.] (Rogers, 1928, xxxii)
A greater menace to the Bahamas now was Spain. Time and again, Rogers had requested assistance from England. None was forthcoming, even though there was proof of the colony’s need for protection. According to a council memorandum, written on 12 January 1719, a French sloop had brought news “that the Spaniards were now in readiness and had taken resolutions to attempt this settlement,” as well as provisions “for the life and safeguard of our garrison and Island.” (Thomas, 128)

In his letter of 30 January 1719, Rogers was desperate enough to consider an unholy alliance.
Should the Spaniards attack us and if they do with the small numbers I now have I shall be in a mean condition to hold out and should the pirates come first, it may be best to receive them to defend myself against the Spaniards, for if I refuse to receive them, most of those I have now with me will either join them or quit me, and then they’ll posses the place with nothing I can propose to do against them. (Thomas, 3-4)
His worries remained justified, for on 16 March, word arrived that England was at war with Spain.18 Knowing that Spain had imprisoned some Englishmen in Havana, Rogers granted five privateering commissions and asked their captains to capture as many Spaniards as possible so that he might arrange a prisoner exchange. He also desired that these vessels garner whatever information they could regarding the Spaniards’ plans to attack the colony.

He wrote to Secretary of State for the Southern Department James Craggs on 17 May, that he expected “to be soon attacked and am preparing to make the best defence I can. I doubt I shall scarce be able to get together above 300 men. Were we but 200 more being well prepared I should not be under any great concern.” (Thomas, 131-132) His frustration at being repeatedly ignored also showed. “I am sorry His Majesty’s ships of war in these parts have had so little regard for this infant coloney. We have had none but the Deal Castle as a packet ever since the first of our arrival.”19 (Thomas, 132)

Nine days later, the council met at Governor Rogers’s house to discuss news from the son of one member, who had escaped from Cuba.
[T]he Spaniards had mustered 1000 men and expected 500 more to join them from Trinidad with design to come and attack New Providence with two galleys, two brigantines and nine sloops. (Thomas, 132)
In Europe the war was ebbing, but news of this fact had yet to arrive in the West Indies. Don Francisco Cornejo’s flotilla consisted of the thirty-six-gun frigate San José, “three smaller warships and eight sloops.” (Thomas, 134) These vessels were armed with at least eighty-two guns and carried 1,200 to 1,300 soldiers, more than enough men to subdue Rogers’s forces of nearly 600, comprised of soldiers and militiamen, and two armed vessels – Delicia and Flamborough.20 At the time, the harbor’s eastern entrance had a redoubt armed with ten cannons, while the fort at the western entrance mounted fifty cannon. The enemy was first sighted at six o’clock in the morning and, by noon, “the Ships anchored off the Bar and the Brig & Sloops sailed to the E end of Hogg Island & there anchored.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 179) Then, during the evening of 25 February, the enemy attempted to go ashore.

Enlargement of
                1715 map of New Providence
Enlargement of 1715 map of New Providence. To the left at Dewitt's Point is the fort. To the right along the shore of the town harbor is the redoubt.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Contrary to Cornejo’s expectations, two black sentries stationed at the redoubt witnessed the enemy’s approach and opened fire on them.
Their fire sent alarm through the oncoming attackers and raw untried troops fell into confusion as musket balls hacked large splinters out of their boats. Turning, they rowed hard to get out of range, unsure of the force they were facing but convinced it was a large one. (Thomas, 134)
At this same time, Cornejo had sent other troops through the western entrance. But the pirates-turned-militiamen drove them back. Soundly kept from their attack, the Spaniards upped anchors and sailed away on 1 March.

Rogers, however, believed this to be their first attempt and that they would soon return. On 3 March, the council discussed further defenses.
The Spaniards having . . . [made] several attempts to land, particularly to the eastward . . . point on which we have kept a good guard and had six guns mounted, and it being observed that such a watch has greatly disappointed the apparent designs of the enemy and that if a tower of stone was erected at said point capable to mount eight guns it would require a less number of men to keep that guard and be of greater strength to annoy any enemy that might approach it.

Whereupon it was debated concluded and ordered that the Spanish prisoners, and such negroes as can be spared be employed in burning lime and that each white person do give his six days labour towards the said work. (Thomas, 135)
Subsequent plans were made to survey the ground near Benjamin Bullocks’s house to see if it was suitable for erecting another tower as backup to the first should the enemy get past the first tower. Since the discharging of weapons could be interpreted as a new attack, the council forbade their firing unless there was proof that the enemy approached. Anyone who broke this ordnance would be fined or imprisoned as Rogers saw fit.

Into this mix came HMS Flambourgh, a sixth-rate frigate. Her commander, Captain Hildesley, was visiting the colony from his current station of South Carolina. He had a tendency to be vexing, while Woodes Rogers could be temperamental, especially when under extreme pressure. The two men did not mesh well, and it started soon after Hildesley arrived at Nassau. He saw Rogers as dictatorial; Rogers might be the governor, captain general, and vice admiral of the Bahamas, but his commissions came from King George, rather than the Admiralty. Therefore, Hildesley felt he should not be subject to Rogers’s orders.

As soon as the Spanish fleet had been sighted, Hildesley assumed command over all the vessels in New Providence’s harbor. He also discovered the Delicia, which was supposed to be guarding Nassau, lacked a watch. His first lieutenant was commanded to take control of Delicia. Rogers ordered not only the first lieutenant’s arrest, but also considered confining Hildesley in the fort. The bickering escalated further after one of the sailors aboard Delicia tossed the first lieutenant over the side and Hildesley punished the sailor. In answer to this, Rogers “pointed the Fort guns at His Majesty’s ship and encouraged the mob to rise.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 198)

Before the Spanish attack began, Hildesley had ordered all the vessels in the harbor to line up to defend the entrances. The owners saw this as actually putting their vessels in harm’s way since the Spanish might well have set fire to them, which would have destroyed their livelihoods. As a result, the council and governor sided with the owners and returned control of their boats back to them. Hildesley complied with the request, but it chafed and, at some point, dared to utter that he would seize the governor “by the collar” and throw him overboard if he ever got the chance. (Thomas, 137) The council attempted to mollify the tension, and Hildesley eventually vowed to stay and defend New Providence
[t]o the utmost of his power together with his officers and seamen belonging to His Majesty’s ship would aid and assist this government now threatened with danger and farther added that he was ready to sign any bond for his future good behaviour with any penalty Governor Rogers should desire as far as five hundred or a thousand pounds. (Thomas, 137-138)
Rogers declined the bond and hoped this would end their disagreement. Hildesley did assist with the island’s defense until he received an urgent dispatch from South Carolina’s governor to return at the beginning of May. But it would not be the last encounter between Rogers and Hildesley.

Later in the year, Rogers requested leave to return to England “to settle the affairs of this neglected colony.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 196) So far, he had been paying all the expenses to feed and defend the Bahamas and he hadn’t received any reimbursement. As a result, he was no longer able to pay bills and his creditors no longer extended him credit. Near the end of November, the council informed Secretary Craggs in London that “the trouble which our hardships has given Governor Rogers has occasioned in him a great decay of health.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 196) In 1726, Rogers would describe himself as being “very much perplexed with the melancholy prospect of [my] affairs.” (Woodard, 325)

After appointing William Fairfax to serve as deputy governor, Rogers set sail on 6 December for Charles Towne, South Carolina “with hopes to recover himself.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 196) Unfortunately, all was not peaceful in that port, in part because of Captain Hildesley. He didn’t like how the city was being governed and said so. He argued with Colonel Rhett, a leading citizen and pirate hunter. He flogged a merchant sailor. Tensions between Hildesley and Rogers once again escalated to such a degree that Rogers challenged Hildesley to a duel. The latter arrived at the designated time, but Rogers had had time to think of the consequences and declined to show, although he sent someone in his place and the duel was postponed.

1733 map of Charles
                Town, South Carolina (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Town and harbor of Charles Town, South Carolina in 1733
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Feeling better by 20 December, Rogers decided to return to the Bahamas where he intended to deal with matters until April, when he planned to return to England with or without permission. The Council of Trade and Plantations wasn’t pleased to hear this news and since “Governor Rogers has signified his intention to leave Providence . . . which may be attended with very fatal consequences, by leaving the islands exposed to the Spaniards or Pyrates,” the time had come to find a new governor.

At some point after Rogers arrived in England, he may have been detained because of his debts. He was forced to declare bankruptcy for the second time in his life because “there [was] no other method to free him from a prison.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 204) The notice of this appeared in the 30 January 1724 issue of the London Gazette. Having regained his freedom and with his debts cancelled, he could now start to reclaim his reputation. One manner in which this occurred, although he had nothing to do with it, came when Captain Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates came out in May of that year. It included passages detailing what Rogers had done to save the Bahamas.

Two years later, eight army officers sent a letter to the king, outlining the difficulties Rogers had faced as governor and how he overcame them, even though he had no authority to tax people and goods, and ended up paying more than £3,000 out of his own pocket. His copartners had eventually given him £1,500 for his share in the venture, as well as an additional £500 in bond money. Unfortunately, he had to turn over all these funds to his creditors, “who, being fully convinced of the unexampled hardships he endured, left him four hundred pounds out of his money for what he expended to support himself.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 205) The officers suggested that the king might grant Rogers “half pay as Captain of Foot” from the time when he ceased to be governor. He had already been paid in arrears for his time as captain general.

George II of Great Britain by Godfrey Kneller, 1716
              (Source: Wikimedia Commons,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kneller_-_George_II_when_Prince_of_Wales.png)In 1728, Rogers petitioned his new monarch, George II, on the commercial importance of the Bahamas. He also asked for his old job back.
The Petitioner had the honour to be employed by your royal Father to drive the Pirates from the Bahama Islands, and he succeeded therein. He afterwards established a settlement and defended it against an attack of the Spaniards. On your Majesty’s happy accession he humbly represented the state of his great losses and sufferings in this service, praying, that you would be graciously pleased to grant him such compensation . . . as might enable him to exert himself more effectually in your Majesty’s services having nothing more than the subsistence of half pay as Captain of Foot, given him, on a report of the Board of General Officers appointed to inquire into his conduct; who farther recommended him to his late Majesty’s bounty and favour.

The Petitioner not having the happiness to know your royal pleasure, humbly begs leave to represent that the Bahama Islands are of very great importance to the commerce of these Kingdoms, as is well known to all concerned in the American trade; and the weak condition they now are in renders them an easy prey to the Spaniards, if a rupture should happen; but if effectually secured, they will soon contribute very much to distress any power which may attempt to molest the British Dominions or trade in the West Indies.

Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays that your most sacred Majesty would be graciously pleased to restore him to his former station of Governor, and Captain of an Independent Company of these Islands[.] (Rogers, 1928, xxxv)
Even members of the council at New Providence petitioned the king for Rogers’s return. His replacement, George Phenney, had had good intentions, but made only a few improvements once he arrived in the Bahamas. Nor was his wife well-liked. Her interference undermined his ability to govern. She enforced a monopoly on trade, which meant the residents had to pay “exhorbitant prices” for their provisions. She insinuated herself into the justice system, where she “frequently browbeated juries and insulted even the justice on the bench.” (Rogers, 1928, xl)

Twenty-nine movers and shakers also beseeched the king on Rogers’s behalf. Numbered among these were Sir Robert Walpole and three former colonial governors – Alexander Spotswood of Virginia, Benjamin Bennet of Bermuda, and Samuel Shute of Massachusetts. According to their petition, they “never heard any complaint against his conduct in his duty there, nor that he behaved otherwise in that employ, than with the utmost resolution and fidelity becoming a good subject, though to the ruin of his own fortune.” (Rogers, 1928, xxxv)

The government decided to recall Phenney, and the king issued a new commission for Woodes Rogers in December 1728, to once again serve as governor of the Bahamas. His royal commission gave him the authority to “summon and call General Assemblies,” which would replace the existing council. (Rogers, 1928, xlii) This time around, he also received an annual salary of £400 as Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief.

Prior to returning to the Bahamas, Rogers paid William Hogarth to paint a family portrait of his son and daughter, as well as himself, outside Fort Nassau. (His wife was omitted from the sitting, evidence that they were estranged.) Rogers was now fifty years old. The portrait concealed the disfigurement of his face and included his personal motto: Dum Spiro Spero or While I breathe, I hope.

William Hogarth's
                portrait of Woodes Rogers & his children, 1729
                (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
William Hogarth's portrait of Woodes Rogers, his two children, and a servant, 1729
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Together with his son, Rogers sailed for the Bahamas on 26 May 1729, taking with him “two little flagons, one chalice, one paten, and a receiver to take the offerings for the use of his Majesty’s Chapel there.” (Rogers, 1928, xlii) They were accompanied by John White, his son, and John Colebrooke, White’s business associate, who was described as being either “of pleasant conversation and good sense” or “a cunning Man, and perfect Master of the Art of Stock-Jobbing.” (Ker, 173)

Rogers wasted little time once he arrived on 25 August. A hurricane had struck New Providence the previous month, which meant cleanup and repairs needed to be addressed. The annual summer fever was still striking residents. There were also repairs needed at the fort. Plus a new government had to be formed, so an election was held. Twenty-four men would make up the new Assembly, which convened for the first time on 30 September. During that first session, they enacted twelve statutes. Elsewhere, islanders were encouraged to plant cotton and raise sugarcane. Rogers hoped these measures would entice new immigrants to put down roots in the Bahamas, but such hopes were dashed. The following year, in October, he wrote,
I found the place so very poor and thin of inhabitants that I never mentioned any salary to them for myself or any one else, and the fees annexed to all offices and places here being the lowest of any part in America, no one can support himself thereon without some other employment. (Rogers, 1928, xliii)
His efforts to improve the islands were stymied, in part, because of the assembly. The speaker of that body was behind the thwarting of many plans put before it. Rogers explained in a letter to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations on 10 February 1731:
During the sessions of the last Assembly I endeavoured pursuant to H.M. Instructions to recommend the state and condition of the fortifications, which much wanted all the assistance possible for their repair . . . I did not find the major part of the Assembly averse at first, but since they have been diverted from their good intentions by the insinuations of one Mr. Colebrooke, their Speaker, who imposed so long on their ignorance, that I was obliged to dissolve them, lest his behaviour might influence them to fall into schemes yet more contrary to the good of the colony and their own safety. Another Assembly is lately elected and [I] still find the effects of the above Mr. Colebrook’s influence on the most ignorant of them, who are the majority[.] (America, Feb. 10, #47)
Colebrooke’s intent was to overthrow Rogers, an act he had been endeavoring to accomplish even before Rogers was named governor. To aid him in this endeavor he made certain that his associate, John White, served as the Treasurer and Chief Justice. Abetting in his plan was a man named Jenner, the governor’s secretary. A letter, written in 1730, described this alliance this way:
[Always] being together [they] consulted their measures with the Assembly so as to be continually pushing forward their own views, by which means they soon began to lord it over the people in a very haughty and imperious manner and to oppose the Governor in everything they could. (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 236)
It didn’t take long for the trio to persuade other assemblymen to support their measures. When Rogers had recommended that certain repairs be made to the island’s fortifications, a majority of the assembly seemed to support him until Colebrooke convinced
the most ignorant of them, who are the majority, and whom he has possess’d with notions of their being subject to the garrison, which he publickly declared in the House he always detested and abhorred, stiling it an arbitrary power and what the[y] ought to oppose . . . And he also attempts to take from the Officers, and soldiers . . . as are freeholders . . . the liberty of voting . . . I, in the most friendly manner, desired him [Mr. White] and one Mr. Jenner (who followed the same measure and was a dependant on Mr. Colebrooke) to retire into another room whilst I advised with the other Gentlemen of the Council. (America, Feb. 10, #47)
Nor did Colebrooke contain his machinations just to the general assembly and its members. He struck up a friendship with Rogers’s son and they went into business together to develop plantations and open a house of trade. To assist them in this venture, William Whetstone constructed the Providence, a boat armed with six guns, that was to safeguard other traders from attack. The two men also arranged for the importation of slaves from West Africa. By year’s end, these business ventures were bankrupt and the partnership dissolved.

In response to Rogers’s dissolution of the assembly, Colebrooke gathered together all their documentation and spurned any and all attempts made to reclaim these papers. Then he declared that Rogers was a tyrant.

All this interference and contentiousness began to physically and mentally affect Rogers. Once again, he opted to travel to South Carolina where he hoped to regain his health. He also wished to find a minister willing to move to the Bahamas, as the garrison’s chaplain had retired. Another important task was to locate a solicitor skilled enough to assist him in dealing with Colebrooke. He accomplished all three tasks and returned to the Bahamas in early May.

Of course, Colebrooke took advantage of the governor’s absence and further aroused the citizens, as well as causing turmoil within the garrison. The Board of Trade received the following letter on 10 June 1731.
How great an enemy Mr. Colebrooke hath been to this Government, and what vile means he used to make the Garrison mutiny, and stir up a spirit of discontent and opposition in the inhabitants, by the great influence which he had artfully gained over the most ignorant of them, while he was Speaker of the Assembly, from all which I humbly hope that the method taken to prevent his proceeding in his seditious and wicked designs will meet with his Majesty’s and your Lordships’ approbation. (Rogers, 1928, xxxv)
Rogers’s first move was to designate his new lawyer to be the colony’s attorney general. This gentleman put into motion legal maneuvers that brought the disagreements between Rogers and Colebrooke into the court’s jurisdiction. He convened a grand jury, which decided that Colebrooke was “guilty of vexatious litigation.” (Thomas, 157) They instituted a fine of £750 and had him arrested.

Colebrooke filed an appeal, during which time his supporters bullied jurors into changing their votes. To counteract this, Rogers permitted Colebrooke to pay bail, which obliged him not to leave the island. He went home, locked the door, and spent weeks preparing his case. He covertly hired a ship to ferry papers back to the Board of Trade to substantiate his defense, but Rogers learned of the plan and wrote to the Board of Trade himself. In August, he also sent William Whetstone back to England, where his son could institute formal proceedings to sever his partnership with Colebrooke and to deliver copies of all “the council’s proceedings and answers to queries” concerning Colebrooke’s trial. (Thomas, 158) William would also be on hand to counter any lies and alleged misconduct of which Colebrooke might accuse his father.

While Woodes Rogers waited for any resolution from England, he focused his attention on the economy and the people. His last letter to the Board of Trade and Plantations, dated 14 October 1731, summarized details about the Bahamas’ population, cultivation, and economy.

Secretary of
                State for the Southern Department, Thomas Pelham-Holles,
                Duke of Newcastle, circa 1735, by Charles Jervas
(Source:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1stDukeOfNewcastleYoung.jpg)The next correspondence, sent to the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, was written by Richard Thompson on 20 July 1732.
Whereas it pleased Almighty God to take unto himself the soul of Woodes Rogers Esqr. Our late Governr. on the fiveteenth day of this Instant.

We the President and the rest of his Majestys Council for these Bahama Islands being on this Occasion Assembled in Council have thought fit to Acquaint yr. Lordship therewith, which with all Possible Submission we now do[.] (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 237)
How or why Woodes Rogers died was unknown. He was fifty-three. The only mention of his passing in London publications appeared in The Gentleman’s Magazine two months later.
Came Advice of the Death of Woods Rogers, Esq; Governour of the Bahama Islands July 16. He, and Capt. Cook lately drowned, made a cruising Voyage to the South Seas and round the Globe in the Duke and Dutchess, in the Wars of Q.Anne. (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 238)
Rogers’s property was divided between his offspring, William and Sarah. Although his wife survived him by a month or two, when his will was probated, he was described as “dying at the Bahama Islands, a widower.” (Rogers, 1928, xlvi)

A year later, William joined the Council of the Bahamas. Thereafter, he was involved with the slave trade and succumbed during a visit to the Royal African Company’s trading post at Whydah in 1735. His sister passed in 1743. Neither ever married.

Statue of Woodes
              Rogers at Britich Colonial Hilton in Nassau. (Source:
Woodes Rogers Statue
Colonial British Hilton, Nassau
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)


1. In 1732, Dover published The Ancient Physician's Legacy to His Country. This early medical treatise, which was written for the general populace, included two remedies that made him famous. One involved the use of mercury; this earned him the nickname Dr. Quicksilver. The second became known as Dover's Powder and was used as late as the 1960s. It combined opium, saltpetre, tartar, ipecac, and liquor to create a powder that was to be dissolved in white wine. He initially used it to treat gout, but other uses were found for it over the centuries.

2. A number of modern accounts spell the Duke's consort as "Duchess," but I have chosen to spell it as accounts written in the eighteenth century do.

3. Some historians mention a relationship between Woodes and Francis Rogers; others are uncertain if there is a connection. According to Larry Nye, who is himself related to Woodes Rogers through his maternal line, Woodes and Larry have a common ancestor, John "The Martyr" Rogers. Woodes descends from that man's son, Bernard Rogers, whereas Larry descends through another son, Daniel. This latter line is the one from which Francis descends

A note in the 1928 publication of Rogers's A Cruising Voyage Round the World suggests the relationship between Woodes and Francis "is uncertain." Francis's will identifies him as having a brother named Noblett and that both were "the sons of Robert Rogers Clark of Cork." (n1, 4) Noblett provided Woodes with replacements after some of his crew jumped ship during their sojourn in Ireland.

John Rogers was the Vicar of St. Sepulchre, and a Protestant during the earl days of the Reformation. Having been declared a heretic while England's Queen Mary reigned, he was burned at the stake in 1555.

A special thank you, Larry, for taking the time to share your research with me.

4. There is a distinction between the nouns "plunder" and "purchase." The former refers to personal items taken from the captured crewmen, whereas the latter refers to confiscated goods and stores seized from their vessel. Personal property, for privateers, was usually off-limits, but individuals were known to surreptitiously appropriate an item or two. On the other hand, any and all cargo on a legally taken prize (an enemy ship) was fair game. Today, we tend to use plunder to mean anything taken, and purchase is rarely used.

5. Neither agent was well-thought of by those aboard the ships. The council reprimanded Vanbrugh three times and he was forced to switch ships with Bath. Bath had a reputation of being lazy and drunk. Both would die during the voyage, but the circumstances surrounding Bath's death are unknown.

Eventually, the two agents returned to their original assignments. Soon after, on 17 February 1709, the council opted to bypass the owners' agents and named George Underhill, Lancaster Appleby, David Wilson, and Sam Worden from the Duke and John Connely, Simon Fleming, Simon Hatley, and Bartholomew Rowe from the Dutchess as "Managers of the Plunder which we may take in our Cruising at Sea on the Coast of New Spain." (Rogers, 2004, 79)

Relations between Vanbrugh and Rogers continued to be a sore spot and on 8 August 1710, Vanbrugh noted the following in his diary:
Capt. WR absolutely refused me the opening or being present, while Mr. White and he perused the letters brought by myself on board from [the Marquis, originally the Havre de Grace] or giving me the possession them, or at any other times, when he could prevent it, of any letters, papers etc or papers of business contracted with prisoners or acc't when he gave away negroes etc . . . for he ever acted himself and never suffer'd me to act free, as an owners agent . . . the others of the committee, never protected or countenanced me, but suffer'd him, the whole voyage, almost, to use me as just such a villainous defamator as he, WR, deserved to be himself, but I pray God change his heart and forgive him. (Beattie, Cruising, 91-92)

6. "Accompt," a variant of "account," dates back to at least late Middle English. "Clavingers" should be spelled "clavigers" and means "one who carries a key to a room," according to the Online Etymological Dictionary. It was a common word in the 1600s.

7. Crossing the equator was the original event for this rite of passage. In time, similar rites were instituted for crossing the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

8. Southern Hemisphere winds have acquired nicknames to describe them: Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties. To learn more about these latitudes and their winds, check out Escales Ponant Magazine, Surfer Today, and The Maritime Review.

9. It should be kept in mind that neither Vanbrugh nor Dover could be described as objective where Rogers was concerned. The two captains had a contentious relationship, in part because Dover had been appointed president of the council, thus taking away some of Rogers’s authority during the expedition. Vanbrugh often disagreed with everyone on the ship and, prior to the attack, had been removed from the council. Already sick, he succumbed several weeks after the recording of this journal entry.

10. Until this venture, only two English captains and their crews had succeeded in capturing Manila galleons. Francis Drake, while in command of the Golden Hinde, took the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción in 1579. After a six-hour sea battle, Thomas Cavendish nabbed the Santa Ana nine years later. Drake secured treasure that included “jewels and precious stones, 13 chests of royal plate, 80 lb of gold and 26 tons of uncoined silver.” (Cordingly, Pirate Hunter, 7) “Cavendish fell in with a ship . . . with much merchandise from China, and some gold. He filled his three ships with raw silks and Chinese damasks, and burnt the rest.” (Simancas, 5 Nov., #470) The total of plundered goods, according to the English, had a “value . . . estimated at 1,000,000,” wrote one Spaniard, but later this amount was reduced to 500,000 crowns. (Simancas, 6 Nov., #471) A letter from London, included in the 1588 Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), recorded that “[e]very sailor had a gold chain round his neck, and the sails of the ship were a blue damask, the standard of cloth of gold and blue silk. It was as if Cleopatra had been resuscitated. The only thing wanting was that the rigging should have been of silken rope. Cavendish must have brought great riches, for they are coining new broad-angels, and gold is cheaper here than it ever was.” (Simancas, 27 Nov., #481)

11. Since the purpose of this article is to relate Woodes Rogers's life and his connections to privateering and piracy, I have chosen not to write a comparative study between his book and that of Cooke's. Timothy Beattie does discuss this to some extent in his doctoral thesis (see below), and there are links in the resources section of this article that provide access to both books so readers may do so themselves.

Until recently, the only publication of Cooke's two-volume set has been in 1712. Woodes's account, which initially sold for six shillings, has been published throughout the intervening years and in several languages. This may stem from not only who the author is, but also because his book is "witty, humane and shot through with entertaining detail about daily life aboard a ship of war in the early eighteenth century." (Beattie, 2013, 203)

12. Woodes Rogers was not the first to propose eradicating Madagascar of pirates. In 1704, Josiah Burchett published a broadsheet entitles Reasons for Reducing the Pyrates at Madagascar. He believed that the only way to achieve this was to offer them a pardon.

13. One of the pirates who had fled with Vane was his quartermaster, Jack Rackham. The two eventually had a falling out and parted company, each going his separate way with men who backed him. Rackham's band continued pirating until word reached him that two pirate-hunting sloops were searching for him. Rather than face the hangman's noose, he and six of his men opted to seek a pardon. They returned to New Providence, where they begged Rogers to grant them a pardon, which he did. Around this time, Rackham met Anne Bonny and they began an affair in spite of the fact that Anne was already married. Eventually, Jack wearied of living the peaceful life and resumed pirating with Anne by his side. It was a fateful decision, for they were both captured in 1721. Jack and the other men in his crew danced the hempen jig at Jamaica. Anne and Mary Read were given stays of execution until after they gave birth, but Mary succumbed to gaol fever and Anne disappeared.

14. John Graves, the Collector of Customs, was ornery, elderly, and bedridden, but he had been appointed to his position by the Lords Proprietors long before Rogers arrived in the Bahamas. Although he received £70 a year as the customs collector, he had no duties to attend to since pirates were notorious for not paying tariffs. He  occupied the only structure that could be deemed a house, but lived more like a pauper. Fairfax patiently waited for Graves to die and, during that time, he worked for free. Fairfax, an aristocrat, would serve as Judge of the Admiralty at the trial of John Auger and his men. Rogers also named him to act in his stead as Deputy Governor during his sojourns to South Carolina.

15. Commodore Chamberlaine, who was in charge of the navy squadron comprised of Milford, Rose, and Shark, decided to weigh anchor on 16 August. Rogers was shocked since these vessels and their crews of 300 were vital to the protection of the colony. Against his better judgment, Chamberlaine finally permitted Rose to stay on station for three additional weeks, but after that, she must proceed to her next port of call. Captain Whitney, who commanded the Rose, remained behind for four weeks, but by the time she departed, he and Rogers were not getting along.

16. Mr. Cardonnel was one of the Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas. Lady of the Stool is a reference to a ducking stool. This was a form of punishment, conducted in public to humiliate the person; it often proved fatal if the person was dunked into the water numerous times. The offender was strapped into an armchair that was attached to a wooden beam beside a body of water.

17. The record of the trial and hanging includes information about who these men were and how they met their fates. John Augur was about forty at the time of his death. "He all along appeared very Penitent, and neither washt, Shav'd or Shifted his Old Cloaths, when carried to be Executed." (Ten) While on the rampart, he toasted Rogers and wished for the success of the colony.

Prior to taking the pardon, forty-five-year-old William Cunningham had served as one of Edward Thatche's gunners. He, too, rued his return to a life of crime. Dennis Macarty had been an ensign in the militia, appointed by the governor because he was thought to be "a Sober Civiliz'd Person." At twenty-eight, he met his fate with a bit of flair. "[H]e put on a clean shift of Cloaths, adorn'd at Neck, Wrists, knees, & Capp with long blew Ribbons." As he stood atop the rampart, he said, "[H]e knew the time when there was many brave fellows on[the] Island that would not Suffer him to dye like [a] dog." While he spoke, he kicked off his shoes because "he had promised not to dye with his Shoes on." (Ten)

Having spent a long time pursuing "a wicked life," William Dowling showed no remorse and acted "very loose on the stage" for a twenty-four year old facing death. William Lewis, who was ten years older, had once been a prize fighter. Now, he "[s]corn'd to shew any Fear to dye, but heartily desired Liquors enough [to] drink with his fellow sufferers on the Stage, & with the Standers by." (Ten)

A "very incorragable Youth & Pyrate" who smiled throughout most of his trial, Thomas Morris "dress'd with Red Ribbans in the same manner as Mc Karthy was blew." As he descended from the rampart, he told the assembled that Rogers was "a [g]ood Governour but a harsh one." Around twenty-two, he voiced one regret before being turned off the gallows -- that "he might have been a greater plague to these Islands, & now wished had been so." (Ten)

This piratical excursion had been George Bendall's first venture as a sea marauder. He was about eighteen when he died and sullen, but had already shown "Villainous Inclinations." At thirty, William Ling had kept to himself throughout most of the proceedings. When Lewis asked for wine, Ling replied that "water was more Suitable to them at that time." (Ten)

18. The official declaration of war came by 17 December 1718. Known as the War of the Quadruple Alliance, Austria, Britain, France, and the Netherlands fought against Spain. A peace treaty was signed on 17 February 1720.

19. Nor was Rogers the only governor to feel that the Royal Navy cared little for the colony's protection. South Carolina's governor wrote on 4 November 1718:
. . . unless speedily supported by a greater force than are yet upon the place; and especially the necessity that there is a of cruising ships and Snows and Sloops of war to be stationed there, without which I do assure you it will at any time be in the power of either Pirates or Spaniards at their pleasure to make 'emselves masters of the Island, or at least to prevent provisions or other necessaries being carried to it from the Main, and without that it's not possible for the King's garrison or inhabitants to subsist. The Pirates yet accounted to be out are near 2,000 men and of those Vain, Thaitch, and others promise themselves to be repossessed of  Providence in a short time. How the loss of that place may affect the Ministry, I cannot tell, but the consequences of it seems to be not only a general destruction of the trade to the West Indies, and the Main of America, but the settling and establishing a nest of Pirates . . . unless speedy care be taken to subdue them . . . I should humbly propose that two ships of 24 or 30 guns and 2 sloops of 10 or 12 guns be stationed there, one ship and sloop to be always in harbour as guard. (Rogers, 1928, xxxiv)
20. Once war was declared and following the Rising of 1719, HMS Flamborough was sent to South Carolina, where it became the first warship to be stationed in those waters. She carried twenty-four guns and was commanded by Captain John Hildesley. She arrived at New Providence prior to the Spanish attack, purely to pay a visit.

For additional information, I recommend the following resources:

Abbey, Ian I. (2017). Raiding and Trading Along the Spanish Lake: The Woodes Rogers Expedition of 1708-1711 [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. Texas A&M University.
“America and West Indies: September 1717, 1-13,” in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 30, 1717-1718 edited by Cecil Headlam (London, 1930), pp 24-30. British History Online.
“America and West Indies: November 1717,” in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 30, 1717-1718 edited by Cecil Headlam (London, 1930), pp 96-117. British History Online.
“America and West Indies: December 1718, 22-31,” in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 30, 1717-1718 edited by Cecil Headlam (London 1930), pp 424-446. British History Online.
“America and West Indies: February 1731,” in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 38, 1731 edited by Cecil Headlam and Arthur Percival Newton (London, 1938), pp 31-51. British History Online.
Antony, Robert J. Pirates in the Age of Sail. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.

Beattie, Tim. “Adventuring Your Estate: The Origins, Costs and Rewards of Woodes Rogers’s Privateering Voyage of 1708-1711,” The Mariner’s Mirror 93:2 (May 2007), 143-155.
Beattie, Timothy Charles Halden. The Cruising Voyages of William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and George Shelvocke and Their Impact [doctorate thesis]. University of Exeter, 2013.
Black and Asian Studies Association. “An 18th Century Voyage of Discovery,” Black Presence and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850,” National Archives.
Brooks, Baylus C. Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and Hist World. Independently Published, 2016.

Cooke, Edward. A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World. B. Lintot and R. Gosling, 1712. (volume 1 and volume 2)
Cordingly, David. Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean: The Adventurous Life of Captain Woods Rogers. Random House, 2011.
Cordingly, David, and John Falconer. Pirates Fact & Fiction. Cross River Press, 1992.
Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag: The Romance & the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. Random House, 1995.
Craton, Michael. A History of the Bahamas. Collins, 1968.

Defoe, Daniel. A General History of the Pyrates edited by Manuel Schonhorn. Dover, 1999.
Drake, Edward Cavendish. “Captain Woodes Rogers’s Voyage Round the World,” A New Universal Collection of Authentic and Entertaining Voyages and Travels, from the Earliest Accounts to the Present Time. London, 1771, 82-109.

Earle, Peter. The Pirate Wars. Thomas Dunne, 2003.

Farley, M. Foster. “Woodes Rogers: Privateer and Pirate Hunter,” History Today 29:8 (August 1979), 522-531.
Fictum, David. “‘The Strongest Man Carries the Day,’ Life in New Providence, 1716-1717,” Colonies, Ships, and Pirates (26 July 2015).

Gerhard, Peter. Pirates of New Spain 1575-1742. Dover, 2003.
Gill, Anton. The Devil’s Marine: A Life of William Dampier, Pirate and Explorer 1651-1715. Michael Joseph, 1997.

Hanna, Mark G. Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740. University of North Carolina, 2015.

Jones, Donald. Captain Woodes Rogers’ Voyage Round the World 1708-1711. Bristol Branch of the Historical Association, 1992.

Kehoe, Mark C. “Golden Age of Piracy Provisioning – Bahamas,” The Pirate Surgeon’s Journal.
Kemp, P. K., and Christopher Lloyd. Brethren of the Coast: Buccaneers of the South Seas. St. Martin’s, 1961.
Ker, John. The Memoirs of John Ker, of Kersland in North Britain Esq. John Ker, 1726.
Konstam, Angus. The Pirate World: A History of the Most Notorious Sea Robbers. Osprey, 2019.

Leslie, Robert C. Life Aboard a British Privateer in the Time of Queen Anne. Chapman and Hall, 1889.
Little, Bryan. Crusoe’s Captain: Being the Life of Woodes Rogers, Seaman, Trader, Colonial Governor. Odhams Press, 1960.

Manwaring, G. E. Woodes Rogers: Privateer and Governor. The Deans Peggs Research Fund, 1957.
Marx, Jenifer. Pirates & Privateers of the Caribbean. Krieger, 1992.

Nye, Larry. E-mails with author, 18 March 2021 and 14 September 2021.

Oldmixon, John. The British Empire in America volume II. Printed for J. Brotherton and J. Clarke, 1741.

Pearl, Jason H. “Woodes Rogers and the Boundary of Travel Facts,” Eighteenth-Century Life 31:3 (Fall 2007), 60-75.
Pearse, Vincent. “Vincent Pearse to Admiralty – 3 Jun 1718,” Baylus C. Brooks.
Phear, D. N. “Thomas Dover 1662-1742: Physician, Privateering Captain, and Inventor of Dover’s Powder,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 9:2 (April 1954), 139-156.
Preston, Diana and Michael. A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist & Buccaneer – The Life of William Dampier. Walker & Co., 2004.
Pringle, Patrick. Jolly Roger: The Story of the Great Age of Piracy. Dover, 2001.

Rogers, Art. Woodes Rogers: Privateer.
Rogers, Woodes. A Cruising Voyage Around the World [audiobook]. LibriVox, 2018.
Rogers, Woodes. A Cruising Voyage Round the World. Cassell and Company, 1928.
Rogers, Woodes. A Cruising Voyage Round the World. The Narrative Press, 2004. [Reproduction of 1712 edition]

Simancas: November 1588,” in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603 edited by Martin A. S. Hume (London, 1899), pp. 474-492. British History Online.
Souhami, Diana. Selkirk’s Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe. Harcourt, 2001.

Ten Persons Tried for Piracy at Nassau – 9-10 Dec 1718,” Baylus C. Brooks.
Thomas, Graham A.  Pirate Hunter: The Life of Captain Woodes Rogers. Pen & Sword, 2008.

“The White-hall Evening-Post #15 October 18-21, 1718,” British Piracy in the Golden Age: History and Interpretation, 1660-1730 edited by Joel H. Baer. Pickering & Chatto, 2007, 1:294.
Whitmore, Vito. “The Beginnings of an English Settlement: Woodes Rogers, Piracy, and Political Economy in the Eighteenth Century Bahamas,” CLA Journal 7 (2019), 71-84.
Williams, Glyndwr. The Great South Sea: English Voyages & Encounters 1570-1750. Yale University, 1997.
Woodard, Colin. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down. Harcourt, 2007.

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