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Deposition – Capt. Richard Taylor (non-pirate) - Dec 1721

Deposition – Capt. Richard Taylor - Dec 1721

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A State of a Case relating to a trade carry'd on with the pyrates in the East Indies [related by Capt. Richard Taylor (not the pirate of that name!)]

Dec:r 1721— CO 77/16, ff. 291-296


22. October 1719 - A small Vessel of about the burthen of 80 Tons called the Ffarrant Snow, was bought in the river of Thames by John Smal[l]wood [merchant of London] of Mr. [Henry?] Ffarrant [of Doctors Commons?] for L237: 10 s. & which was paid for by the said Mr. Smalwood & named the Coker Snow

There was also another Ship in the river of Thames called the Gascoigne of the burthen of 130 Tons which Mr. Smalwood & Capt. Henry Baker bought & afterwards named the Henrietta

These two Ships were laid at Union Stairs on the Middlx. Shore, and Henry Baker [Baker v Smallwood, C 11/1877/10 & C 11/2444/7: "master mariner," of Bristol, son of John, brother of Stephen, grandson of Henry] was made Master of the Henrietta & Richd. Taylor Master of the Coker Snow.

On board of these Ships there was put a Cargo consisting of Arm's powder shott Looing Glasses Scissors, Knives Corne & Beades to the value of ...

Before the Ship set Sail from the River, Mr. Smalwood & Baker told Capt. Taylor that the voiage [voyage] was designed for Madera & so to Madagascar, but desired he would conceal the voiage to Madagascar, and he asking the reason for that desire, was told that there was an Act of Parliament agt. Trading to Madagascar, but that it wou'd come to nothing & they wou'd Indemnify him.

21. Janry - The two Ships having got in their Loading fell down the river, &

26. ........Come to an Anchor in he Downs.

3d. Ffebruary - Capt. Taylor received by the hands of Capt. [Henry] Baker & [Thomas] Hebert [London mariner in 1719 listed in C 11/1988/32 versus Humphrey Morris et al.] instructions of the hand writing of an Agent of Mr. [John] Smalwood but without any name subscribed thereto.

There were two parts of these Instructions of the same Tenor with a Blank in each part for the amount of the Cargo, & these Instructions Capt. Baker & Hebert desired Capt. Taylor to sign telling him that one of them must be sent up to Mr. Smalwood & the other kept by themselves.

Capt.n Taylor at first yeilded to the reason that was given him, and signed both parts of the Instructions & was going to deliver both out of his hands but upon second thoughts perceiving he was going to put himself intirely into their power kept back one of them telling them that it was necessary for him to keep one part in Order to be instructed in his Demeanour & accordingly kept one part of the Instructions the principal matters whereof are _

That he sho'd deliver the Cargo to the said Baker & Hebert & to follow their directions & to advise with them on all occasions.

That the two Ships sho'd keep Company together & by no meanes seperate if it cou'd be avoided, but if they sho'l part, Then to make best of his way to such place as Baker sho'd direct.

That he sho'd conceal his Orders from his Mates & other Sailors till they came into the Latitude of Ten North & not to divulge them then if Baker and Hebert were in Company


No. 1. a Cask

2-5 Chests

6-7 Chests

8-11 Chests

12-15 Chests

16. Cask

17. Case

10 Runletts

a Cask

a Box

6 quart Et. Beans

25 quart Et. Wheat

2 reams paper

15 Barrils powder

At the same time Capt. Taylor signed his Bills of Loading by a Cop[?] whereof in our Custody it appears, that the Goods were consigned to Henry Baker & Thomas Hebert to be delivered in Affrica which was the voiage the Sailors were told to be made with the two Ships.

It's to be observed that the Bill of Loading describes that the Goods were Shipt by the concerned Owners without naming any of them and the particulars of the Cargo are as much as may be concealed, but such marks & Numbers as the Bill of Loading denotes them by are put in the Margin.

10. March - They arrived at Madera & there Capt. Baker took from Taylor all the Corn he had on board, & afterwards on

16. March - he [Baker] sent on board Capt. Taylor [Coker] 7. pipea of Wine & 4 Quarter Casks of Brandy.

17. ........The Henrietta & Coker sett Sail from Madera and on

10 Apr 1720 - They the said Baker & Hebert delivered Taylor sailing Orders in Writing but not signed which were principally for their keeping Company together, But in case of parting Taylor, was thereby directed to stay [u]at Port Dolphin in Madagascar ten days for days for their arrival, & after that time expired of the Henrietta was not arrived then Taylor was to open Trade & proceed to Slave according to the Instructions therein sett down & what else he sho'd hear there to accrue to their advantage.

There were also seperate Instructions given to Capt Taylor touching the intended Trade at Madagascar & directions how much of such a thing & how much of another he sho'd give for Slaves & Rice.

After this the two Ships sailed together some days but about 24th. of May ? lost Company.

21. July 1720 - The Coker came near Port Dolphin & the Capt was told the King of that place wou'd come to him the next day ye people desir'd him to come ashore[?].

22..............The Coker came to an Anchor at Port Dolphin in Madagascar, & Capt Taylor went ashoar & exchanged presents with the King. & was there told by a Negroe who spoke English that the Henrietta had been there & was Sailed 5 days before, whereupon Capt Taylor proceeded to Build his ffactory & having so done begun to Trade & Bartering his Cargo for Negroes, & while he was Trading there a

12 Sept.r 1720 - Captain Baker & Hebert came again to Port Dolphin in ye Henrietta with great Quantities of Cowries, pepper, Muslin, ffrankinsence & other goods on Board, & finding Taylor who had then got abt. 70 ?? at Port Dolphin, Baker went on Board the Coker to Taylor & sett Sail in the Coker towards Matalan leaving the Henrietta at Port Dolphin & the Slaves purchased there by Taylor under the Conduct of Hebert.

30th. Sept.r - The Coker not being able to ffetch Matalan altered her Course for Bonavola where she came to Anchor 5th Octo: this place is a good place for Trade & safe riding, & three White Men are the head of the place who promised them Slaves enough in a month so it was concluded to go to St. Mary's for 14 or 15 days & return thither again & accordingly they having brought an Bsc for a Musket at this place Sailed from thence.

8th. Octo: - ffor St. Mary's & on the 9th. came to Anchor there & Baker & Taylor went ashore with some Liquors to treat the principal of the place which being done, he retuned on board along with them to agree for a Trade & they swore together that Night to Trade honestly.

11th............They began to Trade & bought a Long Boat of Cowries, and on the

12..............Bought a Canoe of Cowries & two Boys & a Girl - And

13..............This day Capt Baker & Taylor spyed two large Vessels making Sail towards the harbour & thereupon they made clear to Sail, but were not able to get out of the harbour, upon which Baker & Taylor went off in their Boat to meet the said two Ships, and they proved to be a Pyrate named the Dragon, whereof one Congdon was Comander & a Mocha Ship of about 500 Tons, which the Dragon had taken both with English Ensigns, the prize which was the foremost Ship comanded the Cokers Boat on Board, & when the Boat came on board, the Capt.ns were sent on board the Dragon, where after Capt. Congden had taken an Account from Taylor & Baker of the Cokers Cargo, he sent three of his Jury men (the Pyrates Companys affairs being directed by 12. so called) to take possession of the Coker.

14th............Congden & his Prize went into the Harbour, & he went on board the Coker with a great attendence & took thereout 4 pipes of Wine & other Liquors which however Congden paid for

16th............The Pyrates agreed to keep the Coker with design to send her to Bourbon or Don Mascareen to get an Act of Grace; & upon this Expedition they resolved to send Baker with 5 p[er]sons whom the Pyrates had formerly taken from other Ships agreeing to pay for their passage 50cs[?]. a head. But, that there might be sufficient Hostages for the return of the Coker, they resolved to keep Captain Taylor, the Doctor the Carpenter & two Sailors belonging to the Coker, permitting these however to take the remainder of the Coker's Cargoe on Shore to Trade with the natives therewith, and accordingly they did Trade with the Natives with the remains of the Cargo.

17. Octo: - The Coker sett Sail to Don Mascareen & after her departure (vizt.)

26. Octo. - The Prince Eugene of Bristoll Joseph Stratton Com.d reus?? into Port St. Mary's & lay abt. 6 Miles distant from the Pyrates bet[ween] whom several Intercourses were had about the Sale of the Cargo of [the] Prince Eugene & the price to be given for the same and in Order hereto a list of the Cargo was sent to the Pyrates with the Prime Cost of the Cargoe amounting to abt. 1500 lbs. Sterling money & at length the Pyrates agreed to become[?] Purchasoib [Purchased?] of it at 500 lb. P[er] Cent profit. 

Imediately after this the Cargoe was sent a shore wch. consisted of the same sort of Goods as those of the Coker & Henrietta together w[ith] some Bay's a Copy of which List Capt Taylor made with the leave Congdon, & Congdon & the other Pyrates paid for the same in Spanish Dollars at 5.s a Dollar amounting at that sale to upwards of 9000 [l]bs.

4. Novr. - And when the Eugene had got her money she sett Sail for some part of the Island of Madagascar.

4. Novr. - The Gascoigne of Bristol Capt Challoner Williams, arrived at St. Mary's & the Capt came ashore to Congdon & Dined with him, & sold a small part of his Cargo to him & after a Stay of 4 or 5 days Sailed out again for Port Dolphin in Madagascar.

26 ........The Coker arrived from Don Mascareen wth. an Act of Grace for the Pyrate but that not being thought sufficient she was Ordered back again for an Act of Indempnity [security against loss]. and

5. Decr. - Sailed back again & returned with and Act of Indempnity the 27th.

After this the acceptance or refusall of the Indempnity was put to the vote amongst the Pyrates in number about 83 of wch. 43 agreed to accept the Indempnity & to go to Don Mascareen & the remaining 40 refused it & resolved to continue at St. Mary's.

By the Termes of the Agreemt. for the Indempnity the Pyrate Ship & Prize were to have been carryed into Don Mascareen, but by reason that 40 of the Pyrates remained behind, & that many of the 43 pyrates who had determined to go to Don Mascareen were disabled through Sickness, therefore there were not hands enough to carry those two Ships to Mascareen, & so those that accepted the Indempnity determined to destroy those Ships least the Pyrates who remained behind sho'd make use of them, which accordingly they did, on the 9th. of January.

And agreed with Capt Baker to pay him 50 l. a head for their passage & carriage of their Effects in the Coker to Don Mascareen & promised besides that each of them wo[ul]d. give him a Slave _

9. Janry - Captns. Baker & Taylor being on Board the Coker Sailed with the Pyrates & made the Island the 15th.

18th. - Being come to an Anchor in the Bay of St. Pauls many of the Pyrates went ashore, & on the

19th. - The rest went all ashore as did Capt Baker to the Govr. who obliged 40. of the Pyrates to pay the 50 l. a head agreed for, amounting to 2000 l.

The beginning of ffebry the return of the Coker to Europe was taken into consideration before whose return it will be proper to take notice of the Goods this Ship alone had acquired since her arrival at Madagascar & how much of them was delivered to Capt Baker & Mr. Hebert & how much of it was sent from the East Indies to Europe.

The Particulars of the Cargo Dollars & Comodities purchased at Madagascar are as foll[.]

At Port Dolphin Slaves - 75

At St. Mary's sold so much Goods as purchased therewith so many Dollars at 5.s a Dollar as amounted to - 1244 l. " 10 s.

At the same Port bought 2 Boys & 2 Girls

Cowries 46405 lb. weight

Ebony wood 18455 lb. weight

Elephants teeth 394 lb. weight

Cask of Glass Beads 235 lb. weight

Casks of Saffron or Shiff to dye with 166 lb. weight

Casks of Myrrh or frankinsence - 239 lb. weight

Cask of Corall - 112 lb. weight

Of this Cargo thus purchased the 75 Slaves were delivered unto Capt Hebert whose Cheif Mate gave Capt Taylor a receipt for the Same.

The Dollars amounting to the above sd. Sume of 1244 lb. 10s. Capt Baker received himself at Port St. Mary's

Besides which Capt Baker reced. for the passage of the Pyrates including the 50 lb. a head agreed to be paid as aforesd. & what he sold the two Boys & Girls for, so much money & so many Slaves as amounted to 3702 lb. of which & of some Expenses he was at he made out an Acco[un]t. Currant but therein defrauded the Owners of 1000 lb. giving them Credit Therein only for 25 lb. a head instead of 50 lb. & consequently made the receipt only 2702 lb. instead of 3702 lb. a Copy of which Accot. Currant we have.

Upon the whole all the money & Slaves Capt Baker & Capt Hebert had themselves, but all the rest of the Goods acquired with the Outset of the Coker were put on board her, & she being thus Laded & ready to Sail, Capt. Baker thereupon (that is to say)

13 ffebry 1720/21 - Delivered Capt Taylor his Sailing Orders & Instructions signed by himself in these words.


Pirates in East Indies Part 2



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